༺ On Duty (4) ༻
After taking a bath, Laura De Charles Rosenberg changed into a comfortable dress and settled down at her desk, trying to complete Professor Ferzen’s assignment.
Both in my previous life and now, I was born as a woman.
Therefore, Laura had no difficulties describing what sort of experiences women went through in life.
However, when the subject was the opposite sex…..
‘No, it’s not just men.’
When one is of commoner birth, their experiences must differ from those of aristocrats.
And that is true for both men and women.
With this in mind, Laura planned on visiting the Mercenary Guild in the Imperial Capital to submit a request.
In the case of a territorial conflict or war, the majority of the conscriptions are commoners.
‘And if I present to him a detailed research….’
Maybe I could get a perfect score on this assignment.
Laura’s current goal is to duel Ferzen once again and claim the ownership of her former corpse.
Like a cat, Laura stretched her body, which had become stiff after sitting in the same posture for a long time, but she frowned as she looked at her calendar.
Her birthday, and consequently the day she turns 17.
That date was looming on the horizon.
‘But I don’t have the Genova’s bloodline now.’
As the lone albino girl remembered her nightmarish past…..
A resounding knock was heard from her door.
Hm? I didn’t befriend anyone yet.
Who could it be?
Curiously, Laura approached her door.
I don’t know them, but I recognize their faces.
Three students who attended the same culture and art classes as her.
“Wh-What do you…… want?”
“Ehh, can you teach us how to play the piano like you?”
Rosenberg, the holy land of Culture and Art.
The paradise for all sorts of artists who wish to nurture their skills or show their art to others.
And Laura is the daughter of Rosenberg.
Because of this, her talent in art was exceptionally high.
It’s not like I don’t understand where they are coming from.
In this world, the musical instrument known as the piano had a short history compared to other instruments.
However, despite its brief history, the piano was extremely popular.
Naturally, its value was also high.
This meant that few people had the knowledge and skills to play the instrument and teach someone.
Because of its value, most commoners could never afford this instrument.
This was also true for a large portion of the aristocrats.
Just because one was an aristocrat, this didn’t necessarily mean he was rich.
Buying a piano and contracting a private tutor is considered the highest form of luxury.
Because of the status associated with knowing how to play such an instrument, most students of the Liberal Arts classes developed a deep desire to learn the piano.
But of course, befitting the Imperial Academy, all the students of Liberal Arts can receive their own personal piano, or they can use the public piano localized in the dormitory’s music room.
The Administrative office might have shed tears of blood at this fact though…..
“Ok…. I ca-can teach….you.”
When one teaches the basics of the Piano, there was no need for much dialogue, so Laura agreed with her colleague’s request.
“Ju-Just….. wait…..Ne-Need to dress….”
“Yay! we will wait no matter how long you take~.”
The student was grinning at her.
Leaving behind the overly excited girls, Laura put on a light jacket and went up to the music room in Dormitory A.
“First…..try to hit…. every….key….all right?”
Laura spoke as slowly as possible to avoid stuttering.
Her tone was low and shy.
But all three girls nodded excitedly and proceeded to touch the piano keys.
“Ah…..Yo-You ne-need to use…. your thu-thumb as well…..”
Since the knowledge about the piano wasn’t spread, many people didn’t use their thumbs when pressing the keys.
Because it was an unfamiliar concept.
However, if one developed a habit of only using four fingers to press the keys, they would have difficulties playing the piano. This was even more true for women, who had less stamina than most men, and so they got tired quickly while playing the instrument.
Thus, Laura corrected those habits.
When it was almost 10 P.M.…..
Professor Ferzen appeared in the music room to send them to their rooms.
Laura and the three girls got up from their seats, astonished at how quickly time passed.
“Your lectures start at 9 A.M. tomorrow….. but if you girls wish to play some more, then I suppose I can allow it until midnight. However, if any of you are even 1 minute late for your classes, then you shall be punished.”
