Shiru: It took me much longer to translate this chapter. It looks like I still need more practice with fight scenes. I also had to make sure certain plot points were accurate.
“—You sure look confident. Aren’t you being a little conceited?”
Mina suddenly spoke.
My match with Mina would begin shortly. The fight between the two Senpais in front of me had just ended and they were shaking hands with each other. It was a good match. I often dreamed of being able to fight and use normal magic like them.
It was supposed to be a dream that shouldn’t have come true for me. However, I was standing at this stage right now, regardless of the fact that I possessed healing magic.
As I surveyed my surroundings, I spotted Usato’s white uniform among the students wearing black robes.
“No matter how hard you try, nothing will change. It won’t change the reality that Oji-sama and the others abandoned you, or how your beloved little sister was pulled away from you. Lastly, there’s nothing you can do about your magic. If I had to compare my magic with yours, it would be like the difference of Heaven and Earth.”
Right, I have a little sister.
Because of that worthless household of mine, I was separated from her.
I’m sure she has been living in happiness, surrounded by my parents’ smiles. I didn’t feel jealous. After all, she’s my one and only little sister. She thought of me as family until the very end. I wonder what my parents told her about me leaving… I’m sure they gave her some convenient answer like I was working hard somewhere far away. I still didn’t understand why they wanted to hide my existence so desperately but it really didn’t matter at this point.
“Mina, those things don’t really matter to me anymore. Whether it’s to be a noble again or getting revenge on you… None of it matters anymore.”
“Are you saying you’re willing to discard your noble lineage? You still have a chance to start over but because of your foolishness, you would willingly cast away your proud noble status? Nack… Nack Argales.”
“You sure say some strange things. I’ve already been discarded…… By ‘Oji-sama and the others’, as you would say. That’s why we became unrelated to each other the moment those idiots put me in here.”
“….In that case, why are you standing here right now? You should know just how painful my magic is… But I’ve actually been holding back, you know? You’re not that much of an idiot, right?”
Despite how she’s someone that found joy in hurting others, there has never been a time where she seriously used her explosion magic on others. She has only used her magic to inflict the maximum amount of pain that people could withstand. That’s what she was doing to me until now.
I couldn’t help but smile when I saw that her reaction was exactly what I imagined in my head.
“Have you gone mad?”
“—I actually didn’t need to fight and keep this promise with you. I was shown another path but… I’m no good at the moment. When I saw the broad back of ‘that’ person I admire, I couldn’t help but think something this presumptuous: ‘I want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them’. I haven’t gone mad, Mina. I finally found it. It’s something worth betting my entire life on…”
Before meeting with Usato-san, I had nothing.
I got kicked out of the place I’ve called home. I’ve been frantically and desperately trying to live ever since then. I had no future and lived an aimless, everyday life. But I was given a path… I found hope.
No matter how much abuse I received, my feelings of gratitude didn’t change. I’ll become a healing magician like Usato-san someday and proudly enter the Rescue Squad. That’s how I want to grow and mature as a person.
“Are you referring to that healing magician guy who is secretly a monster? You want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with someone like that? It’s proof you’re not sane. I truly feel sad. You actually want to become something that isn’t human.”
“I’ll admit that he’s someone with monster-like strength. But no matter how strong a person is, if their character isn’t good, it just becomes plain violence. For example, someone who has explosion magic like you.”
Her eyes widened.
But I had survived these 3 days. Her wrath didn’t startle me in the slightest.
“Mina, I’m going to defeat you and say farewell. Afterwards, I’ll slip out of Luquis…”
This was something that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. I planned to make various preparations to leave Luquis after this mock battle and head for Lyngle. I don’t have any reasons to stay here… I don’t have any friends. Still… I don’t know whether Kiriha-san and the others could be called friends but it was really heart-breaking to bid farewell to them.
Originally, I was someone that was naturally hated. I was awkward but they didn’t treat me any differently. It was painful because I couldn’t return this debt of gratitude in any way.
It seemed like my words really startled Mina. Her eyes were wide open in astonishment and filled with scorn. She squinted her eyes and glared at me. I felt a sense of danger.
“…Leaving here? Without my permission? …..That’s an interesting joke, Nack. This is surely what it means for someone to be extremely conceited, right? I was only intending to have you taste a bit of pain and let you off but… I changed my mind. Fortunately, Oji-sama and the others have told me ‘Do as you like.’ for this fight.”
Mina pointed at me and continued.
