Guided by the young man, Mira descended the hidden stairs inside the fort.
The basement she arrived in still had a definite sense of life compared to its above-ground part, which was in a state that could be mistaken for ruins. However, the expressions of the people there were still gloomy.
There’s those who were just crying and screaming, others who were pushing themselves and encouraging others. Some of them wore a determined face, while there are some who were dejected. Each person, man or woman, has their own coping methods and take on the situation.
Nonetheless, they all shared a sense of resignation in the face of the looming death.
Including the injured and their attendants, there were around 20 people there. Most of them didn’t even react to Mira and the others coming down, only keeping their eyes down and sigh repeatedly. The fire in the basement was dim, accelerating the gloomy atmosphere and creating a depressing space just by being there.
The mood is heavy….
When one of the hunters raised his head, he looked at Mira with eyes of a dead man, muttered something, and hanged his head down again. Mira smiled bitterly as she looked around the basement, feeling even more depressed.
“Hey, old Dolan, how’s Melissa?”
In a corner of the basement, the young man called out to an old man who was examining the injured people lined up there.
“Ah, Rattri1. Melissa is, well, not so good. Anyway, what’s the matter? Have you finished repairing the wall?”
The old man, Dolan, looked back at him, his face full of fatigue. He seems have some medical knowledge since it looks like he is the one taking care of all the injured people.
“The walls aren’t up yet. More importantly, show Melissa’s condition to her… Um, Miss Mira here.”
The young man, Rattri, stepped back to give his place to Mira. Inevitably, she had to step forward and face Dolan, who gave her a small bow.
“Quite the lovely young lady. But… why are you here at such a time and in this kind of place?”
At the sight of Mira, Dolan smiled slightly and then his eyelids trembled with a somber expression. Simply at first glance, Dolan knew that Mira had come from outside. But once you enter the fort, it’s impossible to escape because the area is guarded by demons. In other words, Dolan regretted that he had involved a young girl in this kind of situation. However, his thoughts were too hasty.
“Listen to this. Mira came from the sky on a Pegasus. She has the means to fly, you know.”
The fact that he was facing death was no different for Rattri. But unlike anyone else in the room, he had hope in his eyes and his voice. Rattri’s words caught the attention of those who had remained in the dark until now.
“We’ve already talked about it. I’ll have Miss Mira bring Melissa out. If she can get her to the Medical Guild, I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
As he said this, Rattri walked behind Dolan and squeezed the hand of a woman lying on the floor. Apparently the woman, named Melissa, was the seriously injured person he had hoped to help.
“‘Sure, that could be a good idea. But…”
Dolan sighs painfully. Melissa’s condition was so bad that even a person without medical knowledge could tell at a glance. It’s not just that she can’t be moved, it’s that she won’t even last another night.
“Well, this is beyond what I expected.”
Although Melissa is in a state that makes Mira wanted to look away, she crouched down beside Melissa to make sure she was still breathing.
“Please, send her home. If you can’t make it in time… a-at least get her back to her family.”
Still holding Melissa’s hand, Rattri bowed his head deeply. And then, just like that. A large man walked up next to Mira. He seemed to have injured his arm, and the cloth he was wrapped in was stained with blood. His face was pale, but his eyes still had power in them.
“Hey, you. I heard you have a way to fly.”
The man knelt down and continued, “Do me a favor”. According to him, Melissa had became the bait to save her friends from the demon, and had been badly injured.
The deeper the wound, the more expensive and rare the healing potion needed to be. Fortunately, Dolan had one such potion, but for some reason, it had little effect on Melissa when he gave it to her. The other hunters didn’t have such a luxury item, so they gathered up everyone’s medicines to stop the bleeding at least, but the effect was weak and Melissa was still in a serious condition.
After explaining this, the man stared at the empty medicine bottles lying in the corner of the basement. The man then bowed his head, saying that he wanted to reward Melissa’s bravery at least, if everyone was going to die.
But the expressions on the faces of those behind the man looked very complicated. And of course, there would be someone who would say what the rest were feeling.
“Mr. Bard. I understand how you feel, but for the sake of the woman who risked her life to protect us, wouldn’t it be better to take an action that would allow many of us to survive? She has the means to fly. I think it would be best to get those of us who can move as far out of the demon’s range as possible before night falls.”
The thin man looked Melissa in the eyes and said that was the consensus of most of the hunters here, though he looked down with difficulty. The large man, Bard, glared at the hunters in the basement and swallowed his anger.
