Drowning in starvation
Almost a week hadpassed since I began living as a servant at the Heart Family'sresidence. When I first came to the mansion, I had talked to Greedconstantly and was mistaken for a dangerous person by everyone aroundme. However, the other servants of the Heart Family were all goodpeople, and they still accepted me. Even during the more peacefuldays, there were many things to learn and remember, thus, I had beentoo busy to leave the house.
Cooking, laundry,cleaning… I had tried various jobs, however, the position that mostsuited me was gardening. Taking care of such a large garden was atask that required much patience. I pulled out the continuallygrowing weeds, and sometimes maintained the height of the lawn.
With three mastergardeners teaching me, I managed to do my part properly. If Iimproved enough, I would also take on maintaining the trees. One day,I wanted to prune that thick tree at the front gate. It felt veryworthwhile to do useful tasks for others, and I was so absorbed in itthat I even worked on my rest days.
Also, when the mealsfor the servants were served side by side on the table after work,there was meat in the dishes. Just seeing it made my hands shake. Atany rate, I had just started eating meat again after a long fiveyears, although I had never dreamed of having it so often. It wasnatural that I would feel tense. My nutritional health had improved,and my once skin and bones body had plumped up a bit.
Oh, and whenRoxy-sama came back from her role at the castle, she used her freetime to drink tea with me. Honestly, talking with a Holy Knight… mymind was blank. Roxy-sama carried the conversation all by herself.Although, she looked like she was having fun, so I did not mind inthe slightest.
There was a heavenand earth difference when comparing this to my time as a gatekeeperunder Rafal's employment. Of course, Roxy-sama was on heaven'sside. The other one was hell.
Even though I shouldbe feeling happy, I wondered why I did not… Recently, my physicalcondition was very bad. The feeling of hunger grew stronger everyday, and I could not suppress it. That is, I was starving. Yes, evennow, it was aching.
Placing her teacupon her saucer, Roxy looked at me worriedly. Our two-person tea partyhad become a regular occurence. It was only during these times thatshe called me Fay. This nickname had been given to me by my father,so it felt a little embarrassing. However, since it seemed like mymaster wanted to call me Fay, I sort of forced myself to accept it.
When I consultedGreed about this, he simply said, "How would I know? Think about itby yourself." Hence, I still felt overwhelmed every time Roxy-samacalled me Fay.
During our teaparties, I had the double pain of suppressing both my hunger, andfeelings towards Roxy-sama.
"Is that so…but, your complexion is pale."
I think she thoughtmy unusual hunger was a cold, and tried to lay her palm on myforehead. If she did this, then the Mind-reading skill would beactivated, and I did not want to intrude on her thoughts.
"No, I really amalright!"
When I stood up toescape, my hunger was so intense that I felt dizzy and fell to thefloor, my consciousness fading. The hunger was more severe today thanusual. I felt the Gluttony skill writhing inside me. Slowly, I wasswallowed by the darkness. I heard Roxy-sama calling my name, yetafter a while, I could not hear anything.
When I awoke, Ifound myself in the room at the mansion that I had been providedwith. The soft, cotton bed was vastly different to the straw bed. Ihad been able to sleep in such luxury.
It seemed like I hadfainted at the tea ceremony with Roxy-sama due to being unable toendure this hunger from the Gluttony skill. Now that the feeling ofunbearable pain had subsided, I felt much better.
It was night time. Icould see that it was around midnight from the position of the moonthrough the window. Then, I noticed a note on the moonlit shelf.
[Tomorrow, pleasetake the day off work and rest well. From Roxy.]
It seemed likeRoxy-sama had been worried. Well, it was natural to be anxious ifsomeone collapsed in front of you. The next time we meet, I shouldapologise for ruining the tea party. Sighing, I sat back down on thebed and picked up Greed who had been leaning against the wall.
"Hey, Greed. I'mfeeling hungrier by the day. I could endure it in the old days, andhad no problem with it. What do you think?"
Greed laughed as heanswered.
"It's too late.The dice have been cast."
"What do youmean?"
"The Gluttonyskill has tasted a soul, and can no longer hold back. It's urgingyou for more."
This, the reason formy abnormal hunger… I was in a state of starvation. Although it waspowerful skill, it cost a great deal. While I felt shaken by this,Greed continued to speak.
"You strengthen asyou consume souls. The more you do so, the stronger the urge to eatmore souls will become. That is the nature of this skill. Until youdie, you need to continue growing. The skill will not forgive youshould you give up halfway. If you cannot do this, you will die ofstarvation, or you will lose your senses and attack everyonemindlessly."
Extreme hunger. If Icould not endure it, I would starve, or… ugh, the latter was toohorrifying. In that case, was it not a devil? If I lost my sense ofself at a tea party and attacked Roxy-sama… Thinking of this mademe feel like a monster.
"I'll tell yousomething good. When you reach your limit, you will see it. Look inthe mirror."
As Greed instructed,I looked into the large mirror in the room. What reflected back was abright, red eye. My pupils were originally black. Yet they had beendyed blood red.
"Already, you havereached the limit. It is good to enjoy the life of a leisurelyservant here. However, you must not forget what needs to be done. Iwill say it once again, the dice have been cast."
This Gluttony skillsought souls regardless of my intention. Even if I ate and drank myfill of food, I would never be able to satisfy this hunger. I hadonly one option. And, the more it urged me, the deeper I would sinkinto the mire.
Right now, my hungerwas at the limit ─ I had to go. After finally grasping hold of thispeaceful life, I did not want to let go of it.
Changing my clothesin the moonlit room, I grabbed Greed. Then, with one glance around, Ijumped out of the Heart Family's residence. To satisfy thishunger…