Chapter 86 – Triumph

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Author: Tsunose Bun Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3024 characters
Translator: Jiro English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1672 words
Editor(s): Robinxen

“… What?”

After some thought, Merc tilted her head, unable to comprehend the words that came out of Astard’s mouth.

“You mean… you’re going to disguise yourself as a woman and try to seduce the Count?”

I see, I see. Astard might pass for quite the beauty if he dressed as a woman.

Astard, on the other hand, was taken aback when he heard Merc’s allegation.

“What?”
“Huh? Then are you perhaps planning to drag Kena into this?”
“No. Like I said. You’ll go after Count Fonan.”

Astard stared at Merc with a puzzled expression on his face, but Merc still couldn’t comprehend what he was saying.

“I’ll do what to Count Fonan?”
“Seduce him, of course… Rumor has it that the Count is quite the womanizer. He’s a sucker for attractive women and young ladies.”
“Stop there. What does this have to do with me seducing him? Did you eat something funny?”
“As things stand, this is the most efficient means of obtaining information from the Count. Let’s do our best.”
“Let’s do our best my a̲s̲s̲! I’ll be the one doing all the work! Don’t thumbs up me! And why are you acting so excited all of a sudden?! I’ll be the one doing all of the work?!”

Even Merc, who had been prepared to do everything she could to assist Doctor Glodel, was taken aback by Astard’s unusual request. For starters, she didn’t think her seduction could help them save the Doctor.

“First of all, just how do you think…”
“I’m sorry for the wait.”

When Kena appeared, carrying refreshments, Astard and Merc paused their strategy discussion for a moment. They immediately entrusted the care of the sleeping Tetem to Kena and proceeded to Astard’s study.

“Huh? But the drinks…”

Merc heard Kena’s bewildered voice, but owing to the urgency of the situation, she just bowed her head in rejection.

“There are a few roadblocks you’ll have to overcome in your attempts to woo the Count.”
“Look here… What happened to my apprehension about seducing the Count?!”
“The first roadblock is your appearance. You’re already attractive and feminine, however, you appear to be far too masculine. This makes it harder for the Count to take the bite, and it’s also possible that the Count’s servants are aware of your appearance.”
“Are you even listening?!”
“However, I suppose Kena can make you more feminine, so there’s that.”

Astard strode about the room, contemplating as if Merc’s remarks had gone unnoticed. Merc, or rather Estert knew.
 
She realized that in Astard’s current condition, he wouldn’t listen to anything unless it was absolutely worthwhile.

“Next is how to get you to meet the Count. If the rumors are true, we can expect that the Count will surely take the bait as soon as he sees you all dressed up.”
“How delightful…”
“However, that won’t work unless he sees you first. So we’ll have to figure out a way to get him to notice you. Let me see… Why don’t you ‘accidentally’ fall in front of his carriage when he’s out and about in town? If the rumors are legitimate, he will undoubtedly come out.”
“If he does come out, I’m going to beat the living daylights out of him.”
“Now that everything has been settled, it’s time for me to go out and start preparing. You stay here and rest while keeping an eye on Tetem. Well then!”
“What? Wait!”

Although nothing had been decided in Merc’s views, Astard dashed out of the room and vanished immediately.
 
Merc thought about going after him, but she knew that doing so would be meaningless. Because Merc had no alternative plans, it would be nearly impossible to persuade Astard, who had already made up his mind, to change his mind. She could stop him by force, but their ‘old friends’ weren’t there to talk with him afterwards to handle any issues that could arise.

Currently, there wasn’t anything that Merc could do.

“What a selfish b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲.”

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Merc returned to the guest room with a sigh of disappointment. There, Merc discovered Tetem lying on a bed, as well as Kena, who was gazing over her with a friendly smile on her face.

“How is Tetem?”

After entering the room, Merc said, and Kena turned around in a panic to gaze at her.

“S-She’s fine. She’s just asleep, I believe. Could this girl be Miss Tetem?”
“Huh? You know? Of course, you do. Her name’s on the letters.”

Tetem’s name had appeared on all of Doctor Glodel’s letters to Astard. Kena, who had handed Astard the letter, would, of course, be familiar with the name.

“To be honest, I’m surprised that the Great Sage has been communicating with such a young lady.”
“To his credit, he and this girl don’t have any sort of special relationship. He isn’t that oblivious.”
“What?”

It would be upsetting for Merc if one of her old pals was suspected of being a pedophile, so she said what she did to back Astard up.
 