If they were to take a chance and carry Melissa to the nearest village, at this hour, night would fall before Mira returned. It would be wiser to choose a means that would give the other hunters a better chance of survival than Melissa, who was more than likely won’t survive. That’s why Bard couldn’t blame them.
“Fumu, the medicine’s effectiveness huh…”
However, Mira is completely unconcerned with the interaction between the men, and looks down at Melissa, who continues to breathe thinly, never knowing when she will stop. What she was concerned on was what Bard had said. The deeper the wound, the more expensive the drugs needed to be. Yet the expensive drugs having little effect.
The restriction was a limitation that did not exist in the game era. In the past, even cheap medicine could bring you back from the brink of death to full recovery if you used enough of it. Mira wondered if this was another change from turning the game into reality.
Then she opened her item menu and checked the recovery potion she had.
Fumu… I just received that, didn’t I?
In the item box, there were nearly a thousand elixirs, both top grade and advanced. The sight of them reminded Mira of her gaming days. She remembers ordering a large amount of medicines from a friend who claimed to have mastered alchemy.
The medicine was a remnant of her plan to go solo on a group-recommended quest, in other words, to take on a multitude of strong opponents by herself. Before she could execute it however, the game had become a reality.
Fumu, this is worth a fortune.
Smiling, Mira closed the item menu and continued to look at Melissa’s face. Mira had an idea about the first thing that had bothered her, the fact that the potion had no effect.
The former players had the ability to look up simple information about others just by looking at them. One can not only read their names and abilities, but also their physical condition.
“As expected, that is the reason. However, why here…”
When Mira saw Melissa’s condition in her field of vision, she was convinced that it was as she had guessed, but at the same time she had a question.
Melissa was suffering from a condition called 『Demon’s Inhibition Poison』2
“W-what? What is it?”
Mira’s murmurings are not clear, and Rattri asks anxiously. Dolan, Bard, and the thin man who had been commenting on all held their breath.
Suddenly there was silence in the basement.
“Looking at her appearance, she has been afflicted by 『Demon’s Inhibition Poison』”
As the hunters looked on, Mira said what she saw and began to give a brief explanation.
“First of all, when a person is affected by 『Demon’s Inhibition Poison』 all recovery effects, including natural healing, are significantly reduced. Therefore, even high-grade healing potions have little effect. A specialized spell is required to treat it. And above all…”
Mira concluded her explanation by saying the only thing she had concerned about.
“…There shouldn’t be any demon capable of 『Demon’s Inhibition Poison』 living on this continent.”
The Ark Continent is located far to the west of the Earth Continent where Mira and her friends are. It is a vast continent located on the west side of the strait, and is also known as the Pioneer Continent among players. As its other name suggests, it is also characterized by the large number of countries founded by players.
Some of the demons living there were carriers of the 『Demon’s Inhibition Poison』, and it was impossible for the Praying Child Forest to be affected by it.
“No way…. Then what am I supposed to do?”
Rattri’s face looked lifeless and shocked, and he tightened his grip on Melissa’s hand as if he was praying. He wonders if the Medical Guild has an antidote for the 『Demon’s Inhibition Poison』 considering it is not needed in the Earth Continent. He’s not even sure if there even is a magic user there who can detoxify it.
The more he thought about it, the more he realized that there was no way out of this situation.
The results of this diagnosis left Dolan speechless and Bard downcast. The thin man, who was supposed to be in a good position to help, was also unable to say anything and just stood there.
There was no argument from anyone. Melissa’s symptoms were consistent with Mira’s diagnosis. Moreover, the demon in question was obviously not a native of the forest, and they did not know its biology in detail. Therefore, they cannot deny the conclusion.
The fact is, they had hunted a variety of demons which came from distant lands before the appearance of the powerful demon. It wasn’t surprising that it was a demon from the Ark Continent. That’s what the hunters thought.
That’s why they almost gave up on the idea that there was nothing they could do to help. But then a stone was thrown in their direction.
“Well, you know. It is not a problem once you know the cause.”
In the midst of the depressing atmosphere, Mira said with great ease.
In the Medical Guild, Rattri told her that they used healing magic. So Mira thought that depending on her condition, she might be able to get by with summoning magic. That’s why she came to check on her. In the first place, there was no intention of transporting the seriously injured on the Pegasus.
“What do you mean…?”
