Chapter 39:

Chapter 33: Reality

Your Healer

Chapter 33: Reality

So far, my birthday has been pretty nice.

Simply because I wasn't put on a big pedestal. No cringy singing, no public embarrassment, or anything like that.

I can't help suspecting that Miko has warned everyone not to make too much of a fuss.

After the delicious breakfast, Miko and I went to an escape room. A place where you're paying to get locked up in a room full of riddles that you can only leave if you solve all of them... or you're getting kicked out when your time is up.

“I use magic.”

“Just don’t.”

“Struggling isn’t that much fun,” Miko is such a baby sometimes.

“We are missing one last number to open the lock. Feel free to relax on the bed next to that fake corpse. I manage this.”

It’s not that I don’t enjoy this, but Miko and I had a new first today, and definitely one of the unpleasant types.

We argued over the significance of the made-up name of that made-up character in this made-up escape game. The gamemaster watching us all the time finally ended the drama by letting us know it wasn’t important, making Miko the winner of our debate.

“I’m sorry,” she says, putting her arms around my body from behind. It's really noticeable how often she hugs me from behind. She might have a problem with me looking at her.

“Hey, no cuddling in front of the camera,” I whisper.

“I don’t care,” She shoots back.

“Let’s get out of here.”

With some focus and more help from our gamemaster, we finished the last riddle four minutes before our time was up. As a reward, we got a small flask of life elixir, which had been created by the crazy doctor who had locked us up in that room.

In real life, it was simply some sort of liquor.

Since Miko isn't a fan of alcohol in general, I drink them both and feel more ready than ever to continue my birthday adventure.

“By the way, whose idea was that? Visiting an escape room?” I ask as we walk hand in hand through the city.

“Luna´s, she said we should visit one with the whole guild the next time. I’m not so sure about that anymore.”

“You hadn’t fun?”

“I had fun because you had fun. That’s enough, isn’t it?”

“I guess.”


“So… what’s next?”

Before Miko answers me, she looks at her phone.

“Would you rather ride a boat or watch a movie?”

“What kind of boat?”

“These small ones, for couples.”

“A movie it is!”

“Oh, really?” she looked seriously disappointed, and that was what I wanted to see.

“Nope, let’s go for a boat ride, sounds kind of romantic.”

"You're an ass. You can be lucky it's your birthday..."

“Oh, what would you have done if it wasn’t?”

“Nothing you would like.”

“We don’t know until you try out.”

“Right here? Right now?”

I chuckle. “Better not.”

Sometime later, we arrive at a huge lake in the middle of the city. We rent a pedal boat and set sail. The lake is so huge that it is unlikely that we will meet other people on the water.

What's wrong with this wind? It's trying to rob me of my vision. In the city, we were protected by the buildings, but as soon as we were out on the water, nature started to bully me.

“Here… take my hair tie,” Miko pulls it off her ponytail and hands it to me.

“You sure?”

Without hesitating too long, I tie my hair up and thank her again with a rather awkward smile.

Miko's hair isn’t as long as mine, so she has a chance to survive the weather. But just now, I realize her hair has grown a lot since I met her.

I want to ask her about it, but I notice her staring holes into the air behind me as I search for eye contact. Her mind is wandering.

She did that from time to time. It is easy to get her out of that zone, but I was sure she needed that right now, so I leave her in her own world and try to simply observe her in secret.

“You are enjoying yourself?”

Her question snaps me out of my adoration for her face.

“Pretty much… what were you thinking about?” It's not like I am curious.

“About life.”

“Wow, that’s deep.”

“No, for real. Never in my life have I thought that I would be doing something like this. A bit of pedal boating with my girlfriend. Before I met you, I was convinced that I would never have a relationship in my life. I was sure that I didn’t want one. And now I would be happy just doing nothing else but spending my time with you.”

As beautiful as her words sound, I can hear a certain pain in her voice.



“I love you.”

“Ahh, don't just say that.”

It may sound weird, but I just had to think of my ex-boyfriend. My relationship with him showed me what a difference there could be between the words I love you and I love you.

He and I said it a lot. It was a routine at some point, and we both consciously knew that it wasn't more than a habit. But honestly, there wasn't as much weight behind the phrase from the beginning.

But when I say it now, it feels different. It's so beautiful that it almost hurts.

Even if Miko has problems expressing her emotions, I know… I can tell how she feels about me.

The thought of no longer being with her, of no longer seeing her, makes me sick. Ever since I got to know her, I made myself emotionally dependent on her in complete awareness.

That was irrational, maybe even stupid. But I didn't care. She gave me a reason to get up every day. If I ever had a goal in my life, it was to stay by her side.

If she just looks at me like that and tells me she needs me, I'll do anything she wants.

“Why are you crying?”

“I don’t cry,” maybe one or two tears are tripling down my face, but that’s not nearly enough to be certified as crying.

“It doesn’t matter. I can’t stand watching people cry. Maybe some suppressed childhood trauma,” she giggles.

This is not the first time she has joked about her childhood, which she cannot really remember.

She often says that her life began when she met Lilith five years ago.

