Nack shouted in anguish as he received a direct hit from Mina’s explosion magic. Nack continued to run after the initial hit, but the destructive force of Mina’s attack covered an extensive range so there was no room to escape.
“Usato! Is he going to be okay!?”
Kazuki and Senpai worriedly looked at me.
“—You could say that Mina’s magic is basically only explosion magic. Although it’s not reinforced like Usato’s magic, it still holds quite a bit of power. She has scattered her magic everywhere now… Even if Nack’s legs are fast, it’s obviously disadvantageous if his space is restricted. Usato-san, I really don’t think he can…”
It was just like Halfa-san said. The situation looked hopeless for Nack as he had no place to run.
“Usato… Is he going to be okay?”
Amako clutched my uniform and worriedly looked at Nack, just like Kazuki and Senpai.
Yeah, this situation isn’t good. This definitely isn’t okay.
“He just doesn’t have a safe place to run to. It’s nothing much.”
He’ll just have to do something about it.
I showed you a path to the Rescue Squad. You will be running on the battlefield with no safe place to run to anyways. It was a situation where it wouldn’t be strange for you to get attacked by magic or a sharp weapon from every direction. It was standard for healers in the Rescue Squad to be in such unfavorable conditions.
Nack, I wonder what you’re thinking right now as you desperately avoid Mina’s attacks.
Avoiding her attacks because you have no choice?
Looking for an opening?
Waiting for your opponent to wear herself out?
At the very least, I’m well aware of how much ambition you have based on the surprise attack you unleashed on Mina.
“Don’t joke around with me, Nack.”
It wasn’t only Senpai and the others who were worried. The people in the audience were in disorder as well. I got irritated because I didn’t like that.
I didn’t train you just so you could run away.
I trained you for the sake of victory.
It wasn’t some temporary measure. If you’re just running, you won’t be able to enter the Rescue Squad. You have a mission to save people no matter what the situation is.
“It doesn’t really suit me but maybe I should give some words of encouragement…”
I inhaled a breath of air.
Amako looked surprised and let out a ‘Hyuh!?’. She then covered her ears.
Senpai, Kazuki, and Halfa-san were staring at me in wonder. They probably didn’t know what I was going to do.
Without being concerned, I—
The air is hot.
Even breathing is painful—
Even so, I didn’t stop running.
No, I couldn’t stop running. If I stopped, I would take another direct hit and lose consciousness.
There’s no way I could stop now. Even if it’s Mina, she couldn’t continuously fire her magic like this forever. I’ll endure it. I’ll endure, endure, endure, and bear with it patiently. Then I’ll win with one move.
“—That appearance sure suits you.”
An explosion occurred near my feet and the resulting debris hit my shoulder. I quickly retreated from the attack on my right but I couldn’t escape the hot wind scorching me. I tumbled onto the ground and let out a groan.
“It’s because you’re like that…”
Because I was on the ground from the blast, I couldn’t make out what Mina was muttering.
When I could hear what she was saying again, her voice was different from usual. Mina spoke without any emotion.
“You always.. always have such a miserable appearance like this… That’s why you’re no good.”
I couldn’t keep rolling on the ground like this. I used the momentum from my tumble to get up. In the next moment, several orbs appeared before my eyes once more.
I reflexively covered my face with my arms and started to run.
I didn’t have the leeway to heal all my injuries. I concentrated on healing the bare minimum while avoiding Mina’s attacks.
“That’s why, don’t get up anymore. Just give up… Don’t think about such foolish thoughts like leaving here— Just give it all up!!”
No, I can’t look at Mina.
I need to look at her attacks. If I don’t… If I take another hit, it’ll all be over.
I gritted my teeth and ran.
Need to run… Can’t lose…
“I can still go on…. I still haven’t lost yet….!”
“….All you’re doing is defending! Just thinking that you can win against me is already strange!! Why can’t you understand that!? Why are you just taking these attacks and not fighting back!? Why—“
I put all my concentration on evading. I couldn’t hear where her attacks were coming due to her high-pitched screams.
No, trying to evade like this was too dangerous. I need to run—
Someone shouted and it was loud enough to echo inside my head.
Even Mina stopped when she heard that voice. No, everyone’s movements stopped and looked towards where the voice was projected. I turned around and saw a furious-looking Usato-san with his arms folded.
