28. The Desire to Give Up, Resist it
A few days have passed since the evening Suimei learned about Lefille’s curse. The two currently walk through the forest while remaining vigilant against a mazoku attack. The tight thicket of trees makes progress difficult. The sky is clear, but neither the sun’s brilliant rays nor the blue sky can penetrate through the forest’s canopy. All that comes down is a faint illumination.
Their future, however, lays in complete contrast to their peaceful surroundings. The unease seeping between them isn’t because of the mazoku, but from a strain in their friendship.
Suimei and Lefille walk alongside each other and appear to have a proper, amiable, relationship. At a glance, no one would be able to guess that disharmony lays between them as they walk, but a closer look reveals a subtle distance separates them. An undeniable and awkward gap formed between them after that night.
They look towards each other.
Suimei says, “About…”
Both pause with an awkward, ““Ah…”” as though they’re frogs being stared down by a snake.
They aren’t hostile towards each other and no discord is brewing. Regardless, as was shown with the timing of their words, neither is able to harmonize with the other. Another perspective would be that they’re too harmonized. Their conversation is similar to those of people who aren’t used to interacting with members of the opposite sex.
Suimei face turns red and he holds up his hand in deference as he says, “You were saying…”
Lefille’s gaze falls to and from Suimei out of respect as she says, “No, it isn’t important. Go ahead, Suimei-kun.”
Since conversation isn’t necessary, neither of them are able to talk. Just how long are we going to be stuck like this?
The reason for the strain doesn’t need to be mentioned.
Suimei knows Lefille has a curse, but isn’t of the disposition to bring it up. Like I thought, she doesn’t want to talk about it either. Although, thinking about that curse, that night isn’t something I can just bring up. Not after everything I saw and what I felt.
His actions back then weren’t motivated out of vulgar, carnal desires, but because they were necessary. He, however, doesn’t have the right to make that judgment. As a result, being around Lefille has become daunting.
Lefille knows that her secret has been exposed. That much obvious. For such an event to occur right as they were beginning to get along, there’s no helping that their relation would strain.
Suimei says, “……Ah.”
In the end, both continue to boil as they groan out failed conversations. The awkward overlap keeps them from holding a proper conversation with each other for several days.
—Our relationship is going to be ruined if this continues. Suimei therefore steps forth with a man’s determination and inquires about Lefille’s future plans. His tone, however, comes out strained. “Sa- say, wouldn’t not heading directly to Klant… be better?”
In reality, the two of them are advancing while remaining vigilant against a mazoku. Since they are crossing through the forest and not taking a proper road, they don’t have a set route.
Lefille is distracted and fails to pick up on Suimei’s intentions. “Eh?”
“No, this is something we need to discuss, so…”
Her answer is more than a beat late and laced with unheard deception. Her eyes narrow with impatience and she nods as she says, “Ye-yeah, you’re right.”
She then takes a breath to organize her thoughts and clears her throat. She speaks with an earnest expression, “—I agree. There’s a high possibility we’ll run into an ambush if we keep going straight west. If we want to avoid encountering any mazoku, then I think we should head a bit south.”
“An ambush… Yeah, it does seem possible.” As Lefille stated, mazoku are positioned in the outskirts of the forest. Rajas also said he’d be assembling his troops. Assuming mazoku are stationed between here and Klant city is reasonable.
Suimei thinks back to the map he saw. They are currently in the middle of the forest, a bit south of the road that links Metal and Klant City. More specifically, they are in the moor adjacent to the foot of the mountain that surrounds Klant City. Going further south would be a huge detour.
Food isn’t an issue, they have more than enough to last the journey. But having to sleep outdoors that much is going to drain our stamina.
Yet, as Suimei expects, their predicament won’t change so easily. Lefille adds, “If we’re going to Klant City, then we should probably wait a bit. We should be able to slip right past them as long as we aren’t discovered.”
“You think we can pull it off?”
Lefille cups her chin. With concern all over her face, she says, “Even with their war potential, they can’t focus their attention on Klant City. They’ll leave once they realize they can’t find us.”
