The person I met by chance was Fors-san, the Sage of the Forest, one of the legendary party members who once traveled with Neun-san.
No, I'm really surprised. What's going on with my encounter rate…… No, I guess I shouldn't be surprised with all the people I've already encountered. Seriously, why the heck is this happening
[……Errr, I'll ask this just in case…… But are you the same Fors-san who traveled with Neun-san]
[Yes, the same one. Well~~ Even so, how nostalgic. I haven't seen Neun for a while. Meanwhile, stupid Laguna often comes and drag me out of my home. What do you think Should I be happy that I had a good friend who cares about me, or sad that I was being dragged around just because she wants to run away from a troublesome meeting…… Friendship is quite a difficult thing to understand, isn't it Especially for the "shy and quiet" me. Being forcibly dragged around is troublesome……]
I think I heard something impossible just now. Who did she say was shy and quiet again …….Ah, I guess I was just hearing things huh.
[No, it's nothing. M- More importantly, aren't you supposed to be meeting up with Laguna-san]
[Speaking of which, I really am supposed to do that. However, I'm sorry to say, but I'm lost. No, I didn't really know this place right from the start, so I guess it was inevitable that I would get lost. I certainly may be blamed because I didn't think of the possibility that I might get lost beforehand, but I don't think I'm going to make it to the Central Plaza at this rate.]
The Central Plaza, like its name suggests, is in the middle of the city…… and it's a place one can easily reach if they just walk towards the Central Tower……
[What time are you going to meet up with Laguna-san]
[Time I'm supposed to meet up with her at 9:00 am. Well, given my current situation, it's unclear to me how the time would have any significance of some sort.]
[……Errr, I'm just on my way to the Central Plaza, so if you want, do you want to come with me]
[Are you a saint! I've heard that the number of young people who have the compassion to reach out to those in need has been declining, but I guess not everyone has lost heart huh. No, please excuse my rudeness. I guess it's not a good idea to use statistical information to measure someone. Forget what I said.]
[Y- Yes…… Anyway, we can just continue talking as we move……]
If I just let Fors-san keep talking like a machine-gun, we'll end up late for our meet up, so I thought that we should start walking already.
However, there's a difference in stride length between Fors-san and I, so I made sure that I don't walk too fast, keeping my pace the same as hers.
[Good gracious, I'm sorry for always troubling you. I'm trying to be polite. I'll also make sure that this debt of gratitude is returned. In the meantime, what do you think about "eyeballs" I know a good place that serves very good eyeballs, so how about I bring you there next time……]
[Just the thought is enough for me.]
[Mhmm, I wonder if young people these days don't like eyeball cuisines Sorry about that, I'm not very sensitive to trends. Well then, how about I bring you to a restaurant that offers a wide variety of "insect cuisines"……]
[……No thanks. I- It's not like I helped you because I wanted to repay your gratitude, so just a simple thank you would be enough.]
That's not expressing gratitude anymore, that feels more like you want me to receive punishment, you know! Eyeball cuisines and insect cuisines…… They're things I don't want to eat from the bottom of my heart.
I mean, does Fors-san usually eat such things N- No, well, they say that everyone has differing tastes…… But unfortunately, the day when I will be able to relate to her tastes will never come.
With this in mind, I tried to gently tell her that there was no need to thank me, to which Fors-san's expression changed to one of admiration.
[What a humble young man, you are. This may just sound like common compliments to your ears, but you're really splendid. Even so, hmmm. My pride will not allow me to just let things go without even being able to thank you. That said, I can't immediately think of a way to express my gratitude that could satisfy you though. I'm sorry, I'm going to need a bit more time for that. I'll think of something really special to express my thanks.]
[I- I understand.]
[Ahh, that reminds me, I once did some research on magic related to cooking……]
Until we reached the Central Plaza, Fors-san's machine-gun talk went on and on.
When I reached the wide Central Plaza, I moved around my gaze, but I couldn't find Laguna-san. I did easily spot Neun-san and Dr. Vier though.
Fors-san was also acquainted with Neun-san, and since she mentioned before about how she hadn't seen her in a while, she approached Neun-san and Dr. Vier first before worrying about Laguna-san's absence.
