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“I am actually a herbalist born in a village in the ravine.”
Anorun showed a faraway look.
“I am the grandchild of the patriarch. In the village I was called ‘young miss’. It doesn’t fit me, right?”
Anorun laughed dryly, with self-depreciation mixed in.
“My village developed various types of medicines. Mainly recovery medicine, however there were also those who created bombs and even poisons… The most famous one being ‘elixir’ I think.”
“Elixir? Is that the one said can even revive the dead?”
Hearing what Alfilis said, Anorun chuckled.
“Well, even elixir can’t revive the dead. However, no matter how grievous the condition is, it can recover them completely in one go. Something that can’t be healed with one bottle of elixir is even rarer you see.”
“I heard other than the scarcity, it also very expensive? I thought of getting one too, but I heard the price of one bottle is enough to buy a small village.”
“Well, I think the price is something on that line right now. Well, I am the only one who can create it in this world after all.”
“You can create it, Anorun!?”
“Well, do you understand how amazing I am now?”
Even without that, actually Alfilis already thought Anorun is amazing, but she just didn’t say it.
“Well I don’t have the ingredients, but I can make it if someone collected the ingredients. Our talk derailed.”
After scratching her head, Anorun continued with her talk.
“In our village, developing medicine is very important. And so, when I was seven, I was given a workshop for myself and started to research many things. And then, I think it was when I was thirteen? My grandma collapsed. Grandma said it was the limit of her lifespan. But I can’t accept that… And I started a stupid thing—I researched on how to prolong lifespan. That’s childish right?”
“You did something like that…”
Alfilis wanted to say something, but Anorun held Alfilis hand.
“It’s fine. And then I confined myself in my workshop for months researching it. And strangely, I did make a medicine which could prolong lifespan for a bit. I thought, ah even I have some talent in medicine making huh. I was happy and I wanted to quickly let my grandma drink it so I walked out from my workshop with the medicine. And then…”
Anorun’s eyes darken.
“Wh-what!? By who?”
“I don’t know.”
Anorun shook her head.
“Our medicine is like goose laying a golden egg. Of course we knew we have a lot of enemies, but because there were too many, I don’t know who did it. I was still treated as child at that time, so I don’t know any details. What a foolish tale. While I was researching the way to lengthen lifespan, everyone died…killed. Of course I was angry, but, more than that, I became afraid. I wanted to ask for help, but I also started to see everyone in the world as enemy… Embarrassingly, I cooped up in my workshop again.”
“In your workshop?”
“Yes. The workshop is wide enough to be self-sufficient. And my workshop is underground and hard to find. I thought it was my only safe place. After all the killers didn’t find me. And then I started to think ‘it is fine as long I can bring them back to life’. Perhaps I become strange in the head at that time…”
Anorun continued to talk indifferently.
“And then I don’t know how long time passed since that. I created many medicines and I tried it myself. Sometimes I made something akin to poison and almost died because of it…I thought I will die just like that, but I am surprisingly tenacious. At one time, when I was going to take ingredients in a different room, the plants were withered. They were plants with a life expectancy of thirty years. And then I thought ‘Ah, so before I realized I have become old woman huh’ and then tried to look at the mirror. Because I had none at the workshop, I never used the mirror even once. I expected I can get laugh from how hideous I became, but when I looked at the mirror, no matter how long I look, I looked like twenty years old.”
Alfilis can’t find word to say.
“At first I didn’t think much of it. While I thought having no wrinkles at that age was weird, I let it slide since I thought perhaps that’s how I look at forty. However, at one day, by some mistake, there were explosive materials that caught fire. And it was in right in front of me no less. I was blasted into pieces…or so how it should.”
“Ah, I died. With this I will be able to meet my family. What a boring life I had. I thought something like that. However, after some time passed, I woke up without a single injury. At that time, I finally realized, that I had become eternally young and immortal.”
“I also don’t understand. Perhaps one of the medicine for the various medicine I tested, or perhaps the order I tested the medicine was the important point. No matter which, I can’t confirm it anymore since my research results were burned up in the explosion. Ah, however because my immortality is different from the one from undead who forcefully moved with magic, if my head was severed, my body function will be affected thus I can’t move. I also unable to move if I starved. That’s because I can’t make infinite energy by myself. I also can’t move if frozen. The most correct view about my immortality is [return myself to the best condition]. I think.
I become hungry like normal people. And I can’t muster energy if I don’t get enough sleep. And then, because I hate my immortality, I tried many things to kill myself. But when I can’t even die after drink burning type explosive, I give up on dying.”
“Even those things…”
Alfilis looked sorrowful. The cheerful Anorun—or at least that’s how Alfilis saw her—even did something like that. It seemed Anorun really felt despair towards her life.
“Well I thought of doing something else too…but tormenting myself is not my hobby, so I think this as the heaven tell me to ‘live’. And I did have interest towards the outside world, plus in the first place my personality is happy-go-lucky. And so I gathered anything could be used in the village and began my journey. Since it has been decades, there will no one who suspected me coming from the village, I thought.”
“Then I started to join the mercenary. I decided it lightly, since I learnt some self-defence skill I thought it would work out one way or another. Well, the large part is because I became immortal though. At that time, I didn’t know how scary it was for an immortal who don’t have any skill to support the fact. I make light of life too much…Just like you when you started Alfi.”
“? Like me?”
“Like a duck carrying a leek on its back.” (TL: easy, and delicious target)
“Well, but that’s the fact. After all, as a lone female adventurer, when I entered a town, I suddenly asked a passing man ‘where I can stay for one night?’. You can imagine what happened to me after that?”
Anorun purposely left it out, but Alfilis can easily imagine what happened next. Since she experienced it too.
