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Chapter 11 – Merc and The Bell of Decision

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Author: Tsunose Bun Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3024 characters
Translator: Jiro English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1275 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

In a small village, a lot of people gathered in a small venue.

“You came into contact with the springs of life and have now become one with them…”

People’s wailing voices came from all directions, directed towards the young boy who was laying inside the coffin in the center of the venue.

“You radiated light and inspired everyone around you.”

Someone clung to the coffin as the words reverberated around the room. It was the boy’s mother, and her husband, who had bloodshot eyes and was fiercely biting his lower lip at the injustice of it all.

As they returned to the queue behind them, the couple clutched each other’s hands.

“May your bud bloom on the once-dead soil and breathe fresh life into the parched Yangtze River.”

When the crowd realized the priest’s memorial was drawing to an end, they bowed and closed their eyes, silently praying.

“Our friend, Ganan. May your soul rest in peace.”

The priest bowed towards the coffin with his fist on his chest, and a group of elven males took it away. It was most likely on its way to be buried.

The village bell rung, almost as if to send him off.

It rang 11 times, the same number as the boy’s age. It rang in long intervals, as if bemoaning the fact that it could only ring 11 times.

Everyone cried.

Everyone’s eyes were red with sadness as they said their goodbyes to the boy.

Even until the very end, the person who was supposed to be the boy’s best friend, Merc, did not show up1.

    • *

The girl’s figure could be seen swinging a wooden stick in the back of her garden, while mournful cries from those leaving the venue filled the village.

“Haa… Haa…”

The girl recklessly swung her wooden stick, as if she were some beginner holding a weapon for the first time, with no concern for her form or technique.

Merc just aimlessly swung the wooden stick.

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As she was doing so, a voice from the side called out to her.

“… What a stupid girl you are.”

Merc was startled, or to be more exact, irritated, by the contemptuous tone of the person who said it, so she returned the glare.

Rosemary, Merc’s Master, was the one who stood there.

“… Master.”

Merc dropped her wooden stick, surprised by Rosemary, who rarely left her home.

“I didn’t see you at the venue, so I figured that I’d find you here.”
“… Was there a problem with my absence?”

Merc replied in a somewhat angry tone, as though she didn’t like Rosemary’s attitude. Her heart was in pain, and she couldn’t even try to be polite in front of her Master.

“No. I don’t blame you for not coming. It’s entirely up to you how you send that boy off. However, you are surely not commendable for swinging that piece of wood here.”
“P-Piece of wood?”

The wooden stick that Merc wielded wasn’t just any wooden stick.

She had requested the blacksmith in the village to create it out of sturdy wood and load it with lead. It was specially made for her. It was her beloved sword, which she had trained with for years.

Even if it was her master, she wouldn’t allow anyone to look down on it.

“Don’t make that scary face at me. A weapon swung with the purpose of running, whether it’s a famous sword, a holy sword, or whatever, just seems like a stick to me. If you’re going to be mad at someone for slamming it, you should quit swinging it around like that first.”

Rosemary made an excellent case.

Merc was speechless as she stared at her wooden stick, which she had treated as if it were a piece of wood. Making light of one’s beloved sword, regardless of the circumstances, was unworthy conduct for a swordsman. Merc felt awful about what she’d done.

“… Master, I…”
“I don’t want to hear your excuses. Just hurry up and let’s go.”

Rosemary intervened and waved at Merc just as she was going to apologize. With her neck tilted to one side, Merc was perplexed. Rosemary, on the other hand, just gave a baffled expression.

“Didn’t I tell you? We’re starting your Healing training today.”

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When Merc pondered on it, she realized it was indeed the case. She remembered being thrilled about it, but it felt like a distant memory now.

“… What’s the points of learning Healing now…”

The words that Merc had no intention of saying slipped out of her mouth. She was well aware that Rosemary had most likely heard her words, but they were Merc’s actual feelings.

She felt that if she had started learning Healing a little sooner, she might have been able to help Ganan. That this time she would have been able to save him for real.

“Don’t get over your head.”

Rosemary spoke softly to Merc, who had become so absorbed in her thoughts that she had failed to notice Rosemary approaching.

“Do you really believe that by just tipping your toes you would have been able to heal that boy’s mortal wounds? That it would have been more effective than the medicine that you produced after three years of training?”
“Even Rezon couldn’t save him. The boy wasn’t in a condition where healing him a minute earlier would have made a difference! And didn’t I already tell you that if you performed it half-assedly, you’d die?”
“It seems like you still don’t understand. Fine. I’ll tell you. I might as well tell you everything. I’ll tell you everything, regardless of how much it will hurt you or make you want to give up. That is, as long as you are willing to listen.”

Rosemary stated with a ‘So?’ look on her face.

Although Merc had been her student for some time, this was the first time she had seen her Master so serious.

Even when Rosemary found out that Merc was practicing Mana Manipulation, she hadn’t made such a face.

“Willing to listen…”
“Of course, you are free to decline. However, you will no longer be my student after that. You’ll have complete freedom to study Magic, Healing, or whatever else you want. You’ll be free to find a new teacher as well.”

Merc’s frozen thought process kicked in after hearing that from her Master.

If she had practiced Healing, she might have been able to save Ganan. But it wasn’t just to save Ganan that she sought to learn Healing in the first place. It was to save someone, whoever that person might be.

Giving up when she hadn’t been able to save Ganan would entail tossing all of her previous efforts out the window, which Merc understood was definitely incorrect.

And it’s unlikely that the boy who referred to her as ‘amazing’ would have liked it either.

“… Master, can I really become one? Can I really become a Healer capable of saving people?”
“Hmph. Obviously.”

Rosemary, whose back was bent much of the time, spoke up while standing up straight and looking down at Merc.

“You have a talent. And I’ll make that talent blossom. You can become anything as long as you wish for it.”

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Rosemary nodded, laying her hand on top of Merc, who was still unsure of herself.

“That’s right. Anything. A Sword Saint, a Saintess, a Great Sage, and perhaps even a Hero.”

As if a spell was cast on her, Rosemary’s words swept away Merc’s worries.

The ringing of the bell signifying the boy’s passing could still be heard resonating across the quiet village as they conversed.2


  1. Robinxen: Unexpectedly expected
  2. Silva: I actually cried a little in this chapter…

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