3 – Final (1)
The true scale of the disaster was hard to stomach.
Nearly half of Einst had been virtually reduced to rubble.
Most of the houses in the southern half of town, including many on the main street, had collapsed in on themselves.
Although the damage to the northern part of the town was relatively minor, they couldn’t rest easy either. There was no guarantee that there wouldn’t be an aftershock or another full-scale magical reaction underground again.
The victims of the disaster, who now found themselves homeless, had erected temporary shelters on the outskirts of town.
In the meantime, the skilled magicians in the town were undertaking a thorough assessment and investigation of the manastone veins running under the town. The rebuilding process for the town could only begin if they judged that it was safe to do so.
“Sorry, I’ll be busy with the assessment for some time,” Alois had told her apologetically, but she didn’t blame him.
Alongside Alois, Camilla too will be staying in Einst for the time being. Even if Camilla didn’t have too many skills at her disposal, she was confident that she could at least help with cooking for the people who had lost their homes.
What’s more, she wanted to join in the search for those people who were still missing. And for those who had lost their lives, she would offer her prayers.
Yet, putting all that aside.
Camilla had suffered from this disaster in her own way as well.
Hugging her body, Camilla felt faint with agony.
She was now paying the price for the way in which she survived that unmitigated disaster the day before.
After crawling her way not just through the dense miasma in the air for hours in those underground tunnels, in addition to being soaked through with liquified miasma, there was no way she was going to get out of it completely unscathed.
Even though the night’s sleep she got helped extensively in restoring her exhausted mind and body, the itching started the moment she woke up. She felt irritations all over her skin. Not to mention the rashes that had cropped up all over her arms and around her neck and collarbones.
As much as she tried to hide it with make-up, it was no good. Camilla’s favourite cream somehow only increased how itchy she felt when she applied it. She tried to wipe the stains of the miasma off her body with a bath, but the unbearable irritations didn’t subside at all. If anything, rubbing at it with the cleaning cloth only increased her agony. The feeling of wearing clothes on her skin was like a living hell.
But since she had only recently rebuked Nicole for doing it before, Camilla’s pride wouldn’t let her scratch at her skin. Grinding her teeth in frustration, Camilla paced back and forth restlessly.
Camilla was staying in a house on the edge of town. It was one of the buildings that had managed to survive the disaster.
The houses further towards the outskirts of town and closer to the forest had suffered less damage. Since the ground around there had been deemed relatively safe in the aftermath, there were many temporary shelters being built in the surroundings.
Whilst many people were living out of tents, she had been offered exceptional hospitality by the people of Einst and was given that house to stay in after the Montchat mansion in town had been rendered almost derelict.
But, things like that didn’t matter to her at all right now. If it would do something about this itch, she wouldn’t mind camping out in the woods or sleeping rough under the stars.
“I-Itchy… So itchy… Ugugugu…”
It took all her effort to suppress a scream as she moaned, her body wracked with that itch she refused to scratch. Nicole, who still slept soundly in her bed, must be happy with herself. The moment she woke up though, she was sure to suffer even worse than Camilla.
“Ahh, jeez! Enough of this! This damned itch! It hurts so much! And what about my skin!?”
Seeing the horribly red rash on her arm, Camilla spat that out in anger for no one in particular to hear.
Up until now, because she lived in the territory’s capital that lay far from the true mining hubs of Mohnton, she had underestimated just what miasma could do. Even Camilla, a person with barely any magical power at all, was in a state like this. Alois’ skin, meanwhile, had become even more toad-like than ever. The kind of suffering he must be going through probably made Camilla’s ordeal seem like a walk in the park.
– Will he be alright?
But just as soon as that flash of worry for Alois crossed through her mind, a new wave of itching sensations washed it away. Right now, Camilla didn’t have any time to worry about anyone else.
Crying out aimlessly like that, Camilla suddenly heard a knock on her room’s door.
Oh, what now?
“I see you’re having a bit of a bad time?”
The two manservants who had gone through that underground ordeal with her grimaced as they stood in the doorway, their names were Theo and Leon. Theo was taller, whilst Leon had a beauty spot under his eye. Camilla remembered them, since she had committed their faces to memory with the intention of reporting them to Alois after they had prevented her from leaving before everything had happened.
“Perhaps we should come by later instead?”
“It’s fine, talking will keep my mind off it. That said, I’ll thank you to understand that I’m not exactly in the best of moods.”
Even if she said that, Camilla continued to pace around her room in silence. When she was sitting down before, she felt like she was losing her mind. Even if her clothes rubbed against her even more when she walked, she preferred to be able to move her body.
“The two of you seem to be doing fine? How hateful.”
