Merry Christmas everyone!! Sorry I’m not done with the next chapter of GC yet so here’s one for SL thanks to my Patreons!
Chapter 83: The end of the fight
The brakes of the lift clamped onto the rail with a clang.
“Hn, as expected, it has already ended.”
Danan and Albert came out from the elevator.
Hm, why was Albert there?
My question was answered when Albert’s facial color changed after he saw Theodora on the floor and he ran over.
“She is all right. Her wounds are deep but they are not fatal.”
” … Thank god.”
It seemed that Albert came with Theodora.
I’ll have to get them to explain to me in detail just what was going on including this incident with Ares.
Danan was shocked to see the Hero’s crying appearance.
“Danan, you saved us earlier. Thank you.”
“You don’t have to thank me, more importantly, I’m sorry I came late.”
“There’s no need to apologize, Shisandan and … Ares is dead. The fight is settled.”
Danan and I looked at the motionless Ares but we could not express a smile of victory.
“Red! Ruti! Come here!”
At that moment, Lit’s cry echoed in the hall.
“My power can’t reach Tise’s wounds! Hurry!”
Ruti, who was crying in my arms, was startled and ran toward Tise without even wiping her tears.
Naturally, Danan and I chased after her as well.
“Tise …. !”
Tise’s expression was pale and she had lost consciousness. Her clothes dyed red in blood was painful to look at.
“Both her breathing and pulse have stopped!”
Tears swam in Lit’s eyes. She understood that her magic could not save her.
“Leave it to me.”
Ruti held her right hand over Tise and concentrated.
The Hero’s skill “Healing Hands” could ‘regenerate’ a person even on the verge of death. Unlike the ordinary “Cure” spell, it was an abnormal skill that was equivalent to advanced Covenant Magic even at level 1.
In addition, the effects of the skill would rise sharply as the level increases. Even if Tise’s condition could not be treated with Lit’s Spirit Magic, Ruti should be able to heal her.
However, Ruti’s hand remained raised but she was unable to do anything.
“Why … I can’t interact with my Divine Protection!!”
“Your Divine Protection? Did your Divine Protection stop functioning temporarily due to your berserk state just now!?”
I recalled hearing from the Wild-Elves when I was talking to them regarding the secret medicine that intensive use of medicine that affects the Divine Protection would cause the Divine Protection to become dormant. The dormant state probably meant that the person would temporarily lose their Divine Protection’s power.
It differed from the current situation but Ruti had probably lost her 『Hero』 power temporarily.
“Why, why … all along you have been pulling me around, dragging me into fights that I don’t wish to fight and you are even the one that hurt Tise … so why do you remain silent when I wish to borrow your power!!”
Ruti screamed. However, no matter how much Ruti asked for the 『Hero』’s power, no matter how she begged with tears, her Divine Protection did not respond.
“Ruti … “
We were helpless as we watched Tise’s life drain away in front of our eyes.
Ugeuge-san tilted its head as it tapped Tise’s arm with both its hands as if to rouse her.
However, Tise did not look at Ugeuge-san with her usual smile.
“He-hey, you guys are Heroes, right? You guys should be able to do something!”
Godwin shouted as he looked at our state. However, neither Danan nor I have the ability to save Tise.
“No … after I thought that I had finally … finally made a friend, I … with my own hands !!!”
Ruti wept as she hugged Tise’s body. Am I really powerless to do anything?
If only I did not have 『Guide』 but a magic-using Divine Protection…!
“I will heal her.”
I heard a voice from behind us.
It came from Theodora who was being supported by Albert.
“I am a priest. It is natural that I will reach out to a wounded patient.”
Danan and I stepped aside and made way for Theodora.
“Ca-can she be trusted?’
Godwin asked uneasily. In Godwin’s eyes, she was an enemy that suddenly appeared and cornered Lit and me to the verge of death so it was a natural reaction coming from him.
“Yeah, it’s all right.”
But I replied confidently. I knew Theodora’s personality very well. She would never inflict any more harm to Tise.
“Gideon, Danan. Thank you for trusting me.”
Theodora smiled weakly as she borrowed strength from Albert’s arm to sit beside Tise and Ruti.
The moment Theodora activated the advance Covenant Magic, Tise’s body was wrapped in warm light.
The painful wounds quickly sealed from within and blood returned to her face.
“Her pulse is back … !”
Lit, who was holding Tise’s arm, shouted with a bright expression.
“Her breathing as well.”
Ruti placed her cheek near Tise’s face and said with a hoarse voice due to her tears.
Tise was saved!
“She will be fine with this.”
Theodora, having finished casting her Covenant Magic, breathed out deeply with trembling lips and weakly entrusted her body weight to Albert.
“Sorry Albert. I have shown you an unbecoming appearance as a Hero.”
“Leave such matters aside and heal yourself! I no longer have any Cure Potions left.”
But Theodora did not treat her own injuries as she looked at Ruti with troubled eyes.
“I will not ask for your forgiveness. Even now, I can only think of doing what I did.”
” … Will you continue to serve as the Hero after losing the impulses from your Divine Protection?”
” …… “
“I do not mean to criticize you, it is the natural course of action after all. Among us, you are the only person who has been forced to fight battles against your will. If you wish to stop the journey, nobody can criticize you.”