His voice surprised me as well.
He was obviously angry and I was frightened of what he would say to me.
“Don’t run. Fight, you damn idiot.”
After Usato-san said that, he remained silent.
His encouragement and insult was so simple that I could only stare blankly in amazement. Mina didn’t seem to understand, as she kept looking back and forth between my face and Usato-san’s.
I understood that there was no special meaning behind his words.
He meant exactly what he said. There was nothing more effective for me than his words just now.
“Ha.. Hahahaha… This is really too excessive…”
Don’t run, you said.
What were you saying, after making me run and evade during that training?
Those were my initial thoughts but when I thought about my actions just now, I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.
My thoughts were completely different from what Usato-san is telling me to do.
At first, I was avoiding Mina’s attacks in order to win. But at the moment, I’m just running away from Mina’s attacks. It’s completely different.
My thoughts were full of how to defeat Mina in the beginning but now it was completely different… Running away was all I could think of doing.
I was the only one giving up. Mina was seriously trying to beat me.
“I’m really a big idiot…”
I was just making excuses and only running away.
If I really wanted to win, I should be prepared to endure any kind of injury. But… I didn’t want to feel pain and didn’t want to lose. I had no intention of facing Mina head on.
It was lame and unsightly. It was no different from my past self.
I used all my strength and slapped myself on the cheeks.
I’ve already woken up. I won’t run away from Mina anymore.
“Thank you very much!!”
I’m sure Mina didn’t grasp the meaning of Usato-san’s words.
It’s possible she thought that he was demanding the impossible in this desperate situation. She might even think that he’s the lowest and the worst master ever. I personally didn’t think that about Usato-san, not even a little. The truth is entirely different.
Usato-san properly understood me. I was well aware how gentle and strict he was. That was why his message reached me. I couldn’t run away, I had to fight back…
That’s why I’ll do as Usato-san says and face Mina.
“—He sure is asking for something unreasonable in a situation like this.”
“He’s the best master. Just when I was about to run, he made sure to tell me stand back up.”
“I see. But you know, don’t think you can surpass me with that.”
10 magic orbs floated in Mina’s hands.
She could fire them at any time. I would have tried to escape a moment ago but it was different now.
I focused and cladded my entire body with healing magic.
I was only using the minimum amount of healing magic before but now I was using all of it.
“I’ll defeat you.”
“You shouldn’t say something you can’t do.”
“Yeah, I won’t say it anymore. That’s why… This will be the last.”
It wasn’t for evasion. I wanted to defeat Mina and headed straight for her. As an obvious response, Mina scattered her magic orbs. But I won’t run away anymore. No matter how much power her explosion magic held, I had already resolved myself to oppose her.
I plunged forward while crossing my arms to protect my face.
The resulting explosions pelted me with pebbles. Wounds appeared all over my body but I didn’t stop. This pain was nothing compared to the torment I suffered until now.
Hot wind started to scorch me next.
It felt like my entire body was burning but compared to the sense of loss of being abandoned by my own parents, it was nothing.
Without realizing it, tears started flowing ceaselessly from my eyes. I continued to advance while maintaining my healing magic—
“Nack, you….! Blood!?”
An orb of magic headed straight for me right after I smacked my lips. There wasn’t much power since it was immediately created but it was more than enough to knock me out cold.
Normally, I should probably avoid it.
But I’m a healing magician. No matter what I face or how absurd it is, I’m a magician that will overcome it with my own body.
If it’s just pain, I could endure it!
During my dash, my shirt was all worn-out and destroyed. I clenched my right fist and wound up…
I struck the orb of magic with my right fist.
I was enveloped in the explosion and burned. A different type of pain assaulted and suffocated me. It was so painful that I couldn’t even scream— But I was still conscious.
That was close. My fist was covered in burns but I managed to drown out Mina’s explosion magic. I shook my hand. Mina was holding her shield and staring at me with her eyes wide open.
We are now finally facing each other.
We were finally able to face each other.
I realized I was really facing Mina head on.
As expected, I really was afraid of Mina.
What I wrote in my diary about you, it was something I did to deceive myself. All those words were a bluff to hide my own nervousness. I’m cowardly and timid. On top of all that, I’m just a big idiot who was unconsciously running away.
