Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
Going to the inn where Sinanis and his party stay, we rent two rooms.
One room for Marius and me, and another one for Luna.
And as we were about to head to our rooms, Marius grabbed Luna’s shoulder.
「Then, the girl striving for life, go to the same room as Rude.」
And pushed her into the back.
Then, threw into the air and then caught the key that he stole from Luna without anyone noticing.
「I prefer a single room. And there is also some stuff that I’d like to do without anyone bothering me. Then, that’s how it is! Enjoy yourself, youngsters! See you tomorrow!」
What do you mean, enjoy ourselves!
I was about to shout but held back. I didn’t want to bother other guests.
I tried to grab Marius’ hand, but he already slipped inside his room.
「Sorry, Luna. I will fixーー」
Luna grasped my arm, looking anxious.
……Speaking of which, she was pretty much like this since the incident with the homunculus.
Perhaps Marius noticed this and did this on purpose.
……Thank you, Marius. I will overlook the food bill you managed to rack up today.
「……I’m sorry. Can we stay together for a while?」
It’s pretty likely what Luna is still shaken by that incident.
……Even so, alone in the room with a young woman.
Even though we were together back at home, for some reason, it gets me pretty nervous right now. Is it because it’s just two of us? Crap, I’m getting even more embarrassed.
No no, Luna is a homunculus. Don’t worry about it. Recall Manicia’s face. Ah, she is so cute.
As I struggled not to go into hyperventilation, we entered the room.
Putting down the luggage, I twist my shoulders.
I immediately felt a lot of weight lift off me the moment I removed the great shield.
Stretching, I head to the chair near the window.
「Luna, are you alright?」
「……I’m sorry. For being willful.」
「Is it about that homunculus?」
There are places where homunculi are treated even worse.
No better than slaves, to say the least. There are even some that treat homunculi of the opposite sex as a certain kind of toy.
Were Luna to see something of that sort, she would’ve been even more depressed.
…It’s probably for the best that we didn’t encounter such a scene.
「We, homunculi, are originally meant to be tools?」
I wanted to deny that, but with them being used as such, there is nothing I can say.
She closed her eyes, seeming sad.
Until now, I never actually tried to ask her about herself.
Previously, one thing was happening after another, so I was pretty busy…… But now, I can have a proper talk with her.
Is it my fault?
If I treated her as a tool, then perhaps this wouldn’t have happened.
She might be suffering precisely because she had a taste of human life.
「Luna, you don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. …But can you tell me about your past?」
「About my past?」
「…Yes. I want to know where and how you lived until now.」
Luna lowered her gaze, seemingly in thought.
But only a moment later.
She directed her gaze at me.
Luna put a hand onto her chest and began speaking.
「I’m from the neighboring country of Bloomceros. There, they had numerous homunculi manufacturing plants. I was born at one of them.」
「Bloomceros has so many facilities?」
I only heard rumors about them producing a lot of homunculi.
「Yes. Bloomceros also produces combat homunculi. To raid labyrinths with better efficiency. I was manufactured as an examination homunculus, meant to check combat homunculi.」
……Doesn’t sound like much of a pleasant story.
From that, I pick up important keywords.
「Yes. One can be made by copying information from the magic stone of a person with appraisal skill onto a homunculus magic stone.」
「……That is an illegal production method.」
「I think that it’s most likely so. And it was accompanied by many failures. Many homunculi died soon after being born, due to the copy being incomplete. And some were born possessing the ego.」
That must be the reason why the information is wiped out during the creation process.
If things go awry, the homunculus could get the same thinking as the human during their life, and act in the same way.
「Since homunculi that don’t obey orders are not needed, all of them are being erased.」
「How did you survive?」
「……I was late to awaken the ego. And even after it happened, I tried to hide that fact. At first, it was painful to live there. The fear of one day being disposed of kept haunting me. After all, I was a defective homunculus as well.」
「Yes. My appraisal is imperfect. For the perfect appraisal, a mere look is enough. So I knew, that someday, they will dispose of me as well.」
……How hard it must be, to live, constantly awaiting that moment.
The life where you don’t know what awaits you tomorrow.
Since I lived in the slums previously, I could understand her…… A little bit.
「Homunculi that were born with ego were killed on the spot. However, disposal of purely faulty homunculi is carried out in the area where no evidence will be left. I was brought to that area, and then, escaped from there.」
「Where is that?」
「A labyrinth. We were thrown away at the labyrinth at the border of Avancier and the neighboring country. Everyone is given an order not to move, left to wait for the moment when monsters will kill them.」
A terrible scenery came to my mind.
Indeed, no matter how many were to die in a labyrinth, all of them will be swallowed by it, leaving nothing behind.
……A perfect place for disposal.
Homunculi are tools. But even so, this is justーー
「I learned a means to fight from magic stones, so I managed somehow. Then, I escaped the labyrinth. Luckily, the people from the research facility, who threw me away were quite irresponsible, so when I got outside the labyrinth, no one was around. And…… Then I met you, Master. ……I’m very sorry for what I did at that time. Even though you saved me, I attacked you out of my fear of humans.」
「Don’t worry, I don’t care about that. …You learned how to fight from magic stones?」
「Yes. ……Homunculi can extract information from magic stones and copy it to their own magic stone. Using that, I copied a number of skills and combat experiences while I stayed at the facility. ……But all of them were deficient, so I couldn’t make full use of them.」
……I understand why they would want to produce homunculi for combat use.
Will parties made up fully of homunculi eventually emerge?
But if a large number of homunculi, just like Luna that have the ego, were to appear, would they act in the interests of humanity?
「……That is my past. Master, I’m sorry for keeping silent about it until now.」
「No, it’s that I never asked about it, so don’t worry. Thank you for telling me.」
「I did so because it’s you, Master. You treat me well. And that makes me very…… Happy? I guess that is the word? Sorry. While I have emotions, I’m don’t understand them that well.」
She doesn’t have a clear understanding of what each emotion means. Just like a child.
Probably confused, but Luna looked all flustered.
「Humans also have such moments. ……But, Luna, aren’t you here because you wanted to live? That’s honestly…… The same for humans as well.」
「Master…… Thank you very much.」
「If something happens, feel free to talk to me at any time. ……We are pretty much a family after all.」
She lowered her head.
She now had a very bright expression.
……I wonder if some of her uneasiness went away.
I’d be happy if so.
「Sorry for the questions. Tomorrow, we will have to get up early, so take your time to rest.」
「Yes. Master, I will say it anew, I’m in your care.」
「Yeah. Same here. Please, treat me well.」
I lie down on the bed.
Then, Luna tried to get under my blanket
「What, what are you doing……?」
「After talking about this, I remember the times when I was alone……Can we sleep together?」
I can’t refuse her here, right after saying what I just said.
「Thank you very much, Master.」
Using me as a replacement for a hugging pillow, Luna closed her eyes.
Since she is smiling like this, there is no choice for me but to bear with it.
……I spent the night recalling all kinds of Manicia’s expressions.