|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1129 words|
“Tetem! Where are you?!”
As soon as Merc entered the mansion, she began looking for human traces of Mana, but she couldn’t discover any. This led her to believe that the Count had most likely burnt alongside the mansion. He’d undoubtedly concluded there was no way out and opted to end his life.
Don’t drag Tetem into this for god’s sake.
Although Merc recognized it was futile at this point, she couldn’t help but be angry with the Count for kidnapping and dragging an innocent young girl into this.
Even after exploring the burning mansion for some longer, Merc was unable to locate Tetem. She discovered a slew of other individuals who had already been burned to a crisp, but Merc deduced by their physique that none of them was Tetem. However, based on this, Tetem was most likely already…
Merc could only agonize at her own powerlessness.
“So Tetem really is…”
Merc continued to look for a little longer even after saying that, but it was only a matter of time before the mansion collapsed altogether. And if that were to happen, not even Merc would be safe.
Shaking the suffocating thoughts aside, Merc turned around and headed for the exit before it was too late.
Merc unconsciously came to a halt as she felt a sharp pain rush through her nape. She heard faint breathing from a nearby room at the same moment.
Am I imagining things?
Around Merc, the roars of blazing flames filled the air. She couldn’t possibly have heard someone breathe. Even if she had, the room where the sound came from was engulfed in flames, with even flaming wood blocking the door.
It was easy to visualize a sea of flames within. Even if Merc checked, she understood it would be for naught.
It bothers me.
Even though Merc knew it was all for naught, she kicked away the flaming wood and opened the way. She was shocked to see that the inside wasn’t as bad as she had anticipated.
“Did the wood block the flames? Hm?”
Merc’s attention was drawn to one of the room’s corners, where she spotted a familiar silver hair and rushed towards it.
“T-Tetem! Hey! Are you okay?!”
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Merc asked as she took Tetem into her arms.
Tetem appeared to be unconscious, but there were no visible wounds, and she appeared to have evaded the smoke and flames. She was completely unharmed. Merc was relieved, but she couldn’t help but wonder why the soldiers outside hadn’t sensed Tetem’s Mana. It was then that Merc spotted the Magic Stone around Tetem’s chest.
Wasn’t this Magic Stone able to conceal Mana? What a troublesome thing…
Merc was relieved to have found Tetem, but she couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if she hadn’t. For the time being, Merc dashed for the mansion’s entrance, Tetem clutched in her arms.
On the way there, the ceiling’s edges and the pillars began to collapse, but Merc dodged all of them and managed to escape the sea of flames in the shortest time possible.
She was successful in getting Tetem out of the mansion.
“A-A person came out!”
The duke’s soldiers, who had surrounded the area, were taken aback when the Merc emerged, rolling out of the mansion.
Given the conditions, they had probably believed that no one would survive.
“Good grief. I didn’t expect it to take so long, given that it’s you. You sure kept me on my toes.”
Only one person came to welcome them in the midst of it all. It was Astard, who had his head tilted to one side. Merc shoved Tetem onto him, chuckling at Astard’s cheeky comment.
“Phew. I’m beat. Switch with me.”
“Hey! What are you… Fine. I’m glad that Tetem is safe. I wouldn’t have had the courage to look the professor in the eyes if we had lost her.”
“I know, right? Still, I’m glad that she’s alright.”
Count Fonan’s mansion ultimately succumbed to the flames and began to crumble while the two of them chatted. If Merc had been inside at this moment, she would have been in serious trouble.
“It’s amazing that you were able to save Tetem under these conditions. You certainly are an Eternal.”
As he stood there watching the mansion burn to the ground, Astard murmured something shockingly honest. Due to her exhaustion, Merc was going to dismiss him when her attention was drawn to a familiar word, and she turned to face Astard.
“Eternal… You said that before too, didn’t you? It happened in your room, I believe. What does it mean?”
“Oh, you didn’t know? Since a long time, the Elf species into which you were reincarnated has been known as the Eternals. Their beauty is unrivaled, and their Mana far exceeds that of humans. They also do not age and live lengthy lives. Isn’t Eternals a good nickname?”
Merc, who was now an Elf, stated with a bitter smile in response to Astard’s explanation.
“Phew… Even though we were unable to capture Count Fonan, we were at least able to get revenge for Doctor Glodel. Tetem is likewise safe, and the professor’s research most likely burnt along with the mansion, so it never made it to the Empire… So I suppose this case is closed.”
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Merc remarked to Astard, who was carrying Tetem in his arms, while peering out the corner of her eye at the preoccupied Duke’s men as if she were a passerby.
Even while Astard nodded, his expression soon became dissatisfied.
“I suppose you might say that… There are, nevertheless, many unanswered questions.”
“That’s right. As I previously mentioned, we still don’t know how the Count became aware of Tetem. We also don’t know how he got past my barrier and kidnapped her while leaving that note. There’s also…”
“Yea, it really does bother me, but the important thing is that we got Tetem back. Even if we don’t know the answers to those questions, does it really matter now? We can think about it later if you’re genuinely concerned.”
“I guess you’re right.”
Whatever techniques the Count had employed, the fact remained that Count Fonan’s kidnapping and plans had, in the end, failed. It could not have turned out any better.
“Should we go back? Kena’s probably going crazy by now.” Astard said.
“Can we? Don’t you suppose the Duke’s men would want to know what happened?”
“The Duke already knows everything we do. He can just contact us if the need arises. I’d rather go home and let Tetem rest right now, don’t you agree?”
“I guess you’re right… Let’s go.”
As a result, Merc and Astard maneuvered their way through the frantic soldiers and went home with Tetem, who remained unconscious.