Knowing that some of them would rather be elsewhere, I asked the girls if they would like to go back to the castle.
As such, I sent Siesta, Yuno, and Krul back to the castle, while Gabriel and Aruru claimed that they wished to stay by my side.
"So?" I say once we've all taken a seat on the sofas in the living room, "Did Ari attempt to do something unbecoming to end up in such a state?"
Hearing my inquiry, Luctiana's expression changes to one of disgust while Alais' to that of disappointment.
"He really did, huh?" I say while frowning.
It takes her a moment, but Alais finally opens her mouths and says, "Ari was rude to the maid…"
"Oh? What happened exactly?"
So, it's due to Saturnus that he's in such a state now, huh?
"He…" Alais says before pausing once again. Dissatisfied, I firmly say, "Tell me."
Probably realizing that it's better if she tells me everything in one go, Alais resolves any inhibitions she may have had and begun recounting what happened.
Apparently, Ari had thought of Saturnus even worse than savage because she ha introduced herself as my maidservant. As a result, he was bugging her on the way to the oasis
However, due to Saturnus practically ignoring his existence, he threw a fit, claiming that she was being rude and whatnot. This ultimately led to him reaching his arm out, most likely intending to 'punish' her for her unsavory behavior.
Of course, I had brought Saturnus over for no other reason than something like this occurring. Unexpectedly, she ended up as the victim, with Ari as the assailant instead of the others.
From that point, Saturnus made use of her equipment to lightly pierce Ari's chest before he limply fell to the ground and stayed like that ever since.
Once Alais was done recounting, I couldn't hold myself back from remarking, "How idiotic. Did Ari actually believe that I would send a powerless girl over?"
"Besides," I say while leaning back and squinting my eyes, "Luctiana, you didn't stop him from doing all this?"
Realizing that I'm discontented by her actions, an anxious expression appears on Luctiana's face as she opens her mouth to say something.
However, before she can talk, another voice reaches my ears, "She did try to stop him."
Looking over at the source of the voice, I find Saturnus slowly walking inside before making her way to behind the sofa I'm sitting on.
"But, he didn't listen to her," Saturnus continues.
"That's surprising," I proclaim, "After all, he seemed to be held by a leash the last time I saw Ari interact with Luctiana."
"Leash," Alais absentmindedly mutters as a red hue spreads across Luctiana's cheeks.
What, did I say anything strange?
"Anyway," I state, "I've been displeased with Ari's actions time and time again. Now, he has even attempted to make a move on my beloved maid…"
Realizing where I'm going with this, Alais's eyes widen while an odd look appears on Luctiana's face.
"As such, I've decided to punish him accordingly."
The moment I'm done speaking, I pull Excalibur out of the storage ring before morphing it into the shape of a scythe.
"Wait!" Luctiana hurriedly says, "As much as I hate what has become of Ari, I can't just let him die like this!"
"Oh?" I intone in a cold tone, "Are you going to oppose me?"
The atmosphere in the room becomes tense as Aruru forms a few light arrows around her, while Saturnus tightens her grip on the strange equipment she carries around everywhere.
"No, no, no!" she hastily says as beads of sweat begin to form on her forehead, "I'm sure that there is another suitable punishment that doesn't need him to die!"
Nice. Exactly the words I've been waiting to hear.
"What do you suppose is a suitable punishment, then?" I say while using Eye of Judgment to pressure her even more.
Luctiana grits her teeth as she attempts to think of a response to my inquiry.
Several moments pass, with her not coming up with anything. Bored, I raise Excalibur and say, "It seems like there is none after all."
"I-I will disown him!" Alais suddenly says in a worried tone, causing Ari's paralyzed body to twitch.
Nice reaction… But, it's not enough. I need more or what I have in mind won't work out that well.
"Disown, you say? I wouldn't want you to do that, Alais. After all, that would hurt you more than it would hurt him," I say while slowly shaking my head, "I highly doubt that Ari even cares."
A small smile forms on my lips as I sense Ari twitching several more times. There is no need to show mercy. He brought this upon himself.
"Then," Luctiana speaks once more, this time in a much more resolved, yet hurt tone, "I will break my engagement with him. You can send him as far away from here. Is that enough?"
These two… Both of their proposals are ones that would hurt themselves. Alais did it out of her motherly love for Ari. As for Luctiana, it could be her lingering feelings or just can't bear to see an acquaintance die.
For her to make this choice with such little regret is an obvious sign of her having considered doing this in the past. That's not surprising, considering how disgusting Ari's attitude is. It makes me wonder what it was that attracted the two in the first place.
