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Pop Up Box
Ann blinked rapidly, but the box was still there. As the girl before her—little Faye—moved, the box also moved along with her.
…Ann decided to pinch her cheek, but it was still there. Faye didn’t take her hand and stood up on her own, looking frightened. She was frightened she’d offend another person after what she had gone through. But Ann didn’t know, so she silently cursed herself.
…Why is it that I cause many people to be frightened? After that haircut, I should look like a lively young girl instead…
Seeing the girl wanted to leave, Ann immediately stopped her, “Wait.”
Faye’s small frame jumped in fright.
“Uh, little F—”
Crap, my knowing her name will just make her scared!
Ann’s logical speed managed to stop her mouth from carelessly saying things in time.
“Little girl, did you see anything in front of you?”
The girl looked at Ann with questioning gaze.
“I mean, like a weird box whatsoever?”
She shook her head.
“Really, nothing at all in front of you? In front of your chest?”
“…You are in front of me,” the girl said with a weak and hoarse voice. Faye thought that the lady in front of her seemed kind, but she was so weird. This raised her suspicion bar.
So… only I could see the game-like pop-up box? This is bizzare.
Wait, do I have that kind of pop-up box myself?
Let see, the way to open it… Hitting the chest part is it?
Hitting myself… I don’t want to feel pain. Can it open with just a light tap, I wonder?
A light bulb went on inside Ann’s head. I should try it on myself then. An experiment.
Therefore, Ann brought her hands closer to her chest and lightly tapped it.
Little Faye was very surprised looking at Ann’s action. She couldn’t believe what the lady before her was doing.
No pop-up box prompted, more power then.
Ann touched her chest again.
Little Faye’s complexion turned ugly. It was true. This lady is a weirdo! A pervert! Groping herself like that!
Meanwhile, Ann was so focused on her little experiment to notice Faye’s odd expression. No reaction… A bit harder, then.
Little Faye thought that the lady before her was very odd, perhaps a lesbian… Was she going to be kidnapped and groped like how she groped herself?
Little Faye was frozen in fear now.
With a bit harder tap to the chest, a pop-up box opened.
A portrait of Ann’s face—no, Arlea’s face—was displayed on the right side of the box. The portrait was updated, and Ann saw her newest hairdo and a neutral expression there.
[~SAVING THE KINGDOM, SNATCHING THE BEAUTY~
Name: Arlea Pristine Claritianta
Magic: Pure Water
As expected, it contained a similar information and the same text box.
As for the ‘~SAVING THE KINGDOM, SNATCHING THE BEAUTY~’ part, it was the title of the otome game Ann was in.
Arlea’s information was displayed there. Ann squinted her eyes at the word ‘duchess’. Then at the word ‘magic’.
Does that mean I can use magic now? Yay!
Her eyes shone with excitement. I finally could taste a fantastical power in real life. How wonderful.
Then, there was a close icon on the top right side of the box, and then on the bottom right side there was…
Another button she could click on was there. Ann had a bad feeling about it…
Ann turned to look at Faye’s text box to find that hers didn’t have this button. It was still within her expectation. Perhaps only crucial characters in the game had this ‘more information’ option.
Anyway, though it horrified her, Ann had a few things she needed to confirm. So, she clicked the [More Information] button and…
The display box changed as new information was displayed there. Ann scanned the information.
What was written there—it was exactly like what she remembered from her memories. Ann had confirmed her suspicions, but now she wasn’t sure whether she should cry or laugh.
Since her objective was fulfilled, Ann decided to close her own info box and turned to Faye to close hers too… Only to find that her pop-up box was no longer there.
This thing has an automated timer? How convenience.
Thinking that in the future, she might have to do it to others to see their information… But why the heck would she touch others’ chests like that?
Do I want to receive the title of chest groper? No, no, no!
She needed to think of ways to make it as natural and less conspicuous as possible…
Anyway, Faye… She was a cute little girl with a very messy long hair and dirt all over her skin. She was wearing a tattered one-piece and barefooted… The box said she was an orphan. Could she be living in the slum or without anyone to care for her?
Just as Ann was thinking so, she heard someone shouting from somewhere behind her.
“Thief! Don’t let that brat go!”
She turned around to see what was going on when she felt someone approaching her—huh, Faye was hiding behind her and clutching her hem while trembling…
Could she be the thief they were looking for?
When Faye saw how Ann was looking at her, she immediately let go of her hand from her clothes, thinking that Faye had offended Ann by touching her clothes.
Ann felt like a string in her heart was tugged.
This reminded Ann of when she was still young and her little sister was also still a kid. She committed a mistake and their parents found out about it. Before their parents could reach her little sister to scold her, she would hide behind Ann’s back with pitiful look. In the end, Ann managed to help ease their parents’ anger towards her sister.
I wonder how is she doing? I hope she didn’t fall into despair upon hearing my death…
At that time, an old woman appeared in front of Ann as she asked, “Excuse me, Miss. Did you see a dirty brat coming over here?”
Ann reflexively gestured Faye to hide with her hand—this was also a form of saying, ‘Don’t worry’. Faye was surprised at first, but she immediately caught Ann’s intention as Ann no longer felt the trembling of her body.
“Huh? No, I was just taking a shortcut here, I didn’t pass by anyone. Why are you looking for a kid, Madam?”
