I glance at the opposite wall. They are having an arrow battle. Countless arrows are let loose in the fight. The outside also gets brighter with each passing moment.
I pull out my sidearm with difficulty. Losing control of my dominant arm is annoying. I change the mag slowly. When I finished changing, the guards were already on the rampart. I raise my sidearm.
Noticing my action, the guards put up their shield. I glance around. Two guards from the right, two from the left. The remaining two are down below with bow to support them if necessary.
With a quick, sudden movement, I change my aim from the guards up here to the archers below. I fire at them as fast as I can. Due to the sudden attack, the archers quickly run for cover.
The guards on the rampart didn’t let the opportunity to slip by. They charge towards us. Some nearby bandits also turn their attention to us once again.
I open fire at the guards and bandits to slow them down. The guards are fine because their armors are hard enough to deflect the bullet. The bandits don’t have the same luck. A few bandits are hit on the arms and legs.
After I finished my sidearm mag, I glance at the bracelet and find out that Mary has already arrived. I hand over the empty sidearm to Alishia. I pick up and swing my sword around.
The guards, seeing that I have already discarded my sidearm, charge closer. I parry his sword attack. Another sword comes from behind.
Alishia screams out and closes her eyes. I kick the guard in front of me while simultaneously turning my body. My sword passes above the head of Alishia and meet the attack from behind. With a grunt I push him away.
The guard is pushed back because of difference in strength. He hit another guard behind him and they collapse together. I turn around once again.
Another sword attack approaches my flank. Forcefully kicking the ground, I dodge the sword attack. His attack hits nothing.
Once I land, I lunge and slash at him with my sword. He raises his sword to meet mine. The same thing with the guard from before happens again. The guard is pushed back.
I glance below at the archers. They have already moved out and aimed at me. They release their arrows. I hold my sword to my chest.
At this time something flows into me. The world instantly turns somewhat slower. I can ‘see’ the arrows. I swing my sword at them and deflect them away.
‘This is... [Body Reinforcement]!’
The next second a few arrows hit the bandits around Alishia and I. The arrows pierce through their neck. While holding their necks, the bandits gasp for breather and try to stop the bleeding. They fall dead soon after.
Harold shouts from outside the fort. I throw my chipped sword at a nearby guard, then run to Alishia. I tap her on her shoulder.
“Hold on to me from the back. I can’t hold you with one hand.” (Erwin)
Alishia moves around me. I crouch down and let her grabs around my neck. As soon as I get up, she buries her face to my neck. Picking up the rope nearby, I throw it over the parapet.
Before I jump, I punch and dodge the arrows that come to us. There are three arrows as the young man also release one with the other two guards. The effect of [Body Reinforcement] is massive. Then I jump.
I slide down the rope with a few brake so I don’t go too fast. When I land, I run to Mary and group. Mary is standing there motionless with her eyes closed. Yuni is letting loose arrows with a fast motion. The bandits are hindered with those arrows.
When I come close, Mary opens her eyes. There are worries and delights mixed in them. I let Alishia gets down from my back. Mary hugs her tightly and she hugs back while crying.
I smile wryly at them.
“Erm... Leave it at that for now. I need you to keep your magic on me.” (Erwin)
“I don’t want to suddenly lose strength on my legs. Quickly, the [Body Reinforcement]!” (Erwin)
“Ah yes.” (Mary)
Mary quickly casts the magic once again. My strength which has been gradually lost is now back. Yuni is still letting loose more arrows.
“We have to get into the forest.” (Harold)
“Alright. Excuse me.” (Erwin)
I put Mary’s hand around me and pick her up with my hand on her waist. Alishia stares in confusion. With a grunt Harold stands up from the tree he is leaning on.
“Come on. We have to move.” (Harold)
Yuni lets loose her last arrow and runs up to Harold. She helps him stand up. Alishia quickly helps support him. We retreat into the darkness of the forest.
“Hahaha! Hey brat, what the hell is wrong with you? You looked so strong when you carried the girl. Then, you just suddenly lost strength and dropped dead after you put her down.” (Harold)
“Ugh... There is nothing wrong with me.” (Erwin)
It’s the magic. After the magic worn off, you will feel much more tired than usual. It’s a side effect!
“Don’t overwork yourself to impress a girl! You will make a bad impression instead. Hahaha.” (Harold)
How to explain it to the people here? I can’t just teach how human bodies work right? Hmm? Wait... Side effect!
“It’s the side effect of the magic she used on me. I will get tired immediately after the magic wore off.” (Erwin)
“What? Just carrying her will make you tired? So weak.” (Harold)
“So, why are you still laying down?” (Harold)
“The poison has spread to my whole body by now... I can’t move even when I want to.” (Erwin)
“What poison?” (Harold)
“Paralysis. The arrow that hit my shoulder has that poison on it.” (Erwin)
Due to the magic Mary used on me, the speed of the poison spreading was faster. I can keep moving at that time because of the magic as well.
“I see. Well. Just enjoy the lap pillow for now.” (Harold)
Yeah. I also have to endure the gazes which could hurt my stomach. Can you guys behind stop it?
