|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“That’s old man Rock’s smithy. Things explode there sometimes, so kids can’t go nearby. Also, from that border over there and on, it’s Mister Dan’s ranch. He keeps aries in his ranch, but sometimes the carnivorous meranaries are mixed in, so you should stay away from them too. Oh, and the stream there sometimes sweeps you into the den of mermen who’d eat the pearl in your butt, so…”1
Eren happily took me by the hand and led me around the village. She told me that there were no girls of her age in the village and that she had always wanted a best friend she could talk comfortably with.
“That’s why I’m so happy to be your best friend, Jill!”
She claimed. No, I wasn’t complaining, but this just set a new record for the time from first meeting to becoming best friends, including even in my previous life. Also, was it just my unfounded fear that living a daily life in this village seemed to have a death-defying effect on people? By the way, Maya was waiting at the village chief’s house. Eren was a little scared of the caru, so she stayed behind out of consideration.
I asked her about village life and agriculture—she didn’t seem to have the concept of fertilizer, after all—and then I explained all the problems and what to improve (though Eren didn’t seem to get it), and told her a remix of the fairy tales I had heard from the other world. When I started talking about tales, Eren then told me the adventures of Joey Arland the Brave2, the adventurer who protected the princess. The both of us chatted with each other, losing track of time.
“Hey, Jill, why do you keep your hood up all the time anyway?”
After a break in the conversation, Eren asked me curiously. To be honest, I had expected this question would come up sooner. Was the question brewing in her mind the whole time, or she was simply uninterested… Either way, Eren was quite a broad-minded girl.
For now, I gave her the excuse I had thought of in advance. “It’s the custom of the witches. You’re not supposed to show your face to people without permission until you become a full-fledged witch.”
“Huh… that sounds like a pain,” commented Eren, believing me that easily.
By then, my mana detention caught several people hiding among the houses, spying on us.
(It’s not the reaction of an adult. Children? Well, maybe ‘witches’ are a rare sight…)
However, to be honest, having some curious people snooping on me wasn’t very pleasant. I tried to casually leave for another spot before Eren noticed, but,
“Hey, isn’t that the Witch of the Dark Forest?”
“No, she’s not that short. Also, that old witch won’t hide her face like that.”
“Mom told me she’s the witch’s disciple.”
“Really? Then why is she hiding her face? Doesn’t she look suspicious?”
“She’s a witch’s companion, so maybe she’s not a human?”
A group of children—all boys, it seemed—emerged from between the buildings and surrounded us.
“What’s your deal?! What do you want, Bruno?!” Eren scowled at the kids with a resentful look on her face, before she turned her gaze to the oldest boy of the group. He looked like a little rascal—obviously a snotty brat—and was about the same age as us.
Unlike the other kids who cowered before Eren right away, the kid called Bruno put on a bold front and spoke with a high-handed tone.
“Shut up! It’s got nothing to do with you. My deal is with that witch!”
“It has everything to do with me! Jill is my best friend!”
Bruno looked somewhat daunted when he heard Eren’s statement, but he chose to ignore her and pressed onto me.
“Oi, you. Is it true that you’re the witch’s discipline?! Why are you hiding your face? If there’s nothing to hide then show me!”
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He reached out his hand to forcefully pull off my hood. Talk about a straight ball. I understand his wariness towards strangers, but it would be better for him to learn a little more discretion and manners. This was not the tone and behavior you should wear when facing someone you just met.
These selfish and ignorant kids were much like the original me, which was pretty irksome. I knew better not to take it out on others, but I decided to chastise them so they learn some lessons.
“I’d rather not!” I refused decidedly, stopped Eren from going in the fray, pulled Bruno’s hand, locked it in a joint, then threw him off over my shoulder.
Bruno hit the ground hard with his back. My timing was too perfect, I ended up giving an amateur a full-on shoulder throw, holding nothing back. I panicked, but it had been done.
The other kids were startled by the sight and the sound of the impact, and they screamed and skedaddled away, scattering like baby spiders. Perhaps they thought I used magic.
“Are you alright? Do you have a hard time breathing?”
He probably didn’t even know how to break his fall. Just when I was running up to Bruno, groaning and holding his back he was, “why you!” The kid threw his hand at me, teary-eyed, grabbed my hood, and pulled it away with his own weight.
Eren, Bruno, and I gasped at the same time.
When I looked at the fright in their eyes—well, of course, they’d seen my face—I hurriedly retrieved my hood, fixed my hair, and put the hood back on. “Please, don’t tell anyone!”
And, saying nothing further, I scuttled away from the place.
The stunned stares from the two bore into my back, and honestly, they hurt.
“W-, wait, Jill, wait!”
I was on my way back to the chief’s house to pick up Maya with a heavy heart when Eren caught up with me.
I was prepared for her to criticize this ugly ragweed mug of mine that I hid, but then she said “don’t worry! I’ll keep my mouth shut. I’ll even beat Bruno if he dares to say even a word!” And then she strongly clasped my hands in hers.
“Of course. We’re best friends. —Besides, it’s definitely better if we keep the secret between the two of us!”
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For some reason, she had her cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkling—like the eyes of a dreamy little girl when she was listening to a fairy tale about a princess—as she looked into my face and nodded.
“…would you still be my friend from now on?”
“Yes, we’re best of friends already!”
Eren assured, without a shred of hesitation. I was so moved that I hugged her on the spot, and we pledged our unchanging friendship to each other then.
And thus, on this day, I gained a best friend for life
…Well, thanks to that little drama, I got home very late and Regina was furious at me and she had me explain everything that happened throughout the day. Nevertheless, it was still the most unforgettable day in my life.
Jill misunderstood why they were stunned at her face.
Also, there are no particular, especially no plot-relevant reasons for the names of the characters.
Jill, who was fighting demon beasts by the hordes in the forest, expanded her mana detection and found out she couldn’t find the signal of one of her acquaintances. “Chad’s wavelength… is gone…?”
And then, after witnessing both of her parents being devoured alive in front of her, Eren, with eyes full of tears and resentment, shouted “I will wipe out every last one of you!”
No such things will happen (maybe).
In case you didn’t catch it, one is a reference to Bleach (chapter 108 in manga/episode 38 in anime) and the other is to Attack on Titan (chapter 2 in manga/episode 2 in anime).
- Sil: Aries are black sheep demon beasts. Meranaries have the same outer appearances as aries, but they’re carnivores and they like to hide amongst the sheeps to ambush unwary shepherds and kids. The mermen are an obvious parallel to kappa, a famous Japanese yokai who is said to favor a mythical ball that resides in your rectum. Arguably, the origin of kappa is a story spun by parents to keep their children from playing near rivers and streams.
- Sil: oh? Joey from Vampire Princess’ Rose-colored Dream?