“…I just got back… Why did it suddenly become so lively here..?”
Since I didn’t know where this healing magician boy lived, I brought him to Kiriha’s place. The boy was sleeping on the bed while I was being questioned by Kiriha in the same room. Kyou was also present. I was honestly glad Kiriha allowed the boy to use the room for the time being, but I just didn’t know how I would explain everything to her…
“It’s not like I’m trying to blame you for bringing him back. No matter how I look at it, his current condition tells me that he must have been through a lot.”
“Thank you… That’ll make things a little easier to explain…”
“And? Just what do you want to do with this guy?” Kyou asked, pointing at the boy. “You have a reason for bringing him along, right?”I started to recount today’s events…
As I continued my explanation, Kyou and Kiriha’s expressions gradually turned grimmer.
“Usato, that person’s name is Mina…”
“Although I’m the one saying this, do you like to get involved in troublesome situations or something?”
“H-how rude! It’s not like I like being dragged into situations like this, you know!?”
How vexing. To think that Kyou of all people would say that to me. Whether it was this morning’s training classes or the matters regarding this boy… They were both plans proposed by Inukami-senpai.
Leaving that aside, Kiriha mentioned that the girl’s name was Mina or something, right? Just from her initial impression, she seemed like an arrogant and selfish person. Was she exactly as she seemed on the outside? ….Kiriha and Kyou’s expressions seem to say that her personality wasn’t that good.
“Haah…. Then, about that Mina girl…”
“She’s the daughter of a noble…. People rarely have praise for her.”
“When you were saving this boy, you probably saw it yourself, right? She’s the kind of person who can cast magic on someone while laughing no matter how wounded they are. She was probably spoiled by her parents when they raised her… She doesn’t have a fragment of common sense.”
“In addition, she’ll do anything to have her revenge. Once she has her eyes on you, nothing good will come out of it.”
Although Kiriha tried to punch me when I first met her, she had a proper reason for it. She was doing it to protect the ones around her.
But that girl called Mina didn’t possess any morals. She might’ve thought it was amusing to surround someone like that judging by how she was laughing back then. But from my perspective, she had a really disgusting hobby to entertain herself with. If I didn’t consider the boy, this situation could be easily resolved with my own fists. But that wouldn’t really change anything.
“Well, I’ll just have to try my best to train him.”
“Will you be alright? Even though you have a week to make this boy stronger, if you exclude today and the day of the competition.. you really only have five days.”
“It’s not like I don’t have a method to make him stronger… But it’s quite unreasonable and it would really push him to his limits.”
“Unreasonable… You say.”
“I’ll have him conduct the training that my superior gave me. At the very least, he shouldn’t have as much trouble as me since he can already use healing magic but… It won’t change the fact that this kind of training is really pushing a human being’s limits.”
I basically started with no healing magic at all, so he should have an easier time than I did.
Nevertheless, the important part was what this boy wanted to do. I wouldn’t force him to fight if he didn’t want to.
If he didn’t want to participate, I’ll go and apologize to that girl afterwards…. She said something about compensation or some kind of reward though. I felt a little scared.
“Until this boy wakes up, you can’t get started on anything, right?”
After a slight pause, Kiriha continued to speak.
“….I have one more thing that I want to ask you. Is that alright?”
“Hmm? I don’t really mind.”
Kiriha had a strange expression as she queried me. What was it? Did she still have something on her mind?
But shortly after asking, Kiriha sighed and looked away.. she then turned to the door behind me.
“And then both Usato and I made our escape from the forest full of monsters!”
“Amazing! Amazing! To think the two of you defeated two Blue Grizzlies! Inukami and Usato are both strange!”
“What are you going to do about ‘that’?”
Through the slight opening of the door, I could clearly hear a familiar voice that was more excited than usual.
Although it couldn’t be helped under these circumstances.. was it a bad idea to bring Senpai here? Kiriha and Kyou probably didn’t like the idea of having another human in their home.
….Rather than that, why was she having such a friendly conversation with Satsuki? Unlike how silent Satsuki was in the morning, she seemed to be smiling right now… Just what happened?
“I heard from Amako about the heroes. I know they aren’t bad people. But… Even I didn’t expect that her affinity would be so compatible with Satsuki’s.”
“I kind of have trouble dealing with that woman…”
Kyou muttered in low spirits.
I’m guessing that the energetic Senpai talked to him before he entered this room. Sometimes I forget but Senpai is older than me and everyone else here. It’s easy to see how Senpai dragged Kyou into her own pace and warded off any resistance he may have had.