“I’ll make you cry and beg me for forgiveness. I’ll make sure to have you wear some rags and be my slave for a lifetime. It’s an honor, right?”
“You really are someone who does and says whatever you want… No, you’ve always been like this…”
To begin with, I don’t even know how this conversation ended up here. Serving as Mina’s slave for lifetime? I’ll pass. There’s no way I would want to seclude myself here. I took in a deep breath and regained my concentration.
Mina took half a step in response to my words and readied herself and her giant, shiny, silver-colored shield. She then started emitting a large amount of magic power from her hand.
“I’m not afraid of you anymore.”
“Now you’ve said it, you pitiful little dropout.”
There was no need to respond to her.
This would be the crucial moment. I would show what I’ve obtained in these 5 days with Usato-san.
A strange silence dominated the training grounds.
At the same time Mina started firing her magic, I kicked the ground and dashed out with as much strength as I could muster.
A scarlet sphere formed in Mina’s palm.
[Explosion Magic]. A rare manifestation of [Fire Magic]. The characteristic of this magic is that it can momentarily heat up the atmosphere of a given space and cause an explosion, roasting and blowing up the target. As I can only attack in close quarters, it’s a bad match-up for me.
Additionally, Mina has a shield.
This is a problem. I suspect that her shield isn’t for guarding against my attacks. It’s probably to protect against her own explosion magic. It’s a good tactic to prepare a safeguard like this. The fatal weakness of explosion magic is that it could harm its user.
As I thought this, I kicked the ground once more and leapt to the side.
The place I was just at a moment ago was hit with a ball of magic and the impact caused a small explosion. As I examined the power of Mina’s magic, she looked at me in shock.
“It’s not like I came here to play around! Take this seriously!”
“Don’t underestimate me….!”
She started to form more magic spheres.
Just as Mina said, she added much more magic to her sphere for this fight. It was on a completely different level than the ones that hit me in the past. I wasn’t happy at all but it seemed like it was true that Mina was holding back before.
But it was overwhelmingly slow.
It was around half the speed of the magic orbs Usato-san threw. Honestly, it was a little odd for me to use him as a comparison but I ended up doing it unconsciously.
“Way too slow…!”
I ran from one end of the training ground to the other as crimson spheres of magic made their way towards me one by one. Using this time, I started to read where the attacks were aimed at. I twisted my body at the very last moment to dodge one.
I immediately squatted down to avoid another and picked up some pebbles near my feet as I did so.
Without any delay, I started throwing the pebbles at the balls of magic heading towards me. This triggered the explosions earlier, and I jumped back before the impact reached me.
“I’ve certainly obtained some results… Usato-san.”
While I patted the dust off myself, I felt the growth of my strength from my own effort.
I didn’t feel proud. But I did feel thankful.
I thought it was a magic that couldn’t be used anymore. I thought it had to be a magic that needed to be used for someone else… There was nothing that made me happier than using this magic to strengthen myself.
As I rejoiced, Mina’s magic flew towards me.
Despite the fact that the dust hadn’t completely settled from her attacks yet, she continued her assault. I could understand just how angry she was due to my words but…
This is a chance.
Mina is just taking shots in the dark. She doesn’t know exactly where I am. But I can tell where Mina is just based on where she’s firing her magic.
I didn’t have the endurance to receive a direct hit from Mina’s explosion magic. It’s highly possible I would faint the moment I got hit. But as long as I couldn’t get close to Mina, I didn’t have a single chance of defeating her.
For this reason, I have to go.
I placed my right palm on the ground and stored power in my legs.
With that shout of encouragement, I used all my power and ran through the cloud of dust straight toward Mina.
This is a suicidal act as everything would be over if I got hit by Mina’s attack while charging in. However, Mina is only firing at where she thinks I am. She wouldn’t think I’m trying to recklessly charge her from here. It’s still possible for me to run into one of her attacks but it’s not like I didn’t consider that…
While explosion magic continued to bombard the training grounds leaving dust hanging in the air, I didn’t lose sight of Mina. When I was sure of her location, I took a firm step forward with my right foot and jumped out in that one moment.
I broke through the cloud of dust and appeared several meters in the air right in front of Mina.
The momentum couldn’t be stopped.
As I dropped diagonally toward her… I coiled my body, preparing to kick the dumbfounded Mina.
“Hah, eh!? Hiiih….!?”
On the spur of the moment, she thrust her shield in the ground. She aimed the shield towards me to receive my kick while she hid behind it— But. That shield wouldn’t be enough. It wouldn’t be enough to protect you against my efforts in these 5 days!!
