The Camp’s First Act
A cute sneeze.
It’s an old legend that a sneeze is a sign that someone far away is talking about you, but Shirley doesn’t believe in that.
Although, for some reason, she’s had a bad feeling for the last half hour. There’s no basis for it, but it’s like there’s an daughter at home who is struggling with studying for a surprise test without her mother there to help her… That kind of bad feeling.
(Kuh… I need to go home right now… No, wait, it could just be a false intuition… Uu, what do I do!?)
Shirley looked up to the heavens with a troubled expression on her face as she filled up her waterskin in the river.
(Shirley has such a painful expression… It must be some deep worry I couldn’t even begin to understand.)
Looking at Shirley who seemed to be immersed in some unknown torment, Kyle completely misunderstands as he walks by with an armful of kindling.
“You two, we’re ready.”
Asterios had set a ring of fist-sized stones.
“Hey! Is this good enough for the dried food!?”
Mixing dried vegetables, potatoes and beans together, Leia asked about the seasoning.
“Uu… I feel sick… I’m gonna hurl…”
Cudd lay on the ground with a green looking face, his head resting on his pack.
“That much will do. Let’s start cooking.”
They had travelled the entire day without pause, but now they made camp in a wasteland, Jewelsaad within sight.
The night is their enemy. They decided to camp here for the night, as attempting to assault the mine in this darkness was folly.
Sitting next to Rangitz, the dragon that had taken them this far who was now chewing on a mixture of meat and hay, Kyle began to light a fire by using flint stones in the way that Asterios was instructing him.
Even a third-rate magician can make fire with magic. But out in the wilderness, where a monster could attack at any moment, magic needed to be preserved as much as possible.
“Did you suffer any bumps or bruises during the ride, Kyle?”
“No… At least not to the extent that it will slow me down.”
He said as much, but his rear end had taken such a pummeling riding the wagon that he was determined to find something to use as a pillow for next time.
“Ah… That sobering pill finally worked…”
“Ahahaha, steady on theeeere! You still look a little groggy, don’tcha?”
“Shaddup, you shitty little brat…!
In addition to the pain in his buttocks, Cudd had also had a nasty dose of motion sickness. As evidenced by how little power the voice he’s trying to get back at Leia has.
The pill had finally taken enough effect that he can at least eat, but it may take some more time for him to recover fully.
“But, isn’t it weird…? Why is it just Kyle and I got banged up, but everyone else is just fine…?”
“Yeah… I mean, I understand Asterios being fine, but Leia and Shirley?”
“I had laid down a cushion beforehand.”
“I floated the whole time. There’s no way I would’ve been able to sit normally with it shaking like that.”
It seems like these two took proper measures, despite how crazy the situation was.
For the two who had simply screamed the entire way there, they didn’t have much they could say for themselves.
“Either way, you should consider this training. This is supposed to be a squad to train rookies, after all.”
Shirley said so quietly as she gazed at the pot bubbling over the fire.
The dry food and the meat broiled in the pot, the smell of the slowly fusing ingredients was very pleasant.
“As you climb the ranks, there’ll be more opportunities to travel via dragon. They’re important for journeying, but did you know that the riding on dragonback is even more thrilling than riding in the wagon?”
The veteran adventurer seems to threaten them with a light tone as she adds some more water to the pot as it simmers and covers the lid back up.
As Kyle and Cudd look at her in disbelief, and Leia’s eyes light up with curiosity, Asterios laughs as he coincides with Shirley.
“That’s right. It’s a must-have for adventurers and knights, but if an inexperienced rider falls from a dragon running through a forest or flying through the sky, they’ll be in real trouble.”
“Please don’t jinx us…”
Kyle and Cudd tremble at the mere thought of it.
“Alright, it’s done.”
“Oh, that looks tasty!”
After timing it to perfection, Shirley opened the lid on the pot and added the final bit of seasoning before serving.
“Saying that, this has meat in it, are you fine with that Asterios and Leia?”
“Yes, it’s not an issue.”
“I’m fine since I’m not a pure blooded elf.”
Unlike pure elves who only eat plants as if they were grazing animals, some beastfolk and half-elves have no qualms about eating meat like a human.
Although for the most part they will have vegetables as the staple part of their diet, many beastfolk and half-elves enjoy meat.
“Oh, that’s good. I didn’t realize how hungry I was myself.”
She typically got by with portable meals and bread during adventures, so this was a treat.
The soup had a gentle taste from the vegetables used as its based, punctuated with the subtle salty flavour of the seasoned meat.
Even though spring had started, the nights were still cold, and the young adventurers consistently asked for refills of the body warming soup until the pot lay empty.
“What made you want to be an adventurer in the first place, Shirley?”
When their bellies were filled up and they were beginning to ponder sleep, Leia asked Shirley out of curiosity.
“…Is that something I really have to answer?”
“Not really, but is it something that bothers you? I just wanted to know more about you, since we’re partying together and all.”
Even though Shirley glares at her, the cheerful half-elf doesn’t seem to mind.
It would be easy to stay silent here, but that might cause a rift in the party between the two.
As if poisoned by those curious golden eyes, the Demonic White Sword who had been isolated in that unfriendly guild decided to talk.
