The Strongest In The World Doesn't Have Any Abilities? Book 2 Chapter 71
At the capital city, Harlin.
"Young lady...thank you very much for helping this poor hag carry her shopping items from the market," an old woman with a red scarf covering half her face spoke feebly towards the girl who helped her.
"T-There's no need to thank me, dear grandmother," the girl spoke frantically as they walk along a road outside the capital city's business district. "Seeing grandmother struggle while carrying the vegetables you bought from the market, it's my pleasure that I was able to help even in such a small way."
The girl added, even if she herself is having a hard time of her own, she would still offer her assistance to the ones who need it even more.
Bemused, the old woman said, "so there's still young people like you at this time and age, huh? I'm glad that there's still hope for this new generation..."
'Hm?' The old woman noticed even with her failing eyesight the strange presence emanating from the girl. No doubt, this girl is...
Leaning closer while being supported by her cane, she whispered: "You're a noble lady...aren't you?"
The girl's eyes widened in shock. Up until now she's confident that her appearance and actions won't give other people an idea of her status. In fact, the clothes she's currently wearing are specially customized to look like what ordinary people wear in their everyday life within the capital city's walls. Anyone would surely mistake her as the old woman's granddaughter if someone could see them together.
No one has seen through her cover, until now.
With tears about to fall from her eyes, the girl begged, "Please...don't tell anybody..."
The old woman has no idea why, but she could sense fear from the girl's voice. Are the nobles not allowed to go out and communicate with other people?
"Don't worry, young lady. I won't tell anyone," the old woman assured her as she held the girl's hand. "This way, I'll be able to repay the kindness you gave to this poor hag."
"T-Thank you, grandmother. Thank you very much," the girl wiped her tears as she expressed gratitude to her.
The old woman smiled in return. Although she lived at the capital for almost her whole life, it was her first time to meet talk with someone from a noble family, and a humble one at that. Higher-ranking nobles usually won't bother communicating directly to their constituents, hence the old woman believed that the girl came from a lower-ranking noble family, possibly a baron.
Her bony hands reached out to her pocket, and took out a blank card which she placed on the girl's forehead.
"How old are you, young lady?"
"Eh?" The girl got startled for a moment before replying, "S-Sixteen. I'm sixteen years old."
"Hmm...hmm...and your height?"
"H-Height?!" The girl's shock shot up even more. 'Could it be,' she thought, 'I'm being preyed upon by this woman?'
She hesitated at first, then--
Narashelian etiquette suggests that one shouldn't ask another person, especially if that person is a noble, of his/her physical characteristics. However, considering that the old woman isn't a noble like her, and commoners have their own code of etiquette, she thought that it might be their way of knowing people better.
"Oh, you're using common units? How interesting."
"Hehehe..." The girl let out a wry smile at her. She has no idea why the old woman suddenly became interested with her physical features, and her questions are gradually chipping away the composure she's trying to emulate.
"One last thing, young lady..."
"W-What is it, grandmother?!" Her shoulders twitched
"I won't ask any more questions, but I'll be glad if you let me do this."
"D...Do what, grandmother?"
Moving with an unexpected agility for her age, the old woman's hands quickly...reached for the girl's b.r.e.a.s.ts.
The girl has finally reached peak shock. A molester? She's a noble and yet, this person dared to touch her like that? How daring.
The old woman nodded and hummed in satisfaction as she knead the girl's b.r.e.a.s.ts with her hand. The girl, on the other hand, struggled to stop herself from leaking out strange sounds.
It would be bad if someone sees or hears them, she thought.
Instinct tells her to defend herself from the malice she's experiencing, but--
"Ah, it's all good," before she could do any immediate action, the old woman stopped groping her. "Not big, not small. It's the ideal size and shape for an ideal lady like you."
Losing strength on her legs, the girl fell to her knees, sobbing and muttering, 'my purity...gone.'
