Chapter 7

【The Hero Party Side】 Emmy: Why Do We Only Realize To Take Better Care of Something We Lost After We Lose It?

 

In front of me was Russel with his back leaning against the wall.

He was unconscious, completely unmoving, as blood was flowing from his head.

 

Janet was using healing magic on him in panic, which was unusual for her.

And I watched such a scene in a daze as if it were someone else’s problem.

 

I can’t believe this.

I don’t want to believe this.

 

But, what I hate the most is——

 

——that more than anything else, I am the one who caused this.

 

It is something that has been felt by everyone in the party for a while.

The fact that Russell hasn’t been playing an active role in the party.

 

It was never Russell’s fault, nor was he in any way unskilled.

That’s why I never thought about having Russell leave the party at all.

Besides, all of us had been together since our childhood.

So I thought it was only natural for us to always be together.

 

I was a tomboy back then and Russell often helped me to find the things I lost or I had forgotten.

There was a time when I bawled my eyes out when I realized that I had lost something that was very important to me.

I’m always bad at finding things and I never find them myself until Russell helps me find them.

That’s why I was always waiting for Russell to say 『Here』, as he put it on top of my head when he found it, with his troubled look on his face from watching my ugly crying face.

 

Russell has always been so thoughtful and he was always there when I was in trouble.

I always thought that he would help me out again and again from now on.

And I thought the four of us would always be together forever.

 

……But I guess I’m the only one who thought that way.

 

「Hey, Emmy. Don’t you think it’s getting impossible for Russell to keep up with us from now on?」

 

「It’s true that it’s been getting harder for him lately. But I will properly protect him and everyone as a 【Holy Knight】」

 

「No, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m trying to say is that it might be impossible for Russell to go into dungeons with us anymore.」

 

「……Eh?」

 

It took me a few moments to understand the words coming out of Vince’s mouth.

Then the realization slowly dawned on me that Vince was trying to kick Russell out of our party.

 

「Are you being serious right now?」

 

「Yeah. I’ve also told Jannet the same thing earlier.」

 

「Did she… agree?」

 

「She did.」

 

I see.

I couldn’t believe it at first, but it was true that Russell’s often getting in danger lately.

 

It was an amazing-sounding job, at first, and moreover, the people from the Goddess religion placed their highest expectations on Russell.

They say something like “It’s the second coming of the 【Saint】 from legends”.

That’s why they were expecting to see how well Russell would do in the dungeons.

 

But in the end, Russell never gets the chance to shine as a 【Saint】.

Everyone is just too strong. That’s not a bad thing, of course, and it’s definitely a good thing that no one gets hurt.

 

That’s when Jannet also learned healing magic.

I reflexively looked at Russell at that time. He looked awful as if he had seen something that wasn’t supposed to happen.

 

Then… I too, ended up learning healing magic.

I, a warrior, which is not even a magic-based job, can use the same healing magic as a Healer. If that is the case, what is the purpose of a Healer in the first place?

When Russell learned that I had also learned healing magic, he put on an indescribable, painful-to-watch smile, shut himself in his room, and from that day onward, his conversations with me amounted to zero.

 

——I’ll be honest.

I have never cursed the excellence of my job as much as I did at this time.

 

And then, today.

Blood Taurus, a bull-headed monster from the middle level of the dungeon, noticed that Russell’s level was lower than the others and attacked him.

As a Holy Knight, I am built to be good at protecting others, so I rushed to his rescue.

That’s why I ended up getting a light injury on my arm as a result of protecting Russell.

I used healing magic as soon as I received that injury, so although it hurt, it didn’t get serious enough to immobilize me, and the feeling of relief that I was able to protect him was more than enough.

 

But Vince doesn’t seem to share the same feeling.

 

I thought it was only to the extent that we would no longer be able to go on adventures together.

But that wasn’t the case. Vince was going to kick Russell out of the party in the first place.

And then, in a sort of argument, we decided on a method to decide whether we should really do this, which then Russell took a stance and lunged at me with his sword, and here we are at the present.

His injuries were gone after receiving Jannet’s recovery magic, but Vince spat at Russell, who had fallen limp and unconscious as if he was looking down on him in disdain.

 

「Hmph, that settles it then. We can no longer keep Russell in our party.」

 

「W-wait! That was a mistake! It doesn’t count! I was using a strange skill and I-I didn’t mean to do that!」

 

「Hey, it was something that Russell had said himself you know? Don’t tell me you’re going to say, 『it’s not your fault for being knocked out in one hit when you touched me, so let’s team up again, okay?』 aren’t you?」

 

「!?」

 

「In the first place, it was your fault that he ended up in this state, you know?」

 

I have no words to deny that.