“She really isn’t a bad person. In fact, she’s a really good person but… Yeah, I’ll have her go back in a bit.”
“No, the two of you should at least stay for dinner. Since you’re both here already, how about it? …You won’t refuse, right?”
It was a little odd since Kiriha looked worried as she asked this. But after telling her that there was no way Senpai would refuse such an offer, she smiled in relief and said, “I’m glad.”
I wonder what Kiriha meant by that she was glad? But before I could ask her, she had already walked out of the room to start on her preparations for today’s dinner. That left me with just Kyou and the unconscious boy on the bed.
I had to watch over this boy and nurse him back to health… That was my task at the moment, but it felt unusually uncomfortable to do it.” The reason was… Kyou. He was next to the door and leaning on the wall while staring at me.
After a brief period of silence, Kyou spoke out to me in a somewhat reserved voice. I gave a casual reply as my attention was still on the sleeping boy.
“It was my bad. When I first met you, I said some things to you without any basis.”
I turned around to look at Kyou due to his sudden apology. But just as our eyes met, he quickly turned away in embarrassment and scratched his cheek.
I was astonished that he would say those words to me due to his initial attitude towards me. While still feeling embarrassed, he continued to talk bit by bit.
“At first….. I doubted that someone as fragile as you could protect Amako. But after seeing your fight today, I have to reconsider. You’re not a weak healing magician. It’s mortifying to admit it but… Amako made the right choice in choosing you.”
….I guess this was what people called a blessing in disguise.
The mock battle with Halfa-san brought an unexpected outcome… It seemed that this was a favorable one. After seeing the battle, Kyou acknowledged me.
When I first arrived here, I said I didn’t really care about his thoughts. But that was only on the surface. His words honestly made me happy.
Yesterday evening, he was staring at me with hostility like I was an enemy. I couldn’t see any trace of hostility now as he looked at me… I couldn’t help but let out a laugh.
“W-why are you laughing…”
“No, I just thought… You really do like Amako, eh?”
It was quite pleasant to see his genuine concern for Amako.
However, he wasn’t shy or angry about it. He looked confused. It was like he was saying he didn’t understand what I just said as he blankly looked at me.
Since his reaction was different from what I expected, I couldn’t help but immediately ask “Eh? Was I wrong?”
“You have the wrong idea. I don’t like Amako, so yeah.”
“Is that so? I thought you liked her and that’s why you kept thinking about her.”
It looked like he kept worrying about Amako. Was that not the case?
As I folded my arms and thought about what other explanation there could be, Kyou gave a big sigh and said, “I guess it can’t be helped…”
After a brief pause, he continued.
“The reason I’m so concerned about Amako…. How do I say it? During the time when we met Amako, she was always so reckless. She often got herself in a lot of dangerous situations. It was enough to make anyone think she might just get kidnapped and disappear somewhere one day.”
“Well that’s how it is, that’s why I couldn’t break the habit of worrying over Amako. I mean, it’s important to save your mother and all but… There’s no point if something were to happen to you too…”
There was no doubt that she had a tough and difficult journey. She came all the way from her home and travelled to various countries before arriving in Luquis. Just from how Kyou described it, I could imagine what kind of risks she took to make it this far.
During her two years in Lyngle Kingdom, it was probably more than just a safe place for her. She might’ve used that time to heal the wounds in her heart.
“I didn’t want to accept it.. but the only person who can save both Amako and her mother is you…. It’s definitely impossible for me. That’s why… Usato, I’m entrusting it to you.”
I gave a firm nod to his words.
Kyou was a more gentle and honest person than I initially thought. The first thing he did when the mock battle with Halfa-san was announced was to come warn me.
Although his words to me in beginning seemed a little severe, he was just worried about the others around him.
He looked a little wild and rude but he was a very kind person.
“………Actually, why did you assume that I liked Amako? She’s younger than me. No matter how I look at it, our ages are too far apart. She’s way too———— Ouch!?”
Kyou suddenly shouted in pain and jumped up. Surprised by his cry, I tried to see what was behind him… He was holding his tail and squatting down in pain.
Was someone attacking?
But that thought was immediately erased in the next moment.
Amako was behind Kyou and looking at him without any expression.
“…..Kyou, if you say any more than that… I’ll get angry.”
“A-Amako…. You… Isn’t it against the rules to grab my tail like that without holding back…?”
I could feel the intimidation in Amako’s empty eyes as she stared down at Kyou. She felt a lot different than usual… Did Kyou provoke Amako and incur her imperial wrath…?
I heard before that this topic was a taboo among girls… But I didn’t think it would apply to Amako as well…. The next time I think about teasing Amako… Yeah, I shouldn’t.