I frantically stabilized my trembling legs and took a step forward.
I couldn’t lift my legs to kick. I couldn’t lift my right hand either.
But it’s not like I couldn’t do anything. Even without those, I still have my body!! I could still run with my legs!!
I let out a roar and dashed towards Mina with heavy and powerful steps.
“What can you do with that body of yours!? Just stop it already! You’re going to die at this rate, you know!?”
I felt like I would collapse but I used all my strength to move forward.
Anyone who was watching expected that there was nothing I could do.
But Usato-san would probably overcome the situation with his body no matter what!!
And for me to enter the Rescue Squad just like him, this is a big step for me!!
I’ll use everything and ram it right into Mina’s shield!!
“Ramming with your body—— Guh!?”
Instead of relying on my kick, I leapt and hurled myself at Mina.
I launched myself with all my power and crashed into Mina’s shield with my left shoulder. I heard something snap but I ignored it and pushed myself forward with my legs.
The shield was planted firmly in the ground and didn’t move. However, I didn’t stop and continued to advance.
“I…! I was scared of you! I didn’t want to see your face!! When I look at you… I end up remembering the time I was still a noble… When I was still loved by my parents!! That’s why…!!”
My eyes were still overflowing with tears.
Mina was looking at my face from behind the shield… She let out only a small voice but she suppressed it.
“But I’m going to end it today!! Today…. Today, I will….!! Enter the Rescue Squad………!!”
I don’t mind even if this becomes a monologue.
It’s just absolutely necessary for me to declare this to separate from you and bid farewell to my past.
“AND BECOME A HEALING MAGICIANNNNN!!”
I shouted and pushed with even more force. The crack at the shield’s center started to widen and the shield itself was lifted off the ground— Then it broke right in half.
The shield was split in two. There was nothing obstructing my path anymore. I rammed my entire body at Mina———
Mina was blown away by my ramming attack and hit the ground.
I checked her condition while out of breath, and then I fell to my knees.
I have almost no magic left and my entire body is in pain. I’m really tired.
“……..I did it…. Did I win…?”
My vision was somewhat hazy but I could make out my surroundings. The spectating students stared, dumbfounded, with their mouths open. Usato-san let out a sigh of relief.
I see. I… won.
Due to my strange victory, I felt joy. Apart from that, I felt a great sense of relief.
“Not yet…… It’s not over yet……”
Mina had fallen and was spitting blood out of her mouth. Even so, her eyes looked odd and were focused on me. She started gathering magic in her hand and aimed it towards me.
Just as I was about to stand up, strength wouldn’t enter my body. Consequently, my legs grew weaker and I ended up sitting down.
“There’s no way I would lose to you. You’re the only one I can’t let go……!”
Why go so far, that I’m the only one you won’t let go…?
Why me? Aren’t there other people besides me? I don’t understand the reason. Why are you so fixated on me?
I was paralyzed by an unknown fear.
“Nack-kun! Get away!!”
Halfa-san shouted, looking flustered.
We never really talked. Why are you looking at me like that and shouting in panic?
While I dazedly thought this, I looked towards Mina. She was gathering her magic again and attempting something.
But something is different. It’s not like orbs of magic were being converged in one place, the magic in her hand— It was like Usato-san’s…
“Nack! It’s Reinforcement! Wait right there, I’m coming!!”
If I recall, Carla-sensei mentioned it was a difficult technique that only skilled magicians could use. But Mina was trying to do that right now. Halfa-san and Usato-san called out to me. Their expressions clearly didn’t look calm. Isn’t this fairly dangerous?
What’s more, it’s Mina’s explosion magic. She was born with explosion magic, and if she uses Reinforcement on that— If her magic is strengthened recklessly, I might not be the only one who will be harmed. It might even injure the other people here.
I have to get away.
If I don’t get away, I’ll get caught in the explosion and die.
As I thought that and was about to stand up— I noticed.
This isn’t the time to be stunned.
This isn’t the time to think about running away, right….?
Figuratively speaking… Even if the people who live here were to desert me, that shouldn’t be a reason for me to not save them. That would disqualify me from the Rescue Squad.
