|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1263 words|
Merc was able to cross the lake with Totoara on her back and reach the opposite side’s small green meadows. There were a few trees here and there, but not enough to call it a forest. Regardless, it was a peaceful ambiance.
The sun had nearly entirely set by the time both got to the meadow, so it immediately got dark before they could move. And considering Totoara couldn’t see in the dark, they likely wouldn’t be able to progress any further. They had no choice but to camp out here today.
“What should we do? Do you want me to keep watch tonight?”
“Hm… To be honest, that’d be great.”
Merc had easily caught and cooked a small animal shortly after they arrived. However, after eating, drowsiness had suddenly swept over her. She had most likely used up a lot of Mana while crossing the lake. Merc felt like she could fall asleep at any moment.
Because Totoara had presented the notion of maintaining a watch, Merc had no reason to refuse her offer.
Merc had already been traveling with Totoara for four days. Of course, there had been occasions when they rotated keeping watch, and Totoara had never acted suspiciously.
First and foremost, if she had desired to harm Merc, she should have had a plethora of other opportunities. Merc carrying her over the lake had been one such case. However, despite that Merc hadn’t felt any hostility from Totoara. Which is precisely why Merc trusted her.
Even though Merc’s body was constantly wrapped in Mana Hardening as she slept, she trusted Totoara enough to let her keep an eye on the area.
“Wake me up in around two hours.” Merc said after which she fell into an unusually deep sleep.
“Okay. Go ahead and rest.”
Totoara smiled as she watched Merc drift off. There wasn’t anything strange about this exchange.
After around an hour, Merc awoke unexpectedly. Although the area was pitch dark, Merc was able to see properly because of her eyes. Only the short grass and a few scattered trees surrounded her.
It was deadly silent, save for the noises of insects making their homes in the grass and trees. Merc could also feel that there wasn’t any Magic Beast or large animals in the area. The Mana she sensed in the region was quite weak, leading her to assume that there was no danger.
However, it was way too quiet.
The Mana is weak?
That shouldn’t have been the case. That’s because Totoara, who was supposed to be keeping a watch on Merc, had a significant quantity of Mana. There was no way Merc could have overlooked her.
Even weirder was the fact that Totoara was nowhere to be found. She had always stood next to Merc when maintaining watch till today. She’d never gone anywhere she couldn’t be seen by Merc.
Did she go to the toilet?
Merc thought as she instantly expanded her search, but she was unable to detect Totoara’s Mana.
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If she was merely going to the toilet, there’s no need for her to go so far.
“Just where did she… Huh?”
Merc suddenly felt like she heard something. She quickly directed her search in the direction of the voice, and she felt a reaction as she did so. The Mana that she felt was none other than Totoara’s.
“She could conceal her Mana?”
Totoara had followed Merc at the start of their trip by skillfully erasing her presence, but she hadn’t been able to conceal her mana. Merc had believed Totoara wasn’t very good at Mana Manipulation as a result of this but based on the way Totoara was concealing her Mana right now, that didn’t appear to be the case.
This left Merc completely confused. She couldn’t understand why she had kept this a secret until now, or why she had gone to such lengths to distance herself from Merc.
Because Totoara was talking, Merc thought she was conversing with someone else, but she couldn’t detect any other signals of Mana in the vicinity of Totoara. It would be a different story if there was someone who could hide their Mana even better than Totoara, but Merc felt Totoara was alone.
Is she singing?
After pondering about it for a bit Merc decided to retract all her Mana back inside her body. She then suppressed it and concealed herself as she moved closer to Totoara, making sure she didn’t draw attention to herself.
Merc couldn’t ignore Totoara’s odd conduct because she was her travel companion. Merc hid behind a tree and examined Totoara, noting that she was definitely alone.
“What? The Zetesta group is completely wiped out? How in the world do you lose against Belball with no Mana…? I guess the timing was bad. What, there are even casualties? Well, you could call it a blessing in disguise.”
What? Just who is she talking with?
Totoara had a small stone lifted to her lips with her right hand and was excitedly chatting about something. Merc was taken aback by the bizarre sight, but she quickly recalled something when she heard a faint voice coming from the stone.
I see… That’s a Transmission Magic Stone.
The Transmission Magic Stone was still a work in progress during Merc’s time as Estert 15 years ago. It functioned by dividing a Magic Stone, a sort of stone that contained a particular Mana, in half and delivering each half to two separate people. It was reported at the time that you could use the pieces to converse even from a distance.
Merc wasn’t familiar with the Magic Stone’s inner workings, but she did know that it retained its properties even when split in half, allowing the two people holding it to grasp each other’s position and transmit Mana via it. As a result, whenever one of the people spoke to the Magic Stone, his Mana was transported as sound to the other half of the stone.
Merc had been doubtful about it at the time since she hadn’t seen it, and she had forgotten about it. However, it appeared that the stone had been finished at this time.
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“What? Oh, her. She’s definitely passing. She’s been completing the trials one by one in a way that the Guild never expected. I also tested her ability as a Healer, and I can say that she’s the real deal… To be honest I am eager to see what kind of monster she’ll become in the future. Don’t you feel the same, Zal?”
The Guild? Trials?
When Merc heard Totoara’s words, she suddenly felt as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Totoara’s ability and friendly attitude were far too developed for an examinee.
The unsettling sensation Merc had about her, despite the fact that Totoara wasn’t displaying any animosity. Her strange actions at that time. It all suddenly made sense to Merc.
“So? What should we do for the final trial? Hmph… A Dolm Gurin1 huh. It will be too simple for her, but since this is still an exam, I suppose it is fine.”
Merc quietly moved away from Totoara and returned to her original position. She then once again cast Mana Hardening on herself and closed her eyes. She was planning to wait for Totoara to come and wake her up.
Merc, on the other hand, couldn’t get a wink of sleep despite closing her eyes. That was because she had discovered that Totoara, the one who had traveled with her these past few days, was actually an examiner2.
- TL/N: Dolm Gurin literally translated to Sturdy Hog
- Robinxen: Woah… she only JUST figured that out? Like… it wasn’t obvious from the start? She held ZERO doubt this entire time?