As I watched the situation unfold, Kyou tried to make a quick escape and headed for the door. However, Amako placed her foot in the way, which caused him to trip and fall over. My body was overcome with fear upon seeing Amako use her magic to prevent any means of escape.
“J-just wait a moment.”
“Whose age is too far apart? Even I have my times when I can’t tolerate something. If I hear you say it again, don’t think you’ll get away with only this much.”
Amako looked at Kyou with cold eyes. Kyou, who was frightened, raised his voice.
“M-my bad! I was wrong!!”
While still clutching his tail, Kyou begged for Amako’s forgiveness. There was no trace of the manly apology he made to me only a few moments ago. The more I observed this scene, the more lifeless it appeared…
I was secretly trembling inside but I still decided to step in and help Kyou out of his predicament.
“A-Amako? Did you come here for something?”
“Kyou, how about checking on Senpai for me? I need to talk with Amako for a bit.”
“I-I got it.”
Kyou slowly got up. His shoulders drooped and he left the room while holding his tail in his hand. It was Kyou’s own fault for saying something he shouldn’t have said but I couldn’t help but pity him when I saw him leave the room like that.
Amako turned to me in silence. She gently tilted her head to the side. She looked at me a little suspiciously as I made eye contact with her.
After staring at each other in silence for a few seconds, Amako replied,
“Nothing… It’s just that this boy is going to wake up soon.”
She had her ability to see the future so it wasn’t strange for her to know. But the way she said it… It felt like she was familiar with him.
“Is he an acquaintance of yours?”
“….I know him from my visions.”
“What kind of person is he?”
“He’s someone who no one could trust so he ended up as a person who couldn’t trust anyone. He’s quite pitiable. When I saw him in my visions two years ago, he was just someone that other people didn’t bother with. Despite the fact that he’s younger than me… His present situation is actually this cruel.”
….Wasn’t this kind of heavy?
It wasn’t at a level where I couldn’t handle it but… If it were Rose, she could just train him without any mercy. But I don’t think I’m capable of that.
“It’s alright, Usato. You can do it.”
“You say it so easily.”
Well, I couldn’t back out and say it was impossible at this point.
I still had to talk with the boy and ask what he intended to do. Everything would begin from there. I looked aimlessly at the ceiling while Amako was watching over the boy. She grabbed a wooden chair and sat next to me.
“He’s waking up.”
Amako put her hood over her head as she said so.
I nodded in response and turned my attention to the boy’s body. After a few seconds, the boy, lightly groaned and opened his eyes.
His hair was in a mess and there was quite a bit of dirt under his eyes. Looking closely, he was a little thin. Did he not eat much usually? No matter how I looked at it, he didn’t have a healthy body.
He was currently staring at me and Amako.
Including me, the three of us were silent.
We wouldn’t get anywhere unless we started talking but he kept glaring at me… No, his long hair was sort of covering his eyes and it only looked a bit scary. He wasn’t necessarily glaring at me. Maybe I misunderstood him when I first met him near Luquis’ gates? I thought there was hostility in his gaze.
Still, his eyes seemed to be quite good if he could see me from such a long distance.
……..Well, in my case, I was used to being observed from a distance like that.
“Do you remember what happened this afternoon?”
“What’s your name?”
“Nack…. You are…. Usato, right? A healing magician just like me… But I don’t know who the person next to you is…”
“Well it’s a given you would know about me, you saw my mock battle with Halfa-san… Aah, you don’t have to mind this person next to me…. Anyways, I’ll explain to you what happened after you fainted. Stay calm and listen carefully.”
As my explanation went on, his face gradually became paler. I gave a detailed explanation of what happened while he was unconscious and told him about how Inukami-senpai set him up for a duel.
After I stopped talking, he hugged himself with his arms and trembled in fear.
“I-I… Why do I have to…”
Just as I had thought, Nack was in a state of shock.
His reaction is understandable. If a match suddenly got decided for me without my consent, I wouldn’t want to fight either. But that’s just how unstable the situation is.
“It would have been even more dangerous for you if this match wasn’t proposed.”
“But that’s because I’m a healing magician….”
“No… I heard that you’ve been bullied quite a bit. I don’t know exactly how much, but Mina went far enough to exhaust all your magic. If you received another hit during that state…. Let me just be frank with you. If you took another hit from Mina’s magic, you would have died.”
It wouldn’t have been just a small injury preventing him from going to school.
I was disgusted at the fact that this group in their spare time would fire magic at Nack until his magic was exhausted.
