|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2180 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1050 words|
“Are you awake?”
Reacting to my words, the collapsed person sprung up. She then tried to grab the sword from her waist, only for her hand to meet the empty air. She glared at me without even hiding how tense she was. However, that tension didn’t last for long, as her stomach raised a cry of anguish, making its hunger clear.
In a narrow hut like this, it sounded like she had let loose a big fart, making her sink down with a pathetic expression. That caused the atmosphere to turn very awkward. I opened my mouth to say something only to close it the next moment without saying a word.
Perhaps having no contact with humans for the past few decades was to blame, I couldn’t think of any way to handle this mess. Meanwhile, the woman seemed to have made a recovery on her own, collected her posture, and bowed her head to me.
“…I’m sorry. It seems that I was saved by you, yet I showed such rude behavior. Um… I realize how rude and shameless this may sound, but could you share some food with me? Even just a slice of bread.”
I wasn’t such a demon to abandon a hungry person, much less one that even collapsed from it. I took out the wild boar that I set aside for preservation in the storage box under the floor that served as a warehouse. Then I cut it into appropriate chunks and started grilling them with fire magic.
As the fragrant smell of the frying meat spread int the hut, I heard the woman gulp. She was restlessly swaying her body left and right, like a dog that was made to wait.
She snatched the grilled skewer that I held out, stuffed the entire chunk into her mouth and gulped it down without even bothering to chew properly. Following that, she readily reached for the next skewer with her oily hands.
While I stared in exasperation, the woman finally had her fill after devouring everything. She licked her oily fingers and smiled bashfully at me.
“That was good. Thanks, you really saved me. I haven’t eaten properly these past few days.”
“That is good and all, but… What business do you have this far into the mountain region? There shouldn’t be any towns or villages around these parts, right?”
Setting aside my strength, I wonder what would people think if they saw a beauty who never aged living by herself? In the best case, I would probably be seen as some kind of vampire, and in the worst, someone who gained eternal youth through some means.
Even if that wasn’t the case, I would still stand out due to my appearance. Getting involved with humans would lead to an uproar one way or another. For that reason, I decided to come to this mountain region—a place that was called the continent’s top unexplored region—and settled in the most uncivilized part of it.
I couldn’t think of a reason for someone to be here.
“Well, about that. I’m an Adventurer, actually. I wanted to make it big in one go, so I came here after hearing it was full of strong monsters.”
Adventurers—People who made a living by subjugating monsters. There were plenty of them back in my active days, too. Misfits who couldn’t be dedicated to work, who had no place to call home, or could only do physical work were called with that name. She probably belonged to that classification, too.
“W-what’s the matter?”
She responded in confusion as I patted her on the shoulder with a warm, sympathetic smile. I never thought I would be meeting a fellow loner in a place like this.
“Don’t worry about it. It seems you’ve had your fair share of hardships.”
“…I feel like you are having a very rude misunderstanding there, so I’m not sure what to say… B-But, listen to my story first!”
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Her name was Karin. She was a human girl about to become 20 this year. As she didn’t have a very good head on her shoulders, she failed to find work in her hometown. Then she somehow hit upon an idea to become an Adventurer and dashed away from home with a sword in hand.
Of course, her parents and big brother desperately stopped her, and that was natural. Just because the Demon King was no more didn’t mean the monsters disappeared. In the places with bad public order, bandits and robbers roamed about as usual.
It was nothing short of suicide for a girl with no confidence in her skill to wander into those places. If I had a family or friends who did that, even I would’ve stopped them… I hadn’t, though.
However, while Karin was dim-witted, she was apparently blessed when it came to the sword talent, so she quickly distinguished herself after registering at the Guild. She completed difficult quests one after another and gained a name for herself.
Then one day, she apparently gambled with infamous Adventurers during a drinking occasion. The gamble itself was some card game, but the problem was the contents of their gamble. After the drunk Karen got ripped off all the money she had at hand, she decided to get it all back she put a certain item as collateral and challenged them again, only to lose spectacularly.
Flustered, she decided to cover her debt in one go and came to these uncivilized mountains where strong monsters were said to roam…or so it seems.
“Hmm… Well, based on what I heard, every participant of that card game was an accomplice.”
“Wha!? Are you serious!?”
“I mean… It’s too unnatural for only one to keep losing so conveniently. Didn’t you notice it?”
“Now that you mention it… I saw them exchange looks and grin from time to time… Which got me curious.”
Just realize it already! Normally, one would’ve kicked the table and started fighting with such blatant cheating. It was none of my business, but the circumstances still gave me a headache. I kept listening while somewhat exasperated, and then she said something even more ridiculous.
“So… What was the collateral for the gamble?”
“Um… Err… My body.”