Several days later. I went to the place granny told me, dried the plants, and delivered them to her. In exchange, she kept her side of the deal, teaching me the effects of the medicinal plants every day.
Sword has been abstaining from alcohol just as he had announced. He’s also avoiding any requests that involve saving the lives of others. Or rather, those requests seem to be rather rare.
Which reminds me, it appears he hunted some amazing monster during a subjugation request, but I haven’t seen it.
…Sword sure is living the life of an adventurer. Me, on the other hand, I haven’t done any adventuring in a while. I’m making robots and contorting medicines. Or in other words, nothing you could describe as adventuring.
…But, it’s fine! Right now I’m in a period of learning! Once I’m done with this, I’ll adventure again! I want to hunt monsters…no, it’s pitiful to hunt them indiscriminately, so let’s go for a dungeon next! I’ll have Sir Dungeon Core pump out formidable enemies for me!
“…Hey, don’t add weird functions to my Ryoku!” Sword scolded me after coming back.
“Eh? Did something trigger?”
“He started to tell me, 『Mr. Sword, my tummy hurts, so can we go home? Pwetty please?』!”
Yikes! What was thaaaaaaaat!?
“That one got triggered!? How enviable…!!”
“Moreover, smack down in the middle of the guild!! I had absolutely no idea what to do, you know!?”
“Just answer him, 『Where was your tummy again?』.”
“As if I’d say that, silly!”
Sword’s iron claw came down on my head while I was angry since it was obviously a standard answer, so he should have known it.
“Ouch ouch ouch!!”
“N-O-W L-I-S-T-E-N, don’t waste all your effort on bullshit, girl!”
That’s no bullshit!
“…So, how are things on your side? Are you about done?”
“No, I’m already done.”
…is how it turned out at least.
It looks like this request is a regular type. A request I shouldn’t have accepted as it’s always done by the same local adventurer. Since it pays way too little for the effort it takes, no one other than that girl had been accepting the request, but then I came along and took it up.
It’d have been great if the guild staff would have told me all that in advance, but since the staff member knew about the usual adventurer having injured herself and thus being unable to do the request for a while, he had apparently let me do it since he saw no harm in it.
When the adventurer in question wondered about the request not being up after having recovered, she heard about me having accepted the request in her absence and kept doing it all the time ever since then, flying into rage.
She then stormed into the pharmacy, yelling, “So it’s you!? The one who stole my request!!”
Granny and I stared at her blankly.
…Was she talking to me?
And then granny explained the situation to the angry girl. She had apparently also thought that I, who had interest in medicines, had been sent here instead of the injured girl.
“I see. It’s my bad then.”
“You think all will be fine with that!?”
“Obviously. Has anyone suffered any loss from this? Why haven’t you simply taken another request?”
That caused her to completely stall. But, she recovered.
“…You’re just causing trouble for the pharmacist!!”
Once I looked at granny, she shook her head. “I haven’t had so much fun in a while now. Due to her not only being curious, but also very passionate and knowledgeable, it motivated me quite a bit as well.”
“Yeah, it was a big help for me. I’d be troubled if weird side effects would appear from my medicine because they were nothing more than handmade contortions of a novice, but I think Sword and I would have been fine either way. However, after getting your advice, I’ve gained a bit of confidence.”
We both smiled at each other, thinking from the bottom of our hearts that it’s great to have found a soulmate on this!
“…That’s obviously a lie!! Isn’t it totally impossible that you haven’t caused her trouble!?”
As she was screaming and ranting around, people started to gather. And she began to blather about me being a scoundrel and criminal who planned something evil to deceive granny. Granny tried to calm her by objecting, but the surrounding people had already sided with the girl, and at this point the situation started to go out of control, requiring suppression by force.
Having Ryoku act as a messenger, I explained the circumstances to the authorities through the guild staff. The officials hauled in all the rioting folks, and had them stay in prison for having staged an uprising. Since I didn’t want Sword to hear about this, I kept it a secret.
