Chapter 3: A Meeting Brought About by a Natural Disaster (3)
Astraea couldn’t remember much after having finished treating the young man. As far as she could guessed, her fatigue must have piled up which lead to her falling asleep just like that.
She gave her bed, her duvet, and in the end, her blanket to the young man, with nothing left for her— when that happened, she saw that she could only lean on the wall for rest.
But for another person’s face to fall into view the very moment she woke up… There’s no helping that her brain hadn’t caught up to things.
“W-who are you…!?”
Astraea stepped back as she shouted and smacked her head into the wall. She felt a loud noise resound inside her head. It hurts. Despite being immortal, painful things are still painful. Her head throbbed in pain as she thought, How did this…, and finally remembered what had happened.
“A-are you okay…?”
“Y-Yes. Leaving that aside, looks like you’re awake. Were you able to get a good rest?”
That’s right, I brought this young man back with me yesterday.
The young man looked obviously flustered.
“Y-yeah… but how about you, are you really okay?”
“Please don’t mind me.”
While saying that, Astraea’s head finally cleared up.
Now that I think about it, I didn’t just bring back this man, but a horse too— The moment she thought that, the horse made a sound.
…I might have noticed a lot of things faster if you had made a sound much earlier,.
While thinking that, Astraea made a light coughed.
Well, this guy seems healthy enough, so all should be good now, right?
She was still slightly worried, but there seemed to be no problem.
If he’s fine, then that saves me some time.
“Since you’re awake, please leave quickly. Be thankful I treated you.”
“Wait, that’s… As expected, it was you who saved me, right?”
“That’s right. You have any complaints?”
If he hadn’t seen me looking so unsightly, I would have sent him off much more smoothly.
However, seeing that their less-than-skillful first meeting had been taken care off, Astraea let her impatience get the best of her. She was aware of how blunt she was, it was more so than necessary. But she couldn’t do anything about the words she had already said. Whatever will be, will be, as they say.
In the first place, so long had passed since she last talked with a human aside from exchanging money with them that she didn’t quite remember how to hold a conversation anymore.
That’s why there’s nothing I do about it. There’s no helping it, I have to send him away.
While contemplating such, Astraea glared at the young man.
The young man blinked, but slowly, his expression turned severe.
“I don’t remember things clearly. Rocks fell, and then the horse was surprised, and slipped — I don’t remember much after that. But–”
Despite his injuries not having fully healed, she was surprised he only ended up with such minor injuries after falling from such a high place. It was natural for the man to be mystified. Astraea could understand at least that.
I can understand, but… I can only think of his injury not healing.
While thinking of what she’s done, Astraea averted her gaze.
I can skillfully deceive him, but would it actually go the way I want it? I’m worried, but there’s nothing else I can do.
“I-isn’t it great that your injuries are only to this extent.”
“What is it? I don’t know the details either, okay?”
Her heart trembled as she impatiently thought of what to do to deceive him. But upon seeing the young man stay silent, she might inadvertly dig her own grave if she untactfully opened her mouth.
Quickly give up— Astraea glared at the young man, but he didn’t break concentration at all.
However, his words were beyond what Astraea had expected.
“By chance, are you… a descendant of a witch?”
“It’s the first time I’ve met a witch outside of the military. You softened the impact of the drop… right…?”
Astraea also knew that in present society, witches had almost completely disappeared. However, she didn’t realize it was to the point that being treated as a descendant of one was already considered rare.
In the end, she realized that he had no way of knowing that she was originally the Saint. Recovery magic, too, is generally considered to ‘not exist,’ so he couldn’t imagine it being used.
When she thought that, her heart calmed a bit. Thank god, he has nothing to suspect me of.
“…Well, something like that.”
What the, so there’s no point in me trying to hurry him along, right?
Astraea felt a slight loss, but regardless, it didn’t change what she had to do. Even though she wouldn’t be exposed, the fact that she didn’t want to be involved with humans didn’t change.
“Anyways! If you’re better now, quickly leave.”
I don’t have the slightest intent on having him overstay his welcome. Why do you think I decided to live deep inside the forest? Isn’t it to lessen the amount of contact with humans as much as possible? But this young man still hadn’t moved.
“D-don’t you dare say that it looks poorly made…!”
With the conversation once again heading into a direction she didn’t think she’d hear, Astraea shouted again.
She could already see that the bandage was almost untied, and yet, it hung on for dear life. Since I saved him, I can just pretend that I never saw that. Or maybe I could quietly take it off, yeah., As Astraea thought such with her eyes averted, she once again heard words beyond what she expected.
“To do something you’re not familiar with, thank you very much.”
When she timidly looked at the young man, he looked at Astraea with an extremely gentle expression.
Astraea felt warmth on her cheeks.
“N-no need, I just didn’t want you dying in front of me… Ah, well, your injury didn’t seem critical though…”
“But I can’t thank you en–”
“If you wanna thank me, quickly leave. That’s cause it’s unpleasant having this right here!”
They had forgotten they weren’t the only few that were in the room, but after looking carefully, they saw and felt the mysterious presence of the horse. The horse was quiet and seemed to be saying none of it was any of his business.
“You also saved Lazool as well, huh?”
“Never mind that and just quickly leave.”
Astraea brushed aside the young man who stared at the horse’s, or Lazool’s, brown mane. She grabbed his luggage from the corner of the room and threw it at him.
“I put what I thought was valuable in there. The rest was pretty much broken. I don’t really know since I didn’t really touch them.”
“Now leave, quickly!”
Once Astraea opened the door, Lazool read the mood and went outside. The young man also stood up, took and quickly wore the dried clothes at the corner of the room, and grabbed his luggage. Finally seeing that it was finally going to be over with, Astraea let out a long sigh.
“You should come across the main road if you go straight down. Lilim trees should be lined up until you reach the main road, so be careful not to get lost. There are no wheel tracks, so I won’t care if you get lost afterwards.”
“Thank you very much for everything.”
“…If you wanna thank me again, I’m going to turn you away if you come back, got it?”
The young man looked slightly apologetic, but before long, he turned around, rode his unsaddled horse, and followed the Lilim trees, just as Astraea had said.
Astraea sent him off, relieved.
How long has it been since someone thanked me?
Despite thinking that, she’s never experienced something like that even in the few hundred years that she’s interacted with others— definitely not.
That person was weird, is she cursed?
So weird, is that kid really the Saint?
Astraea bit her lips, recalling the words she’s heard before.
Even though I didn’t really claim I was a Saint.
As always, she decided that it’s not good to involve herself with others. Thinking that, from the next day on, I’ll do as I’ve always have— going back to her life with as minimal a contact with others… well, she was supposed to.
That’s right, she was supposed to, but–
“Thank you very much for the other day.”
“Didn’t I tell you not to come back?!!”
Several days later, a scream resounded from the forest, How did this happen?!