|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2717 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1372 words|
Everyone was lost for words. The hope and courage that had begun sprouting again inside us a moment ago had been crushed, making us realize how powerless we were in front of the overwhelming being standing there. We had lost all our chances. If we had more time and a much larger army, we might have been able to defeat that beast, but the people here, our small group of adventurers and guards, would stand no chance.
As we fell in despair, we even lost the will to resist any longer. I felt like a small bug, looking at the large foot of a human about to step on me. All I could do was watch the Lich’s bizarre silhouette.
‘…that was a fairly entertaining skill if I say so myself, but toys like that will never stop me.’
An undead had spoken… I had always thought of them as speechless monsters that could only raise muffled and senseless moans. Seeing us act as so surprised witnessing a scene that normally would be considered impossible, the Lich sneered as if mocking us.
‘Why act so surprised? A Lich is just a high ranking priest or magician. Forming words is no big deal for us. Rather, I hope you all are aware of the situation you’re in, yes? You should try to watch over your own bodies.’
As it spoke like that, it swung its hand down. Another black wave just like the earlier ones was launched against us, sending another group of adventurers flying into the air. The chills and pain assaulting my body was unbearable. I could hear cries of pain from all over the place, but for some reason no one had died yet. It was strange, after all these attacks, I would expect at least a couple of deaths. Even the ground we were standing on had begun to crumble under our feet.
‘I won’t let you die that easily. Your pain and suffering will be your offering to me, delight me with your marvelous cries, relish the short time you have left until the end of your lives. After all, those will be the last feelings and sensations of your lives.’
A black orb of shadows began forming on the hand it held outstretched. All I could do was to watch it in fear.
§ § §
“Lapis, I need some healing!”
“Same here! Someone is seriously wounded!”
I used my healing magic on the wounded one after another, but the number of people waiting just kept increasing. At first, there were only a handful of wounded, but now they kept increasing and there were at least two dozen of them there. On top of that, some adventurers and guards I had just healed moments before were returning with different wounds, it felt like I was trying to fight a wildfire with just a cup of water.
“My body…hurts…please heal me!”
“It’s so painful…goddamnit! Why do I have to be part of this…”
“My arm! My arm is gone! Someone find my arm!”
The noise inside the makeshift clinic we set up made it sound like a battlefield of its own. It was filled with cries of pain and voices seeking help. I was not the only one healing the wounded there, the priests deployed here were also doing their best, but our numbers were nowhere enough. My healing could only be applied by direct contact, so unfortunately it was not suited for mass healing, as I needed to touch everyone for it to take effect. That reminded me of a priest I once traveled together with, he could cure multiple people at once without breaking a sweat… I was jealous of his skills now.
“Just what is happening out there in the front lines…”
If there were so many wounded coming in, I could only speculate that there had to be a similar amount of damage being dealt to the monsters. But I would never be able to confirm anything if I remained stationed here. I really wanted to go take a look at it…but I also could not leave all those wounded by themselves here. I grew more irritated being unable to treat all of them, and at seeing how their numbers just kept increasing.
Still, I was unable to determine if that irritation should be directed at the enemy or at myself. As I continued healing more wounded, my thoughts began moving again, and I thought, if I had gone to the front line from the start on, there would’ve never been this many wounded, and why had I decided to overlook all this suffering to focus on an easy life for myself? What was I trying to accomplish? Why was I here in the first place?
“Bad news! It’s a Lich! A Lich appeared out there!”
An adventurer ran into the clinic shouting those words, his face contorting in fear. I felt a chill run down my spine. The enemy leader had appeared. If things were going as planned, then the holy magic of the priests would put an end to it shortly. Everyone there knew about the plan, but the adventurer quickly shattered our hopes.
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“That thing is immune to the holy magic! Right now it’s just toying around with the adventurers trying to stop it! It could be here in the city any moment now! Everyone try to run away!”
“I can’t believe it! There were so many priests ready to face it…”
“To run you say? How do you expect me to do that, I can barely move my body…”
“Dammit… I should’ve let myself die earlier if I knew this would happen…”
The clinic was plunged into chaos. Some tried running away, abandoning those who could not, others used their bent swords as makeshift canes to drag themselves away from the city, others pointed their weapons at themselves, already accepting their fates, and others asked those who were leaving to just end their lives before they left. Everyone fell into despair, losing their will to live.
I grit my teeth together and clenched my fists, my nails digging into my palms until blood began dripping down. If I did not take action immediately, all these people would definitely die. That much was certain. Unsure of what I should do, my gaze just wandered through the clinic until I saw someone familiar.
It was Abel, the beginner adventurer. He had just recently left his hometown to pursue his dream of becoming a top-class adventurer. He was drenched in blood and lying on a stretcher. I remembered how happy he was when he completed his first quest, how hard he worked, then he had to fight in the front lines in my stead, and now he was at death’s door.
My blood was boiling. What was I supposed to do? Who was I? What does it mean to be a hero? Was a hero someone who ignored cries for help? No, definitely not. A hero was someone who would challenge any adversity, irrelevant to its difficulty, and charge on courageously. Abel was the true hero here, as well as the other adventurers and guards. They were way more entitled to be called heroes than me, who hid in cowardice.
…In that case, if I was nothing but a fake then the least I could do was to lend my hand to all of them. I did not care if I would lose my place to live as a result of that. I would just retreat back to the mountains and just keep all of this as a memory.
After a long sigh, expelling all the pent up feelings I had together with my breath, I was ready.
“I’ll borrow this for a moment, Abel.”
As I took Abel’s sword and stood up, Camille who was helping at the clinic called me.
“I’m going out for a bit.”
I smiled at her as I opened the door while holding the sword in my other hand. I heard her yell something as I left, but by then I had already activated my Flight Magic and was gone.
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