Chapter 63 – Lost light

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Even at the start of the defensive battle, people had been continuing to come and go from the treatment center without stopping.
It didn’t change much even after the Flame Emperor Dragon destroyed the walls and castle tower with a breath attack.
Tiredness started to be reflected in the healing magicians’ eyes.

Treatment triage was put in effect. Ironically, in order to avoid useless death more than necessary, the priority was soldiers who can return to the front.
Injured citizens, children, and women could only cry out loud for intolerable pain.

The feeling that the life that could have been saved in peaceful times overflowed Ayane’s mind and body. Her mana had already been squeezed, but she couldn’t stop.
For a while, dizziness and nausea had been rushing in her intermittently.

“Please.
Please help this child! Please help!!!”

“I understand your feelings, but go back to the line.”

A father and mother with wounds in their arms, trying to bring their child under Ayane, were returned to the waiting line by Highserk soldiers.

It was a serious injury. The child’s back had been scratched by a wolf and the arms had been bitten. For the first aid, stopping the bleeding would be enough.
But, there were other lives to prioritize. She couldn’t help the life that could be saved by prioritizing the life.
There, Ayane noticed that she was fluttering.

She started to wonder what was the difference between her and the prejudiced Highserk soldiers.

At that time, an adventurer with a large body rushed to the treatment center. A man was carried on his back.

“MOVEEE!! OPEN THE WAYYY!!!”

“What’s the matter?”

Slightly delayed, Highserk soldiers rushed through the crowd to make a way. Moritz, who was taking care of Ayane while monitoring her, asked the soldiers what happened.

“Knight-dono has…! Battalion Commander has been…!!”

The name wasn’t shouted, but there was only one person which was called “Knight” in the besieged castle. Moritz, who changed his expression, moved around the back of an adventurer with a great shield and let out a whimper.

“… Lay, lay him down on the bed.
Slowly.”

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Moritz’s suffocating and heavy words made Ayane’s heart beat faster.

“Ah, that’s… no way…”

The man who was put on the bed was someone familiar, but he looked very different from the last time she saw him.

“…Wa-Walm-san”

Looking directly at Walm’s face, Ayane was desperate to suppress the nausea feelings that sprouted inside her.

At the first meeting, they looked at each other with murderous intent.
At times, they laughed together.
The man who made Ayane feel emotional, Walm, his eyeballs weren’t there.

The hole was so deep that she hesitated to look at it, and the liquid no one sure whether it was only the cerebrospinal fluid or the blood, was overflowing. It was so strange that he didn’t die instantly.

“This is, too horrible”

Even Maia, who had been on the field as a healing magician for quite a long, couldn’t hide her dismay.

“Maia-dono, could you cure him?”

“……”

Moritz asked with a murderous tone, but Maia didn’t respond. To be precise, the silence was the answer. The soldiers who couldn’t wait any longer shouted.

“We, we all need Commander Walm! Without him, the castle would fall.”

“The Commander cared for the soldiers and the people involved in the war, he fought and killed the Ogre Lord alone.”

“The enemy’s leadership has collapsed, but they are all still hungry and aiming for humans.
The castle gate is about to be broken through.
Without Knight-dono, we’ll lose it for sure.”

One of the soldiers threw the head of the Ogre Lord, who had crossed blades many times with Walm, out of his hand as if it was something abominable. The head rolled on the ground. Although it was decapitated and died, the Ogre Lord’s face wasn’t full of anguish.

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The face had an eerie smile and the mouth looked ugly. 

There might be exceptions, but even so, monsters and humans were incompatible with each other.

At the treatment center, which was filled with confusion, a mutter was made that seemed to be drowned out by the hustle and bustle of the surroundings.

“Walm-san, are you still conscious?”

Ayane regretted having her ears close to Walm’s mouth. If she didn’t listen, perhaps she wouldn’t need to know the ruthless reality and give up early. But she heard it.

“Ah, it’s, train, time.
I’m, gon… be, late, to… compa, ny, uh, the, light… still, red, always, red.
The, crossing… strange? Ah, sha, sha, dow, shadow, is, coming… stop, no”

For those in this world, words that didn’t make sense and sounded like a weird mumbling of someone on the verge of death, were different for Ayane, a transferee. She remembered that in the past, he used the word “high schooler” that the people of this world shouldn’t know, and mentioned the “clock hands” that shouldn’t exist in this world. The true nature of the sense of incongruity in conversations up to now started to link in her mind.