“Do you think an iron plate could defend against my kick!?”
“What!? No way! ….Kyaah!?”
I fully utilized my body and rotated it to further increase the penetration power of my kick. Mina was went flying back from the impact of my kick along with her shield.
While she flew through the air, even as she tumbled across the ground, I didn’t take my eyes off of her. Her clothes were now covered in dust as well.
“I won’t yield to you anymore! Mina Liashia! I’ll cut off this tie I have with you today!”
This is my strength.
This is the strength that you and your group looked down on!
I pointed and shouted at her as she got up. It seemed like she scratched herself a little when she landed, as blood dripped down from her mouth. Other than that, she wasn’t injured thanks to her shield. But there was a clean dent right in the middle of the shield where she blocked the kick. I could also see a small crack within that crevice.
Even so, Mina still recovered.
“Hah! Very good… I’ll make you regret making me get serious…!”
Using her dented shield to support herself, she stood up. While violently wiping her mouth, she glared at me with bloodshot eyes. I entered a ready stance as she glared at me, her intense stare filled with anger and bloodlust.
From here on out, I would be fighting against a frantic Mina. A side of hers that I didn’t know…
“He’s gotten stronger.”
As I was watching the match between Nack and Mina, Senpai, deep in thought, suddenly spoke.
When I took a look around, everyone was dumbfounded… Even the people that appeared to be teachers.
It was natural. I tried to copy and reproduce Rose’s training to the best of my ability. I felt a little proud to see my disciple’s growth.
“He became stronger thanks to the training. However, he obtained that kind of strength by following through with the training until the end.”
It must have been painful. Even my heart hurt to go through with it.
But Nack held on and completed it. It was only 5 days of training but the last 3 days weren’t something I planned. They were much more severe, after all.
I watched with folded arms as Nack evaded the spheres of magic.
“I heard from Senpai that it was only 5 days of training but… This is amazing. Wouldn’t it be bad if that girl called Mina were to get a direct hit from Nack? Look at his kick from just a moment ago, she would get knocked out.”
“Nope. He really should have settled the match with that kick just now.”
Kazuki was surprised and turned to face me.
Without looking away from Nack and Mina’s fight, I started to explain my analysis.
“Mina’s responses were faster than I had expected. But there’s also the truth that Nack’s only strong point is his legs. Unlike me, his arm strength isn’t any different from an average person’s. You can think of Nack’s kick just now as his most powerful move.”
But Mina’s shield was tough, matching its appearance. I thought that since it was heavy, it would take quite a bit of strength to lift it. And Nack’s speed might have been enough to take advantage of that.
Since Nack couldn’t destroy the shield, this is going to be difficult… Mina probably isn’t an idiot. You might not have another chance, Nack.
“Well, that’s just how it is. Nack also doesn’t have much endurance so one hit might just knock him out. After all, I didn’t get a chance to make him tougher by beating him up with my fists.”
“One punch from you would kill Nack, okay!?”
What should I do? I ended up punching Nack once or twice yesterday as part of his evasion training.
But since I coated my fists with healing magic, it was safe, right? Nack himself looked completely fine too.
I was trembling a little on the inside. If they knew, they would definitely move a few steps away from me…
“You shouldn’t lie. Usato, lying is bad. You should confess everything right now.”
This little fox….
While I innocently smiled at Senpai and Kazuki, I secretly aimed a finger behind me. As I did so, Amako’s face paled and she protected her forehead with her hand. She also started pulling on my uniform and tried to hide herself.
Hey, hey. My uniform is going to stretch if you do that…
I sighed at the sight of Amako concealing her forehead with my uniform.
“Haah… Well, Mina’s endurance is about the same. The match will be decided the moment either of them takes a hit. And after seeing Mina stand up without losing spirit despite receiving Nack’s attack head on, it’s clear she’s not just a simple bully. I expected for her movements to falter after receiving one blow from Nack.”
“Mina is one of the more ‘capable’ students in her year, you see.” Halfa-san interjected. “She’s a bit overconfident but she understands the characteristics of her own magic well. You can see this from how she incorporates the shield into her own fighting style, both for offense and defense. I really have no idea why such a capable girl like her is scared of me… I can’t help but have my doubts.”
Halfa-san… Your fighting style is the natural bane of most magicians. Your way of fighting is dangerous as well. It’s obvious they would be scared…
Still, a magician who uses both magic and shield, huh.
This seems troublesome. If Nack could destroy her shield, I think he would have the advantage. The problem is that he doesn’t have that many options to destroy it.
