“…?” He wept as if he had lost the most precious thing, emphasizing once again the significance of the candy. “It’s a candy that’s more valuable than magical artifacts.”
I gazed at the candy in a daze. Could this really be more important than a magical artifact? Despite my intention to accept the candy out of courtesy, I hesitated, fearing I might become a bad person if I did accept it. At last, I nodded and said, “Ah…it’s alright.”
“Hehe, thank you! Then, please take a magical artifact from Helena as well!” He positioned Helena in front of me, concealing himself behind her. Though his large build left only half of him hidden.
Helena touched her forehead and, with an annoyed tone, called out to Louis, “Louis.”
“Ugh!” Louis chuckled before transitioning to the next topic with hearty laughter.
“Lady Rosette, do you know why the mages are here instead of being locked in the Magic Tower? That’s because we are entrusted with a mission to find someone!”
“Yes, it’s confidential. We’re searching for one missing person. Our superior, in fact! While the advantage of having no superior is the freedom to frolic while working…”
Excuse me, but wouldn’t it no longer be a secret then? I continued watching Louis, who so casually conveyed information while insisting it was confidential, with a quizzical expression.
Helena sighed and gave Louis a stern look as she smacked the back of his head with a sharp sound. “You’ve lost your mind,” she chided.
“Ouch! That’s cruel, Helena.”
“Ah, dear me…”
After eyeing Louis as if he were a bug, Helena inclined her head slightly toward me. From within her robe, she extracted something resembling a spray and handed it to me.
“This is a token of apology. It’s a disposable, emergency-use magical artifact. When you shout the command, ‘Eat shit,’ the opponent will fall.”
“Yes, it won’t cause death, but using it in emergencies can buy you time until the guards arrive.”
I accepted it without allowing Helena’s explanation to conclude.
I expressed gratitude. A magical artifact gifted by the mages of the Magic Tower themselves! In the market, magical tools were considered luxury items used only by nobles and were quite expensive. This stroke of luck was beyond belief. With this level of favor, I might be willing to lend her the novel.
“This has to be destiny. When the opportunity arises next time, I’ll lend you this novel.”
Helena’s eyes sparkled. The cold and composed Helena had a charming reaction that was surprisingly cute. I smiled, and in response, Helena’s face was slightly flushed. She playfully coughed and seized Louis’ hair behind her, as if extracting weeds from a garden.
“Argh! Why the hair again?”
Louis screamed in discomfort, but Helena ignored him and greeted me.
“You don’t have to. We’ll be leaving then.”
I waved my hand toward both of them, and they exited the bookstore as they were. After the brief commotion, a calm air settled in.
With a light thud, the novel I had been unconsciously clutching slipped from my grasp and fell to the floor.
For an inexplicable reason, it felt as though all my strength had drained away. Was this a dream?
The encounter with the mages earlier had passed so fleetingly that I questioned whether it had been a dream. Mages were seeking someone in the capital city…
‘Where could their missing superior be?’
The original story depicted the Magic Tower as the lair of sinister mages. If that were the case, Louis’s superior might have been unable to adapt to such an environment and consequently fled.
‘Given Louis’ behavior, it’s entirely plausible.’
Could there truly be someone who could endure being by Louis’s side without respite? I vehemently denied such a possibility.
Even a moment spent with him was tumultuous enough.
‘Still, it’s somewhat regrettable.’
The brief encounter with the magi left a tinge of disappointment. Could there be a chance for further conversation in the future?
Yet one certainty remained: I had engaged in dialogue with the enigmatic mages of the Magic Tower.
‘I am indeed fortunate.’
As I bent over to retrieve the fallen novel, a glimmering object caught my eye on the ground.
“Hmm? What’s this?” I immediately picked it up.
“This is…” It was none other than the candy that Louis had cherished earlier. A strange artifact more precious than magical objects.
‘Perhaps it was dropped accidentally?’ He had treasured it like his own life, and it seemed necessary to return it. However, they had already disappeared without a trace.
“…Next time we meet, I should return it.”
Of course, the probability of that happening is slim. With the candy and the novel tightly clutched in my hands, I left the bookstore.
* * *
Upon reaching the square, Sion awaited me, holding the clothing he had bought.
“Mistress, you’ve returned?”
Sion warmly greeted me, and I discreetly concealed the novel behind my back.
“Yes, I have. I bought the book I wanted and also met mages.”
“Mages, you say?” A faintly serious expression crept over Sion’s face. Unaware of this, I thought little of it.
“Yes, I happened to see one at the bookstore. They seemed interested in the book I wanted to read.”
“Indeed, it must be an exceptional book. Considering a mage would show interest.”
Comments for chapter "Chapter 13"
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