He’s right. It was my fault. It was because of me that Russell was…

 

「Besides, what do you think Russell will think of you after he wakes up, huh, Emmy?」

 

「T-That’s…」

 

When he said that, I can’t help but think.

The first thing I felt was…

 

————I was afraid.

 

———Of what Russell would think of me.

All of us were friends and we all got along well even when we were playing with tree branches and I couldn’t beat the boys at all.

Compared to Vince, Russell has a more gentle and kind atmosphere around him.

But he as a boy also has his pride. That pride drove him to get better and stronger which as a result got him more victories against Vince.

Now he has grown up, his body got bigger and taller from back then.

And when I got the chance to see him up close earlier, I can only think that he has become so handsome too.

 

……And I was the one who knocked him out, a guy who worked so hard and put in so much effort, in one hit using the job the Goddess had bestowed me.

Just what would he think of a person like that who does this to him?

 

It doesn’t help that I already felt guilty for him because I also learned how to use healing magic.

 

I never feel scared at all of getting a direct hit from a mid-level monster, but the thought that Russell might avoid me is… scary.

I know that it was selfish and pretentious of me to feel scared.

 

「….Okay.」

 

We’ve gathered all of our party luggage. By he woke up, there would be nothing left but his belongings in this room.

Vince then immediately collected Russell’s tag. I almost cry thinking that he will no longer be a party member and we won’t be together tomorrow.

 

Why did we end up like this?

When we left the village, we made a promise that we would become the best party in the world.

 

How did we end up like this?

We used to be such good friends.

 

Vince left the room.

Jannet puts more silver coins from her bag into Russell’s pocket and looks back one last time before leaving the room as well.

 

The last one is me.

 

「…It’s alright to hate me for this, okay?」

 

I said to the unconscious Russell completely out of self-satisfaction.

Then, as if to avoid a reply that would never come, I left the room. In the end, I was still being selfish and self-centered.

 

Vince, who was walking in front of me kept peeking glances at Jannet… no, at her chest to be specific. I know that Jannet is always a light dresser, but—

What is he thinking when he just kicked Russell out of the party?

 

Jannet didn’t say a word the entire time.

But I think the amount of money she put into Russell’s pocket earlier wasn’t few.

Since Russell often talks about books with Jannet from time to time, I’m guessing the both of them must have been close too.

I can sort of understand that Jannet herself must have felt bad for him as well.

 

For some reason… now I feel like there’s an empty hole in my heart.

Now that I think about it, Vince and Jannet, these two were always at the front, and me and Russell were always walking side by side behind them even when we had nothing to talk about and became silent.

But now, there’s no one beside me.

I just realized it now as I looked at their backs, that out of the three of them, Russell filled the biggest part of my heart.

 

Really… I still haven’t changed from back then, only realizing how important something is after I lost it.

 

But now…

 

The kind boy who always helped me when I cried a lot after losing something important for me when I was a child… would no longer be there for me anymore.

 

The next day after finding a new lodging for our party, we informed the guild that we were kicking Russell out of our party as we returned his tag there.

That alone is enough to make my heart ache. That should be all for the errands for the day. We then ate lunch and walked around town in a daze.

All I could think about was what if we ran into Russell by accident and how awkward it would be if that were to happen.

 

Before I knew it, we passed by the church where we received our Jobs bestowed by the Goddess.

 

We casually looked around and spotted a woman with gorgeous blonde hair inside the church.

Her blonde hair sparkles under the light from the stained glass windows somehow making her stand out even from a distance.

So a very beautiful person like her actually exists in this world huh…

 

The beautiful woman’s eyes met ours and she walked straight at us.

Vince gulped his saliva at the approaching beautiful woman and even I couldn’t help but watch her gorgeous movement as she walked toward us.

When she finally made her way outside the church and walked under the sun, she seemed even more beautiful as if there was this radiance around her.

 

The beautiful woman then leaned forward while looking at Vince with her brilliant golden eyes, which were as brilliant as her blonde hair, then with a blatantly seductive pose, she called out to him.

 

「You guys are that rumored Hero party that’s been famous around here, aren’t you? Since you are all here, would it be alright if I join you guys for a little bit~?」

 

As I looked at Vince, who was moving his gaze back and forth between the woman’s beautiful face and the deep cleavage between her chest, I, and I’m sure Jannet too, thought to ourselves that… This guy will definitely not going to say no to that.

 

….I wonder what’s Russell doing right now.

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