The Hero of Regression – The Talentless Boy Vows to Protect His Childhood Friend, the Female Hero, This Time Around – Chapter 63

𝐏𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐰𝐚𝐫

𝐏𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐰𝐚𝐫

After Stella finally stopped crying and the people controlled by Rest’s death fell silent, Rin and Auntie Elle managed to regroup and informed them of what had transpired.

Auntie Elle merely said, “I see. . . . . .” with a solemn expression, while Rin couldn’t help but cover her mouth as tears flowed.

However, battle-hardened Auntie Elle and Rin both focused on the present, beginning to treat the injured.

Stella did the same after she stopped crying.

“Then, I’ll go treat the townspeople.”

“In that case, I’ll go with you. . . . . .”

“No, it’s fine. Allan, you’ve been fighting non-stop, you should rest.”

With that, she ran off alone into town.

Though slightly hesitant to follow,

“Hey, now’s the time to leave her alone.

Stella must have witnessed both the demise of Rest-boy and the Beast King’s brash actions directly, right?

Her heart must be filled with more complex emotions than ours.

She needs some time alone to sort out those feelings.”

Following Auntie Elle’s advice, I decided to observe quietly.

We are childhood friends on equal footing, and we’re partners.

It’s not a one-sided protection; we protect each other.

So, hovering over her and being overprotective like always isn’t right.

That would be no different from when I faced the Demon Mantis alone.

If we respect Stella, now is the time to leave her be.

Still, it’s unsettling just resting in this situation.

Sure, I’m a little tired, but this is nothing compared to when I was stuck in a labyrinth for over a month.

Stella is out treating the townspeople, Auntie Elle is providing support where Stella can’t manage alone, and Rin is tending to the soldiers.

Ruberto-san has climbed a watchtower, wary of a possible attack on the town.

Except for the unconscious Blade and Doug-san, who’s truly at his limit, everyone is doing something.

Moreover, the entire town is down except for us.

I can’t afford to leisurely do nothing.

Is there something I can do? Well, for starters, I’ll just stand guard for Rin, who has the least combat ability among us.

She’s the closest to me anyway.

So, I walk over to Rin.

Rin was casting Healing Magic on two people with divine protection: a female ax user and a middle-aged wizard.

“How is it?”

“. . . . . .Terrible, there’s no other way to put it.

It seems like the power of divine protection and the power of demons are clashing, and their body is in worse shape than it looks.

This is definitely taking a toll on their lifespan.”

I kind of expected that.

I didn’t have proof, but I had a feeling.

After all, the power of divine protection comes from gods who loathe demons.

It’s evident that the compatibility between this divine power and demon power would be disastrous.

I had thought that forcefully combining these would definitely entail a significant risk.

What angers me is that it’s not the controlling demons who bear this risk, but the controlled individuals.

“Can you cure them?”

“I can manage if it’s just removing the demon’s power and healing the body. But as for the lifespan that’s already been cut short. . . . . .”

“I see.”

Even if these two were in such a dire state, perhaps it was even more difficult to save Rest, who had been deeply affected by the power of demons.

So, he did it to himself. . . . . .

A bitter feeling wells up.

Damn it.

“Are you alright?”

“. . . . . .Yeah, I’m fine. I didn’t know Rest that well, so I should be less affected than you guys.

Actually, are you okay?”

“Yes, I’m fine. I used to be a healer in a town with a labyrinth, you know.

Professionally speaking, I’m somewhat accustomed to people I get close to not coming back.

Besides, unlike Allan and the others, I didn’t witness Rest’s death directly.”

As Rin spoke, there was no sign that she was forcing herself to act tough.

She seemed sad but not on the verge of breaking.

All said and done, she’s strong too.

“. . . . . .My main concern is Blade-sama. He must be the one most affected by this situation.”

“. . . . . .Yeah, probably.”

Blade, needless to say, had the deepest relationship with Rest among us.

It’s natural; they’re blood relatives.

If, on top of that, Blade was beaten up, had both arms cut off, and passed out only to wake up and find that everything had ended and he couldn’t save his brother. . . . . .It’s nothing less than a full combo of emotional attacks.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it’s a level where one could break mentally.

What will happen when Blade wakes up? What should we do?

It’s a serious issue.

“Can’t the healing powers of saint-sama somehow mend the emotional scars?”

“Don’t be unreasonable.

. . . . . .But yes, if Blade-sama is hurt, I’ll do everything in my power to help.

After all, he’s my benefactor and the greatest hero to me.”

Rin declared this with eyes full of strong resolve.

Come to think of it, her hometown was saved by Blade’s efforts.

That town holds many memories for me too, and the demon that Blade took down was one that I had failed to capture. I remember it well.

Perhaps due to gratitude from that time, Rin has an especially strong affection for Blade.

Blade will be alright if left to Rin.

Suddenly, such a premonition came to me.

At the very least, it would be better than me, who’s only known him for a few months, or Stella, who seems to be somewhat uneasy around Blade, saying this or that.

Of course, I will also offer my support, but fundamentally, it would be best to leave it to Rin.

Somehow, I just have that feeling.

Afterwards, Rin effectively wielded the power of a Saint, successfully treating the two heroes afflicted by demonic energy.

Though it was said they would take several days to wake up, their lives were not in danger.

Hearing this, Doug-san, who had fully recovered just from rest and a Recovery potion, was overjoyed.

