|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1232 words|
Following their confrontation with the attackers, Merc and the group faced several Magic Beasts along the road and eventually made it out of the forest by noon the following day.
“Phew… Everyone, it won’t be long before we reach the village!”
Edin said while smiling broadly. He had been worn out after trekking through the forest for some time, but as soon as he saw they were getting close to the village, his vitality resurfaced.
“That’s great to hear. I had forgotten how it felt to take on escort requests. I had a great time.” Foldia said with his arms crossed behind his head.
“You didn’t take it on, though,” Merc added.
“Oh yea, I didn’t!” Foldia commented with a smile on his face.
Following Merc, Svemir also flashed Foldia a wry smile.
“Mr. Fol,” he said, “We’re not at the village yet. We were attacked just last night, so ya should keep yar guard up.”
“You’re completely right. I should stay on my toes until we complete the request!”
“Like I said, you didn’t accept it in the first place…”
Foldia’s laid-back attitude was getting on Merc’s nerves, and she wasn’t sure if he was doing it on purpose or was just being himself. Nonetheless, she chose to disregard it, and followed Edin while keeping an eye on their surroundings.
The group continued to walk till they came upon an old farmer with a hoe in a tiny field by the side of the road. The farmer, who was plowing the field, was unable to see the group due to the distance between them. But it appeared like Edin knew the elderly man.
“Huh? Isn’t that Mr. Ned? That’s strange… What is he doing plowing the fields?”
Merc asked, seeing the puzzled look on Edin’s face.
“Yes. He’s an old man that lives close to me. Back in the days he used to work in the fields, but after he got of age he left the fields to his son. So it’s strange to see him here plowing… What’s more, I don’t see his son.”
“He may have simply felt the want to plow the fields again. Old habits die hard.”
Merc remarked, shrugging her shoulders. Many elderly people couldn’t let go of their working days and periodically wandered back to their former workplaces.
“If so, it would be fantastic, but Mr. Ned is the kind of person who wouldn’t touch the fields once he handed them over. In addition, I’m concerned that nobody else is in the field. I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Rly? Then how bout ya just call out to him?” Svemir suggested.
“I might just do that. Hey! Mr. Ned!”
Edin yelled as he approached the fields. Surprised, the elderly man dropped his hoe and quickly turned around to see who had called out to him.
A smile emerged on his face briefly but soon vanished.
“E-Edin? Is that you? You came back?!”
“Haha. I sure did. What’s with that face? Aren’t you happy to see me? You make it seem like I never should’ve come back.” Edin said with a smile.
“That’s because you shouldn’t have come back!”
Ned, on the other hand, answered with a sorrowful look on his face. He then continued his conversation with Edin, who was taken aback by the entire situation.
“Did you not read Denemis’ letters, Edin?”
“Denemis’ letters? They are the reason I’m here, in the first place. I panicked because I didn’t receive any in three months and came to find out what was happening. I even hired escorts.”
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Edin pointed towards Merc and the others as he spoke. The elderly man appeared to notice Merc and the others for the first time at this point. The old guy once again gave Edin a serious gaze after he exchanged light bows with Merc and the others.
“Either way, you and your escorts wait here. It’s not my decision to make, so just wait here. No matter what, don’t move!”
After saying so, the elderly farmer, whose body was half bent, ran to the village with all he had.
“Who was that old man?” Foldia asked quietly.
“His name is Ned. He seems to be a friend of Edin’s.”
She and Foldia were both taken aback by the whole situation.
“Pal, is that old man always like this?” Svemir asked.
“No… He might be a little stubborn at times, but he’s generally a calm and kind elderly man. I don’t know what’s gotten over him.”
Given that Edin himself was puzzled by what was happening, it was understandable why the others would also be confused.
The group was left with no choice but to wait.
“Look! He’s coming back.” Edin remarked.
The group waited for about 20 minutes.
They could make out old man Ned racing back to them from the same direction that he’d rushed to earlier.
This time, though, he was accompanied by a young man whose mouth was covered with a cloth.
“Mr. Edin? Who is that with Mr. Ned?” Merc asked.
“Hm… Who could it be? It’s also my first time seeing him.”
Even Edin didn’t appear to recognize the young man who was approaching them. He’d most likely arrived in Kirel within the past three months, following Edin’s departure for Logholt.
“So you passed that ominous forest?”
The young man removed the cloth covering his mouth as he approached the group and inquired abruptly.
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Merc inquired, stunned by the young man’s abrupt question. When the young man realized his mistake, he offered a slight bow and spoke,
“I apologize… I was amazed that someone had survived that Magic Beast-infested forest. Forgive my late introduction. My name is Bazar. I’m a traveling Alchemist.”
“A traveling Alchemist you say. No wonder I haven’t seen you around. I’m Edin. I was born and raised in this village, but I moved away to work. These people here are the adventurers that escorted me back.”
“Nice to meet ya, the name’s Svemir.”
“Hey! I’m Fol. I’m just tagging along, I’m not one of the escorts.”
Everyone gave a quick introduction before the man known as Bazar continued,
“It’s a pleasure to meet you… I must admit that you are quite fortunate to have met Mr. Ned here. You should thank him for stopping you.”
“It was nothing. I was also shocked to see Edin appear out of nowhere. He, apparently, never received the letters.”
“That sure is strange. There must have been some kind of error.”
“Ahem. Could you not exclude us? Also, could you tell us the reason why you made us wait here?”
Foldia cut in, interrupting Bazar and Ned.
“Ah yes. I apologize. I’ll get straight to the point. Currently, Kirel Village is plagued by a particular disease.”
“Because the sickness is infectious, everybody affected or displaying symptoms has been isolated, and entry to the village has been restricted. The same applies to anyone, even if they are connected to this village1.”
“This can’t be…”
Edin exclaimed, shocked beyond belief. Contrarily, Bazar was only expressing the truth as it was, and he ultimately decided to put the final nail in the coffin.
“You run the risk of being infected if you go any further. Although I recognize how far you’ve come, I’m afraid I must ask you to leave while you’re still in good health.”
- Silva: Very sus, the fact that they were ambushed in the forest meant that this epidemic is possibly manmade.