Hearing words from her hometown that she probably used in her daily life up until a few months ago, Ayane felt something stab her heart.
She couldn’t help but think, how could a human being, who was a citizen of a peaceful era and unrelated to the war, fight to the death every time?

“Help, urgh, uh…”

“Blood doesn’t stop.
Aaa, please stop it.
Someone, help.”

“It hurts.
It huuurrttss….”

“M-my arm, where? Where is it!!?”

Even now, from behind Ayane, everyone was calling for salvation. In the priority based on who could be saved, Walm was now in low priority. Should have been low.

“Uh, hm? Ah? I, I, have to, fight, or the castle, the people, the country, will, ah, aaaa, nothing, I can’t, see, anything.
It’s, dark.
So, cold.”

The trembling hand was wandering in the air as if looking for something. Walm’s fingers were wandering around without grasping anything. Ayane grabbed them with both hands.

“Walm-san, it’s gonna be okay.
It’s okay.”

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“Ahh….”

When Ayane grabbed his hand, the remarks stopped as if he was relieved, and he weakly grasped back.

Feeling it, Ayane ridiculed herself as a terrible and selfish person. She had been throwing the word “priority” to excuse her actions, but now she was trying to help someone who was unlikely to be saved or cured.
She just wanted to help.
She couldn’t help it.

The way of their meeting might have been the worst. Still, the current relationship was comfortable for Ayane. Ayane herself didn’t know whether it was the suspension bridge effect or the nostalgia of her hometown, but she opened her mouth.

“The wounds, “I” will close the “wounds”.
For sure.”

Ayane put her preparedness into words.

“Ayane-sama, even if you close the wounds, what about his eyes.”

Maia said sadly. 

The eyeballs that should have been in the eye sockets had been lost. Even Ayane, who could heal the defect, could not completely regenerate the complicated eyeball.

“Could you cure it if you have eyes!?”

“… Use one of my eyes!!”

“Me too.
As long as I have one eye, I won’t get lost in the Netherworld!!”

Soldiers who fought under Walm, albeit for a short time, offered what they could give one after another.

Maia rebuked those who were trapped in the madness of such rationality.

“If there is too much difference in mana density, even if you transplant it, it will only rot in no time.
If you don’t have eyes that can withstand Walm-san’s mana, you shouldn’t try to transplant.
Also, there is a thing called compatibility.”

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There were probably no more than ten of the Highserk Empire’s army with mana that was comparable to Walm. There were no such soldiers in the barely-holding castle.

The people surrounding the treatment bed looked down due to the harsh and strict conditions. Meanwhile, Moritz ran his gaze on the rolling head.

“What about the eyes of a monster, the ogre lord?”

“Moritz, are you sane!?”

“It’s the one who scooped out the Commander’s eyeballs.
You’re crazy.”

Soldiers rushed to Moritz and threw curses at him. Among them, only Maia and Ayane were considering it seriously.

“Maia-san, do you have any precedent?”

“People say that transplanting the monster’s eye is something heretic, but there is no legitimate document saying about such thing in Craist Kingdom, so…”

“Are you really gonna transplant the evil eyes of a monster to Knight-dono? Really?!”

Ayane confronted the Highserk soldiers who uttered words of refusal.

“Either way this is the only eye that may be compatible.
Or you say, there is another way to save him?”

Sure, it might sound selfish. Still, Ayane wanted to save Walm.

The soldier faltered at the figure of a girl who lifted the head of the Ogre Lord with a threatening and angry look.

“I’ll cure him, I will cure Walm-san.”

Ayane, who was only about the height of a trained Highselk soldier, gave off a feeling of intimidation that someone with her height shouldn’t have. There was no longer any opposition and she procced the treatment.

TN : The suspension bridge effect, is a scientific and psychological term used to describe a biological reaction in our psychology when we are under pressure.
When we experience external stimulus that ignites our adrenal response, it plays a strange role in our minds and interpreting our environment.

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