|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1189 words|
For the time being, Cortina kept up the appearances, so we went on to enjoy the hot spring cure with the same calm mood. And just like the previous day, we spread the beddings on the floor and slept side by side.
I, however, noticed how Cortina slipped out of her bed in the middle of the night. And then, she went to the balcony and reclined on the rocking chair installed there. I could even see traces of tears in her eyes.
Seeing that, I finally decided to act. But my form still remained a problem. I couldn’t let her find out about my current form or voice. As long as I could hide these two things, I saw no problem in making myself known to her.
I then snuck out of the room. As I stepped out to the corridor, I headed for the kitchen and took wooden cups from it, and connected them with threads. I made the so-called tin-can telephone. With this, she wouldn’t get suspicious even if I muffled my voice.
I hid my body with the ring’s power, then headed to the backyard and rolled one of the cups at her feet. She looked at it suspiciously and became alert of the surroundings. She’s gotten into trouble with those ill-natured Adventurers during the day, so that much vigilance was justifiable.
“Can you hear me, Tina?”
I paid that no mind and sent my voice through the thread. The cups acted like megaphones, so it managed to deliver my voice to her. Tin-can telephones only worked when the string was taut, but that’s where my Gift came into play. It allowed me to transmit the vibration from my end of the thread to hers.
That said, I couldn’t camouflage my voice, so to hear it sounded like a slightly lisping voice of a kid. Moreover, my voice got magnified due to reverberating in the cup, so it got mudded out even further.
Even so, she instantly realized whom that voice belonged to.
“Is that you… Reid!?”
“Yeah, it’s me.”
Hearing my reply, she soundlessly picked the cup and embraced it tightly. As if she was embracing not the cup but me. I could even hear her silent sobs.
“Sorry for not showing myself.”
“Why, won’t you?”
“Well, my current body is something I can’t show others.”
“I don’t care about that!”
“Well I do.”
I answered in as casual a tone as I could. This is Cortina we were talking about. She could overthink it and assume I had become something hideous. For example, thinking that I’d become something like a Goblin…
“Well, I’ll do something about it in due time. I already have an idea on how.”
“I feel bad for not revealing myself, but you have moments like that too, right? So try to be more sympathetic.”
“I have… no such moments.”
“You big liar. You were crying all this time, weren’t you?”
My words caused her to blush to the point that I noticed it from all the way here. Putting on a brave front was one of her habits.
“I did no such thing…”
“No need to cover it. I realize I did something stupid back there.”
“No, it still made me happy.”
She continued searching for me while we were talking. As cunning as ever she was. Unfortunately for her, I was using my ring and my Gift to hide both my body and presence, so not even a pro scout would be able to discover me.
“Anyway, let me off with this much for now. I’ll regain my former body before long and come to meet you. You can count on it.”
“…Okay, I’ll be waiting.”
She answered that unusually obediently. Her attitude was far too docile compared to the one from my old days, so I doubted there was a catch to it. Thus, I voiced my doubts without beating around the bush.
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“You agreed to that a bit too easily. What are you planning now?”
“How rude! Even I have my emotional moments!”
“Really now? Fine then… Anyway, you got the point, so don’t worry too much. Well then, it’s about time for me to head out.”
“Wait! Since you came to my rescue back there, does that mean you are usually close to me?”
“Yeah, I’m always watching over you from nearby.”
That wasn’t a lie. And with that, I detached and retracted the tread. I did it so fast that Cortina failed to even see it.
Losing sight of the thread’s end, she started restlessly looking around the place for some time. While she was occupied with that, I headed into the inn and snuck back inside our room. Even after I returned, Cortina continued searching the surroundings. On and on, on and on… All the way until morning.
Cortina greeted me while stifling her yawn. I answered back while sighing in secret. In the end, she continued searching for me until the sunrise, and only took a short nap in the morning. During our adventuring days, we used to stay up all night at times, so one sleepless night wouldn’t be much of a problem for her… I knew that, but I was still worried.
“Did you not get any sleep?”
“Something like that. I am sleepy but I don’t feel bad at all.”
“Is that so?”
Seeing her beaming smile convinced me that my actions last night weren’t in vain. We had to leave the inn and return to the capital today. If Cortina, the acting guardian, showed up in such a weary state, it would cause concern to our parents.
Michelle and Letina woke up one after another. These two tossed and turned around in sleep too much, so their hairs were in a total mess. It was particularly grave in Letina’s case. Her usual curly hairstyle was split into bits like a sour gourd.
“Good morning, Lady Nicole. You are up early today.”
“Even I like to wake up early every now and then.”
Finia who woke up after me quickly washed her face and prepared tea. She was just returning from the kitchen, holding a tray with hot milk in her hands.
“Hey, go wash your faces already. We are going to set out for the capital right away after we pack our luggage and have breakfast.”
“I wanted to take it easy for longer.”
“We have school, so we can’t take it any easier. Let’s come again during a longer break.”
“Really? You’ll take us along again?”
“As long as your parents would be okay with it.”
The two high fived each other, realizing they’d be able to come here again, and then dashed towards the washroom together to quickly wash up and have breakfast.
“Such lively girls they are…”
“Well, they are my friends, after all.”
They were always full of spirit and healed their surroundings. Being friends with them filled me with immense pride. For they were my most prideworthy friends that I cherished just as much as my comrades of old.
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