A moment of silence and awkwardness covered the entire room. After all, no one can really know; this entire matter is in a scale that’s way too large, even for me.
“I guess we’ll just have to take this questioning session one step at a time, shall we? After all, we still have so many pieces of the puzzle uncovered; there is no point fretting over this. After all, it won’t change the fact that I’m cursed, right?”
(Yes, that may be so…all right, what do you want to do now then?)
I stared at my now empty bowl and basket that was filled with soup and bread previously.
“I guess…time to get some more food first! I can always chat and find Crystal later when she wakes up after all.”
(As expected of my master, after such a huge bowl of soup and bread and you still can’t be filled up…)
As I walked out of the door and towards the stairs down to where the food will be, I thought of a sudden question.
“Hey Eva, was it really necessary to absorb my hand during the fight? I mean, couldn’t you have detached yourself from me, and helped re-attach it back my original arm to me?” (Gideon)
(Hmm, if the situation was different then, it would have been a possible scenario. But at that time, I was providing you with the mana protection from the leftover souls, plus detaching me away from you and reattaching your arm would drain you ever further. Furthermore…) (Eva)
(…I don’t want you to leave my side again, you stupid master. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll get yourself in some weird trouble again if I’m not constantly here watching over you, so I’m staying at your side for good, understand?)
“Alright, I understand. Thanks Eva, you’ve really been a great help ever since I got you back.”
(Hmph! But of course! The great me Eva is a top quality artefact after all!)
I gave a chuckle as I proceeded downstairs. Before I reach the bottom, I hear a commotion going on.
“The both of them needs rest, lady, and so do you! Look at yourself; you need some patching up and an entire change of equipment!”
“But they are my friends! At least let me go see them, they need someone to take care of them!”
“There is already two fine adventurers up there, remember? Now then, for your own good lady, go fix yourself up first before worrying about others!”
Those voices, I recognize them; they are Kraden and…Ellenda! She’s back so soon?
“Ellenda, I’m fine!” (Gideon)
“Gideon? Thank goodness you are alright and up!” (Ellenda)
I ran down the stairs with a face of joy. Then, the next instance, I couldn’t help but flinch after looking at her, as a sense of anguish and pain rush through my entire being.
“What…what happened to you, Ellenda? Your arm…it’s missing.” (Gideon)
My eyes started to tear up slightly. Her left arm is missing, and parts of her revealed body is either bruised or marked with cuts. Every piece of armour she has on her body is badly dented, and even her rapier had seen better days.
Then, it clicked. She is the one-armed lady who led the siblings and we back here; how couldn’t I connect the dots just now?
She simply smiled at me, and acted as if nothing grave has happened. That smile wrenched my heart even further, and I couldn’t help but let my tears flow.
I let this happen. I have caused this to happen, despite knowing the consequences.
“It’s nothing much, I just had one of the fiercest battles in my whole adventuring life! I’ve never gotten into such a dangerous situation before, surrounded on all sides by those mean, nasty monsters. It was actually quite a miracle that I got out there alive, only missing an arm-”
“This…THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU SHOULD TALK LIGHTLY ABOUT!” (Gideon)
I raised my voice, and in that instant, the inn fell into silence. The people in the inn are separated into two distinct groups – those who are looking at the scene, and those actively avoiding looking at the scene that I’ve caused.
“Gideon…I know you’re worried about me, but don’t worry I’m fine, see? I can still hop and jump-” (Ellenda)
For some strange reason, the happier she seems, the more my heart wrenches. A weird, choking feeling rising up my throat and my whole body starts to heat up even more than usual.
I knew that I am causing quite the commotion; After all, the Bear Hut is not a very large inn. Even Cynthia, who would usually run over at the first sight of me, is just staying quiet while continuing to serve her respective customers.
Thankfully so as well; if she had bothered me while my mood was this horrid, I might just yell at her so fiercely that she won’t dare to approach me within a mile.
“Ellenda, do you mind coming up for a second? I have something to discuss in private with you.” (Gideon)
“Once again, the [Golden Rookie] strikes. To think that he is always surrounded by beauties, everywhere he goes…”
“That’s not any beauty, you idiot! That’s Ellenda from the Adventurers’ Guild!”
“I wonder what the both of them want to talk about, in private. Could I be…THAT kind of issues?”
“What else can there be, with a single male and female in a private room? Obviously-”
Maniacal, perverted snickers ensued, spreading chatter across tables.
