Chapter 38:

Chapter 32: Special Day

Your Healer

Chapter 32: Special Day

My phone vibrated at 5 am like it did every day. I actually didn’t need the alarm anymore… I regularly woke up some minutes before it. But today was different, not because I didn’t wake up but because I was greeted by Miko, who was sitting up in bed staring at me.

"Can I turn on the lights?" she asked cautiously.

"Sure." I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and waited for the light to come on. It took me a moment to realize why Miko was awake earlier than me. Today was the first of October... my birthday.

Yeah, that sounds like I'm not remembering my birthday, like I'm a person who hates celebrating it. But no, I was hoping Miko would do something like that, but after waking up, my brain isn't really capable of thinking that much.

Once the room was illuminated, she jumped out of bed, ran to the wardrobe, and took out three nicely wrapped presents.

"I really thought about singing, but I think it's better if I don't." She put the presents on the bed before kneeling down in front of me to give me a small kiss.

Sometimes, I doubt whether Miko was really the same person I met back then. Well, when we're surrounded by other people, she's a bit closer to her old behavior. Still, even towards strangers, she's not nearly as fake-friendly anymore. You might think I've changed her.

“Happy Birthday.”

“Thank you.”

As I said, I do celebrate my birthdays. I don't want to come up with some sad story, but the last ones I celebrated either alone or with colleagues at work who felt they had to spend time with me... so the start of my 21st birthday was a lot nicer already.

She retrieved the presents she had put down earlier, sat next to me, and held the first out to me.

"Open it." She said, smiling at me with shining eyes. If I'm completely honest, I wasn't expecting her to give me a gift. We never talked about birthdays, so I wasn't sure if she even knew it was today. She never asked me what I wanted, either.

"I have to get ready for work. Maybe we should leave it until later."

I didn't want to ruin the mood, not when my girlfriend was looking at me so expectantly with those big eyes of hers.

"You're not working today, and neither am I. Because I'm going to take you out on a date." Her smile widened even more, making it almost contagious. “How does that sound?”

“Sounds good.” I chuckled.

The gift she handed me first was large and felt quite soft. I tore open the paper and found a blue plush slime pillow that looked quite similar to the one I had cuddled in my first dungeon. Okay, let's be honest... slimes always look identical. But this one had cute eyes and was fluffy, unlike its original counterpart.

“Thank you a lot,” I said, smiling. I really meant it.

"I'm glad you like it because it's something for both of us. Because you can snuggle up with it at night, I'll take over when you go to work."

She grinned shamelessly, a cunning idea on her part but far too cute. My cheeks turned red because I felt so embarrassed.

But before I could think any more about how lovely she was, she gave me the second gift.

This one was shaped like a bucket. No wrapping could have concealed that form. I removed the paper and uncovered a vast collection of miniature chocolate bars in every imaginable flavor.

"I see. You probably want to feed me that when I've done something well," I said jokingly.

"Nah, I stopped treating you like that long ago."

"I know, I know, but you can still feed me." I pushed my lower lip forward and batted my eyelashes sadly.

“I will.”

“That's what I wanted to hear.”

I placed the bucket on the floor beside me, and Miko handed me the last present. A small box with a ribbon around it. The size reminded me of a ring box. I shook it slightly but couldn't hear anything.

But my heart began to pound. There was no reason for my excitement to rise so high, yet it did.

After opening it, I stopped breathing for a moment. It was indeed a ring, a pure black one, to be precise.

“It's made from the magical ore I use for my weapons. I recently learned that you can increase its size and shape indefinitely if you put enough mana into it, so I figured you can wear it as jewelry and use it when you need it."

I gulped, took it out of the box, and slipped it over my finger before Miko could even think about putting it on me because it was still too early for that. I would probably have died on the spot.

“Thank you so much.” I bit my lip a little to prevent myself from crying. Don't ask me why, but it worked surprisingly well for me.

