’Gyeeaahh... Never again. I won't do it in my whole life.’
” Muhahaah... Finally... We finall—
” Lizza, are you... umm, alright? ”
” Ugh... Y-Yeah... Why should I not be? ”
” Ummm... You throw your danger and started to do like that... ”
’To do... To do like that... To do like what?’
’Oh, man... How low did I manager do drop in her eyes again... Wait, no... Don't look at me with pity...’
” Lizza, are you really ok? ”
” Mm. ” *sniff*
While I was sniffing and curling in a ball of depression, I felt a hand gently stroking my head. I wasn't actually that depressed but seeing that she came to my rescue filled me with a bit of warmth. It was nice.
’I might as well pretend to be depressed for a little bit more...’
” Are you feeling better, Lizza? ”
” No. I demand more! ”
” Mm. But shouldn't we head back first? It's already pretty late. ”
” Yeah... I suppose you're right. ” I sighed in defeat and stand up.
Two days passed since we started to dismember the wasps. Tomorrow was the day the ship would arrive. Not that it mattered for us to much, that was Albert’s problem. Now that we finished the last part of them, we could get our money and from there was his responsibility entirely.
Stepping out of the side room, we were greeted by the other man which, by now, was already accustomed with us working here.
” Already finished, Miss Elizabeth? ”
” Oh, Carol... Eh, Yes. We barely made it in time. ”
” There was no need to push yourself that hard. Albert would have been happy even if you didn't manage to finish them all. ”
” Well, yeah. But I wanted to finish and get done with it. Anyway, where's Albert? ”
” Unfortunately, he's already upstairs. He had a hard day and tomorrow will be the same so he got to bed earlier today. But he told me to give you the money for how many you manage to finish today so do not worry. ”
” I see. Thank you. ”
” No need to thank me. I'm just helping him with his deal. Now, let me see the materials. ”
After he looked through them, checked their quality and so on, he handed us the money and we left the shop.
I actually had another reason for why I wanted to finish them that badly. It was extremely profitable.
Compared with other monsters, these things were extremely valuable. The wasp had a lot of useful parts like the eyes, the venom gland the exoskeleton... Ruling out the parts I destroyed in the dismembering process and the several pieces I decided to keep for us, we still got 41 gold coins and 7 silver ones.
It was so much to the point where I started to question myself for being an idiot helping with the nest extermination. That was not worth the risk.
And we still had the claws. Since the quest reward was still open to be claimed the whole week, we decided to focus on the deal with Albert instead. We could do that tomorrow maybe.
” Hm!? ”
While I was merged in my thoughts as we were heading back to our ’temporary house’, Fiona came closer to me, matching my pace and grabbed my hand.
” What is it, Fio? ”
” Lizza seems happy. ”
” Is that so? ”
” Mm. You were smiling. ”
” Is that... so? Hmm, maybe you are right. Things worked pretty good these days and we got a lot of money... ”
But maybe that might not be the only reason. It was true that I enjoyed having money. Who wouldn't? You could buy stuff and do a lot of things with money, but I doubted that that was the only reason.
” What about you, Fio? Are you happy? ”
” Mm. ” she nodded at me while gripping my hand even harder with a smile on her face.
Instant answer. Not a single trace of doubt on her face. Also, her smile was cute. It made me smile as well. Now that I thought about it, she was smiling a lot more these days.
Maybe that was the answer. Seeing her happy made me happy as well. It might sound like a cliche, but I felt like I found something I always longed for.
’Something close to... hmmm, a family.’
Yes. That was it. That realization filled me with an intoxicating warmth. Even more so remembering how random and stupid was the reason for which I decided to save and befriend her.
” Lizza!? ”
I might dodged the subject these days, trying to deny the facts lying right in front of me. I was so stupid. Trying to deny it.
” Liz... za!? ”
How could I even forget about something I yearned for so much? Even in my past... life?
” ...za!? ...you alrigh... ”
’In my past life? I swear I had a family in my past life... I think? Hmmm!? It was... It was...’
How strange? I couldn't bring myself to remember about it. I was sure I had one, probably.
No. I had one. And I could not remember longing for such a thing either. But something was strange. Why was I unable to remember anything about it?
” ...za!? ”
Suddenly, a sense of animosity and emptiness encompassed me. I felt like I forgot something. Something very important.
It was right there. It felt like if I were to extend my hand I could grab it easily... but somehow, I couldn't do that.
In the end, everything went black.
” ...za. ” *sob*
’Ugh... My head hurts... Like... very, very bad. For some reason...’
