Sophie Bloomfield of the Four Stars of the East was a healer with luxuriant, green hair that swayed in the wind. She usually stayed with her party, but during large-scale battles like the one in Borderzard, she provided support.
The amount of healing provided by Healing Magic was proportional to one’s focus and faith, and as such it wasn’t suited for use in the front lines.
「Thank you so much, Lady Sophie!」
「Wow. That wound healed in an instant.」
「An angel sent by the gods…」
Sophie had been using her healing magic nonstop all night in the town hall — which had turned into a field hospital of some sorts — and was exhausted. Yet her gentle smile and her ample breasts — a close match to those of Priscilla’s — that seemed to envelop everyone gave the people relief.
「Lady Sophie, please take a break.」
A guild staff attended to her with courtesy. No staff was foolish enough to disregard a rank B adventurer who could heal severely wounded people and save their lives.
「I can still go on.」she said in a silvery voice, but the staff wouldn’t back down.
「At this rate, your body will give in first. We’re almost done healing all the seriously injured.」
The staff was telling the truth. They were finished with the severely wounded. All that was left were the ones with minor injuries and those that were beyond saving.
「If my magic can prolong their lives, then I will keep at it. Once healers from temples and hospitals from all over the place arrive, they will be saved.」
The staff wiped the tears in his eyes. News about the battle in Borderzard had spread to various places. They made it through the worst part, but how many Healers would arrive?
Sophie didn’t accept payment for her healing. The staff had never seen such a benevolent person as her before. He even thought she deserved to be called a Saint.
「Next… Adventurers from Ponsonia named Pia and Priscilla.」
There was no one on the bed.
「It says here injured abdomen and comatose due to poison. Maybe there’s been some kind of a mistake.」Sophie said.
「N-No, that can’t be. When I came to check on them, they were in a terrible state. Quite strange…」the staff mumbled the rest of his words. He thought perhaps they didn’t make it and their bodies were already transported elsewhere.
「Ah, it’s those three.」
The staff noticed three girls entering the town hall — the adventures Pia and Priscilla, and their attendant. They were walking normally. He thought he mistook them for other people, but when he saw Pia’s armor ripped open around her belly, he knew for sure it was them.
「Really? But they look fine to me.」
The guild staff was confused, but what happened next baffled them even more. The girls made their way to those past saving, Pia dragging her friend against her will. Pia and Priscilla then pulled out a huge cloth and used it as a partitioning screen to hide themselves.
「What… are they doing? Are those the ones you said were severely injured?」Sophie asked.
「Ah, yes. They’re supposed to be wounded and in bed.」
Their friend drew a long breath and sighed, looking around restlessly, and crouched down to hide under the cloth.
Then Sophie’s body froze. She sensed magic.
「Healing magic…!」she exclaimed.
「What? Is that girl using Healing magic right now? Ah, I think she’s a novice healer.」
「Novice? She is using the most basic of spells, but she’s proficient and the mana she’s using is absurd! 」
「Ah, Lady Sophie!」
Sophie started running and the staff followed her in a hurry. When the girl rose to her feet, Pia and Priscilla looked shocked.
「You there! What are you doing?!」
Sophie couldn’t suppress her desperation, and the girls gave a start. They then quickly fled the scene.
Sophie stood still in front of the adventurer lying down, not chasing the girls.
「Wh-What was up with those girls? Is something wrong, Lady Sophie?」
「If I recall correctly, their left arm should be missing from the elbow and their right femur petrified. Am I right?」
「Uh, let’s see…」The staff flipped through his list of injured people.「You’re right.」
「They’re completely healed.」
「What?」he asked, looking at the patient.
The adventurer was still unconscious, but color gradually returned to his face. Above all, his missing arm had grown back and his femur cured.
「No way! This is impossible!」
「She’s an even better Healer than me. Please find out who that girl is!」
「Better than you?!」
「Hurry! We need to take her into custody!」
The guild staff rushed out of the town hall.