“—But Nack is an evasion-type magician. Although there are aspects where he falls short, there are also aspects where he excels. Actually, he’s been dodging balls of magic for the past 3 days. You could say it’s a countermeasure for this situation.”
While Nack was busy trying to dodge my thrown orbs, I would also use a physical attack.
It was ‘Rose’s Sandbag Training Revised Edition.’ Or maybe it was more accurate to call it ‘Usato’s Shooting Training’? With my new technique, I would throw orbs like a ranged attack to train Nack’s evasion. With this training, normal attacks with balls of magic weren’t really effective against Nack anymore.
But it was only ‘magic balls’. If something else was added in, then this training wouldn’t serve its purpose.
“Don’t let your guard down. Even if you’ve grown stronger, you still have a fatal weakness. If Mina takes advantage of that… It will be severe.”
Even if healing magic could heal wounds, it wouldn’t erase your sense of pain.
You can’t take a beating like me. If you make a slight mistake, you might just suffer a lethal wound.
“It looks like you’re fast at running away!”
A scorching hot ball of magic was flying towards me.
I pondered how I could attack after evading it. But the density of this orb was evidently much thicker than before. Maybe it was to prevent me from conducting another surprise attack while using the dust as cover. The moment the orb made contact with the ground and exploded, I jumped away to avoid being caught by the shockwave. This is proving to be a big problem.
“Guaah!? …It looks like I’m not capable of completely dodging it….!”
Explosion magic slammed into my back… It felt like all the cells on my back were being scorched by a hot wind. She had strengthened the power of her attack again… My injuries wouldn’t be that bad with healing magic but the pain was tormenting me.
“I’m really envious of your ability to continuously launch attacks like this without a care…!”
“It’s a talent I was born with! It’s because I’m a genius!!”
As expected of a high-class noble lady like her. Her words were obviously different from the others in the same year.
She was overflowing with confidence. She was a talented girl who couldn’t even imagine her own loss since her birth.
It was quite a contrast when compared to someone like me who was abandoned.
Her amount of magic power was abnormal and she had that hateful look in her eyes. But there were things even I could do.
“Here I come!”
I ran with these legs and trained them until my magic was completely exhausted.
As I dodged the incoming orb of magic, I attempted to draw closer to Mina. Although Mina was the one casting and firing spheres of magic, its speed wasn’t much compared to Usato-san’s. Its only threat was the amount of power it held.
I kicked the ground and started to run in a zigzag pattern.
I closed the distance between us in one breath.
“I’m in range…!”
Mina couldn’t use her explosion magic this close or else she would get caught in it too. Grabbing onto to that weakness of hers, I felt confident in my victory.
One blow— I just needed one kick to connect and the frail Mina would easily fall. I jumped to her defenseless right side as she hid behind her shield. I anticipated that she would block her own vision to defend herself and it would be at this very moment where the match would be settled.
I kicked, feeling assured of my win——— At this instant, I could see Mina laughing through the small crack. No, she isn’t just laughing. She’s looking this way…..!? It looks like she understood everything from that expression of hers.
I felt a chill like never before and tried to hold back my kick… Without taking my attention off of her, in the next moment— I was assaulted with an impact on my defenseless head along with a ‘Gaan!’ sound.
My vision went black for a moment but I clenched my teeth, preventing myself from collapsing.
Shit, what did she do to me? While holding my hand against my head and suppressing the pain, I glared at Mina— But the moment I did so, a silver wall made its way towards me with tremendous force.
I could see the attack coming but my body wouldn’t move. Mina proceeded to knock me away, slamming her shield into my defenseless body. I collapsed and rolled on the ground in pain while holding my head.
“You really are a big fool…”
Mina smiled in good humor while lifting her shield. She looked down on me in my agony.
Her shield. Don’t tell me, she got into position before my kick…? When I flinched, she charged at me with her shield?
“A shield isn’t just for defense… At least as far as I’m concerned. Well, it won’t work anymore after seeing it for the first time. But don’t you think it’s good for a surprise attack?”
Did I get cut on my forehead? Blood trickled down my skin… When I tried to operate my healing magic, I felt unsteady and couldn’t concentrate properly. If I couldn’t concentrate then my healing magic would only have half the effect— My wounds wouldn’t heal immediately.
As I fell down to my knees, Mina scowled at me.
