Translated by Hikaru
Edited by Mel
Half a year without Riggs wasn’t much fun, so Isabelle immediately recalled Riggs’ return six months later.
Isabelle was busy getting heated up from the book she was reading, when St. Maria knocked on the door and told her that a guest had come.
The Reaper from the Underground says, ‘It’s time to take dear Isabelle, so bring her in.’ As though she actually heard someone say it, her face was incredibly dark.
But the guest was Riggs, her childhood friend.
“Isabelle, long time no see.”
Her first reaction to Riggs’ appearance after six months was surprise. Riggs returned with a radically different look than he had from before he left.
He had grown, making him one head taller than her. He also lost quite a bit of his baby fat, making his face look mature.
She thought he only ate and worked out at the vocational education center, so he became more muscular than most of the young villagers. Now the boys in the neighborhood would never dream to pick a fight with him.
But what surprised Isabelle the most was Riggs’ face.
It reminded her of an old lady who came to visit the other day saying her husband had collapsed while working. When they went to her house with a box of herbs, the saints advised the old gentleman was about to die due to being overworked. His image overlapped with Riggs’.
“Riggs, are you working too hard?”
Riggs, who has a grand backbone like a tree, buried his head on her shoulder like when he was young. Isabelle felt better and patted his back.
“The only thing that’s grown beyond recognition is this body.”
“…I want to sleep. It’s so hard.”
When he muttered pitifully in her ears, Isabelle felt a strange thrill. That there was a temperature in the voice that was thicker than before. Riggs’s voice was hot as he hummed on her earlobes, but it wasn’t sticky like the summer breeze. She felt strangely excited to hear it.
“Riggs, your voice has changed. Your face and body too. You used to be like a child, but now you’re like a man.”
“Do I look like a man now?”
His delightful voice fluttered her stomach strangely. Isabelle pushed Riggs’ body, which became much harder and heavier.
Meanwhile, Riggs no longer looked as tired and spoke with a face that seemed like one of his desires had been fulfilled.
“Well you’ve changed quite a bit since I haven’t seen you. You know?”
“Huh? How have I?”
Isabelle stared at Riggs. Crimson eyes, lashes, cheeks, neckline and chest, then waist and pelvis one after another, then quickly looked away.
Riggs closed his eyes and shook his head as if shaking off evil spirits. It was the first time she had seen a reaction like this.
“Riggs, am I weird? Why do you hate it so much?”
“…it’s not like that.”
Despite his mouth saying everything was fine, Riggs pulled back and moved away. Isabelle stopped him from turning his back altogether.
“Do I smell weird or something? Why are you avoiding me all of a sudden?”
Isabelle pulled her coat to the tip of her nose and sniffed it. Her bare skin was briefly revealed, but more than that, she was curious why Riggs avoided her.
“I only smell good.”
“…put down your clothes. Come on.”
All his reactions were unfamiliar, perhaps because they just met again after six months. Isabelle became sullen as she straightened her clothes without a word.
It wasn’t long before she realized that the expression Riggs used to say, ‘changed’, meant the beginning of puberty.
As usual, Isabelle was cleaning all over the temple with a duster. She wasn’t feeling well today, so she was going to finish quickly then rest. Then she discovered that the saints were sweating hard from cleaning a bunch of luggage.
“What’s all that?”
“There’s a blydane epidemic in town. There’s a rumor that someone intentionally spread it…”
Blydane’s disease affects the eye causing the patient to be blind for several days. It’s transmitted through physical means or an alchemy elixir.
The disease is accompanied by a mild fever. It is not very dangerous because the mortality rate is low if you take the right herbs, but it is still inconvenient.
“I don’t know the details, but the Self-Defense Forces requested that the items of plague patients be cleaned up. The cleansing is almost finished, but for the time being, I’m afraid something similar will come along.”
“You must be busy… If there’s anything I can do to help you, please let me know.”
“Then could you move these books inside? I have to keep the ones that have already been sanitized separated.”
Isabelle nodded and bravely accepted the books from the saint. Among them, the title of the book at the top attracted her attention.
<The Lady is not Lonely at Night.>
Isabelle, who was all about reading Pilsburg’s scriptures and history books in a lily-decorated place everyday, was envious of the title.
At night, she used to miss her parents whom she never met. By the way, how does this lady spend the night without getting lonely?
I’ll read it later when I’m bored.
It will take quite a while for the book to be sent back to the village anyway, so she thought it would be okay to read it before it’s returned.
A few days later, Riggs visited the temple looking tired. Isabelle’s afternoon schedule was to wash the curtains and her clothes.
