|Author: Kisasaki Suzume||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library|
In Kugutfulm, skilled healers were abundant.
For generations, Kugutfulm had prospered as a renowned hot spring resort, attracting people with injuries beyond the reach of magic and those with feeble bodies seeking restorative treatments. Where there were patients, there were always doctors ready to provide aid.
The situation further improved when the Red Dragon settled on Mount Kuguse, as it brought forth powerful medicinal herbs infused with the dragon aura. This enhancement solidified Kugutfulm’s reputation as a hub for medical expertise, where even those on the brink of death could find hope.
“I see… So you’re that person…”
“Do you find it believable?”
“Well, I mean… When dragons are involved, anything’s possible.”
In the waterlogged living room of a flooded single-story house, Lucella spoke as she effortlessly carried the drenched sofa out. Charles Reiner, the physician, weakly smiled as he tidied up muddy alcohol bottles. He had gotten skinny due to his suicidal lifestyle, but now he was working diligently to clean up his home while paying attention to his creaking body.
As Charles continued his tasks, Lucella paused briefly and offered her sincere apology, “I’m truly sorry for everything. It was my situation, and you were simply fulfilling your role as a doctor… Yet, I burdened you with so much. Now, I truly understand the gravity of neglecting oneself and the pain it can cause to those around you… Finally, it has become clear to me.”
Ever since Giselle, who had been on the verge of death due to the dragon’s curse, had come to Kugutfulm, she had been in Charles’ care.
However, Charles was unable to save Giselle.
As such Lucella, or ■■■■■, had no choice but to take a desperate risk. She decided to attempt a forbidden ritual, stealing a dragon’s egg from Mount Kuguse to use its power as medicine.
In the ancient records of the “Human-Dragon War,” there were many accounts of using dragons for various purposes, all documented in old manuscripts.
■■■■■ didn’t return, and Giselle tragically succumbed to her condition, leaving Charles, who had become entangled in the events, feeling disillusioned with life.
Feeling responsible for the consequences of her actions on Charles, Lucella felt the need to apologize.
But Charles was perplexed by it.
Following that, he averted his gaze with a smile mixed with bitterness and perhaps self-mockery.
“Oh, well… Yeah… I thought maybe it wouldn’t be fair to bring it up if you weren’t aware, but keeping this to myself doesn’t feel right,” Charles let out a small sigh. “I had feelings for Giselle, you know,” he confessed.
Lucella was about to yelp in surprise, but the sound didn’t escape her lips.
His weary appearance with increasing gray hair made him look older than he was, but even without that, he was nearly twice Giselle’s age. It felt like miscasting even for a bittersweet romantic tale. Even Charles seemed to think the same and had a feeble, ashamed smile.
“Hey… If you don’t mind, can you tell me what kind of relationship you two had? I couldn’t figure that out despite my observations, strangely enough.”
As Charles earnestly questioned her, Lucella found herself at a loss for words. She believed there was an inseparable bond between her and Giselle, considering she risked her life to enter the dragon’s nest. However, Lucella didn’t know how to describe that relationship using words.
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“If you and Giselle were lovers, I’ll be able to give up on my feelings, putting closure on them. But if that’s not the case, I can continue cherishing my feelings for her,” Charles said.
“An unexpectedly romantic sentiment,” Lucella replied.
Charles chuckled and shrugged, trying to hide his blush. “You’re being harsh. I’m not just some medical golem, you know? I understand a thing or two about romance. I believe everyone has the right to be a romantic during their first love.”
Lucella tried to find the right words.
She wanted to find words to talk about her.
“Giselle and I… thinking about it, we were both desperate. We couldn’t survive without each other, so… Wait, no, this isn’t the right way to put it. Giselle had accepted her death, and I was desperately trying to prolong it… I couldn’t live on without her being alive.”
After everything was over and she had a chance to look back, Lucella began to understand some things. After those desperate days, when she struggled so much and gave her all, she finally took a moment to reflect on herself.
Was that love? Lucella couldn’t be sure.
