28 Chapter 24: Gamble
Rudeus asked for forgiveness. They still played but there's still awkwardness to the two. If not for Arthur being with them, they will sit still and be silent for the whole day and say nothing.
Paul: "Hehehe. What's the matter, Rudy?"
Paul asked Rudeus for letting out a big sigh.
Paul: "Feeling down because Sylphiette doesn't like you?"
Rudeus: "Well, yeah. Sword practice isn't going so well, Sylphie is mad at me—yeah. *sigh*."
Paul grinned again and thrust his wooden practice sword into the ground. He leaned against it and looked directly at Rudeus.
Paul: "Want some advice from your dad?"
Arthur: "Right Rudy, dad is a certified playboy you know... He even gives me good advice when Roxy-sensei is still here. His service on giving love advices are ranked at the top."
Arthur says to Rudeus that its best to ask an advice from a professional assho- no, perverted sage.
Rudeus: "Then, please help me. And just to be clear Sylphy is not my girlfriend!"
Arthur: "Yeah right."
Arthur showed a teasing smile to him.
Paul: "Hmm. How to put this…?"
Rudeus: "Should I go and lick her boots like Art-nii said?"
Paul: "No, that's—wow, you got all servile all of a sudden."
Rudeus: "If you don't tell me, I'll let Mother know how you were making eyes at Lilia."
Paul: "This is a very high-pressure situ—whoa, hey! You saw that?"
Paul: "Okay, okay. I'm sorry for acting high-and-mighty."
Arthur: 'hmm if I think about it. Zenith should be pregnant in this year that means Lilia will too... Baby sisters huh, I'm too excited!"
Norn: "Art nii-chan"
Norn says in a cute toddler voice
Arthur: "Uwah~ Kiss onichan for me Norn~ Do you love onichan?"
Norn kissed Arthur on his cheek.
Aisha says on a voice with a little jealousy.
Arthur: "Aayyaah~ Aisha-chan~ Will you kiss onichan too?"
Aisha kissed on the other side of Arthur's cheek.
There is no doubt Arthur will be a siscon in the future.
Rudeus: "Norn Aisha, will you kiss Rudy-nii too?"
Arthur: "Shut up lolicon..."
Rudeus: "What did you say siscon brat?!"
(Back to reality)
Paul: "Listen, Rudy... So, about women…"
Paul: "They like things about men that make them strong, but they also like some of our softer aspects."
Paul: "Look at Arthur, when Roxy is about to leave he showed his weakness to her naked. His emotions felt to real that he even cried in tears... Arthur is more talented at seducing girls than his father. He's really a Greyrat through and through making a perfect plan to get a girl's house."
Arthur: 'Hey... What Greyrat through and through... At that time I did not even think about it and just desperately cried my eyeballs out of my sockets to let Roxy-sensei stay... I'm not like you who f*cks girls left and right.'
Paul: "Now, you've only been showing Sylphiette the things that make you strong, haven't you?"
Rudeus: "Maybe? I haven't really noticed one way or the other."
Paul: "Think about it... If someone clearly stronger than you came at you with their intentions for you on full display, how would you feel?"
Rudeus: "Scared, I guess?"
Paul: "Exactly.That's why you need to show her your softer aspects, too. Use your strengths to protect her, and she'll protect your weaknesses. That's how you keep a relationship going."
Arthur: 'Damn Paul... What a good advice!'
Rudeus: 'That was simple to understand! I didn't think a vague guy like Paul was capable of such an explanation!'
Rudeus: "But how do I show her where I'm weak?"
Paul: "That's simple. You're worried about stuff right now, aren't you?"
Paul: "Take what you're bottling up and share it with Sylphiette. Say 'I've got a lot of stuff wearing me down, and having you avoid me is making me worry,' or something along those lines."
Paul flashed a broad grin. It was an unsettling look.
Paul: "If things go well, she'll bridge the gap. She might even console you. So, cheer up. You've got a friend who'll make things right with you. Anybody would be happy with that."