He repeatedly expressed his gratitude to Rin.

Additionally, the treatment for the soldiers who had been manipulated was also completed.

Apparently, they had milder conditions compared to the two heroes, as there was no adverse reaction to the divine protection.

Being professional soldiers with good physical condition, they should be able to return to work after some rest.

Then, the treatment for the townspeople that Stella and Auntie Elle had been looking after was also completed.

The demonic power affecting them was even weaker than that affecting the soldiers.

Thankfully, it seemed there were very few who were seriously affected.

The only casualties were those in the area where the Beast King had rampaged.

Rest had truly killed no one.

However, the number of people killed by the Beast King alone exceeded the number of casualties in the Elf Village.

It was truly disheartening.

That night, in the mansion of the town’s leader, which was provided as a lodging place, I once again faced Stella.

◆◆◆

“Want some milk?”

“Ah, sure.”

Stella calmly mixes milk and honey in a pot she likely brought from the carriage, warming it with her own fire magic.

After a little while, she pours the warmed milk into two cups, offers one to me, and sits next to me with the other cup.

Then for a bit, we both silently sip our milk.

However, the silence doesn’t feel awkward.

It’s probably because Stella seems much more composed now, showing no signs of fragility.

“Earlier, when I was treating the townspeople. . . . . .”

Eventually, Stella starts to speak in a piecemeal manner.

Thoughts that she must have organized after some time pass through her.

“I first went to the place where that molester initially wreaked havoc, and it was terrible.

The town was completely destroyed, many people were dead, and the survivors were all scared.

I’m sure a lot of people will leave this town out of fear.”

Stella grips her cup tightly.

She’s holding herself together, but the anguish in Stella’s voice still comes through.

“Do you regret it? Letting the Beast King go as he did?”

“I don’t know. At that time, I just didn’t want to continue the fight at the expense of Rest-kun’s life.

I didn’t want to drag the townspeople into it any further. I didn’t want Rest-kun’s efforts to go to waste. But now. . . . . .”

Stella’s face twists with complexity.

Even after taking time to sort things out, the weight of the situation is still too much to easily digest.

“. . . . . .I still don’t know.

I want to punch him for sure, but Ruberto-san already did that.

Even then, I can’t forgive him. Legal action is not possible since what that molester did barely skirts the law.

Killing him is not the answer either; it would only cause discord among humans and the beastfolks.

I really don’t know what to do. . . . . .”

. . . . . .I hadn’t thought that far.

At that time, all that was in my head was to kill the bastard.

Maybe it’s the hero’s training, but Stella is far more thoughtful than I am.

But that’s also causing her anguish.

Such is life.

“It’s bitter.”

“No, it’s obviously sweet. There’s honey in it.”

“Not talking about the milk.”

How did it come to this?

“The bitterness is the aftertaste of this battle.

We couldn’t save Rest. We couldn’t take our revenge. The town is destroyed and many people died.

The bitterness is too much to be masked by milk.

This is the 『Taste of Defeat』. But still. . . . . .”

Looking straight into Stella’s eyes who is sitting next to me, I speak.

“━━We’re at war.

In war, it’s not always going to be victories.

Sometimes you lose. Those who couldn’t be saved die. That’s normal. That’s just how it is.

War is tough and painful because. . . . . .”

Back in the previous world where I continued to fight, it was rare to not feel pain and suffering.

Again and again, I was driven by endless regret and a thirst for revenge, swinging my blade.

It was the same for others who were fighting in that world as well.

In a world where heroes had fallen, and many heroes had died, the war was indistinguishable from hell.

Along the journey, every town I passed through was a mountain of countless tragedies.

While it may not be to the extent of those times, the fact that war brings tragedy remains unchanged, even in this age.

Even in our battle with Dragburn, which was almost a complete victory, there were casualties.

Right at this moment, there are likely people dying on the frontlines and in various locations, fighting against demons and monsters.

When people die, those who are left behind weep in tragedy.

This time, one such tragedy has simply befallen us.

“To continue fighting means to keep confronting this pain.

If you can’t stand it, quit. Someone who’s broken inside has no place on the battlefield and will only drag everyone else down.”

Well, having said that,

I sighed and continued speaking.

“Up until recently, I would have told you that you could run away at this point.”

“You’re not saying it this time?”

“No, I’m not. Because you haven’t broken.”

Exactly.

Even now, although I can sense sadness and suffering from Stella, I don’t feel any weakening that would lead to her breaking.

She’s strong. She’s become stronger.

So I can’t, and won’t, tell her to run away.

When she stood up to God, I recognized her resolve.

“If you’re not broken, that’s fine.

Vent your frustrations to me and move forward.

I’ll do the same with you.

After that, we can simply continue advancing.”

“. . . . . . Alright, that sounds good. I’ll keep you company until morning then. And tomorrow, I’ll listen to any complaints you have about Lin.”

“That’s a deal. That guy is going to have a hard time with Blade from now on.”

So I listened to Stella’s stories until the morning came.

Memories of Rest, grievances against some pervert, and declarations to kill the mastermind demon.

Occasionally, Stella would break down crying, and we even started drinking as she kept talking.

Eventually, I was the one who ended up drunk first, and when I woke up, I found myself sharing the same bed with Stella.

For now, let’s just say Stella has recovered.


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