As if I had no idea how hot I had been a moment ago, it reminded me of the stone table on which I had been lying for a long time, yet strangely I didn't feel uncomfortable.
I don't know what's wrong with me, but I feel calm.
If I could sleep like this, I'm sure it would feel good.
"Hey! Hang in there!"
I can't sleep at all.
"Open your eyes! Rooney-san!"
I hear people calling out the names of all kinds of people.
But I don't hear anyone's voice answering them.
"Wake up, Amaviata!"
Who? Who is it? Just answer it! I can't sleep with all this noise!
"Can't you do something about it with your healing magic!?"
"No! It's a miracle he's still breathing... but any more and he'll die!"
"Damn it! Wake up! Einselhaust! I haven't even thanked you yet!"
Seriously, it's getting louder instead of quieter.
But that's OK, I'm suddenly feeling very sleepy.
The voices around me are getting more and more distant, and I think I'm finally going to sleep.
All this time, I've endured so much pain, and I've made it this far.
Even when I was hungry, even when people made fun of me, even when they did painful things to me, I worked hard all by myself.
"Wake up! Pius!"
―Can I sleep now?
* * *
"Oh!? His eyes! His eyes are open!"
"Seriously! That's greattt!"
As soon as the criminal slave opens his eyes, everyone around us bursts into cheers, and I also feel relieved and pat my chest.
I knew that the sword of the wind, which has no substance, would not hurt his body, but when he collapsed lifelessly right after I put it against his chest, I was worried that his heart might have been damaged as well, but his breathing was stable, so I guess he survived.
"How are you feeling? Are you feeling any pain?"
I look into his face and call out to him, but he does not respond at all.
He opened his eyes, but his eyes were not looking at me, but wandering in the air as if he was looking somewhere far away.
At first, I thought that he had just woken up and was still unconscious, but no matter how many times I called out to him, he never responded at all.
"Teacher. Something is wrong!"
When I said that, my teacher looked into the face of the criminal slave, and the surrounding area, which had been filled with cheers, became quiet.
"Teacher, could this be?"
"His eyes are open, but I don't think he has regained full consciousness."
"What does that mean?"
"It means his mind is still under the influence of Curtio."
"No way! I thought the Curtion was broken!"
"It's stopped, but it was forced to stop instead of the proper procedure, so there must be a problem."
"What do you mean by that...?"
I was happy that Curtio was stopped and his consciousness was restored, but in the short time that I was there, I was told the truth by my teacher and everyone fell silent with a somber look on their faces.
While thinking that nothing had changed, or rather, that the situation was worse than before, my teacher created a small amount of water from the palm of her hand with magic and brought it to the mouth of the criminal slave, who drank the water with a gulp, spilling the water from the edge of his mouth.
"Good, he's not conscious yet, but he'll be able to eat, although he needs care."
"Yes, it will take time, but with proper training he'll regain his physical functions, and if his consciousness is only affected by Curtio, it can be easily removed with magic."
"I see, that's good..."
Everyone breathes a sigh of relief knowing that it will take some time to recover, but at least he will be fine again someday.
Narsht-san suddenly expressed his doubts when he felt relieved.
"But, it's good that he can eat, but what exactly do you want him to do to recover his physical functions?"
"Shouldn't he practice standing or walking?"
"No, training for recovery of physical functions must be done under the guidance of a doctor. It is necessary to consider the contents of diet and training according to the patient's physical condition and condition on a daily basis."
"So you mean we'll need a resident doctor?"
Well, since there is no doctor in this settlement, we need to hire a doctor from the city.
Besides, it would not be so easy to find a doctor who can be stationed in the settlement, especially in the case of the previous request for a doctor's consultation.
"Master Neil, if you don't mind, could you leave it with me?"
"What? You mean the doctor, teacher?"
"Yes, the capital has the facilities and personnel, and above all, the curtio is still buried in his body. As long as it is not allowed to exist, it must be removed in the end."
"Are you going to take out the other cartio buried in his body as well?"
"That is up to his will, or rather, if he is Master Neil's property, it is up to Master Neil's will. In our country, implanting a curtio for the purpose of enhancement itself is prohibited, but it is only the implantation that is prohibited, so you are not involved in the matter of the already implanted curtio."
