|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1096 words|
“Come to think of it, where are Kena and Tetem?”
Merc became curious as the discussion came to a close and asked Astard. She couldn’t detect any other presence in the house but hers and Astard’s at the moment. Astard, who had been quietly reading the documents that Merc had handed, turned to face her.
“They went shopping. Tetem woke up while you were gone, but she was so terrified that she didn’t say a word…”
“It’s hard to blame her. Doctor Glodel was taken in front of her eyes. So you let her go with Tetem in order to help her relax?”
“That’s right. Tetem objected, but it was preferable than staying in this gloomy house.”
“You are aware that this is your home…”
After disregarding his own home, Astard returned his attention to the documents. Merc, on the other hand, had a few more questions.
“Was it really okay to let them go? What if the Count’s men show up?”
“There won’t be a problem. Kena can hold her own in a fight. She is more than capable of handling the Count’s men. Plus, just in case, one of my Magic Beasts is keeping an eye on them.”
“Hmph. You certainly hold Kena in high regard. Wasn’t she just a freeloader who collapsed in front of your house?”
Merc said, hoping to rile up Astard. However, Astard simply gazed at her with a puzzled expression.
“I see. So you didn’t notice. Her everyday movements reveal that she has been trained.”
“She also has more Mana than the average person and based on the flow of her Mana, it’s evident she can use magic as well… Isn’t it obvious that she’s capable of holding her own in a fight?”
“I guess it is…”
This b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲. He’s actually arguing back!
Because of Astard’s wits, Merc had never won any arguments. If the conversation became logical, Merc would become perplexed and eventually give up. She’d never been able to reveal his true feelings.
This time, though, she was determined to get his opinion on the subject, no matter what. All for the sake of the sweet girl who had come all this way, after all these years, purely because she admired him.
But the only time Astard’s honest is when he’s drunk… Huh? Come to think of it…
“Didn’t you say something like, ‘Kena, you’ve gotten so big haven’t you?’ the other day when you were drunk and saw Kena?” Merc inquired, seeking to verify the events of the previous day.
When Astard heard that, his expression shifted somewhat. Even if it was only for a split second, Merc didn’t miss it.
“What might you be talking about… I don’t recall much about my drunken stupors.”
“Perhaps you said that because of your awkward position at the time. Or maybe it was because you knew that Kena was the daughter of the inn where you freeloaded at.”
“Hmph. It seems I can’t fool you.”
Astard responded with a wry smile, recognizing the firm confidence in Merc’s eyes. In other words, he had finally confirmed that Kena was no simple freeloader.
“It was odd. There’s no way you take someone in just because they collapsed next to your house. And to let them freeload on top of that. There was simply no way.”
“That’s a harsh way of putting it, but you’re right. If it hadn’t been Kena, I wouldn’t have let them in or let them freeload. I last saw her when I was 17 and she was three years old. Despite the fact that it’s been 17-18 years since then, I was confident it was her. Her name was also the same. I’d be a fool if I didn’t notice it.”
“Then why are you acting as if you don’t know? You even let her stay here. I doubt you have any ill feelings towards her. Furthermore, I’ve met her before, so you could have at the very least informed me.”
Astard made an uncommonly puzzled expression as if he’d been asked something strange.
“Why am I acting this way? That’s because it seemed to me that Kena did not want me to know the truth. I’m pretending not to know because she presumably wants to keep it a secret, and that’s also why I didn’t tell you anything. Isn’t that what you do in these cases?”
“You had to go and do stupid things, didn’t you?”
“Well, excuse me. For starters, I’m surprised that you even managed to figure out that Kena was the girl from back then. That’s quite a feat for you.”
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In truth, Merc had been told directly, but because Astard’s view of Merc had improved, she opted to keep it a secret. Furthermore, this was not the main issue here.
“Astard. You’re probably well aware that Kena didn’t just pass out next to your house like that. She’s most likely interested in becoming your disciple.”
“I realize that’s impossible right now, but think about it once we’ve worked out things with Count Fonan. She’s talented, and she’s come all the way from the Kingdom of Sphinia to find you. If that doesn’t show determination, then I don’t know what does.”
Kena’s ultimate purpose wasn’t to become Astard’s disciple, but rather to become his lover, as Merc knew.
However, Astard’s heart was still with Iriem, so Kena couldn’t simply take a shortcut to the finish line. She had to gradually race to the finish line. As a result, Merc wanted to at least assist her in becoming his disciple. Even if it meant intruding on their affair.
“Aren’t you the one holding her in high regard? Still, I suppose I’ll think about it. But that is only after we’ve dealt with this matter.” Astard replied, after casting a suspicious look at Merc
Astard’s willing acceptance of Merc’s proposal indicated that he was not entirely opposed to taking Kena on as an apprentice. It showed that he was fond of her in his own way.
“It’s time for me to deliver these documents to Duke Lezau. After a few days, the Duke will most likely go after the Count. But first I must go to the Guild. Would you like to come as well?”
“I’ll pass. There’s something I have to do.”
“What may that be?”
Astard asked with a puzzled expression. Merc, on the other hand, simply smiled at him in response.
“I’ve gotten rusty, so I thought about doing some Alchemy stuff. Furthermore, I’ll also be able to repay Kena for lending me her things.”