Oren said all of this boastfully.
Indeed, it seemed that my healing magic was not working. The man looked at me with eyes full of despair.
“Wasn’t he your subordinate…? Why would you do this?”
I had known that Oren often killed animals and monsters for amusement. But humans…and a comrade, no less. I had no words.
But it was also possible that he had been doing such things all along without my knowledge.
Judging by what he had just said, this was not the first time he had done this to someone. Being able to destroy a specific part with this kind of precision required some experience.
There wasn’t a hint of shame in Oren’s voice as he replied.
“Why? Because he wouldn’t stop talking about how he would be useful to me. And so shouldn’t I be free to use him as I like? I am his master. Besides, I’m going to be the king one day. This is nothing…”
“I’ve heard enough! I’m sick of it! Try acting like this again… I swear…”
“Are you going to hit me again? Like old times?”
An old memory flashed in the back of my head.
It was years ago. A monster was being displayed in the palace, and I had started to feed it when no one was watching. To be honest, I am no longer sure if it really was a monster. However, I remembered that it bowed and was friendly towards me.
Back then, I couldn’t use any magic. And so I couldn’t heal it after the onlookers threw stones at it… I could do nothing but give it food.
However, one day, Oren found out about it. And he was the owner of the monster.
But in spite of the dread I felt, Oren surprised me by saying that he would give the monster to me.
You’re going to be fine now. I said as I tried to hold the monster to my chest—but Oren, who was watching this, used his magic to burn the monster right in front of me. There were no bones when he was finished.
My memories of what happened after that are hazy. Even though I knew that I couldn’t win, I had swung my fist at him. I remember that much.
“That expression… Ah, how I’ve missed it.”
Oren laughed provocatively. Then he took out a vial from his breast pocket.
“Do you know what this is?”
It contained some kind of white powder.
Normally, there was no way anyone would know just by looking at it.
However, I knew. He had kept it in order to show me. It could only be one thing.
The white powder—was the ashes of the monster he had burned in front of me. It had to be. With tears streaming down my face, I had buried them in a grave all those years ago.
This might have been the first time since coming to this island, that my face contorted with rage.
“…Why do you have that? I buried its remains.”
“I dug them up of course. I wanted to see your face when I showed it to you!”
Oren said innocently.
He was so very pleased to see that I was angry.
He had always been like this. Whenever I was angry or sad, he would smile.
“…Give it back. That is not something you should be allowed to have.”
“Of course! That was always my intention! …Here!”
Oren opened the small vial.
And the ashes suddenly turned into a black mist.