Chapter 37:

Chapter 31: When

Your Healer

Chapter 31: When

Another week passed after we managed to free Miko from the dungeon. I returned to work in the healer's office, and the others started clearing dungeons again. Still, for now, they decided to focus on easier ones.

As of yesterday, I have a new shift partner because Enya had to join her guild for an S-Rank dungeon. Jora himself showed up and apologized for having to steal her away for the next week or two.

I wasn’t that sad about her absence, even though I built a somewhat relaxed working relationship with her. We just didn’t click with each other. There was always a distant feeling between us.

And in the end, Hannah would move into my shift, which was like a dream come true. She was able to escape the night shift, which was honestly not that exciting, and now we could talk about all kinds of stuff between working, of course.

"Good morning." Hannah was in the practice shortly before 6 a.m. and spoke to Dr. Rayan. He had finished his shift and could now go home. Or wherever he went in his free time, I haven't had the pleasure of talking to him about his interests yet.

"And how was your first night alone?" I asked him with a grin.

"I had a patient here who had terrible nightmares after coming out of a dungeon that resembled a graveyard. I did some therapy training but couldn't help this patient with talking or magic."

“I think listening to your voice is enough for some relaxation,” I admitted, and Hannah nodded energetically.

“Definitely.” She added to sell the point.

"Thank you for the compliments. I'm off now. Have a good shift, and see you tomorrow." Maybe I was wrong, but somehow, he looked even more tired than usual. I almost felt a little sorry for him.

"Tell me, how do you like the Dungeon Raid so far?" Hannah asked as she sat down on the only chair in the entrance area.

A pretty strange question after I had to spend a few days wondering whether Miko was dead or not. Okay, maybe she was referring to the time aside from this incident.

“Hmm, I'll just be glad when it's over. Apart from the fact that Miko was gone, I miss being at home. I haven't really hung out and played video games for months.”

I had already come to terms with the fact that you didn't have a regular working day as a witch. I could even come to accept the idea that you put yourself in danger... but here it was a mixture of everything, regular working hours plus frequent encounters with certain threats.

But the worst thing was that I started to get used to it. Just nine months ago, I offered my healing magic to drunks in dark alleys, and now I'm acting like a doctor. Of course, I would never compare myself to such professionals. I hardly knew anything about medicine. The only thing that qualified me to be here was that I could make people recover faster.

Since I've been working here, I sometimes asked myself whether I would now be able to cure my mother to free her from the cancer. Back then, all the doctors said that even magic couldn't save her, but to this day, I still don't understand why they didn't even try.

Doctors and healers have always been pretty hostile towards each other. That's why it's nice to see more and more mages working in ordinary hospitals these days alongside people without mana. Even if this results in a lack of healers in the guilds.

“And how do you like it? Are you comfortable here, or are you tempted to join a guild?” I asked, already knowing her answer.

Hannah smiled. "I'm enjoying my work, but at the moment, I'm going through a phase where I'm missing my friends and school a lot, so I can't wait to get back home."

In her case, I understood missing school. I occasionally thought back to the time when Miko and I held our boot camp there. At some point, I wanted to go back there as well, whatever the occasion.

We spent the first few hours chatting before the first patients arrived around 8 o'clock. Some had minor injuries, others were suffering from colds. Their immune systems had been stressed by the constant use of mana and the fact that they were regularly exposed to changing environments, so catching a few more infections was quite normal.

Thanks to her studies, Hannah was authorized to give out medicine to the patients. It was known that the body could get used to healing magic, so it was not recommended to resort to it for everything. In a severe case, the effect could be weakened, so Hannah prescribed a few days' bed rest combined for some patients instead of constantly pouring our mana into them.

"We've received an order for forty flasks of healing potions. Can you prepare them?" Hannah asked as she checked the emails.

Healing potions were very convenient and somewhat unavoidable for dungeon-clearing guilds. Even those with the luxury of their own healer couldn't always rely on them. I myself knew best how quickly a mage's mana could run out. It was also much easier to simply drink something to heal minor injuries or get rid of fatigue instead of constantly going to a healer.

“Surely, did they mention which flavor they want?” Here, we mixed our potions with water and some sort of powder with different flavors before infusing the drink with mana to kick off healing magic in the consumer’s body.

That all sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? It is… unfortunately it's all more difficult than I thought. You can't measure it, but the potency of the healing of my potions was maybe 5-10% of my normal level. This was partly due to the fact that there was much less mana in play but also because you store a spell in a liquid.


“Got it.”

I got straight to work and filled forty of the little bottles. They were made out of glass, not only because it was reusable but also because they kept the mana better than plastic containers. The reason for this? I don't know, and I don't care.

The strawberry powder gave the liquid a lovely pink-to-reddish color, and the taste was similar to water, with a slight flavor. I would prefer to mix it with milk, though then it would have a much shorter expiry date, but it would definitely be tastier.

Since I'm used to channeling my healing magic into different forms, it wasn't hard for me to imagine it as a liquid that I pour into these bottles. When I think about it, I'm kind of proud of how variable I can use my mana. Healing liquid, healing light, healing orbs, and don't forget my mediocre wind magic.

