Chapter 72 – The Great Sage’s Theory

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Author: Tsunose Bun Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3024 characters
Translator: Jiro English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1109 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

“So, what should we talk about next? Are there any other things you’d like to ask about?”

As Merc digested the causes for Gust of Wind’s demise in her own manner, Astard inquired, his voice inquisitive, as if he was concerned about her. Something like this would have been unimaginable fifteen years ago. He may even have learned to be mindful of others.

“I am still not satisfied that you disbanded the party.”
“And I’m still not convinced that you went ahead and died on us, or that you, of all people, were reincarnated as an elf.”
“Well, let’s leave it at that then. So? Why exactly was I reborn as an elf? You know something, right?”

Merc would be wasting her time if he kept asking Astard why the party was disbanded. Astard would almost certainly continue to assert that he was correct, and no matter what Astard said, Merc would remain unconvinced.

It was pointless to continue the discussion when both parties had already provided their feedback. So Merc decided to change the subject.

“As I said before, it’s just a theory. There’s no way to verify anything, so don’t expect me to produce proof or evidence.”
“That’s fine. So what is it?”
“Great. Before I start, you don’t mind if I take off my hood, right?”

Astard said, then carefully took off his hood, which covered most of his face. What was revealed was his usual face, which Merc had seen countless times.

Although Astard hid his face under a hood, Merc and the other party members who had known him for a long time naturally knew his true face.

He had brown hair that reached his shoulders and fine, delicate features that made him appear feminine at first impression. In fact, without his cloak and hood, Astard would hardly be called a man, with a body that seemed to be thinner and less durable than the ordinary woman’s.

Merc had previously observed Astard being mistaken for a woman and approached by men on multiple occasions while working with him. Astard had also opted to change his name and always wear a cloak and hood for this reason.

The nostalgia Merc felt when she saw Astard’s expressionless face, which could be described as lovely, abruptly turned into discomfort, and her eyes widened as she understood why.

“You… What is up with that face?”
“Oh? So you noticed.”

Astard caressed his own cheek, a tiny smile on his face, as though savoring Merc’s reaction.

“Why hasn’t it changed? It’s been 15 years? This is simply impossible, even if you age slowly… Are you using magic to make yourself appear younger?”
“Don’t joke. Would it really be necessary for me to do so; given that I always wear a hood? The day we toppled the Falgaro, I stopped aging.”
“What did you say?”
“And it’s not just me, I believe that both Foldia and Iriem are the same. In fact, when I met Foldia about a year ago, he looked precisely the same as he did then.”
“R-Really?”

When Merc thought about it, she remembered Jonahim telling her that his master looked almost as young as him.

Merc had assumed Foldia had done something to make himself seem younger at the time, but if Astard was to be believed, then what Jonahim had told Merc back then was unquestionably true.

No wonder it didn’t seem like something Foldia would do. Still, what a strange occurrence.

“Fufu, you look confused. You’ve heard of the Principle of the Strong, right?”
“Principle of the Strong? Oh! That thing! It’s a quote from a professor who claimed that the strong are only strong since they are winners. I’m not sure what the phrase means, but wasn’t it first introduced a few years before we beat the Falgaro?”

Astard nodded with a wry smile as Merc revealed her half-baked information from her prior life.

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“That’s right. If we are to be precise, the theory was introduced by Dr. Zoana Glodel in the Chulice Empire 20 years ago. It states that, ‘the strong are strong because they acquire life force by killing others’ … In other words, whether you’re a human or a Magic Beast, killing your opponent earns you a significant part of their strength1.”

It had been a genuinely groundbreaking theory.

Prior to the discovery of that theory, it was thought that by practicing through repeated battles, one may develop skill, experience, and physical strength.

Dr. Glodel’s research revealed, however, that when a living entity possessing Mana died, their Mana was absorbed as life force by others around them. Naturally, the more powerful the entity slain, the more life force was gained.

In other words, those who defeated the strong got stronger, and they were able to continue winning without dying, accumulating even more strength.

“Oh, so it was like that. And? Does this theory really matter?”
“You bet it does. The reason that I and Foldia have ceased aging most likely has to do with defeating the Falgaro and acquiring its life force.”

Astard’s face flushed with pride, as if he’d just made a major revelation. Merc gave him an exaggerated nod as she stared him in the eyes.

“I see, I see. So, what does that mean?”

She then asked, immediately tilting her head.

“Good grief… Listen closely. A living entity will die if their Mana is completely depleted. As a result, we may conclude that Mana can also be referred to as Life Force.”
“I see. So?”
“After we defeated the Falgaro, the enormous amount of Life Force it contained was inevitably shared through only a few people, considerably amplifying our power. And a part of that increase of power is manifesting itself in the form of our aging.”
“Hmph. I see. I’m still not sure what you’re talking about, but if you say so, it must be true. So, where does this leave me? I’m pretty sure I didn’t absorb that kind of Life Force, because I was reincarnated before I stopped aging in the first place.”
“I feel you’ve absorbed the Falgaro’s life force as well.”

Astard stated something unexpected in answer to Merc’s query.

“Huh? How can that be? I died, didn’t I?”
“Your fatal wounds most likely couldn’t be completely healed despite you acquiring the life force. Foldia probably managed to kill the Falgaro before you breathed your last. Then we absorbed the Falgaro’s life force, you included. But, because your body had reached its limit, only your soul had acquired the life force and was kept together by it, left to wander this world, in the end resulting in your reincarnation as an elf2.”



References

  1. Robinxen: Oh so it’s an in-universe explanation of a pseudo-level mechanic.
  2. Robinxen: Well it’s mostly fair.

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