65 – Cause and Effect (1)
When Lily opened her eyes again, the scenery in front of her had changed once again. Instead of floating fragments of memories, a musty smell and darkness surrounded her.
The floor was covered with the corpses of monsters that seemed to have been dead for several hours.
Lily had been forcibly moved back in time by the scroll, a few tens of minutes ago. As if to prove it, she could faintly see a body that looked like Alek in the distance.
Lily felt fear there.
The place where a tragic tragedy began is right there!
All the painful moments she had experienced flashed through her mind.
Lily quickly started moving away from the sewer.
Simply running fast was not enough to put her at ease, so she even cast a speed enhancement spell on her whole body.
The corpses that littered the floor began to quickly disappear from sight.
The worst tragedy could be so easily left behind.
Lily, who had emerged from the sewer, let out a light sigh of relief. Then, as a magician, she began to assess her situation.
She didn’t know how it happened, but she had returned to the past. She had obtained a miracle that was impossible even with modern magic.
It felt like she had dreamed a long nightmare in such an unreal situation. But it had definitely happened.
The horrific memories and pain that remained in her mind proved that the incident had actually happened.
It didn’t take long for Lily to realize that this regression was caused by the hero. After all, the scenes she had witnessed were composed entirely of the hero’s memories.
For a moment, a bitter taste lingered in her mouth.
“Really… I’m only getting help until the end.”
Tears welled up in her eyes.
Whether it was the events in her mind that transferred to her body or not, the tears continued to flow.
“This is not the time.”
For a moment, Lily regained her composure to assess the situation. First, she needed to properly confirm the time she had returned to.
Seeing that she had escaped from the sewer, she had avoided causing trouble for her teammates. But when she calculated the time, it seemed that she had still fought fiercely with the hero.
“Of all times…”
She could only sigh in frustration.
If she could go back just a little earlier…
Although she complained a little, that time didn’t last long. Simply returning to the past was already a great miracle.
If she could erase that nightmare-like incident once, it didn’t matter which time period she went back to.
“I have to apologize.”
With those words, Lily made up her mind.
She had to apologize for everything that had happened so far. She had to admit that it was her own fault for doubting.
No matter which time period she went back to, it was something she had to do.
With that in mind, Lily went straight to Luke to apologize.
While on the way, emotions surged unexpectedly. The guilt was weighing heavily on them.
As a result, by the time they arrived, they already looked like a sulking child.
And so, he started to panic, and she began to apologize…
“Sob… I got lost…”
He had no choice but to be dragged away by Ulysses, who was watching from the side.
And that brings us to the current situation.
Ulysses watched Lily sulking in front of him.
He felt a headache coming on already.
She let out a small sigh.
It was surprising to see such a strong-willed person cry. But the real problem was something else.
Another victim had already returned to the past, apart from herself. That meant they had gone through a difficult nightmare.
“I wish it had ended within my own limits…”
The reason Ulysses had kept his mouth shut until now was simple. Such a miserable experience was enough for him alone. He didn’t want to see a hero struggling unnecessarily just because he opened his mouth.
Anyway, Luke’s motive was to save all four of them. If he heard that they had already been defeated by the Four Kings, he would surely feel self-blame.
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So there was no need for half-hearted consolation or encouragement. He probably didn’t believe in it in the first place.
It would have been even more tiring if his colleagues knew and tried to comfort Luke.
So, they had planned to keep it a secret…
As expected, it seemed that the Demon King and the Four Gods were not to be taken lightly. Seeing that another person had returned already.
“···First, please apologize.”
After much consideration, Yuris said so.
Since it seemed appropriate to offer an apology first.
Anyway, this time it was Lily’s fault. Even if it was due to a curse.
Thinking about the argument that led to the knight being dismissed… I felt tiredness rushing back.
So, it is right to apologize. However, she attached a condition.
“But, please don’t mention that you have returned to the past.”
“Knight has been suffering to protect us. If we hear that he has already lost once, what kind of reaction do you think we will have?”
Yuris explained the reasons why the regression should be kept a secret. He will surely be sad. He may not believe it properly. So there is no need to talk about it, and so on.
“Ah… I see.”
Lily showed some understanding to a certain extent.
“But, is it necessary to hide it to that extent?”
However, her thoughts were slightly different.