Just like with human armies, the mazoku forces can’t stay deployed forever. Once a certain amount of time passes, they will need food and rest. With their base being far away, they will have to evacuate before exhaustion sets.
Suimei says, “Well, if they openly moved their forces, the people of this country would discover them and mobilize against them. It’d probably become a huge battle. Then again, if that’s what the mazoku want…”
“I doubt it. Klant City may be a major city, but it’s still just a human habitation. It isn’t a military base. Starting a large battle here would offer them no merit. Even if they were to erase that city, a large battle like that would pointlessly whittle away their strength. That victory would leave them isolated.”
Suimei looks up at the sunlight filtering through the parasol of trees as he says, “Agreed, their situation would just keep getting worse.” Even if the mazoku wanted to assault the surrounding cities, they would gain nothing from doing so. They would claim victory in the short run, but such a reckless fight would be a mistaken expenditure in the long run.
A decent commander would never make such a move. However… the reason they came in this deep is still a mystery. Lefille isn’t their target. What the heck did Rajas bring his troops out here for? Well, even if the situation becomes a disaster, it doesn’t really have anything to do with us.
Suimei says, “More than obsessing with us here, there’s a higher chance that they’ll just leave before anything happens.”
“It’s a different story if they enter the forest to attack us… Well, nothing like that is happening right now.” True to Lefille’s words, mazoku haven’t dispatched any reconnaissance units into the forest.
Suimei says, “Perhaps they don’t know where we are? The only ones who know we entered the forest are the members of the caravan.”
“It’s possible. Taking refuge inside of a forest isn’t normal so, maybe?”
Except, I can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong. Right, that guy… said something.
Concern crosses Suimei’s face as he reflects on Rajas’s words. What was it that mazoku came up with? The events unfolding are all developing behind the scenes. How frustrating, I don’t have enough information to even make a conjuncture. Whatever happens, it won’t be anything but trouble.
Suimei discards the needlessly swelling anxiety by saying, “Well, either way, right now we need to put some distance between them.”
Suimei’s ears catch Lefille’s voice as he pushes some of the forest shrubbery aside. Their discussion for the future builds on itself as their trek seems to get easier. In any case, his biggest concern was dissolved with that conversation.
Sweat forms on his forehead. Wondering how to resolve their impasse churned considerable turmoil in his mind. That worry exposes his shallowness to life experiences. It’s the result of single mindedly devoting himself to magic.
A smile accompanies his relief laden sigh. His words come out as a whisper. “Fuu… we were able to have a normal conversation…”
An unexpected reply follows. Lefille says, “….Sorry for worrying you.”
Suimei panics to the extreme as though he had received a fatal blow or facing the agony of death. He jumps with a never before heard tremble entering his voice as he says, “Uorabaa!”
Lefille’s expression fills with bafflement as she says, “…what’s wrong? That was strange.”
“You- you heard that!?”
Surprises rises on Lefille’s face as if giving the tsukkomi, “What are you saying?” She says, “That shouldn’t be too surprising. We aren’t that far from each other.”
Now that she says it, that’s right. Even if we don’t like it, we’re close enough to hear each other’s breathing.
Suimei, upon seeing her expression, tries to brush aside his blunder by laughing. “Ah, ahaha. That’s right…”
Lefille releases a graceful, feminine, laugh. “Fufufu.”
Suimei’s expression blanks as he says, “…what?”
“No, I was just thinking that you’re quite careless, Suimei-kun.”
Hitting the bull’s eye is no different than striking a weak point. Suimei releases a dispirited, “Ugu!” and sags his shoulders.
Lefille strikes a finishing blow by saying, “If I recall, back when I first went to the guild—”
Suimei hangs his bead between his arms as he says, “Pl- please don’t bring that up…” The onomatopoeia, hemo hemo, is all that’s missing as dejection washes over him.
Back then, Suimei had the guild’s personnel, Dorothea, falsify his rank through a strong suggestion— Malum Hypnotic. He failed, however, to prepare for unexpected circumstances. But rumors should have already spread out to here in that case. There were quite a number of witnesses.
