Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 16: I Can Fly
Can’t Understand! Can’t Understand! Can’t Understand! Can’t Understand!
Well, it had become something that I couldn’t understand.
At Eterna’s unexpected declaration that “I am the Witch,” even I was rendered speechless.
How had it developed like that? It was as if, after you got through an acceleration tunnel, your vehicle got hit by a spin attack from behind which blew you out off course like an acrobat. It completely obscured the thought process that led to such a wild conclusion.
In the first place, there was no way that the Saint and the Witch could be the same age.
The Saint’s birth only occurred when the world recognized the “previous Saint’s death” or when the “previous Saint turned into Witch.” To make a situation possible would be for the previous Saint to defeat the Witch right after she was born, and immediately turn into Witch right after. Otherwise, there was no way for the Saint and Witch to be born the same age.
Even without being aware of such hidden details, the knowledge that the Saint would be born after the Witch appeared was included in the Academy’s curriculum. All of the students would know that with little thinking.
(By the way, while there were enough student textbooks for the whole student body, they were not reprinted like in the modern world but loaned by the Academy to current students of each respective grade instead. As they advanced, they returned the books to the Academy and took next year’s textbooks. It was a rotation system. So the books were quite dirty.)
In addition, the current generation’s Witch had already been producing Demons since before I had self-awareness… which would mean Eterna already produced Demons all over the world and was spreading evil at that time.
No matter how remote Eterna’s birth village was, fear of the Witch must have been conveyed to them through rumors.
The fact that such rumors existed meant there was a Witch to spread fear. Since, in the first place, she had been a child at the time, her misunderstanding was invalid.
But even if it was just a misunderstanding, that sentence was dangerous.
In this world, the Witch was everyone’s the common enemy. Regardless of whether or not it was a lie, if one claimed to be the Witch, a slip of the tongue might still get you executed on the spot with no right to complain.
“Witch, you say!? Elrise-sama, stand back!”
“Eterna-kun. Such a statement… while it’s impossible to begin with, it’s not funny even as a joke.”
See! Leila and Perverted Glasses Bastard 1 have entered Battle Mode!
I immediately got in front of the two to stop them and looked at Eterna.
Her eyes were cast our way and I could see only fear in them.
Seriously, how did it come to this…
“Wait, Eterna-san! As for you being a Witch… there’s no way that’s the case, right!?”
“That’s right! In the first place, Fara-san also caught you, along with us! And they almost killed you there!”
Fiora and Mob A desperately tried to convince Eterna.
Their words were justified.
If one thought about it calmly, it would be clear to anyone that there was no way that Eterna could be the Witch.
But in front of those two, Eterna took out a knife and gripped the blade hard.
Blood… didn’t come out.
Everyone who witnessed that froze.
“Since I was a child, I’ve never gotten hurt.”
She then told her story.
Ah, this was seriously not good.
Eterna’s statement that “I am the Witch,” had just gained more credibility.
The truth was actually the opposite, but this made everyone here think that it might be a real possibility.
I’d previously said that the Saint could take damage from self-harm… regardless, there was a method to prevent the damage from passing through.
The Saint could get hurt by self-harm if the action carried the Saint’s power. In that case, it would be effective against the Saint.
So if it didn’t carry the Saint’s power, she wouldn’t get wounded.
Unlike the knife from earlier, if she slashed her left hand with her right hand, her hand would be wounded.
The slashing motion would carry a minuscule part of the power of the Saint.
But if she only gripped the blade with one hand… there wouldn’t be any damage.
The Saint’s power was also rendered ineffective by other things, like free fall from a cliff or hanging one’s own neck.
“Sensei… this would be impossible without the power of either the Witch or the Saint, right?”
“…Yes. That’s right.”
“And the Saint already exists. Everyone can see that Elrise-sama is not the Witch. Since it is so… then I can only be the Witch…”
Ah, I could finally “understand” it.
I see; so that’s how her thinking goes.
Eterna didn’t think, “Because I have Saint’s power, Elrise must be a fake!” Instead, she thought, “Since the Saint already exists, I can only be the Witch.”
Now I knew that it was a simple thought, but as expected, her line of thought was not as self-centered as mine were.