More than anything, I’m extremely annoyed by the senseless and distorted, rumour-inducing gossips. I slammed my fist down onto the counter table with excessive strength, shattering it in a single blow. The whole inn fell into another silence yet again as I glared at them, emitting a killing intent.
The initial blabber-mouths immediately shut their mouths closed, giving me a look of fear. Cynthia looked at me as if I just murdered a Hind Bear right in front of her, while Kraden simply looked at me in surprise.
“We’ll talk when we get back into the room. Sorry Kraden, I’ll pay for the damages before I leave.” (Gideon)
“Huh-? Oh, no problems, boy. I’ll whip up some grub for you and bring it up for you later!” (Kraden)
“Thank you, I appreciate that. Let’s go, Ellenda.” (Gideon)
“Hey, wait a minute Gideon!” (Ellenda)
Even as the both of us went walking right upstairs, back into my room, not a single whisper was heard in the Bear Hut.
“How did you…get so injured? I mean; your arm?! What happened? You are supposed to be an A-ranked adventurer, aren’t you? So how did you get yourself into this mess?!” (Gideon)
“Wait, how did you know that I used to be an A-ranked adventurer?” (Ellenda)
“Crystal and I had a lot of conversational topics while we were resting and traveling, but that isn’t the point right now. How on earth did you get so injured until the point where you lose an arm?” (Gideon)
“I would like to ask you the very same question yourself, but I’ll reply yours first.” (Ellenda)
It turns out while she’s on her way back to Papyrus Town she got ambushed by monsters. To make matters worse, they are mostly high level variant species as well. “Unlucky” can’t even come close to describe her situation when she met up with that scenario. There were tens of monsters surrounding her from all sides while she was alone with nothing but her rapier.
She managed to defeat and kill most of them by herself with rapier and some magic casting, but a slight moment of distraction caused her to lose her arm from a single bite of a Rabid Hound, a B-ranked beast with a venomous bite. She had to slice of her own arm in an instant, to keep herself from dying. Eventually she managed to eliminate all the monsters, and return back to town safely.
To be able to defeat an entire group of high level monsters, and coming out alive is an incredible feat. Not many adventurers could do that, even if they are in a team.
“Though, it’s quite a shame I had to chop off my own arm, thankfully it wasn’t my sword-arm though, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to come back!” (Ellenda)
“Ellenda…I’m sorry, it’s my fault. I got you…no. I got the both of you in such a huge mess. If only I had stayed the distance that I was supposed to-” (Gideon)
“Now, don’t go thinking that way Gideon. We were the ones that came into your life; we don’t blame you for this. You know we won’t.” (Ellenda)
I know that.
I know they don’t blame me. Why would they? After all, they knew what they were getting into when they came into my life, and accepted the curse.
But that is why I feel so terrible. That’s why I don’t deserve such people in my life.
I can’t involve them in such my mess anymore, not any further than this.
I must continue the journey without them, if being with them means their certain, eventual doom.
“Ellenda…Crystal is in the next room. Can you do me a favour and go look after her as well?”
“All right, I understand that you need some time to yourself but remember that we’ll always be here for you.” (Ellenda)
When I heard that sentence, a bitter taste was left in my mouth. As she left the room somewhat unwillingly, I waved back at her with a forced smile on my face, as an attempt to make her feel more relieved.
The instant the door closed shut, my face fell as well, my expression grievously sad and pained.
(Master, you do still remember that an arm can be completely healed up by a sufficiently proficient healer, do you?) (Eva)
Ah right. I almost forgot about that. Knowing Ellenda, she can probably pull some strings easily and get herself healed up! At least that’s a bright side to this never-ending sadness.
“But then, this isn’t about just losing an arm; Ellenda was lucky this time, but even Crystal was fatally hurt. Who knows what will happen to them again, if I continue to keep close to them? I need to do this, without them.” (Gideon)
(Master, you aren’t alone. You still have me! I’ll be here to support you no matter what!) (Eva)
“Thanks, Eva. With you here, my combat potential can be said to have doubled at the very least.” (Gideon)
(But of course, I’m a top-class artefact after all! Don’t worry and leave all your enemies to me; I’ll be sure to destroy them all for you!) (Eva)
“I’m counting on you, then. Let’s get ready for our journey, shall we?” (Gideon)
When I woke up, the room is already filled with darkness of the night sky, illuminated only with an oil lamp that’s glimmering on a small round table. I looked around the room, squinting as an attempt to see better in the dark. Within a short while, my eyes adjust to the darkness.