Lefille grins at the expression Suimei makes. Her arrow really had hit the mark. She says, “You’re surprisingly full of openings.”
Suimei pouts as he speaks with a whiny voice, “Hee— hee—, I’m just a careless guy.”
Lefille’s grin grows at the sight. She enjoys the expressions flashing across his face.
The light hearted conversation between the two creates an amicable atmosphere, shrinking the distance between them. ……However, it’s quiet. That in itself isn’t bad— but the winds are always calmest before the storm. Even though they should have escaped the crisis, the dreadful calm triggers baseless, nerve wracking, anxiety.
Just as Suimei scratches his head, the bushes behind them rustle.
Lefille swirls around while saying, “—Tch, Suimei-kun!”
“Yeah.” The true form of whatever is sneaking up on them like a ghost is still hazy. Suimei prepares himself to fight if necessary. Not a trace of negligence remains as he works to anticipate what approaches. A stray dog? A wolf? Could be a mamono. Maybe even a mazoku.
The sense of danger filling the air spikes and the swordsman and magician feel as though they’re surrounded by thorns. What emerges is nothing like the two were expecting. Pushing aside the underbrush and stepping out is a man riddled with wounds and burns.
The man appears to be an adventurer. His clothes are ripped and soaked in blood. He walks with an unsteady gait and vacant eyes. His voice as he says, “Hel- help…” is laced with weak groans and faint gasps such as, “hyu, hyu,”
He came all the way here with his body like that?
The wounds prevent the man from meeting either of their eyes.
Lefille rushes up to him while saying. “Just hold on!?”
His attention is caught by her loud voice. His vacant gaze looks around, his eyes regain their focus upon finding Lefille’s face. He says, “Yo— guh…. You’re…”
Lefille says, “What are you doing out here!?”
“Ma— mazoku, attacked. Middle of… mountains…”
Lefille’s expression darkens at his words. She says, “Mountains? Mazoku?”
Suimei then realizes something and taps her shoulder. “Hey, Lefille, that man.”
“Is something wrong?”
“No, but he’s an adventurer from back then.”
“Back then?” Lefille’s voice then rises as she says, “Ah—”
Did she realize who he is?
The adventurer wasn’t recognizable at first glance due to the blood and various wounds, but he was the most vocal one about getting Lefille to leave the caravan. He even screamed about it. Did he run here after the mazoku attacked? Did he come here for help? I can’t tell, but it’s bad either way.
Lefille, the cause of the adventurer’s circumstance, is overcome by confusion and impatience due to the abruptness of the reveal. No, she froze while holding him. She might be recalling how he kicked her out.
Suimei gathers magic power in his hand. The tone he speaks with is undeniably blunt. “Lefille, put him to sleep. I’ll treat him now.”
Lefille needs a moment to regain herself and understand the situation before giving a heavy nod. She says, “Ye- yeah, got it,” and lays the man down.
This girl earnestly walks down the path of righteousness without a trace of resentment.
Lefille says, “I leave it to you.”
Suimei nods while saying, “Right,” and begins applying healing magic. As long as the patient isn’t instantly killed or in a condition that’s near death, he can apply treatment. Physical wounds are best treated with spirit therapy. Substantial blood loss can be compensated through magic restoration although aftereffects will still occur.
He places a hand over the adventurer and a magic circle appears below his palm. A pale, jade, light matching the magic circle’s color emits from below the adventurer. The light rises and closes the adventurer’s wounds from the inside out.
Suimei gives up on the adventurer’s treatment halfway through. He pulls his hand away from the still face down and silent victim and lowers it.
Lefille is bewildered by the action. She says, “Eh……?” From her position at the side, Suimei is abandoning treatment midway through. Her voice tightens as she says, “Suimei-kun!? What happened!? Why’d you stop!?”
Suimei’s expression twists with bitterness as his heart is stabbed by Lefille’s confusion and slight suspicion. I let her down. No, her eyes are full of resignation. She’s must be past disappointment. He says, “…It’s impossible. His astral body has been worn away to the point of being irreparable. It doesn’t matter how much I heal him, there’s no point.”