For some reason, her back was stiff and she felt dizzy, but Isabelle bravely packed up the laundry.
“Riggs, I’m busy because of the blydane disease, so can you help me with the laundry?”
“You talk as if you’ve never done it before. Come over here.”
Isabelle put curtains in a large wooden bucket by the stream and filled it with water. She got in there and rolled up her hem. She looked serious.
“I’ll wash the curtains, and you’ll come over then step on the clothes… Wait, are you okay? You don’t look well.”
“In fact, I think I’m coming down with a cold, but I can’t bring it up to the saints because they are busy.”
“Sit there, then. I can do the laundry.”
It was an inevitable moment of the awaited scene for a well raised baby deer. Isabelle quickly decided to accept Rigg’s goodwill.
After briefly explaining how to wash the clothes, Riggs did a good job on the laundry. Isabelle sat on a round stone and crouched down while watching him work.
Yet, her physical condition only got worse. No, she’s feeling weird. Isabelle became anxious and said to Riggs, who knew everything.
“Riggs, my chest hurts.”
“Did anything sad happen at the temple?”
“No, my chest really hurts. You know a lot about medicine. Can’t you just take a look?”
Riggs almost fell into the stream. He dropped the curtain that he was washing. Neither said anything despite the curtain almost floating away before barely being picked up in time.
Isabelle continued to wobble after he returned.
“I’ve been feeling weird lately. My breasts too. I’ve had a stomach ache before, but it’s the first time I’ve ever had a stomach ache like this. I can’t sit, and the saints are too busy…”
She was upset that all she could do, while spending time with a friend she hadn’t seen for a while, is complain. Isabelle’s mood, which had gradually dropped, was at its worst when Riggs finished the laundry.
“It’s all done, so let’s go to play now.”
Isabelle nodded and rose from her seat, but for some reason, her legs were wet. Whenever she moved her stiff waist and stomach, it felt like someone kept squeezing it. Her face turned pale as she bit her lips to endure the pain.
However Riggs kept looking alternatingly between her and the rock she was sitting on. His face was full of fears and worries.
“Isabelle, are you sure you’re alright?”
Isabelle slowly turned away. There were bloodstains where she was just sitting. At the moment, her face turned red and she was ashamed.
Riggs didn’t do anything wrong, on the contrary, he did her chores and was worried about her, but she was still resentful. She hated herself for thinking like that and started crying.
“…Isabelle. Does it hurt a lot?”
“I’m not crying because I’m sick. I’m sorry, but I want to go home.”
“Okay. Go home and rest. I’ll hang the laundry.”
The friendlier Riggs was, the more she felt like something broke inside her. Isabelle went back to the attic crying.
After a while, the saints, who were surprised to hear crying, came running. They explained what menstruation was. Isabelle was about to die of shame.
I’ll apologize to Riggs the next time I see him for acting like a patient with a deadly disease.
Isabelle fell asleep after changing her clothes and drinking warm tea that had pain-relieving effects.
When she was dazed, she heard a conversation between a man and a woman. She was so out of it, she thought it was a dream. It was St. Maria and Riggs talking.
“If Isabelle dies like this, I…”
“It’s not like that, so hurry back home.”
“But the blood is so… Isabelle’s bleeding. Save Isabelle. Please…”
“Okay, I promise, so don’t do this here.”
St. Maria was as ferocious as a mama bear, but Riggs looked like one whose world had fallen apart.
“She said her chest aches. It’s a new drug that makes a dead person’s heart beat again, so…”
“It’s just because her chest is growing bigger, that’s an improvement.”
“It’s nothing special. Isabelle is just going through puberty like any other girl. It’s a process of becoming a woman, so don’t worry and go back home.”
Why? In her dream, St. Maria was being very annoying, but she couldn’t get Riggs to leave. Riggs, on the other hand, had his eyes full of tears as if he was seven years old again. He asked.
“That’s right. She’ll be fine when she wakes up, so take all these burdensome things with you.”
St. Maria looked very annoyed and took a book off the shelf. Though it must have been a dream, Isabelle saw the title of the book correctly.
<The Mysteries of the Human Body – Women’s Edition.>
“If you’re curious, read this and go back.”
“Then tomorrow again…”
“If you are concerned about Isabelle’s health and would like to visit her, please read this book at least 50 times before coming.”
Despaired by her resolute attitude, Riggs disappeared out the door.
She had no idea what it’s about. It was a pleasant dream since Isabelle’s two favorite people were in it.
Read only at Travis Translations
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