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Ophelia points towards the two men I shot first.
They are covered in green vines now, unable to move at all.
I can only guess that it’s Ophelia’s magic.

I had only shot the arm of one of them, before kicking him in the face.
He hadn’t stood up after that so I forgot about him, but he was the least hurt one.
The other one had been shot on the side and on both feet, but if he forced himself through the pain he could still escape.

“That’s only because you lack experience fighting.”
“I’m truly sorry.”

They could have moved behind me while I was distracted killing the other two, and could’ve used Olivia as hostage.

“As long as you’re willing to work more on it, it’s fine.
Let’s return home now.”

Ophelia turns around and walks away, and at first I follow her too, but then I notice Olivia won’t move, her head down.
She probably is blaming herself for everything.
Even though it really is my fault.

“Young lady, let’s go back.”

I extend my hand to her, which she accepts after some hesitation.
She might be feeling down, but I have no intention of blaming her.
I kept those words to myself, instead conveying them by firmly holding her hand.

“Thank you, Natalia.”
“You’re very welcome.”

I had done nothing to deserve words of gratitude, but I knew Olivia would insist regardless.
So I decided to accept her thanks.

“W-wait! Don’t leave us like this!”

Things were starting to get nice, but then some garbage on the ground destroyed the mood.

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“Mistress, should we contact the town’s police about them?”
“Mmm, I guess we could, but it’s a hassle too.
I think leaving them here is good enough.
I’m sure the forest’s monsters will take good care of them.”
“Ahh, I see.”

So that was her plan all along, I support it.

“I swear I won’t trade slaves anymore! Heck I don’t mind becoming your slave! Just save me please!”

The man twisted his body as he pleaded desperately, but I don’t care what happens to him.
Or actually, I think he’s better off dead.
Ophelia also thought the same.

“Mmm, I’ll just repeat what Natalia said earlier.
Good night, forever.”

The man wouldn’t stop complaining even after being given a death sentence, but I didn’t care anymore.
We all joined hands and happily went back home.

“Alright, you two.”

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When we got back home, Ophelia spoke again, and the two of us froze.

“I’m ready to accept any punishment.”
“But Natalia just saved me! She hasn’t done anything wrong!”

Olivia tried to cover for me, but I didn’t deserve that.
It was my fault Olivia had been in danger, not to mention that I had already been warned about not obeying orders.

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“That’s incorrect, young lady.
I ignored my Mistress’ order to stay home.
That makes this the second time I ignored her orders.
Not to mention that I’m the reason all this happened in the first place.”

I’m sure Olivia will be saddened, but I knew this would happen.
I had put my Mistress’ daughter in danger, and an automaton that can’t follow orders is worthless.
All I could ask now is that Ophelia keeps her word and painlessly erases my consciousness.

It was a short second try at life, and at first I thought it was unfair how my life was tied to being a maid, but it wasn’t such a bad time, or rather, it was actually fun.

“Mother, please forgive Natalia! It’s me you should punish instead!”
“Young lady.”

Olivia tries getting closer to Ophelia in protest, so I hold her shoulder to stop her.
I don’t want to upset Ophelia any more.
I shake my head, even though Olivia looks about to cry.

“You two, can you stop deciding such things on your own? And Natalia, I’m not that mad, you know.”

We both ask confused.

“Whatever sparked it, it was still Olivia’s decision to follow the impulse of going outside, I can’t blame you for that.
Also, you ignoring my orders is what saved Olivia, I might not have made it on time.”

Saying that, Ophelia began massaging her forehead.

“Not to mention that resetting you and creating another automaton from scratch is a hassle, and there’s no guarantee a new one would be as good of a house worker as you.”

I guess that means my value is being recognized then.
At least that is reassuring.

“Mother, you wanted to reset Natalia1?! Please don’t do that!”
“Like I said, I won’t.”

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Olivia was so shocked she protested immediately, and Ophelia just grimaced.

“I can tell you’ve taken a liking to Natalia too, and I don’t want to upset you.”

I bet that’s also a big reason to keep me around then.

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“Thank you very much.”

I bowed deeply, and Ophelia just shrugged.

“Anyway, you really give up too easily Natalia.
You have so many good points you should at least try negotiating with me next time.
I’m sure you’re capable of that much.
You didn’t even try justifying your acts, and instead you got hung up on the weirdest things.”

No way, I knew I was in the wrong, so making up excuses would just make me look desperate.
I had caused all that to happen, so trying to weasel my way out was too pitiful and I’d rather die.

“Natalia, here.”

Olivia calls me, so I turn towards her.
When our gazes meet, she offers me the flowers she had been holding onto this entire time.
They had five white petals, and a slight blue hue in the center.

“They’ve wilted a little already, but do you still want them?”
“Of course, they’re such beautiful flowers.”

I honestly thought that.
They were flowers Olivia had picked for me.
I would never think bad of them.
It was true they were slightly wilted, but that was also because Olivia had been holding onto them and protecting them while being chased.

“These flowers are called Spica Lilies.
The colors remind me of you, Natalia.”

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I take the Spica Lilies from Olivia.
She was right, the colors were similar to my silver hair and blue eyes.
Oh no, this is going to make me cry.
Though I can’t produce tears.

“Thank you very much, young lady.
I’ve found my favorite flower.”
“I’m glad you like them.”
“You picked them personally for me, so I will obviously treasure them.”

My voice was a bit stiff, but I honestly thought that.
It also feels a bit weird to like a flower that looks like myself, but Olivia had gathered them, thinking of me, and for me, so that made me much happier than anything else.

“Natalia, I love you2.”

Olivia suddenly got closer to hug me, and I barely got the flowers out of the way to accept her.
She really gets way too touchy with me.
But that’s also what makes her so cute.
Though I mean that in y’knowat.

“Anyway, it’s about time we get started with dinner, and I feel like having some of your food again, Natalia.”
“Leave that to me then.”

It’s been a while since I last cooked.
I’m confident that my skills are still sharp, but this will be the first time Olivia tries my food too, so I’ll have to make sure it’s something she likes.

“You can cook too, Natalia?”
Do you have any specific request, young lady?”
“I like meat.
Though I want to try the dish you’re best at.”
“Understood, I’ll make sure to live up to your expectations.”

Pilaf and paella are my best dishes, but my pot-au-feu is nothing to scoff at either, and the best option if I want meat as the main ingredient.
I’ll have to make sure the seasoning is perfect though.

“Natalia, I think I hate you a little now3.”


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