|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1443 words|
After receiving the water from Luzei, Merc followed the map and headed to the city of Logholt.
She noticed Jonahim looking at her with a hesitant expression just before she left, but she pretended she didn’t notice. Merc wanted him to make the most of his well-deserved vacation. Adventuring, like any other job, required rest. It was important to rest and to know how to make the most out of that rest.
“Well then… I guess this place should be fine.”
After leaving the City of Ende and following the red line for a while, Merc found herself on a secluded forest road. After confirming that there wasn’t anyone else Merc turned around and said, “It’s about time you came out. I’ve known you’ve been there ever since I left the Guild.”
In the following moment, a silhouette of a person could be seen coming from the shadow of a tree.
“So you did know…”
The person that came out was a blue haired girl. It was Totoara, one of the other examinees. Totoara scratched her cheek in an embarrassed manner as she approached, most likely because she had been discovered.
“You were acting weirdly at times, so I assumed I’d been discovered, but it’s hard to believe you knew I was here from the start.”
“Unfortunately for you I have keen senses.”
In reality, Merc had discovered Totoara after tracing back the Mana that had become stuck on her. Merc would not have been able to find Totoara if she had been able to conceal her magic power as well.
That merely went to demonstrate how good Totoara was at concealing herself.
“So, why did you follow me?”
“Well… I decided to go on foot as well. So I thought that it’d be better to go with you rather than going alone, wouldn’t you agree? Unfortunately, I was unable to find a suitable time to appear.”
That story sounded plausible to Merc, but it didn’t explain why Totoara needed to hide herself so much, so Merc couldn’t completely trust Totoara, even if she hadn’t shown any signs of animosity.
“By the way, why didn’t you get on the Belball carriage? It would have been much quicker and more secure.”
“I can ask you the same thing.”
Totoara responded casually. She then approached Merc and answered in a friendly tone.
“My reason is quite simple. It’s because all of the other examinees were men.”
“Didn’t you notice? Besides you and me, all of the other examinees were men. If you were to go, I’d be left alone inside that horde of guys. And for several days at that… There was no way I was going to stay behind.”
“Oh… You have a point.”
Merc had completely overlooked this fact.
It was clearly unsafe to leave a girl alone with a dozen men. And not just any ordinary men, but adventure candidates. The majority of them had a reputation for being violent and nasty. Spending time with those types of men would undoubtedly be dangerous.
She does have some appealing parts about her.
While glancing at the chest of the approaching Totoara, Merc thought. Totoara was a typical woman. She was attracted to men. If she found someone she liked she would likely fall in love with him.
Which was what had led her to think of that situation.
Merc, on the other hand, held a different viewpoint, owing to the fact that she lived her first lifetime as a man.
Nonetheless, she could understand why a girl may be afraid in the presence of a gang of men now that she’d been told. Merc, on the other hand, would not have realized it on her own.
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“Let me send the question right back to you. Why didn’t you use the carriage? From your reaction just now I assume your reason is different from mine.”
Totoara inquired with a smile on her face after getting within a hand’s reach of Merc. Without a doubt, she was anticipating Merc’s response.
“Me… Well… You saw those three Belballs right? Those three appear to be in a peculiar state.”
“A peculiar state? What do you mean by that? Are they sick or something?”
Totoara said, having fully lost her calm, most likely as a result of Merc’s unexpected response. She apparently hadn’t noticed the Belballs’ strange behavior.
“Well you could say that it’s a type of illness. Say, Totoara, are you aware that, despite their usefulness and gentleness, Belballs have been known to attack humans?”
“What? Well yea… They’re Magic Beasts after all… If they’re angry or hungry it’s not strange for them to attack.”
When Merc heard Totoara’s response, she chuckled a little. That was because, while Totoara’s response wasn’t wholly false, those reasons could apply to any regular horse or beast. They weren’t unique to the Belballs.
The anomaly that Merc had discovered, on the other hand, was unique to the Belballs.
“They’re suffering from a symptom known as Magic Outburst. The horn of most beast type Magic Beast is a reserve used to store Mana. If the horn is damaged in any way, the Mana that has accumulated inside it begins to disperse. The Magic Beast is then driven insane by the pain caused by the Mana leaking.”
“Whoa. I didn’t know that such an illness existed. But the Belballs in front of the Guild didn’t seem like they were suffering from that…”
“That’s because their horns aren’t fully damaged. They only had cracks on them. In the following two to three days, I expect them to fully break.”
“Can it be cured?”
“If a salve is applied to the cracks in the horn as soon as they appear it can. The horns of the Belballs in front of the Guild, on the other hand, were already beyond repair. There’s nothing that can be done for them.”
Totoara knitted her brows suspiciously as Merc concluded her statement.
“This is the first time I’m hearing of such a condition.”
“That’s normal. It’s quite rare after all. Only people who raise Belballs or are closely acquainted with them are aware of this1.”
Because Merc had been in charge of looking after the animals in the elf village, she had seen instances of a Belball’s horn getting damaged and it running rampant. However, she would not have experienced a case of Magic Outburst had she not cared for the animals in the village. It was just such a rare symptom.
That’s why Merc thought it was weird that all three Belballs in front of the Guild had the same symptom. After all, such a coincidence was unthinkable. This just led Merc to believe that it was staged by someone.
“It doesn’t matter if it was a coincidence or if someone set it up. The only thing that matters is that the Belballs will undoubtedly succumb to the Magic Outburst before reaching Logholt. With that in mind I decided not to get on the carriage.”
“You’re quite mean, you know that. You could have told everyone.”
“This is just a guess on my part. I wouldn’t be able to take responsibility if my assumption was incorrect, and there’s no assurance they’d be able to reach even if they went on foot. In the end I decided that it would be best not to say anything.”
To begin with, Merc had no obligation to tell them anything.
They had been informed that they could utilize whatsoever methods necessary to be at the appointed location on time. Everyone was free to make their own choices.
In the end, even if those Belballs did suffer from the Magic Outburst, they would be no different than normal horses once their Mana was depleted. The other examinees could probably take them down.
Only the Belballs who had lost their Mana would most likely perish.
“Well, to be honest, I likely would have done the same thing. After all, they didn’t seem like the type of people to listen to what others told them.”
Totoara, who had been wearing a solemn expression just moments ago, stated in a playful tone with a smile on her face. The girl’s sudden shift of expression caught Merc completely off guard.
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“Doesn’t this imply that refusing to take the carriage and instead opting to walk was the better option?”
“That’s right. That is, if you trust my hypothesis.”
“Of course I do. You look way more trustworthy than that Grade 3 Adventurer Brega2. That’s why I’d like to ask you once more… Please let me come with you to Logholt!”
Totoara said this as she bowed and clasped her hands together.