Lefille, having watched the wounds closing with her own eyes can’t make sense of an explanation consisting of, “It can’t be done,” “The wounds aren’t treatable,” and “Impossible.” Feelings of insincerity and mistrust flood her heart. “What are you seeing? Aren’t his injuries getting better? Claiming there’s no point… What do you mean?”
“I healed his wounds, but only his wounds…”
Suimei can only bit down the bitterness of her words as he shakes his head. “Then can’t you heal him?” is what she must want to say.
Lefille’s doubt is written over her face. The disappointment lacing her words stings as she says “Why…?”
Helplessness wells up within Suimei’s heart. Even though this adventurer disgusted him, his bitterness at being unable to heal him is boundless.
Lefille misconstrues his resignation with suspicion. She says, “Suimei-kun, did you stop treating this man because he’s the own who drove me out of the caravan? Don’t look down on me. What happened then doesn’t bother me so hurry and start treating him again!”
“No, it’s pointless. There’s no doubt that you saw me heal the wounds on his body. I can heal that, but as I mentioned earlier, his astral body— —In other words, the core aspect of his soul and its vessel, his spirit’s shell, has eroded. Regardless of how much more I heal him, he won’t survive.”
The man’s ephemerality leaves Lefille at a loss. “Wha…!? That…”
Suimei’s regrets flow from his mouth. “Even if I can heal his wounds, I can’t do anything for the soul.”
“…Is it really impossible?”
“Under the right conditions, there is nothing that can’t be done. However, even if we were to start preparing now, there wouldn’t be enough time. He’ll have died by then.”
Lefille grinds her teeth as she lowers her head. “…tch.” Anyone would find watching someone die, regardless of who, a painful experience. With her enemy, the mazoku, responsible for this, her desire to cut them down rages with more fury than anyone else.
…While the two suffer in disappointment, the man opens his mouth. He says, “Th- the others… are still being… attacked by… mazoku.”
Lefille says, “Some are still alive!?”
The man, despite finding even just breathing painful, says, “Don’t… know. Maybe, although…”
“Some might still be alive!?”
The adventurer draws oxygen into his lungs and moves his lips, but what comes out is, “……” His thoughts are silenced.
Lefille, regardless of her thoughts about the man, softens her tone. She speaks to him with a calmness that she comes off as callous. “…Are they in the mountains?”
Is there a point to that question?
The man, towards that eerie tone, gives a faint nod. He then takes his last breath.
Lefille’s voice leaks out at the man’s death, “—tch,” while Suimei’s expression turns grim. She soon stands from her kneeling position and turns, giving Suimei her back.
From the direction she’s facing— — He can’t understand her actions. “…Hey, Lefille?”
Lefille looks back towards Suimei and, to his surprise, says, “Sorry, Suimei-kun.”
“What do you mean, ‘Sorry’? Why are you facing that way, Lefille?”
Lefille tone suggests the outcome is only natural as she says, “Suimei-kun, that’s a very foolish thing to ask.”
“‘Foolish,’ you say……”
Are you saying it’s obvious? —No, it really is obvious. She’s looking back on the trail we walked. That includes a mountain path. After that incident with the mazoku, the merchant caravan most likely turned around in order to escape. They must be in the mountains.
Lefille soon determines her feelings. She turns around and voices her resolve. “Suimei-kun, I’m going to go save everyone from the caravan.”
“‘Going to save,’ are you serious?”
“Yeah, I’m not joking.”
“Even though you don’t know where they are!?”
“They’re probably on the mountain road. Even if I’m wrong, I’ll be able to figure it out from there.”
“You don’t know if they’re still alive!?”
“You’re right, but they could still be alive. That’s why—”
You’re saying you’ll go? So you can save them? That sort of rescue is completely reckless. It won’t work. You absolutely shouldn’t go. If you do— “Do you realize what’s happening!? Lefille, the mazoku are luring you into a trap!”
