The Angel Gives A Much Needed Therapy

“Well, I…” S***, how should I start this? “I’m a mage, just like you have guessed.” I gave her a nervous smile. “Also, I’m a summoner. That’s frowned upon by your people, right?” I asked, remembering what Marina told me way back then.

“It’s alright. Don’t be so nervous,” she replied, once again with that calming smile. “I don’t share that particular belief. I think summoning spells are just fine, though I certainly wouldn’t suggest to anyone to start summoning demons, especially intelligent ones that could deceive them. And also, you just cried on my shoulder, so I know you’re not a bad person that means harm. Even if you say that you’re an elite mage of the Magocracy, I wouldn’t report you to the Church. I don’t believe that the people there are all bad, you know, even if they’re our mortal enemies.”

That’s right. The Church of Milicis is a mortal enemy of the Magocracy. I still remember that picture book portraying their Great Saint in such a humiliating manner.

“They’re my enemy as well,” I answered firmly. There was no point in hiding it. “One of them— Vera was her name—she kidnapped my sister, just because she wanted to forcefully make her marry her grandson. I managed to save her, but Father and Mother…” I trailed off, my shaking hands forming into fists.

“…I see,” she whispered, patting my head with a sympathetic look. “You’ve suffered much in her hands, haven’t you?”

I didn’t answer. I was too busy trying to hold back my tears. God, I am so pathetic.

“Where is your sister now, if I might ask? Is she with you? You two must have run away from their land, correct?”

“I…” My throat suddenly dried up. “I ran away. I can’t face her anymore. Father and Mother… they died because of me.”

“Because of you?” She tilted her head.

“They protected me instead of themselves. I should’ve been the one to die that day.”

I averted my gaze, looking down at my knees instead. Only for me to see their mutilated body and decapitated heads, half-frozen in the snow.

Drip

Drip drip

Ah, it’s coming out again… and with the snot too…

Why can’t you be cool for once, Hugo?

Then, I heard it—a rustle of fabric, followed by a few light steps. And then, the sound of someone sitting beside me.

“You have done nothing wrong, Charles,” she whispered, putting one hand on my shoulder. “We are all weak, bound by the fate that Heaven has decreed for us. To accept that weakness… I believe that’s the only way a human can become truly strong.”

“But… if only I had—”

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“There is no point in ruminating about the past,” she interrupted. “We must live for the future, as we can still choose to change the course of fate for its sake. But the past is a road you already took. And it is foolish to look back towards it.”

“I…”

I was about to say that I had no future to look forward to. But then, I remembered.

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Sherry. Sherry is my future.

“I am glad.” She smiled, noticing my brightening expression. “You do have a future after all.”

Wait, Sherry…  Nicole… wasn’t that the name of…

My eyes widened.

“Hmm, what’s the matter?”

“Sherry. Did you know anyone with that name?”

This time, it was her eyes’ turn to bulge.

“How… but…”

“My family had adopted her. And she spoke of a friend she held dear when she was still in her orphanage. Was that you, Nicole?”

“I-is she… is she a short girl with long jet black hair?”

I nodded.

“A-and does she possess an abnormal amount of strength?”

I nodded again.

“Then it can only be her!”

Without warning, she took my hands and clasped them together, smiling so brightly that it nearly blinded me.

“This must be Providence. To think that I would find her again, after all these years…”

——-

I then told her everything—from how I met her to how I had the whole rivalry with her until when she departed for the Demon Continent. It happened so long ago that I felt it wasn’t even real, as if it was just a dream. A dream of my better days.

“To think that she would really be a demon…” She said with a troubled look. “It must have really troubled her, when she learned the truth.”

“So, do you… hate her now?” I asked gingerly. I remembered how those of the Milicis faith abhorred demons of all kinds.

“Hate?” She looked up with a confused expression. “Ah. Perhaps you’re talking about how we are supposed to distrust demons in general as those who served the Great Saint. No. I don’t hate her. It doesn’t matter whether she’s a human or a demon. In fact, she’s a perfect example why I should not share that belief, no?” She smiled.

Wow, she’s… surprisingly broad-minded for one so religious.

“So, how did she react? When she found out that she was an Izurd?”

“She… took it quite badly at first. But don’t worry!” I proudly pat my chest with a grin. “I talked her out of it, and now, she’s completely proud of her heritage.”

I hid the details from her. I felt Sherry wouldn’t want her to know that she had gone on a rampage slaughtering monsters to the point of bathing in their blood.