But one thing became clear—there was a profound connection between ■■■■■ and Giselle.
Charles nodded deeply, and refrained from further questions.
“Doctor… I thought I had given up on being one.”
Their words unexpectedly overlapped.
“But the city was swallowed by the rain… In the midst of escape, I encountered someone injured by drifting debris… Before I knew it I was tending to their wounds. I guess that’s what ‘hands moving on instinct’ refers to. Perhaps changing one’s way of life isn’t as simple as it sounds.”
Charles carried on with the cleanup, speaking nonchalantly as if discussing today’s weather.
He could only talk like that. He still seemed unsure of how to come to terms with his transformation.
“If I decide to use it again, I have to tidy up the clinic too… I had planned to sell the building, but it didn’t find a buyer. Maybe it’s all part of God’s plan.”
“I can’t let you go through all that trouble…”
“I really want to assist.”
Her principle was to repay kindness.
Charles ran his fingers through his hair, a mixture of white and gray. Then, he became aware of the mud all over his hands and grimaced.
In the apartment where Giselle and ■■■■■ lived, the room was a bit snug for two people. The rent wasn’t in the lowest tier but also not too high – just an average place. But what they could take pride in was the fact that this apartment had a communal bath with its own hot spring.
The residents’ bath was entirely tiled and spacious enough for about three people to use simultaneously.
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While there were no strict rules, Lucella remembered how they all tried to be considerate and avoid overlapping their bath times.
Gathering the mud that had streamed into the bathroom, Lucella poured it into two buckets and effortlessly hoisted them up. The mud was surprisingly heavier than it looked, but Lucella displayed remarkable strength.
She could have used magic to dry and dispose of the mud, but it wasn’t necessary. Additionally, she was concerned the buckets might catch fire, so Lucella handled the situation with sheer physical power.
“Oh my, you have incredible strength for someone so small.”
“There’s no need to mention ‘for someone so small.’ You know what I used to be like.”
“Is that the real issue, I wonder?”
Marie, the elderly apartment manager in her apron, was amazed to witness Lucella’s superhuman strength.
After clearing out most of the mud, the bathroom was significantly cleaner. Flushing it with water wouldn’t cause any blockages.
While muddy water might bring illness, water could also symbolize cleansing. With Lucella’s Tidal Breath, it was achievable. If they thoroughly cleaned the bathroom, it would become usable again in no time.
“I really appreciate your help. If we had called a professional, it would have cost us money again.”
“No, it’s nothing, really. …And thank you for taking care of Giselle.”
Upon receiving Lucella’s gratitude, Marie looked surprised.
“There’s no need for thanks, dear. I haven’t really done anything,” Marie replied, fluttering her hand and glancing downward. “We’ve had tenants with complicated circumstances before, but people like you two were a first. I did want to do whatever I could to help, but even so, there were limits. I could only watch from the sidelines… So, it was genuinely a relief to see that you were still alive,” she continued.
Sacrificing oneself to help others was not something most ordinary people could do, and even for those who could, there were still limits.
That’s why even the kindest of people often ended up abandoning those in need due to their own limitations.
Lucella understood that it wasn’t out of coldness.
Her own life had taught her about her own limitations time and again. She believed that if it was truly for something crucial, she might even have to abandon starving people right in front of her.
However, in most cases, the act of sorting out things one no longer needs brought pleasure. Deciding who to save and who to abandon gave a thrill of domination. It was an act that could turn into villainous pleasure.
For humans to remain human, they must not succumb to such darkness. They must not forget the pain. Lucella believed that when unable to save someone, only those who can bear the pain will eventually be able to save others again.
So, looking back now, she was grateful for the sentiment.
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Back when she was with Giselle, she couldn’t even recognize such feelings.
“You’ve returned looking even more adorable.”
Lucella accepted Marie’s heartfelt words with a wry smile.
From an objective standpoint, there was no denying that the current Lucella was a beautiful girl. When she returned to the inn, she began to wonder what impression her past self used to have.