Ray wasn’t able to understand her words at first. After all, her eyes plainly expressed her intent to abandon him.
“You’re still staying with me? A pathetic man like me . . .”
“Saying things like this again! You have to fight properly next time. You need more resolve if you want to stand beside me!”
Immediately after she said that, her eyes widened as she realized the meaning of her own words.
If you want to stand beside me . . . what was I saying? Being together with Ray is making me strange . . .
Nevertheless, her attitude didn’t reveal anything as she silently stood up to look at the condition of Ray’s injury.
“It’s not a serious injury. Your ears are hurting only because of inflammation. There should be nothing wrong with your shoulder thanks to the armor. Wow, it’s amazing that you sustained that collision without a single wound . . .”
After expressing his thanks, Ray inquired about Ashley’s own condition, however she replied, “I’m not so incompetent that I would be injured by something like a lizardman’s attack.” then proceeded to give out directions like seasoned veteran.
“If you can stand up, help me collect the magic stones and then let’s get out of here. The stench of blood might invite other monsters to come.”
And so, supporting himself with his spear, Ray forced his tired body to stand up.
Both of them began to collect the magic stones from the seven lizardmen.
Ashley held out her hand over the area of the lizardman’s heart and muttered something. Upon doing that, her hand began to shine and a green jewel with a diameter of around one cemer slowly rose up from the corpse of the lizardman.
Can I also do that? I’ll have to try and see what happens.”
After steeling himself, Ray reached his hand out for the chest of the dead lizardman who had his white eyes turned towards him.
Upon seeing the lizardman’s appearance, Ray couldn’t help remembering the sensations he felt when his spear pierced through its scaly skin. The guilt he felt for killing a living thing welled up within him and simultaneously, an urge to vomit tore through him.
It was me who killed it . . . is this fine? Even though it was for the sake of my survival . . .
He forcibly suppressed the nausea and determinedly threw away the common sense of Japan, a common sense he had adhered to for all eighteen years of his life.
No, thinking that way is no good. This isn’t Japan. If I continue to be caught up in my common sense, then it won’t only be me who will be affected. The people surrounding me will also be put in danger . . . in fact, I just endangered Ashley’s life . . . unless I become stronger . . .
Ray shifted his emotional gears and devoted himself to retrieving the magic stones.
The corpse of the lizardman was cold. Ray didn’t know if it had been cold-blooded or warm-blooded but either way, he once again reached his hand out for the cold corpse. Upon doing so, a gentle light began escaping through his outstretched hand.
The light gradually grew stronger and a green jewel floated up.
Ray’s voice involuntarily slipped out as he cheered, “I can do it!”
The work was divided between the two of them and before long, the magic stones from all seven lizardmen were collected. Other than their skin, the bodies of the lizardmen didn’t have any useful parts. Even the skin had very low demand because the scales were difficult to process. Because of this, Ashley had decided to leave the corpses of the lizardmen alone.
While feeling mentally exhausted, Ray followed behind Ashley’s back as she walked forward.
When they finally reached the banks of the lake, there was still close to two hours until Koda, the fisherman, would come and pick them up. While looking at her own body, Ashley said, “I’m completely stained with the lizardmen’s blood. Could you stand guard while I go wash my sword and armor?” and headed for the edge of the lake.
Since Ray had fought with his spear, he was mostly clean from any blood that may have splattered on him. Now that they arrived here, he finally noticed that Ashley really was dyed red from blood.
Because I put up such a pathetic fight, Ashley had to be covered in blood as she fought by herself . . .
It actually couldn’t really be helped, since this was purely due to Ashley’s combat style. However, the Ray of that time didn’t realize this. And so, assuming that he was the cause of all of this, he wondered if there was anything he could do.
“I could make them clean again with my purification magic . . . although I can’t use it on your body, I can use it on your equipment . . .”
Upon hearing Ray’s suggestion, she replied, “You should preserve your magical energy. I can finish it immediately since it’s just my sword and armor.”
“I didn’t use much of my magical energy at all. Furthermore, won’t the stench of blood invite monsters over? Since that’s the case, it would be better if you cleaned your equipment as much as possible. No, not just because it’s better, but because that’s what I want you to do.”
Even if it was just a little, Ray wanted to make up for his disgracefulness earlier. He lowered his head and earnestly requested for Ashley’s permission. Seeing his intention, Ashley decided to leave it to him.
Ray imagined the purification magic’s process, and lights of three colors – blue, yellow, and silver – began to wrap around Ashley’s body. After around twenty seconds, the lights subsided and the grime and blood that had been stuck to her equipment were completely gone.
Ashley stared in wonder at the magic that had been done right before her eyes.
“I really did become clean . . . you could make a living off of just teaching this magic to people! I want you to do this for me for the rest of my life. A-ah, n-no, wait, I didn’t actually mean that . . .”
When Ray heard her words, couldn’t help saying, “Eh?” He remained surprised and any more words were stuck inside his throat. An awkward atmosphere drifted about between the two of them.
In an attempt to shake off the awkwardness, Ray began speaking,
“I’m really sorry about earlier. It was my first time seeing a monster come for me. The lizardmen seemed as scary as dragons . . .”
Tears began to leak from his eyes. They weren’t flowing because of his memories of the fear. No, these were tears of frustration, directed towards himself for being so cowardly.
“Something like that will never happen again! I swear. Rather than be looked at by you with those eyes . . .”
While looking at Ray shed tears of regret, Ashley recalled her own memories from a long time ago.
Looks like he actually did lose his memories. When I fought one on one against a monster for the first time, it really was a terrifying experience . . . I was still eight years old when I had to fight a goblin. If you look at it that way, it’s not like I can’t understand Ray’s fear . . . hmph, even though I’m saying this myself, I think I’m too soft on this guy . . .
She floated a small smile, however, she immediately switched to a serious expression.
“That’s enough. We’re still going to be accepting subjugation requests starting from tomorrow. Isn’t that great? Not only that, the monsters are going to be even stronger.”
Ray made a large nod and changed the subject.
“Alright. However, in order to become stronger, I want to practice my magic. Is there a place where I can do that? If possible, a private place that doesn’t attract anyone’s attention . . .”
While tilting her head, Ashley replied, “I think the forest outside of town is a good place . . . why does it have to be private?”
He seemed to pick his words carefully, and then began to speak,
“I have a feeling that my magic is a bit out of the usual. Things like purification magic and storage magic for example. If I use my strange magic in public, there’s no doubt I’ll stand out in a bad way. I’d rather something like that never happens . . . is it strange?”
“I see. You’re not wrong. Let’s go find an inconspicuous place on the way back.”
At that moment, Ray suddenly remembered the pain in his right ear and asked, “Do you know what healing magic is like?”
“I’ve heard that healing magic borrows the power of the light, water, and wood spirits, but I don’t know the details . . . Although I’ve been treated with light healing magic before, my wound was being covered with a hand and also wrapped in light when I was being healed, so I don’t really know how it works.”
While thinking “As I thought”, Ray held his hand over his ear and tried to use magic with the image of his cells being revitalized by light. Although he couldn’t see properly it himself, a light had wrapped itself around the injured area of his ear. The area gradually grew warmer and the pain began to disappear.