[I'm sorry, Neun-san, Dr. Vier. I've made you wait……]
[No, it's just that we arrived too early. So these are Miyama-kun's pets huh~~ They're quite cute, aren't you]
[Good morning, Kaito-san…… Oya Who's the lady with you]
When I called out to them, apologizing for making them wait, Dr. Vier kindly replied first, and Neun-san followed with a greeting of her own before turning her attention to Fors-san behind me.
[Ohh, Neun! It's been a long time! Was it 30 years since we last met I'm glad to see you're doing well.]
[Eh Errr…… "Who are you"]
[ [ Eh ] ]
Fors-san greeted Neun-san with a bright smile, but Neun-san tilted her head in genuine wonder, and her unexpected reaction caused Fors-san and I tilted our heads as well.
Arehh They're friends who traveled together, aren't they With Neun-san's personality, I'm sure she isn't joking…… What the heck is going on
[Oi, oi, those words are making me sad here. Even I'm going to shock hearing you say that. To be forgotten by the comrade you traveled with and suffered with…… Humans certainly are forgetful creatures. The act of forgetting could probably even be said as something that makes many living beings what they are. But even if that's so, there are certain things that shouldn't be forgotten, don't you think]
[……T- That hair over your eyes…… and that convoluted way of speaking…… Could you be…… Fors]
[What the, so you still remember me huh…… I see that you have gotten a bit meaner. I remember how you also used to make jokes like that……]
[No, eh A- Are you really Fors!]
[Unnn Who else do you think I am]
It seems that Neun-san remembered Fors-san, but it kind of feels like the Fors-san in her mind is different from the person next to me.
What does this mean……]
[W- Why did you "shrink"!]
Shrink Fors-san did
[Oi, oi, why do you look that surprised]
[N- No, I mean…… Isn't Fors "taller and had bigger breasts than me"! Why do you look like a child……]
[Ahh, speaking of which, that certainly was how I looked like back then huh I completely forgot. I think it was 15 years ago You see, in large groups of people, there would be that one person who isn't anything special and has an awfully thin presence, right Using that as reference, I thought of creating "a drug that shrinks down a person's presence"…… After that, interestingly enough, rather than my presence, my body ended up shrinking instead. Hahaha!]
[That's no laughing matter!!! Why are you taking such an incomprehensible drug yourself!]
[What are you saying I'll have you know, I'm a humane researcher. Isn't it obvious that if "I want to experiment on a Human, it would basically be done on my own body" Well, they sometimes end up in failures! Ahh, that obviously doesn't apply with life-threatening drugs. I mean, I don't make such things……]
I finally understood why Neun-san was surprised. Apparently, Fors-san was originally an adult woman who was taller than Neun-san.
It's been a long time since they've met each other, and they now met with her being around 130cm tall. I guess she would obviously not easily know who she is……
[…… Or rather, 15 years ago…… You didn't find a way to return back to your original form]
[Nah, I did. I've kept all the recipes for the drugs I've made, so it's easy for me to make a drug that returns me to normal.]
[T- Then, why is it that……]
[It's just that this form is convenient. I only need to eat a small amount of food for me to maintain a really energetic body like this. What's amusing is that what I drug didn't make me young. The magic power I had grown for years is still the same…… Rather, with those obtrusive "two lumps of fat gone", my stiff shoulders were healed. The only problem now is that it's hard to get things that are high up, but that can be easily fixed with a stepladder or using magic. In the end, my body is just a vessel made of flesh, and I don't really mind swapping out vessels at all.]
[……Haahhh…… You…… really are……]
Looking like she got really tired of caring about what Fors-san did, Neun-san's shoulders slumped. It's no wonder, Fors-san's character is just far too strong. Dealing with such a person would certainly feel tiring……
Dear Mom, Dad————– Apparently, Fors-san was the kind of person who would conduct human experiments using her own body, making Neun-san quite astounded. I mean, with her strange personality, there's no mistaking it————– Fors-san is a mad scientist.
Apologize! Apologize to God of Time and Space-sama (who can't even feel any stiff shoulders), you—— you——– you sonufabech!!!
Ground-type Serious-senpai: [My intuition is telling me…… She's one of those with quite a deep character! Oh no, this won't do! She's definitely a Seriousness Breaker…… My natural enemy!]