Chapter 170 : Ester

 

The girl had beautiful braided silver hair that was hanging on her shoulder and a pair of long ears.

She seems to be a half-elf who lives in this village.

She covered her mouth with her hand and giggled while looking at me.

「Umm… Can you stop laughing?」(Mark)

While wrapping my waist with the towel I took out from my Item Box, I spoke to her.

「Ah, I’m sorry. I was wondering if you were doing mental training because you were not moving for a while but suddenly you shivered and said, “Zo gold!”. You sounded like an old man! Pfffft! Ahahaha!」(girl)

Well, if I add my age in my previous life with my current age, certainly I’m old enough to be called an old man…

I’ve been using Sensing Magic since I started bathing but I didn’t notice her presence until she started laughing.

Has my Sensing Magic gotten weaker? No… I doubt it was the case.

But how did she get closer without me noticing?

While wondering, I kept staring at the girl until she stopped laughing.

She looked at me while rubbing her teary eyes with her finger.

「Haa.. Haa… I’m sorry for laughing at you.」(girl)

「It’s alright. I’m Mark. Eight years old. I’m going to stay in this village for a while, so I hope we can get along.」(Mark)

I bowed my head as I said that.

I’m a stranger in this village, and she might be a strict type of person like Deel, so I need to be polite here.

Well, since I’m half-naked now, I might look weird though.

「Hee… You’re very polite for a child. You’re the boy who came to this village with Celine, right?」(girl)

「Yeah, that’s me.」(Mark)

I heard that rumors spread quickly in a small village like this, and it seems to be true. After all, humans rarely visit this village, so it’s only natural that we attract people’s attention.

I bet the one who spread the information was Deel.

「My name is Ester. I’m fifteen years old. I may be older than you but because I have a long lifespan, seven years difference is nothing to me, so you don’t have to talk so politely. By the way, I’m very interested in the outside world! Can you tell me about it?」(Ester)

「I’ve only been to a few places, so there’s not much I can tell you.」(Mark)

「No problem! Come. Sit here!」(Ester)

Ester moved to the side a little to make space for me to sit on the boulder.

She doesn’t look like a bad person at all.

I have to wait for Celine and Nicola, so I think talking with her is a good idea to kill time.

「Alright. Wait a sec. Let me put on my clothes.」(Mark)

I moved to the riverbank, wiped my body with the towel, took out my clothes from my Item Box, and put them on.

For some reason, Ester kept staring at me while I was doing that…

I climbed up the boulder and sat next to her. Right after, I smelled the scent of a flower coming from Ester.

I looked to the side at her and saw a white flower decoration at the end of her braided silver hair.

It looked like a real flower. I guess the smell is coming from it.

「Ah, this is my favorite flower.」(Ester)

Noticing my gaze toward the flower decoration, Ester grabbed her braided hair with both hands, brought the flower decoration close to my face, and smiled at me.

「It smells good.」(Mark)

「Right? By the way, I noticed that you used an Item Box when you changed clothes. That’s really awesome! I knew Celine’s friends were not just ordinary people!」(Ester)

I see. Apparently, she was looking at my Item Box instead of my naked body. That’s a relief.

She seems to know Celine. Well, this is a small village, so I think the people here know each other.

 

***

 

After that, we talked for a while.

I told her about the town where I was born and where I live, Fatia, the village with a unique custom of eating monster meat, Secard, and the town of miners, Sadola.

Ester’s eyes were sparkling while she was listening to my stories. Looks like she’s really interested in the outside world.

After talking for a while, I decided to ask her about something that has been bugging me.

「Say, Ester. I can use Sensing Magic and I’ve been using it since I started bathing, but why didn’t I notice your presence until I saw you?」(Mark)

「Ah, it’s because I hid my presence. Watch.」(Ester)

Saying that, Ester closed her eyes. Soon after, I barely sense her presence even though I can see her.

I feel like I’m looking at a 3D hologram that resembles her instead of looking at the person herself.

「Can you tell that I’m hiding my presence?」(Ester)

As Ester asked me, I can gradually feel her presence again.

I see. That’s why I can’t sense her presence with my Sensing Magic. That’s really impressive.

I remember Nicola did something similar when we took a bath in the Japanese-style bath I made in Sadola. (chapter 148)

From now on, I better keep in mind that Sensing Magic is not always reliable.

「Is that some kind of magic?」(Mark)

「Nope. It’s not magic. Umm, how should I put it… It’s more like a… mental power…? Or… a combat technique?」(Ester)

Elves and Half-elves are good at using magic, so I thought it was some kind of magic.

Hmm… A combat technique, huh? …Wait a minute…

「If it’s a combat technique, then why did you use it to peek at me while I’m bathing?」(Mark)

「Ah, I was practicing over there and planning to take a bath here, but then I saw you. Villagers rarely take a bath in the river at this hour, so I hid my presence in case you were a dangerous person, but it turned out that you were a funny kid! “Brrrr, zo gold…!” Bwahaha!」(Ester)

「Oh, come on! Forget that already!」(Mark)

「Haha, I’m sorry, I’m sorry… Oh, right. It’s kinda unfair that I’m the only one who saw you naked, so as an apology for peeking at you, I’ll show you my naked body. Wait a second.」(Ester)

Saying that, Ester tried to take off her clothes.

I could see her navel and lower breasts, but I quickly grabbed her hands to stop her before she showed me something I shouldn’t see.

「No, no! It’s okay! I don’t mind it, so you don’t have to apologize!」(Mark)

「Really? Alright, then.」(Ester)

Phew… That was close…

I feel like females around me mostly don’t feel the shame of showing their naked bodies… Except for Delica for some reason.

「By the way, may I ask another question?」(Mark)

「Of course.」(Ester)

「You seem to be interested in the outside world. Are you planning to leave this village one day?」(Mark)

While fixing the wrinkles on her clothes, Ester answered my question.

「Yup! I’m going to leave this village soon and see the outside world with my own eyes! But… I haven’t made my Portal Stone, soーー」(Ester)

While Ester was still talking, I suddenly heard footsteps approaching us.

「Mark~ Have you finished bathing~?」(Celine)

I turned my face in the direction of the voice and saw Celine walk along the riverbank toward us.

Next to her, there was Nicola following her while smiling in satisfaction. Looks like she really enjoyed her bath with Celine.

 

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