“It’s not an especially unique reason. I did it to support my two daughters.”
“Dau… Daughters!? Shirley, you’re married!?”
“Seriously!? And this young!?”
“Young… I’m a middle-aged woman who just turned 30, you know. Having a daughter at my age isn’t such a strange thing.”
“That’s right, Shirley was part-immortal…”
Kyle had almost forgotten that fact and had also thought that Shirley was in her late teens. Certainly, having a daughter at that age isn’t strange, but for some reason it caused an uncomfortable feeling to swirl in Kyle’s chest.
“Um… So, does that mean you have a husband, Miss Shirley…?”
“No. I raised them alone and unmarried because… Well… There were a lot of circumstances.”
Saying that Shirley refused to say anything more, and stood up.
Was that strange feeling in his chest just his imagination? It was like it had never existed when she said that.
“It’s getting late. I’ll take first watch, but first I’ll go and spread a deterrent around camp.”
“Okay, we’ll leave it to you.”
As Shirley left with a bottle of fragrance that is designed to repel monsters, Leia watched her go and then spoke softly.
“When you’re semi-immortal, all your wounds quickly regenerate, right? That means Miss Shirley never has to worry about getting injured or dying during battle. It’s no wonder she’s famous, doing all that with such a delicate looking body.”
“Idiooot. It isn’t such a convenient power as that. A semi-immortal is literally an incomplete immortal. You’re not just short in height, but also short on brain power, huh?”
“Haaaa!? Who did you just call short, you spew man!?”
“Bwuh!? Y-you!? Kicking me in the face is going too far!!”
Kyle wants to interfere, but Asterios holds him back by the shoulder and simply shakes his head.
At this point, it’s better to just leave them be and go to sleep, seems to be what he’s saying. Although Kyle was still worried about what Cudd had said before and asked Asterios about it.
“Um, earlier Cudd said that semi-immortal people are ‘incomplete immortals’, what did he mean by that?”
Technically, any creatures off sufficiently high intelligence have been known to achieve semi-immortality, but their numbers amongst humans are still exceptionally low.
For that reason, there were very few people who knew the exact details about the condition, and Kyle was anxious to find out more about this type of immortality.
“An incomplete immortal… Well, it’s certainly true. I’ve never heard of any ‘immortal’ being truly immortal, and semi immortals are the same. I’ve fought semi-immortal creatures before, and my conclusion is that if you destroy the brain, they’ll die just like anything else.”
Asterios tapped his forehead twice.
A semi-immortal born from the amalgamation of mind, body and soul will not be able to recover if both the mind and body are damaged by a blow to the brain.
The prevailing theory is that the capacity for regeneration is lost if the brain is damaged.
“Not to mention, that regeneration ability can also be a weakness in of itself.”
“Eh? What do you mean? The way I see it, there’s no way that body regeneration is anything but a strength.”
“Cudd said it himself just earlier, there’s no such convenient ability that can simply restore body parts and heal wounds indefinitely. All of that healing takes up a lot of energy.”
Both physical and magical energy. Both the body and the soul are sapped in order to regenerate… Even if an ordinary person gained the secret of immortality, they likely wouldn’t be able to regenerate a finger, much less regenerate an entire body from the neck down.
“That forced regeneration is the weak point. Of course, it’s fine if you can just finish it off with a single blow, but fatigue will set in very quickly if you simply attack at its non-vitals first by forcing it to regenerate.”
All famous monsters have their weaknesses like the inverted scale of a dragon or the effect of sunlight on a vampire, but it’s rare for the greatest strength and weakness of a being to be the same like a semi-immortal.
“Of course, that’s not to say that semi immortals are weak. They usually gain an exceptional talent upon awakening.”
This exceptional talent is a type of supernatural ability that doesn’t rely upon knowledge of magecraft. Originally, semi immortals awoke with petrifying eyes like a basilisk’s, but eventually unique powers began to appear.
Because of their strength, they are sometimes hunted as monsters themselves, all the more so because that power typically far outstrips anything conventional magic can offer.
“In other words, for a semi-immortal, the ability to restore their body is just where they got their moniker, the real value is far more than just a body that never ages.”
“I’ve fought a semi-immortal that could conjure and control flames, I wonder what kind of talents Shirley herself has. Whatever it is, she probably isn’t about to tell us.”
Kyle turned his attention to the direction Shirley left in.
What was on the mind of that lone swordsman, who struggled to balance on the fine line between human and monster whilst doing her best to raise their daughters?
He looked on with a sense of sadness. As he did, his chest began to swirl with those similar feelings.
(I want to repay her in some way… But what could I possibly do for her…?)
In order to realize his feelings for her, he needed to become strong enough to be someone that could stand by her side. But that dream was as tall as the heavens and as fleeting as a shooting star.
Meanwhile, Shirley has her own troubles.
“Fuuu… I need to replenish my daughter energy……Haa… I’m healed…”
As she was ringing the campsite with fragrance, that doting mother stared at the photograph of her daughters that she had hidden in a pocketwatch kept between her breasts, and sighed with delight as she made a full recovery.
Thought I’d post at a weird time of the day, just for kicks. Anyways, my translations feel like they’re actively getting worse, or maybe this series is just tougher than the other two.