Chapter 60 is here, sorry for the slight delay, but hey, I did say I’d do two chapters a week so technically, I’m not late…. technically.
Anyway, here is the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
【”What… does he mean?”】
Muttered Lifa, while her agitation was plain to see. She couldn’t understand the meaning of Justus’ words…. No, she didn’t want to understand.
Looking at her acting like that, Elu realized he had made a mistake.
All he told Lifa was that Harold was a test subject for a certain research. The more detailed version however was that it was an experiment that consisted of amplifying the user’s power by cutting down his own life. Clearly, it was an inhuman research.
And yet, Elu neither made that fact public, nor did he tell Lifa about it. That was because he didn’t need to.
To begin with, that research was made under the tacit consent of the most powerful people among the higher-ups of the country and the country’s government, just the fact that Elu knew about it was already a big risk, let alone publishing it. If he, instead of selling the information, made it public for the sake of someone he didn’t even know at the time, he would have been basically throwing his life away. Elu didn’t have that strong of a sense of justice, nor was he some sort of journalist that wanted to rebel against the power in place.
Besides, if he did that, it would attract some unwanted attention. That would mean attracting attention on Giffelt as a whole just for his personal matter, which would have been an extremely foolish move.
And this wasn’t limited to Harold’s case. Elu considered the risk and returns, and he deemed that the returns just weren’t worth it.
Elu had that way of thinking from long before, and when he actually became friends with Harold, he found out that Harold himself was trying to hide that experiment. He didn’t quite get what Harold’s aim was, but if that was what he wished for, Elu had no room to interfere.
Elu and Harold had a cooperative relationship. Elu couldn’t go against Harold’s wishes lest he lost his remuneration. Of course, that was assuming the pact he had with Harold was valid, but Elu still couldn’t confirm that at this point in time, so there was nothing he could do.
Therefore, even though Elu felt disgusted by that research, which played with Harold’s life, he couldn’t openly speak of it to anyone. Though he was aware that Lifa was in the process of falling in love for Harold, she was going to return to her village in a week’s time. Elu thought Lifa would be separated from Harold before she even became conscious of her crush, and the two would never meet again.
He couldn’t deny that this was a cold way of thinking for a friend, but he thought it would be better if Lifa didn’t know about the cruel reality. The relationship between Harold and her was still frail, so it was better for everyone if the two ended their relation while Lifa still wasn’t aware of her love.
Especially if Harold didn’t have much time left to live.
However, Elu’s speculations had backfired in the worst possible way.
Lifa would not be able to keep silent after hearing what Justus said.
【”Try to bear with it for now, Lifa”】
As Elu expected, his whisper had not persuaded Lifa. There was no way for him to withdraw from here without pinioning Lifa and making noise, and to begin with, there was a chance that Justus had talked knowing that the two were present.
Elu feared that was the reason why the room was cleared out of people.
He regretted having stepped inside so carelessly. But it was too late for regrets as Lifa flung the door to Justus’ laboratory open without knocking.
【”-!… How long have you been here?”】
Justus looked surprised by Lifa and Elu’s abrupt entrance. It was a natural reaction that didn’t feel forced.
Though the whole situation seemed artificial, like it was set up in advance, Justus himself didn’t seem like he was acting.
【”I’m sorry, we were eavesdropping.”】(Elu)
【”What did you hear?”】(Justus)
【”….That Harold doesn’t have much longer to live”】(Elu)
【”I-it was a lie, right? He looks so healthy….. I saw him training the other day! He was moving at an inhuman speed…… S-So, for him to be close to death or whatever, it doesn’t make any……”】(Lifa)
【”Calm down, Lifa.”】(Elu)
Lifa didn’t know what to think, she was in denial, her voice was shivering as she desperately uttered pointless words. Elu gripped her shoulders and lightly shook her in an attempt to calm her down, but that had little to no effect.
As he looked at the exchange between the two, Justus let out a sigh.
【”Please sit over there. It looks like we all have things to ask each-other, so I’ll treat you to some tea.”】
Justus stood up and poured some black tea, which he had heated up beforehand, in three teacups. The mellow smell of tea leaves that filled the room was soothing to the mind.
Partly thanks to that, Lifa somewhat regained her calm after a dozen minutes. However, she still wasn’t in a state where she could speak calmly.
Having noticed that, Justus turned towards Elu.
【”Well then, I’ll start with since you seem like you can talk properly. You two did some fine reconnaissance work there. You do know that was a crime, right?”】
【”Yes. We’re very sorry.”】
Elu gave a deep bow. There was no room for excuses in this situation.
If Elu didn’t tell the truth and tried to eloquently deceive Justus, he’d be giving him a legitimate reason to suspect him. It was wiser to obediently apologize, and pass off the matter as a kid’s mistake.
Justus sighed again. He was scratching his head with his right hand, seemingly trying to calm his temper. Elu couldn’t determine whether this was genuine or just an act.
【”Well, I’ll admit that I made a blunder, I was talking carelessly while I knew that you were coming to visit. But what you heard was a very important secret that can’t be disclosed.”】
【”A secret? Then that means…”】
【”Yeah, it’s the absolute truth, Harold is going to die soon.”】
As Justus affirmed that, Lifa, who was looking down at the ground, controlled her voice. Elu could see her tightly clenching her hands on her lap.
【”―― But why?”】
She, who had been silent up to this point, asked urgently. Her eyes were filled with tears.