All the time before that is forgotten, she only knows what others have told her. And she dreams. She dreams of things that are too horrible for her to imagine that they are supposed to be memories.

She probably suffers from a form of amnesia, but she never cares about that.

I can relate to this attitude very well because although I have happy memories of my childhood, the bad memories are stronger, the bad ones are still lingering. So, I'm not so sad when I forget something.

From happy to slightly depressed in a matter of seconds. A unique talent of mine.

“Are we going back to the hotel before dinner?” Not that I have to, but I prefer to know about the upcoming schedule.

“Just if you want to, we will go eat waffles. So, no fancy restaurant or anything like that.”

“Is the place far from here?”

“I guess we walk around thirty minutes. Why? Toilet?”

“Yep, but I could hold on until we are there.”

“Alright, let's slowly paddle back to the dock and search for a toilet. I also thought we could go shopping a bit. We still have around two hours until dinner.”

Waffles for dinner, that really is my birthday.

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Your phone is vibrating.”

Wow, she heard the quiet hum while I was about to ignore it. I open my bag, reach in and pull out my cell phone to see something very rare on the display.

My father is calling. I answer it more out of reflex.

“Hi, dad.”

“Oh, I didn't think you'd pick up. Happy birthday, Kayla.”

“Thanks, and what does that mean, as if I had never answered your calls.”

“Strange... It seems to me that we rarely talk in general.”

“Your own fault if you don't call me.”

“You could also check in with your father, at least occasionally.”

“Yes, perhaps I could.”

“Sounds like a plan. By the way, how do you celebrate?”

“Very laid-back with a few colleagues,” I feel a death stare from Miko, “…and with my girlfriend.”

“Ah, you've found someone who can bear it with you?”

"Very nicely put, Dad, really. But yes, I did."

“I'm happy for you. So, before I keep you both from doing anything, I just wanted to tell you that your half-brother has messaged me.”

“Uh-huh,” That is definitely more surprising than my dad’s call.

“He asked if he could get your contact info. For some reason, he wants to talk to you.”

Okay... the only thing I could think of is that he somehow got word that I was now working as a witch. He was already active as a mage when I was little.

“Yeah, sure. Just give him my number.”



“I just didn’t expect you to say yes.”

"It's my birthday, I've got older, I'm evolving... That's how humans work."

“If you say so. Well, I'll give him your number. Have a nice day, and get in touch more often.”



I tell Miko all about the call, and she is almost disappointed that my father and I made no plans to hang out... like a meeting between Miko, me, and him. I really can't imagine why anyone would want to meet their partner's parents?

It's lucky that I already know Miko's mother. Even if Lilith doesn't behave like a real mother, however you define that.

Anyway, I relieved myself, and then we set off for a shopping center. The place is just gigantic. It feels bigger than the city we live in. To put it bluntly.

Miko keeps getting stuck in front of the windows of jewelry stores. She just gifted me a ring this morning, well, actually, a piece of magical ore.

She isn’t planning to buy me another one, isn’t she? Maybe to propose to me any time soon? That would be a bit sudden... although I have no intention of ever breaking up with her... so marriage would be a topic at some point either way.

"What's going on? First, you keep staring at me, and now you're daydreaming? Don't worry, I'm not looking for a ring."

"Hmph, can't I stare at you? You're just beautiful to look at."

"Eww, don't try to talk your way out of it now. I know how you’re head works. You are panicking about me looking for some sort of engagement ring."

"I didn't panic... and you're acting like it's a bad thing."

"You're..." she hesitates briefly, "you're being unfair."

"Please don't sulk now. I'm sorry," I open my arms and look at her with a pout and big eyes.

She sighs briefly and moves in front of me. I hug her and rest my head on her shoulder.

"You smell lovely," she says.

"It's your perfume."

"Explains a lot."

“I'm glad you like it, but would you please take your hand off my butt.”


“Don't get me wrong, I really like it when you show initiative, but not here.”

I take a step back and keep my distance. What's going on in her head? Just feeling me up... I hope she does it again.

In the end, we didn't buy anything, mainly because we didn't want to lug things around. But we successfully killed time and made our way to the event of the day... waffle eating!

We take the tram and are able to get off pretty much right in front of the store. Unlike this morning, my guests are waiting outside instead of already sitting at the table.

The group from this morning is complemented by Alex, Wace, and, surprisingly, Nada and Elliot. Are they somehow on semester break? Or wait, what day of the week is it today? It's Friday, so they should have class.

I feel a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Why are they coming all this way for me? It's easily a 3-hour drive. Maybe they're here for the waffles. I personally could live with that better.

We get out of the wagon, cross the road, and catch up with the others. Again, it's time for a little cuddle session. Nada literally jumps at me while Elliot looks carefully back and forth between Miko and me while offering me a hug.

“Man, what are you doing here? Thanks… but you guys are really stupid.”

"We are also happy to see you," Elliot chuckles.

He looks exactly the same as he did four months ago. Nada, on the other hand, looked a bit taller, and she got herself a new pair of glasses. Her outfit also looked a bit more mature than what she usually wore... She wasn't trying to impress anyone, was she?

Oh, Nada, I'm sorry for you, but you're far too young for any of the men here.