But, based on Kena’s expression, it seems to have been unneeded. She even looked at Merc with a puzzled expression.

“Because the Great Sage is a kind man, he must have had a reason to rescue Miss Tetem.”
“Y-You’re right.”
“That being said, I feel very sad for this child for being left all alone at such a young age.”
“Well…”

Indeed, Kena’s assumption that Tetem’s only remaining relative, the professor, was ‘killed’ in the attack seemed understandable given Astard’s narrative. Everybody would come to the same conclusion.

In reality, neither Merc nor Astard knew if the professor was genuinely safe. As a result, Merc could only side with Kena at this moment.

“What happened to the attackers?”
“They haven’t been caught, but Astard and I will take care of it. We won’t let anyone lay a finger on this girl.”

Although Merc didn’t think that Count Fonan would go for Tetem at this point, she stated so to soothe Kena.
 
Merc, despite saying that, had not given up her suspicions regarding Kena.

Merc couldn’t imagine Kena approaching Astard with any malicious intentions after seeing her gentle smile towards Tetem, who had just lost her relatives and was still unconscious. Nevertheless, Merc was certain that Kena had ulterior objectives.
 
That was something she couldn’t help but feel.

“This is an excellent chance. Miss Kena, there’s something that I’d like to ask you.”
“Hm? What is it?”
“Why did you approach Astard?”
“……?!”

Kena’s eyes widened for a brief moment as she heard Merc’s straightforward remark, and then she tilted her head with a puzzled smile.

“W-What do you mean?”
“Don’t play dumb. You have a good amount of Mana, and the way you move around demonstrates that you can hold on your own in a fight.”
“……”
“I find it hard to believe that someone like you would collapse out of hunger.”

Kena kept smiling awkwardly at Merc, who stated this while staring at her with unyielding eyes.

“Y-You’re overestimating me. I am really clumsy. I make mistakes all the time.”
“That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what doesn’t sit right with me!”
“Excuse me?”
“Astard is not stupid. If I can figure you out in a day, there’s no way he can’t, especially since he’s spent a lot of time with you.”
“Really?”
“Huh?”

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Kena was taken aback when she heard Merc’s comment and forgot to mask her astonishment with her smile.
 
Even Merc was startled by Kena’s stunned expression, which did not appear to be an act. Merc hadn’t expected her comment to provoke such a reaction from Kena.

“T-The Great Sage… knows? T-That’s…”
“Impossible? If he truly knew, he would have already kicked you out. The fact that he hasn’t indicates that he either doesn’t know or that you aren’t someone he needs to get rid of.”

Merc was positive that Astard knew. As a result, she was certain it was the latter. This, however, raised the question of who Kena was.

Astard wasn’t the sort to forgive someone who approached him on false pretenses. As a result, Merc inferred that Astard was aware of Kena’s true nature. When Merc gave it some more thought, she realized she’d had the impression she’d met Kena previously when she initially arrived at Astard’s home.

But… there’s no way I could forget about Kena…

Merc tilted her head whilst ogling Kena’s assertive bosom. Merc, after all, had a good memory when it came to women with big breasts.

“Come to think of it, Miss Kena. This morning you said that I seemed familiar. Who did I seem familiar to?”
“T-That was a mistake.”
“Hmph? That so? In that case, I’ll go tell Astard about you and see how he reacts. Maybe he truly has no idea.”
“N-No!”

Kena almost screamed at Merc’s remarks, but she quickly shut her mouth, as if she was worried about Tetem sleeping next to them.
 
She then drew closer to Merc with puppy eyes and began pleading in hushed tones.

“P-Please stop, Miss Merc. I never…”
“I don’t see a problem. You don’t need to feel guilty about anything, do you? I’m sure this is all a misunderstanding on my behalf, and that when I tell Astard about it, he’ll just laugh it off.”
“P-Please!”

Kena leaned over and gazed up at Merc, clinging to the hem of Merc’s clothes.

Merc’s desires from her prior life as a man were stirred by the big-breasted beauty’s teary-eyed gesture. Those desires then began to boil ferociously inside Merc’s body.

Wait, wait! T-This is not right!

“I-In the end, it’s all up to you, Miss Kena. I won’t cause you any trouble if you honestly tell me who you really are. What’s preventing you from telling me if you genuinely don’t want to hurt Astard?”
“Okay… I’ll tell you.”

Merc removed Kena’s arm from the hem of her garments while suppressing the ulterior motives that were rushing through her head. This was a moment where reason triumphed over instinct.



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