Daydreaming: isn’t that something that everyone does? The contents might be different, but the act of it is all the same. After all, who doesn’t want to get lost in a series of pleasant thoughts to escape their present? It’s something people can do anywhere and at any time: on the bus, in a classroom, or at your favorite arcade; during the morning, afternoon, or late at night. It’s a beautiful little thing, daydreaming is.
Samira found herself daydreaming again. It wasn’t anything fantastical— it was something rather ordinary. She thought about messaging her online friend, Reverie. Aside from the brief exchange they had in the morning, Samira hadn’t talked to her. She had gone to the nearby plaza to buy groceries with her parents, and after they dropped that off at their house, she took off again to go to a family-owned steakhouse to meet up with a few family friends.
It was boring, terribly so. Nonetheless, Samira kept a neutral expression plastered on her face as she thought about what she could be doing instead of being here, listening to these older men and women talk about politics and current events. She could be texting Reverie, watching the videos or reading the posts Reverie sent as she took a break from doing her university assignments, or they could be on a voice call while Samira streamed herself playing a game series starring a certain pink amoeba. If Reverie was busy, then Samira could just read one of her stories; there was plenty to do when it came to Reverie and her passion for writing.
“Oh, that’s right; Samira, how has university been for you?” Samira’s daydream was instantly shattered by the woman sitting across from her.
“Ahh…it’s been alright,” Samira responded. “Just studying and preparing for finals.”
“This year is your last, isn’t it? How’s job hunting?”
“I’ve been looking, but studying has been my priority…”
“Of course, of course, you must pass your classes first! You’re majoring in medical sciences, right? Oh, how I wish my son did that instead of linguistics! He also spends all of his free time going out to parties instead of studying!” The family friend continued to rant. “He even refused to come to lunch with us, such an unfilial and ungrateful kid! Mabel, I’m so envious of you.”
Samira’s mother shook her head. “It’s good that your son goes out and has friends. All Samira does is stay in her room as soon as she comes back from school.”
“I’d rather have my son do that! He goes out every single night! Whenever I ask him about classes, he just shrugs me off!”
Samira lifted her glass of water to her lips. She looked down at the table as she continues to listen to the garble coming out of her mother and the family friend. The topic soon switched from their children’s shortcomings to the volunteer work her mother was participating in. Samira resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she heard what the family friend had been doing.
“Samira, why don’t you go wash your hands?” Samira’s father suggested in a soft voice. “You didn’t get a chance to do that earlier since you watched the table for us.”
“Ahh, yeah, I’ll go do that,” Samira responded as she got up from her seat. She walked past a server carrying a tray of steaks as she headed towards the public restrooms in the far corner of the restaurant.
The women’s restrooms were vacant, much to Samira’s relief. A sigh escaped her lips as she walked over towards the sinks, heading for the one farthest from the door. The sound of rushing water entered her ears as she scrubbed her hands clean. She stopped after her hands were red from the hot water and moved to dry them with the obnoxiously loud hand dryer. She pulled her hands away from the machine, and silence took over once more.
Samira looked towards the door. No one else had come in. The adults at the table were probably still occupied with their conversation, and she wasn’t particularly interesting in hearing more than she had to.
『Oh, I have my phone with me.』 Samira blinked as she recalled that she brought her mobile device with her. She usually didn’t, but something had possessed her to do so earlier. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and was met with dozens of notifications, all from one person. A small smile subconsciously made its way onto her face. She opened the Omphalos app and began scrolling through the messages. 『I’ll look at these when I have time later.』
Samira slipped her phone back into her back pocket before she left the public restrooms.
Just as Samira returned to her seat, the server came to their table with everyone’s meals. With a polite smile, he placed everyone’s orders on the table in front of them, making sure to avoid the cups and phones.
“Please enjoy your meal,” the server said just before he left.
“Thank you,” Samira responded softly. She then turned her attention to the meal in front of her: a medium-rare strip steak and a side salad with no dressing. She stared at it for a few seconds before lifting her knife and fork to begin eating.
With no one forcing her to engage in the conversation, Samira’s mind slowly began to wander back into the land of daydreams.
『Oh, that’s right, it’s been a year since Knowledge Buried in the Gardens got its webcomic adaptation,』 She thought to herself as she chewed on another piece of steak. 『Adelheid was revealed for their anniversary chapter; it was pretty good…』
Samira’s heart skipped a beat as she recalled Adelheid’s introduction scene.
The prostitute stared at Rosetta and Gabriel with a lifeless expression. Rosetta’s lips curled up into an elegant smile as she kept her gaze on her next target. Alouette was a beautiful girl, however, more than anything else, she had potential. She had the potential to become something interesting—and Rosetta loved that more than anything else in this world.
“Come with me,” Rosetta offered. Her mahogany eyes began to glow an alluring crimson. “I’ll give you a chance to spread your wings.”
“What if I refuse?” Alouette questioned, her voice as cold as ice.
“Then you’ll have to die with everyone else here,” Rosetta casually shrugged her shoulders. “I can’t afford to leave survivors if they aren’t willing to come with me.”
Rosetta could see it: the desire to live behind all the hopelessness in Alouette’s eyes. Regardless of if the other woman would accept her offer or not, Rosetta was willing to provide her with the best service possible.
“…What does ‘spreading my wings’ entail? How far can I fly?”
Rosetta’s smile grew wider. “I’ll teach you anything and everything you want. You can do whatever you want to do if it doesn’t interfere with my own goals. I’ll even grant you humanity’s desire—immortality. All you need to do is take my hand.”
Rosetta held out her hand towards Alouette.
“Teach me to become my own person; then I’ll go with you, even if that means to the depths of hell and back.”
Golden butterflies began to flutter around the room.
“Let’s start the first lesson immediately.”
That was the beginning of the woman named Adelheid Hesse: The Fairy of the Underworld and one of Rosetta’s closest family members.
Samira’s movements paused as she realized something. She
looked up from her half-finished meal and blinked in confusion. There was
something wrong—why was the restaurant suddenly so quiet? She couldn’t even
hear the clatter of cutlery or people whispering. It was as if the world had
come to an eerie pause.