Tears still welled up in her eyes, but there was a faint sense of curiosity within them.
Yuris tilted his head.
“At least in the scenes I’ve seen, the knight was suspicious even when he received favors. I felt burdened for no reason, even though you were treating me well, Yuris.”
Yuris brushed his bangs aside for a moment.
It was a bit shocking. I knew he felt burdened every time he approached, but I didn’t expect it to be to that extent.
After a moment of silence, Lily spoke up.
“Wouldn’t it be helpful to just be honest about it…?”
“…No. Not for now.”
After hesitating for a moment, Ulysses still nodded.
That would be fine too, but I still couldn’t imagine what the hero would look like when he found out the truth.
So it seemed better to put it on hold for now.
And right now, this was more important than that.
“First, apologize to the hero. Because this time, you were the one at fault.”
At those words, Lily nodded gloomily.
And she started walking towards the hero with unsteady steps.
And that’s how we ended up in this situation.
Life may be unpredictable, but there is a certain limit to change.
Excessive change raises doubts about its plausibility.
For example, when an extremely strong kid suddenly offers an apology, or when a dog that’s always mischievous becomes completely still like a broken flower pot.
I looked at the woman standing in front of me.
She was trembling like a rain-soaked hamster. At least, it was a sight she would never show, from what I know.
If she were to show such a sight, it would probably be after several weeks of being caught by the Four Kings.
“What’s going on?”
If someone changes so suddenly, it’s natural to be suspicious. Thanks to that, I was able to think this far for a moment.
“Is this the Truman Show?”
Well, these days, only unreasonable things seem to happen.
Turns out, this world is also just a set.
As I was having such a futile thought, Lily opened her mouth again.
“It’s my fault…”
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this apologetic voice today.
At this rate, I might start to get paranoid.
I don’t know why she’s acting like this, but… anyway, it seemed like she genuinely meant the apology.
Honestly, I was a little angry, but receiving this apology somehow made me feel a bit relieved.
But I’m a man.
I’m not the kind of gentleman who forgives just because she apologized once.
“What did you do wrong?”
In response to my half-annoyed tone, she shrinks away.
That’s right. In other words, I was upset.
After going through all sorts of hardships, all I got was this kind of reaction. It’s like a wounded samurai.
Of course, I know it’s because of the curse, but…
Being human myself, even though I know it with my reason, I couldn’t easily let go of my emotions.
Because of that, I couldn’t even look at the Saintess in the face.
“T-That’s because… You accused me of being the Demon Lord without any evidence, and you got angry when my opinion didn’t align… and various other things…”
As we exchanged glances for a while, she began to apologize. Seeing her confessing her mistakes so readily, it seemed like she knew she was at fault too. I nodded with satisfaction.
“Yes, you know it well.”
“But even knowing that, why did you do such a thing?”
Hearing her apology, I felt a bit of the anger subsiding.
However, I, the brave warrior Luke,
am a petty human.
Seeing this arrogant little girl cowering like this, I felt the urge to tease her.
How rare it is to see this little girl so defeated in front of me!
I had to make the most of this opportunity to mock her.
So, with a slightly teasing tone, I began to criticize her.
“Do you know how much it hurt me back then…? Even thinking about it now makes me tremble.”
“After insulting me like that, you come right back and apologize. Don’t you think that’s shameless? Huh? Huh?”
Opportunities for me to be the superior one in life are not many.
Perhaps I was a little excited.
Thanks to her, I seemed to have overlooked something.
How unstable she is right now. How much courage she mustered to stand in front of me. A bowl filled with water is bound to spill over with just a little push.
Her current state was exactly like that. Tears flowed from her eyes as if a dam had burst.
“I’m sorry, I’m really sorry···! For being so rude all this time. For getting annoyed every time I saw you and doubting you···”
“I didn’t mean to make it so hard for you···. I didn’t know your circumstances and kept acting like that··· I’m sorry······!!”
The sound of sobbing echoed through the dark night sky.
The attention of the people around briefly shifted here.
“Who makes a child cry like that···.”
“Wow, what a trash.”
In that moment, I felt that the situation was not normal.
No, surely it was a little exaggerated to cry like this just because of a slight scolding.
Thanks to that, the situation completely turned around. I urgently had to abandon the position of A and return to the position of B.