Then, the card that is still sticking on her forehead started to glow bright which made her scared for a moment before peeling itself away, and slowly fell onto her thighs.
"As thanks for letting me gro--I mean, for helping out this poor hag, I'll bestow upon you a small gift. A card charm, if you may."
The girl picked up the card. It was blank before the woman placed it on her forehead, but after the glow it became filled with mystic symbols and diagrams that are all unfamiliar to her.
"What's...going on?" her mind's all confused with the current turn of events. The old woman she helped found out that she's a noble, groped her then afterwards, gave her a strange gift?
Pointing her cane at the girl, the old woman said, "an arrow flying true to its purpose must--and will always--hit its mark. Let your heart aim for what you believe is right, and let the strings of your judgment propel you to the path that corresponds to it. However, in your case, while you have a good heart, your mind is full of clutter. Such imbalance would cause you no good. With that charm, I believe, you'll be able to think clearly whatever the circ.u.mstances."
'Clutter...in my mind?' The girl got astounded at her words. It's true that her mind's become a mess for a while now, and the reason she's outside is because she needs to vent out her negative emotions by wandering around the town incognito. Now that the old woman mentioned it, her face turned sullen.
She stared at the charm in her hand. At first she was skeptical about its effects, but shortly she noticed that by looking at the charm's mystic diagrams she started to have a calm and refreshing feeling within her.
"Is it alright for me...to have this wonderful thing, grandmother?" The girl asked while keeping her gaze fixed on the charm.
"Yes. It's all yours now," the old woman concealed her smile under her scarf.
The girl can't decide on what reaction she's going to make. The thing the old woman did to her constitutes a criminal offense, but at the same time she received something that could possibly help her in her problems. By accepting her gift, does that mean she have to think of what happened as just, nothing?
After debating ablut morality with herself she told the old woman, "Thank you...grandmother..."
'What a wonderful gift and all, but still it's not a valid excuse for anyone to grope a woman's b.r.e.a.s.ts,' she scolded the old woman in her mind. She prayed that there won't be any more incidents like this in her whole lifetime as well.
The old woman smiled while watching the girl place the charm inside her pocket. She then glanced at the skies and exclaimed, "Good heavens, I must've enjoyed myself too much! Young lady, looks like it's time for this poor hag to go home. Thank you for dealing with someone like me...I'll definitely remember this day until the last moment of my life."
"I-Is it really alright? Won't you need my assistance anymore, grandmother?"
"Ah, it's fine!" The old woman turned her back at her. "Your help was already enough. I can't just bother a noble lady all the time, you know?"
"Grandmother isn't bothering anyone, though..."
The old woman shook her head. "That won't do, young lady. I can go home on my own from here, so please rest yourself easy."
Although she wanted to make sure that the old woman would go home safe, she just can't force herself into other people's lives too much. Even the king won't do such thing, she reasoned out.
"Please take care of yourself, grandmother," resigning herself out of respect, the girl deeply bowed her head to the old woman.
"You too, young lady. You too," the old woman replied as she went on her way. "In a few days' time, the color of your life will soon change."
Hearing that, girl raised her head and noticed that the old woman's already gone.
"Colors of my life? What does she mean by that..."
Feeling confused, she started to leave and--
"Oh no! Grandmother forgot her vegetables!"
She accidentally knocked the basket on the ground with her foot. In panic she picked it up and tried to go after the old woman, but quickly relented on the idea.
"What should I do? Even if I find her, the vegetables won't be fresh anymore," she muttered worriedly.
'Perhaps she left it intentionally? No, that's impossible. Anyone would think it's a great crime to waste food, especially when there are people who have nothing to eat...'
"What should I do...what should I do?" While wracking her brain, she suddenly remembered the words of the old woman.
'With that charm, I believe, you'll be able to think clearly whatever the circ.u.mstances...'
"That's right, the charm!"
With the basket of vegetables on one hand and the charm on the other, she said:
"I think I know what I'll do next."