「I was born in a village of apothecaries in the mountains.」

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Anorn looked distantly at her.

「I’m the granddaughter of the chief.
In the village, they called me 『Milady.』 I’m actually a one, you know?」

Anorn lets out a dry laugh.
She seems to be somewhat mocking herself.

「In my village, we developed many kinds of medicines.
Mostly medicines for recovery, but there were also people who made things like bombs, poisons… The most famous one was the elixir.」

「Elixir, you say, isn’t it the one famous for being able to bring back the dead?」

Anorn chuckles at Alfiris’ words.

「It can’t do that to dead people.
But no matter how serious the condition, one can recovered almost immediately.
It’s rare to find a disease or injury that can’t be cured by a bottle of that stuff.」

「It’s true that it’s a very rare drug, isn’t it? I heard you could buy an entire small town if you wanted to buy the elixir.」

「I heard that’s how much it costs now.
I think I’m the only one in the world who knows how to make it.」

「You can make it, Anorn?」

「Do you understand now how great I am?」

Alfiris thought that Anorn was amazing in many ways, even if she couldn’t make such thing, but she didn’t say anything about it.

「But we just don’t have the ingredients anymore.
That’s because of the people who get the materials— And I guess I’m off topic.」

Anorn scratched her head and continued.

「So, in my village, it’s all about developing medicine.
I was given my own workshop when I was seven, and I did research a lot.
Then, was when I was thirteen? My grandmother collapsed.
She said it was just her life expectancy, but I couldn’t accept it… So I foolishly started researching how to extend life.
It’s a childish idea, isn’t it?」

「No it’s not…」

She was about to say something, but Anorn stopped her with her hand.

「It’s all right.
So, I’ve been holed up in my workshop for months.
It was a strange thing, but I was really able to create a potion that slightly extends one’s life.
I guess I had a talent for making medicine.
I was so happy that I went outside with the medicine to give it to my grandma.
And then…」

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Anorn suddenly looked at her darkly.

「Everyone… they were killed.」

「Wha— How? Who did?」

「I don’t know.」

Anorn shook her head.

「Our medicine was a money tree for us.
I knew we had a lot of enemies but I didn’t know how many it was.
I was still treated like a child, so I didn’t know the details.
It was a laughingstock.
They were all being killed on top of a workshop where they were working on a drug that would extend their lives.
I was angry that they were slaughtered, but more than that, I was scared.
I tried to ask for help, but it seemed like the whole world was against me… I was so ashamed that I retreated to my workshop.」

「In the workshop?」

「Yeah.
The workshop was big enough to be self-sufficient, and mine was so deep underground that it seemed like the only safe place to me.
They never found me in the first place.
So I started thinking,『I should just bring back everyone back to life.』I must have gone crazy somehow…」

Anorn continued to talk in an indifferent manner.

「I didn’t even know how long it had been.
I made all kinds of medicines and tested them on myself.
Sometimes I made something like a poison and almost died… I wished I could just die, but I was stubborn than I thought.
One time, I went into another room to get some plants to use as ingredients, and I found a dead plant.
I think it had a lifespan of about 30 years.
Then I thought, 『I’m going to be an old lady before I know it,』so I looked into the mirror.
I remembered that hadn’t seen anyone since I’ve been holed up in my workshop, and I hadn’t looked at my own face once.
I thought I would get a good laugh out of it, because I must have looked terrible, but my face looked like I was in my twenties.」

Alfiris was speechless.

「At first, I didn’t understand what was going on.
I thought I looked this even in my 40s, but I thought it was strange that I didn’t have a single wrinkle, so I didn’t think anything of it at that time.
But one day, I accidentally ignited an explosive device.
And it was right in front of me.
I was blown to pieces… I should have been.」

「…」

「Ahh, I was dead.
Now I can go to my family and everyone else.
I thought my life was so boring.
But after a while, I woke up without a scratch on me.
My clothes were ragged and my workshop was a mess.
That’s when I realized something.
I had become immortal.」

