Chapter 02: I tried to help the girl mage with her love problem
Let’s organize our current situation.
Raven, who was sitting next to me, was still stunned, while Mikana appeared embarrassed now after voicing her thoughts. Wasn’t she just getting hyped up in trying to pry the story out of Raven just now? Where did all her enthusiasm go to?
There could be a chance that Mikana wasn’t the kind of character I had in mind.
In actual fact, though it might sound absurd, it was possible that she was sincerely in love with Yuuga.
A bitch who held the highest position in Yuuga’s harem. I had previously thought that she was such a person.
“……What the heck’s troubling you?” [Youki]
This situation would be convenient to us. If we were to change our subject, we would be able to avoid the discussion about Raven. Thus I decided to help Mikana with her love problem.
“Recently, no, after a certain event, Yuuga has not spoken much to me anymore.” [Mikana]
“But weren’t the two of you on a date the other day?” [Youki]
“The date that caused the riot the other time was actually done against Yuuga’s will. Since the weather is nice, I would like us to go out shopping just like old times. That was what I said to him.” [Mikana]
Come to think of it, they did mention something like this the previous time.
Moreover, the moment he saw Cecilia, he had completely ignored Mikana and went into the shop with Cecilia. Even though I knew that he was in love with Cecilia, I felt that he was being too cold towards Mikana.
“……I was aware that I was hated by him, and I knew the reason behind it too.” [Mikana]
“W-Wait a minute. If you knew the reason, then why not just do something about it?” [Youki]
“If I could do something about it myself, I wouldn’t have consulted you guys about it!” [Mikana]
Possibly because it was a touchy subject to her, she got irritated and misdirected her anger instead. It must have reminded her that she was disliked by the person she loves.
“For it to be something that you couldn’t solve on your own, what actually have you done?” [Youki]
“…..Swordsman should be able to figure it out, right?” [Mikana]
Mikana directed the question at Raven all of the sudden.
Raven who was supposed to be in dazed a moment ago, had unknowingly recovered. He nodded his head to affirm Mikana’s query.
“So I’m the only one who doesn’t know anything about it?” [Youki]
“There’s no way you knew about it. That incident happened before I got acquainted with you.” [Mikana]
“I don’t remember myself getting acquainted with you, though.” [Youki]
Raven and I are friends, but Mikana is definitely not my friend. I guess I could say that our relationship is more or less on the borderline between strangers and acquaintances.
“….Oh right. That’s true. Then we can start getting to know each other from now on.” [Mikana]
“Aa, we’ll get acquainted with each other from now then.” [Youki]
The ‘acquainted’ part was emphasized for some reason.
I’d rather not be friends with her, and it was probably the same with Mikana as well.
Nevertheless, even though it might be impossible for us to be friends, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to listen to her problems as fellow comrades with love issues.
I might be able to use it as a reference for myself.
“Then I’ll explain it to you…..but before that, I’d like to ask you something. Can you swear to never tell anyone else what we are about to discuss now?” [Mikana]’
“Seeing that it’s an important discussion, I will not disclose it to anyone else. I promise that I’ll keep it a secret.” [Youki]
“Hmm, well, I will confirm it with Swordsman, just in case…..He’s someone whom I can trust, right?” [Mikana]
Raven strongly nodded. I guess he must have trusted me quite a bit. If so then it is something that made me happy.
He was my very first friend in this world, so I had decided that I would believe in Raven too.
While I was making that determination in mind, Mikana started explaining the reason to Yuuga’s cold attitude.
“This information is not open to the public so you might not know about this, but……we, suffered crushing defeats numerous times at the Demon Lord’s castle.” [Mikana]
“I-Is that so?” [Youki]
It was an information that I had full knowledge of……Since I was the principal offender, it wasn’t a shocking declaration to me. However it might look suspicious if I do not go with the flow by pretending to be surprised.
Although, no way. Could that actually be the reason?
“It wasn’t even a Demon Lord. We were crushed by just one demon.” [Mikana]
Mikana and Raven appeared to be dejected. They must had recalled the time when they were defeated over and over again.
It made me feel guilty since I was the one who had pulverized them.
