“A forest of the lost…?”
“Yes. This forest has been called ‘a forest of the lost’ from about two years ago.”
If I summarise Cynthia-sans story, it’s like this.
In this world of ‘forests of the lost’ appear on rare occasions.
They appear without any regular pattern. One day, a normal forest starts making people get lost inside like a labyrinth, turning into ‘a forest of the lost’.
Inside, vision grows worse, and even walking straight head leads to getting lost. Also, without magic tools to point the way, it’s hard to return. Apparently experienced adventurers can explore without any magic tools. ‘A forest of the lost’ returns to being a normal forest after 2 to 10 years.
“Ah… that’s why I couldn’t meet anyone.”
“Yes. There was an official notice from the adventurer’s guild, so people normally don’t set foot here. This forest is relatively safe, so there are no merits for veteran adventurers to explore or hunt here.
Then, that means. This ‘forest of the lost’ will turn into a normal one at the latest in 8 years. Or it could turn into a normal one tomorrow… that’s what it means.
“……We were training… hunting right outside this ‘forest of the lost’. Then we were attacked by hard wolves and ended up here while running away.”
“And I was with you… I’m sorry.”
“I see… that must have been tough. But do you know the way back…?”
To my question, the two raised their voices as if to say, We forgot!
I see… they don’t know their way back. However, I also don’t know you know…?
“Ah, it’s alright… I have a magic tool for communication. Definitely, onii-sama will come for us…”
“I see. Then that’s a relief.”
“Yes. I’ll try contacting him now…!”
Cynthia-san took off her necklace with a red stone and gently clasped her hands over the stone. Then, a red light flooded out, with the necklace shining red in response.
Amazing, there’s a magic tool like this… there can be anything, this is a different world indeed.
Then, a panicked voice came from the necklace.
“Is it Thia…!?”
“Are you safe…!? You didn’t return even after the promised time, so I was worried that something happened to you!”
He must have been worried about his younger sister.
For some reason, I felt happy at seeing that. Yes, protecting a younger sister is a natural thing to do. I thought of my little sister Hana a bit, and there was a painful feeling in my heart.
“We were chased by hard wolves into the forest of the lost…… But we managed to defeat them and we’re now resting at our benefactor, Hinami-san’s house.”
“A person… in a forest of the lost? ……Okay. I’ll be there immediately, so please tell me the location.”
“Yes, I’m sorry. I’ll be waiting…”
Then the conversation ended.
But it looks like he’s coming right away, so it’s a relief for me for the time being.
“I just activated the transmission device of the magic tool. Onii-sama will be here soon.”
“Mn. That’s nice! Then let’s relax in the meanwhile.”
But I have no idea how fast he will come… By the way, Cynthia-san also said that she doesn’t know. In a normal forest, it will take about 2 hours by horse. At the fastest, by evening… I guess. Then I think I should prepare dinner…? They ate all the donuts deliciously after all.
Right. According to the information I heard, sugar is a luxury after all… I see, sugar’s made along with salt, but the ratio of salt and sugar is 9:1. So nobles can have them, but commoners don’t have many opportunities. By the way, I saved a lot during the past 2 years!
“Ah, right. Cynthia-san, your robe… I’ll wash it, so why don’t you head to the bath?”
“Eh…! There’s a bath!?”
I unintentionally asked back. A bath isn’t that surprising… right? Right? To me who was sincerely puzzled, Kiruto-kun taught me that only mansions of nobles or high-class inns have baths. I-I see… But then, how do normal commoners do it? Shower? It’s a mystery. But I don’t want them to find out my lack of common sense by asking more.
“Mn, please, by all means!”
“Thank you very much!”
I handed her a bath towel from the shelf at the corridor to the bathroom, and also gave her the clothes I wore 2 years ago, which are a little small for me now. By the way, there are many lovely clothes with frills and they are replenished arbitrarily. When I asked god why that was, the reply was, “My taste.”… Mn, how peaceful.