If I were her, I would doubt “Elrise” first and foremost. Because I was the type of person who doubted rather than believed others.
But she was different, she believed before doubting me, and thus came to such a ridiculous conclusion.
Because she was such a good person (unlike me) she fell into such a misunderstanding.
But I couldn’t relax now. At this rate, Eterna would be branded as the Witch.
There was no way she would die just by jumping off a cliff. But if the misunderstanding went on, there would be a worldwide order to hunt down and slay the “Witch” Eterna.
It was simple to stop it from happening.
Her name would be cleared if I confessed my identity.
But if that happened, I would go straight to the execution grounds. And without my fake Saint self to stop her, soon after my death, the Witch would be delighted to kill Eterna.
In other words, it was bad for me to be discovered right now.
But if this went on, Eterna would be branded as the Witch… even though she was the Real Saint.
…should I admit it?
Damn, should I really admit it?
If I confessed now, the plot would inevitably change.
Because it was bad for me to be executed now, I would have to spend days on the run. The difficulty level would be cranked up to Very Hard.
But compared to having Eterna branded as the Witch…
There was no choice… I would have to confess now
“Eterna. You are misunderstanding things. You are —”
“I told you not to come close!”
It happened as I was about to confess.
The agitated Eterna drew further back. She stepped on a place without footing and fell.
Eterna was stunned and cried out in such a stupid voice.
It was no good! I’d reacted late since it was too sudden!
I immediately used flying magic to chase after the falling Eterna.
Yet another unexpected thing happened.
For some reason, Vernell followed me, jumping over after I did.
You might have been acting out of reflex to save the heroine.
I knew that. I knew it very well!
But there was no way for you, who was unable to fly, to be of any help in such a situation!
I grabbed Vernell’s arm as he fell past me in panic.
But as expected, this sudden action made me break my stance. My reinforcement magic was not deployed enough to handle such a sudden pressure addition, so I got dragged and tumbled.
You’re too heavy, fool! How much has your weight increased!?
You’re so heavy since all you did is muscle training!
A protruding rock lay beyond. If it went even Vernell, who was protected by dark power, would end up greatly injured.
Vernell was not the Witch. He just had the Witch’s power inside him, so he would be wounded normally.
Kuo~! We’re about to crash~!! Time for full acceleration, Indian to the right! YOGAAA! 2
We managed to avoid the rock somehow, but the sudden curve broke our balance and we dove into the ocean.
Uegh, it’s salty.
Without his thought, his body moved.
Vernell was honestly unable to keep up with the development of events after Eterna claimed that she was the Witch.
He thought it was way too far-fetched, and even after he thought back he could only think that it was impossible.
Thus, Vernell only thought Eterna had been too confused and arrived at a weird conclusion.
But it was true she had made a dangerous statement, so it would’ve been better to calm her down first.
But things didn’t develop as slowly as he had expected, with Eterna jumping off the cliff… and Elrise flying after her.
After that… he didn’t remember much.
But, before he knew it, he was also falling from the cliff.
His body must have reacted without thinking.
If he thought about it calmly, there was no need to have taken such an action.
After all, Elrise could fly.
In addition, since she was the Saint, she wouldn’t suffer a scratch even if she fell normally.
Then what he did was akin to committing suicide, more like baggage than helpful to Elrise.
Ah… I’m such a fool.
As he thought that, Vernell sank into the sea and lost consciousness.
When he woke, he found he had been sleeping inside a cave somewhere.
As he looked to the side, he could see the sleeping face of an unconscious Eterna.
Then he noticed a light that illuminated the cave.
The light floated above while it maintained a certain warmth, and it served as substitute fire.
“Ah, you’re awake?”
And as he looked toward Elrise’s smile that was illuminated by the lights, Vernell awakened in an instant.
He stood up with a speed that surprised himself. He was finally aware that, not only had he become unnecessary baggage to Elrise, she had ended up helping him instead.
He felt miserable… the person he wished to protect has protected him instead. And it had already happened thrice. 3
The debt he owed her just kept growing bigger.
“I was surprised. You jumped down suddenly, after all.”