Rudeus: 'Now I got it!'
Rudeus: "B-but, wait, what if things don't work out?"
Paul: "If that happens, come to me. I'll teach what you do next."
Rudeus: 'Wait, this was a multi-stage plan? This guy was a total schemer!'
Arthur: 'As expected of a scumbag. Hahahaha! my stomach hurts'
Rudeus: "Oh, okay. I get it. Anyway, I'll be back!"
Paul: "Good luck!"
Paul said, with a wave of his hand.
Paul: "What the hell did I just teach my six-year-old son?"
Arthur: "You sure teach us the right things... Maybe I'll tell mother~"
Paul: "Ughh... Please don't"
Arthur and Paul started their sword training... Their fight is so fast that you could barely see them move...
Its like a Dragonball where saiyans fight and craters everywhere are formed by the aftermath of their clash. As they fight they also grow stronger like a saiyan's zenkai boost.
Paul is closely approaching Saint ranked swordsman.
Of course the fight is just an exaggeration.
And in the end Arthur won the spar by a close match. If he was 0.1 seconds slower on his final blow, he would have lost being countered by Paul.
Arthur: "Hey Luffy, are the two of you okay now?"
Arthur since he heard Rawls call her Luffy he started to call her that too ever since.
Sylphy: "Yeah Arthur..."
Arthur: "Then please don't hate him okay~ He's quite dense on this type of things you know~ Since he liked traps. Ahahaha~"
Arthur said with a small laugh.
Arthur: 'Since you like traps so much how about reverse traps...'
And the awkwardness of the two finally was gone and they go back playing at their tree house.
Zenith had learned she was pregnant. For a few years now, Zenith had been worried about her inability to conceive another child.
And since then the house has always been busy. Zenith also was very happy about it and was very excited.
Zenith: 'What will we name the baby if it's a boy? What will we name it if it's a girl? We still have rooms, right? Oh, we can use Art's and Rudy's old clothes and hand-me-downs.'
Such was the thoughts running from her mind.
Arthur since he acquired the sense of smell at the level of a beast race, he's been smelling something familiar to Lilia for several months now.
Arthur: 'This smell... I know I've smelled this scent before...'
Arthur was training swordsmanship with Paul at the yard. Their upper half if their body is naked wet of oily sweat.
Arthur also had the habit of training with his torso naked to make him feel his built muscles burning.
Lilia is staring at Paul with her face flushed red.
Arthur: 'This smell, its the same smell as Roxy-sensei that night.'
As he was not raised by the beast race he can't identify what kind of scent is this.
If a beast race would smell this they would know immediately. Since the scent Arthur smelled from Lilia will only be released when the mating season comes for the beast races.
Its a smell of 'arousal' and 'sexual frustration'.
The maid, Lilia, had discovered that she was pregnant, as well.
Lilia: "I'm so sorry, I'm pregnant."
Lilia announced matter-of-factly to the family as the whole family sat at the table.
Arthur: 'I'm excited!! Norn! Aisha! Big Brother is here!'
Zenith shot a look right over at Paul, her shocked assumption plain on her face.
Conveniently enough, our gazes both fell upon Paul as one, bearing down on him.
Paul: "Uh, sorry, This child is, uh…probably mine."
All of them: "..."
That sentiment solidified as I watched Zenith draw herself up to her full height, her face livid, her hand rising into the air.
A slap hit Paul's face. He could have dodged it if its a fight.
Arthur's punches and sword strikes are much faster than Zenith's slap, but her slap hurts him more straight ro his heart.
And thus was convened an emergency family meeting, with Lilia included.
(AN: Big psychological game here... please don't throw rocks at me if the conversation don't make sense... I'm still 17 years old)
Zenith: "So, what are we going to do?"
Zenith was as calm as anything; instead of going into a fit of hysterics over how her husband had cheated on her, she'd contented herself with a single smack. A red mark like a maple leaf spread across Paul's cheek.
