|Author: Tsunose Bun||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3024 characters|
|Translator: Jiro||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1342 words|
Merc, who took turns with Totoara in the middle of the night, woke her up the next morning and they had a modest meal. Even though it was still early in the morning, they departed right away since they didn’t have time. However, it wasn’t before long that Totoara spoke to Merc.
“Merc, is there something wrong?”
Merc, who had been walking quietly, came to a halt and turned around to respond.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s just that you look kind of down. So, I was curious if there was something troubling you.”
Totoara was certainly sharp when it came to these things. Perhaps it was also because Merc couldn’t hide her emotions very well.
I’ve always been bad at concealing my emotions, haven’t I…
Merc could have as much fun as she wanted teasing other people, but she couldn’t hide her feelings when it came to serious matters. That was also why, as a child, her Estert personality would occasionally manifest. She had also suffered a lot in her previous life as a result of this, but that wasn’t something that concerned her current self.
So, how should I get through this…
After failing to find the words to mislead Totoara, Merc shook her head with a sour smile. After all, she knew she couldn’t fool the clever Totoara no matter what she tried.
“Ah… I guess I’m not very good at keeping secrets.”
“Totoara. I’ll be frank. Are you an examiner?”
Merc said, leaving Totoara stunned. However, that only lasted for a moment as Totoara quickly put forth a bright smile.
“Me? An examiner? Wouldn’t that mean that I work for the Guild? That’s a strange question. Just where did this come from?”
“I’ve had an uneasy feeling about you from the first time we met.”
Totoara inquired, her face locked in surprise at the unexpected response.
“The first time we met you called me Young Miss, didn’t you?”
“Huh? But that’s normal, isn’t it? Could it be that you’re actually a man?”
“Wh?! O-Of course not! T-There’s no way I’m a m-man…”
“I was joking. If you were a man, then all of the women around the world would have no choice but to give up… Still, why are you acting like I just hit a sore spot?”
That was because she actually had hit one. Merc was able to restore her composure after taking some time to calm down.
“A-Ahem. To continue from where I left off. The moment you called me Young Miss I knew there was something off about you. Following that, I rummaged through my recollections and discovered that out of all the young women you were the first to refer to me as Young Miss.”
“… What? You must be joking.”
“I’m serious. Even though some women have referred to me as such, they have never done it during our first meeting. For starters, Young Miss is something you use to address those way younger than you.”
“Then what’s wrong with me using it? After all, I’m 22 years old, while you’re just 14. What’s wrong with me calling you…”
“I don’t remember telling you my age.”
Totoara had known Merc’s age from the beginning, despite the fact that Merc had never told her.
“Come to think of it, when you came out shortly after following me, you also remarked you would have never thought I had just become an adult. That is to say, even though you didn’t see me as a child, you were aware that I was 14.”
It wasn’t something that she was proud of, but Merc certainly looked older for her age. Most people would assume she was in her early twenties, and the only individuals who would refer to her as Young Miss would be men or women far older than she.
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Totoara, on the other hand, had called her Young Miss from the beginning, implying that she was well aware of their age gap. This was the thing that had caught Merc’s attention the most.
“Of course, I’m sure that you also have something that you wish to say as well, so I’ll gladly listen to your opinion.”
Merc spoke out, leading Totoara to respond. Totoara, on the other hand, merely averted her eyes downwards.
“That look… You’re basically saying that you won’t believe me no matter what I say.”
“I guess I made a mistake right from the start… Your senses are quite sharp, I’ll give you that. That’s correct. The Guild informed me that you are 14 years old. I couldn’t help but think of you as a kid, despite the way you looked.”
“So, you’re confessing to being an examiner?”
“That’s right. Although, I’m only an adventurer that was hired to do a job. I’m not a proper Guild employee.”
Totoara said with a cheerful smile on her face. For the first time, Merc felt like she was witnessing her genuine self.
“You admitted it quite easily. You had a lot of ways to try and fool me.”
Merc talked honestly, shocked that Totoara had opted to come out so easily. She had thought that Totoara would try to fool her at least a little bit.
Totoara, for example, could have told Merc that she had overheard Nona’s conversation with her. There would still be certain things that wouldn’t add up, but it would make sense that Totoara was aware of Merc’s age.
Even if she tried to say something, it wouldn’t have worked given that I overheard her last night.
Even if Totoara had tried to do anything, all Merc had to do was bring up last night’s occurrence. By doing so Totoara would have no choice but to admit. However, Totoara’s confession came so quickly that Merc was left slightly disappointed.
“I was planning on giving it my all, but I really aren’t any good at hiding my emotions as well. I guess we’re the same.”
“There’re some other things that don’t make sense to me, is it okay if I ask you about them?”
“Hmph, of course. Now that you know, you can ask me anything. I’ll try to answer as much as I can.”
“Well then, I’ll take you up on that. First off. Why did you follow me? Also, why did you only hide your presence when you can hide your Mana as well?”
“What? You know that I can conceal my Mana as well? Impressive. Truly impressive.”
Totoara exclaimed, completely taken aback by what Merc had just said. She then crossed her arms and nodded many times in an adult-like manner.
“The Guild employs examiners such as me to assist any examinees seeking to be Healers. The reason I only hid my presence was because I would eventually have to interact with you in order to do my role. I did it so that you could find me.”
“An assistant? But when I applied, I said that I didn’t want any helpers…”
“You see, Healers are rather uncommon. Other positions have plenty of applicants, and it doesn’t really matter, but the Guild really wishes that Healers and other support candidates pass the exam. Which is why people who deny an assistant during the application are always secretly sent an assistant… But I suppose you didn’t actually need one.”
“Is it really okay to tell me that?”
What Totoara told Merc was most likely knowledge that the examinees weren’t allowed to know. Even though Merc had asked her and already knew her actual identity, she thought Totoara shouldn’t have told her.
“It’s fine. It wouldn’t be okay if you were taking the exam a second time, but since you are certain to pass this time, it’s no biggie. And it doesn’t affect me if you tell other examinees about it afterwards.”
“That’s just too sloppy…”
Merc was taken aback, but she recognized that was Totoara’s way of showing her trust. Totoara was certain that Merc would keep this a secret. And Merc, for her part, had no intention of telling anyone.
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