Does this mean that the curtio implanted in the chest is the only one that absolutely needs to be removed?
"Then, please remove all the Curtio."
"But in that case, he may not be of any use to us after he recovers, is that OK?"
"No problem, please free him from the Curtio..."
"...Well then, I'll take him under my responsibility."
On the night of the day when it was decided that the criminal slave would travel to the capital with my teacher for treatment, I look up at the night sky in the middle of the darkened settlement.
The area is quiet as if the events of the day had been a dream or a vision, and the only thing that tells me that the events of the day are real is the corner of the collapsed house.
I turned around at the sound, and before I knew it, a worried-looking Lewya was standing behind me.
"What's wrong, this late at night, Neil?"
"No, I was just thinking about today."
"What, are you thinking that you've done something wrong again?"
"Your reaction, is that right?"
Lewya looks at me in silence and sighs in a friendly way.
"You saved that man's life, so why do you need to worry about it?"
"I could have saved that man's life, but I only saved his life, and his consciousness is still trapped in Curtio because of my recklessness."
"'If you hadn't been so reckless, you might have saved his consciousness, too?' Remember what Amelia (teacher) said, if you'd taken the time, his life could've been lost. But Neil, your actions saved that man's life, and your actions were not a mistake."
"That's just a consequence argument."
"What's wrong with being consequentialist? Your actions saved a man's life."
"...But Diana said to me... "Are you going to run off on your own and do something reckless without listening to others like you did with Heindahl?"
"Heindahl... well, Neil was reckless that time, too."
Well, I never told Lewya the details of what happened at that time.
"Did you do something reckless to save me, perhaps?"
"That was the first recklessness, and I think that's what Diana meant. Actually, I think she was talking about the second recklessness. I got into an argument with Diana who was trying to be a decoy, and I got emotional, and without thinking, I ran into Heindahl."
"Hey, it's reckless, isn't it? In the end we managed to work it out, but I ended up making Diana cross a dangerous road too."
Looking back on those days, I sometimes regret that I could have found a better way.
"It was the same this time, even though Diana had convinced me once, as soon as I thought that he might die if I didn't do something, I got emotional and ran out on my own again, and did something reckless, and if I made a mistake, I might have even gotten other people involved.... I'm really no good at this."
As I was hanging my head in self-punishment, Lewya pulled my head to her chest and hugged me tightly.
"It's okay that you're not good, you're only fifteen, isn't it rather unusual that you don't have any bad parts? To us, a fifteen year old is still a baby, and Neil is doing really well."
"But I don't think it's right to say that in the elven sense of the time."
"Don't play dumb with me, I'm being serious."
I didn't mean to make fun of her, but Lewya hugged my head tighter to stop me from talking.
"We are creatures of mistakes, we can't always choose the right path, we can only always choose what we think is the right path, but there will always come a time later when we think we have made a mistake. It is inevitable and unavoidable. That is why it is important how we accept our mistakes, isn't it?"
As I was pondering over the words 'how to accept mistakes' in my head, Lewya suddenly threw me this question
"Neil, do you regret your reckless decision to save my life?"
"―No, I don't regret it!"
I was held tightly against Lewya's chest and my mouth was covered, but I managed to get free by shifting my head and immediately said no. In response, Lewya continued.
"But Neil, you said something negative about the reckless things you had just done, didn't you?"
"Neil, I think it is your virtue that you can overlook your past mistakes and admit them as mistakes. But as someone who was saved by your mistake, it pains me to see you deny that it was a mistake."
"Neil, I'm not asking you to see everything in a positive light, and I'm not asking you to overlook your mistakes. But I will tell you this."
Saying this, Lewya hugged me, pressing my side of my head against her left breast, and opened her mouth.
"Thank you for your recklessness, Neil, you've kept me alive."
I hear a thump, thump, thump of her heartbeat.
It was the beating of Lewya's heart, proof of the life I had saved.
As soon as I realized this, tears began to trickle from my eyes, and I began to weep uncontrollably.
Lewya didn't say anything, but just silently stroked my head as I sobbed in her chest until the moment I stopped crying.
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