Frieren’s Prequel Novel Chapter 1 part 3

Upon waking, the sky was painted in a vibrant crimson sunset.
“…I overslept.”
Fern stood up and stretched. Her magic had recovered, but she had lost most of the training time. Napping halfway through the day was not a good idea, she realized.
Determined to train until nightfall, Fern looked down at her feet.
Her staff was gone.
She scanned the area, but it was nowhere to be seen.
Fern felt the blood drain from her face.
She had lost the precious staff given to her by Heiter.
Panicking slightly, she searched desperately. Then, in the direction of the forest, she spotted a trail that seemed to have dragged something.
The trail looked like it was left by the staff. If the ground hadn’t been so muddy after the rain, Fern might not have noticed it.
Following the trail, Fern ventured into the forest. The air was dense with the scent of wood, and puddles dotted the ground.
There was the staff.
Fern felt relieved to have found it so close, but her relief was short-lived. A large, rodent-like creature was dragging the staff, likely intending to use it for its nest. If left unchecked, the staff would be chewed and broken.
“Give it back, please!”
Fern ran to the nest and grabbed the stick with both hands.
The rodent, puffed up in defiance, emitting a menacing hiss. Despite feeling a twinge of intimidation, Fern refused to yield, her grip tightening on the staff.
The slippery ground made it a struggle to maintain her hold. Undeterred, Fern persisted, pulling with all her might until the staff slipped from the rodent’s grasp.
As the staff slipped away, Fern’s gaze shifted upwards.
In that fleeting moment, she caught sight of a shooting star—
Before landing with a wet splat on the muddy ground.
The defeated rodent scurried away, leaving Fern in a muddy heap.

“Haha, so that’s how you ended up all muddy,”
“It’s not funny. …… “
Heiter chuckled warmly over dinner.
Though Fern had successfully retrieved the staff, the task of cleaning it and her clothes proved to be quite the ordeal. The mud stubbornly clung to her garments, presenting a challenge. If only there were a magical spell to cleanse them thoroughly; Fern would have eagerly embraced it.
“Well, at least you got it back,”
“But the staff has bite marks now,”
“Those can be easily repaired,”
An idea suddenly sparked in Heiter’s mind.
“You know, why don’t we head into town? We can have the staff fixed and indulge in a bit of shopping while we’re at it.”
“Is it really okay to go out? What about my training…?”
“A little break won’t hurt. Besides, you deserve some time to relax,”
Reluctant to dampen Heiter’s enthusiasm, Fern relented.
“Alright,” she agreed.