"You're welcome," she said, resting her head on my shoulder to look at my hand, which I held in front of us.

"Maybe I should wear mine as a ring, too. Then we'll match." Miko proposed, causing a broad smile to appear on my face.

“Good idea.”


After we got ready, Miko kidnapped me and dragged me to a local breakfast café. As I don't really like surprises, she warned me that Lilith, Luna, Kajsa, and Eliza would be joining us.

Walking through our capital was always breathtaking. Everything was huge, and so many people were running around no matter what time or day. I had already gotten used to the sight of skyscrapers and that stopping at red lights was more of an option, both for cars and pedestrians. But the sheer mass of people was really something. Nothing I could bear in the long term... I was looking forward to returning to our little town where I didn't have to see anybody for just five minutes.

Of course, this café that Miko had chosen was rather bad for avoiding people, but I was prepared to put up with anything today.

At the entrance, we were greeted by a staff member. Miko showed her a reservation confirmation, and we were led to our table, where the others had already sat together.

Apparently, everyone, even our busy leader, had taken the day off so they could spend time with me. Everyone greeted me with a hug and congratulations.

Everyone but Kajsa, I didn't hold it against her. Although we had known each other for some time, we hadn't warmed up yet. Compared to the others, I had way less interactions with her.

After she was announced to join our guild, we took it pretty positively, which was certainly unexpected as she was our enemy. She helped goblins and orcs to kill humans, but how were we any better? Even I felt no remorse after killing several creatures, and not just because I acted in self-defense.

I approached her and grabbed her hands: "Thank you for being here. I really appreciate it."

“Happy Birthday.” She said and smiled at me, showing her sharp teeth. A sight that never ceases to amaze me.

“Thank you.”

After we sat down and ordered our food, they all prepared to give me more presents. It was adorable to see them smiling and giggling. They surely had already talked about what they would give me and how I might react.

If it had been up to them, I would have opened them all immediately, but I wanted to do something else first.

I cleared my throat and stood up.

"Thank you again for taking the time to celebrate with me. I actually feel a bit bad because, unlike you, I have no idea when your birthdays are."

That was the first thought that came to my mind when I looked at them as we approached the table… they had dressed up and taken time off work to spend the day with me, while I had completely ignored their birthdays.

I actually loved giving gifts, but without blaming Miko, she was just the one person who occupied my mind so much that I inevitably and involuntarily neglected everyone else. Until today, I hadn't even thought about the fact that there were so many people around me that I would call friends.

“I don’t celebrate my birthday.” Lilith disclaimed. Eliza started laughing.

“You still get older, so tell her.”

“The nineteenth of July,” Lilith whispered.

I saved that date into my phone's calendar, moving my eyes to Luna.

“The twenty-first of March.” she nodded at me with a lovely smile.

Eliza continued, “The eleventh of June, I am sorry for not letting you know.”

“Sorry that I didn’t ask before.”

Apparently, Kajsa had no birthday, at least none that applied to our calendar system. Miko´s was the only one I already knew.

Now that I had saved all the dates, I could finally begin to open the gifts from the others.

The first one was from Eliza, she got me a voucher from a drugstore, she wasn't sure what to get me and decided it would be best if I could choose things myself.

Luna gave me a book called "100 Ways to Make a Woman Happy" and some dice to play certain things in the bedroom. I expected her to get me a rather funny present, but I was a little embarrassed to show or even talk about these gifts in a café, so I quickly stored both in my backpack.

"Oh, you don't want to try playing?" she said in a disappointed voice and gave us a pout.

“No, thank you,” I said, presenting my kindest smile.

Miko, meanwhile, died a thousand deaths. She wasn't the only one who remembered the night after she escaped from the dungeon, but I managed to steer my thoughts in other directions. We hadn't spoken about it again yet, generally a sensitive and intimate subject.

Kajsa looked at Lilith, seemingly waiting for her to say something before I started unwrapping the last present.