Lilia: "After I've assisted with the lady of the house's birth, I assume I would take my leave from your home."
Arthur: 'Bad... This is bad... I have already branded Lilia as my mother in my mind since I already know what happens, but I haven't considered how Zenith feelings about this at all'.
Arthur regretted that he was happy go lucky even though he knew this would happen. He could have prepare for it.
Arthur: 'I hope Rudy will do the same as the novel...'
As Arthur think about it he feels conflicted.
Arthur: 'But is this okay? What's the difference if I'm just gonna sit here and let it happen the same... I'm just going to be an another side character like this... It just shows I'm still the same person and learn nothing.'
He felt that if will still rely in Rudeus in this situation, he will be reliant on Rudeus and will not grow as a person. It might be a selfish thing but he wants to do something about iy
Arthur: 'Its all or nothing.'
He also knew that whatever he was about to say carries a big risk on splitting the family apart. But he still gathered his resolve and calm his mind.
Finding the answers deep within his heart he says he waits for his time to say.
Zenith: "What about the child?"
Lilia: "I was thinking I would give birth here in Fittoa, and then raise the baby back in my hometown."
Zenith: "You're originally from the south, yes?"
Lilia: "That's right."
Zenith: "You're going to be physically exhausted after the birth, You'll be in no condition to make a long journey."
Lilia: "Perhaps so, but I have nowhere else to turn."
5 seconds of silence Arthur finally spoke.
Arthur: "Mom. I will leave the house and live with Lilia-san."
Even though he says it seriously, his childish voice still was heard making his intentions not be taken seriously by Zenith.
Zenith: "Don't joke Arthur. This conversation is serious."
Contrary to Zenith, Paul knows his son is not joking.
Paul: "Wait, Arthur you're not allowed to leave until atleast your 12."
Arthur: "Shut your mouth Da- no, Paul Greyrat... Why do you think this happened in the first place?"
With a commanding tone Paul was silenced. Arthur never gave him a the look of disdain on his face right now.
Arthur had always admired him. Be it teaching him swordsmanship or on lessons on how to seduce women, he always had a look of a fan meeting his idol.
But now his face looked like he is looking at a piece of shit.
Arthur: "If you have the balls to cheat from mother you should have face her wrath head on. You taught me how to handle girls but you can't even handle your own wife.
We've been sitting here for half an hour in silence, instead of asking for mother's forgiveness you chose to sat down at the corner like a child that was stolen a candy by an adult. Is this the manly and brilliant father in the stories who could handle any woman?
I know that you understand what mother feels right now but you chose to be silent... So just sit there and behave, you have your chances and you wasted it."
The whole family is silent in Arthur's speech. Even Rudeus who lived for two lifetimes was silent.
Arthur: "After Aunt Lilia gives birth by estimate, Winter will be approaching making it harder for her to travel. Especially my little sibling it will be hard for her/him."
Zenith heard the phrase 'my little sibling' was shocked a little. But still her mind is still in denial that his words did not sink into her mind.
Arthur: "My little sibling with mother will live with a complete family. A father, a mother, and even though I will live with Lilia he/she still has Rudeus as his/her big brother...
My little sibling that Lilia carries won't feel a father's love but don't worry. A father's love, a brother's love, even a sister's love if I have to, I will give it to him/her.
I'll protect them in the journey, don't worry I'm strong enough. If we don't have anything to ride on, I'll build a carriage myself and pull it by hand if I have to."
Zenith felt very sad Arthur saying leaving the house.
Paul felt really guilty if Arthur really gies with Lilia in order to protect them when he can't do something about it.
Lilia felt that she was about to cry and was very touched by what Arthur said.
She seduced his father to satisfy her sexual needs. Instead of being angry at almost breaking the family apart, He chose to be away from his family just to take care of her and her daughter.
Rudeus: "But are you okay with that Nii-san?"
Arthur remained silent. He also didn't want to be separated by his family that he had been wanting since his past life.
