“Hey… Just how long are you planning to stay here for” Gilles asks me tiredly with an open book in his hands.
“Until I can acquire level 85 magic.”
At my words, he nearly drops the book in surprise.
“Level 85 …..Alicia, I know you’re just trying to do your best right now, but it’ll be pointless if you collapse.
You need to rest sometimes too, there’s some things that you just can’t force through only willpower,” Gilles says reasonably.
I swear, with some of the lines he throws out there, it makes it seem as if he’s the older one, not me.
“If you spend all your time practicing, when are you planning to go visit gramps”
Oh, right! I still need to visit Grandpa Will.
I glance over towards the window…..
It’s already pitch black outside.
I didn’t realize that the light streaming into the library had changed from sunlight to moonlight.
How long ago did the moon appear Is it even still rising at this point Just how many hours have I been practicing magic for
“Gilles, the sun is gone.”
Duh! It’s night, so of course it’s gone,” Gilles says snarkily, casting a withering look my way.
This means that I’ve been practicing all day and half the night but I still haven’t made any progress.
I’d at least wanted to master transforming into a lion before I stopped for the day.
I’ve been trying to perform level 82 animal shapeshifting magic for hours on end to no avail.
“You were planning to go to school tomorrow, right”
“Yes… I was.”
I mean, there’s really no reason for me not to go.
“Then I feel like you should hurry up and get some sleep now…”
Somehow, it feels like he’s treating me like I’m a child and he’s my mom.
….Do I seem like I need someone to take care of me Me A villainess I can’t let myself seem like someone who needs to be babied! I need to become a woman whose every actions shows off her determination and independence.
But if it continues on like this, far from seeming like a wicked villainess, I’m merely going to be labeled as an irresponsible and childish little girl.
I should probably get some sleep now,” I admit, smiling a bit self-consciously.
Gilles nods his head, seemingly satisfied by my reply.
And so without being able to make any progress, Gilles and I leave the library and head to bed.
“Alicia Are you awake” I hear Father call from the hall.
Am I still dreaming Or is this really happening
“Ali” I hear him tentatively call out a second time.
Still half asleep, I drag myself out of bed and walk over to open the door.
“Yeah” I ask when I see him standing just outside my room.
My eyes are still half closed and my brain isn’t really awake enough to be working properly yet.
Drowsily, I realize that a villainess should never let others see herself in this vulnerable, unrefined state, but since it’s just my father, hopefully he can forgive me for letting my guard down.
“Morning, Ali,” he greets.
His expression is one of relief.
“Good morning, Father.
“You really don’t know why I’m here I heard that my precious daughter was kidnapped and even injured!” Father cries, his voice a bit louder than it needed to be.
I was kidnapped.
I kind of forgot.
Father’s eyes are wide as the stare into mine.
They hold some traces of frustration and anger.
And as I look into those eyes, my head slowly starts knocking off the cobwebs of sleep.
Come to think of it, Father hadn’t been home when I came back yesterday……
And it’s not like I saw any of my brothers either.
“Where were you yesterd–….” I start to say, but then I stop.
Finally, I’m completely awake.
I’m so shocked to see that Father’s eyes are wet that all my tiredness disappears in an instant.
…..Had he been that worried about me
“Thank god you’re alright,” he says, patting me tenderly on the head.
His voice sounds a bit choked up and his hand feels so very big and warm as he continues to stroke my hair.
So just the simple touch of a father’s hand can soothe my heart this much.
Though, Grandpa Will’s hand can also make me feel just as safe and content.
Slowly, Father removes his hand from my head.
Then he looks me straight in the eye and slowly opens his mouth to speak again.
“Alicia, I want you to stop monitoring Liz Cather.