Chapter 118: The Alchemist (Part 2)

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Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2580 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1199 words
Editor(s): Fire

The man glanced at the window again as he asked in a low voice. He seemed wary of something. The curtains were closed, but everyone knew there was a guard posted right on the other side.

He had every possibility of sending a dissimulated signal to alert the guards of the intruders, but Mira doubted he would do that. She had seen something inside his eyes when he strongly denied being a member of Chimera Clauzen.

「How we got here is a secret, but we can guarantee no one will know we’re here.」

It was like she had become aware of a window to his soul. So she decided to trust him, while also assuring him that they were safe there, for his sake as well. Everything was silent outside, and there were no signs of guards entering the mansion to look for them. In other words, there was no worry that those supporting Chimera would overhear them talking.

Mira and Sasori knew Worthramble’s powers of stillness, so they never doubted their privacy, but rather than trying to explain a foreign power to the alchemist, it was easier to keep it vague. Even though Mira had instructed Worthramble to keep them safe even if one of them screamed loudly.

「My name is Johann, I’m an alchemist being used by Chimera.」

He introduced himself with a sour look, then explained his situation.

It all started when his father, an alchemist he looked up to, accepted a request from the Melville Trading Corporation. They wanted his father to research a new material the corporation had obtained through their proprietary means. Being entrusted with such a novel and unknown item, his father happily accepted the request.

Through his research, his father was able to determine the characteristics of the material, and then he moved on to figuring out a use for it. At the time, Johann was just his father’s helper, so he did not know many details of what his father had found out. All he knew was that the material could be used to craft some powerful weapons.

His father proved his worth as a prominent alchemist, finding multiple applications for the new material. In compensation for his efforts, he was also paid handsomely. Johann deeply respected his father for working on something so valuable. But things changed completely from one day to the next.

His father passed away. Not from illness, but a mysterious sudden death. Or like Johann murmured, punishment came for his sins.

Trying to follow in his father’s steps, Johann began reading through everything he left behind, including his diaries and research notes. While his father was alive, he had never been allowed a peek into them, given that an alchemist’s research was essentially their life’s work.

That was how he came to know the truth. The material his father had researched, the black mist stones, devoured spirits and drained them of their power. A material with the sole purpose of harming spirits, humanity’s good neighbors. Finding out about all that, Johann scrapped all the research and filed a complaint against the Melville Trading Corporation to get any of the material in the wild seized.

But the complaint was rejected almost instantly, and the same day his wife and daughter disappeared. The next day he received a letter from the corporation, instructing him to resume the research, and attached was his wife’s wedding ring.

Johann did not know all the details on the black mist stones’ different properties, but he had helped his father with producing them in the past, so even though he voiced his disapproval of the Melville Trading Corporation and Chimera Clauzen, they still could get some use out of him.

He did not know where his daughter and wife were being kept, but every six months he would receive letters from them.

His wife always wrote almost exclusively about their daughter’s growth, while telling him not to worry. After her words, his daughter would also add a few lines, which at first were written in clumsy shaped letters, but they had started looking better in the most recent ones. Johann had a lonely smile as he told that part of his story.

That small connection was all he needed to dream of seeing them again one day. But he also regretted that was the only way he had of reuniting with them one day, cursing his own powerlessness.

「I see, so your family is being kept hostage.」

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That explained why Johann was helping Chimera Clauzen. It was his only way of ensuring his captured wife and daughter would remain safe. Mira nodded, satisfied hearing his story, then looked at the desk and the sheep plush toy placed on it. It probably belonged to Johann’s daughter.

「It’s funny when you think about it. The mansion is under such a heavy guard, but it’s not to deter intruders, but so the owner can’t leave. If I try to set one foot outside they’ll know instantly.」

Saying that, Johann looked at the curtain in annoyance. Buying food and materials for his job had been fully entrusted to his assistant, and years had passed since the last time he left the mansion.

「That explains the weird feeling I had seeing them outside.」

The guards really had been there to prevent an escapade, rather than watching for those outside the mansion. Mira still remembered the weird feeling she had when they first approached the mansion.

His life had taken a turn for the worst when his father, who willingly helped Chimera Clauzen, passed away. They wanted him to keep the research active, so they robbed him of his freedom and forced him to follow their orders.

It was impossible for anyone else to know just how he felt having his family snatched away like that.

Mira felt truly pitiful about Johann’s current situation. Looking at the room again, she could see many vestiges of his missing family. Strewn amongst the research documents were picture books for children, a kitchen apron that presumably belonged to his wife, and a shelf near the desk held the wedding ring he had mentioned in his story.

Some shelves looked dedicated to mementos of his family, which Mira silently observed. He seemed to clean them daily, not a single speck of dust visible on them as opposed to the other shelves with research. That made them stand out all the more, letting his suffering peer through.

「Don’t look so sad now.」

Mira picked up the sheep on the table, looking into its eyes that looked somewhat sad and spoke to it. Johann watched that from the side.

「Huh? Is something wrong?」

Sasori raised her voice out of the blue. She had noticed a single tear streaking down Johann’s cheek.

「Ah, sorry. It’s just… my daughter. She would always talk to that sheep like that, and I was reminded of her.」

Johann forced a smile as he turned away from Mira holding the sheep, trying to hide his tears. 「I see,」 said Sasori, gently looking at his back.


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