|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
“—hwuaah.” With my hand over my mouth, trying to stifle a yawn, I walked down the creaking stairs to my garden in the early morning mist.
The heavy rain that had been pouring down for a long time began to lighten yesterday morning, and by the afternoon, the sun came out of its hiding. Regina, Maya, and I went out into the forest for the first time in a while to check the perimeter, pick mushrooms that had just grown, and forage medicinal herbs that were running low. We only came back in the evening, and even then, we had to get straight to refine and compound our freshly foraged ingredients until way past midnight. Thanks to that, I was completely sleep-deprived.
“I need to get my sleep in the morning, but you, Jill, don’t you dare skip your chores!”
Regina, as expected, couldn’t overcome her advanced age, and brazenly went to bed to have her luxurious sleep. So now, still early in the morning, while rubbing the drowsiness out of my eyes, I looked forward to the busy day of washing our accumulated laundry, cleaning the hermitage, and of course, picking medicinal herbs.
“Still, it sure is a delight to have the sun out~!!”
I took a deep breath and stretched out in the clearing next to the hermitage, an activity I had been missing for some time. The cool air with plenty of moisture filled my chest cavity.
Perhaps because of how wet the air around me and the entire forest was, for someone who had the water attribute, I felt that the range of my magical senses had expanded with great clarity. For the heck of it, I tuned my mana detection to the water attribute channel and gave it some attention, and then—
“Kyah?! Whoa, huh?!”
Right at that moment, an unbelievably huge amount of information came rushing in all at once, so much so that my head was about to explode. Without knowing it, I was already slumped to the muddy ground.
How could I say it…usually, the range for my mana detection spell (or aptly put, my mana zone) only reached as far as 20 to 25 mertes, and of course, I couldn’t detect anything deeper in the ground, but other than detection, I could also recognize and manipulate mana within that almost-sphere range. Obviously, I didn’t always grasp every single object and event within this range. I arbitrarily selected only certain mana waves (let’s call it ‘ripple’ for simplicity’s sake) and excluded others to some extent. In short, it was pretty much the same as concentrating on the sound coming from a speaker while shutting down any other noises.
However, when I tentatively tried to receive the ripple of the objects by using ‘water’ as my vehicle, what I had was not the usual even and spherical area I could sense with my mana zone. Instead, it was an area of perception that was almost horizontal, expanding from every body of water no matter how small—even at the size of a single drop—like it was an all-encompassing net, reaching as far as 300 mertes and more.
“Uuuuugh… my head…”
Having been subjected to a completely different mana zone and a vast amount of information than usual—much like suddenly having a whole orchestra playing loudly inside my own ears—I immediately combated it by unleashing the mana I had accumulated in my dantian this whole time all at once, blocking myself out.
To put it in similar analogies, it was similar to setting off firecrackers to combat the flooding noises.
That somehow allowed me to regain my stance, and I narrowed the range of my mana detection—or lowering the volume, in this analogy—and reduced the size of my mana zone to a reasonable level. Once I came back to sense, I stood to my feet.
“Uuh~~ My butt feels cold….”
Feeling pitiful of myself, I wiped off the mud and dirt from my rear, but then “You damned ragweed, why would you explode your mana so early in the morning like some imbecile?!!!” With a yell that shook the entire hermitage, a broomstick conjured by Regina flew out and smacked my poor bottom as hard as it could.
“Haa… That was terrible.”
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Furious that her restful sleep was disturbed by my mana outburst, Regina ended up punishing me by increasing the number of amrita batches I need to make by one before the festival. Regina’s familiar, Maya, comforted me by patting me on the head with one of her tentacles.
“Thank you, Maya. Well then, I better get to work before she scolds me more!”
Switching my mind, I tied my hair up as usual and did my preparatory exercises—I always did my martial arts warm-ups, but since men and women had different skeleton structures and muscle make-ups, I pitched in some ballet exercises lately to prevent this ragweed self from getting any much more of an outlier with strange muscle growths during my growing age—still in my plain one-piece dress, I did my bare hand and kata exercises, and when I was done, I put on an apron and was ready to go.
…was what I would say, but lately, I had one extra task; carrying an old, unadorned rucksack on my back everywhere I go.
Needless to say, the content of the rucksack was the egg of the ancient pet Sirius, given to me by the peddler. Was it legit or was it bogus, I had no idea—well, even if it turned out to be the common emu when it hatched, what would I lose?—but I was told that I, its master, must constantly bathe it with mana to hatch it, so I carried it in a rucksack to keep it always on my person.
Obviously, I couldn’t always hold it in my hand or put it in the pocket of my apron as it would hinder my work—in fact, it was Regina who couldn’t bear to see me working so awkwardly on my first day with the egg, so she gave me an old rucksack. I decided to put it to good use, and with it, I had been spending my daily life with the egg always on my back, with rags and hay laid inside as cushioning material.
“…I feel like it’s getting heavier again.” I frowned at the hefty weight and looked in my rucksack to see that it was even bigger than when I first received it. Before it was just a size bigger than a goose egg, now it is close to the size of an ostrich egg.
“—It might get even bigger than an ostrich egg, huh.”
What do I do if it gets bigger than the rucksack… I worried, as I carried it along. Then, as per my daily chores, I finished fetching water, washing clothes, and cleaning—I simply heated last night’s soup for breakfast in between—and without a moment’s rest, I prepared to go into the forest to gather medicinal herbs. I knew it was a bit late to ask but was I really taken up to be the witch’s apprentice? Or was I simply a housemaid laboring for free?
By the way, I didn’t give mana to the egg particularly intentionally. According to Regina, I had a greater amount and density of mana emitted from my body at all times compared to an ordinary magician, so there was no problem as long as I kept the egg close.
Well, it wasn’t that I had a lot of mana, but more that, by rule of thumb, common magicians never really understood the concept of accumulating and condensing one’s mana in their dantian—and even if they did, they were pretty negligent at it—despite having their own established magic theories and arts, thus the difference.