Camilla glared angrily at those two men whom she deemed guilty.
Even if Camilla had been reduced to this state, both of those men seemed to look utterly pristine. They hadn’t moved to itch even once, and they had no signs of irritated skin. Their smooth skin looked like porcelain masks, just as they had before. They spent all that time underground together, hadn’t they? So just what was going on?
She remembered the questions she had back in Grenze. which was also a town focused around miasma infested mining operations. In contrast to all the rumours she had heard back in the capital, Alois’ condition was the exception to the norm, with most people not having such rough and irritated skin. Alois’ skin problems were exacerbated as a rare case, because of his high levels of magical power.
“So, you two don’t feel itchy or irritated at all? That’s not fair at all.”
Theo smiled wryly as Camilla took her anger out on them unreasonably. That expression of his was in stark contrast to the mask he wore when they had first met. Those dull eyes now felt warm, his face lit up amiably.
“The two of us grew up here, so we got used to the miasma after a while. People born here usually build up a tolerance to it. Most folk in town probably don’t notice any itching at all, honestly.”
Hmm? Camilla managed to bite back her foul mood as she turned and paced the other way.
Certainly, this town was synonymous with manastone mining. Living so close to manastone veins, they must encounter dense amounts of miasma on a regular basis. Only Camilla’s skin, nurtured in the comfortable and miasma-less capital, would be affected so dramatically.
“But even so, it can still get rough at times. That’s why Irma… Hey, where did Irma go?”
“…She was here up until a moment ago.”
The two men seemed confused as they looked around. There were only those two men standing in the room, Camilla hadn’t seen Irma enter at all. Theo left the room as if in a panic, then returned after a few minutes.
As Theo came back, he had an unhappy looking Irma standing by his side. Those strong eyes of hers looked thunderous as she frowned, her mouth bent sulkily. She half hid herself behind Theo as she looked hard at Camilla.
As if trying to calm down Camilla who glared back at the girl instinctually, Theo spoke up.
“Hey, Irma, what are you being so shy about? You’re the one who asked me to come with you.”
“I’m not being shy!”
Glaring at Theo, Irma stepped forward as if she had made up her mind. She came close to Camilla and squared up in front of her, looking in her eyes. Did she want to have another go?
That tense exchange of glares only lasted a moment, though. Irma, still looking unhappy, took a glass bottle of something out of her sleeve.
Then, she thrust it toward Camilla.
“…This is an ointment that’s used around here. It’s good at soothing skin that’s irritated by miasma. It should stop that itching feeling and settle down any outbreaks and rashes. Foreigners don’t do well around miasma, so if you don’t use this, you’ll be in trouble.”
“Huh?” Camilla’s voice leaked out as she took the bottle into her hand.
She was ready for another fight, so this was quite anticlimatic. Instead, all she could do was blink in surprise.
“The three of us came here to thank you.”
Pulling the still sulking Irma aside, Theo said that.
“It was thanks to you that we managed to survive and escape the underground, not to mention saving Frida’s life. Even if you think of us as cold-hearted strangers, I swear we will do our utmost to repay the debt we owe you.”
As he said that with an earnest pride, Theo turned to look at Leon and Irma. Meeting his gaze, this time Leon spoke.
“Frida is my younger sister. If it wasn’t for you, she wouldn’t be alive right now. I will never forget what you’ve done.”
Leon was dead serious as he looked at Camilla. That beauty spot under his eye really did remind her of Frida’s.
“Not everyone in this town thinks the same way. There are probably still some people who don’t trust you. But if there’s anything we can do to help you in the future, I’m sure this town will definitely come together to lend you our strength.”
As he stopped talking, Leon, in turn, looked at Irma. Feeling pressured by the twin gazes of both Leon and Theo, she finally gave up.
Closing her eyes, she raised her head and took a step toward Camilla.
“…Back then, the only reason we got out was because you stayed behind. Thank you for helping Frida.”
Saying that, she bowed deeply before Camilla.
Camilla, clutching the bottle in her hand, took a deep breath.
The three of them raised their head with a startled look as Camilla spat out that word. Even with just one syllable, it was obvious to them that she had said it with shaking anger.
Of course, Camilla hadn’t calmed down at all. She had already reached her limit.
“If you had something like this, then why didn’t you say so sooner!?”
As Camilla grasped that bottle with a shaking fist, the look on her face was one of utter anguish.
I decided to start formatting the chapter ‘titles’ in the same way they’re done in the web novel. I’ve also updated the contents page to reflect that. So don’t worry about the word ‘final’ suddenly being there, there’s still something like 90 chapters left to translate. ヽ（´ー｀）┌
Edited by: ApoPie