Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
They managed to finish the delivery request to the royal capital without any problem. The Adventurers Guild was empty, mostly due to the poor economy and because the high-ranking adventurers were summoned to the royal castle.
Lavia and Paula were now rank F adventurers.
「Hmm… We should stay for the night and head back to Pond tomorrow.」
「The bookstore! Hikaru, I wanna go to the bookstore!」Lavia said, breathing heavily.
Last time they were here, Lavia borrowed books to read, but couldn’t finish them all.
「O-Okay, then. The bookstore for Lavia.」Hikaru said.
「I’ll be staying in the hotel. You and Paula can go out together later.」
「You heard her. What’s your plan, Paula?」
「Huh? I, uhh…」She thought about it for a while.「Can I take a look around on my own?」
Paula requested to go out alone solely for Lavia and Hikaru’s sake. She was fully aware that they were lovers. But ever since Hikaru returned from Leather Elka, the couple hadn’t spent time together. At night, Hikaru stayed in a separate room, while she and Lavia slept in another.
During nighttime, Hikaru would actually go out to gather information. Depending on how the current conflict turned out, his efforts to stop Pond from turning into hell on earth could go to waste. He wanted a room for himself so he could go in and out easily. But Paula didn’t think that way.
He’s trying to be nice to me…
So she wanted them to spend some alone time together. After the couple headed to the bookstore, Hikaru walked Lavia to the hotel.
「Where are you going?」Lavia asked.
「I guess to obtain information I couldn’t get in Pond. It’ll be much peaceful if Kudyastoria won, so I’m gonna get some dirt on the backstabbing nobles and the wealthy.」
「I see. Take care, then.」
In the end, Hikaru went out alone.
「Where do I even go?」
Paula came from a poor village, and this was her first time in the royal capital. In the middle stood the royal castle, which was then surrounded by the first residential district, and outside of that was the second residential district.
Hikaru booked them a nice place to stay in the safe first residential district. Paula, however, wasn’t familiar with the place, so she just kept walking, and before she knew it, she arrived at the second residential district.
The neighborhood didn’t turn rough all of a sudden. It was more of a shopping district bustling with people.
Hikaru gave her some money which she used to buy food. She entered general stores and tailor shops to pass time as well.
The royal capital is awesome!
At first Paula walked all over the place, exhilarated, but by the time the sun was going down, exhaustion caught up to her. Or rather, she felt sick from the torrent of people, businessmen shouting, carriages running past, and the clouds of dust. She made her way to a quieter place and eventually arrived at a small church where she could finally take a breather.
「I could use my healing magic…」
But she stopped herself. She couldn’t use healing magic unless Hikaru gave her permission. The church was a cozy little structure. There was a podium and stools of different shapes for the devotees. The wooden floor creaked. Overall, the place seemed far from welcoming.
「It’s still bigger than the one we have back home.」
The church in her village was even more worn-out than this one. Still, the head priest, Paula’s father, took good care of the place. Paula recalled how the walls and floor were oddly shiny.
「I miss Dad… I wonder how he’s doing…」
Paula practically ran away. When Pia and Priscilla decided to form a party with two idiots from the neighboring village, she became worried. Who would take care of them if they got injured? She had to join them. Or at least that’s what she led them to believe.
The truth is, she longed for a romantic encounter, like the ones she read in stories. As a result, however, she met the kind of boy she never read about in novels. Hikaru’s abilities—the way he boosted her healing magic in a flash—was almost like the work of the gods. At least, she hadn’t read about such power in novels or myths before.
I can’t heal your injuries anymore, but I’ll keep on sending money to the village…
Paula believed her friends, Pia and Priscilla, went back to the village. She wrote letters to her father, telling him she would send money through Priscilla’s guild account. Since Paula moved around a lot and didn’t have a permanent address, no reply came yet. Even if Priscilla hadn’t returned to the village yet, Paula believed her friend wouldn’t waste the money. She would notice that someone was depositing money to her account.
Paula used half of the money Hikaru gave her for herself and sent half of it home. She’d feel bad if she didn’t use any of it. Hikaru himself gave her a lot knowing she would send some of it home.
「You’re just too nice, Hikaru-sama!」
Paula wriggled in place, delighted by Hikaru’s kindness. She didn’t feel dizzy anymore.
「I-Is anyone here?!」
The door to the church opened and from there appeared a man lightly dressed despite the cold season. Although he had a broad chest and sharp eyes, the streaks of grey on his head indicated he was a fairly aged man.