Mary’s hand is on my left chest, just above my heart. She is channeling her magic [Cure] to clear out the poison. The mana filters and confines the poison. It is then collected and forced out of the patient’s body. Usually it is forced out of injuries or through feces for other slow reacting poisons.
In this case, the poison is being forced out from my injured shoulder. Yuni is acting like she is pushing something out of my body. To convince other people that I was poisoned, Mary used magic to change my skin color around that part.
...To be honest. Yuni really is pushing blood out of injured shoulder. With each push, my blood pours out of it. I have been praying that I won’t be dead because of loss of blood by the time the poison is out.
Our carriage is only filled with Mary, Yuni, Harold, Alishia and I. Harold and Alishia is driving the carriage. There are no other people here since Mary needs to use magic.
Following us is a group of five riders. They are riding in the front and back a bit further away. We are the first batch to retreat back to the village. The rest of group will follow this afternoon.
“Yuni. Slow down...... I am getting dizzy.” (Erwin)
Yuni stops her ‘acting’ for a while. Really... I am getting dizzy due to loss of blood.
“You forced out...... a lot of my blood...... I am... Getting dizzy.” (Erwin)
“Ah! Sorry. I will go slower.” (Yuni)
“No... Wait a bit... Don’t do it so frequently.” (Erwin)
I am dying.....
The next day........
I open my eyes to the familiar ceiling of my room. I blink a few times to get rid of the blurriness. Then I try to feel my body.
Gripping and loosening my hands. Next is lifting my arms. After that, moving my legs. I can feel my body is now moving normally.
I push myself up on the bed. There is a bandage over my shoulder. It causes my shoulder to be a bit stiff. Stretching my body, I can hear a few refreshing cracking sounds.
At this moment someone knocks on the door and opens it. Mary is carrying a tray of hot meal carefully. She pushes the door with her shoulder and walks in sideways.
Then she closes the door with a soft kick. She puts the tray on the table beside the door. She heaves a relief sigh as the tray is placed on the table. She then turns around.
I greet her with a wave of my hand. She stands stiff there with a wide open eyes. However, she recovers herself quickly.
“I have thought you will stay asleep until tomorrow with that amount of blood loss. Geez, what Yuni was doing when I was concentrating on my magic.” (Mary)
I give a dry laugh as I remember how much blood I lost. Then again, it looks like my body is getting stronger. I can move my body better than before.
“Do you know why I feel like I can move my body better?” (Erwin)
“Hmm? How did you do before?” (Mary)
“I feel a lot stronger than before. Also less stiff.” (Erwin)
“Ah. Maybe because of massage. Nina helped massage your body as she felt your blood circulation is not smooth. It is possibly because of the strain of [Body Reinforcement Magic]. I have noted the new side effect of that magic.” (Mary)
“I see. So the magic has a lot of side effects.” (Erwin)
“I haven’t confirmed it yet. There are so many factors I need to test out first. After that I can improve my control over it to lessen the strain. So, Erwin, be my guinea pig.” (Mary)
“I refuse!” (Erwin)
Mary pouts in a cute manner. I swiftly shift my stare away from her. I look out of the window.
Mary takes a bowl from the tray and hands it over to me. The bowl's content is colorful and smells disgusting. She places the other bowls on the table beside the bed. Then she pulls a chair nearby.
"What is this?” (Erwin)
“Medicine. Quickly drink it. Or do you want me to feed you like last night?” (Mary)
"Huh? what happened last night?" (Erwin)
"You sure you want to know?" (Mary)
"On a second thought, no need." (Erwin)
I hold back my urge to vomit and receive the bowl. I hold my breath when I hold it close. The smell is so terrible that I can still smell it even after holding my breath. Closing my eyes, I drink it all at once without tasting it.
“How is it?” (Mary)
The bitter taste left behind on my tongue is unbearable. I grab a glass of water to wash it down.
“Good. Stay here. I am going to take your breakfast from downstairs.” (Mary)
"Hmm? Whose meal are those then?" (Erwin)
"My breakfast. Don't touch it." (Mary)
Mary goes out with the empty medicine bowl and the tray. After a while she comes back with another tray of meal. She hands over my breakfast. It is a tomato meals. Soup tomato with tomato salad and tomato sauces. I remember the fish meals from a while ago.
I look over to her meal. She got a chicken soup with a lot of different dishes. I stare jaw-dropped.
“It’s not fair!” (Erwin)
“Beat it. You need blood.” (Mary)
“I want different dishes!” (Erwin)
“Are you saying my cooking is bad?” (Mary)
I shut myself up and eat silently. Mary contently eats her meal. For a while we eat in silence. When I suddenly remember something, I ask the question on my mind.
“How was the attack on the fort?” (Erwin)
“We dealt few damages so there aren’t significant differences from before. We got a few injured. Our group have returned yesterday while the bandits are silent.” (Mary)
“I see. There are other captives inside the fort. I can’t get them out so can you tell Harold about it?” (Erwin)
“I will tell him later.” (Mary)
“Okay. Thanks.” (Erwin)
Without anymore worries, I continue to eat my meal. The rest of our breakfast is spent in comfortable silence.