“I, I’m sorry… it just happened before I knew it…”
“I’ll close my eyes to it since it was for your precious friend. But what you did earlier was more recklessness than bravery”
“…But, to instantly do that for your friend is praiseworthy. You mustn’t forget such spirit, but remember to care for yourself as well.”
At Elrise’s words, the first thought that came to his mind was, “Wrong.”
Vernell didn’t do it to help his friend Eterna.
While it is true Eterna was an irreplaceable and important friend, she was more like a family member who had been raised in the same village.
When he ended up alone due to the power he had, that village was the place that accepted me. And of those villagers, Eterna was closest to him.
He did think she was lovable and he wanted to protect her. That much was not a lie.
Yet the moment Eterna jumped down — Vernell stopped moving on reflex.
It wasn’t that he had abandoned her out of cruelty. It was more due to a calm assessment that she wouldn’t be hurt, so it was alright.
Even if he had jumped out, he’d made the wrong judgment since it had only needlessly increased the number of people who had fallen. It would have been better to search Eterna down below along with everyone else.
Yet when he saw Elrise fly over, he didn’t even think of that.
He’d already run and jumped down before he noticed.
Even though she didn’t need his help, even less than Eterna.
Ah… I see. I truly, towards this person…
He swallowed the words that had been about to come out and hit his chest with his clenched fist.
They weren’t the words that were supposed to be spoken now.
Words of affection from this unaccomplished person would only trouble her.
Thus, he repressed his feelings and said something different instead.
“Elrise-sama. I was thinking — perhaps Eterna is the same as me?”
“The same as you — that’s right! That might be possible!”
“Yes. I too — while not to the point of never getting wounded, it’s hard for me to get injured. Even when I was abandoned by my own family and banished from our village, a normal human would have been long dead, yet I still lived — no, this power kept me alive. Regardless of how hungry or thirsty I was, I was unable to meet my death.”
The Witch and the Saint could only be wounded by both of their respective powers. That characteristic was limited to the Witch and the Saint.
Yet, an exception existed here.
It was none other than Vernell.
Vernell was neither the Saint nor the Witch. Obviously, since he was male in the first place.
Yet he possessed power and characteristics close to that of the Witch.
“Eterna might be the same as me,” Vernell had thought.
And Elrise seemed to find an answer in those words.
“Indeed — that would explain it. In that case, it wouldn’t be odd for Eterna-san to have some witch-like characteristics despite not being the Witch”
“Elrise-sama — did Eterna have a hard time controlling her own power as expected? Just like me back then,” Vernell asked Elrise anxiously.
She was just like himself before meeting Elrise. His power had gone berserk and he was unable to control it, so he had to live a life of wandering.
That’s why he was worried that Eterna might be the same as him.
But after Elrise had observed Eterna, she silently shook her head.
“No, I didn’t see any sign of power gone berserk. She really won’t be hurt by anything. It was just a series of coincidences, which made her think everything was her fault”
“I, I see… I’m glad”
Vernell felt relieved and Elrise also smiled.
Vernell looked away from that smile.
He was aware that his face had grown hot. His face was definitely red right now.
He hoped he could make it seem like the light’s fault.
“Well… let’s go back. Everyone is probably worried right now. After Eterna-san wakes, we will tell her what we discussed.”
Elrise proposed going back up, and Vernell agreed.
But at that moment, he saw something weird.
Elrise’s uniform was slightly torn in the arm area… and there was the line of a wound.
“Elrise-sama? That arm…”
“Arm? What about my arm?”
“Err… there’s a wound…”
Elrise looked at her arm in wonder and touched it.
And by the moment she took her hand away, there was the usual unblemished white skin of her arm.
Instead, there was a red string in her arm.
“Ah, it seems that a thread got stuck. Perhaps it happened when we fell.”
It turned out there was a red thread stuck on Elrise’s arm.
What an embarrassing mistake.
If one thought calmly about it, there was no way that Elrise could be wounded in the first place.
But if he had truly been calm, he would have noticed.
Vernell’s uniform was colored black and blue.
Eterna’s uniform was white and green.
Elrise wore a similar uniform to Eterna’s.
Nothing in this place used red cloth.
Then where did the thread come from?
Vernell had not yet noticed the strangeness of it.
…Yes, not yet…