Rudeus: "Will you really be happy if you will go with them and be separated with us? Even if you say that you will give our little sibling a father's love? Will he/she really be satisfied seeing her biological father?"
The rest of the family still silent.
Rudeus: "Then we can only let Lilia-san stay here."
Arthur: "Then how will mother feel about this? Do you really considered her feelings? Maybe she will be the one running away instead of Aunt Lilia you know?"
The two 6 year old boys mediated the adults situation like they are the teachers of the 3 kids who have a fight and wanted to make them friends again.
The three of them felt inferior when this is their problem but the youngest of the family are the one solving them.
Rudeus: "Then I'll ask mom a question."
Zenith perked her ears ready to listen what Rudeus is going to say as she knows this is a turning point.
The gamble between the Greyrat's household begins.
The works of destiny is at Rudeus's hands right now. Wether if it will fall apart, or if it will be a one big family.
Zenith: "Ask Rudy."
Rudeus: "Do you hate Lilia now?"
Zenith: "....I don't know"
A neutral response.
Rudeus: "Do you blame father for breaking his promise?"
Zenith: "Yes... Your father's got a weakness for women, so I'd prepared myself for the day something like this might happen. So I feel partialy guilty(on marrying someone like him)"
A postive and negative
Rudeus: "Who do you think is at fault here, Father or Lilia."
Zenith: "I don't know..."
A neutral response again
Rudeus: "Do you want for Lilia to go away? Nii-san will also go... If you go yourself I'm sure Nii-san will also follow you."
+1 odds for 'one big family' and that's the only opening Rudeus wants.
Rudeus: "Mother, I don't think Lilia is to blame."
Zenith: "I suppose not."
Rudeus: "I think Father is to blame."
Zenith: "I suppose so."
Rudeus: "It isn't right that Lilia is in such a hard position because of something that was Father's fault."
Zenith: "Mmm. I suppose."
Rudeus: "Me and Athur-nii have fun playing with Sylphy every day, so I think it'll be really nice that my little brother or sister will have someone the same age to be friends with!"
Zenith: "I.... suppose, yes."
Rudeus: "And besides, Mother, they'd both be little brothers or sisters to both of us!"
Zenith: "All right, Rudy. I get it. You win."
Zenith let out a heavy sigh.
Arthur: 'As expected of someone who is 40 years old mentally. He solved it easily.'
Zenith: "Lilia, I insist you stay with us, You're family at this point! I am not letting you do something as foolish as leave!"
And that seemed to be the final word on the matter. Paul's eyes went wide. Lilia brought her hand to her mouth, holding back her tears.
Zenith opened the door.
Deciding to cut to the chase.
Rudeus: "The stuff I said earlier, Is to trick mother on having Lilia stay with us... I'm sorry."
Arthur: "I'm sorry Mom... when I heard that Aunt Lilia was pregnant I was very happy having two little siblings at the same time and live together as a one big happy family.
But I did not considered your feeling at all... I'm sorry mother."
Zenith kneeled down and give the boys a big hug.
Zenith: "I know, sweetie. Both of you don't need to feel sorry.
Your father's got a weakness for women, so I'd prepared myself for the day something like this might happen."
Arthut/Rudeus: "Father has a weakness for women?"
Zenith: "Yes. Not as much in more recent times, but back in the day he was pretty indiscriminate. You might have older brothers and sisters out there that we don't know about, Art Rudy."
She then exerted a bit more pressure with the hand that was ruffling their hair.
Zenith: "Make sure you don't grow up to be someone like that, okay, Rudy?"
She rubbed—no, gripped the top of their head even more firmly.
"Make sure you treat Sylphie real nice, okay, Rudy?
Arthur, if you marry Roxy-san in the future don't break her heart alright? Especially since I've caught Paul teaching you on seducing women. She will be waiting for 10 years if your feelings still remains strong."
Zenith cried hugging her 2 boys venting her frustrations while feeling the warmth of her sons embrace.
After Zenith finally settled down her emotions she finally felt better.
