|Author: Kaburagi Haruka||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2579 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1091 words|
With Maxwell’s help, I arrived at Cortina’s home in advance. The door seemed to be locked, which meant I made it in time to arrive before her.
This time, I wore black clothes and a coat so she could tell who I was at a glance. I had gauntlets on my arms, but instead of the Aste’s new designs, I camouflaged it to look like the one I used to wear in my past days through the illusion ring.
My body was real, so I didn’t think she would realize even if I was camouflaging the gauntlet designs alone.
I stood at the entrance as I racked my brains.
Would it make for a better surprise if I slipped inside the house instead?
As I stood there contemplating on that, I heard a soft thud of something hitting the ground behind me.
Turning around, I saw Cortina frozen in place as she stared at me.
It was also my first time meeting her in this form, so I didn’t know what to say.
“Ah, err… H-Hey.”
Her voice sounded hoarse. Her eyes were being flooded with tears.
“Uhh, I made you wait for a long time, but I’m finally back.”
She did not respond. I suppose she was still doubting that I was real. I suppose I had to talk about something that only the two of us would know to prove that I was real.
“Err, oh right. We met at the park the other day, didn’t we? I had some circumstances and couldn’t talk then so—”
It seemed like she finally accepted it was me, she muttered in a small voice. But that wasn’t a “word” that held any meaning.
Before long, she raised her disheveled face, and glared at me with her usual expression. That gaze no doubt belonged to the Cortina I knew.
But still, did she really have to glare at me like that…
“Ah, I mean, my circumstances made me delay this. Look, getting reborn would come with a lot of mess to clean up, right?”
“Um, it makes me happy that you cry for me, but—”
Seeing her lower her posture, I imagine a punch would fly my way any moment now. Nevertheless, I decided to accept that punch. I was aware that I more than deserved it.
“Um, I’m really sorry, okay. I wanted to meet you faster but…”
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With a shriek, she charged at me. She dashed with a low posture like a fierce animal.
Imagining the punch that she could draw from that momentum, I closed my eyes and grit my teeth. I expected the punch to hit my face, but I felt the impact in my abdomen instead.
Cortina charged at my abdomen without raising her first at all.
I was by no means tall, but Cortina was even smaller. So when someone like that lowered her posture even more, her head would naturally hit my stomach instead of my chest.
Still, given my light body, Cortina’s charge, who excelled in physical abilities despite her petite build, would naturally be beyond me to stop in place.
Pushed by the force, I was blown back.
I stood in front of the entrance, so since I turned around, behind me was—yes, a tightly locked, sturdy door.
I heard a dull slamming sound from the back of my head. That impact caused my current, faint-inclined body to lose consciousness.
The next time I opened my eyes, I was on top of Cortina’s bed. It seemed that she carried me inside and nursed me while I was knocked out.
“Where am I…”
“Ah, you’re awake?”
“Yeah, that was quite a violent welcome.”
“S-Shut up! That was just, yeah… Just your imagination.”
“Is that so?”
“So then? Where have you been until now, Reid?”
“You should know that as well, right?”
“Ah, so you really were that Haumea woman.”
“Yeah, though it’s just an alias.”
“It’s the name of an Adventurer that has helped me once. I feel a little bad for using it though.”
She helped me when we were heading to the Elven settlement. I didn’t lie here.
“Now that you mention it, I think I have seen them before too. It was an Elven woman. Seemed quite experienced too.”
“Oh, really? Now that you mention it, she did work around these parts. It’s no surprise that you have met her.”
Of course it was not — we met her together, after all. I was quite shameless here even if I say so myself. Still, since I gave her the name of a real person, there should have been some legitimacy behind my statement.
“I see, so it’s her…”
“Of course, she might not even remember me. This happened sometime after my reincarnation.”
I didn’t make it clear how long it has been, but this wasn’t a lie, either.
“Maxwell told me you were quite stressed, so I forced myself to come today.”
“Why didn’t you come any sooner?”
“Well… There are reasons.”
“I bet you were just embarrassed because you got reborn as a girl, isn’t it?”
“W-Well, that’s part of it.”
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Then she put a finger to her jaw. It was her typical habit when she was pondering.
“You just mentioned it too… But that surely isn’t all to it, right? Then what is the reason you couldn’t come until now, and also, that appearance?”
“Ah, right. I just asked a magic toolmaker that I know to make me a magic tool to cast Polymorph on me.”
“Wait, that spell couldn’t be cast on the others, could it?”
“Yeah, it was quite a reckless method, so even the effect time was halved, and the pain of transformation was also beyond normal. Never thought it’d make even me faint.”
I intentionally only answered one of her questions. In exchange, I gave plenty of information on that front.
I couldn’t mention Aste’s name, but if I gave her a lot of information I could dodge the other answer… Or so Maxwell told me.
Also, in order to avoid any further investigation from her part…
“That aside… We met after all this time. Don’t you think we should talk about something we can only talk about now?”
I knew it was pretty sly of me. But I had limited time, so I was feeling a bit rushed.
Cortina did not object to my statement either.
Taking that as a yes, I stood up and drew close to her.
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