|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 964 words|
Foldia, looked down towards Merc with a dumbfounded look on his face. Even though he’d obviously heard Merc, he couldn’t make sense of what she was saying.
“Estert… Estert? As in that Estert? Wait just a second. This is crazy. The strongest swordsman I know, Estert, is older and taller. To begin with, he’s a dude!”
“Why is my gender the last thing you mention?!”
But that wasn’t the only problem. After all, Merc was different in every way. Her race, as well as her gender included. Foldia’s expression was blank, as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“Hey, Astard… What’s the deal with her? I can’t imagine she’s lying given that she’s with you, yet…”
Foldia took a step back and questioned Astard, after letting go of Merc’s hand.
Astard, on the other hand, just crossed his arms and leaned against a wall, suggesting that he had nothing to do with it. He’d seemingly decided to keep silent and wait to see how things would unfold.
“Hero. I can understand your confusion. Even I, myself, couldn’t accept it until recently1.”
“Damn! You even talk in the same way as him! But there’s no way Estert could have turned into such a young girl…”
“It’s fine if you don’t believe me but first listen to what I have to say. There’s something that I’ve wanted to tell you.”
“Huh? What is that?”
Foldia asked, having no idea what Merc was trying to tell him. Merc simply looked at him and bowed deeply.
“I’m sorry, Hero. I left you with a heavy burden.”
“…? What are you saying?”
When Foldia saw Merc bow, he was left speechless.
Foldia should have rushed forward to create an opening during the final battle with the Falgaro. However, in Foldia’s place, Estert had become the bait, feeling it was the appropriate thing to do.
As a result, Estert had managed to divert the Falgaro’s attention away from Foldia, allowing Foldia to deal the finishing blow. Estert had died without regrets in the end, despite his self-sacrifice.
At the same time, he had entirely ignored Foldia’s feelings. Foldia had been kept alive and entrusted with the world’s future by the same person to whom he had intended to assign the same duty. Foldia must have been devastated by that.
Estert had been so engrossed in his own thoughts at the time that he hadn’t even considered it. However, after being reborn as Merc and living the life of a kid once more, as well as losing a dear friend in Ganan and afterwards being chastised by Astard, Merc finally realized what she had done.
She understood how hard it was to lose a friend. She understood the anguish of wanting to help yet being powerless to do anything. She understood how dreary it was to live in a world without the person you’d always assumed would be there.
Merc wanted to apologize to Foldia even though she knew it would be useless.
“A heavy burden? Are you talking about that time? Then, why? Why are you apologizing? Why are you apologizing in his place? Why do you act as if you know the man who gave his life for me and the rest of the world?”
Foldia met Merc’s gaze with a serious expression as if he was attempting to keep something back. Merc merely shrugged her shoulders as she returned his stare.
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“Hey. Don’t get the wrong idea, Hero. I simply apologized to make things right. I don’t regret any of my decisions. I’m sorry for causing you so much pain, but I also wanted you and everyone else to survive. I didn’t do it for you, nor the world, or anybody else. I did it for myself.”
“… A-Are you really Estert?”
Foldia asked, having been reminded of Estert by Merc’s remarks. His eyes, which had been focused on Merc without trying to hide his doubt, began to flutter in uncertainty.
“Este… No! It can’t be. It’s a lie. There’s simply no way. Y-You died! You should have died!”
Foldia shouted, his eyes wide and shivering like a spoiled child. He appeared split between wanting to believe but not being able to do so. Merc, on the other hand, smiled and drew closer.
“Me, dead? No way! Don’t you remember, Hero? ‘As long as you remain in someone’s heart, you will never truly die, even if your body turns to ash.’”
“… Those words…”
Those were Foldia’s words. It was what he’d said to Estert shortly after deciding to use himself as bait. Foldia and Estert were the only people who knew these lines because Astard and Iriem had both been unconscious at the time.
“Thank you, Hero. Only because you didn’t forget about me am I standing here now.”
Merc scratched her temple, thinking she’d just said a cringe phrase, when Foldia came flying at her, his mouth wide open.
“What are you doing?!”
Merc screamed in agony as Foldia crushed her with his embrace, oblivious to their height and weight differences.
Did he mistake me for a Falgaro or something?!
Merc’s thoughts only served to highlight how cruel Foldia’s embrace had been.
“Hey! Let me go! I can’t breathe…”
“ESTEEEEEEERT! Thank goodness… Thank goodness!”
Foldia sobbed, sniffled, and continued to thank the heavens while clutching Merc as if strangling her.
Good grief. He sure likes to overreact to even the most trivial things. What’s so special about dying or reviving?
Perhaps it was because Foldia seldom wept, but watching him cry so much over something like this made Merc believe he was just a little obnoxious
“Good grief2. Let go of me already!”
Foldia’s passionate embrace lasted until Astard couldn’t stand it any longer and pulled them apart.
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