~ Chapter 59: The curse of a former adventurer ~
[Eliza's point of view]
My cheek was still stinging from my sister's slap. It hurt, and I knew I deserved it.
Instead of going together with my injured nephew and having Luthecia put [Mark] on me or something similar, I let him go on his own. I let a ten years-old boy, injured and hurt, to search without an adult's supervision through a forest I knew harbored dangerous monsters.
What was I thinking? I scolded myself as I followed the trace left by my spell.
Behind me, my sister and her husband ran as fast as they could, while the soldiers of Baron Vlamyr barely kept up with us. They were a bit out of shape in my opinion.
It didn't even cross my mind at that time that maybe Leonidas could end up lost within this unfamiliar place. After all, I never took the siblings so deep within the Chedelle Forest during our training sessions. I always made sure to stick to the edge where no dangerous monster was around and if there was, I would usually chase it away or kill it for materials to sell at the Adventurers Guild in Briston. Now we were so deep within the forest, even I couldn't guess what dangers lurked ahead, and there was always the chance of us getting lost.
Leonidas was just a ten years-old boy. No matter how wise or strong he was when compared to others of his age, there was no way he could handle himself in this place. A monster could easily pick up the scent of the blood on his clothes then give chase to him. Children his age were seen as nothing but juicy treats by those beasts.
This was, without a doubt, the biggest mistake I had ever made in my life, and all of it because I froze in that one moment, and I couldn't think straight. This was my weakness as an adventurer, the worst curse that could have possibly dawned upon me besides my gambling addiction. Actually, I gained the latter because of the first.
Who could have guessed that an Emperor Rank Adventurer like me could have such a fault?
When I saw the blood of someone close to me, be it a friend or a family member, I always froze like I had been struck by an ice spell. I stopped thinking straight and couldn't focus on the battle at hand. I would panic or start thinking of the worst possible outcome until the fear of losing that person would overwhelm me, turning me into an easy prey.
Whenever I was on a mission and things turned dangerous, I tried to take the brunt attack of all the enemies, putting myself in front of needless danger at time, all to avoid my friends getting injured, because if they would, I would then freeze and just become a dead weight for them. Instead of protecting, I would be the one who would require their protection.
My strength was great but useless under such conditions. After all, while adventuring, it was literally impossible for no one to get hurt unless we faced off foes far below our abilities, which would have made the whole adventure a waste of time for the most part.
When I was first met with this problem, I did try to cure it by going to various healers and even consulting the priests, but no one could do anything about it. I willingly left my party so that I wouldn't be a burden to them and settled for simple, weak adventures.
In the end, it was impossible not to bond with one or two of my party members, which result in activating this curse again. I switched many parties so often, that other adventurers began to doubt my strength. Soloing was an option, but I lacked useful skills to help take on more challenging missions. Thus, I had to give up on continuing as an adventurer and pick up the job as a tutor... This and the fact that my sister took care of some of my gambling debts.
I thought tutoring my nephews wasn't going to be such a bad deal. Nothing could happen to activate my curse, right?
Those were some rather foolish thoughts. My bad luck came running after me and bit me right on the jugular. I froze again and watched in horror how my ten years-old nephew mended to his own broken body. The sound of his bones cracking back into place, the blood squishing through his frail flesh, seeing this nearly made me faint. Yet, despite the pain he was going through and the danger to his own life, that little boy ran after his sister.
My own nephew showed more courage than I ever did in my entire life. I thought, and I felt ashamed of this.
Now, as we were running though the Chedelle Forest, I could only hope and pray that those two children were alright and somehow safe.
I didn't care what Leonidas and Cassandra planned to do, but I just wanted to find them alive so I could apologize to both of them.
“We're getting close now.” I announced.
“May the gods look after my children.” Melissa prayed.
In that moment, we all felt a surge of powerful Magic Energy and stopped in our tracks.
“What in the world?” Reynald said.
A moment later, we all saw a bright white beam of light as it cut through the sky. It was coming from somewhere in front of us, the same place where my [Mark] spell was telling me that Leonidas was.
As for what that beam of light was, we had no idea. One thing was certain though, whoever cast it was very powerful and very dangerous. In the worst case scenario, it could have been a monster of at least Godlike Rank. A beast like that could level a town like Briston in a single day.
“Let us hurry.” I said and picked up the pace.
Leonidas, Cassandra, please be safe! I prayed for them.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too.
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