“What are you smiling like that at me?”

Shit, she’s perceptive.

“I just thought you look beautiful today.”

Now, she blushes. It was a total win for me.


Wace and Alex stood together and waited their turn to greet me.

It's almost a shame that I couldn't experience the reunion of Alex and the others. I knew what a shock it was when Alex suddenly dropped out of school to join one of the most famous guilds in the country.

And from what I've been told, it's more than impressive how she's worked her way up within the guild. She's studied dungeons and monsters, but it's her combat skills that really shine.

Kajsa, who had fought her herself, confirmed to me that Alex was something special, that she had probably trained for many years to become this good.

"Happy birthday. It’s good to see you," Alex hugs me lightly and holds me a little longer. "I am so sorry that I did not help to look for Miko."

"Don't worry, I'm just glad that we're all doing fine."

"Can you finish the cuddling? I'm hungry," Lilith whines, and Wace sighs in disappointment. Because of her, there are no hugs for him at all.

Maybe it's for the best, I'm not sure, but I think Miko doesn't like it when I embrace everyone for some reason.

No, I do understand her. Although I'm lucky that Miko is a bit turned off by physical contact with anyone who isn't me, Lilith, or Eliza, I'd probably be a bit jealous, too, if she took so much time hugging other people... friends or not.

We finally walk into the waffle house as a human line. Once at our table, we order drinks, food, and I get a few more presents.

Time flies, and although we are all pretty full, we decide to sit and chat a little longer, hoping to find some room in our stomachs.

"So now that no one can escape... how are things going in the S-rank dungeon?" Lilith smiles at Wace, but he just shrugs his shoulders.

"No idea. You know how unpredictable these places are. Between we know nothing and we know everything lies a hint of nothing."


"Why don't you come and help us? It'll be quicker."

"Maybe I will."

We all look at Lilith almost simultaneously. She had hinted that she would become active again. But none of us know whether her ban has been lifted or lightened in any way.

She enjoys this mysteriousness far too much anyway.

"Sorry, my phone's ringing."

Wace gets up and jogs out of the restaurant.

"Yours is ringing too," Miko says quietly. I reach into my backpack and look at the display.

"Maisy is calling."


"I’m so sorry, but we need you right now. It's Jora... he's hurt."

"What? Where is Rayan?"

"He's here, but he can't heal him.”

"Stop talking! Get over here right now!" Rayan shouts in the background.

I hang up and take a deep breath.

"Jora, he's wounded. I need to go to the practice," I have absolutely no attachment to this man, but the panic in Maisy's voice has triggered some sense of terror in me.

"My car is nearby," Elliot, Alex, and I set off without any further discussion. Wace approaches us and immediately turns around when Elliot shows him his car keys.

We arrive at the car and jump in. But after about a minute on the road, I realized it was taking too long.

"Fuck it, we're running."

"Huh?" We can't just run. There are people, roads, and cars everywhere.

Wace looks at me with a cold stare.

"I'll carry you."

Elliot stops the car, and we get out. Without warning, Wace grabs me and jumps off.

I could reach a speed with magic that would make any top athlete jealous, but Wace is in a different league.

It feels like flying. I close my eyes because everything is moving so fast that I get nauseous.

Before I know it, we land right in front of the practice. Instead of letting me down, Wace carries me inside, and only there do I get back on my feet.

In the reception area, two blood-smeared members of the King's Guild are sitting on the floor with their hands covering their faces. However, Wace and I head for the treatment room, where we are met with dead silence.

I quickly put on my gloves and prepare to treat Jora, but he is covered with a blanket.

Maisy turns around and looks at me with tears in her eyes. She bites her trembling lip and opens her arms, as she always does when she wants a hug.

"What happened?" Wace seems extremely composed.

"He got shot. I tried everything, but his wounds just wouldn't close, so I switched to traditional treatment without magic, but it was too late. He had lost far too much blood," Rayan was also relatively relaxed, just a little frustrated if you ask me.

How am I supposed to feel now? Sad? Angry? I haven't done anything yet. I couldn’t even try to help.

"Who did that?"

“I don’t know, we were inside the dungeon. We sensed nothing, saw nothing, heard nothing. Then it banged a few times, and he fell to the ground.”

Enya's voice sounded weak, almost fragile.

He is dead.

The king of mages is dead.

"Has anyone else been in the dungeon?"

Wace looks at Enya.

“I asked if anyone else had been in the dungeon!?”

She winces, "Krystoff and his team haven't come back yet."

"Okay, one of you report his death to the Ministry so they can collect his body. I'll see who I can gather to get the others out of the dungeon. And let his daughter know."

I am still holding Maisy in my arms. I notice how she is getting calmer. Wace makes eye contact with me.

"I'm sorry."

He apologizes. For what? I have nothing to do with all of this.

"Everything will be fine, right?" Maisy mumbles into my chest.

What should I tell her? I don't know how she felt about Jora.

Her leader died, and someone else will take over, right?

"Everything will be fine.”

This situation is terrible. It is sad and tragic. But I'm pretty sure that everything will go as if nothing had happened in a week at the most.

That's our reality.