“I see.” Her smile returned. “Thank you, for being her friend.” She took my hand, grasping it with her own as she stared at me.

BA-DUMP

I just realized it… but she’s… quite pretty, actually… There’s nothing that really makes her beautiful, but I guess she has that “girl next door” charm to her. Aah, I can just imagine her being the perfect housewife if she ever gets married. “Welcome home, dear. Would you like dinner? A bath? Or perhaps… me?”

“I see you’re fond of her very much.” She released my hand. “You were all grinning and smiling when you talked about her, you know. And even now, you’re the happiest I’ve ever seen you. Is she, perhaps, the future you had in mind?”

I did? Though my grin just now definitely came from my fantasies of her.

I sighed, giving her a wry smile. “You’re right. She’s all I have now. That’s why I’m going to the Demon Continent. I want to meet her once again.”

“I don’t believe so.” She shook her head. “I think your two sisters are still waiting for you. They would never blame you for your parents’ death.”

My smile turned even more bitter. “Even so, I’ve run away like a coward from them. I can’t face them. Not like this. I… I think I want to become a better man first before I go back to them.”

“A better man?” She tilted her head.

“Well, I… I want to mature first. To be someone I can be proud of. And I think… I think I’m going to let Sherry be the judge of that. If she accepts me, then I’ll go home with her. If not, then I’ll better myself until she does.”

Her smile suddenly brightened. She was now practically beaming.

“Oh, Sherry! I’m so happy for you! To think that not only you have found a family, but you have found a lover as well.”

What? How did she—

“Don’t look so surprised. It’s all too obvious. You were all mopey back there but once we started talking about her, you brightened up immediately. And what you just said was practically a declaration of love!” She clasped her hands together.

In a flash, she had transformed from a calm and wise cleric to a starry-eyed romantic.

I sighed with a smile. “You’re right. I do love her. And I want to start a family with her in the future. She saved me, you know. I… nearly took my own life when Father and Mother died. It was my thought of her that stopped me from casting a Fireball right at my own skill.”

I don’t know where and when I truly fell in love with her. Before I knew it, it seems my heart had been stolen by her. She was so pure and honest that my cynical, distrustful heart was won over by her. And her being so cute certainly helped.

Heh, to think that a fully-grown adult like me could actually fall in love with a little girl. Just another one to the list of my pathetic traits.

“That is the miracle of love,” she replied, still with her large smile. “Two fates become intertwined into one, tied with the string of matrimony. It is a sacred bond, to be cherished till the day you die. Though, I have to ask, have you told your feelings for her yet?”

“She was the one who confessed first actually,” I admitted with a little blush.

Gloom soon returned to my expression however.

“I’m not sure if I’m even worthy of her though,” I continued, looking away from her clear eyes. “I am a wreck. Not only I got my parents killed, I made three young adventurers perish as well. Haah, maybe she has grown up from liking me too.”

“I doubt that,” she replied with a comforting smile, before looking away. “Sherry… is a fiercely loyal and stubborn person. It’s hard to change her mind once she has decided on something. I always feel she’s the type of girl whose love will be passionate. Or even mad. That girl always thirsts for love, you know. So once she receives some, she will give it back ten fold. That’s why she tried so hard to keep up with you in a fight. She wanted to be useful to you.”

“I knew that.” I sighed. “Which is why it makes it feel even worse that I ended up like this.”

She didn’t respond. Instead, she looked up to me and said, “If you can’t love yourself for your own sake, then do it for her. And I hope you will be the best husband that you could for her. Do not hesitate and pour every single drop of your love, for she will surely return in kind. I can vouch for that.”

“And besides,” she added with a little mischievous smile. “I doubt you’ll be able to keep your hands off her once she becomes older. I can just tell she will grow up to be an absolute beauty. That silky jet black hair of hers… it’s enough to make any girl jealous.”

I couldn’t help but smile. I did like playing with that hair after all.

“Oh, by the way, what was it about the three adventurers? If you don’t mind, I would like to hear about that as well.

With a sigh, I promptly explained to her how I got them killed.

“I see. So that’s how it is.” She lowered her head. “Once again, I have to say, their death wasn’t your fault in the slightest.”

“But if I hadn’t—”

“Please stop with the ifs.” She interrupted, almost in a scolding manner. “You cannot foresee the future. You did the best thing you could and that is perfectly enough. So please, stop being so harsh on yourself.”