“Yes, a trap! They the type who’d in discriminately attack anyone they see! Would they really let a single wounded person go? Rajas undoubtedly let him escape to find you!”
This is absolutely a trap. A set-up. Anyone can figure that out. It’s an inhuman plan meant to sway Lefille into going to save the merchant caravan. The plan entails releasing someone near death because they’ve read through how she’d react to seeing him. Anyone familiar with her personality would be able to come up with that.
This place is deep in the forest and him making it out here could be a coincidence, but it’s very likely he was let go. More than anything else, Rajas must be waiting for Lefille to come running to the rescue.
Yet, Suimei’s warning is in vain. Lefille keeps a calm tone as she says, “…probably.”
“‘probably…’ Lefille, you’ve have to understand this!”
“Yeah, I do. It’s like you said. I realize that this is reckless.”
“In that case!!”
Lefille’s emotions overflow before Suimei persistent attempts to stop her. She says, “Regardless!! ……I’m still going! I’ll save them! This happened because of me! All of this is my fault! That’s why!”
Lefille’s desire to save the caravan and her thought that she should go help are clear. This conviction stems from the accumulation of guilt on her conscience. Yet, with everything considered, Lefille’s self-condemnation is entirely excessive.
Suimei says, “I’m telling you, Lefille, this isn’t……”
“No, this is already my fault. Didn’t you already say it? This man came here so the mazoku can lure me into a trap. Rajas is doing this to get my attention because he doesn’t know where I am.”
“That……, either way, don’t you see that you’ll die if you go!?”
Ambushes can’t be taken halfheartedly. Proper preparations need to be taken in order to face the waiting side. Not only does Lefille’s method leave her disadvantaged, her opponent is one she lost against. Therefore, Suimei perseveres in trying to stop her. He says, “Lefille! Think this over! Calm down and think about it one more time!”
Lefille turns away from him—
He continues, “Lefille!! Look at me!! You should understand this better than anyone!!”
“Lefille!! Can’t you not afford to die!? The spirit’s power would be extinguished! Staying here—”
Lefille’s shoulder tremble as she endures his words. She says, “You…”
“You don’t know anything about me!!”
Suimei is silenced by the cry bursting from her heart. “— —!?”
Her criticism pours out like water over flowing from a dam. “How much longer are you going to keep telling me to look away!? After forsaking those important to me! Abandoning my family! Are you telling me to ignore those now in danger because of me!?”
Lefille’s words ring within Suimei’s ears. They strike his heart. There’s nothing he can say to them.
Has she been submerging this rage within her heart all this time? The anguish of not being able to save someone? Of failing to save someone? Crying out like this because of how unbearable failing again would be? How can someone stand in her way?
Lefille continues screaming at the world’s unfairness. “How long do I have to keep running!? How many more people do I have to abandon!? All so I can just keep living! What am I supposed to think as others sacrifice themselves for me!? This… I’m sick of this!”
The wails she had been unable to release pierce Suimei’s heart. You betray yourself when you betray your own feelings and then only end up with mounds of accumulated regret. It’s even more so when the feelings are righteous. Someone with unshakeable conviction would never be able to bare it.
Tears trail from the edges of Lefille’s eyes as she finishes. Those painful, bitter tears are the crystalized frustration born of a woman ensnared by responsibility.
……Lefille’s rough breathing soon settles. She apologize for her break in composure and once more turns around. Then, without looking back a second time, speaks her farewell as though also deciding her life’s path. She says, “…I’m sorry. Our time was short, but I was in your care.”
“Lefille!? Don’t go!! Wait!!” Suimei’s call only reaches empty space. She’s already backtracking their path with tremendous speed, possibly in thanks to the power of the red spirit.
Suimei, having been left behind, speaks in disbelief. His mutters echo through the forest. “H-Hey, you’re seriously going…?”
Lefille dashes at a tremendous velocity. Even if he were to shout, she wouldn’t hear him. He stops his feet after a step from chasing after her and stands in place. “……”
A girl tormented by both a curse and hardship went to fight a hopeless battle. She’s gone. Helping people who abused and kicked her aside. All just to stay on her path.