“But…. The reason they took it that far this time was because of me. Due to my rash actions, I put you in a dangerous situation. I’m truly sorry.”
I put my hands on my knees and bowed my head down.
Nack panicked upon seeing me lower my head but this was obviously something I had to say. Their group probably never took their abuse on Nack this far before. The reason was simple; Nack would have already died long ago if they did.
By showing Luquis the ‘strength’ of a healing magician, Mina’s pride was wounded. But I only felt anger right now because she didn’t come directly for me but rather another healing magician instead… She went for Nack.
“I-I was saved by you so…. It’s fine! So please, raise your head…”
I raised my head once I heard Nack’s flustered voice.
I held some responsibility for this current situation. That’s why I’ll give him a choice. I looked directly into his eyes and said,
“Then, Nack. Let’s get right to the point. In one week…. Will you be able to fight Mina?”
“Please give me an honest answer.”
Once I threw down these words, the boy hung his head in shame and gathered the front of his robe in his fists. It felt like he was trying to squeeze something to death. After a few moments… The boy, Nack, opened his mouth and spoke,
“……Can you tell me the reason for it?”
It wasn’t ‘I can’t do it’ but rather ‘impossible’.
He clearly stated that there was no way he could win. While I was pondering on the possible reason, Nack gathered healing magic in his hand and placed it in front of me.
“You’re a proper healing magician, right….? I’m just a defective one, my healing magic is… It’s impossible for me.”
Defective? Nack wasn’t referring to healing magic itself, he seemed to be referring to how he used healing magic.
But what did he mean exactly? Did he mean it literally or was there some other meaning… I looked at his extended hand in confusion. Nack looked vexed and continued to explain.
“I can’t heal anyone except myself… Before I came here, I was still able to do it but… I can’t do it anymore.”
He lost the ability to heal others with healing magic?
Were there different effects depending on how one strengthened healing magic…? The ‘Reinforcement’ of my healing magic didn’t result in anything like that—
“I noticed it about a year ago… Mina and her group were bullying me as usual…. As I was walking back home, I saw an injured familiar…. That’s when I realized it.”
“You can’t operate your healing magic at all except on yourself…?”
Nack nodded. Next to me, Amako was astonished. It seemed like the circumstances were unexpected for her too.
Still, why was it that he lost the ability to use healing magic on others? I never heard anything like that from Rose. Was it because the concentration of his healing magic became too thin? ….No, something like that couldn’t just suddenly happen. Olga-san was born with his special concentration but Nack clearly didn’t fit in this category. The light in Nack’s hand looked normal too.
If I were to consider one more possibility…. Did he develop this condition because of how Mina’s group bullied him…?
……I shouldn’t think too deeply.
If I thought any further down this path, I wasn’t confident in keeping my composure. There was a more urgent problem that we had to address first.
“Healing magic is a magic used only for healing others… That’s why, my magic is broken…. My magic has lost its only function…”
Amako probably felt that this situation was bad and looked at me with worry…. But it wasn’t necessary for him to heal others if he decided to participate in tomorrow’s training.
I smiled and placed a hand on the gloomy Nack’s shoulder.
“It’s okay. The process of making you stronger won’t require you to use healing magic on others.”
“If you decide to fight with Mina… Undertake my training for five days.”
The problem wasn’t healing magic but rather his resolve— Honestly, this kind of training was the equivalent of hell to him…. The training was on a level where I couldn’t even joke about it.
I wouldn’t go easy nor would I try to gloss it over with some pretty words. I needed to make sure he had the will to see through this training.
“Broken? Can’t use it anymore? Defective? A magic whose only purpose is to heal others? Telling me that I’m a real and proper healing magician? You’re completely off. Nack, you’ve been trying too hard to use healing magic the right way.”
I wasn’t wrong.
I wasn’t a proper healing magician. It was true that healing magicians were supposed to be like Olga-san and Uluru-san who specialized in healing others.
“The first thing that my Master taught me wasn’t how to heal others… She simply taught me how to heal myself. That’s why… It’s fine. If you can still do that much, it’s enough for you to receive my training and kick the asses of those guys who bullied you.”
My words appeared too startling for Nack as he stared blankly at me with his mouth partly opened.
I wryly smiled and continued to speak.
“Well, what I’m saying is…. I’m not teaching you healing magic. I’ll use these five days to train you to a level where you can completely overwhelm that little girl.”
“Me…? And to Mina…?”
“Of course, it won’t be easy. The training tomorrow will be plain and much tougher than you could ever imagine. You might vomit blood, you might scream and cry, you might faint— Well, I’ll use healing magic on you to prevent that. I’ll ask you again, Nack. Do you have the resolve to fight against Mina?”
