Book 3 Chapter 198

Hope for Eirinn

Leguna gazed dazedly at the unconscious giant a few meters from him. He finally realized he was at his limit as well.

Did I win?

He heard a dull thrum in his ears. The crowd was cheering. His thoughts, however, were on another matter completely.

[Teacher, did you hear Annie say anything just now?]

[No,] Gahrona answered, [I have a mental link with you, but I can't hear everything you hear. If someone spoke to you using a conference spell I would not hear anything.]

Leguna tried his best to look at the VIP booth. Annelotte had shown up there before, so he hoped she was there now. He stared at the booth for what felt like an eternity, but it was empty, and stayed that way no matter how long he stared.

A hallucination... he concluded.

Pain assaulted him in that moment and he collapsed. His head bounced on the compacted ground, and the last thing he saw before his consciousness vanished was the judges running onto the stage.

Some of the audience burst into cheers while others began discussing the match. A plainly dressed woman with black hair sitting in the normal audience seats looked at the petite figure, a slight pinch of anguish in her cheeks.

......

'Unimaginable Result! Legg Loses.'

'Shocking News! Berserker Legg Defeated by Mysterious Youth.'

Legg at His Limit? How Strong is He Really?'

'Annelotte VS Ley, Clash Between Two Stars.'

'What else did He Fake? An Exposé on Ley.'

'Mysterious Personal Disciple of Assassin Dark Requiem -- the Low-key and Mysterious Ley!'

Vera frowned as she read the newspapers. A day had passed since the match, but it was still the hottest topic on everyone's lips. Legg was at least among the top three and Leguna was nothing but cannon fodder.

But now the small fry was in the top three. Everyone was shocked.

Though Legg fought with his usual flair, he lost. Everyone was curious about this mysterious boy.

Every newspaper ran front page articles on Leguna. His mask was revealed during the match, so everyone speculated about his identity. A few newspapers ran supposed expose's, all of which was nothing but half-educated guesswork or outright fabrication. A few said he was from some noble family and that this tournament was a trial for him, others speculated he was the secret representative of the Bureau of Military Intelligence. One claimed he was Dark Requiem's disciple. (Editor's Note: Now isn't that ironic.)

The last one especially, came dangerously close to the truth. Even if they made a wild guess that just happened to be close, Vera knew keen eyes would notice the similarities and become suspicious.

She didn't understand why Leguna was still using his old name, but she kept quiet because he must have his reasons. She could also not try and stop the conjecture, because it would only add fuel to the fire. The thing to do was to just let the dust settle on its own.

Gerd worked behind the scenes with the bureau and pushed conversation away from that uncomfortably accurate article. Though the middle-aged man wasn't satisfied with the boy's immaturity and his aversion to responsibility, he served Wayerliss loyally. He used his relationship with the publishers to lead them away Dark Requiem.

Three days later, Kurdak woke. He still needed several more days, perhaps a week or more, to recover enough to get out of bed though.

Leguna woke two days after Kurdak. His injuries were much lighter and his head had mostly been restored thanks to a high-order priest's ministrations. Even his teeth had regrown. Fixing his looks alone cost Vera a thousand gold. His other injuries cost the rest until he nearly matched Kurdak.

Even shopping maniac Vera had learned to budget. Taking inspiration from Kurdak, she had gathered all their savings and betted on Leguna. Given the overwhelming odds, the payout was 20 to 1. Kurdak's treatment had left them with just 300 gold, but after the fight they had 6000 -- much of which went to Leguna's treatment. Even Vera, usually really against gambling, couldn't help but be tempted.

......

Leguna gazed in the mirror. Some of his internal injuries were still healing, but his outward appearance was back to its underwhelming mediocrity.

"Don't push yourself for a while," the priest advised.

Leguna didn't listen. He felt up his face as agitation flashed through his eyes.

"Mister Priest. Can you heal scars."

"Of course. All priests who bathe in Pyro's benevolent light can heal scars. Our entire beings are dedicated to easing suffering, both physical and spiritual, so of course we can heal scars."

"Then..." Leguna stood up emotionally.

He swayed a little, but wobbled onwards, finally reaching Eirinn.

"Can you heal her scars? Her fingers too!"

The priest turned his gaze to the little girl. She'd caught his attention when he came in the first time. She looked even worse than the boy before his treatment.

"How long ago did she get the scars and the injury?"

"She lost her fingers two months ago. She got the scars on her face at least ten years ago."

"Hmm… I can heal her hand, but it will be very expensive. I need to perform a miracle to regrow the bones. It should be about a thousand gold per finger."

Eirinn's face waxed. She grabbed Leguna's arm.

"No, Big Brother. That's too much. You shouldn't waste so much money on me!"

Leguna would have none of it and even shoved her hands away as he freed his arm.

"No problem!"

He did not care about the cost. As long as it could be done, and he had the money, he'd do it.

"That's only her hand though. Her face… is an entirely different matter."

"What do you mean?"

"I can't heal her face."

"Why not? Didn't you say all scars could be healed? Can your almighty Pyro not heal a few scars?"

"Don't doubt God's power!" the priest exclaimed, like he was denouncing blasphemy, "God's power shall not be questioned!"

"I'm sorry."

"God shall tolerate your ignorance this time. God is not the one incapable of healing your friend's face, I am inadequate. I cannot perform such a miracle."

The priest pointed at the girl's face when he saw the question mark on Leguna's face.

"I can heal relatively recent scars, maybe up to a year old is still fine. Her's, however, are at least a decade old, you say. Her body no longer sees them as unnatural, they are an accepted, natural part of her body. Only myth-realm priests can heal such scars."

Leguna hesitated for a moment, "Is there--"

"--No. There are no mythical priests in Melindor. However--"

"--What?"

"However, there's another way."

"Please enlighten me," Leguna pressed, bowing deeply.

"Magi can do it too." Seeing how much the youth cared about the girl's scars, the priest revealed it.

"Magi?" Leguna froze. The moment he heard that, and ice-blue silhouette popped up in his mind.

"Yes. I used to be a low-order magus before I accepted Pyro's light. I know a little about migicae. The level nine wishing spell can be used to heal such scars. It's an incredibly wondrous spell that can grant any wish."

"A level nine spell..." Leguna smiled bitterly.

He'd learned a fair deal from Annelotte over the years. The greatest spell most magi could breathe had a level roughly equal to half their strata. So a thirteen and fourteen strata magus could, at best, use a seventh level spell. Leguna would need to find a friendly 17 strata magus to heal Eirinn's scars.

Such magi were exceedingly rare. There were about the same number of magi in all five of the first strata, but at five strata they suddenly became rare, and from there every new stratum more had progressively few and few. On average only one in every two million people had the potential to become a high-order magus, and that did not mean that one person would necessarily choose the magi path. The entire empire, a population of 40 million, had at best 10 high-order magi.

Even if Melindor had a high-order magus or two, they weren't going to have 17 strata, and not all of those with the ability, had learnt the spell. Even if he did manage to find someone like that, he would never be able to afford his services.

High-order magi were several realms above high-order priests. The latter might be moved by 10 thousand gold, it was barely pocket change for a high-order magi. Many of the ingredients for the tougher, more complex high-order spells cost that much already.

Regardless, it was still hope, in theory, there was someone who could heal Eirinn's face. And, all that aside, the most important bit, her fingers, could be healed with immediate effect.

A short negotiation followed and it was decided they'd heal her the next day. The high-order priest had used quite a few high level miracles already, so he needed time to recover.. He also had to prepare the necessary ingredients.


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