“Where is this place?” (Crystal)
The last thing I remembered is being pierced by a magical attack and trying to recover from the attack by drinking rejuvenation potions, but it wasn’t of much help. After that, I slowly fell unconscious. I expected the worst, but to think that I actually survived…
I checked my wound, and to my surprise it’s almost, if not completely healed up. It was as though I wasn’t even injured in the first place. Just exactly what happened when I passed out?
Then, someone opened the door and an aromatic smell whiffs into the room, filling it with the smell of fresh mushrooms and roast meat.
“Gideon, is that you?” (Crystal)
“Crystal, how could you? After meeting up with another guy, the first person you’ll think of is him, and not your closest friend already?” (Ellenda)
“That voice…Ellen! You’re back!” (Crystal)
As Ellen placed a food tray on the table singlehandedly, I got out of bed and went to hug her. It was only then I realized why she carried the food with only a single arm.
“Ellen, your arm…it’s gone?! What happened?” (Ellenda)
“That’s exactly what Gideon asked me when he first saw me, and I don’t really want to repeat myself again…” (Ellenda)
“But…oh right, where’s Gideon? Is he alright?” (Crystal)
“Don’t worry about him. Gideon woke up a lot earlier than you did, and he’s completely fine.” (Ellenda)
“Thank goodness…! He saved me, we were ambushed by a member of the [Six Pillar], Del’thrush and nearly got wiped out; if not for him, I’ll probably not make it out alive there…” (Crystal)
“What, a member of the [Six Pillars]? You are lucky to be able to escape unscathed! No wonder even the both of you are so beaten up.” (Crystal)
We did fight the Charred One beforehand, and Gideon basically took on Del’thrush all by himself…but I’ll fill her up with the details another day I suppose.
“Hey, the [Hero] is up. How’re you feeling?”
“Crystal, are you feeling better already? Your injuries were terrible! There are scars everywhere…thankfully they are mostly at covered areas, otherwise it would be awful…”
Two more figures entered the room. Oh, aren’t those two the siblings we met on the boat? Judging by what they said, they must have played a role in helping both Gideon and me to safety.
“Felice and Klein, isn’t it? Thanks for your help! Though, I don’t remember much since I was unconsciousness the whole journey back, sorry!”
“Don’t worry about it! Rather, it’s an honour that I was of assistance to a [Hero] such as you!” (Felice)
“Please, don’t say that, we’re friends remember?” (Crystal)
“Friends…yes, we are friends! I’m actually friends with a [Hero]…” (Felice)
“Deep breaths, Felice; you’re getting too overexcited. Unless, do you swing THAT way?” (Klein)
“No that’s not it, you idiot of a brother!” (Felice)
“Hey, watch it, ouch! Don’t step on my foot!”
Watching the sibling fight, I can’t help but giggle.
“Gideon, are you asleep?”
After knocking the door a few times, we decided to just enter the room. Even though Gideon has said to not disturb him, I couldn’t help but enter the room, even though he might be asleep already.
I want to see him…I really miss him, even if he’s only gone for just a while…
We entered the room where he’s located in. However, we quickly found out he isn’t in the room after a brief look around, while Ellen lit up the oil lamp for illumination. Strange, where can he be? Could he have been on a night stroll?
“Hey, Crystal…come look at this.” (Ellenda)
I went over to the table, where Ellen has picked up a note from the table. With a sense of melancholy, I quickly took the note from Crystal’s hand and read it.
When you’ve read this, I would probably have left town and continued my journey.
I’m sorry that I didn’t wait until you woke up as I’m afraid that if I waited until then, I would not be able to bear leaving you by yourself.
I truly appreciate your help for the past few days. I had a great time with you, which I would have never expected. At least, a cursed human like me, I never thought I’ll deserve such happiness.
However, I have to leave your side. Otherwise more harm would befall upon you.
I love you, and that’s why I have to leave you.
Please do forgive me.
After I get rid of my curse, I’ll come back for you.
I’ll never forget about you, and the fun times we had.
As I read the letter again and again, my hands trembled in sadness, and my vision begins to blur more and more by the passing second.
“Gideon…you idiot! I said that…we said that we’ll be together no matter what, didn’t we? We promised…we had a promise, Gideon! You lied to me…how can you just leave me alone here, all by myself?”
I spent the night sobbing uncontrollably, while Ellen accompanied me throughout while patting me repeatedly.
Author : Kiribou