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She who is Special

It was not supposed to be like this.

No. Things were not supposed to turn out this way.

“…Ugh, never mind.”

She mutters and sits on the ground.

The sun was high in the sky, but the forest was thick with trees, making it slightly dim where she sat.

She hugged herself and closed her eyes tightly.

“It’s not right! I am the ‘protagonist,’ and yet that woman was acting so arrogant!! In the first place, who is this ‘Creutz’? There was no such character in the game. That woman was not supposed to make an appearance after being exiled from the country, so why was she here again!! It should be ‘him’ that comes with Alhart!! So why is that woman…!?”

It was time for her pent-up discontent to be unleashed.

A nearby bush rustled loudly.

She forced her stiffened body to move as she turned towards the bushes; a few seconds elapsed. Then all at once, the bushes shook with a great motion and a person appeared from within.

Dark brown hair and eyes of the same color. The person had a ponytail that went slightly past shoulder length and a face that…one might describe as incredibly average-looking.

A traveler perhaps. There was a short sword hanging from a belt, and the clothes looked like they would be easy to move in. The bag hanging from the stranger’s shoulder was fairly large.

The person’s eyes met Akari’s and blinked dumbly, but even so, she could not clearly make out the gender of this stranger.

“Ah, ummm? You, what are you doing in such a place?”

The voice that addressed her was neither high nor low in pitch, it did not make the distinction any clearer.

“…”

“I am ‘Uto.’ ‘Uto Alzaidar.’ And you?”

“…I am Akari.”

“That’s a pretty name. Akari, why are you in a place like this?”

“…”

Smiling wryly at Akari’s refusal to give an answer, Uto sat down next to her.

“You, I suppose you’re running from someplace…from something?”

“!? Why, how did you…”

Akari couldn’t help but cry in surprise at how accurate the guess was; Uto laughed.

“The thing is, I’ve traveled all around the world and met many ‘troubled’ people. And so I can tell. There is ‘trouble’ with you, and you have also ‘fled’ from it.”

“…”

“Well, it’s nothing to worry about.”

“Huh?”

“I think it is fine to run when you want to. There is no need to force yourself to do things you don’t want to, or cannot do. In return, you should do the things you can do with everything that you have.”

“No need to force yourself…”

“Yes. You should just ignore the extreme expectations of others.”

“…”

Akari’s eyes blinked several times before tears began to surface.

“Huh, huh!? What is the matter!? Have I said anything to upset you so much!?”

“No, it’s not… I’m just, so happy…”

The looks that Akari had received from those around her had changed while going on this journey.

The king, prince, and citizens expected a ‘Saintess.’ Those that accompanied her as guards would not protect her if she was just ‘Akari.’

It wasn’t about whether she could or could not. She must.

Akari had been confused by this ‘world’ that was so cold and cruel, a world that she had never once been a part of before. But now she was forced against her will.

They told her that they had no need of a Saintess who refused and ran; they said that they would abandon her.

No one. Not one single person had given Akari a way out.

And so she was happy. Happy at such kind words that were not directed at the Saintess, but at her. It just made her so happy.

“I,”

And so she thought she could tell everything to Uto.

“I see. So you were the Saintess.”

That was all Uto said, along with a nod as Akari explained her origin and everything that had happened until now.

“It is not as if I have any special kind of power… Why must I endure so much danger and work for the benefit of complete strangers, just because I am from another world?”

“…”

“I admit, the people of this country have treated me well. But, that doesn’t mean…”

“That’s true.”

Uto agreed as she spat out her grievances.

Kind, dark brown eyes stared at her.

“You have worked hard enough. It is not that you don’t have any special powers. In this world, your very existence is special. And so everyone here has high expectations for you, I suppose.”

“My existence is special?”

“Yes. But, the people who accompanied you did not understand this. That is why they were able to say such horrible things to you.”

The words fell deep into her chest.

So, it is not my fault. It was not as if I was in the wrong.

“And yet, it feels wrong for this to end, with those people thinking that you are useless.”

“Do you…think so?”

“I do. You have a most wonderful power. I only wish that those you were with could understand it. Then they would know what a wonderful person you are.”

“I, I’m not…”

As long as you alone understand. She couldn’t say that.

It had been less than half an hour since they had met. And yet, Akari had opened her heart to Uto more than she had anyone else in the world.

A most strange person. Before she knew it, she was hearing the words that she wanted to hear, they entered straight into her heart.

“I know! You and I can purify Rufhana village. That would be more than enough to shock the companions who said they did not need you.”

“You and I?”

“Yes. I don’t have the power to purify, but I have more experience than you in terms of using magic. I’m sure I can be of help.”

“But, I don’t think I can purify…”

“Of course you can. After all, you are ‘special.’”

When said with such a smile, Akari started to believe that she indeed could.

“Maybe, I will try it then.”

“You should! It doesn’t matter if you fail!! Let’s just give it a shot, together!!”

More than anything, Akari was happy for the word ‘together.’

Uto would act for her, through thinking about her.

If it would make Uto happy, she would do just about anything. Such were her thoughts.

A blinding light enveloped their surroundings, covering all of Rufhana village.

The light surrounded the black mist that arose from the fouled soil, it turned into brilliant white particles that vanished into the sky.

“It’s beautiful…”

“It is.”

Akari and Uto stood facing each other and laughing, behind them, stood Rufhana village, which was covered in a dimly shining barrier that Miliane had made.

“Lady Akari!!”

“Ah, Tedla…”

“I looked everywhere for you, lady Akari. Did you do this? So you were able to do the purification!? ….Who is this?”

It was a breathless Tedla who appeared before them.

After standing wide-eyed at the numerous particles of light disappearing into the sky in Rfhana village, he turned to Uto with obvious suspicion.

“Are you a companion of Akari? I am Uto. Uto Alzaidar. I’m just a passerby.”

“…I am Tedla Balratona. Who is the person who did…”

“It was Akari. I only helped her. She is ‘special,’ after all.”

“…In any case, we should return to where Syltina is. We can talk once we are there.”

“…I refuse.”

Akari brushed away Tedla’s offered hand and put her arms around Uto’s.

“Why should I have to return to such people!? I will go with Uto!! We will go on a journey to purify!”

“Lady Akari!?”

“Akari, I’m not sure about…”

“Why not? You are a traveler are you not? Then you must be moderately strong? I am sure that you can stand against any monster! You will kill the monsters, I will purify. No? Is it not a brilliant idea?”

“…Akari, I think we should return to your companions first. I will go with you.”

“But!!”

“It’s all right. I will stay by your side.”

“…Fine.”

At last, Akari nodded and Tedla breathed a sigh of relief.