Ari who has been listening on this whole time is now twitching non-stop, most likely trying his hardest to break free from the paralysis and say something regarding this matter.
"Very well," I say after a few seconds of deliberation, "I hope the two of you wouldn't hate me for this."
"Not at all," Luctiana says while forcing a smile, "I can't say I'm okay with the way it turned out, but I know that Ari is in the wrong."
Looking over at Alais, I notice that she has a blank expression on her face as she wordlessly stares at Ari.
Hah~ I need to get this done quickly. Hopefully, nothing goes wrong.
Getting up from the sofa, I approach Ari's body before forming an anti-sound barrier around him.
"Alais, Luctiana, hear me out."
Luctiana looks over at me with a nervous expression, as Alais break out of her stupor and listens to what I have to say.
"I actually knew that things would turn out like this," I say, despite having no clue at all. The whole point of this was to test out another application of Norse Magic. Now, I can make it sound like I'm doing it as a random act of kindness.
To do that, I would have Ari's punishment decided by the two female elves, as they know him best. By asking for a punishment equating to his life, I would guarantee that they would come up with something that's bound to hurt him. Then, use my curse to make it look like I am doing the right thing.
"Currently, Ari can't hear us, so I can tell you what's going on," I continue, "You see, I've noticed that Ari just can't be honest about his feelings. He actually cares about you, Alais, but hides it deep inside his heart."
"The only I'm not sure about is why Ari assailed my maid. This is what irritated me. So, I decided to both punish him and deal with the problem in one shot."
Fortunately, the two of them seem to be taking my words to heart as they both have thoughtful looks on their faces.
"To prove this, I will now have my maid remove the state of paralysis from his body."
Turning to face to Saturnus, I question, "You can do that, right?"
"Yes, Creator," she politely responds.
Before Saturnus can take a step, I activate Time-Stop, causing the familiar changes in my surroundings before everything comes to a standstill.
Now, I can only hope that this will do what I expect it to. With such a thought in my mind, I crouch beside Ari and use Norse Magic to grant him the Curse of Regret.
Then, I stand right up before canceling Time-Stop.
Apart from Luctiana and Alais, everyone else in the room notices the slight change as a curious glint appears within their eyes. That's especially the case for Gaia who has been watching everything unfold with great interest.
Shortly, Saturnus pierces Ari's chest with the odd equipment before some energy gets sucked out of Ari's body.
The next moment, Ari swiftly gets up from the ground and shouts, "I'm sorry! I didn't want to do it, but it just happened! Why did I do it? Why?"
Seeing his overdramatic actions, I'm pleasantly surprised. Great. This curse can be used in various ways to guarantee a certain outcome.
"Please, mom, forgive me!" Ari exclaims, causing Alais to gasp as her eyes get teary.
This goes on for a while, with Ari doing nothing other than expressing 'his regrets' over everything he's done toward his mother. In the end, tears were rolling down her cheeks as Ari asked for forgiveness on his knees.
Ari then shifts his focus to Luctiana and is about to say something, but I cancel the curse at this moment, causing the words to get stuck in his throat.
Ari making up with Luctiana wouldn't be beneficial for me, in fact, it would be detrimental. So, I will prevent it.
Luctiana who had a look of expectation on her face slowly realizes that Ari isn't going to say anything, causing her expression to slowly turn impassive.
After a while, a glint of disappointment shined within her eyes before she got up from the sofa and walked to her room.
"What…" a dumbfounded Ari murmurs.
"Gaia, do you not require sleep?" I curiously ask with a smile on my lips.
"No," a soothing voice responds to my inquiry.
Right now, the two of us are both in the living room. Due to it being the dead of the night, everyone the two of us are alone.
Aruru is sleeping on my bed, while Gabriel is sleeping on a bed I created for her in the same room.
Luctiana was in a bad mood, so Ari didn't sleep in the same room as her, but on the ground of the same room his mother was sleeping in on her bed. Hopefully, he begins to get along with Alais, as she would think that all this is happening because of me…
The other five elves are staying in another room, while Saturnus is outside doing something, hence why I'm awake.
I didn't account for Gaia to be awake as well, which leads us to the current situation.
"This is unexpected," I say, "But, it's good timing."
Gaia keenly listens to my words while looking into my eyes.
"Gaia, I want you to tell me about the reason why Brimir hated me so much," I proclaim.
Some more psycholical stuff.
Victor sure has a strange way of scoring points with girls.
IRL hates my guts...
Have a good day/night! ~ExalF
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