“This one is from Kajsa and me. It's best if you unpack it first, then I'll explain what it is.” She rested her head on one hand and smiled in anticipation.

She definitely knew how to increase the suspense. I carefully removed the wrapping paper and found another book, but this one looked rather self-made.

I flipped through the pages and was almost in shock. I wasn't quite sure how legal it was to own such a thing.

“Don't worry, it's just a kind of alphabet. You can't translate our language and that of the other world one to one, as there is room for interpretation. However, with the book, you can understand at least a little of what is written in the dungeons and at the gates. Kajsa is probably the only person I know who understands both languages.” Lilith explained in a low voice. She definitely didn't want outsiders to overhear our conversation.

“You've always been so interested in our language, and I know you're curious about the spells. That's why I wanted to help you. I hope you can read my handwriting.” Kajsa added.

She had written it by hand? Yes, it looked like it, but it was hard to imagine. I was really touched, but I couldn't deny that I felt that this book could land me in prison.

“Thank you so much. I really, really appreciate it.”

As I put the book down, my eyes met Miko's, who was staring at Lilith. Apparently, she wasn't too thrilled about that present. I placed a hand on hers and caressed it lightly. She shifted her gaze to me and smiled gently.

I wasn't in the mood for drama or bad moods, and Miko felt it. I wasn't even sure why she was looking at Lilith like that. I was probably reading too much into it again.

In any case, the breakfast that followed was very relaxed and, above all, delicious. We sat together for a while and chatted about all sorts of unimportant things. None of us said a word about the dungeon raid. I had to be careful not to enjoy the atmosphere too much. Otherwise, it might be difficult to return to work tomorrow.

After we had paid, we went our separate ways again. We had agreed to meet again for dinner, but I had somehow expected them to join us. Not that I had a problem with spending the day alone with Miko. When she said we were going on a date, she seemed to mean it literally.

As we strolled through the city, Miko held my hand tightly. We had been a couple for almost two months, but it had already become a rarity that we walked together like this. You could say that our “honeymoon” was terribly short.

I was looking forward to the time after the raid when we would finally work more closely once again. We weren't meant to be apart, even if we both seemed to be able to cope with it better than we would have expected.

"So, what would you rather do? Go to the movies? Maybe an escape room, or do we want to go to the park and just do nothing?"

Miko presented a very attractive selection. I was aware that the latter suggestion was her favorite.

The only thing that spoke against going to the movies was that I was totally stuffed. It wouldn't be a proper cinema trip without a giant popcorn bucket... But I don't see myself eating anything now.

An escape room would be exciting, too, so I could experience Miko in a completely different way because, based on all her experiences in the dungeons, she was neither a fan nor an expert on any kind of riddles.

But lying down on the grass in the park and snoozing, maybe a bit of cuddling, also sounded nice, but it was tough to decide.

"If you have to ponder so much, we'll just do everything. We have enough time." Miko finally decided and pulled me tenderly. I couldn't help but grin and follow her.

On our way towards the escape room, we passed someone giving a speech about mages and witches. Miko didn't pay the person a single glance and pulled me along behind her.

Several information booths and small gatherings in the city demonstrated against the Dungeon Raid and mages in general. I wasn't sure, but there were probably events like this all year round.

We always avoided them, even though I was interested in what they had to say, so I stopped at an information stand because I wanted to look at least one of the posters.

Miko sighed but then let go of my hand and walked behind me, putting her arms around my waist, waiting for me to read through the information material.

One paragraph that caught my eye dealt with the question of why magic is used so one-sidedly. It referred to the fact that many difficult and dangerous tasks that machines could not yet replace are not performed or at least supported by mages.

Although the mystical powers of mages could be used for the common good, they are only used for entertainment and, above all, for fighting and killing.

The thesis is also put forward as to what will happen if the dungeons disappear at some point and all the battle-addicted mages go astray. Who will stop them?

