Chapter 53:

One Step Forward

The Consequence of Saving the World

For the whole way back, we’ve been talking nonstop. We went from inappropriate teasing to a full-blown history lesson. I was so engrossed in conversation that I nearly forgot that my arm was broken.

Ain and myself learned so much about the Seven Heroes. For her, Sereya’s explanations cleared her misconceptions. As for me, it was great to find out more about some of humanity’s most important figures. I have been “asleep” for the past ten years, after all.

What felt surreal to me was that at times, Sereya described her companions’ seemingly impossible feats in such a casual manner. If I was listening to this without context, I would have called these stores out for being fairy tales. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually turned out to be, hailed in song and poetry for generations to come.

Before this, I always saw Sereya as strong—someone standing at the peak of humanity. She may downplay her accomplishments now and again, but her power and skill were genuine. It was only through this “interview” did I truly respect her for what she is—a Hero.

Nestled cosily beside me in this creaky cart was a historical figure in the flesh, someone who fought not only for her country, but for the entire world—and won.

I may never actually see a demon and I was glad that it was because of her efforts that this came into reality. A sense of pride filled me, pride that I didn’t just know her—I was in love with her. Plus, she also felt that way about me which I couldn’t be more thankful for.

“Hey, hey!”

I was startled by Sereya’s fingers suddenly snapping right in front of my face.

“Are you even listening? I thought you really wanted to know what happened with Remus’s axe?”

“Yeah, what are you zoning out for, Uncle?”

Oh, so the two of them were actually tag teaming me now? What ever happened to being enemies?

“Sorry, I was lost in thought.”

“Rude. Why let your mind wander off when I’m right here?”

I wasn’t sure why, but I’d never get tired of seeing Sereya’s childish pout.

“I can’t help it. I was thinking about how cool you are, and how lucky I am.”

“AHEM,” Ain cleared her throat in an exaggerated fashion, “please don’t be so gross, Uncle. Lines like that are so old, it’ll never work.”


Sereya may have given her verbal agreement, but I knew otherwise. The fact that she was holding my hand even tighter than before meant that she liked it.

“Anyways—where was I? Right, so Remus’s axe, Diphaxia, actually broke in the final battle. Even though we were all far away, we all saw a blinding flash of white light and poof! His source of everlasting life disappeared.”

“No way!” Ain’s jaw dropped, “Athmadana was strong enough to break one of the Legendary Treasures? How did Remus survive?”

Before Sereya could elaborate, the cart hit a bump of sorts on the trail. I wasn’t certain if it was a rock or hole. What was certain was that the shock was enough to make my arm hurt like hell.

“Are you okay?!”

The two of them immediately asked in sync. Perhaps my reaction was a bit too obvious. I wished I could answer them, but I was still too occupied wincing in pain.

“Mum!” Ain shouted to the front cart, “How long more to go?”

“We’re halfway there!”

Anita’s voice was faint, but I could make out her response even from this distance.

“Screw it.”

Just as I heard Sereya muttering under her breath, she leapt off the cart! Immediately, she disappeared in a blur.

Stunned, Ain exclaimed, “Wait! Where are you—”

I covered her mouth with my left hand as her muffled words hit my palm. While I could only guess why Sereya suddenly left, the important thing was to not let the bandits notice that.

She was the metaphorical wall that discouraged them from escaping. If they figured out that she was gone, there was a very real chance they could make a run for it. They may still be in chains, but when the guards were the previously captive pilgrims that had no training, they could easily overpower us.

Sereya’s actions were indeed reckless, but the time for complaining or reprimanding has passed. I gestured to Ain to stay quiet by putting a finger on my lip.

With a hushed voice, the little girl made her feelings clear.

“Just when I was starting to think that she was cool, she just disappeared.”

It was heartwarming to know that Ain’s opinion of Sereya was going up. The next step would be for them to express their friendship to each other, but I already saw this as a major milestone.

“She’s your girlfriend right? How can you deal with that?”

Good question. Perhaps I’d deal with that once I was done dealing with the lightning firing into my brain from my arm.

“Uncle, hang in there.”

The soft sensation of fabric ran across my face as it absorbed my sweat. My condition was deteriorating quickly if Ain had to wipe my sweat.

The bump from earlier triggered another wave of hurt. I was feeling better earlier during our ride, but it was annoying how fragile the human body was. My breathing was ragged. Even my vision was getting fuzzy and messed up.

In a couple of minutes or so, I felt another bump. This time, however, it didn’t come from the wheels of the cart. It was on the cart itself, right next to me in fact.

“Eek!” an unfamiliar squeak instinctively caused me to have a look.

While it was hard for me to tell as I was seeing double, the sound came from a woman who appeared to be even more out of breath than me.

“Heal him.”

Sereya’s cold, commanding voice made my heart stop beating momentarily. If I had the energy, I would’ve jumped out of my seat. How in the world was she here?!

Don’t tell me…

Did she just run into camp, yank the mage and bring her back in a couple of minutes? The trip back was easily over an hour at a fast walking pace. This was insane!

“B-But I thought he was a Dragon-ran—”

“Heal him.”

I couldn’t imagine what the mage must’ve been through. Travelling at those speeds for people like us must’ve felt like our lives flashing past in a blink of an eye.

“But I’m only Goblin-ranked, there’s no way my heali—”

“Heal him.”

An eerie sound of scraping steel was being made from Sereya’s scabbard. Was she seriously threatening to draw her sword?

The poor mage’s face was plastered with fear. She frantically crawled closer to me and placed her hands near my slinged arm. A faint blue glow radiated from her palms.

It was oddly mesmerising. Healing magic was so pretty.

“N-No way…”

The mage expressed her sheer disbelief. She probably thought that her treatment wouldn’t work, but the fact that my eyesight was returning to normal proved otherwise.

I looked at my forearm. The hill called swelling that was emerging from underneath the bandages was starting to deflate. I could feel my skin realigning, reverting to its original shape from before Rolf’s club hit me.

Most importantly, the feeling of pain and dread felt as if it was being sucked by the blue light, dissipating into the forest air.

“My healing actually worked, even on someone as strong as a Dragon-rank. Don’t tell me…”

Sigh. Even a child could figure it out.

“...I’m actually an amazing healer?!”

She’s an idiot!

“Good job. Now go and tend to the injuries of all the others,” Sereya instructed.


Just like that, the woman who healed me hopped off the cart and rushed to check the pilgrims. I didn’t even know her name, much less thank her.

“There. Feeling better?”

Sereya’s icy persona melted into a warm and caring one as she sat down next to me. It was as if the entire scene from before never happened at all.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

“I t–thought you c-couldn’t use magic,” Ain quivered, utterly stupefied.

“Huh? It wasn’t me, it was the mage.”

“No no no no, you teleported her here!”

“What? I just grabbed her and bring her here.”

Poor Ain. If her eyes opened any bigger, they might even pop out of their sockets.

“You just vanished and popped up again! With another person! You’re teleporting!”

“I’m not teleporting! I ran to camp, looked for the mage, grabbed her by the collar and—”

“You’re lying! You used magic to move between two positions!”

“I used MY FEET to move between two positions, you dimwit!”

“Lift up your leg then. Show me your legs!”

Wait a sec—Sereya was actually lifting her leg up? Just why?

“SEE!” Ain pointed to the bottom hem of Sereya’s trousers, “If you were running really fast, they would be dirt here, but there is no dirt!”

“Blame the dirt for not being able to jump fast enough and stick on my pants then!”

Well, friends fight all the time, right? This had to be a step forward in their relationship.

I hope.