From a biological perspective, a woman’s tears were nothing short of cheat codes, after all.
“Uh, Lily? Calm down for now. Stop crying abruptly.”
“Don’t worry. It was just a joke. I had already let go of most of my anger. You don’t have to be so sorry. Well, there’s still a little left though.”
“Oh my, this is getting out of hand.”
As I tried to console Lily, I had to stick by her side for a while. The glares from those around us were quite sharp.
I wonder if this curse is actually helping or having the opposite effect of comforting her.
But as time passed, her sobbing gradually subsided.
Although it still lingered.
I let out a deep sigh and spoke to her.
“Phew… Alright then. I’ll accept your apology. You can go now. Thank you.”
As she started to slowly move away, even while parting, she glanced back at me, checking my reaction.
I waved my hand until she disappeared from sight, and then pondered the remaining troubles.
“Why on earth did that happen?”
I never expected to offer an apology like that.
I know the power of my curse. Even if someone clearly did something wrong, it was unimaginable for them to come to me first.
The various curses attached to me allowed for self-justification. So, the sight she showed was something beyond imagination.
“Yulris and others… They’ve been acting strangely lately.”
If someone’s behavior suddenly changes, it’s worth suspecting the plausibility.
No matter how strange the result may be, there must be a cause.
So, what could be the reason for her to shrink like that?
It seemed too sincere to be acting.
From the start, I couldn’t think of any benefits to be gained from acting, and there was no way I could be that skilled at acting.
As I wanted to know the reason, I continued to ponder.
“It’s not because the curse has been lifted.”
The frustrating feeling unique to the curse still remains.
So, in other words, there must be another reason that surpasses the curse.
While thinking about what that reason could be, I had a moment of realization and turned on the status window.
And then I realized that there was still one skill that I didn’t even know the purpose of.
If the cause is not external factors but lies within me, then it means that one of the skills must have had an effect.
Mana Control Lv6, Bright Ryu Swordsmanship Lv.6, Battle Concentration Lv.5, Multicasting Lv5, Pain Resistance Lv8, Poison Resistance Lv10, Blood Flow Acceleration Lv4, Painful Memory Lv4, Blood Replacement Lv4, Bloodsucking Lv4, Fireball Lv5, Indomitable Lv2, Owner of Poison Lv1, Crushing Blow LvMAX, Pain Sensation Lv2, Noble Sacrifice LvMAX ······
When I opened the skill window, various attributes and skills were listed one after another. Since defeating Ollek, I had grown a bit more.
Firstly, my level had increased by 1, and several skills including Indomitable and Blood Replacement had leveled up by one or two stages.
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Although it made me feel somewhat better to see that, it wasn’t what was important right now.
I flicked my finger again and clicked on one of the skills to enlarge it. Among them, there was only one skill that I still didn’t know about.
Since ancient times, sacrificing one’s life has been the most grand and noble law.
Especially for a hero like you, your life holds even greater significance.
On the day your breath ceases, miracles will happen in the world.
※ This skill automatically activates upon the death of the user.
※ The value of your life increases dramatically.
※ Your life possesses absolute value regardless of lifespan.
As I activated the skill, it expanded with a brief mechanical sound. The explanations remained somewhat unclear.
However, the magnificent golden aura surrounding me revealed that this skill was special.
Other skills I had seen before didn’t have this.
“Um… it’s you, right?”
Continuing to stare at it, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It was said to activate upon losing one’s life, but I had never experienced such a thing.
I had encountered many dire situations, but never to the point of losing my life. After all, I had played this game so much, could it really be that easy to die?
At least, I believed in my own abilities. I wanted to believe.
“Then, could the cause be external…?”
Or perhaps those girls really did acquire some insane acting skill.
Continuing to ponder, I noticed a subtle difference.
“Come to think of it… the color seems strangely faint?”
The brilliant golden light that used to shine so brightly now felt weaker. The light that filled the surroundings seemed to have slightly diminished.
“Is it because of my mood…?”
I was curious about it for a moment, but soon brushed it off. It wasn’t a significant difference, and my memory of the skill was not clear because it had been so long since I last saw it.
I must have just imagined it.
“For now, let’s take a break.”
With that thought, I stopped speculating and decided to take a moment to rest. However, the slight decrease in the light left an uneasy feeling in me for a long time.