“Oh? Then professor….!”
The trio smiled at Professor Ferzen’s words as they asked for his permission to play the piano until midnight.
“Professor! You like the piano too?”
The second son of Brutein – Ferzen – was a handsome man with a cold and imposing aura.
But as Ferzen treated the trio of girls in a friendly manner, they became more confident and asked his opinion about the piano.
“No. I don’t like it. Personally, I find it distasteful and one of the worst instruments to be ever invented.”
At his unexpected retort, the mood in the music room became strained.
But there is a reason why Ferzen hated the piano.
It was a surprisingly simple reason.
The modern piano in Seo-jin’s world had a total of 88 keys, but this world’s piano has only 73.
And because of this, Ferzen hated the instrument with passion.
However, as the second son of Brutein and a high aristocrat, he couldn’t fall behind the social trends, so Ferzen forcefully plucked one of the piano keys and practiced the instrument.
“Ah, is it because it’s a new instrument, Professor?”
“No, it has nothing to do with it.”
“Y-You can’t….sa-say t-that….without pla-playing it fi-first….”
“Laura. Are you assuming I’ve never played it before?”
In her past life as Isabel, both the piano and tobacco had become a way for her to remain sane as she researched a cure for her family’s cursed bloodline.
Furthermore, in this life, Laura was the daughter of Rosenberg, the holy land of culture and art.
And so, her talent for this instrument was extremely high. Since she played for a long period back then as Isabel and in this life, as Laura, she played since she was a child, so the piano had a special place in her heart.
Therefore, it could be said that Laura was highly protective of this instrument.
To the point, she even dared to challenge Professor Ferzen.
“We-Well….. Then co-could y-you….play a so-song then….”
“Bu-But if….the Professor is embarrassed….the-then it’s fi-fine….”
“Hey Laura, are you crazy?!”
The trio visibly paled at Laura’s open challenge, but Ferzen let out a dark chuckle.
“Haha, fine. I’ll play a song then, but Laura, you will have to do one thing for me later.”
“If…yo-you can play…..”
Though she felt a strange feeling in her heart, Laura didn’t hesitate and let Ferzen sit at the piano as she stared at his broad back.
“Hmm, come to think of it….. it should be fine to show you this.”
Ferzen touched the ring in his left hand as he opened his subspace and laid down Isabel’s coffin, then proceeded to command her to sit next to him.
“Watch and learn, Laura. This is the true might of the ❰Autonomous Control❱.”
* * * * *
If it’s just only one song…. then I could suppress this uncomfortable feeling caused by my OCD.
Moreover, not only Ferzen but also Seo-jin had attended piano classes until middle school, so he was also capable of playing the instrument.
And to maximize the performance, Ferzen chose to play a song that was deeply familiar to Seo-jin – Whiteout*.
After taking a deep breath, Ferzen began playing.
* * * * *
A relatively serene harmony of notes marked the beginning of the performance, so it was delightful for his little ‘audience.’
However, that didn’t last long.
The fast series of continuous minor notes caused a lasting impression as they came and soon went by.
Those quick, successful notes reminded Laura of the sudden snow that occurred in the Rosenberg province.
The song now took a tense turn as those quick notes reminded her of a man’s attempt to outrun a snowstorm.
However, just like a real snowstorm, its pace turned peaceful once more.
The distinct tone of frustration and melancholy is remarkably different from the peaceful tone at the beginning of the song.
Now the song was more akin to a downpour than a snowstorm.
Wait, why am I even comparing this song to a snowstorm in the first place?
At the same time, those gloomy notes gradually increased in intensity as the quick and rushing tone surfaced again.
The sheer intensity of those quick notes rushed past her ears as if the song demanded its listener to focus on it. Otherwise, they would surely miss it.
Laura, who was listening to Ferzen’s performance, noticed that this song held a deep emotional weight in his heart.
It’s in the very nature of music to carry emotions, but when this man plays…. It’s almost like he’s venting his deepest frustrations.