You don't even want to imagine what it would be like if the military joined forces with the mages and intervened in wars. There are all kinds of laws and protocols for weapons, but you won't find anything like that for mages.

I noticed that the author painted a very dark picture, but I could understand the concerns somewhere. I never worried about it before, and after I became a part of this world of magic, I strangely didn't think about someone abusing their powers once.

Yes, something about the text was correct. If you imagine a world in which magic exists, you have different images in your head than the one we live in. Of course, you mustn't forget that there really are very few mages.

There is one registered mage for every 10,000 people. With a population of almost 80 million people in our country, that is only around 8,000 mages. How many of them can use their magic in such a diverse and potent way that they come close to the miracles that some people imagine is very questionable.

“You know... I understand that they can't grasp magic and are afraid of us. But I find them just as scary. How can you write so much pointless garbage when you have no idea how magic works?”

I thought I knew what she meant. She was not someone who despised or discriminated against non-mages. But she grew up in another world than most people. For mages, it was important how powerful you were. And if you weren't strong enough, you were still allowed to talk. Still, the likelihood of anyone really listening to you was relatively low.

Therefore, Miko has difficulty understanding how these people can criticize or denounce things they do not know about. Nevertheless, I want to talk to her about it again sooner or later... but not today.

But I am afraid of what happens when you are convinced that you are so much better and stronger than others that the value of everyone else drops to the point where you no longer see them as equals.

Killing monsters in dungeons was one thing. Also, something I can't worry about for too long, but what if another person becomes so annoying that you wonder why you don't just kill them? Unfortunately, I remember too well how I blew an orc's head apart with a simple wind spell. Truly an image I never wanted to see.

“Let's go, or do you want to read more?”

I shook my head and took a deep breath before we continued on our way. Sometimes, I think I'm doing quite well by maintaining a certain ignorance.


"I'm terribly sorry, my king, but we couldn't find any leads to the dungeon's core." One of my scouts reported to me outside the gate of an S-rank dungeon we had assigned ourselves to some days ago.

I wasn't disappointed because it wouldn't be fun if we had to destroy this beautiful place in the blink of an eye. It was hard to believe that a place like this was supposed to be another world.

In addition, we have not yet found any sign of life. This was also a first for our guild. Even I was worried about that, which I didn't want to admit even to Wace.

He is my better half. If I am the brain, he is the body. Which I only say so that I play a role at all. If I'm honest, he wasn't just stronger than me. He was also smarter.

Only the fact that he doesn't like to be the center of attention allows me to play the role of leader. Not that I haven't sacrificed a lot to get to where I am now.

If anyone or anything awaited me in the dungeon, they would probably get what they wanted soon. I send my best people in there daily, and nothing comes of it. How much longer should we waste our time? There's enough to deal with.

"Where is Wace."

"He's taken the day off. He's invited to a birthday party."

"I know, but all day for that?”

He had asked me for permission and knew we were working on a dungeon. But he clarified to me how much he wanted to be there. Who was I to deny him that? I was just sad that I couldn't be there too.

When was the last time I could sit at a table with Lilith? I would give a lot for that. I had been under her spell since I had seen her for the first time. She was still half a child, but her eyes alone gave me the impression that she knew more about magic than any mage I had met in my long life.

But here I was, surrounded by my loyal subordinates. I was sure more than half of them were not here because of me. But it sounds good to work in the Mage King's guild. I didn't care. Without this title, I would never have gotten to know so many extraordinary personalities.

And I like the special treatment… it’s better than the one I had to go through before my time as king. From birth, I could not lead a boring, ordinary life. Somehow, this world and I just don't fit together.

“Tell Krystoff to get his team ready. I will replace Wace and accompany you today. It can't be that we won't make any progress here.”

"Understood. I'll be on my way immediately."

If we hurry now, I might be able to invite myself as a surprise guest to the birthday party. I doubt that this healer girl would mind. Not only was Maisy amazed by her, but even Enya confirmed her qualities.