|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1186 words|
Astard yanked Foldia away from Merc, and Merc proceeded to sink her fist in Foldia’s side. Holding his side, Foldia groaned, but he kept looking at Merc with a heartfelt smile.
“That’s one creepy smile.”
“I-It’s not! It just seems so unbelievable. I never anticipated you’d be alive, Estert! Let alone that you’d have changed so much… I’m not one to focus on beauty, but wherever you go, people will undoubtedly think you’re beautiful.”
“Well I’m an elf.”
Merc felt glad to hear Foldia talk so freely. It just served to emphasize how little he had changed. Foldia was able to accept that Merc was in fact Estert’s reincarnation, much like Astard.
“This is so nostalgic. I never thought I’d be able to discuss the good old days with you in this way. I was planning on scolding you when I go to that world, you know? But now that’s all gone. I only feel happiness. I considered punching you, but since you look like this, my buzz died off.”
“That’s good to hear. Astard’s punch was more than enough for me.”
When Merc noticed Foldia’s perplexed look, she spoke while shaking her head,
“Sorry about that. But as you know, that was my previous name. I go by Merc now. Although I appreciate your treating me like Estert, I’ve lived in this body for 14 years. I thought it’d be alright if you called me that while it was just you, me, and Astard, but I think it’s time I let it go for good. Furthermore, calling me Estert in public would be odd.”
“Es… You’re right, Merc. Since this is your way of settling things I won’t complain. I don’t see anything wrong with me calling you Merc the way Astard does.”
“Thank you. Let’s get along, Hero.”
“That won’t do. Call me Foldia, would you? You know I’ve always hated that nickname.”
Foldia said with a smile as he shook Merc’s hand. Astard was smiling as he watched them when he suddenly heard noises coming from behind him.
Astard was the first to respond to the noises, turning around and kneeling down right away. When Kena opened her eyes, they appeared lifeless and seemed unable to focus. She then turned to face Astard, who had called out to her.
“W-Where am I?”
“Kena! Are you alright?”
“Astard, calm down. She’s still barely awake.”
Merc remarked to Astard, who had hurriedly shouted out to Kena, as she too approached Kena.
“Kena. Do you remember what happened?”
With her head cocked to the side and emotionless eyes on Merc, Kena asked. The unfamiliar word appeared to have confused her. It was as though she had forgotten her own name.
“Merc, what is going on?”
“This is a bit tricky…”
Merc wrinkled her brow and responded to Astard, who appeared puzzled by Kena’s response.
“W-Why am I here… Where am I… Who are y-you?”
Kena slowly examined the hut before turning her attention to Merc and Astard and murmuring hoarsely. She then fell asleep once again as her eyelids veiled her eyes.
When Astard noticed this, he hurriedly stood up and pressed his face to Merc’s, exclaiming,
“Just what is going on? What’s wrong with Kena?”
“It appears to be a case of temporary memory loss. She probably suffered a major shock when she fell into the river after being assaulted by soldiers from the Empire. I assume that’s what caused it.”
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Astard exclaimed, taking two or three steps back.
Foldia helped Astard by supporting his shoulders, after which he redirected his gaze to Merc.
“So the guys who attacked this missy were men from the Empire, huh? I managed to kill one of the men that were disguised as Duke Lezau’s soldier, but there was this monster that got away.”
“Yea. Her Mana was through the roof. She appeared to be no older than ten. The amount of her Mana was roughly similar to yours.”
“Is that so? She must have either taken off or destroyed that Magic Stone…”
The monster that Foldia was alluding to was most likely the girl that had posed as Tetem. Although Merc and Astard had been unable to see through her because of the Mana concealing Magic Stone around her neck, it was now clear that she was no ordinary person.
“That’s for later. How is Kena doing? Is her memory going to come back?”
Astard asked in a worried manner, his expression stiffer than normal. Merc responded by sighing and shaking her head.
“Since I don’t want you to depend on me, I’ll say this now. Heal is ineffective on such symptoms.”
“What? That’s ridiculous! Are you certain even Heal can’t help?”
“I am. The thing is that Kena’s symptoms are not related to a wound, an illness, or a type of anomalies such as a mood disorder or mental fatigue. She most likely lost her memory to protect herself from a major shock. It’s impossible for me to predict what adverse effects could happen if I try to heal her forcibly. Waiting for her to naturally regain her memory over time would be the best option.”
Merc had referred to Kena’s situation as tricky because of this.
Merc would have been able to treat the problem if it had been a mental disturbance brought on by an injury or any other external trigger. However, Kena’s case was different. As a result of the shock of the little girl she had trusted trying to kill her, Kena likely had made the decision to erase her memories in order to safeguard herself against mental harm.
Kena had to overcome that shock in order to get her memories back.
“Will her memory come back soon?”
“I can’t say. It might come back the next time she opens her eyes. It might also never come back.”
Astard briefly closed his eyes to give himself some time to process what Merc had just said, nodded heartily, and turned to Foldia.
“What is it?”
“I’m sorry but I can’t come with you to the Chulice Empire.”
Astard declared firmly. Meanwhile, Foldia smiled broadly and spoke,
“Are you sure? You might acquire information about Iriem if you visit the Empire, or should I say the area that used to be the now-defunct Kingdom of Aratan.”
“That is definitely appealing, but for the time being, I’d prefer to remain with my disciple.”
Astard declared firmly once more after a little pause, his gaze fixed on Foldia.
This implied that Astard, who had always held Iriem in the highest regard, had now decided to choose his disciple Kena over her. This was the first time the Great Sage expressed an interest in anything other than Iriem and magic research.
“What a surprise. You’ve changed since the last time I saw you, Astard. Still, I don’t dislike it. Rather, I think I like you better now.”
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While he had partly expected Astard’s response, Foldia still replied with a bright smile, apparently delighted by it. Even Foldia, it would seem, had picked up on Astard’s feelings for Iriem.