“Still, I—”

In a flash, she put her right arm around my body and pulled me towards her, making my head rest on her chest.

“Shh… that’s enough. I don’t want to hear anymore of you cursing yourself. You are a better person than you think. Even I could see that. And I just met you today.”

Soft. I could feel the softness of her breasts in this position. They weren’t big but they were definitely there.

“You know, I really shouldn’t be doing this to you. Sherry will probably be jealous if she sees us like this,” she admitted with a little impish smile. “But this is how I usually comfort people. I did it with Sherry too all those years ago, hugging her as we slept together.”

She then released me and made me sit up right once more.

“Do you feel better now?”

“I do.” I smiled. “Thank you for that. Now I know why Sherry spoke so highly of you.”

“She did?” she replied with a smile. “I’m happy to hear that.”

“You know…” Argh, might as well say it. “I was actually thinking of asking you to accompany me on my journey to the Demon Continent. But you already have your own party, don’t you?”

“That’s right,” she answered, a tinge of disappointment in her voice. “Though if I were to be honest, you can probably tag along if you want. We will eventually travel to the far north so you can travel with us until then.”

“Then, can I—”

“I apologize. But joining us is out of the question.” She averted her gaze. “It’s too dangerous.”

“Too dangerous? What do you mean?”

“We… ah, no. I cannot speak of it. Not with her permission first.”

She suddenly sat up, all with a melancholic look on her face.

“Although, perhaps, if I asked her to… No. I can’t drag you into the matter.” She shook her head. “Not even if you’ve fought and killed one of the Magocracy’s leaders. No, that’s all the more reason why you shouldn’t be involved.”

What is she talking about? Something fishy is going on here!

I stood up as well. “Look, if you’re in trouble, then I wanna help you. I can’t let anything happen to Sherry’s closest friend. She’ll be heartbroken if anything happens to you, you know.”

The cleric paused for a short moment, before returning a smile. “You really are a good person, aren’t you, Charles? Or rather, Hugo? Too good even. You take others’ suffering and make it your own. But no. Unless you want to be involved with this country deeply, then you shouldn’t follow me.”

“This country? You mean the Holy Empire?”

“…Ah, what am I doing, running my mouth like this? She’ll be angry now for sure.”

“She? Who is this—”

“I’m sorry. But I have to leave now. It’s already this late.” She took out a small watch from her pocket. “I really regret it that we can’t chat for long, but for whatever it’s worth, I do hope I have been a small comfort to you. And please send my greetings to Sherry when you met her.”

“Wait, hold on, Nicole!”

Before I could say anything, she already dashed out of the room, earning a confused look from the nun still cleaning outside. I followed her outside and was immediately given the evil eye from her.

“Hey, if you did anything to her, then I’ll—”

“I didn’t do anything! She just ran off on her own.”

That’s it. I have to follow her. I really want to know what she’s involved it, because that doesn’t like something good in the slightest. Something that will deeply involve me with this country? That can only mean one thing.

She’s being involved with the ruling class of this place.

My thoughts immediately returned to Vera.

Yeah, I don’t trust her to handle it on her own.

I ran, ignoring the nun entirely. To think that I would meet Sherry’s old friend here, it really was like a miracle. I never believed in fated meetings, but this really felt like one. Though not the romantic kind, I hope, since I wasn’t going to cheat on Sherry with her best friend. No way. I’m not that much of an asshole.

I just hoped that she hadn’t involved herself in something bad.

Luckily, I managed to find her before she disappeared entirely. Thanks to my Wind Step, my running speed greatly outclassed her.

And after running for a while, she stopped, and began walking normally. But not without giving a glance backward, which I dodged just in the nick of time.

I followed her after, tailing her like a hunter would tail his prey. Or rather, if you prefer using the much less cooler metaphor, like a stalker stalking a popular idol. Thanks to the busy city, it wasn’t that hard for me to blend in with the crowd as I followed her.

The day was really nearly over, with the red sun lazily climbing down on the western sky. So she probably wasn’t lying when she said she was out of time.

Eventually, I saw her entering an inn. It was an average-looking establishment, something that I would stay in as well. She was entering the tavern part, however.

So the people she’s forming a party with should be there…

I followed in as well.

Inside, the place was already starting to get crowded with customers, mostly adventurers, by the looks of them. Carefully, I looked around for her presence, while at the same time, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.

There she is!