“I-Is that demon really that strong?” [Youki]
It would be suspicious if I do not show some kind of reaction. Distraught, I pretended to be astonished. What a clown I am. It was low of me to be doing this even though I was the culprit.
“He is strong. It even made us wonder why a demon like him was merely guarding the room in the middle of the Demon Lord’s castle. Rather, he looked more like a Demon Lord to us.” [Mikana]
It seemed that I might have appeared like a Demon Lord in the Hero party’s eyes at that time.
……I wonder if Cecilia had thought that I was the Demon Lord as well. It might not be relevant now but I should try asking her the next time.
“He has higher magic attack than me, stronger recovery magic than cleric, and was even more agile than swordsman. His battle sense was also higher than Yuuga. All of us were overwhelmed by just a single demon.” [Mikana]
“A-Are you serious? Was there really a demon like that?” [Youki]
It was unpleasant even though I understood it myself.
My replies became completely monotonous, but Mikana went on with her story without paying any mind to my impression.
“Moreover he was totally looking down on us. Even though I was prepared for death when we were defeated the first time….when I came to, I realized that we were thrown to a nearby village. Not to mention, he had courteously healed all the injuries we had suffered in the fight, too.” [Mikana]
“H-Heh….is that so? How should I put it, that’s quite a kind enemy, isn’t it?” [Youki]
W-What should I do? My eyes were swimming as I spoke. It felt awkward so I ended up averting Raven’s gaze.
“Hmph. It was the greatest humiliation to me. He was sympathizing his enemies!” [Mikana]
“I-Is that right? Y-Yeah I mean, I guess so. You guys were fighting seriously but he simply healed your wounds and threw you all to a nearby village.” [Youki]
I gradually averted my gaze and glugged down the water.
“What I felt wasn’t just humiliation. He had shown us an overwhelming difference in power after fighting us just once! We were utterly annihilated without much resistance. I’ve never been defeated in such a way before until then!” [Mikana]
Mikana gnashed her teeth.
Certainly, I think I did recall saying something like, “Fuhahaha. What a weak magic!” before nullifying her magic easily several times.
My tension went up whenever I saw Cecilia, so when they came my chuuni switch was flipped.
“That must be a terribly powerful enemy. But since you had defeated the Demon Lord, that would mean that you had defeated him too, isn’t it? You’re quite capable, to be able to beat a demon like him.” [Youki]
That might be a shameless remark, but if I had not made such a comment, it would appear peculiar instead.
“….I guess so.” [Mikana]
For some reason, Mikana became distressed. Raven appeared downcast as well, making the atmosphere around us gloomy.
I had a feeling that I touched a sensitive subject.
“Erm, it seemed that I had said something that I shouldn’t…..I’m sorry.” [Youki]
Did my previous reckless and selfish actions traumatize them? I had not expected it to lead to such an ambience. It seriously made me feel like prostrating to them.
“You don’t need to apologize. It was just that, I recalled the time when we defeated him….or rather, when we drove him away.” [Mikana]
“Ah, is that so?” [Youki]
Well, that was because they didn’t actually defeat me.
Since Mikana and Raven were not present there, Cecilia was supposedly to have beat me by herself.
“Yes. What happened that time might be the cause. I did something really terrible. I wonder if that’s the reason why Yuuga was so cold towards me.” [Mikana]
Mikana’s face seemed forlorn as she looked at the ceiling. Tears could be seen welling up at the corners of her eyes…wait, what kind of atmosphere was this? It wasn’t the time to laugh or joke around. The mood had become so serious that I couldn’t find anything to say.
She wiped off her tears after being immersed in her memories for a couple of seconds, and gazed at me intently.
“You might get angry after listening to what I am about to say. Especially if you like cleric too, similar to Yuuga….” [Mikana]
“In exchange for the permission to pass through the Demon Lord’s castle, that demon gave us a condition. He would allow us to go only if we were to leave the cleric in his room. That was his condition. So, I persuaded Yuuga and swordsman to accept it.” [Mikana]
I might have appeared really surprised at Mikana’s confession in their eyes.
Was that the real cause of Yuuga’s current behaviour towards Mikana?