His performance was packed with emotion.
The very exudation of his wretched heart.
But this was something nostalgic for Laura, as in her past life as Isabel……
She played with the same kind of emotions as the current Ferzen.
For Isabel, the piano was her escape from reality, her emotional outlet, and her solace.
This song was probably his own original work.
Because it was a song that she, the daughter of Rosenberg, had never heard before.
As if to signal the end of the snowstorm, the song notes became gradually softer and lower.
Like a man who couldn’t find shelter in the snowstorm and now lay buried in the white field, slowly but surely slipping into death’s embrace…..
It was as if my eyes were bleached white.
「 Whiteout. 」
Shortly after, Isabel’s body started moving on its own as they both proceeded to press the keys of the piano together, signaling the end of his performance, and his ‘audience’ applauded with profound awe.
Since the trio had little to no knowledge of the piano, they simply expressed their amazement at Ferzen’s unexpected proficiency.
But Lauras was different.
She understood the meaning behind such a song.
I…. understand his feelings.
That desperation, the sorrow, the loneliness, and the pain…..
I already tasted all of that.
“Laura de Charles Rosenberg.”
Soon after the end of his performance, Ferzen called her name.
Laura flinched as his voice woke her up from her musings.
He towered over her even when seated, and his eyes looked as if he was staring at her soul.
“You owe me a favor now.”
What kind of request would this man make?
His crimson eyes sent shivers across her body.
..….. If a dog chews shoes, whose shoes does he choose?*
He whispered those words in her ear.
“Say it to me.”
“If you didn’t memorize, I shall tell you again.”
His words sounded almost like an Imperial Order that should be obeyed at all costs.
Laura glanced at the trio and then at Ferzen’s collar.
She held on to his tie as she brought her lips near his neck and said in a soft and bashful tone.
“If a do-dog, chews s-shoes, wh-who whose cho…s-shoes…….”
But as she continued to speak, her voice got lower and lower.
Since Ferzen was well aware of her stuttering habit, the reason for having her repeat this should be a nasty prank of his or…… some sort of punishment.
“You shall repeat this to me every week until you can say it without stuttering even once.”
Laura shot Ferzen a menacing glare as she pouted her cheeks.
However, Ferzen had already stored Isabel’s body into his subspace and left the music room.
And unlike the cheerful trio who were talking about his fantastic performance, Laura sighed and opened her mouth.
“If a dog chews shoes, with c-chews…. eh…..”
I’m done for.
Only after a considerable time was she able to utter the first half without stuttering…..
“Shoes, Chews, Chews, Shoes…..”
Stupid dog and stupid shoe.
Laura, whose face had turned red from shame, cursed at Ferzen, who had already left the room long ago.
‘No matter how you look at it….’
This was a punishment too harsh for someone like her.
So Laura thought she would better use her time transcribing his previous performance into a music sheet and sending it to Rosenberg.
Even if this act could be considered a little dishonorable.
If that music could be blessed by the God of Art……..
“If a dog chews shoes, who-whose shoes does he ch-che-”
Can’t he absolve this punishment?
Laura prayed that Ferzen would be merciful with her.
*Link for the Whiteout music by Hiromi – Whiteout
As much as I wanted to rickroll you guys, this is the link to the legit music the author put on the raws….. so for my own amusement, please pretend that all of you were rickrolled and put some hate comments in there, will ya? I like to read those. It’s fun.
** On this Tong Twister, the Original one made no sense in English since it’s a Korean thing, and when translated, it misses the whole point of being a tong twister, so I put this one here that is similar since the original was also about dogs.
Btw only 2 chappies on this week and here is the reason>
Theres a ‘new’ raid cumming for Destiny 2 so imma grind
Destiny 2 is such a drug imo
Want to read ahead? You can access the Premium chapters ko-fi/genesisforsaken. You need to subscribe to the tier of the respective novel you want to read ahead.
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server
You can rate this series here