“I did not expect Theodora to say that.”
Theodora looked down weakly.
“After Gideon left, I thought about why you did not chase after Gideon.”
” …… “
“Because it doesn’t matter for the Hero’s journey? That is definitely wrong. After Gideon left, our party turned into a mess. The party would probably disband in the near future. You should have understood that fact as well, right?”
“In that case, you should have been able to chase after Gideon with the reason that it was impeding the journey. But you were unable to … I thought about why for a period of time.”
Theodora showed a self-ridiculing smile.
“The reason was that the 『Hero』 no longer needed Ares, Danan, me, nor even Gideon, not a single person. Even if we try to disband the party, the 『Hero』 would just continue forward without food, without water, without sleep and without tiring. Even allowing our choice to join you for the journey was just an act of benevolence from the『Hero』 Divine Protection. Isn’t that right?”
” … Yes.”
Ruti replied softly but nodded with her head.
Is that so. I believed that I was being a hindrance to the Hero party but … to Ruti, all the members were already a similar hindrance to her …
“If we continued the journey, there would eventually come a time when the 『Hero』 would continue forward on her own without resting. Nobody would wish for such a journey. Anybody would fall into despair if they have to continue forward every day without any company in the cold wilderness of the Dark Continent. But the 『Hero』 does not feel fear nor despair … My dull-witted self finally realized what a cruel fate the 『Hero』 held.”
“That is precisely why. You will definitely not continue the Hero’s journey. It is natural. You have no reason to protect a world that forced you to take such a journey. That line of thought is natural … but I still believe that the 『Hero』 is the only person who can save the world. To protect the world even at the cost of sacrificing a single young girl, that was why Demis-sama created the Divine Protection of the 『Hero』. That is the conclusion I had reached as a priest. I decided that you should live as the 『Hero』even at the cost of killing your sense of self.”
Contrary to her words, Theodora’s expression was filled with pain. She was hurting herself with her own words.
“Theodora, even so, I.”
“I lost. So it is fine now. I will no longer compel you to do anything. I wish that you will live a free and happy life.”
Theodora said as she closed her eyes.
“If you can’t forgive me, you can cut me down now. I had prepared myself for it when I made this choice. I had betrayed you. I tried to snatch the life of an important person to you, who is, at the same time, a precious friend of mine as well. It is not something that can be forgiven.”
Tise stirred slightly in Ruti’s arms. It was proof that she was alive.
Theodora’s lip showed a faint smile.
“I am glad that I saved your friend in the end … I have always been a hindrance but I hope I was able to help slightly.”
Ruti remained silent the entire time.
At that moment, Albert called out.
“Th-this might not be a place for me to speak but! Red and Lit were saved because Theodora-san helped Danan-san! I beg you, please forgive Theodora-san!”
The prideful Albert was lowering his head for someone else’s sake. It was honestly an unexpected sight.
“I have always wanted to become a Hero. A Hero whose choices would determine the fate of the world. I looked up to all of you. But I would never have imagined that the choices that determine the fate of the world would be this harsh.”
Albert continued speaking with his head lowered.
“Theodora was torn for a long time thinking of the best action to take. She contradicted her own actions by saving Danan-san … but I can confidently say that Theodora-san did not act for her own sake. She suffered and was torn by choosing between the world, her faith, and friendship. If Theodora-san acted for her own sake, would she even hurt Hero-sama or Red whom she respects!? Nobody would willingly choose such a difficult choice!? I am not asking you to forgive her but I hope that you understand the suffering she had to endure to make those decisions!”
Albert desperately appealed to Ruti. Those were probably words that only Albert, who wished to be a Hero more than anyone else but was not a Hero, could say.
Ruti only stared at Albert without saying a word.
At that time, Tise who was in Ruti’s arms opened her eyes.
“Ruti-sama … so you are all right.”
“Tise!? You’re awake?”
Tise did not seem to have returned to her regular condition but her complexion was fine and she would probably be able to move once she had rested for a while.
Seeing Tise open her eyes, Ugeuge-san happily leaped onto Tise’s shoulder.
Tise smiled widely when she saw Ugeuge-san dancing on her shoulder.
“Sorry for worrying you.”
“What is wrong with me worrying about you, please do not apologize … I am glad you are safe, I am sorry for hurting you.”
Ruti hugged Tise tenderly and was delighted that she was all right.
Of course, I was overjoyed as well. Lit took my hand as well and smiled.
” … All right.”
Ruti’s expression softened and she smiled lightly to Albert and Theodora.
“Tise is safe because of Theodora. Thank you. That’s why I am fine with it as well.”
Ruti said before she looked to me and Lit.
“To me, Tise is an important friend as well. Thank you for helping her.”
“She is to me as well. Moreover, Tise was injured because she covered for me. I am really glad that she is all right.”
Ruti nodded to our words.
“Nobody bears a grudge with you. So I will also not harm you any further … but.”
Ruti faced down and continued with an apologetic tone but with a firm will.
“At least for now, I do not intend to continue as the 『Hero』.”
She clearly stated her refusal.
Theodora merely nodded silently after she heard those words.
With that, the battle within the Ancient-Elf ruins came to a close.
We rested ourselves today and decided to return to Zoltan the next morning.