Suimei grits his teeth. “Krss……”
Should I really just let her go like this? All on her own? Where all she’ll find is despair? Then, I should keep going and chase after her.
Going means risking his life. He wouldn’t just be fighting Rajas, but the mazoku forces as well. Making a mistake during a tough battle like that could mean losing my life.
I can’t go. Right now, I can’t allow myself to die. I need to fulfill father’s wish and realize the association’s ideals. I gave my word. The agreement is binding, even if it was unilaterally decided upon. A promise is a promise. It was my decision. One I won’t give up on midway.
That’s why, this is fine. With the excuse that he has more important duties to accomplish, Suimei convinces himself to choose a safer road without looking back.
A voice echoes inside his head, questioning his contradictory position. Should I really not rescue this girl who’s earnestly rushing head first into hopeless despair?
Forsaking those who can’t be saved for the sake of a thesis about saving those who can’t be saved… Isn’t that just too much a contradiction in of itself?
Since when have I been afraid of dying? Why am I hesitating over taking a second step on something that will eventually come for me anyway? When did I become spineless enough to embrace these ideals of the weak?
I’ll think about it once more. What is it I hold? Didn’t I train as though my life were on the line to acquire magic unsurpassed by anyone else since I was little? Didn’t I cut past every hardship for the sake of mysteries? Wasn’t it all so I could save those who couldn’t be saved?
Suimei’s heart quakes from the inner turmoil. No, in fact, I already know that there’s only one answer I can choose. Regardless of his internal discord, of the warning bells going off in his head, of the calculations weighing victory and defeat— because on that day I swore to myself.
He reconfirms his beliefs with a modest ritual and regains that which he once desired. “That’s right. You’re Yakagi Suimei, a member of the Magician’s Association. No one from the Magician’s Association would fail to follow through on those ideals…”
That’s when a new calamity occurs.
Suimei closes his mouth. His eyes turn cold as they narrow. He senses someone standing up behind him. Accompanying the faint, ghost like, presence is an aura of power found on mazoku. The faint life about to flicker out ignites with an evil strength.
—So that’s why I had trouble healing him…
The unfolding event thaws one of Suimei’s doubts. The damage to that adventure’s astral body was unnatural. Such massive eroding shouldn’t happen from physical injuries. Not even a lethal wound can diminish the soul’s size. Injuries can weaken the spirit’s strength, but a weakened spirit will not diminish the soul.
That means that this adventurer was also attacked with something else when he received those wounds. Was it an astral attack that could also damage the soul, or was eroding the soul the main purpose of the attack?
Either way, looking at the results, it’s unmistakably the former. They intended to use his death to get a sneak attack on Lefille.
Appearing behind Suimei just as he’s about to chase after a woman shedding tears is a living corpse. His conscience is stabbed as the creature releases its first wails of life.
T/N: Finally, an Isekai Mahou update! There, this chapter that’s been almost 6 months in the making, it’s out. Now, Lys-chan, put down that ban hammer. It’s starting to scare me. But seriously, this chapter was so bloody frustrating! Its length and difficulty crushed my spirit into stopping three times!! Still, here it is. Honestly, I get the feeling the following chapters with the battle against Rajas are going to be the same. Bleh >P
Anyway, before translating those missing chapters, I think I’ll translate some of the later ones?? What do you guys think?? (Those of you still sticking with me, anyway.) Should I continue from where I left off, or do the next one of the missing 30-33?? By the way, regardless of which you pick, my attention will be mostly on Seikou Mahoushi~
Finally, all you guys who I banished to the corner can get up now. Yes, that includes you too, ImJustTesting~
Thanks for reading
 It might be a phrase, or it could be gibberish: うぉらばっ！
 I believe this is how it translates. This is a Latin, plural, word meaning wrong or evil in itself：いや、光明を見た瞳に今のような諦めが写れば、それ以上の失意があるか。
 It actually says voice like a pigs cry. That sounded weird, so I went with whiny, still not sure it’s the best fit though.
 Suimei refers to Lefille with “kimi” here.