At the start of the adventure, in the first village. Since she wanted to confirm where’s the next village she asked a man in that place. He was strangely kind, and even treat her dinner with his comrade, and then alcohol came out. At that time Alfilis hadn’t known of her tolerance limit, and thus just drank as recommended. And then when her consciousness started to fade she faintly heard the words the they shared.
(Oi, kidnapping traveling woman again…someday the heaven will punish you, you know?)
(Hehehe…If that’s true then I might have been struck thousand times. Good grief, all women are indeed stupid, travelling alone yet nonchalantly following a man, and drink alcohol.)
(That’s right, her ignorance is to blame. We are just teaching her how severe this world is…)
(Damn you bastard, I hope you fall to the hell for once.)
(You said that, but you still mixed the anaesthetic after all, shopkeeper…When we all leave you want to have a taste yourself don’t you? You damn sly old man.)
(Well she uses my inn after all, so I need to collect the bill)
(That’s nice excuse… Just lend us the room already)
(Those people looking here, is it fine?)
(What, just let them have a taste too later as shut their mouth. This woman is a beauty you can’t find easily in this place after all, no wonder they will look.)
(But this woman has black hair you know…what if she a magician? Angry magician is scary when they angry)
(Like hell I care, she won’t be able to resist after going this far)
(You’re right… then let’s do it?)
(Wait for me!)
From there her memory become even fainter. But she thought she heard the men scream and building collapsed.
When she woken up, there was a beautiful blond Sister looking at her worriedly. After that she remembered clearly she was scolded for hours while still in her hungover state. Also the tattered men and the slanted ruin of an inn.
That’s right, Alfilis was saved by Anorun by a hair’s breadth, but there might be none who saved Anorun.
“That’s why when I met you the first time I didn’t feel you were a stranger. A perfect copy of my past self. I have experienced many painful things, and knew many awful things, but those were not a pleasant experience no matter how I stretch it. I don’t want to you to experience something I did, a woman in marriageable age like you.”
“Don’t look at me with those depressed look. It’s because of that I became strong. I have become motivated to train hard. And I became able to do many dirty stuff. I became fine even when tricking others. Humans are either using others or be used by others. The fault lies in the one being used, I seriously believe in it. Of course there are also a lot of kind people you know. There are also places where I can live peacefully, however I can’t stay in one place for too long. I won’t get old, and also won’t die. When they noticed my appearance don’t change for years, the surrounding eyes started to see me as eerie. There were also times when I was called a monster… And then at that time I met them.”
Anorun’s eyes became gentle.
“I think it has been around 150 years. At that time there were still numerous active demon kings. Well, even I said that, there were many that has been subjugated so it was not as much as when the time of the Great War. However, because there were many humans who were wrapped up in dispute amongst themselves and were unable to provide hand to subjugate the demon kings, some of them become strong enough to have a wide influence. They were small fry if you compared them to history, however because for a period of time, the demon king took back their influence and the world became unstable.
And then among them, there were a group of people who were willing to subjugate demon kings without reward. Commonly referred as ‘hero’s party’. A party consisted of a hero, a fighter, a sister, and a magician. So cliché, right? At first there were also who thought ‘that’s stupid!’. And at that time I had become as strong as I am. One of my lackey was instigated and we fought against them.”
“Complete defeat. The four of them were monsters. Especially the hero, he is in different league. I was defeated easily with one hand. As expected of a hero who received acknowledgements from many countries.”
To defeat Anorun who can chase a group of Orcs unscathed, just how strong was the her. Though Alfilis couldn’t imagine it, it might become a decent fight against Albert. Alfilis who hasn’t reach their territory of course couldn’t be compared with them though. As if showing even she can’t believe it, Anorun shrugged her shoulder and said jokingly.
“It sounds like a lie, but that was the truth. Even I can’t believe it, however what’s more unbelievable is what comes after. Do you know what the hero said at me?”
“What did he say?”
“’Please become my comrade. I need your power. Let’s save the world together!’. I thought, what a simpleton, passionate, and an irritating person. With that much power, my power is unnecessary, right? However, since I don’t have anything to do anyway, and I had a desire to show some part of the true me, I followed them.”
“Well, Anorun is kind of rebellious.”
“That can’t be helped, it’s the truth after all. And then we went to many places and experienced many things.”
Anorun talked happily. It was so different from how she talked until now.
“That time was fun. Although I made fun of him at first, that person is really a saint. He kept fighting without caring about reward or compensation, and no matter what crisis he faced he will always overcome it. And yet he never put on airs. He is someone who went to stop a kids’ brawl only to be hit and then return home. However, he is really strong, that was my honest thought. Before long, I started to fall in love with him.”
“Because no matter what kind approach I tried he doesn’t seem to noticed, at one day I visit his bed at night.”
“…May I know the result?”
“Of course. He was laying in the bed, while I stood with not even a single cloth in my body, tempting him. What do you think he said to me? ‘You-you can’t! We are not even lovers, so I don’t think it’s appropriate! Quick, wear some clothes!’. Because I can’t hold it any longer, I laughed hard.”
“That’s kind of mean isn’t it? Since you started it.”
Alfilis who thought the story will end nicely, become slightly amazed.
“Well, after all, despite he is already in such age, he was so surprised and his face was completely red—as if a young boy who saw a naked female body the first time! I reflexively asked ‘then what if I became your lover?’. And then after being frozen still for a moment he answered ‘If you don’t mind such worthless human like myself to stand beside you who have such a beautiful soul…’ There were many who have complimented my appearance, but the one who truly looked toward my heart, he was the first I think. At that time, I thought I will follow him forever.”
Anorun’s face dyed in red like a young girl as she talked. How she truly loved him, was pretty obvious for Alfilis.