「Why did it happen…?」

「I don’t know either.
I don’t know if it was one of I made or if it was the order of consumption.
In any case, because of the explosion, the results of my research were burned, so I couldn’t verify them.
Oh, but immortality isn’t like the undead who are forced by magic to move, so they can’t functionally move if their heads are cut off, nor can they starve.
It’s not like they can create unlimited amounts of energy on their own.
I guess it’s the same if I freeze myself, I can’t move.
My immortality may be more like『returning to my best state.』

Besides, I’m as hungry as anyone else, and I need to sleep to keep my strength up.
But I didn’t want to be immortal, so I tried everything to die, but when I couldn’t kill myself by swallowing a combustible bomb, I gave up on dying.」

「I can’t even do that…」

Alfiris looked sad.
It must been a very desperate time in her life for the cheerful Anorn – or at least that’s what Alfiris thinks – to go drive her that far.

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「I could have done a lot of other things, but… I don’t like torturing myself too much, and I’ve decided that this is just like heaven telling me to live.
I was a bit interested in the outside world, and I was a ne’er-do-well by nature.
So I gathered up what I could in the village and set out on my journey.
It’s been decades since I’ve been there, so I figured no one would know I was a survivor of that village.」

「…」

「And so, I started working as a mercenary.
I had some self-defense skills, so I thought I could handle it.
I was so excited to be immortal, and I didn’t know know at that time how scary it would be to be immortal without any skills.
I was just like you in the beginning, Alfie.」

「? Just like me?」

When Alfiris cocks her head, Anorn speaks a little mockingly.

「You’re like a duck carrying a leek.」

「Harsh!」

「Well, you’re actually right.
You’re a lone female adventurer, and you walk into a town and ask a passing man, 『Where can I stay for the night?』You know what I went through after that, right?」

「That’s…」

Anorn didn’t dare to say anything, but Alfiris could easily imagine what she meant.
The same goes for Alfiris.

It was in the first village she visited after starting her adventure.
She approached a man in the area to confirm the location of the next village.
The man, who was strangely kind, even bought her and his friends dinner, and politely offered them alcohol.
Alfiris had never drunk alcohol before, and she didn’t know what was the right amount for her, so she drank as she was offered.
In a daze, she vaguely remembers what the men were saying to each other.

(Hey, you’re trying to scare traveling girls again… Heaven will punish you someday, right guys?)

(Heh heh heh… If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now.
Women are such a bunch of idiots… they follow men and drink alcohol when they travel alone.)

(Yeah, yeah, it’s her ignorance which was the problem.
We’re just trying to be nice and show her how hard the world is…)

(Damn, you bastards.
Why don’t you go visit the land of the dead for once?)

(What kind of shopkeeper mixes a numbing agent in her liquor while he’s saying that… I’m sure he’s planning to take it easy on us after we leave, you stingy old man.)

(I’m renting a room at the inn, you know.
I’m just taking the money for it.)

(That’s no excuse… I’ll just rent on the back)

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(They’re watching us too.
Are you sure?)

(They’re watching.
She’s a rare gem around here.
They’ve been watching her a lot, haven’t they?)

(I’m sure you’re not the only one.
If you piss off a mage, you’ll be afraid of the consequences.)

(I don’t care.
I can’t resist anymore.)

(I don’t know… should we do it then?)

(Ahh!)

(Wait— Stop!)

From that point on, Alfiris’ memory was hazy.
She vaguely heard the screams of the men and the sounds of the building collapsing.

When she woke up, she found a beautiful blond-haired sister looking at her face with a worried look on her own.
Afterwards, she vividly remembered being lectured for hours in a hangover state.
She also remembered the battered men and the wreckage of the inn, which was destroyed to the point of tipping over.

Yes, she had been saved in the nick of time by Anorn, but surely Anorn had not come to anyone’s aid, Alfiris imagined.