“Nack!? What are—“
I looked at Usato-san for a moment, who was making his way over here, before running towards Mina. My left shoulder was broken and I couldn’t use it. Then I had no choice but to use my burned right arm. I focused my remaining magic and put everything into my right arm— I recklessly infused my magic. I slapped my trembling legs and forcefully continued to run.
“Like hell I can bear to part…… With you……! If I let you go…..”
Her hand was overloaded with an excessive amount of magic power. She was injured and the laceration was overflowing. It was painful enough to make her shed tears, but even so, she was willing to go that far to defeat me. Seeing her like that, I held a feeling inside me that I couldn’t express. In spite of that, I kept running towards her.
Even if she oppressed me, there was no way I could just let her die. That wouldn’t be good. I’ll have to include her if I want to save everyone. For that reason, I have to make her faint right now.
Usato-san is still far away— I have no choice but to finish this myself.
“Let’s end this…”
I immediately arrived right in front of her. She looked up at me. Her eyes were filled with some kind of obsession as she looked at me. It seemed like she was staring at me with those eyes for quite some time.
The next moment, her hand started to shine brightly and was about to fire off— But I covered my right hand with healing magic, grabbed her hand and brought it down.
There was definitely a response.
I could feel it.
After a few moments, a burst of light spread out around us.
I didn’t know whether it was my magic or Mina’s that produced it.
But…… It was very nostalgic.
That was what I thought about that light. I had exhausted all my strength and magic. I brought out everything that I could possibly muster. My body felt unsteady and it violently shook. Before long, I collapsed while my view was hazy from the light.
Just as I was about to fall to the ground, someone supported me.
My vision finally cleared, and as I looked at the person who supported me———
“Nack, are you okay!?”
Usato-san’s forehead was dripping with sweat. He looked relieved and exhaled while carrying me. I felt a warm aura from the hand that was supporting me. From that fact, I knew he was in the process of using his healing magic on me.
“I’m glad, it looks like you’re fine. You injuries aren’t a big deal…… Yeah, they’ll recover in no time.”
“She’s safe. She just fainted thanks to you. The magic she gathered has lost its function and is now being dispersed.”
Looks like I made it.
Although I only intended on making her faint, I was really crossing a dangerous bridge just now. It was a little late now but I couldn’t help but feel a sense of chill at the situation I was just in.
“Thanks to you, a lot of people including me were saved. You can be proud.”
“Yeah, you definitely have the qualification to enter the Rescue Squad. Furthermore—“
Since I still couldn’t move, Usato-san turned his body until I could see Mina.
She was unconscious. But then I noticed something completely different than before.
“It looks like your healing magic has returned to its original form.”
The injury is gone.
In the fight with Mina just now, she inflicted a wound on herself with her own Reinforcement. But it was completely gone now.
Seeing that she was safe, I couldn’t help but look at Usato-san.
“It wasn’t me, okay? When I arrived next to her, she was already healed. That’s why, this is what you did. I don’t understand the reason behind it but… Perhaps you can use healing magic on others because you thought about saving other people again?”
“Thought about saving others…”
“As healing magicians, that’s the most important thing for us. You were able to regain that at the very last moment. You’ve severed the ties from your past and on top of that, you personally tried to save the girl that oppressed you.”
Upon hearing Usato-san’s words, I gathered magic in my right hand.
My magic was pretty much exhausted so I could only gather healing magic at the very tip of my finger. However, I could properly see the green light on my finger. I couldn’t help but think of just how precious this was. I enclosed that light in my fist and squeezed tightly.
“It was always here…… But I could only think of myself during those hard times. I was suffering so much that I couldn’t even worry about others… Before I knew it, I tucked it away inside me… But… It finally came back. I won’t ever let go of it again. I will never forget this feeling again…..”
I pressed my fist to my forehead and spoke to Usato-san with some excitement in my voice.
Usato-san listened in silence. He smiled and started to walk.
“Now you have the potential to endure even harsher training than yesterday’s. Leader should accept you with no complaints…. At any rate, you really did your best…… Ah.”
“Look, the people who want to congratulate you on your victory before anything else are coming this way.”
I wiped my tears and looked at where Usato-san was walking.
When I did, I could see the people who had supported me coming this way———
Author: At the very end, Nack was able to retrieve what he had lost.