|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2069 characters|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 926 words|
I hung my head. Those people were after her body all along. That was the only conclusion I could reach. I knew how this would end without seeing it. After the deadline came and she still didn’t pay, those guys would have their fill with her and then sell her off to a brothel.
“Sorry to say this, but just give up. I can more or less understand how strong you are, but there are no monsters weak enough for you to hunt nearby.”
My words delivered the harsh truth and she hung her head without a word, her shoulders starting to tremble. Did she start crying? …If it was the old me, probably I would have helped without a word. But I was different now. I learned it the hard way after my goodwill was returned with evil. It would be one thing if she asked for it, but I had no intention of offering it myself.
“I-I have a requesht!”
She suddenly raised her face and yelled that while biting her tongue. Her eyes were wet with tears and her face was red from the stimulus. She had quite a pretty face but it was in shambles now.
“You are someone very strong, right? Could I get your help!?”
How did she know!? That made no sense. I should’ve looked like a delicate beauty now. Yet, some Adventurer could see through my strength with just a glance. Did my Hero power leak without realizing it!? If so, I would no longer be able to stay here soon. Bunch of people trying to use my strength would probably come in droves. But first, I had to ask her how she realized it. I gulped nervously and said.
“…How could you tell that I was strong?”
“I mean, no normal person would be living alone in a mountain region full of powerful monsters! Not to mention, you used chantless magic when you were roasting that meat earlier! Someone who can use something that’s hard even for skilled magicians in everyday life can’t possibly be weak!”
I screwed up! The Hero power had nothing to do with it! It wasn’t revealed, I revealed it myself! While I was holding my head while at wit’s end, Karin delivered another blow.
“Besides, I’ve never seen anyone with features as beautiful as yours! Could you possibly be one of the legendary vampires or something!?”
“No, no I’m not! I’m a proper human!”
Leaving aside whether eternal youth really qualified me to call myself a ‘proper’ human or not, I still had to make that part clear. Otherwise, it would become really troublesome. But, I see. That’s why she was being so polite to me, despite clearly looking younger than her. That made sense.
“Is that so…? But there’s no changing that you are strong, right? Please! It must be fate that let me meet you, please help me!”
She knelt before me and prayed at me with teary eyes. Stop it. I’m not some kind of god, and I’m still alive. Stop praying.
I couldn’t handle her puppy-eyes and looked away. I knew that refusing it here would make it easier for me, but someone in my heart was telling me that helping was the proper option… Sigh… Me and my adverse personality. How many times should I be deceived until I learned it? But well, that’s what made me the Hero, I suppose…
I heaved a defeated sigh and scratched my head.
“…I got it. I’ll help you.”
“R-Really!? Thank you very much!”
Hearing my reluctant consent, Karin clung to my feet and burst into tears. So annoying. I was tempted to just kick her away, but somehow held myself back and just pushed her head away.
“So, what’s the deadline for the debt?”
“A month. It took me a week to get here, so considering the return trip, I only have two weeks left.”
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Two weeks… It would’ve been better to have her build strength and hunt them on her own, but we had no time for such a leisurely approach. No helping it, then. I had to do this myself.
“Are any of the monsters fine? Or are you aiming for a particular one?”
“Well, I was going for, uh… a Dragon.”
I was stunned for a moment. A Dragon? Did she plan to hunt one of the strongest monsters? With her current strength, it wasn’t just recklessness, it was plain suicide. She knew how impossible it was and wasn’t meeting my eyes. This girl… she didn’t change the target after I agreed to help, did she?
“…Oh well. Too late to turn back now, so I’ll help you to the end. Are you fine with setting out tomorrow?”
“Y-Yes! Of course! By the way, could you tell me your name?”
Now that she mentioned it, I haven’t introduced myself, huh? That was careless.
“I am Br-”
—I was about to say it, but then hurriedly shut my mouth. Saying my actual name would be a bad move. I didn’t know when it could get leaked, so using an alias was the safer choice.
“No! Uhh… It’s Lapis. My name is Lapis.”
It was important, so I said it twice. It came from these beautiful eyes. These blue eyes with gem-like brilliance. They were much like the gems I saw before—like Lapis Lazuli.
“I see… Lapis. Then once again, I’m Karin. I’ll be in your care, Ms. Lapis!”
She said with a face full of smile, while I just hung my head vehemently in response.