Another Day in the Newcomers’ Lives
“Man, that was tirin’. Lefi sure doesn’t like taking it easy on me, does she? Like, geez. Why’s she always gotta take everythin’ so seriously…?”
Lyuu, the maid, heaved a sigh as she collapsed onto her bed. She was tired. In fact, she was so tired that she’d even forgotten to take off her uniform before attempting to sleep.
Yet, her exhaustion seemed to rapidly fade the moment she planted her face in the silky mattress beneath her. It was so soft and fluffy that it almost seemed to whisk her complaints away as it enveloped her in its gentle embrace. The beds in her newfound Master’s domain were simply divine. All the other beds she’d ever used were but shoddy wooden boards in comparison. Sleeping on them always left her joints aching in pain each and every single morning.
“Geez. You ought to be more careful. Your uniform is going to end up plastered with wrinkles if you keep that up.”
“Right…. Good point.”
The bed was so alluring that she couldn’t actually bring herself to get off of it and take off her clothes until after the other maid, Leila, reminded her. And even then, her actions carried with them a heavy air of reluctance.
There was very little beneath her uniform, so her body was laid bare the moment she took it off. She was on the more slender side, but that wasn’t to she say looked like a man or a child. Her figure was undoubtedly feminine; she had curves in all the right places.
Lyuu and Leila were on good terms with one another even though they belonged to different races. That, in part, was due to their heritages. Demons, beastkin, and demihumans got along with one another. But with that said, the disparate species’ willingness to cooperate with one another was unnatural, born of an external influence. The races lived in different environments and had different cultural customs. The only reason they were so willing to accept one another was because humans discriminated against all of them equally. They treated them all like trash. Human nations were bigger and tended to be more powerful, so the races really had no choice but to get along, else risk being toppled by the humans mid-conflict.
The elves were the only race the humans couldn’t carelessly antagonize. As denizens of the forest, they were capable of making use of the “Forest’s Secrets,” which the humans knew could cause them incredible harm. To that end, elves and humans intentionally avoided getting in each others’ ways; both parties practiced noninterference. All the other races were forced to face the humans’ desire for conquest. That is, the humans and the other three non-elven races had been locked in a series of skirmishes and wars for hundreds upon hundreds of years.
At first, it had been a stalemate. But in recent years, the tides of war had started to turn.
In the humans’ favour.
Individually speaking, humans were weak. One on one, humans were less fearsome in combat than all the other races, but they possessed a deadly trait that none of the other races could overcome: numbers. They overwhelmed the other races not through the quality of their warriors, but rather through sheer quantity. All the other races almost always found themselves outnumbered ten to one on the battlefield.
And that was why the demons, beastkin, and demihumans treated each other with kindness. They realized that they needed to cooperate in order to cope with the looming human threat.
“Oh yeah, I guess I’m a bit late in askin’, but why’d you decide to stay behind anyway?”
“I could have sworn that I already gave my reason. I believe I said I was here because I wanted to pay off my deb—”
Lyuu, who was in the middle of putting on the cute nightgown gifted to her by her master, cut Leila off while rolling her eyes.
“I know that’s what you’ve been sayin’, but I’m not askin’ fer that. I wanna know how you really feel. I’m pretty sure you’ve got another reason hidden away somewhere, seein’ as how you’re a horned sheep demon, y’know?”
Beastkin and demons were both races that contained a slew of different subraces within. Each subrace was further divided into clans. Both beastkin and demons had the tendency to append their clan names to their own names in order to differentiate between different groups within the same species.
Of course, Lyuu herself was no exception to the rules. The Gyroll in her name was actually her clan’s name.
She knew that Leila was a demon, and thus should’ve had a second name to give. But in spite of that, she had named herself as Leila and nothing more. As far as Lyuu was concerned, her lack of a clan name was a dead giveaway to the fact that she was a horned sheep demon. There was a single horned sheep clan, so they had no need for an additional identifier.
Horned sheep demons were notorious for two very well known reasons. The first was that they were all female, and the second was that the entire clan was made up of overly curious academics, or scholars, as others would call them. These scholars were ridiculously inquisitive. They would find something to obsess over and get so into their research that they’d forgo both rest and nutrition just to learn the slightest bit more.
They were so famous amongst the demons that knowledge of their eccentricities had not only spread to the beastkin, but also integrated itself into their common sense.
Despite that, the maids’ benefactor seemed not to know.
“Well, I was not lying, at the very least. I effectively gave up on life the moment I became a slave. Our Lord saved me from living the rest of my days as a miserable, broken tool, and I am truly grateful he did,” said Leila, her lips curved into a slight smile. “But more importantly, do you not just find him interesting? Most Demon Lords are violent good for nothings that lack even the ability to process logical thought. Our Lord, on the other hand, is clearly an intellectual capable of reasoning. Do you not find this the perfect opportunity to discover the unknown? To learn more about labyrinths and maybe even the Demon Lord race as a whole? Would it not be a waste to throw away this wonderful chance? This outstanding opportunity?”