The following day, Fern and Heiter arranged for a carriage and set off for town.
It had been some time since Fern last visited the bustling town. Street vendors hawked their wares, filling the air with their calls. At the tavern’s outdoor terrace, patrons enjoyed lively conversations over drinks. The hustle and bustle of the town made Fern slightly uneasy.
Their first stop was the repair shop, where the staff would undergo restoration. Assured that the damage could be rectified within a day, they decided to explore the town in the meantime.
Strolling at a leisurely pace, Fern observed the various stalls lining the streets. Sparkling jewelry, quaint trinkets, and potions of varying quality caught her eye, making browsing a delightful experience.
Fern paused,
her attention caught by a vibrant red ribbon displayed at a vendor’s stall.
“Do you like it?” Heiter inquired.
“I shouldn’t spend frivolously…”
“You’re still young, Kids don’t need to think about that. Let me get it for you,”
After a brief negotiation with the vendor, Heiter purchased the ribbon with a few copper coins. Kneeling beside Fern, he carefully tied it into her hair.
A nearby vendor offered a mirror, allowing Fern to admire her reflection. The sight of the crimson ribbon adorning her hair brought a smile to her face.
“It suits you,”
Heiter remarked,
Just like when Heiter patted her head, Fern felt a ticklish sensation in my heart.
After that, they had a meal at a restaurant.
Fern ordered a hamburger, while Heiter had a Rufo omelet – apparently a hero’s favorite dish. As he ate, Heiter squinted his eyes, seeming to reminisce.
“Master Heiter, what’s your favorite food?”
“Mine? That’s a tough one… As for drinks, I’d say it’s all about alcohol.”
“Is that so?”
Fern didn’t know that. She doesn’t think she have ever seen Heiter drinking.
………No, it may have happened only once. Fern feel like Heiter had a bottle of wine when He reached out to Fern, who was about to die, for help.
“Do you still drink?”
“I’ve given it up. Though they say alcohol is a cure-all. Perhaps an occasional indulgence wouldn’t hurt,”
Heiter replied, a hint of wistfulness in his voice.
Aware of the potential health risks associated with alcohol, Fern urged caution.
“Why don’t you have some? I want you to stay healthy, Master Heiter.”
Heiter chuckled softly, his expression tinged with amusement.
“No, I think I’ll pass. I can always have a drink if I want.”
“ ……? I see. “
After their meal, they ventured to a clothing store to update Fern’s wardrobe. With Fern going through a growth spurt, Heiter suggested replenishing her wardrobe regularly. Indeed, Fern had noticed her clothes becoming snug. They perused several stores, purchasing a variety of autumn attire.
Their shopping expedition concluded, they returned to the repair shop.
To Fern’s delight, the staff had been restored to its former glory by the skilled craftsman. The damage had vanished, and its magical properties had even improved. This brought Fern more joy than the ribbon Heiter had gifted her.
As they journeyed home in the carriage, Fern found herself overcome with drowsiness. Leaning against Heiter’s shoulder, she drifted off to sleep, the gentle rocking of the carriage lulling her into a peaceful slumber.
It had been a good day.
The next day, Heiter collapsed.

“Hahaha, it seems I’ve caught a cold in the town,”
Heiter said, lying in bed with a damp towel on his forehead.
“This is no laughing matter…”
Heiter had collapsed that morning. He had quickly tried to get up, but he had a terrible fever. As an experienced priest, if Heiter said it was a cold, it was likely a cold. But Fern was still worried.
Even a simple cold must be quite harsh for the elderly Heiter. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have collapsed like that.
“I’m fine, really. How about your training for today?”
Normally, Heiter would have already started their training by now.
Leaving Heiter behind to go train made Fern uneasy, but there’s not much Fern can do here other than change the towel.
Reluctantly, Fern left Heiter’s room and went outside to start the training.
The tasks were no different than usual –
aiming at the largest boulder and casting spells. But the spells’ range was shorter than before. Every time Fern used magic, the power and speed decreased.
Worried about Heiter, Fern couldn’t concentrate.
No matter how hard she tried to push the anxiety out of her mind, it didn’t work. The more she tried to forget, the more distracting thoughts filled her head.
In the end, Fern couldn’t focus at all that day.
The next day was the same.
Heiter’s condition didn’t improve much. Even three days after catching the cold, his fever hadn’t gone down. At night, Fern could hear Heiter’s coughing through the wall, which pained her heart.
“The cold of an elderly person tends to linger. It’s quite common,”
Heiter said.
But Fern wasn’t sure if she could believe those words.
Then, on the fourth day after Heiter’s collapse,
Fern made a decision.
“Master Heiter, I’ll be going for my training.”
“Yes, do your best today as well.”
As Fern left the house, she headed in a different direction from the cliff where the large boulder was.
Last night, Fern had read a book on medicinal herbs, hoping to find a way to help Heiter. Overwhelmed by the amount of text, she managed to find that there were herbs in this region that were effective against colds. They seemed to grow abundantly in the high-altitude areas.
There was a mountain nearby. If Fern went there in the morning, she should be able to find the herbs and return before sunset.
So, Fern decided to skip the training and search for the herbs instead.
This would mean breaking Heiter’s rule about not going too far, but if Fern came back with the herbs, Heiter would surely overlook it.
Carrying her staff, Fern entered the forest, heading east towards the mountain.
She reached the trailhead without any trouble.

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