Rattri looked at Mira with a feeling that was neither surprise nor confusion, but rather anger. And then, Mira deployed the rosary summoning circle in front of her. She smiled at Rattri, who looked wary, and said, “Well, watch me.” Then she faced the floating magic circle and opened her mouth.
『I Summon Thee。O Healer of Pure White』
With that short chant, the summoning magic was casted. The magic circle that had received Mira’s mana shone faintly, and a white ball of light was born, from which a white snake appeared.
The snake, which was about a meter long with a pure white body, wriggled its way up Mira’s body and wrapped itself around her arm. Its name was Asclepius. Although it was in incarnate form, it is still a reliable companion with one of the best healing abilities.
Asclepius wrapped its neck around Mira’s arms and torso and began to examine every inch of Melissa’s body as she lay there.
“As expected of a doctor.”
Mira muttered a little sadly, while thinking that Asclepius was a reliable figure. After all, it immediately examine patients without worrying about finally meeting Mira for the first time in thirty years.
“Was that summoning magic?!”
An elderly hunter shouted in surprise at the sight of a white snake emerging from the magic circle. He had seen summoning in the past, before it fell into disuse.
But to the young people, all the summoning techniques the older man spoke of were like glories of the past. Most of them scowled and murmured in resignation, wondering what a single snake could do.
Alfeil was so happy to see us. What a shame.
Mira sighs and renews her enthusiasm for improving Summoning’s position.
“Uh… J-just now you said it wasn’t a problem, what do you mean by that? Can you explain what’s going on?”
A confused Ratri asks Mira, wary of Asclepius, which continues to stare at Melissa. His voice anxious yet tinged with a bit of hope.
“Ah, apologies4. It’s a simple explanation actually. All you have to do is remove the poison and then heal her.”
“Remove the poison… wait, with that snake?”
Rattri looked at Asclepius with a fearful expression. Asclepius, having completed its diagnosis, turned its dull eyes towards Mira and waited for further instructions.
“I’m a reliable doctor. Just leave it to me.”5
As soon as she said that, Mira pointed Asclepius’ wrapped arms at Melissa and instructed her to start the treatment. As soon as she did, Asclepius glowed white, and in the next moment it was biting Melissa’s neck.
Rattri shouted, reaching out with his hand but Dolan immediately grabbed it. Not only Rattri, but Bard and the hunters who had been watching began to make a fuss. After all, it looks nowhere near like what a doctor would do.
“I thought you wanted to help!!”
As the youths, who on the verge of getting violent, raised their voices, Dolan pushed back Rattri’s hand and shouted in disapproval at the crowd. His voice echoed throughout the basement, slowly quieting down the younger hunters. When the youths quieted down slightly, the older hunters admonish and further calmed them down by telling them that everything is fine.
Even though they were old, they were still active and experienced hunters. The younger crowd slowly fell further into silent, and the older ones looked at both Melissa and Mira with a mysterious expression on their faces.
Seconds passed, then dozens of seconds, before the basement became deathly quiet.
As everyone watched with bated breath, a change occurred at the three minute mark. Melissa’s breathing, which had been rough and painful until now, became calmer, and her expression began to relax.
Rattri touched Melissa’s cheek, which had regained a little color. He said her name with a voice full of hope.
After a few more minutes, Asclepius pulled its fangs out of Melissa’s neck and returned to Mira’s arms.
“You’ve done well.”
As soon as Mira said this, Asclepius jumped from Mira’s arms and wrapped around her neck like a collar. Then it slides its head against Mira’s cheek.
“O-oh looks like I’ve caused you to be worried. Hah… Don’t worry, I’m not going away again.”
Mira said as she gently stroked Asclepius’ body with her hand. Asclepius responded happily with a squeaky hissing.
While Mira played with Asclepius, the restless hunters looked anxiously at the sleeping Melissa.
They wondered if she was really okay, if it what Mira did was just a treatment, and if they could trust her. A variety of emotions mixed together made the crowd feel uneasy.
That’s when it happened. Melissa, who had been injured so badly that she might not even see tomorrow, opened her eyes and woke up with a start.
“Melissa! A-are you okay?”
With confusion and worry plastered on his face, Rattri put his hand on Melissa’s shoulder to support her body. The hunters who had gathered around her also leaned forward and looked at her with both anticipation and anxiety. Most of them were still skeptical.
“Somehow… the pain seems to have mysteriously disappeared… This means that I’m finally going to…”
On the verge of death, you will be freed from all suffering. That was the teachings of the Three Divine Religions that are widely spread throughout the Earth Continent. Perhaps Melissa remembered it as she muttered the teaching helplessly and stared at the ceiling with distant eyes. Then she slowly laid her body down again and closed her eyes.