Lyuu couldn’t help but awkwardly nod along. She’d always thought of Leila as calm, composed, and seemingly carefree, so she couldn’t help but be taken aback by the other maid’s sudden, passionate outburst. Simply looking at her as she was now was enough to open the warwolf’s eyes to the fact that Leila truly was a member of the horned sheep clan.
“So have ya figured anythin’ out yet?”
“Not quite. I have only uncovered three facts thus far. The first is that our Lord possesses an ability too mysterious for me to define quite yet. Secondly, he is quite the interesting person to observe due to the nature of his eccentricities. Finally, he adores both Lefi and Illuna, and would stop at nothing to ensure their safety.”
“You know what…? I think you’re right. Our master is kinda weird, isn’t he?”
If Lyuu was to try to sum up her master in a single word, she would undoubtedly choose the word “mysterious.”
Her master would always produce tools the likes of which she’d never heard of, let alone seen, and manipulate them with the skill of a seasoned craftsman. He was capable of casting the most devastatingly powerful spells like it was naught but childsplay. And yet, he somehow lacked common sense. Many of the things he did not know were basic facts that even the youngest child could recite.
Still, he radiated warmth. His very presence put her heart at ease—even though she barely knew him.
And that was precisely why she thought the most accurate way to describe him was to label him a mystery-filled anomaly.
Lyuu had to admit that she would have loved to work for him even if he hadn’t been so warm and soothing. She didn’t get yelled at here. And though she was technically a maid, she didn’t feel nearly as restricted as a maid ought to be. The warwolf was more or less allowed to do whatever she pleased. She was often forced to play with people, but she always ended up enjoying it in the end, so she didn’t particularly mind. Her only complaint, if she really had to name one, was that a certain immature individual wouldn’t stop forcing her into rematches because said individual happened to hate losing.
Plus, that sole demerit was effectively rendered irrelevant in the face of the delicious meals she found herself having on a day to day basis, the comfortable hot spring she could enter at her leisure, and the unworldly bed that awaited her each and every night. Lyuu honestly thought her work environment to be the best there was. She couldn’t even begin to imagine anything trumping it, especially since there was a Fenrir around. The warwolf was a bit sad that she hadn’t seen it too often as of late, but again, all the other benefits made it so she didn’t particularly mind.
She was certain that her friends back home would’ve ended up grinding their teeth in envy should she tell them about her circumstances.
“I don’t think Master’d really mind, y’know? You might as well come out and tell him.”
“I do not disagree. However, I wish to observe both our Lord and his labyrinth in their most natural states. I believe it would be much less difficult for me to conduct unbiased observations without his consent than the alternative.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Lyuu nodded. “He might get all conscious about it and act a bit different ’round you if he knows you’re observin’ him.”
“Okay, that is enough about me. Why don’t we talk about you instead?” asked Leila. “I remember hearing something about the Gyroll clan, which happens to lead the warwolf subspecies as a whole. The poor chief’s daughter ran away from home rather recently. I don’t suppose that you wo—”
Lyuu started frantically flailing her arms around out of sheer panic as she cut the other girl off in an attempt to stop her from saying any more.
“H-How did you know!? W-wait, I mean, uhm…”
But she failed spectacularly and ended up confirming the other maid’s suspicions of her own accord.
“Don’t worry, I am not the type to talk. Though, I cannot guarantee that I will not make a minor mistake or two if you happen to tell anyone else my secret.”
“I-I promise I won’t tell anyone, so make sure you don’t say nuthin’ ’bout me either, ‘kay!?”
Though Leila was perfectly satisfied, having achieved her goal, she couldn’t help but question her fellow maid’s motives.
“You seem rather keen on keeping your identity a secret, but… why? Are there any demerits to letting our Lord know?”
“I-I mean… ain’t it just, you know, embarrassin’? I mean, I ain’t exactly what people imagine when you think of ‘a chief’s daughter.'”
Leila gave a wry smile as she watched Lyuu fidget about in an attempt to hide her embarrassment.
“What are you talking about, Lyuu? You’re plenty cute.”
“R-Really? I-I dunno, I don’t really think I am…”
“Yeah, now why don’t we get to bed? I know we’re not required to wake up early, but I think we should still do our best to get out of bed before our Lord.”
Leila reached toward the lamp by her bedside and turned it off.
“Ugh… I feel like you just totally had me played, but ‘kay. Night, Leila.”
“Good night, Lyuu.”