Xing Ye brought the mirror outside and set it down in the yard before leaving, soon returning with a rock around the size of a fist. He used his left hand to hold the mirror’s handle down and raised his right hand with the stone up high: “The queen doesn’t allow anyone to own a mirror. This mirror will bring disaster onto the village, so it’s better to just shatter it.”
The mirror violently shook for a moment before changing the words on its surface: Average.
Xing Ye raised a slight brow: “Looks like it's even a mirror with self-awareness. This has to be some sort of demon, I should burn it after I shatter it.”
The mirror’s words immediately changed to “Beautiful” in capital letters, bolded, and underlined!
Xing Ye remained unmoved, not even blinking as he smashed the rock down. Just as the rock was about to make contact, this time changing into a multicolored “Handsome”.
“Oh?” Xing Ye set down the stone, “You know my true gender?”
The word on the mirror faded away, reflecting the beautiful moonlight just like an ordinary mirror.
“If you were just a mission prop, you shouldn’t know about the players’ situation; if you’re a mission NPC with a soul, I should’ve received a mission failure notification when you found out Claire was actually a man.” Xing Ye fiddled with the stone, “So, what are you?”
The stone didn’t respond, appearing as if it wouldn’t say anything even if Xing Ye really did shatter it. It just continued to reflect the murky moonlight, seeming to hold a heroic, self-sacrificing feeling.
“Fine, don’t speak then,” Xing Ye set down the rock, “Right now, it looks like the plot can’t progress without you. Although shattering the mirror could make a new conclusion, it’s still too risky so it’s better to just keep you for now.”
The moonlight reflected by the mirror brightened a little.
The narrator’s gratified voice sounded when Xing Ye brought the mirror inside the wooden hut: “Claire loves the mirror. Even though she was afraid, she still hugged the mirror tight and laid it by her pillow. Under the mirror’s protection, she fell into a beautiful dream.”
Xing Ye was speechless.
This game’s narrator can be considered done for.
Claire who didn’t have a pillow just wrapped the mirror in hay, directly using it as a pillow for the night.
Early the next day, Xing Ye gnawed on the left over half of the bread as he thought about if he should try fishing to improve his meals a little. Suddenly, Felicia’s anxious voice shouted from outside: “Claire, something bad happened!”
Xing Ye opened the door and Felicia ran inside, her face covered in sweat. She locked the door before speaking nervously: “Earl Luca wants to choose an unmarried lady in all the villages in the fief to be his maid!”
Xing Ye was indifferent. What did choosing a maid have to do with him?
Felicia was even more alarmed when she saw his face: “Claire, how is your face so…”
She seemed shocked. Xing Ye didn’t answer and just rubbed his face.
“You’re so pretty like this…” Felicia was dazed for a moment before sobering up and grabbing Xing Ye’s hand, “Now I finally know why my parents didn’t let me help you wash your face, it’s because you were actually so beautiful. No way, I can’t let you get taken away by Earl Luca. He’s already tortured many maids to death, if he sees you, he’ll definitely…”
After saying this, Felicia suddenly rushed out of the room, returning a few seconds later with a handful of mud: “Claire, bear with me!”
Xing Ye saw Felicia was planning to rub the mud on his face and quickly stopped her, “How many maids does he want to pick from this village?”
“Just one.” Felicia was suppressed by Xing Ye’s imposing aura and replied in a daze, “Earl Luca’s fief is pretty big with twenty villages. The imperial bodyguards can’t take every unmarried woman away and have to leave some to bear children.”
The peasants are shackled to their land? This was probably the eve of the medieval serf systems. The peasants still maintained some freedom and weren’t taken as slaves by the aristocrats yet. Buying females to slaves could still be considered rather mild.
In this era, there was no way he would ever be able to make contact with the plot’s most important character, the queen, if he just stayed in the village. Earl Luca must be a turning point.
According to Felicia, his current appearance is very beautiful. As long as the earl’s group sees him, they’ll definitely choose him to be a maid.
Xing Ye thought about the settings the plot gave Claire before raising his hand to pat Felicia’s head. He thought about how he spoke with his younger brother and tried to use as gentle of a tone as possible: “Even if it’s not me, some other girl would have to go. We’re all friends, how could I bear to see another girl like Felicia get taken away? If you get taken, your parents would be heart-broken, but I’m different. I’m alone, with no family to shed tears for me. It’s better if I go.”
His speaking was on and off, not being used to saying such things at all. Luckily, Felicia was too emotional and Claire’s character setting matched such kind-hearted, self-sacrificing behaviour completely, so Felicia didn’t doubt him.
“B-but… sob….” Felicia couldn’t bear it and ran away weeping.
Xing Ye was speechless.
What was she running away for, she should’ve given him some more information like what Earl Luca’s temperament was like, his family background, and his status in society.
