Chapter 177 – Her ‘love’ and my ‘love’
(I’ve really done it now…)
I groaned while in the first-aid office owned by the 4th unit.
This new recruit, who had to be beaten down in order to stop her from hurting those around her.
This strategy of overwhelming her through using my experience, saving mana and waiting for the right opportunity to go all out at once and overwhelm…it worked as planned.
I had taken my time to get used to it, and so I could read Ilis’s movements, and noticed the openings when she activated her magic.
I should have been able to end the fight cleanly, without injuring her.
(I didn’t think she would do that at the last moment.)
It really had been beautiful magic.
As someone who had also dedicated so much time to magic, I could understand it.
This was something that you could do, only if magic was your whole life.
(She must really love magic as well…)
It made me think that we were similar in some ways.
And yet her love of it was different from mine.
I didn’t know what it was, or who was right.
In the first place, there probably was no right when it came to what you ‘loved.’
(But there is something dangerous about it…)
Like she will get crushed eventually.
I felt that there was something unbalanced.
Just as a diamond could crack, she was so tense. That under the right circumstances, she would break.
(I wish I could loosen her up. Broaden her horizons.)
Just then, I heard someone’s voice from behind me.
“Um, Ms. Noelle.”
I turned around.
It was Miles.
The one who wasn’t fitting in so well, due to his work ethic and attitude.
“Why did you help me?”
He was talking about how I had stopped Ilis during the fight against Miles.
“Because you are one of the promising new recruits of our unit.”
“Don’t say things that you don’t mean.”
“But I do mean it. At least, when you do the bare minimum, you do it seriously. I’m impressed with your ability to do the important parts efficiently. Your intuition is your weapon. I think you have potential to become a great magician.”
Miles was silent for a moment.
“I hate you.”
I watched as he walked away.
I had probably made some mistake.
(Things are not so easy…)
However, I had no intention of just leaving him alone either.
(I am going to make the 7th unit a wonderful place where everyone can work positively.)
One of the goals I had when becoming the Vice-captain.
And I was not one to give up easily.
(Also, I need to make sure the Ilis is included with everyone.)
It was just as I was thinking about it.
In the corner of my vision, I saw Ilis open her eyes.
“How are you? Do you feel pain?”
She looked up at me from the bed.
And answered a slight look of surprise.
“You were here this whole time?”
“Yes. Oh, it’s not that I’m slacking off. I brought my work with me.”
“Working on such a small desk…doesn’t seem very efficient.”
“I wouldn’t say that. I can focus almost anywhere. If anything, I hate sitting around and doing nothing. If I have time, I’ll always crack open a book on magic.”
“Ah, I understand that. I like to read while on the move.”
“Yes, yes. This is the one I’ve been reading recently.”
“Oh, I read that one too.”
“Hoho. You have splendid taste.”
“Why are you talking like that?”
And so for some time, we talked enthusiastically about magic.
She really did love magic. She had a great wealth of knowledge, and talked so much.
It was the most important thing in her life, and so she pursued it with a single mind.
In a way, her feelings towards magic may be more stoic and earnest than mine.
Just as the conversation started to slow down, Ilis suddenly said,
“What is it that you think I lack?”
I immediately understood that this was something I could not answer easily.
I chose my words and carefully conveyed my feelings.
“I think your view of the world is a little narrow.”
“You feel like magic is everything in this world, don’t you? I really do understand that. But I also think there is something more important. For instance, that you are able to be happy.”
“You are wrong. And if you keep saying things like that, you will never become the greatest magician in the world. You’re too naive.”
“Do you think everything will go well if you sacrifice your own happiness? I think that way of thinking is more naive.”
“It is good to work hard, but you will reach your limit. You cannot push yourself too far for long. More than anything, I want you to have a happy life. As you work harder than anyone, you deserve to be happy.”
“…I don’t think that’s possible.”
“It is. Of course, it is.”
Ilis looked uncertain.
I smiled and continued.
“That being said, in spite of saying all that, I have a pretty narrow view as well. And so I understand how you feel. I actually like you quite a lot. That’s why I want you to become a nicer person, who understands others with weaknesses.”
I didn’t know how much of my words reached her.
She might just think I was loud and obnoxious.
But that was fine.
Even if she hates me, I thought it was important to tell her.
Because I was surely important in order for her to lead a better life.
(No, but maybe I could have said it a little differently…)
Afterwards, I regretted it a little.
It was quite hard, being a senior to these people.
The next morning, I met Miles when I arrived at the palace.
He did not reply.
Were young people just like that these days?
He was only one year younger than me. But I worry for the future of our country. Still, I was stubborn as well.
(Just watch me… I’ll have Miles greet me properly one day…!)
The challenge made me burn with passion. It was then that Muna, who loved to drink, ran towards me.
“Ms. Noelle! It’s Selty!”
“What about her?”
“She was called out by Ilis this morning. Ilis wanted to talk. But she looked so scary!”
“Ilis was in a worse mood than usual. I thought that she was going to beat up Selty, and so I secretly followed them…”
“Ilis and Muna were talking about sometihng. I thought it must be something very bad, and so when they were finished, I approached Selty. She was so scared. As if she had seen something horrifying!”
“What did she hear…?”
I was a little shaken, but pretended to be calm.
Though, I was dreading what would come next.
I thought that I had helped Ilis, but what if I did the opposite…
(No, I can’t run away now.)
I made up my mind.
Muna continued in a quivering voice.
“Ms. Ilis apologized to her. She said, ‘I was wrong about everything. I apologize.’ It was like she was a different person, apparently. We thought that you must have caused Ilis to hit her head too hard. And that maybe she needs to be examined… Wh-why are you making that face, Ms. Noelle?”
Muna asked suspiciously.
“I-I am? You’re just imagining it.”
I said, while trying to hold back a smile.
“No, there is something… Did you threaten her behind the scenes? Are you like a gangster boss…?”
“No. I haven’t done anything like that.”
“I-I will be more careful with how I talk from now on.”
“I said I’m not a gangster boss!”
But at the same time, I felt something warm spreading in my chest.
While awkward, she was earnest and hard-working.
Perhaps she was even cuter than I had thought.