I quickly found her at one of the corner tables. She was sitting with another person—another girl to be exact. So she must be that person she mentioned.

I moved in a little closer, allowing a good look on just whom she was conversing with.

Oh wow, is that… a real life tsundere I’m seeing?

I thought that because of the sharp, piercing brown eyes that she had. Not to mention the twintails she fashioned her also brown hair in. She was not far from my age, probably a little older. She was wearing a white dress with a white button-up shirt underneath, along with a pair of brown boots.

They seemed to be in the middle of a discussion, so I decided to do a little eavesdropping. I stood near them with my back turned, pretending that I was paying attention to the painting put up on a wall nearby.

“…depart tomorrow. As usual, Helen already prepared everything so we can leave before the sun rises.”

“Hey, Fiora. Do you think they’ll send more of them after us?”

“Hmm? Possibly. But for now, we’re probably safe. We didn’t let a single one of them escape after all so their superior wouldn’t know they have failed that quickly. What’s the matter? Having second thoughts? You can still walk away if you want. You’re not my servant or bodyguard.”

“No, it’s just that… I still can’t believe they would be doing this to you. They’re your family. Why would they—”

“Ha! Look at the orphan talking about family!”

That girl—she’s a complete brat, isn’t she? You just don’t bring up someone being an orphan—

“Don’t move.”

Wha—

Steel pressed into my throat as one arm wrapped around me from behind.

A small knife was now being brought mere millimeters from my throat.

“Don’t speak, don’t reach for your pocket and do as I say. Or else I will slit your throat in an instant.”

I also felt the familiar sensation of boobs pressing into the back of my head, but it was no time to appreciate such softness.

I am definitely in the s*** right now.

“So, we have a little rat here.”

I glanced to the side and saw Nicole and the girl now standing nearby, looking at me.

“Fiora, that’s—”

“Helen, bring him outside.” She interrupted Nicole.

“As you wish. You hear her. Walk outside.” Her voice was firm and clear, as if she was already used on ordering people around herself.

I was considering freeing myself using Wind Step, but somehow, I could tell that the moment I made my move, this big-boobed lady behind me would really slit my throat. And that would be the end of it. I also had a feeling that she’ll be fast enough to do so before my Wind Step or any other of my quickest spells could activate. She was pressing the blade at my skin to the point that it was bleeding, but not so deep that I suffered from an actual serious wound. It was the mark of a complete professional, someone who was absolutely used to using a knife in this manner. I could summon my two fairies, but would I gamble for my Great Fairy to heal my throat before I die for real? And besides, Nicole was there. And she wouldn’t associate herself with bad people, right?

We headed outside. Somehow, no one really noticed that I had a knife pressed into my throat. I’m starting to think that this lady was some professional assassin or something.

“Head to the back alley.” Bratty girl gave her order once again the moment we stepped outside. The sun already sank completely, giving way to the night.

“Alright. Now turn him around.”

The lady did as she was told.

And now, I was face to face with twintails.

“Fiora, he’s a friend! He’s not an assassin! I can vouch for that!” Nicole spoke first with a worried look.

“Hoo, really?” She lifted my chin with her fingers. Now that she stood right in front of me like this, I could see that she was taller than me. That, and she actually had a sword attached to her waist.

“Tell me about him then.” She withdrew her fingers, turning around so swiftly one of her twintails hit my nose. “What is a friend of Nicole Blanchimont doing here, eavesdropping on her conversation?”

“He must have followed me because he worries about me. I… have said a little too much to him when we met.” Nicole held down her head.

The brat sighed, and she put her arms together under her chest. “So, tell me. What did you say to him?”

“I just said that he can’t be with me because I don’t want him getting involved in our situation.”

“What, is he your lover or something?”

“N-no, not at all!” Nicole waved her arms around with a blush. “He’s my best friend’s lover, actually.”

“Your best friend? From back at the Academy?”

“No. Much further back. I guess I haven’t spoken to you about her yet, have I?”

“No. I don’t really care about such things in the first place. Just tell me in a short and succinct manner why he’s someone I can trust and not an assassin that’s after my life.”

An assassin? Hey, whoever’s holding me like this is more like an assassin than me!

Nicole then looked at me before asking, “Charles, is it alright if I tell her everything we have discussed?”

I sighed. With a sarcastic tone, I replied, “Do I have a choice?”

Oww!

“I said don’t speak, haven’t I?”

The knife—it hurts!

“Then, I shall start from the very beginning.”

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