Arthur decided to lift up the mood with his joyful and charismatic voice.
Arthur: "Don't worry mom~ After my dream of becoming a Major World Powers, my second dream is to be a househusband so don't worry. I will not hire a maid like father~"
Zenith's tone also became serious.
Zenith: "So you will be playing around with different woman before marrying Roxy?"
Arthur: "O-of course not! If I really make a move on a girl I'll take responsibilty and marry her!"
Zenith: "Then how about Roxy-san?"
Arthur: "U-ugh... I, I will still ask her about it."
Zenith: "So you're going to have another woman."
Arthur is overworking his brain to find an appropriate answer.
Since Zenith is a Milis believer where preached the vitues of monogamy and abolishes polygamy.
Arthur really needs to choose his words properly.
Arthur: "I will ask Roxy-sensei about it. If she agrees then I think yes I will have two wives like Dad... But if she denies it, then I have no choice and take responsibilty for my actions."
Zenith also feel a little sad by Arthur's words. But she knew that he was his father's son.
Zenith: "Just remember Arthur... Don't take advantage of a woman's heart."
Arthur: "Don't worry mom. I will ask permission so that this will not happen again if I ever will have take responsibility."
Rudeus: "What a chivalry speech. Mom I think that Nii-san will be a lot worse than father."
I'll just come out and say it, I was the one who seduced Paul.
I had no intention of doing such a thing when I first came to this house. But to hear them moaning night after night, to clean a room that smelled of a man and woman who were very satisfied—I had my needs, and they were building up.
At first, I was able to deal with those needs on my own. Watching Paul practicing swordsmanship in the yard every morning, however, stoked the fire inside me that had never completely died.
Also, when I heard that Paul was hiring a maid, I figured I could use what had happened back then as leverage in my negotiations.
Paul was a much manlier fellow than he'd been back then; any trace of boyishness had disappeared, replaced with the look of a man who'd refined himself both physically and mentally.
At the sight of him, one of the first thoughts to cross my mind was that the past six years had certainly been kind to him.
At first, Paul didn't try to make any moves on me. Every so often, though, he'd flirt just a little, and that worked me up all the more. I was able to resist, but I was fully aware that I was walking a very thin line.
All of that came crashing down when Zenith got pregnant.
Knowing that Paul had an abundance of libido, I got it in my head that this was my opportunity. I saw my chance, and I invited Paul into my room. So, this really was partly my own fault.
I was ready to leave the house to repent my sins but I was saved by the two young masters.
Athur forgave me.
Arthur the happy and wild child was ready to accompany me and protect us from harm. He is even ready to leave his beloved family just to take care my child.
He was determined to not let my child feel lonely without feeling the love of a family. He was also ready to sacrifice on not seeing his legitimate little sister grow up and chose to go and watch my child. The child that almost break his family because of my unforgivable sins.
Rudeus forgave me.
Rudeus the clever child, he managed to correctly deduce what had happened, lead the conversation precisely where it needed to go, and even brought things to an elegant compromise. He was so level and calculating about it, as if he had some similar prior experience to go on.
I opened the door and saw young master Arthur. The child who is ready to leave his family to protect me and my child.
Young master Rudeus is also with him.
Arthur: "Ahhh~ Aunt Lilia I might have disturbed you I'm sorry."
I was very ashamed of Arthur-sama's magnanimity. I almost broke his family because of my lust but still showed no anger at me.
Rudeus: "Sorry Lilia-san"
Lilia: "There's no need to be sorry young master Arthur and Rudeus."
Arthur: "Ohhh... You see, me and Rudy have a favor for you."
I would owe him for that for the rest of my life. He was someone who deserved my respect.
Lilia: "Pease say it young master Arthur and Rudeus. I'll serve you with the best of my ability."
Arthur: "Ahaha no need Lilia-san~"
Rudeus: "Yes, we would like to ask you."
Arthur/Rudeus: "Can we call you Mom now?"