After about an hour, I finished making forty healing potions worth about 2000€ if sold without restrictions. As a witch like me, you would never get a license to sell potions, and as a guild, you would be prevented from getting rich by mad regulations.

It's not as if I was worried about money at the moment; the amount I was currently earning already made me one of the high earners in the country.

Wow, that sounds terrible even in my mind.

Anyway, back to hanging out with Hannah while we waited for work. I guess I should check my messages. Miko said she'd send me updates on the dungeon they're clearing today. Only a C-rank, nothing too serious, but we'll all remember that the dungeon we met Kajsa in was originally a C-rank dungeon, too.

Sometimes, I would like to know what would have happened to Kajsa if she had killed me, Nada, or Alex in our fight. Would Lilith have recruited her anyway, or would she have been out for revenge? Creepy mind games, if I'm honest.

Now that I've gotten to know Kajsa a little better, I can't imagine anything bad happening to her. She is very sensible and didn't do anything we wouldn’t have done the same way. In fact, she was much more reserved and merciful than any of us.

“Hello? Did someone order lunch?” a quiet voice spoke from behind the entry door. A moment later, Maisy walked in with two plastic bags in her hands.

“Nope.” I chuckled.

“Okay, bye.”

“Wait, wait… who is this sweet young lady?” Hannah panicked and speeded in front of the counter to take the bags from her.

"I'm supposed to get the healing potions, and while I am at that, I thought I'd bring you something for lunch."

Ahh, I love this girl. If she didn't already have parents, I would adopt her on the spot.

"Okay, let's see what we've got here," Hannah said, slowly sliding her hands into the plastic bag.

"Wait, let me unpack," Maisy said, as determined as she could.

She cleared her throat and pulled out the first item. “Here we have sushi, veggie as well as fish. And since I know how much you like sweet stuff, let's get straight to dessert!” She grinned widely and took out a vanilla pudding with chocolate topping and a croissant filled with chocolate cream for each of us.

By each of us, I also meant for herself.

With an adorably satisfied smile, Maisy opened one of the puddings, only to be startled for a moment.

"We have spoons here, don't we?"

The shock on her face was almost heartbreaking as if she sincerely believed she couldn't eat her pudding now.

"Try the kitchen, in the drawer under the coffee machine," Hannah explained, as her lips formed a smile.

We spent the next twenty minutes enjoying our food and were lucky that no patients came during this time.

“Oh Maisy, I could cuddle you.” slipped out of my mouth just like that, wallowing in gratitude for her food delivery.

"You can if you want to." She said softly and stood up, opening her arms for me. My lips trembled a little. She was just too cute. I had to convince Lilith to buy her from the King's Guild.

I took small steps over to her and wrapped my arms around her. As she was almost a head shorter than me, I could lean my head against hers. She smelled so good, flowery and sweet with a note of mint. I stroked her carefully and tried not to ruffle her hair.

"Hugs are great," she said. "It's sad that we can't hug the patients after we've healed them."

“If you ever have to heal me, you can cuddle me as much as you want.”


I had instinctively closed my eyes, and when I opened them again, I saw Hannah taking photos of Maisy and me from different angles.

“Aww, please don’t put them online. I look terrible in photos.” Maisy said in the angriest voice she was capable.

“These are just for me, don’t worry,” Hannah answered, blushing happily.

“Don’t show these Miko.”

“Why, she’s jealous?”

“No… maybe… I don’t know. Sometimes, it feels like we have switched roles since we became a couple. Somehow, I am the dominant one now.”

"Oh, oh, the dominant one, maybe Maisy should cover her ears."

"Come on, you know what I meant."

"Maybe you haven't switched roles, but you've just changed a bit. You're definitely different from when I first met you. The way you behave changed. And that might lead to Miko showing you sides of her that she hid before or is only just discovering."

“That could be, after all, a lot has happened in the last few months.” I then freed Maisy from my clutches and leaned against a wall.

But I’m curious, when exactly did I start changing?

"Well, it was nice to have lunch with you. I'd take the potions with me now and be back here at the start of my shift." Maisy announced as she put the trash away.

"Can you carry that box?" I asked, slightly worried.

"Of course, don't forget that I'm a witch. And I'm strong enough even without magic." She pouted, grabbed the box, and left.

What an adorable little gremlin


“I still don’t understand what's so bad about this dungeon,” Kajsa said after around fifteen minutes of us walking around in a place that resembled a graveyard.

After that A-Rank dungeon fiasco, we decided to keep cleaning after the smaller and weaker guilds, helping them when they had problems. You could argue that this was due to my disappearance incident, but I suspected Lilith simply wanted to collect some popularity points by aiding the ones in need.

“I’m with you. Besides the looks, it somehow misses something.” It's not like we didn’t have to fight some undead-looking creatures, but they somehow lacked depth. Compared to the grotesque mummies I met in that tower, greeting me with the actual smell of death, these enemies here seemed more like filling material.

“Some people reported that they’ve seen familiar faces. Like loved ones that were already dead, it seems like that is enough to creep them out.” Luna explained.