It might’ve been an exaggeration to say he would vomit blood but I wasn’t necessarily lying….. I didn’t vomit blood when I trained, it should be fine.
After around ten or so seconds passed, Nack hesitantly spoke.
“Umm… That’s… I feel like the training is scarier than having to fight with Mina…”
“……I won’t deny that.”
Amako, stop looking at me with those eyes. It’s like you’re disappointed in me.
There was really no other option here. If Nack wanted to get stronger, he would have to go through the same training Rose gave me. There was also the fact that I didn’t know any other ways to get stronger.
But don’t worry, Nack, you will definitely have an easier time than me. At least, I think so…
“W-well…. If you don’t want to, I’ll go bow down and apologize to Mina. That’s why you don’t have to force yourself to fight. There are other paths to take.”
Nack was looking down on the bed.
No matter what his answer is, I won’t say anything about it.
If you wanted to win, you had to go through this training. In truth, I understood from personal experience just what kind of training you would go through. I didn’t want you to experience this training from hell either.
Running until I collapsed, only to be revived so I could continue running… Continuing that endless cycle was one of the basics of the Rescue Squad’s healing magic. But you haven’t seen true hell until you got past that part. You had to deal with the mental burden too. Waking up in the morning and thinking about the running you had to do for the day wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Although you wouldn’t be tired or receive any injuries due to healing magic, you would feel a strange sense of pain in your legs.
—It was the type of training that deteriorated one’s mind.
But in turn, you’ll be rewarded with definite results….. You’ll still have mixed feelings about it though.
“Even someone like me…… Can win?”
“I’m not making any guarantees. But if you’re determined, you’ll definitely be rewarded for your efforts. I am proof of that.”
I obviously wouldn’t do the training where I would send him flying in the air every few seconds. It would be more accurate to say that if I did do that, Nack would die.
After receiving my words, Nack still looked indecisive. But that was only for a moment. It wasn’t long before he looked like someone who had made up his mind. His eyes were still gloomy but I could see a faint spark of light in them now.
“I’ll do it… I’ll really do it… I’ll defeat Mina…. That’s why… Please, make me stronger……..!”
I didn’t think I would train a healing magician just like Rose… I’ll thoroughly temper and train this boy, Nack, in the Rescue Squad’s style of healing magic.
I swore this inside my heart.
“The training will begin tomorrow. For today, be sure to eat well and get plenty of sleep.”
Since Nack was determined to fight with Mina, the next problem was his body’s current condition.
He probably didn’t eat anything that gave him a good source of nutrition. His complexion was slightly better now thanks to his healing magic being restored but I couldn’t ignore his poor health.
Healing magic couldn’t restore mental fatigue or nutrition, so it was important to eat well.
I realized just how important a good source of nutrition was after a session of training. Every cell in my body would scream and demand me to eat something… On the first day I started training and got to eat something at dinner afterwards, I shed tears. No, how should I say it? It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that when Tong snatched my food, I felt like a tiger that had just entered a fierce world.
As I indulged in a nostalgic memory, Nack looked around the room restlessly.
“By the way… Where are we?”
What kind of explanation should I give?
Should I just honestly tell him this was Kiriha’s place… Where other beast kin lived?
I don’t think this boy had any prejudice against non-humans but… What should I do?
“What is it, Amako?”
She had the habit of tugging on my sleeve when she wanted my attention. I couldn’t see half of her face due to the hood covering it but I could tell she was looking at the door.
“Sorry, I was too late.”
Eh? What was too late?
As I was about to ask, the door behind me slammed open and someone stepped in. From there, I understood what Amako meant.
Senpai had appeared with Satsuki in her arms.
“Usato-kun! Could we take this child back with us!? …..Wait…… Huh?”
“I told you that you can’t! Are you really a hero!? Usato, stop her!”
And behind her was Kyou, who requested my help.
Senpai was brightly smiling when she first entered and saw me… But she returned to normal after seeing that Nack had gotten up. Amako was hiding under her arms and hood in shame.
Nack looked at Senpai who was carrying Satsuki and at Kyou who was behind the two of them. Lastly, he looked at Amako who had taken off her hood. He was dumbfounded… His mouth flapped opened and closed like a fish. He kept looking back and forth between them.
Senpai let down Satsuki.. she probably felt that the situation wasn’t good. She placed a hand on the back of her head and embarrassingly said,
“Erm, I’m sorry?”
Needless to say, it would take a while to explain everything to the confused Nack.
Author: Nack’s training will begin in the next chapter.