Paula gave a start. Then she noticed the girl the man was carrying in his arms. She looked limp. Her face was a deep red, but her hands were pale.
「I’m looking for the priest! Is he around?!」
Paula quickly realized it was an emergency. Despite the church looking a bit dilapidated, it should still have a head priest. But Paula didn’t find anyone when she entered. Did he go to a temple? Still, it was strange to see no one around, not even nuns.
One gained healing abilities by serving in the church. In short, the church also functioned as a hospital. Of course, real hospitals specialized in healing, but mostly for serious injuries. If there was a church nearby, people would usually go there instead.
「I, uhh… I don’t know.」
「Anyone will do, then! Can you use healing magic?! My daughter’s not feeling well!」
The man barged into the building. As he got closer, Paula could see the girl’s horrible state. Her breathing was wild, accompanied by wheezing.
Healing magic could be used for a wide range of conditions—injuries, illnesses, poisoning, and even curses.
At first, Paula could only cast basic healing that mended injuries. She didn’t know any other incantations, either. But during the monster outbreak in Un el Portan, she was able to heal people with grave injuries. She restored a lost arm and even cured petrifaction, a form of a curse. Ever since then, she studied other spells as well. She should be able to heal illnesses now.
「I’m sorry, I can’t use healing magic.」She forced the words out of her mouth.
The man looked devastated.「What do I do? Oh, Fran…」
「Um, what about the hospital? I don’t work in this church…」
She’d lived her life as a nun, and she wore the appropriate attire too.
「The hospital is full of soldiers because of the civil war. They told me to go to the church instead. The bastards!」
「Then what about a different church?」
「They won’t take a look at her because we’re not from their territory or something.」
Paula was flabbergasted. Territory? Since when do people serving God cared about that? She then realized. Because of the civil war and the Church’s way of thinking, this kind of problem must be happening all over the royal capital, not just here.
「Is the priest always here?」she asked.
The man shook his head weakly.「That bastard’s out most of the time God knows where.」
「The priest is pure scum.」
His words shocked Paula.
「To be honest, I didn’t want to bring Fran here. That guy always tells me to give my daughter to him and he’ll give me money… I refused every time. Fran didn’t want to either. I thought she’d get better right away. I didn’t expect her condition to get this worse. Damn it…」
Dumbfounded, Paula couldn’t say a word. The priest wants his daughter as a lover? Upon closer look, the girl had beautiful features. But like her father, she was lightly dressed in clothes full of patches. They probably didn’t have money to buy clothes that could keep them warm.
「Wh-What happens if the priest heals your daughter?」
「He’ll probably ask for an absurd amount. But I don’t mind, as long as she gets better! I don’t care if I’m buried in debt!」
「Fran! You’re awake!」
The girl moved a little.「No… Don’t do it… You can finally provide for your own as a carpenter…」
「There’s no point in working if you’re not around!」
The man cried his eyes out. Tears fell on the girl, but she didn’t mind.
I can solve their problem if I used my healing magic… It was an extremely easy answer. As long as I tell them to keep quiet, Hikaru-sama wouldn’t know. It was hard to resist the temptation.
Hikaru’s face flashed through her mind—the boy who saved her when they were attacked by Goblins. Paula recalled how he looked at Pia with eyes so cold when she broke her promise. He could’ve given up on them right then and there. With the kind of ability he had, it was a natural course of action.
Paula now understood why Hikaru did that. He held great secrets, so he didn’t make friends. He couldn’t. Yet, he still saved them. Even using his abilities to boost her healing magic.
Lavia was just as unselfish as well. She could’ve ditched her and escaped, but she got herself kidnapped to save Paula.
For all that, Hikaru only asked for one thing: to live for him.
You will devote the rest of your life to me, and only me. Are you okay with that?
Yes. If you can save them, then I don’t mind.
From now on, you will be one of this world’s most powerful Healers. Your mana capacity will increase as well. People will want you. So much, in fact, that many will die. So I suggest that you keep a low profile as much as possible.
In other words, Paula couldn’t use healing magic unless Hikaru gave her permission, or Lavia deemed it necessary.
「You’ll what? Can you use healing magic?」the man asked, his eyes read from crying.
Paula glanced at the girl whose lips had turned purple. She seemed to be afflicted by a serious illness. It could be her lungs. She was in critical condition.
Paula grasped her hands tight.
「I’ll… find the priest!」
She left without another word.