If that was the case, then I was the one who was totally at fault, wasn’t it!? I became overwhelmed with a heavy sense of guilt.
At that time, all I wanted to do was to obtain the opportunity to confess to Cecilia, so I had not expected that it would put a crack in their relationship.
Besides, how should I respond to this story now?
Nonetheless, that very demon who had caused it was me. It wasn’t possible for me to get angry, considering that I was the one who had indirectly caused Mikana’s current predicament.
Furthermore, even if I wasn’t actually angry, I couldn’t bring myself to face Mikana now, too.
The two of them seemed to be waiting for my reaction.
It might appear unnatural if I were to be silent for too long. I should go on with the conversation by pretending to be calm.
“…..If you had done that with the intention of letting Cecilia die, then I would not forgive you. But, if you have a reason for it, then I would like you to let me know.” [Youki]
“Reason….is it? I, the reason why I suggested to accept the demon’s condition was to protect Yuuga’s honour.” [Mikana]
“The Hero’s honour?” [Youki]
It surprised me when Yuuga’s name suddenly popped out of nowhere.
A question came to my mind at the same time. What is going on?
“We had everything planned out properly before entering the Demon Lord’s castle for the first time. …We thought we could win. However, we were defeated as soon as we challenged him. We were healed, thrown to a village, and then we challenged him again. The same process was repeated over and over again.” [Mikana]
“….What was your previous plan?” [Youki]
“The enemies’ information. We had compiled the details of all the past battles against the demons and Demon Lord that happened, and tried estimating their strength. So we should be able to win….there was never a time when a reckless challenge was made.” [Mikana]
Come to think of it, all the higher-up demons in the castle had went outside at least once to make a sortie.
…..with exception to me, who secluded myself in my room.
“Victory was right before our eyes. All the citizens in Clariness Kingdom had thought so….and we felt the same way too. We had not anticipated that demon like that would appear. His real strength was unfathomable. There wasn’t a clue as to why he had never made his appearance before in all the previous fights. We did not foresee the Demon Lord to have such a trump card hidden up his sleeve.” [Mikana]
I wasn’t a trump card! I had the strong urge to tell her that I was just a shut-in.
Naturally it wasn’t something that I could say. It was not possible for them to obtain any information about someone who had not stepped outside even once before.
“….So, how is that related to the story about Cecilia?” [Youki]
“I have just told you a moment ago but, we’re not the only ones to have high expectation in our victory. The citizens did not doubt that victory was already in our hands too. Nevertheless, before we even reached the Demon Lord, we were already obliterated by an unknown demon in the middle of the castle…there was no way we could hand in such a report.” [Mikana]
“…..I see.” [Youki]
I guess she had thought that it would cause confusion among the citizens, and also decrease the soldier’s morale if that news were to reach them.
“They would lose their confidence in the Hero’s party….is that it?” [Youki]
Mikana looked away awkwardly. So, I had hit the mark but it wasn’t quite right at the same time?
Raven who had been in silence all this while suddenly spoke up when I was in the middle of pondering over it.
“What is it?” [Youki]
“In other words, for the sake of maintaining the people’s trust in the Hero’s party, Mikana decided to sacrifice Cecilia…?” [Raven]
It would be reasonable to interpret it as such, but judging by Mikana’s first words and her character, that didn’t seem to be it.
“Perhaps, it wasn’t for the sake of the party itself, but rather, she was actually trying to protect Yuuga.” [Youki]
“What do you mean by that?” [Raven]
“The hero’s party that carried the weight of expectations of the citizens on their shoulders was annihilated. If such news were to reach the people, the one who might be blamed for it would be the hero, Yuuga.” [Youki]
That was how heavy the burden of the hero’s title was. It was likened to carrying the hope of the country.
Moreover, Yuuga is the type who would often make enemies unconsciously. The disappointment would be far greater as well, since he has numerous over enthusiastic fans.
“At that time, you were weighing the options as well. Isn’t that right?” [Youki]
Mikana who averted her gaze earlier, looked at us once again.