“How should the dungeon know what your loved ones look like?”

“Miko… these dungeons are pure magic. Did you ever think that there isn’t a way these are messing with your body and mind?” Kajsa asked, kicking around a skull.

“Still, magic like this is incredibly complex and difficult to use.”

“Maybe for you. In our world, mages learned or could learn something like this fairly early in their education, but it is hard to compare you to them anyway.”

“What do you mean? Where’s the difference?” Every time she talked about her world, I asked myself why I wasn’t questioning her more about it in the first place.

“Most magic users in your world are more like weapon-carrying soldiers, using magic to enhance the intensity and speed of the fights. Our mages are more like artists, specialized in ranged combat and trickery. Lilith is the only witch who resembles them. Luna's use of mana is also comparable, but no one would call you a witch where I come from.”

I really didn't care for the title of a witch; it had been used more as an insult to me in the past, but it still felt strange to be discredited in this way, even though I knew Kajsa didn't mean any offense.

“Oh, there's a path ahead that leads down into a crypt. If I know dungeons, that's where the core will be. Who wants to go in?” Luna said, pointing at some stairs.

“I go, that dude from the ministry that follows us made awfully rarely any notes when I was in action. I want some points, too.” I declared, starting to pick up some pace while also turning my magical ore into a sword.

The entrance was illuminated by a greenish glow that turned red when I entered the room. I checked whether the entrance would close by itself or something similar, but my worries were in vain. So, I went in deeper and deeper.

Some skeletons and zombie-like creatures halfheartedly tried to stop me. Luckily, every single one crumbled into dust after one attack. I just came to a halt after I ended up in a room without any more ways to go.

I’ve channeled some mana into my eyes, looking for the dungeon core. But the only interesting thing I discovered was a huge mirror slowly freeing itself of the dust covering it.

Let me guess… I need to look into it to progress?

I stood in front of the mirror and looked at my reflection. For the first time, I realized that my hair had grown relatively long. Usually, I’ve cut them myself all the time, but why not try growing them out… I sank into my thoughts for a while before observing changes in my reflection.

My shirt started to soak up blood that was leaking from my stomach area. My reflection wore a different outfit a moment later and shrank by a few centimeters.

I stared at my younger self.

Repeatedly, I looked down at myself and reassured that I hadn't suffered any injuries.

What exactly did that reflection try to tell me?

It began to unbutton the formerly white shirt, which was now dyed a deep red, revealing a gaping hole in my stomach. I've seen a lot of grotesque images, but I can't deny that I was a little shocked to see myself injured like that.

Was that a prophecy? No, that made no sense, so why would a younger self show it to me? But I can't remember ever suffering an injury like that...

I can't remember

Even though my reflection didn’t look exactly like me or mirror any of my movements, it never broke eye contact until now. Her eyes wandered behind me for a second. I turned around to see if anything was trying to sneak up on me. As I turned back to the mirror, I saw a pair of red eyes in the distance.

I blinked once.

Now, my reflection looked exactly like me, but it was looking behind it as if it was searching for the source of those red eyes. I looked down at myself again and flinched when I saw the bleeding hole in my stomach. It wasn't the reflection that had changed.

We had just changed positions, or rather, bodies.

This is just in my mind

I tried to convince myself of that. This was some sort of magic messing with my head. I tried to calm down with some breathing and observed my other self.

She looked around and smiled when she seemed to have discovered something. She lifted her right arm and held the black sword in front of her, looking at it with a gleam in her eye that sent goose bumps all over my body.

What are you doing?

Slowly but steadily, she moved the blade in front of her throat, my throat.

“Stop!” I cried out, banging against the mirror.

If, just if, we actually swapped bodies, she was about to kill me, to kill myself.

These red eyes

After seeing these eyes in the mirror, we swapped bodies. Someone had to cast a spell on me. This situation was real. I was about to die.

Why? Why is every dungeon trying to kill me?

I forgot about my other self for a moment, just to discover it looking at me disappointed.

It wanted me to watch.

I guess Kayla won't save me this time. I sent her a message earlier that we would clear this low-ranking dungeon and that I looked forward to seeing her later today.

It makes me sick that I became someone who needs saving.

When did that start? What changed?

I could still feel the cold steel touching my neck.

That should be confirmation that I hadn’t completely lost control over my body.

Shortly, I was convinced that this dungeon was falsely rated again, that I’d again stepped into some sort of trap that would be life-threatening for every mage.

But I realized that I simply was weak right now. My mind was weak.

My body started to move the sword away from my throat and instead pointed it at the mirror.

And with one swift thrust, it stabbed into me, into the reflection of my younger self that was trapped inside.

After my next blink, I found myself back in my body, holding the sword piercing a blue orb, slowly losing its beautiful shimmer.

This dungeon was clever. Showing the faces of deceased loved ones only to ultimately confront people with an image of themselves and try to take control of the weakened mind to get someone to kill themselves.

I should go back to destroying these places from the beginning. I would have smashed this core before it could even try to deceive me.

When and why did I start to change?