|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 917 words|
The White God rode Fafnir and flew away. Remaining at the scene were only me and the fainted Mikey.
“…Well, Cortina should show up any time now.”
With the Carbuncle gone, I had nothing to amuse myself with, so I squatted down next to Mikey with that mutter. I ran away while carrying a child, then rushed back and defeated the three of them. After which, I had to rush back here again, and all that took quite a burden on me.
Because of that, my legs were trembling a little even now. The enemy had already been dealt with, so there was no harm if I took a short rest here.
However, no matter how long I waited, Cortina didn’t appear. While it was true that she didn’t know where I was, it was still too slow. My fatigue had already recovered and my body started to chill. Mikey didn’t show any signs of waking up, so I wanted to show him to a doctor as fast as possible.
“If there was still danger left, that Goddess would’ve told me… I suppose I’ll go check the situation.”
When I left that place, Cortina’s clothes were disordered but she had no apparent injuries. When I considered the possibility of the injury somewhere I failed to notice… It made me awfully restless.
Perhaps it was too late to realize it now, but since she was so late I had to go and see what’s going on. That said, the Carbuncle was gone now, so I couldn’t exactly leave Mikey here and go.
“It’s a pain, but I suppose I have to carry him, huh?”
I don’t think there were any monsters around, but there were still animals that could be considered harmful. Mikey had no way to drive them away, even if it was just a stray dog. I had to keep him in check.
Thus, I once again shouldered him and followed back the road I came from.
I arrived at the cave, but I didn’t stumble on Cortina anywhere. I inspected the entrance, but only found mine and the Adventurers’ footprints. In other words, there were no signs of her leaving the cave.
“Don’t tell me she fainted inside…”
If, for some reason, her magic item for purifying had come off, that possibility couldn’t be ruled out. However, if you asked me whether a skilled Adventurer like Cortina would make such a mistake, my answer would be a firm no.
That would simply be a stupid question to even ask. Not to mention, those Adventurers had already been driven away, so there was no longer any threat left. But the fact that she still didn’t come out could only mean…
“Did something happen inside?”
I wrapped my purifying muffler around Mikey’s face as well and headed inside. I had a small build, so my scarf was more than enough for both of us.
Since Cortina wasn’t present, there was no light magic to assist me. Even if my eyes could see at night, it was still hard to see inside the cave. I headed deeper inside while carefully probing the ground with each step.
When I arrived at the place where I parted from Cortina, I heard the sobs of a girl.
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It was a frail voice I never imagined would come from her who was so stout-hearted all the time. She wept in a voice full of pain. Hearing her cries, I finally realized the blunder I had made.
If I suddenly showed up before her, of course it would gouge out her old wounds. Still, if she managed to talk to me, perhaps she could’ve found her salvation. I, however, didn’t do even that and disappeared right before her eyes.
I couldn’t blame her if she took my actions as me rejecting her.
I called out to her in a small voice, trying not to alert her as best as I could. I was clearly at fault here. But letting her cry here any more than this would be dangerous. Even if I tried to comfort her, that would only be possible if I took her out of here.
Hearing my voice, she forcibly suppressed her weeps and responded to me. I also noticed how she quickly wiped her tears away.
Afterward, she used light magic and illuminated the surroundings again. With that, I could finally see her collapsed figure.
“That’s no good. Why did you come back here.”
“Well, you weren’t coming out, so…”
“Ah, looks like I worried you. Sorry about that…”
She got up while fixing her clothes. Her actions didn’t look awkward in any way. It didn’t seem like she was subjected to any unwanted advances, or injured anywhere, so I was relieved. In other words, the only injury she had now was the one I opened up.
“Cortina, I, um, sorry.”
“Huh? Why, are you apologizing?”
“Mmmm… Well, just because.”
She asked once more, but I couldn’t answer her. If I did, it would lead to exposing my true identity. She stared confusedly at my hesitant face for a while, then gave me a single pat on the head and forced herself to smile.
“Oh well. Let’s just get out of here already. It’s quite poisonous here.”
“Yeah, one could even faint.”
“Right, let’s head out then.”
She responded with a sweet, yet painful smile. Seeing that smile, I made up my mind to never, ever, use Reid’s illusion again.