|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1224 words|
Accepting his kindness, we decided to ride along on his carriage. Cortina who had more fighting strength—well, compared to a normal person—sat at the coachman’s seat with Bill, while the three of us kids and Finia sat inside the carrier. Haumea and Cole sandwiched the carriage between them and walked along.
They were heading to the Elven village to buy things, so the carrier had almost no luggage on it. The round trip only took a few hours, so they only took as much food and water as they could carry on hand. The carrier only had repair tools and oil and a lantern. Bill didn’t even leave his water pouch there and instead carried it on his waist.
Perhaps he was wary of the rain, he kept the carriage canopy constantly up which made it quite humid inside, but that was instead pleasant for our chilled bodies from the forest’s atmosphere.
As everyone sat down and rested their bodies, I noticed something strange. He said he was going to the settlement to buy things. It had been developed as a hot spring town, so it was actually quite big to call a settlement, but that name had been stuck since the old days.
The patient Elves were famous for their delicate rural crafts and accessories that they learned to amuse themselves, and their ornaments were quite popular even in Raum. Bill was probably heading to buy those too, but there was something that doesn’t add up.
I turned towards the coachman’s seat to ask about that. The canopy obstructed the view between the carrier and the coachman’s seat so that if it rained it wouldn’t get blown inside. For that reason, it was made in a way that you could roll it up like a curtain when you wanted to quickly get in and out.
There, I discovered something that had fascinated me since my previous life. From the curtain’s gaps, I saw Cortina’s tail dangling on top of the carrier. As two were having some fun idle chatter her tail tip wriggled around, matching the rhythm of their conversation.
Her prideful tail had relatively long, glossy hair for a cat race, and she was taking good care of it, so it gave off a gem-like luster. Being the former man, even I couldn’t help but find the way it waggled around cute.
In my previous life, I followed my urges and touched her tail without consideration, which ended with me being called a harassing pervert. Since then, I always refrained from touching it, but with the current body, I could probably get away without being blamed.
I grabbed her lively tail with both hands and coiled it around my neck like a scarf.
“Ohh, this is a feeling of supreme bliss!”
“Hey, what are you doing…?”
Feeling a sudden discomfort on her tail, Cortina hurriedly lifted the canvas up and peeked inside. There she saw me in great delight, with her tail coiled around my neck.
That fluffy and smooth. That inexpressible sensation made me break into a blissful smile. It felt like I’d start drooling if I didn’t pay attention. Seeing me like that, Cortina’s surprise and anger had nowhere to go.
“Ah, ugh… Umm… Nicole, don’t surprise me like that.”
“Mhm, sorry. Ahh, this is bliss.”
“Sigh, so as I was saying, Mr. Bill—”
“Oh, right, Mr. Bill.”
As Bill watched over us with a smile as we appeared as close sisters, my sudden question surprised him. Cortina had beautiful, short blonde hair, while I had long, bluish-silver hair.
It was clear that we weren’t related by blood, but our stark contrast made us seem somewhat similar instead. I could see why people would be fascinated by us. That said, there was something more important now…
“You are going to buy things, right? Then…”
I couldn’t straight up ask him “where is the money for that?” It would be far too impolite and suspicious to ask where his money was when I didn’t even know the guy. But our side had its own circumstances. There were mostly kids inside a carriage with an obstructed view.
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We were riding a merchant’s carriage that had no money on it despite setting off to buy things, so it was unavoidable to not get suspicious.
“Umm, if you are, then…”
“Ah, is this about money? A lot of goods can fit on this carriage, which would require quite a big sum, is that what you mean?”
As he said, he needed a lot of money if he was going to buy things. A hundred or two gold coins wouldn’t be nearly enough. It would be much more, enough to require a bag that could fit more than an armful of it.
There didn’t seem to be any place where you could hide them on this carriage. If the thing about buying was a lie… If something was compelling him to deceive us, then there was a big chance that he was dangerous.
“Heh, your sister is quite sharp.”
“Yeah, more than me. Still, what Nicole said bothers me too a bit.”
Cortina showed slight wariness. However, Bill didn’t lose his composure and shrugged his shoulders in response. He then raised a finger and boastfully explained to her.
“Merchants have two essential teachings. One is that ‘Life comes before anything else’. And two, ‘Money is more precious than life’.”
“Uhh, aren’t those contradicting each other?”
“They do. That’s why, we are being careful so we don’t fall in a situation that forces us to make a choice between the two.”
“In other words?”
It didn’t seem like he had any ill intent, so Cortina loosened her wariness.
“If thieves surrounded us and everything went south—I’ll flee for my life.”
“That’s not something to boast about…”
Cortina sighed in exasperation. Bill didn’t mind it at all, however. He even puffed his chest and continued his explanation.
“Naturally, you can’t always take your carriage with you when you flee. And you usually can’t just grab your pile of money and run with it either, right?”
“So, I’m hiding it inside the carriage in a way that even the bandits won’t find it.”
“Wouldn’t they just take the entire carriage with them?”
“Horses aside, the carriage is too bulky, so they often just leave it be if they don’t find anything inside.”
“Heh… So when the bandits leave, you go back and recover the money?”
That was quite cautious. Even as he explained it, he still didn’t tell us where that hidden place was. This was the cautiousness of a merchant, or perhaps the wisdom of a traveler.
Whenever we were attacked by bandits, we use to happily wipe them out, then get the location of their base out of them and rob them of all their treasure. One of the bandits even cursed at us, asking which side were bandits at that point. We answered back with scornful laughs though.
By the way, Cortina was the most enthusiastic whenever we made plans, followed by Maria. They knew what would await them were they to be caught, hence they didn’t show any mercy. Even Maria was merciless towards those that hurt people.
That was when we were made to learn just how scary women could be.
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