Here is yet another present from me as it is my birthday
There was no bloodlust.
Karen stiffened, feeling some unknown threat.
“If you’ve got time to jabber, get to treating ‘em.”
Saying this, she threw a box full of rubber gloves at Karen as if nothing happened.
They were medical glove.
Karen had seen them on Akane when she was immersed in her work.
The gloves were perfect for controlling infectious illnesses because they were disposable.
“…Why… won’t you fight with us?”
“I have to protect my store. With my shop located right next to a dungeon, I hate times like this. Ah, it’s super scary.”
Sounding carefree, she crossed her hands behind her head.
In other words, she wouldn’t lift a finger.
There was a lot Karen wanted to say to her. Somethings she wanted to ask her too.
But right then, she couldn’t say anything.
She had no right to say anything.
Karen was a bottom barrel adventurer.
If she didn’t follow Haruki, if she couldn’t use magic
she’d be a useless waste unable to do anything.
Because she knew this, Karen bit down hard on her lip.
The more she wanted to do something to help, the more she caused problems for others.
The more she become aware of her own actions, the naiver she saw herself as.
She had no right to say anything to Akane.
She could do nothing,
but cause more trouble,
and fill up with regret…
Karen continued to apply ointment to the injured while biting her lip hard.
This was all she could do for now.
Only this wouldn’t be useless.
She carved that reality deep in her heart.
That way, she wouldn’t ever forget today.
That way, she could make sure to never end up feeling this way again.
Soldiers with shallow wounds would be able to return to the front line shortly.
But it would be difficult for those with deeper wounds.
It would be impossible for those with fractures. They couldn’t be cured with ointment.
While treating with the ointment, Karen dwelt in frustration.
If she had more power.
If there were more drugs in the bag…!
She could’ve saved those suffering from injuries!!
A middle-aged male soldier opened his mouth, smiling, as if he read Karen’s anguished expression.
“You’re plenty helpful miss. It’s our role to fight and get hurt instead of civilians. So don’t blame yourself. If it’s really painful-”
His gentle expression changed suddenly.
His eyes gleamed a sharp light.
“…Become strong in time for the next stampede.”
The word weren’t only directed at Karen.
The man was frustrated with himself too.
He got injured and was separated from the front …
So he was determined.
He would become even stronger so next time he wouldn’t fall into a situation like this.
He wanted the power to protect others so no one else got hurt!
Karen nodded firmly.
She was all about being injured, bleeding out and risking her life for civilians.
She was…an adventurer after all!
At that moment, the air shook.
It was the sound of someone shouting or screaming.
Karen turned to look in the direction of the noise.
At that moment, the soldier who had been sitting down next to her suddenly vanished.
He grabbed his weapon, a spade, and rushed towards a monster that had just appeared.
In front of the monster was a small boy carrying a school bag.
Why on earth was he in this place!?
Reflexively, Karen attempted to use magic–but it didn’t work.
This was outside the dungeon.
Magic couldn’t be invoked.
While Karen was struggling, the man moved in and raised his spade.
However, he was too far from the monster.
He couldn’t rescue the boy in time.
Once slashed at by the Black Raccoon, the boy’s limp body would fall before them.
Imagine that moment: Seconds after Karen would turn away in horror.
The Black Raccoon dug its head deep into the ground.
It was not the young man who attacked.
It wasn’t Karen either, of course.
It was Akane.
Akane, who had been relaxing in front of the prefab, was instantly moving from 20 meters away.
Neither her movement nor attack were seen by Karen.
Just how powerful was she …?
“I’m okay? I’m not injured?”
“Ya … yes …”
Did the boy think she’d be angry?
Akane reached out her hand but the boy pulled back.
Once he took her hand though, the boy’s started to go limp from exhaustion.
“Bastards, what are you doing!?”
The man who had run to save the boy suddenly raised his voice in anger.
The demanding voice heightened the tension in the air.
“I’m sorry! We’re at our limit here…”
“I ain’t asking that! I’m asking why you didn’t come to help that child!!? You guys call yourselves the K-Town Self-Defense Militia!?”
Why had they overlooked a monster slipping through the side?
Why didn’t they try to protect the child?
The soldiers were frozen silent in response to his words.
Hearing this, Karen calmed herself down.
His roar surely included his own anger at himself.
Without Akane, the boy would definitely be dead.
He wasn’t able to do anything with his own power.
Rather than rejoicing in the boy’s luck, he grieved his lack of power.
The words overlapped with Karen’s feeling, and her heart ached.
“Prepare yourselves! Do not let a single monster pass through the defense line!”
The troops screamed at once.
Listening, Karen too readied herself by joining in the cheer.
The boy’s pained expression changed.
A male corp took the boy from Akane.
Sitting down, a smile floated on his face.
“Why am I in this place?
Umm… I was going to school…
Oh, it’s already school time!”
“Hahaha,” the man laughed cheerfully and patted the boy’s head.
“You did nothing wrong. So don’t worry, kid.”
Told as such, the boy relaxed a bit.
“Nah. It’s our job to protect everyone so.”
Saying that, he stroked the boy’s head again.
The boy was no longer afraid.
Conversely, a look of deep respect for Akane and the man began to show on his face.
Karen understood the boy’s feelings very well.
She had also been saved.
The hero who saved her would always be the coolest.
Looking up to that person or wanting to be like them couldn’t be helped.
“Hey, someone see this kid off to school!”
“Yes, I’ll do it!”
A soldier unable to fight because of a fracture went to see the boy off, moving nimbly despite his injury.
The person who saved the boy was already sitting on the prefabricated steps.
She threw her feet up and waved her hand to the boy.
There was no tension left in the air.
Karen saw Akane in a bit of a different light now…
She hadn’t noticed it before due to Akane’s insincere attitude.
It seemed that the middle-aged man felt the same.
He smiled bitterly when he saw Akane.
His face soon distorted in pain though.
The previous attack might have worsened his injury.
Karen hastily applied ointment to a man’s wound.
Saying it hurt, he spoke up like he was complaining about a puppy giving him play bites.
“…That was nice, right? Akane getting someone to see that child off to school.”
“It’s safer to be at school than at home so. But … I need to reconsider our communication methods during the stampede. The monster likely snuck in early in the morning, so the information was hard to convey to anyone.”
Certainly, if emergency information had been properly communicated, the child would not have come this way.
Or maybe he would’ve stayed at home with his parents.
“Geez, there’s a lot to deal with. But first we need to get through today.”
“Wait, wait please! You still have an injury…”
“It’s fine. That man up there who’s way older than me is working harder than this old man.”
He smiled while pointing with his thumb.
In one part of the defense, a tank top wearing old man wielding a farming tool was still on the front line.
Akane gave that man a high-pitched cheer.
The old man responded to Akane’s cheer with a thumbs up.
…Right, those two were acquaintances.
“You got to keep at it, all right?”
“Don’t underestimate me! I’m not losing to you young ‘uns!!”
Could he hear us from that distance?
The old man intimidated the others with his bloodshot eyes.
The militia members wore wry smiles upon seeing him.
“Geez, he’s one strong geezer. Alright, I’ll leave the logistic support to you. The results of the last battle depend on your medical skills. Know that and work hard. ”