While Cynthia-san was bathing, I headed to the rooftop to do the laundry.
There are many herbs in the vases, as well as cute flowers. It’s a rooftop, but for some reason I could add a well so I don’t have troubles with watering the plants or doing the laundry.. “I’ll help,” Kiruto-san said and came up, then let out a voice of admiration at the scenery from the rooftop. Around 3-storeys high, you can’t see everything but quite a bit of the forest can be seen from the rooftop. Of course, there are trees bigger than my house so not everything can be seen.
“Amazing…! To think you can look at the forest of the lost like this.”
“Yes, it’s pretty, right?”
While heading out to dry the robe, I watered the plants too. Next to me, Kiruto-san was looking at it rather curiously. No, seeing his expression, rather than curious, he felt more amazed, I think?
“……This is amazing! There are this many herbs!”
Eh! Are herbs rare…? Mn, there are only 3 kinds of herbs at my home too so there might not be a lot of herbs in this world.
After I finished watering the plants, I headed to the garden to prepare to make food. Kiruto-san said that he’ll help too, so we went out to the garden together to harvest vegetables.
When we arrived at the fields to harvest the vegetables, for some reason Kiruto-san was very surprised and stood still on the spot. Could it be that he’s surprised at the vegetables this time… If it’s that, I don’t know how to explain it. Then, noticing my gaze, Kiruto-san explained excitedly.
“Medicinal plants are growing…”
“Mn? I didn’t think they were rare though…”
“No… that’s not it. The cultivation of those medicinal plants… are said to be impossible. Fundamentally, medicinal plants are gathered in the forests and mountains. Even the royal chemister can’t grow medicinal plants and gather them from forests.”
“Also… the herbs too are hard to grow, that only high-ranking chemisters or professional herb cultivators can grow them. Hinami-sama… who are you?”
My. I was surprised the most ever since I came to this world.
You can’t grow medicinal plants…!? But the reality is that they are being cultivated very normally. Health grasses, red grasses, orange-grasses, blue-grasses… these four kinds are growing well in the garden. There weren’t any that really withered either… they were growing very normally, no, rather too easily in great bulk. Of course, same with the herbs…!
“M—n… I, I have an affinity for being a chemister… Ahaha.”
Uwah… Kiruto-san’s gaze hurts a lot. Though honestly, from a boy younger than me… around 10, I think? The only impression I get is that it’s cute.
At that moment, Cynthia-san came out to the garden. Maybe because the bath felt very good, she looked very satisfied, which made me happy too.
Walking over to me while waving, Cynthia-san said, “Thank you,” to me and sent a gaze towards Kiruto.
“Kiruto… You shouldn’t trouble Hinami-sama.”
“Ojou-sama… I’m sorry. Hinami-sama, I’m very sorry.”
“No, it’s alright…! I don’t mind? A-Also… I’m not anyone to be called with ‘-sama’, so I’d be happy if you stopped that… really.”
She’s really polite…!
Then the two of them baulk at my suggestion, but then Cynthia-san smiled.
“Then please call me Thia. Hinami-san… would that be alright?”
“Yes! Then I’ll call you Thia-chan… is that okay?”
“Yes, of course!”
S-She’s the first girl friend I made in this world…!
The two of us smiled and said to each other, “Please take care of me.” Meanwhile, Kiruto-kun… just looked at us from the side. I wonder if it’s because he’s an escort…?
While we were chatting and harvesting vegetables, a voice calling out to Thia-chan was heard. But no matter where I looked around in the forest, I couldn’t find the owner of the voice…. Then, where’s the voice from? While I was pondering that, I heard a sound cutting through the wind from right above my head, so when I lifted my head, there was… a dragon, flying in the sky.
I ended up shouting in surprise, but Thia-chan who was next to me called out his name so I decided to accept it. Dangerous, are dragons treated as mounts in this world…?