The three girls took a short rest in a back alley, their breath ragged.
「Paula was… telling the truth. That adventurer was healed.」
Priscilla was the first one to speak, her voice shrill. It was rare for her to get frantic.
「This is why I didn’t want to do it. I’ll be in trouble if people found out. I will have to leave town…」
「That was amazing!」Pia was even more excited as she grabbed Paula’s shoulders.
「What was that magic just now?! When did you learn to do that?! With your magic, I can keep on killing enemies without ever worrying about getting injured!」
「Oops, my bad.」Pia let her go, but the pain didn’t subside right away.「Anyway, leaving town is a stupid idea. We should heal all the patients and ask for payment! We’ll be loaded! Then we’ll get proper equipment and go wherever we want!」
Watching Pia completely change, Paula finally realized the foolishness of her actions. At first, Pia thought she sold herself for an expensive potion. But when she blurted out that it was her own magic that healed them, Pia wanted to see it herself.
「Show me and I’ll believe you.」 she said.
「I’ll do it only once.」Paula answered without much choice.
「I’ll make sure no one else sees.」
Those were the conditions. Fortunately there were plenty of severely wounded patients. However, they didn’t expect someone — most likely a guild staff — to see them. What’s more, Paula broke her promise. She should’ve parted ways with her friends. But it sounded like they would still go adventuring together.
You were right, Hikaru-sama. Regret welled up within Paula. Conflicts would arise among people desperate to get their hands on her powers. That was what Hikaru said. And he was right.
「Calm down, Pia. She will not go on adventures with us anymore.」
Paula was thankful that her other friend, Priscilla, regained her composure.
「What do you mean by that? Ah, I see now, Paula. You don’t care about us anymore now that you have such power!」
「N-No! Why would you even think that?!」
「How could you?! I protected you with my own life! Now that you have a bright future ahead of you, you’re dumping us?!」
「Th-That’s not true…」
「Of course it is!」
「Calm down, Pia.」Priscilla said in a firm voice and pulled Pia away from Paula.
Pia’s words were like knives that thrust deep into Paula’s heart. Indeed, Pia put her life on the line to save her. Which is why she wanted to save her friend desperately, even if that meant giving up her own life in exchange. But Pia couldn’t see that. She didn’t try to understand, nor did she want to.
「She suddenly gained incredible Healing magic! Don’t you find that strange too?!」Pia asked Priscilla. 「What the hell happened?!」
「I… I can’t tell you.」Paula answered.
「You can’t?! If you have nothing to be ashamed about, then I’m sure you can!」
「I’m sorry, but I can’t!」
Paula already broke her promise with Hikaru. She couldn’t say any more. He saved her not once, but twice, and now he even saved her friends. She couldn’t betray him.
「Are we not friends…?」Pia muttered.
The words gouged at her heart. They were friends, of course. And that’s why she showed her her newly-gained power.
「I’m sorry…」Paula hung her head low. All she could do was apologize.
「Fine. You don’t need to say any more.」
She finally gets it. Paula lifted her head up, feeling glad, but was at a loss for words when she saw her friend’s twisted smile.
「I’m not letting you go. With you around, we’ll be raking it in! We can send money back to the village and kiss poverty goodbye. We’ll be living the life!」
Paula had heard of money and power changing people. She read about it in books as well. Witnessing it firsthand brought her fear.
「You can’t do that, Pia.」Priscilla was the only one who remained calm.
「Which side are you on?! What, she should live her life in luxury alone?! That’s not fair!」
「No, you got it wrong. I think Paula got her powers in exchange for something. So she actually did sell herself. I’m sure her not saying anything is part of the deal.」
Priscilla looked at Paula, her eyes gentle and sweet. That alone filled her with so much joy that tears started to well up in her eyes.
「You may go, Paula. The times we spent together were fun.」