“Let me tell you this, you can’t win against me just because your legs and vision have improved. A magician who doesn’t understand their own magic’s properties can’t win. Of course, you have to take into consideration the match-up against your opponent. My magic against your magic… is the worst match-up. Actually, why were you so conceited that you thought you could win against me? I thought you of all people would understand that…. The distinction between opponents you can and can’t win against.”
Opponents I could win against and ones I couldn’t win against… Is she saying that there are absolute win or lose match-ups among the students and Halfa-san here…?
“But I’ll praise you. You really did well. Even I’m honestly surprised that you’ve come this far in only one week. How about it? If you surrender now, I’ll make an exception and forgive you. You don’t want to be in any more pain, right?”
I’m genuinely astonished at how she was openly praising me instead of ridiculing me.
Her words also felt excessively sweet. After all, my situation might drastically change if I were to admit defeat here. I might not get bullied anymore… Yes, this is what I thought.
However, my answer didn’t change.
My situation would change? Wasn’t that just a naïve way of thinking? It was true that I felt that this was the first time Mina had recognized my ability. Since she despised me until now, I felt a sense of accomplishment. If I said I wasn’t happy, I would be lying. She was basically admitting that I had real ability.
But that’s all.
If I didn’t defeat her and overcome this, she would still continue to suppress me. My everyday life wouldn’t change.
I would be below her, and she would be above me— A relationship I wouldn’t be able to reverse no matter what.
“I came here today to beat you up. There’s no way I’ll recognize my own loss… If I yield here, I think I’ll be a loser for the rest of my life… That’s why I don’t want to yield… Whether it be to my parents, the group that bullied me, or you. I admit that if I forfeit here, my shitty everyday life might become a little better. But then the five days that Usato-san spent on me would be wasted. That’s something I definitely don’t want.”
“….Is it really that important to you? You’ve only known each other for a week, right?”
“Yeah… That’s right. It’s only been one week…! In that short amount of time, I’ve received so much and I can’t even express my gratitude for it all! It was harsh, painful, and I wanted to run away… But I was happy…..!”
I didn’t want to have expectations for anyone.
I didn’t want anyone to have any expectations of me.
I was deserted by my own parents and I couldn’t believe in anyone from the bottom of my heart… I wasn’t anything special but I was properly trained right here on these training grounds.
He believed in my victory. Wasn’t that reason more than enough for me to not admit defeat?
“He said I could choose to believe again… Ever since that day I awakened to healing magic, I’ve been living at the very bottom in darkness! It was something I never even considered again! That’s why even in a situation like this where I’m likely to lose, I will absolutely not surrender to you!!”
“……..Hah. You really just said that. Is this what it means when people get a rush of blood to their head and become idiots? I think it would be better to consider your own circumstances and carefully choose your words before speaking.”
“Don’t forget, I’m a healing magician… These injuries are nothing!!”
I got off my knees and stood up.
My wounds had already healed. Ironically, this conversation allowed me to buy enough time to recover. I wiped the blood off my forehead and flicked it onto the ground.
I can still fight.
“I see, it can’t be helped……. We’ll continue.”
With a sharp glint in her eyes, she pointed her palm towards me. I immediately retreated and put some distance between us. I couldn’t take another hit from her again.
A small explosion appeared at the spot I was just at. Mina sighed upon seeing me dodge. She held a hand against her forehead and directed her gaze at me.
“I’m going to change my method.”
“I thought I could just pin you in a corner by aiming my shots precisely but you’re more stubborn than I thought. It looks like that won’t work… That’s why I’m going to change my method.”
She thrust her shield into the ground and started using both hands to form a new magic sphere.
But it was different this time. She wasn’t creating just one sphere, she was making several smaller ones. The globe of magic split into multiple orbs, five floating in each palm.
Knowing that some kind of attack would be coming, cold sweat dripped down my back.
“Fufufu, although I’m not a monster like that hero, I can at least do this much. I’ll just keep launching explosion magic towards the direction you’re heading. I won’t focus so much on my aim anymore. One ball of magic will trigger the explosion of another, causing a chain reaction. The resulting explosion will lead to your destruction.”
Combining the magic in both palms, she has a total of 10.
She showed a fearless smile and spread out her hands. She then quickly jumped back.
“If you think you can run away and escape this… Why don’t you show me?”
In the next moment, several bomb blasts violently rushed towards my body simultaneously.
Shiru: Potential spoiler by the author… Read the following at your own risk.
Author: Mina is quite a troublesome character because of her personality. The worst part is that she personally doesn’t properly understand the feelings she holds for Nack. As a result, her way of thinking has become twisted. An example would be her desire to monopolize him.