While I was panicking, the dragon did not mind and boasted its presence as it landed in the garden. Scary, very scary…! Ah, I’m getting goosebumps. But thankfully, down on the ground, the dragon was about 3 metres tall. It was smaller than I imagined so I feel a bit relieved.
And on the back was a boy. He was… same as my age or a little younger. His straight hair was tied behind his head and he was wearing high-qualities clothes of a black base with red lines in them. I know… those are nobles’ clothing…!
“Thia… you’re safe!”
“Sorry… you had to come for me.”
“There’s no problem. And… I take it that you’re Hinami?”
I thought it was a time of reunion for the intimate siblings, but the older brother’s focus turned to me.
“This time, for helping my little sister… I thank you.”
“No no. It’s good that she’s safe.”
“I’m Alfred Melditi, Thia’s older brother.”
Conclusion. He’s feels self-important but he’s maturer than me. Even though he looks like a kid…!
Noble children of this world must be like this. Seems like it’ll be a tiring life… I don’t think I can manage that. Though I don’t need to.
“Anyhow… to think that there would be a person living in a ‘forest of the lost’.”
“…Is it strange after all?”
“Yeah. In high-difficulty… rough mountains and deep forests there are people on rare occasions. But it’s strange to see someone in such a shallow forest. There was an exploration request from the guild so I did that… but there was nothing different other than that it was easier to get lost in than usual.”
“Hinami, have you been living here all the time?”
“No… from 2 years ago.”
“I see… but why here?”
It seems like a place like this turning into a ‘forest of the lost’ is quite… rare, or strange. Apparently such a phenomenon doesn’t happen in forests for beginners like this.
Alfred-san was pondering something, but when he saw the garden his expression changed into one of surprise. I wonder if the exchange I had with Kiruto-kun just then would repeat. Mn… seems like I’m weird after all. Maybe it’s not the forest that’s strange but me that’s strange.
“To think that someone could grow medicinal plants. Surprising…”
“Yes. Also, Hinami-san’s mana restoratives (mana potions) are very delicious!”
“A mana restorative (mana potions) is!? I can’t believe it, but if Thia says that, it’s the truth. …Hinami, do you have a teacher? After all, isn’t it impossible to live alone here?”
“Ah, no… I live alone here.”
“I see… I was insensitive, I’m sorry.”
Seeing me have a troubled expression, Alfred-san apologised. Since I didn’t really have a way to explain it, so I’m thankful that he ended the conversation there.
Suddenly, Thia-chan approached me and tugged my sleeve a little. What’s wrong? When I looked at her, she whispered in a small voice.
“If it’s alright with you… I’d like to show gratitude, so won’t you come with us to the mansion?”
“Aah, that’s a good idea. You are Thia’s life-saver. Please let us invite you.”
“Eh! Erm, that means… going to the city… right?”
“Indeed. The mansion is located in the city… is there something bad about it?”
“Then it’s decided.”
To Thia-chan’s suggestion, Alfred-san agreed and swimmingly proceeded the talk. Rather… I’m so happy I can go to the city! I couldn’t go alone because I was scared but if there are 3 other people I can rest easy.
Not missing that my expression loosened from happiness, Alfred asked when I’d like to leave. I see… Leaving the house like this is a little delicate. But I won’t be leaving for too long so I think it should be alright.
“Ah… right. Can restoratives (potions) be sold in the city?”
“Ah, equipment stores buy them. Are you selling?”
“Yes. I have a lot… and I don’t have any money.”
“I see. Then I’ll show you around.”
Looks like restoratives (potions) can be sold in equipment stores. Really, going to the city without any money is… too miserable. Then, the departure time is… I should take the exchange diary, clothes to change into and some restoratives (potions)… I guess.
“I’ll be okay once I arrange the luggage.”
“I see. Then, let’s go once you’re ready.”
Now, I can finally go to the city!
Excited back then, I later regret I didn’t think about anything like the way back home, or my ID…