|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3368 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1698 words|
“I can’t move…”
Soon after I entered Sorciere’s house, I was tied to a bed against my will. Tied, with no way of escaping. The leather straps were sturdy, holding various places of my body, stopping me from moving altogether. If I was in better shape I would have easily been able to tear these restraints apart, but I could not even fray a single one now. Not to mention I did not feel like going against Sorciere, who was already doing so much to help me. At first I didn’t quite understand why she was being so extra, but she finally told me days later, when I was starting to regain my energy.
“To put it simply, you’ve accumulated too much over the years.”
She was trying to look normal, but Sorciere’s eyes were full of worry.
“You’ve constantly been fighting, just like back then, right? You might not notice how much that damages you, until it builds up too much and manifests like it did now. So you really need to rest now. It’d be ridiculous to think of fighting right now. Not to mention… I had never heard about demons and humans being Compounded together either. We don’t know just how powerful your enemies are. Trying to fight before you even know your chances is synonymous with suicide.”
To be honest, I was already thinking of grabbing my sword and challenging the emperor the moment I could stand up again. I felt like I would be able to somehow defeat him if I recovered back to normal. But I understood what Sorciere was trying to say, the power I felt coming from the emperor while fighting… if that was him holding back, then fighting him in my current state would be dangerous.
“What are the others doing?”
“Training with me. I’ll make sure they’re strong enough they won’t hold you back. I can see their eyes growing sharper every day, so look forward to that.”
I guess trusting Sorciere would not be too bad either? I slowly fell asleep again, too weak to continue fighting my drowsiness.
§ § §
How many times has it been now? After repeatedly being put through that near-death experience, my mental fortitude was growing stronger, and now I woke up before I felt like screaming. Sorciere took that as a sign of growth, and now I was no longer restrained to the bed, and allowed to move my body freely.
But in exchange, I had to go through even harsher training.
“Your mana capacity should’ve grown somewhat, so it’s time to actually train your magic. If you have any questions, ask ahead.”
“I’m okay with that. I can feel I have more mana available, I’m sure I’m leagues ahead of anything I had before. Is this really just ‘somewhat’ bigger for you?”
“Do you even have to ask that? I have way more mana than even Lapis. You’re probably only halfway there compared to her, and there’s no point trying to compare you with me.”
I could feel my mana capacity being so much bigger, but it was still only half of Lapis’? And it was like nothing compared to Sorciere…just how powerful is she? I felt like I was being reminded just how amazing she and Lapis were.
“See, you need to maximize all of your skills and abilities if you truly want to be part of the hero’s party. If you try being with her while not pushing yourself far, you’ll just hold her back. If you really want to help her, then just focus on one talent, and take it as far as humanly possible. Try to be even better than her at one thing at least.”
My mana capacity is still inferior. I had to find something else I could do that Lapis could not. Was there such a thing though? Sometimes I felt like she could do anything and everything, excelling at both close-quarters and long range combat. It was almost like she was an all-mighty being… Sorciere seemed to be able to read those thoughts, an awkward smile on her lips.
“Let me give you a small hint then. Her magic might be really powerful, but any magician can use the same spells as her.”
“Any magician can do that? That doesn’t sound…”
I realized what she meant before I could finish my sentence. While I had watched Lapis’ magic many times in the past, I was always distracted by its power. Her magic was impressive, incredible even, but it had always been simplistic. Only sometimes she would use two different types of magic at the same time. In other words…
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“Did you notice? Unlike a well-developed magician, she can’t use multiple spells at the same time. She only gets to use two at most. Maybe three if she pushes herself like before. But that was only because of how dire the situation was, so it’s best to just count two.”
I had recently become able to use two types of magic at the same time too, but I kept quiet about it since I still needed practice before I could do that in actual battle. So in other words…overall power aside, I had actually reached the same skill level as Lapis?
“Your elemental affinities also limit you, of course, so you can’t compete with her on that front. But if you can cast various types of spells of your elements, that will be a valuable asset in itself.”
I tried to imagine that. I could trap the enemy in an earth cage, then rain fire and ice on them. Or a golem with a flaming fist tearing the enemy apart. Maybe I could turn a vast plain into a slippery ice slope, crippling an enemy army’s movements. If I could do that in reality, I would become a far more powerful magician, and maybe I would be able to help Lapis too..!
“I’ll do it! I’ll do everything it takes! So please make me stronger, Sorciere!”
“That’s the spirit, I like your determination. Now the rest is easy. We’ll just spar against each other a bit. Use everything you have against me, I’ll obviously hold back though, just to make sure you don’t die. But the condition is that you use at least three different spells at the same time, otherwise you’ll never get better. I don’t care how you choose to fight, or in what order you use your spells. Like I said, the only condition is that you use three at a time.”
The elements I could use were fire, ice, and wind. I had to somehow put them to use for Sorciere to accept me. I held my staff with both hands, pointing it at Sorciere like it was a sword as I sharpened my gaze. My determination showed through, making her smile softly.
“I like those eyes. It’s hard to believe you were shouting and bawling your eyes out not too long ago.”
I could not afford to answer. Instead I channel the mana inside of my body, manifesting it as magic power around me. Somehow having a bigger reserve of mana made this feel effortless, even though I was handling such a large amount of mana. That was my progress…I forcefully shut away the desire to celebrate, focusing on my magic.
“Hmm…that stance, are you planning on plunging this area into flames, and then make lances of ice and earth rain from above to stop me if I try flying away?”
I had not said a single word, but she read exactly what I wanted, leaving me clearly distracted. It was too late to change plans though, even if she knew what I would do, I just had to strike with all my power.
“Let’s do it!”
I lower my staff, creating flames all around me. Sorciere would soon fly and try to… somehow, all my fire vanished into thin smoke.
“Nope, that won’t do. This won’t even tickle enemies with magic resistance. I know I said using three spells is the requirement, but you should not limit your power. Let’s run it again from the start. Also, here’s your punishment for failing.”
Sorciere did not have a staff, but the moment she snapped her fingers, I felt a powerful gust of wind around me. Before I could make a single noise I instinctively covered my head and felt a sharp pain all over my arms. The pain spread to the rest of my body, and by the time the wind was gone, I noticed my body was covered in blood from head to toe.
The sharp pain was so intense I could not get my voice out. This was the first time I got such injuries in my entire career as an adventurer. If I ever was in a position to get this hurt, it meant that the rest of the party had fallen to some trap, leaving the rear guard exposed, so usually I just retreated when that happened. In other words, this is the first time I got such severe wounds. I panicked for a bit, but I quickly collected myself, probably thanks to having almost tasted death so many times recently.
“Oh? It seems you already know what to do. Impressive, very impressive. But that won’t be enough now.”
I used my shredded clothes to stop the bleeding from vital spots, and Sorciere pointed her staff at me. Light enveloped my body and my wounds started healing in front of my eyes.
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“I’m not the best at healing magic, but at least I can take care of such injuries. Alright, time to try again.”
Basically…I would keep suffering such wounds until I managed to use my spells properly. She was crazy… I really wanted to tell her that, but I quickly stopped myself. It did not matter, this was good. She could be a crazy sorceress for all I cared, I would show her I had what it took to fight alongside Lapis! Filled with a new emotion different from my sense of duty, I readied my staff again.