|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1067 words|
After Zera, aka Merc, was chased out of the Count’s mansion, she checked to make sure no one was following her before running a few errands and returning to Astard’s house.
After learning that Merc, who was sitting in the doorway after closing the front door, had returned, Astard emerged from the back of the house.
“Good job… Those are Kena’s clothes, right? Go and get changed before you dirty them, okay?”
“Hey! Cut me some slack would you? It’s not easy pretending all day.”
“Come to my room once you’ve changed.”
When Merc glanced at him in protest over his curt comments, Astard huffed and mumbled, then walked away. Only when Astard was completely wasted did he show any signs of friendliness.
“In any event, he’s right. I don’t want Kena’s clothes to get filthy.”
Merc was able to change quickly in the room that had been provided for her, putting on her customary outfit, partly thanks to the fact that her mind was more tired than her body.
She then proceeded to Astard’s room to report on what had happened.
“It’s safe to assume that things didn’t go as planned based on the time it took you and the fact that the professor isn’t standing next to you. Did you find his location?”
Astard asked as soon as Merc entered the room. Their aim had been to take back Doctor Glodel once they discovered his whereabouts.
But it had turned out that it wasn’t a question of whether or not they knew his whereabouts.
“It pains me to say this, but the professor is already dead. I can’t bring him, as much as I’d like to.”
“…?! Impossible! Are they really that stupid? Even if the professor did ultimately reveal his results, they’d still need him alive to confirm them or further the research… That much should have been obvious!”
Astard, likely taken aback by Doctor Glodel’s death, lost his normal cool demeanor and voiced his rage. Even he, the Great Sage, most likely did not expect such a development.
“Calm down. They didn’t expect it to happen as well. If anything, he may well have taken his own life.”
“The professor? The professor I know holds his granddaughter in high regard. He’s not the type to take his own life and abandon her.”
“Perhaps the torture was just that harsh.”
“I’ll never forgive them…”
Merc tried to calm him down, but Astard’s anger grew even stronger. His frail eyes became sharp, and his clasped hands shook, presumably with rage.
“And? You’re not going to tell me the only thing you discovered after breaking in was that the professor was dead, are you?”
With an intimidating glare, Astard asked, seemingly implying that if such was the case, he wouldn’t forgive Merc. However, Merc simply shook her head sideways.
“Of course not. The insurance plan you thought up worked perfectly. I obtained some documents that had been hidden away at the mansion. Here you go.”
Merc tossed the crumpled document she was holding onto Astard’s desk.
“They were hidden in a room disguised as a study, inside a barrier-protected wall.”
“Inside a wall? How did you take them out? Did you destroy the wall?”
“At first, I considered it. Nevertheless, if I had done so, I would have been discovered. So I simply gouged out the cavity in the wall with the letter opener that was on the desk.”
“You gouged out a wall with a letter opener?”
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Astard asked, clearly taken aback by Merc’s comment, which seemed ludicrous. Merc, on the other hand, simply smiled at him in response.
“Did you forget? I’m an elf now. And I can also use magic. I applied Mana Hardening on it.”
“Mana Hardening… I see. In this instance, it makes sense.” Astard said, nodding in admiration.
“So, just what are these documents?”
Merc, slightly embarrassed by Astard’s praise, urged Astard to review the documents. Astard hurriedly unfolded the crumpled documents and examined them with a serious gaze.
“This is a secret accounting book. It backs up the Count’s frauds. I can’t say much more right now, but it’ll be interesting to compare it to the Count’s accounting book that he’s presented to the Duke.”
“And this one?”
“This is evidence that the Count has had dealings with the Empire. It gives details regarding their collaboration in the search for Doctor Glodel, as well as the Count’s reward.”
“I see. Despite my best efforts, it appears that I failed to find the professor’s research.”
Astard waved the documents in the air and looked over at Merc, who sat in a nearby chair.
“That’s not quite right. With these, the Duke will surely act. All we have to do now is inform Duke Lezau of these documents and overrun the Count’s mansion. Then we’ll surely find the research papers.”
“Then my effort wasn’t all for nothing?”
“Of course. But there’s one more thing… What’s with the state of these documents? They’re crucial pieces of evidence that will expose the Count’s wrongdoings, so it wouldn’t have hurt if you could have handled them with caution.”
“Do you know where I had to hide them before I left the mansion?”
Merc immediately glared at Astard, irritated by his senseless statements. Astard fell silent for a moment, but even he, the slow Great Sage, seemed to have figured it out. He shifted his focus to Merc’s chest.
“Don’t ‘Oh’ me! I had to hide my padding within the wall and replace it with documents, which I lumped into a ball1. Do you have any idea how stunned I was when the Count hugged me suddenly?”
“I’m surprised he didn’t notice…”
“Hmph. We’re well aware of the Count’s affinity for women. By that time, he was totally smitten with me. Everything went perfectly, and I even managed to retrieve the Magic Stone that I’d hidden in his pocket. If it had been me, however, I would have immediately sensed something was amiss with the breasts as soon as they touched me.”
Merc grinned smugly. In contrast, Astard simply stared at her with an incomprehensible expression on his face.
“Nevertheless, good work. We can now overthrow the Count. I’ll show them why they never should have messed with Doctor Glodel.”
Astard said this after dropping his head to mourn the dead, his eyes blazing with resolve, which was rare for him.