「So when I first saw you, you didn’t feel like a stranger.
I thought you were just like me when I first met you.
I had seen a lot of pain and learned a lot of things, but it was not a good experience.
I didn’t want you to go through the same thing, as a woman of your age.」

「Anorn…」

「Don’t look so bitter.
Thanks to you, I’ve become stronger.
I’ve trained a lot, and I’m ready to do it.
I’ve done a lot of dirty things.
I’m not afraid to cheat people.
People use and are used, I thought.
I really thought that people who were used were stupid.
Of course, there were a lot of good guys, you know? There were places where they treated me well and I was able to live a very peaceful life, but even so, I couldn’t stay in one place for long.
I don’t age, and I don’t die.
When I didn’t change my appearance over the years, people around me started to get creeped out.
There were times when I was called a monster… and then I met some people.」

Anorn’s eyes suddenly became gentle.

「It was almost 150 years ago, wasn’t it? There were still a lot of Archfiends back then.
It’s not as bad as it was during the Great War, because most of them were conquered, but there were a lot of human conflicts that we couldn’t handle, and there were a number of Archfiends that expanded their power as if to weave in and out of the conflicts.
It’s not as if they are small in historical terms, but it was a time when the archfiends were temporarily regaining power, and the world was in turmoil.

In the midst of all this, there was a group of people who were taking on a task of defeating fiends for free.
They were what is commonly called the『Hero’s Group.』 They were a combination of a Hero, a Fighter, a Sister, and a Sorceress.
At first I thought,『Are they nuts?』I was already as strong as I am now.
I’ve recruited some of the kids from around the area to fight for me.」

「And then…?」

「They were beaten to a pulp.
All four of them were so strong that they were like monsters.
In particular, the strength of the Hero was exceptional.
I was twisted with one hand.
I’m sure they’ve been recognized as heroes many countries.」

「Really?」

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How much of a warrior could he be to singlehandedly twist Anorn to drive back a pack of Orcs unharmed? Alfiris couldn’t even imagine it, but she’s sure that it can compete with Albert.
But he could not compare to Alfiris, who had not yet reached that level.
Anorn shrugged her shoulders and made a joke, as if to show that she could not believe it herself.

「It’s true, like a lie.
It was the hardest thing for me to believe, but what’s more unbelievable happened afterwards.」

「What did he say?」

「『Please join me, I need your help.
Let’s save the world together!』He said.
I thought he was stupid, hot, and depressing.
I reasoned that『if you were that strong, you wouldn’t need my help.』But I don’t have anything else to do, and I wanted to see where his skin would come off, so I decided to follow him.」

Alfiris giggled.

「What’s with that?」

「But Anorn, you’re so twisted.」

「It’s the truth, you know.
I’ve been to a lot of places and had a lot of adventure.」

Anorn began to talk happily.
It was a change from earlier.

「I really enjoyed those days.
At first, I thought he was a fool, but he was really a saintly man.
He never asked for anything in return from anyone, but kept fighting and always overcame any hardship.
And yet, he was never arrogant.
He was the kind of guy who would go to stop a kid’s fight and come back with a beating of his own.
But I knew that this was the kind of man who was really strong.
In time… I fell in love with him without even knowing it.」

「…」

「No matter how I approached him, he didn’t seem to notice me at all, so one day I went to crawl into his bedroom at night.」

「Can I ask what happened?」

「Right.
I stood in front of him sleeping in his bed, not wearing a single piece of cloth, and I seduced him.
What do you think he said? 『W-we can’t do it! You and I aren’t lovers, so I don’t think you should do that! Hurry up ans put your clothes on!』he said.
I couldn’t hold back and burst out laughing!」

「Isn’t that too much to ask? You’re the one who started it.」

Alfiris, who had been expecting a good story, was a little taken aback.

「It’s because you’re like an adult, but your face is so red, you’re reacting like a boy who’s seem a girl naked for the first time.
I couldn’t help but ask,『So, would you mind if I were your girlfriend?』 I told him.
He froze for a while and then said,『If it’s okay for an insignificant person like me to be around a beautiful soul like you…!』I’ve had many compliments ony appearance, but he may have been the first to look into my heart.
I knew then that I would follow him for the rest of my life.」

Anorn speaks while blushing like a girl.
The fact that she really liked him was painfully evident to Alfiris.

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