’Hmm!? Is that Fio? Is she... crying?’
My head was really hurting. It felt like it would explode in the next second. And even worse. I didn't know why.
Gradually opening my eyes, I was greeted by the familiar ceiling from our room. But I was sure that something was not right there. I could swear that we just barely left Albert’s shop.
*sob* ” Lizza, wake up. ” *sob*
’Hmm!? Is that... Fio? Ow... Oww... Ow... Ow... My head really hurts... Wait, no... Why is she crying?’
Turning my head, there she was. Seated on the edge of the bed with her hands wrapped around my left hand and her head pressed on top of it. She was quietly sobbing and saying something I didn't quite understand.
” Fi... Fio? Are you alright? ” I asked with concern. By this point, I was sure something happened. Something bad.
*sob* ” Hmm!? Lizza... Are you awake? ” she suddenly darted up as if someone electrocuted her.
” Yeah... But what happened? Are you alright? ”
” L-Lizza... ” *sob*
” Fio... What happened? Why are you crying? ”
” Lizza... Lizza... You woke up... Lizza... ” she continued to blabber things I couldn't quite understand while embracing me out of nowhere. She said something about waking up, but without a context, that didn't help much.
” Lizza finally woke up. ” *sob*
” Y-Yes... But are you alright? ”
” Mm. You finally woke up. ”
” I-I see... ”
Without anything else I could do at the moment, I ignored the headache and wrapped my hands around her as well. She jolted for a moment but after that started to hug me even harder and continued to sob there like that for a long time. I couldn't do anything else until she would calm down a little bit.
After she seemed to finally calm down, I asked her what happened. I really had no clue as to how we ended up like that.
She started to recall everything that happened before I lost consciousness and fainted in the middle of the city, that, while still embracing me harder and harder as the story was progressing.
As we were returning from Albert and chatted about random things I suddenly stopped and spaced-out. No matter how much she tried to call my name or shake me, I didn't woke up.
At some point, tears started to pour from my eyes and fainted shortly afterward.
” And then... and then, I took you and bring you here... and... and... ”
” It's alright, it's alright now... Calm down, Fio. ”
” Mm. ” *sob*
” Hey, come here. Don't start to cry again. ”
” Mm. ” *sob*
” I'm here. Nothing happened. I'm here. ” I said and wrapped my hands around her again. I could not imagine how scared she was.
” Shhh... I'm here. Don't cry. ”
” Mm. ”
It was good that nothing really bad happened. But it was also bad since I didn't know what actually happened.
’Was I that exhausted? I didn't feel like that at all’
It was true that we worked quite hard to finish with the materials but I didn't felt like I was on the verge of collapsing at all. Was all the exhaustion that piled up from the moment I arrived in this world suddenly striking me back out of nowhere?
I pretty much doubted that. It wasn't working like that, or that wanted to believe at least. I couldn't be sure that my new race worked in the same way as a human was working after all...
’Well... I should not push myself for the time being at least. Don't want to aggravate it or something.’
Looking around the room, the sunlight was coming in through the only window the room had. It seemed that it was already morning.
On the side of the bed, there was also a bucket with water on a chair and... several pieces of cloth? Why so?
’Now that I think about it, it's quite chilly here... Hmm!?’
No way. As the realization came to my mind, I shoved it away pretending to be oblivious of the cruel truth.
I definitely wasn't naked. Nope. I didn't realize it until now and continued to speak and embrace Fiona because I definitely wasn't naked. I was perfectly dressed up. Yes. How could I not notice something like that?
Though, the moment I looked down at myself, the cruel truth was there. Laughing at me and my childish denial.
” Ehem... ehehemm... F-Fio... Fio... Why am I naked? ”
” I took care of you. ” she said and smiled at me with confidence. Oh, not. That didn't look like something good.
” H-How did you take care of me? ”
” I wiped you clean and put a cold compress on your held and changed it regularly and... and... and watched over you the whole night. ” she said while her smile brightened even more. Even her tail started to jolt a little but seemed to be waiting for my praises to do so.
” Y-You did well. Thank you, Fio. ” in the end, I couldn't bring myself to tell her that that was working just when you had a fever or something. I just couldn't.
” Sara said it wouldn't help but I still did it and it worked. I'm so glad you woke up, Lizza. ”
” Ugh... Yeah... It seems that it worked. Thank you. ”
” Ehehehe... ”
’I'm sorry, Sara... I think I pushed the bad person role to you just now. I'm really sorry... But I couldn't tell her.’