The narrator’s voice suddenly sounded: “When the girls in the village were faced with danger, Claire bravely decided to step forward. Her courage and beauty made Felicia feel inferior, causing her to run out. Claire was very nervous, left alone in the wooden hut. She couldn’t help but take out the mirror she hid by the pillow and face it, telling herself, Claire, you have to be strong!”
Xing Ye: “...”
Forget it, let’s just ignore this broken narrator. In any case, he had to take an important prop like the mirror along, so he could just take the chance to hide it on himself.
He took the mirror out from the heap of hay, a trace of doubt suddenly arising in Xing Ye’s hand when he grabbed the handle. Felicia was dazzled even though she was the same gender as Claire. Was he really so beautiful? When he looked with the moonlight yesterday, he didn’t think he was very beautiful, just very similar to his original appearance.
Now that it was bright and sunny, Xing Ye was planning to take another look at his face. However, who would’ve thought that instead of reflecting his appearance, the mirror would just write “I absolutely refuse to reflect this ugly face.”
It was probably still better to just shatter it. The earl’s place was too dangerous and a maid can’t have their own room either so it would be impossible to hide the mirror. Keeping it was a huge risk.
Xing Ye stared at the mirror coldly, thinking about stomping it when a knock sounded on the door. He moved like he was flying, hurriedly grabbing the mirror and stuffing it into his shirt.
Exactly stuffed between the two useless lumps of fat the system gave him. At least it was finally useful now.
Xing Ye was speechless.
He opened the door and a plain dressed middle aged man entered, speaking to Xing Ye: “Claire, the Earl’s people want all the girls in the village to assemble in the plaza. You have to go.”
“Alright.” Xing Ye nodded, striding to the wooden hut heroically, her bearings like a martyr prepared to sacrifice herself.
Until the middle aged man who was probably the village head shouted from behind her, panting: “Claire, slow down, I can’t keep up!”
Usually the tempo at work was very fast so Xing Ye moved like the wind. Together with his long legs, it was often hard for others to keep up with his pace.
He forgot he was a girl now! He had to remember, he had to!
Claire/Xing Ye stopped and waited for the village head and the still crying Felicia to catch up before forcing himself to walk at an exasperatingly slow space with them to the village plaza.
When they arrived at the plaza, Xing Ye realized why the earl would only select one maid. There were just too few unmarried women in the village. The whole village didn’t have more than a hundred people and there were only fifteen unmarried women. If they took more than two, the village might just go extinct.
The mirror stuffed between his chest hurt a little but luckily, working women of this era all wore a little apron over their bosom, hiding the part of the mirror that stuck out. Xing Ye could still bear with this bit of discomfort.
Three people from Earl Luca’s clique came. There were two imperial bodyguards and one older maid. When all the women were gathered, they started to pick and choose.
Xing Ye who was a head taller than all the other girls was like a crane amongst a flock of chicken, immediately attracting the imperial bodyguard’s attention.
“How beautiful!” The imperial bodyguard exclaimed in admiration, “I didn’t expect that there would be such a beauty in a shabby village like this. The earl will definitely like her.”
The older maid was very satisfied: “With her, the other maids will probably be able to live a little longer.”
Xing Ye: “...”
The three didn’t even look at the other girls before directly picking Claire/Xing Ye with almost no hesitation. They went to find the village head to give her family some of the sales money. If she dies later, the generous Earl Luca would also give Claire’s family some compensation money.
“She has no family.” The village head couldn’t bear to look at Xing Ye.
“Then we’ll just give it to her,” The senior maid said, “Enjoying some fun with a little money before she dies is pretty good. Even in the earl’s manor, money is still useful.”
She stuffed ten coppers in Xing Ye’s hands and Xing Ye naturally accepted the cheaply sold “prostitution fee”, tossing it into his pocket.
The Earl’s people didn’t give him any time to say his farewells or pack his luggage before directly taking him away with them.
Their village was the last one so there were already nineteen other girls waiting outside the village. The two imperial bodyguards mounted their horses while the senior maid took the twenty girls to walk at the back.
Xing Ye was pretty strong so he wasn’t tired even after walking behind the horses the whole day. The other girls were miserable, supporting each other as they struggled to keep up with the horses and didn’t dare to ask the imperial bodyguards for a break.
The senior maid seemed like she would never be tired, her back still straight as she walked like the wind.
She looked satisfied with Xing Ye who kept up behind her: “Looks like you can live for a while with your strength.”
Xing Ye: “...”
Earl Luca only bought maids from villages nearby so they only needed to walk for a day to arrive at his manor.
The nineteen girls were taken to be trained while Butler took Xing Ye alone to a room: “Go wash up properly and spray on the perfume in the room. Don’t wear such old and torn clothes. Tonight, you’ll be personally serving the Earl.”
The narrator’s voice sounded: “After arriving at the earl’s manor, Claire doesn’t know the future has in store for her.”
The future will probably be him bursting the earl’s balls. Xing Ye secretly clenched his fist.