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Drowning in starvation
Almost a week had passed since I began living as a servant at the Heart Family’s residence. When I first came to the mansion, I had talked to Greed constantly and was mistaken for a dangerous person by everyone around me. However, the other servants of the Heart Family were all good people, and they still accepted me. Even during the more peaceful days, there were many things to learn and remember, thus, I had been too busy to leave the house.
Cooking, laundry, cleaning… I had tried various jobs, however, the position that most suited me was gardening. Taking care of such a large garden was a task that required much patience. I pulled out the continually growing weeds, and sometimes maintained the height of the lawn.
With three master gardeners teaching me, I managed to do my part properly. If I improved enough, I would also take on maintaining the trees. One day, I wanted to prune that thick tree at the front gate. It felt very worthwhile to do useful tasks for others, and I was so absorbed in it that I even worked on my rest days.
Also, when the meals for 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. At any rate, I had just started eating meat again after a long five years, although I had never dreamed of having it so often. It was natural that I would feel tense. My nutritional health had improved, and my once skin and bones body had plumped up a bit.
Oh, and when Roxy-sama came back from her role at the castle, she used her free time to drink tea with me. Honestly, talking with a Holy Knight… my mind was blank. Roxy-sama carried the conversation all by herself. Although, she looked like she was having fun, so I did not mind in the slightest.
There was a heaven and earth difference when comparing this to my time as a gatekeeper under Rafal’s employment. Of course, Roxy-sama was on heaven’s side. The other one was hell.
Even though I should be feeling happy, I wondered why I did not… Recently, my physical condition was very bad. The feeling of hunger grew stronger every day, and I could not suppress it. That is, I was starving. Yes, even now, it was aching.
“Fay, what’s wrong?”
Placing her teacup on her saucer, Roxy looked at me worriedly. Our two-person tea party had become a regular occurence. It was only during these times that she called me Fay. This nickname had been given to me by my father, so it felt a little embarrassing. However, since it seemed like my master wanted to call me Fay, I sort of forced myself to accept it.
When I consulted Greed about this, he simply said, “How would I know? Think about it by yourself.” Hence, I still felt overwhelmed every time Roxy-sama called me Fay.
“It’s nothing, Roxy-sama.”
During our tea parties, I had the double pain of suppressing both my hunger, and feelings towards Roxy-sama.
“Is that so… but, your complexion is pale.”
I think she thought my unusual hunger was a cold, and tried to lay her palm on my forehead. If she did this, then the Mind-reading skill would be activated, and I did not want to intrude on her thoughts.
“No, I really am alright!”
When I stood up to escape, my hunger was so intense that I felt dizzy and fell to the floor, my consciousness fading. The hunger was more severe today than usual. I felt the Gluttony skill writhing inside me. Slowly, I was swallowed by the darkness. I heard Roxy-sama calling my name, yet after a while, I could not hear anything.
When I awoke, I found myself in the room at the mansion that I had been provided with. The soft, cotton bed was vastly different to the straw bed. I had been able to sleep in such luxury.
It seemed like I had fainted at the tea ceremony with Roxy-sama due to being unable to endure this hunger from the Gluttony skill. Now that the feeling of unbearable pain had subsided, I felt much better.
It was night time. I could see that it was around midnight from the position of the moon through the window. Then, I noticed a note on the moonlit shelf.
[Tomorrow, please take the day off work and rest well. From Roxy.]
It seemed like Roxy-sama had been worried. Well, it was natural to be anxious if someone collapsed in front of you. The next time we meet, I should apologise for ruining the tea party. Sighing, I sat back down on the bed and picked up Greed who had been leaning against the wall.
“Hey, Greed. I’m feeling hungrier by the day. I could endure it in the old days, and had no problem with it. What do you think?”
Greed laughed as he answered.
“It’s too late. The dice have been cast.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Gluttony skill has tasted a soul, and can no longer hold back. It’s urging you for more.”
This, the reason for my abnormal hunger… I was in a state of starvation. Although it was powerful skill, it cost a great deal. While I felt shaken by this, Greed continued to speak.
“You strengthen as you consume souls. The more you do so, the stronger the urge to eat more souls will become. That is the nature of this skill. Until you die, you need to continue growing. The skill will not forgive you should you give up halfway. If you cannot do this, you will die of starvation, or you will lose your senses and attack everyone mindlessly.”
“That… is just…”
Extreme hunger. If I could not endure it, I would starve, or… ugh, the latter was too horrifying. In that case, was it not a devil? If I lost my sense of self at a tea party and attacked Roxy-sama… Thinking of this made me feel like a monster.
“I’ll tell you something good. When you reach your limit, you will see it. Look in the mirror.”
As Greed instructed, I looked into the large mirror in the room. What reflected back was a bright, red eye. My pupils were originally black. Yet they had been dyed blood red.
“Already, you have reached the limit. It is good to enjoy the life of a leisurely servant here. However, you must not forget what needs to be done. I will say it once again, the dice have been cast.”
This Gluttony skill sought souls regardless of my intention. Even if I ate and drank my fill of food, I would never be able to satisfy this hunger. I had only one option. And, the more it urged me, the deeper I would sink into the mire.
Right now, my hunger was at the limit ─ I had to go. After finally grasping hold of this peaceful life, I did not want to let go of it.
Changing my clothes in the moonlit room, I grabbed Greed. Then, with one glance around, I jumped out of the Heart Family’s residence. To satisfy this hunger…