“Ah, that dirty brat dares stole my food right when I wasn’t looking!”
“Stealing your food? How could that be?”
“I was eating leisurely in front of my house when I remembered I was cooking water inside, so I left to brew some tea to enjoy with the remaining food I had. But when I returned outside, I saw that brat stuffing the leftover food in her mouth!”
The stingy old woman held no compassion towards Faye at all. Perhaps she didn’t even see Faye as a human being—wait, Faye is technically a halfling—but perhaps this old woman was viewing Faye as nothing more than a dirty animal. Judging by her appearance and accessories, she wasn’t someone that poor.
Ann could more or less guess what Faye was thinking at that time, for acting like that.
“Excuse me, Madam. Perhaps that kid thought you no longer wanted to eat the food? I saw a few restaurants in downtown with desks located outside the store. People there tend to leave their leftover food just as it was and perhaps the kid saw how the leftover food would just be thrown away?”
“Nonsense! A thief is a thief!”
But she was still a kid. And look at how desperate she was, to think she’d eat a leftover…
“…I’m sorry, but I don’t see anyone. Perhaps you can try looking around that way?” I said as I pointed at another direction. The old woman humphed before she left.
After making sure the woman was no longer nearby, Ann turned to Faye and bent her body so that Faye could see her without looking up.
“Thank you…,” Faye said with a hoarse voice.
Ann noticed that Faye’s lips were quite dry. Perhaps she hadn’t drunk anything after eating the leftover food… Her voice was hoarse too… Poor girl…
Finally, Ann decided on the spot.
“Come with me,” she said as she took Faye’s hand and led her away.
Faye looked very surprised, but Ann didn’t mind that at all. Faye’s body didn’t tremble in fright, proving that she might have considered Ann a good person after protecting her from getting caught. Or perhaps she felt like she had no other choice anyway.
Ann walked quickly towards Barbara Salon and opened the door right away.
“Welcome—Eh, Miss Lea? Did you forget anything?” Belle asked with a surprised look on her face.
“No, but uhm, does your salon have spa service? I’d like to have two spa services, and then cut her hair…,” Ann said as she let Faye stand forward.
Belle and Joy-san were surprised when they saw Faye. Faye was also surprised at the turn of events.
“Tell me how much they are later, I can add if my ‘saving’ here isn’t sufficient,” Ann added.
“Yes, that’s no problem. I believe your words, Miss Lea,” Belle said, still with a face of disbelief.
“Come here then, you two,” Joy-san said as she called one of her staff.
Obviously, Joy-san questioned Ann about Faye, so Ann honestly told her the whole story and what she was planning to do with Faye. Joy-san nodded and kept praising Ann that she was a good person, to the extent that Ann was embarrassed.
Ann did this and told everything to Joy-san, not because she wanted to get praises, but she did it for herself, really. Her heart wouldn’t be able to stand it if she were to do nothing. At any rate, it was somehow because she bumped with Faye that she found out about the existence of the pop-up boxes.
Though Ann hadn’t planned on forming any meaningful connection with the people of this world because she would die soon… If her action could make Faye’s livelihood better, why not?
If she were to leave Faye alone, who knows if she won’t be starved to death?
There’s no way I can turn a blind eye after knowing this.
After having a relaxing spa, Ann waited for Faye’s haircut to be done. It seemed that she preferred a short hair, so that was what the salon clerk did.
Thus, the messy duckling turned into a very cute swan.
Her short hair was still in a messy style, but it wasn’t a true mess like how her hair was before. Nonetheless, her side hair still covered her ears, so she couldn’t make sure what kind of a halfling she was. The term ‘halfling’ in this world would mean something like a beast man, if her memories were right.
As expected, the ‘saving’ she had in this salon wasn’t enough, so Ann forked out more money to pay for the rest of the charges.
Faye’s image immediately improved, and next was… Ann looked at her tattered clothes.
Well, she had drunk some water in the salon, so the priority was buying a set of clothes for her to wear directly, then next stop would be lunch.
Ann took Faye’s little hand as they left Barbara Salon.
After scanning a few boutiques, Ann decided to settle with one that she thought had the styles that would suit herself and Faye.
“Come now, let’s buy a few clothes. This store’s collection doesn’t look so bad,” Ann said as she took Faye’s hand, but Faye stopped. So, Ann turned to look at her with questioning gaze.
“Uhm… Miss, is it fine?” Faye asked full of hesitation. Faye already knew in her heart that this weird miss must be someone kind. She paid for such a relaxing bath for her and even had her hair cut. Now, this miss wanted to buy her clothes. But what was this miss planning to do? Why would she be so kind to her? Faye had never been treated so good by other people since she became an orphan, so she was really confused.
Ann had expected Faye to be confused of this whole matter, but she was thinking of telling her when they were having lunch. But she changed her mind.
Perhaps it was time to talk about my proposal.
Ann bent down as she patted Faye’s green head.
Ann almost called Faye by name. Luckily, she remembered that they hadn’t even told each other’s names yet.
“Little girl, uhh how do I address you?”
“Faye. I’m Arlea. Actually, I have a proposal in mind for you,” Ann said seriously.
“Prop…?” Faye tilted her head, not understanding what she meant.
Never mind then, I should just continue my words and everything would be clear for her.
“Little Faye, do you want to work for me?”