Me someone as terrible woman as me being a mom of this two wonderful children.
Lilia: "I-I am not worthy of being mom young masters"
Arthur: "Please don't humble yourself Lilia-san. My little sibling's mother is also my mother!"
Rudeus: "We are one big family now okay?"
I-I how can such wonderful person in the world. If I still refuse it will be rude to the young maste- no, I should start calling them my children now.
My sons hugged me and I feel the warmth and comfort of my children.
Arthur/Rudeus: "Mother, welcome to the family"
My tears started flowing like a broken dam.
Lilia: "Thank you... My cute sons."
My children giggled happily as I cried in tears of joy.
I would owe them for that for the rest of my life. They were the ones who deserved my utmost respect.
Yes, they did deserve it. I would owe them a debt for as long as I lived. So, once the child in my belly was safely born, and once they were grown up, I would see that they would respect their big brother Rudeus and be at Arthur's service.
The boys released their tension and finally relaxing.
Gazing at the starry skies with the cold wind blowing in the night.
Arthur: "Thank you Rudeus. You really saved us there. You're really amazing you know that?"
Rudeus: "No. I did not do anything. I just pulled out Mom's conflicted feelings and surpress her hatred to trick her on Lilia and you staying with us... I'm just a devil scheming to get what I want."
Arthur: "Surely you are just as scheming as Dad is. But you did that to save Aunt Lilia right? I don't think you need to feel guilty about it. You used your smarts in order to prevent the family falling apart. I'm sure Zenith also will not regret letting Lilia stay here."
The corners of Rudeus's lips raised up forming a smile involuntarily.
Rudeus: "You're really amazing Nii-san."
Arthur: "Why? I didn't manage to save the situation you know? I even almost make it in a worse. I'm just selfish wanting another mom when we have Zenith."
Rudeus: "That's not what I mean... You're the first to tackle the problem and try to solve it. You considered the worst possible scenario and has the resolve to act on it... If it was me, I can't imagine myself doing that."
Arthur: "Ohhh... Is that so."
Rudeus: "You know that I've been a NEET in my past life. I was so afraid of going outside the house... But you and Roxy-sensei saved me...
You threw me up to the sky making me face that there are far more scarier than outside... In graduation is the first time I finally felt I achieved something.
Roxy-sensei taught me everything to where am I now and you recognized my efforts on my hardships to gain this achievements. That's why I really respected you and Roxy-sensei now...
I'm really glad that you became my brother."
Rudeus's smile became deeper. His face also carried deep respect. His last sentence really came from the depths if his heart.
Arthur: "Yeah... I'm glad you're my brother in this life too Rudeus."
They chatted for several minutes and they wanted to go back to sleep. But Arthur remembered he needs to pray before going to sleep.
Arthur: "Oh right Rudy... Want to come with me?"
Arthur: "Just wait"
Arthur went to the corner of the room wooden box with two openings. Rudeus would not have noticed if he didn't see Arthur going there.
The wooden box have small glowing magical runes on it.
Arthur: "Interested are you?"
Rudeus: "I never saw this wooden box before."
Arthur: "Its because I implanted misdirection magical runes on it... But anyway this is what I would like to show you."
Arthur opened the wooden box.
Inside the box is the white piece of cloth made of high quality silk. It had the smell of sweat.
Rudeus can't believe on what he seen.
Rudeus: "Y-you... That's Roxy-sensei's panties right?"
Arthur: "Yeah, I return one night but I saw this lying on the floor... Don't you think that's disrespectful for our the DIVINE ARTIFACT Rudy?"
Rudeus: "Your right. Father what should I do"
(AN: Father-\u003e Priest)
Arthur: "Confess your sins to the Goddess Roxy. I'm sure the Goddess Roxy will forgive you and gave you chance to atone for your sins."
Arthur preached like a head of a cult.
Arthur: "Now let's start to pray as we go to sleep."
Rudeus: "Yes father."
The Greyrat's household had a secret cult with 2 believers now. And it might grow in the future...