|Author: Shizuku||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2552 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1111 words|
Then the ground shakes violently.
I turn around and see that Clarissa and the Cruel Predator are still fighting. Though it looks like Clarissa has the upper hand, as she’s nearly untouched, while the Cruel Predator’s vines are torn up in various places.
Though we don’t need to defeat it, as long as we get to escape safely.
Out of the blue, the Cruel Predator turns around. At first I hope it’ll try to run away, but instead its flower head turns to face Natalia, looking at her even though it doesn’t have eyes.
It seems to growl and then rushes at Natalia.
I quickly get in front of Natalia to protect her, but just before the monster gets to us Clarissa slams onto it and pins it to the ground. The large flower head is just a few steps ahead of us.
The Cruel Predator can’t move in that position, but it doesn’t give up and keeps trying to break free from Clarissa’s grasp.
I begin to gather mana in my fist to finish it off.
“Wait, are you the Man Eater from back then?”
A voice behind me stops my fist before I can strike.
“I knew it, I had a hunch it was you.”
While me and Clarissa look at her in confusion, Natalia walks forward and squats down in front of the Cruel Predator, petting the flower without looking scared.
“You’ve really grown a lot. I’m surprised you recognized me after not seeing each other in so long.”
“Umm… Natalia? Isn’t that a dangerous monster?”
“Yes, it’s really dangerous. I used to feed it a lot in the past though, so it won’t do anything to me.”
I point that out, still a little confused, and Natalia replies calmly. Somehow watching the Cruel Predator licking Natalia’s bloodied clothes while she pets it looks a bit, or rather, really strange. Especially since I’ve been fighting monsters since I was small.
Or actually, exactly what has she been doing to feed this monster?
“Claire, could you let it go? It’ll be fine.”
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Clarissa looks at me confused, unsure of what to do.
“Alright, you can do it.”
I sigh a little as I tell Clarissa to get off the Cruel Predator. Now freed, the monster quickly moves closer to Natalia and nuzzles against her.
“Aww, I’m really sorry. Clarissa just thought you were an enemy, don’t be mad at her, alright?”
Maybe Natalia just gets liked by monsters a lot? The same happened back with the Copper Spider in Aria’s cave too. She said something about feeding the monster too, so I guess that’s how they’re comfortable being around each other.
I really like Natalia, but there’s still a lot of things I don’t know about her.
After rescuing Natalia from the Black Roc, and parting ways with the Cruel Predator, we return to the dorm. There everyone welcomes us back, especially Amy. At least now we can catch a bit of a breather…actually no, there’s still something I have to do.
“Okay, do you really understand just how worried you had us?”
Amy and I are in the dining hall, staring down at Natalia who is kneeling on the floor. Clarissa is rolled up in a corner of the dining hall, yawning with boredom. Ryuka and Ruri are sitting at a table, and the other students are watching from afar.
“Listen, it’s fine that you want to help people, and I’m glad that you tried saving me, but I don’t think you should be putting yourself in danger like that.”
Natalia had done something very dangerous trying to help me and the other students.
Natalia is a lot more resilient than a human, and like Charlotte mentioned, if something happens she’ll always be counted as a monster or magic automaton, and not a human. But I don’t care about that.
“You’re always saying that you’re just a magic automaton, but no one here thinks of you that way, or thinks you’re some sort of monster or tool, alright?”
My mother built her for me, and after my mother passed away Natalia was always by my side supporting me, so she’s more than just some tool for me. That’s why I also get mad and worried when she pushes herself too hard.
The same goes for everyone else who supported me with rescuing her.
Christina still has her duties as a noble, so she and Plum are busy with that and aren’t here. Ryuka and Ruri aren’t saying anything since this is a more personal matter, but Amy couldn’t hold back anymore and is standing next to me, glaring angrily at Natalia as well.
“I told you, didn’t I? If it ends up like last time again I’ll get mad at you. So why did you do that again?”
I didn’t know Amy had said that, but hearing that made Natalia slump down even more.
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“Excuse me…could you please let her be now?”
Just as Amy is frowning even more, a first year student, Lola, steps in. Melissa, another first year student, follows her timidly. They’re the two students Natalia saved from the Rufus.
“It looks like Natalia understands your feelings already, and we really feel bad for her seeing her blamed for something we did.”
Now that they mention it, if I blame Natalia too much those two will also feel guilty, since they were saved by her. This really reminds me of what Natalia said when I decided to adopt Clarissa.
“Sigh…if you put it that way…” Amy sighs loudly and shrugs before stepping back.
“Alright then. Just remember to take better care of yourself, alright Natalia?”
“Yes, I’m sorry for making you worry.”
As I end the conversation, Natalia bows deeply again.
“Maid. Hungry. Food.”
Clarissa can’t hold back her hunger anymore, so she asks that while yawning.
Due to the damage caused to Ingralowe and the reconstruction efforts, classes at the Academy have been suspended for now. The dorm mother is also resting for a while, so we have to prepare food for ourselves.
“Right, I’ll get straight to it.”
“Let me help you.”
As Natalia stands up, Ruri also gets up from her seat, and the two go to the kitchen.
A lot happened, but at least I feel like a weight was taken off my shoulders. I watch as Natalia and Ruri discuss what to make and start gathering the ingredients, and somehow that sight brings me relief.
“Maybe I should try cooking something again too.”
I just muttered in a low voice, but somehow everyone there stopped me immediately. Why, though?