“W-wha, what’s going on?”
Ratri asked Mira in a shaky voice, as if he was about to cry. The image of Melissa on the verge of death was still stuck in his mind, and the despair he had once felt still lingered in his chest. The fact that she was using summoning magic to heal her probably compounded that fear.
“It shouldn’t be a problem—if anything, you can take off the bandages and check the wound.”
At first glance, Melissa looked really weak and fragile, as her vitality had been restored but her strength still hasn’t recovered. Mira, judging that this was probably what he was worried about, said its better for him to check and pointed to the bloodied bandage on her arm.
Ratri gave a small nod in response to Mira’s words, and untied the bandage on Melissa’s arm as everyone gasped.
“Amazing, the wounds are gone!”
The now uncovered skin is clean, even the marks had miraculously disappeared. The only evidence of the injury was a horrible bloodstain that made Mira wanted to turn away.
Rattri simply let out a sigh of admiration as he untied the bandages on the other parts of the body and confirmed that there was no more wound.
His astonishment was replaced by a look of joy. Perhaps roused by this, the other hunters rushed to take a peek at Melissa’s exposed body. They confirmed that there was not even a scar on the body, which had been too painful to look at directly, but only red bloodstains.
And then, in the next moment.
“Guys! What are you looking at?!”
With a shout, the women kicked the crowd of men to the ground. Melissa had been stripped nearly naked by Rattri’s hands. He must have been so happy that he was crying with her bandages clenched. The women didn’t seem to be able to kick him away with the other men, so they just patted him on the back and said, “Good for you,” with a sigh.
As for the men, they got up without any trouble, as expected of hunters, and they were very happy that Melissa was safe.
Mira’s shoulders relaxed as she looked at them. She was looking directly at Melissa’s naked body when she heard the angry voices of the women, and she reacted instinctively at the shouts.
Everything’s fine. I’m a cute girl. There’s no reason to blame me!
After reassessing herself objectively, Mira said, “I think you’ll be fine,” and touched Melissa’s body palpably.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but that snake did something… that saved Melissa’s life, didn’t it?”
Wiping his eyes messily with his arm, Rattri approached Mira with swollen, crying eyes. He wanted assurances that Melissa was safe. Mira pulled her hand back and straightened up, coughed a little, and then explained Melissa’s condition.
“Umu. Don’t worry anymore. Asclepius has the power to heal, but we’ve only detoxified and treated her wounds. The blood and strength she had lost will remain. Feed her well, let her sleep, and her body should do the rest.”
“I see, she’s all right now. I didn’t know that summoning magic could also heal. Thank you so much…. for saving my best friend.”
After staring at Mira and Asclepius who’s wrapped around her arm, Rattri bowed deeply. He finally collapsed in relief, as if all of his worries are gone, and grabbed Melissa’s hand, repeating, “I’m glad. I’m glad,” as if he’s talking in his sleep. Beside him, Melissa was breathing in her sleep, looking very comfortable.
“The sacred white snake, Asclepius. I’ve never seen it before, but you’ve showed more than what I’ve heard. Summoners are still alive and well, aren’t they?”
Dolan bowed to Mira and the others and smiled happily. It seems that there is a big difference in the perception of summoning between young people who didn’t know the past and the older people who do. This time, however, she was able to change that perception.
“Naturally. Now that I’m here, the art of Summoning is safe!”
In addition to saving the young woman’s life, she also made the power of summoning known. After checking the reaction of those around her, she stood up and declared with immense confidence, bordering on arrogance, that she was sure of Summoning’s revival.
“As long as we can count on you.”
Dolan smiled and muttered in reaction while the rest laughed and cheered her on.
I just realized this part doesn’t exist in the WN and in the Manga.
1: ドラン=Doran=Dolan, ラトリか=Ratori=Rattri, メリッサ=Merissa=Melissa, バルドさ=Barudo=Bard
2: 魔阻毒 = Ma Zu Doku = Demon/Evil/Witch; Thwart/Impede/Prevent; Poison/Toxic/Toxicity = Demon’s Inhibition Poison
3: アスクレピオス = Asukurepiosu = Asclepius
5: Mira slightly broke character here. She goes completely informal in this sentence and uses “Ore” to refer to herself. “Ore” is the more masculine version of “watashi” and in fiction usually only used by young men.