71 A Troublesome Pair
⊱————- Ofris' PoV ————-⊰
Ever since I met Rika, my life had turned upside down. It was troublesome, loud, fun and chaotic, nothing like it had been before, but I still came to love it. I liked all of her screaming, her pranks and failures. They made me feel as if I was watching a cute animal playing around or a small clumsy daughter exploring the world, though obviously, she was neither one.
«If only she wasn't so unpredictable...»
'Unpredictable' couldn't be more of an understatement. With Rika around, I could never plan for the next day, not even a few hours ahead. Today was only another far too good example for this. Not a single part of me could have guessed that she would just reappear like this, carried by a goddess and protected by long-haired foxes of all colors.
There was no longer a need to contact Sahria's friend, nor was there a need to bribe the guards just for the little chance to send her a letter she wouldn't even be able to read herself in the first place. While we had been unable to even think of ways to get her free, she had just decided to take it in her own hands, or rather push it onto Shiro.
The goddess now sat on the couch right next to the warming chimney fire. She was wearing a dress that was a few sizes too small for her, which was probably stolen from the girl that now slept with her head resting on the lap of her self-declared mother. The Nine foxes were now gathered on the floor surrounding them, making it look like a pillow fight had happened here only moments ago.
With all of these hints, I could have sworn that this Shiro was even more unpredictable than Rika. Just like her supposed daughter, she, too, seemed to be completely oblivious to random pieces of common sense or logic.
Being a goddess, she should easily be able to end this world, she should have perfect knowledge and wisdom to boot. So how could she mess up this badly?
Right now, Shiro was still staring at me like a rabbit that had just found a wolf. A beautiful rabbit, but a rabbit nonetheless.
"You are telling me that the Prince is a half?"
"How could you not know?!"
"He was the blonde boy, was he? There didn't seem to be anything special about him."
Prince Laurin maybe didn't look special, but he had powerful blood running through his veins. By looking at his parents alone, even a child could tell he had a bright future lying ahead of him.
His mother, Queen Arienne wasn't human, even though you couldn't really tell her apart from any other woman. Before marrying into the royal family of Aurent, she had been the princess of Orynn, a small country situated in the mountains north of Aurent. Her father was King Tudai of the Sun, who had won and defended his throne by defeating every man and woman daring enough to challenge him.
Contrary to his mother, the prince might be a half, but that still meant he carried the blood of the strongest light magicians ever seen.
His father did not have as precious blood as his queen, but his past had been turbulent enough to make people look at him in awe. Before he had been declared heir of the throne, he had proved his worth by risking his everything to subjugate a few of the most dangerous and vile monsters roaming Aurent. It was only because of this that he, instead of his two brothers, had become loved by both the masses and their father alike.
And then there was this short-sighted woman sitting in front of me, who had just gone and made a bet with those two, claiming that their son wouldn't be able to win a mere tournament.
«Couldn't she at least think twice before doing that?!»
A long sigh slipped my lips. "Laurin has the potential to become one of the most powerful magicians in this whole kingdom and the most honored masters of the sword are standing in line just to be allowed to teach him."
"He... will win the bet?"
"You really didn't think twice about this..."
«They are so alike...»
The goddess let her gaze sink onto Rika. She gently pushed the hair out of the girl's face, one after another, before finally giving me an answer. It was as simple as stupid.
"She doesn't love him, so I will make him loose."
"How are you planning on doing that? Will you start training random men, hoping they could turn out stronger than him? It won't work! And I am too old to compete against him!"
"I can't train anyone..." She took a small breath. "Besides her."
I felt a fiery rage grow deep inside of me. "You really plan on making her fight for herself?! It was you who got her into this mess!"
"I would do it in her stead..."
"Why don't you do it then?! Couldn't you defeat him with a snap of your finger?"
"... the way I am now, I couldn't win against anyone."
"What do you mean?"
Once again her hands began moving. Shiro gently caressed Rika's hair and especially the spot behind her ears, where she used to like it the most. But there was no purr coming from her, nothing that indicated at her even feeling her touch. She was too exhausted as if a mere touch could wake her up.
"I made Rika summon this body for me. It has no powers in and on itself, nothing it is good at, aside of it being able to use her magic and her mana."
"You use her magical powers?"
"That's why she is asleep now..."
I looked around. All of the foxes were asleep, even the white one lying at my feet, the one that had been busy chewing on my boots and preventing me from coming anywhere near Rika or the Goddess using silly barks and growls.
"You drained all of her mana."
"As long as I am here, it would have happened sooner or later. I only decided on the time..."
"Why would you do that?"
Her hands stopped moving, just for a moment, to then continue petting Rika's head.
"I wanted to talk to you without her listening..."
⊱————- Extra ————-⊰
Sir Fluffels: Finally a worthy opponent!
Sir Fluffels: Eat this!
Sir Fluffels: So tough!
Ofris: Why don't you stop him? He is eating my boots!
Shiro: I want to, but he is just too cute!
Sir Fluffels: What is this thing made of?!
Madame Plush: ...
⊱————- ❈ ————-⊰
Innkeeper: Please enter, your holiness! I will give you the best room our humble house has to offer!
Shiro: But I have no money.
Innkeeper: I would never dare to demand money from you! It is honor enough to house the saint!
Shiro: But I'm not-
Ofris: She is the saint.
Innkeeper: And who might you be?
Ofris: Her husband.
Ofris: I love her. See? I adore her! Please give us the room!