【”Why is Harold going to die?”】(Elu)
【”Like I said, it’s confidential. If I tell you it would be-“】
【”Please tell us! …. Please….”】
The tears were spilling down, after filling Lifa’s eyes to the brim.
And yet, Lifa raised her head, and looked straight at Justus. After a short while, Justus was the first to give in.
【”Lifa, I’d like to ask you something.”】
【”What is it?”】
【”You haven’t spent that much time with Harold. At best, you’ve known him for two weeks. So why are you so concerned about him?”】
Justus’ question went straight to the heart of the matter.
As she ascertained her own feelings, Lifa started speaking her heart out while carefully choosing her words.
【”…… Harold often speaks cynically and has one twisted personality. Whenever we talk to each other, we end up quarreling, I don’t know about him being the worst but I haven’t heard any good rumors about him. However, he appreciates the magic I thought of. And, just to keep a promise he had with me, he fought without caring for the risks.”】
That made Lifa glad, but it also had a deeper impact than that. It made her wonder, “has there ever been a person who went that far for me?”.
Lifa held doubts regarding magical powers from her early childhood. Why was magical power different from one person to another? Why were there people who couldn’t use magic?
At first it was just pure doubt. However, as the years past, and as she acquired more and more fresh knowledge and values, her doubts turned into a dilemma.
Those who could use magic were rich, those who couldn’t were poor.
Those who could use magic were strong, those who couldn’t were weak.
These weren’t absolute truths, but most people went by them. That created disparity, as the rich became richer and the poor became poorer. And Lifa’s village was not spared from that.
The farmers who were able to use earth magic and water magic were more efficient at growing crops than the farmers who couldn’t. That was because the magic drastically decreased the labor needed to plow and water the soil.
As the work needed decreased, the same went for the cost of labor, which in turn led to a decrease in prices. Between two products of similar quality, people would always pick the cheapest. Moreover, using magic instead of man power could finish the job faster, granting the magic users some free time to do other jobs. And like that, the disparity became bigger and bigger.
Be it in agriculture, hunting, raising livestock or even manufacturing, the people who possessed magic that fit their jobs were blessed with a better life than the ones who didn’t. Getting a promotion because one’s magic was superior was a common occurrence.
“The right person in the right place”, perhaps that’s all there was to it.
But the issue was that, Lifa and her parents didn’t have any talent with magic. She did have magical power but she lacked the ability to use it properly. Even though she didn’t want to accept it and worked hard to change that, in the end, she still couldn’t handle magic.
Therefore, Lifa’s family was poor and went through many hardships.
Despite those circumstances, Lifa did not stop thinking about ways to break the status quo. And then, one day, she finally hit on a solution.
If she couldn’t use magic by herself, maybe she could use it by other means. And so, she came up with the idea of using magic with the support of science.
She believed that, if she could accomplish this, she would be able to help her parents and the many people that couldn’t use magic. With that in mind, Lifa devoted herself to her research, day and night, to the point of neglecting sleeping and eating.
Before she noticed, Lifa had been labelled as an eccentric by her village’s people, and her parents gave up on her, treating her like a good-for-nothing. She became solitary.
No one acknowledged Lifa’s efforts. But that was no wonder.
Lifa’s idea was too far apart from this world’s common sense. From her surroundings’ perspective, she was just a foolish girl, desperately trying to achieve her impossible dreams. At the time, Lifa wasn’t even ten years old yet, so she probably came off as being bizarre.
After that, Lifa persisted with her research. She kept on putting more and more effort into it, until it became her reason for living.
She didn’t know anymore if she wanted to help the people who were suffering or if she just wanted to triumph over those who gave up on her. Perhaps she just wished to leave behind proof of her hard work.
That is why she was glad when Harold qualified her magic as an【”Excellent means of attack”】, though there was some cynicism mixed to it. But even though he wasn’t being totally sincere, he really did find some usefulness to Lifa’s research, thus why he put her in contact with Justus, so that said research could progress even further.
Thanks to that, Lifa was confident that her magic would ascend to a whole new level.
【”I can’t thank Harold directly, but one day, I’m going to repay his kindness without fail. Or rather, that’s what I wished, so why……”】
“Why is Harold going to die” she wanted to say, but she swallowed back those words.
She couldn’t possibly tell all those lines to Harold face to face. She did wish to express her gratitude, but she wasn’t able to be frank in front of him. However, she sincerely wanted to become more honest in the future.
【”Even if everyone thinks of Harold as a bad man, he’s important to me. Therefore, if he doesn’t have much time left, I want to do whatever I can for him.”】
Harold was going to die soon. Just imagining that was unbearable to her, it made her feel at a loss and made her chest tighten. She hadn’t noticed but Harold’s existence had taken a huge place within her heart.
Lifa wiped her blurred field of vision with the cuff of her sleeve.
【”I don’t want to see him pass away without knowing anything about him….”】
Perhaps she was just being selfish.
However, that was truly how she felt.
【”Haah…… he’s really one sinful man. Just what is so good about that guy?”】(Justus)
Justus muttered in exasperation while sipping his tea. He sat up straight on his chair and looked up at the ceiling.
He kept pondering and hesitating in that same posture for a short while, and then, he sighed in resignation and started talking.
【”You absolutely must keep this story to yourselves…. Actually, scratch that. You can’t tell anyone about anything that you have heard or will hear in this place today. I will tell you about the secret that guy carries on his shoulders.”】
Translator’s note: Next chapter is going to be great, so do look forward to it. Also, if you wish to support the translations, please do consider donating on Patreon Over Here.