Anyway, after I explained the situation to the guild staff, he admitted his own mistake, and explained things to the girl.
I don’t know whether that got her to calm down…no, it’s evident that she’s still upset, I suppose. It’s a foregone conclusion that she’ll pick another fight with me. Therefore I formally stopped doing that request ever since that day. I didn’t go to granny to bid farewell either, but it can’t be helped since I can’t get close to her anymore.
“Okay, the requests on my side are done as well, so let’s leave soon. …Or rather, this town been an unexpected waypoint anyway.”
“Taking detours is what adventuring is all about!”
“…You know, sometimes I’m really jealous of your bottomless positive view of adventurin’.”
It’s nothing special!
“…My training period is finally over! All that’s left after having obtained the necessary knowledge is to put it into practice!”
“Leavin’ ‘side the golems, what’s the point in a trainin’ period for obtainin’ knowledge about medicines that aren’t even healing potions!?” He thrust a finger at me, looking sullen.
“For your information, I can now make any medicine, be it healing potions or antidotes!”
Sword jumped, apparently startled.
“Those are magic tools! Magic tools you drink! And I can make magic tools!”
“Huh!? Healing potions are magic tools, you say!?”
“You have magic elements dissolve in liquid…well, it’s just plain water though…by adding herbs with a high density of magic elements. Once you drink that, it triggers a spell that converts into cells similar to those of a healthy body. Injuries and illnesses are cured thanks to this effect. Antidotes work in a similar way.”
He was looking at me, dumbfounded, but it’s true.
“You’re right, I think it’s amazing and incomprehensible how this world’s magic returns something to its previous state by just chanting something like 『Return to normal』, but I’ve become capable of analyzing how magic elements work! And recreating those analyzed spells is my specialty! So you see, magic elements contain extremely crucial potentials, but since they’re elements that didn’t exist in the other world, I want to heal without relying on them as much as possible. For this reason I studied medicinal plants.”
After being lost for words, he stroked me.
“You really love studyin’, don’t you? I feel like that part clearly shows your noble origin. You won’t find any adventurers who like desk work, you know?”
“I don’t know about desk work, but I prefer knowing over not knowing. I want to make decisions for the future after I’ve understood things. However, I should add the limitation 『to a certain extent』. …In short, for the reasons I told you just now, when push comes to shove I can make healing potions, and before that, I can also rely on magic, but since it goes against my principles, I made medicines.”
I held out two paper packages to Sword.
“Take this before drinking liquor. It will strengthen your ［Liver］…the organ responsible for disassembling alcohol, and it’ll also improve your water metabolism. If you’re plagued by painful feelings, take this one. It’ll allow you to sleep soundly without seeing any nightmares while also improving your sleep’s quality.”
Sword stared at me stupefied for a while.
“…In other words, you went there because you wanted to make these?”
Afterwards he kept staring at me blankly for a while longer, and then showed me a smile that was so gentle as I’d never seen it before.
“……It has a bitter taste which the people of this world aren’t used to drinking, but put up with it.”
He took the packages from me and stored them in his pocket.
“…If you plan to spend your remaining years with me, don’t drink too heavily, okay? You’re a middle-aged guy, so if you indulge in liquor too much, you’ll croak early, got it?”
“That’s none of your business! …But, I’ll be careful.”
Sword had been looking at me with a soft face all the time.
…Suddenly the phrase, “I’ll show you that I’ve got the same feelings even ten years down the line!”, crossed my mind. I said them to my lover, didn’t I?
I also remembered the lines ten years later.
“See, even ten years later I haven’t changed a bit, have I?”
“Yeah, yeah, I realized as much even before that.” He had answered me as if it was only natural.
That’s what I’ve recalled now.
――In other words, I thought the same about Sword. That I’ll feel the same even ten years down the line.
There’s no romantic love nor affection between us. He isn’t my lover nor my friend. But, I’m sure, we’ll still be together ten years later.