“When I realized it, the endless loop had already lasted for one month. I had reached the limit. I couldn’t fake the report anymore.” [Mikana]
“Fake the report?” [Youki]
“Didn’t I say it before? It would be bad if the people were to find out that we were defeated. So, I manipulated the information so as to ensure it is not exposed. But as expected, there would a limit to how long I could do it – especially if it had already lasted for one month. But, there didn’t seem to be any sign of us winning him at all…..That’s why!” [Mikana]
“So that’s why you suggested to accept that demon’s condition?” [Youki]
“Yes. When he made that proposal, I ended up smiling unconsciously. It was a really tempting proposal since we were at our wit’s end. Despite challenging him countless times, we still couldn’t move ahead. So it wasn’t a level-headed decision……Haha, what kind of excuse was I making. I tried to desert the cleric, a member from our party whom we had been through thick and thin with. I did it even though I knew that there was a possibility that she could be killed.” [Mikana]
Possibly because she found herself deplorable, or that she was feeling guilty about Cecilia, tears could be seen streaming down her face halfway through her explanation.
Raven fixed his gaze on Mikana as he listened to her.
I couldn’t believe that my attempt to create an opportunity for my confession had led to such a tragedy.
“….Youki, please don’t put all the blame on Mikana. I didn’t reprove her suggestion as well at that time. I am…guilty of it too.” [Raven]
Raven tried to stick up for Mikana by persuading me.
Although, it would appear strange to them if I had not gotten angry, considering that I was supposed to be in love with Cecilia.
Having said that, I still didn’t want to be angry at Mikana, so I decided to use a different approach to solve this.
“…..Since you’re telling me all these now, you must had been seized by a sense of guilt after that, am I right?” [Youki]
What kind of actions had Mikana taken after abandoning Cecilia?
In some cases, there would be other choices that could be taken to rectify it.
“…..Isn’t that natural!? After we defeated the Demon Lord, I ran back to the room where we left cleric as fast as I could. That fight had drained all my physical strength and magic power, but even so, I couldn’t care less about it!” [Mikana]
It seemed that she had ignored the state of her body and pushed herself by running back to that place to ensure Cecilia’s safety as soon as possible.
“Then, was Cecilia safe?” [Youki]
“She was safe. After looking at my face, she said, 『Mikana-san, thank you for your hard work.』. Even though I had deserted her, she was still….” [Mikana]
Raven and I listened to Mikana’s story in silence. This wasn’t the time for us to intervene. It seemed that Raven was of the same opinion as me.
“Then, cleric rushed over to me and used her recovery magic. When I tried to thank her, I lost my consciousness…..” [Mikana]
Recovery magic might be able to heal injuries, but it couldn’t restore one’s physical strength.
After leaving my room, she had to fight against the other higher-up demons and Demon Lord so her fatigue must have been accumulating. Not to mention, once she came to know that Cecilia was safe, she was abruptly released from her emotional stress, causing her to faint on the spot.
“So you haven’t said anything to Cecilia since then?” [Youki]
“Yes. It felt awkward after that so I haven’t gone to meet her to apologize or thank her at all. I couldn’t bring myself to say anything as well during the last uproar.” [Mikana]
“Then are you fine with the current state of things? Are you planning to stay silent and not say anything to Cecilia at all from now on? Are you fine even if Yuuga were to continue hating you for it?” [Youki]
“I don’t know……I don’t know what I should do.” [Mikana]
For the sake of protecting Yuuga, her beloved childhood friend, she had persuaded them to accept my condition.…And, as a result, Yuuga ended up hating her, and she felt that she was indebted to Cecilia.
Apologizing to Cecilia would be the quickest route, but it didn’t seem possible judging by her current condition.
Although, I would need to wait for another half month to do that. It might be irresponsible of me to say this but I guess there was nothing else that I could do at this point.
“Why not spend some time to think over this for a while? Do you really want to leave the problem as is?” [Youki]
“….I understand. I’ll ponder over it and draw my own conclusion. Then, I’ll take my leave here. It was a shame that I wasn’t able to find out about swordsman’s love circumstances…..but thank you for listening to my story.” [Mikana]
Having said that, Mikana left the place.
Raven and I were the only ones left at the table, but after what happened, we didn’t feel like continuing our conversation about love anymore. Thus we decided to dismiss our meeting, and we left the restaurant separately.