A Misunderstood Mentor – Chapter 7 – The Truth Is That I Knew That Everyone Is a Nice Person (Except Nerissa)
“You are banished from the party.”
Ten years ago, on the way to conquer the Desert Labyrinth, the warrior Rick spoke those words to me.
He was a calm, cool, collected leader-like person, always clad in that black armor of his. Hearing those words, I averted my eyes.
I always knew I was a burden to this party. My party was how I, as talentless as I was, got to my current level.
“Okay. I’ll get my stuff and leave tonight.”
“No. Get out now.”
A new voice, one of the priestess Sasha, cut in. Her healing magic had saved me who knows how many times. And every single time, she saved me from near-death without a complaint.
“Can’t I have one last dinner with you guys?”
If there was one thing I was confident in, it was handling the relatively minor things like cooking and other chores.
“Wait, really, well then… N-No, you can’t! Leave! Now!”
Sasha seemed to waver for a bit, but in the end, she strongly refused.
“I see. It was fun while it lasted. Please take care of Alice for me.”
Alice was quietly sleeping in a corner of the tent. She’d probably cry once she knew I was gone. But she’d forget me all the same; that’s how children were.
I lovingly rubbed her head, and she started to smile in her sleep.
I put all my stuff in my bag, excepting my sword and shield. It wasn’t like I was ever going to use them again, anyways.
The thief Butz stopped me outside of the tent. His excellent crisis-sensing abilities had saved me many times after getting caught in traps.
“That necklace is Nerissa’s. Give it back.”
Nerissa told me to never take it off when she put the necklace on me. But I was leaving the party. What did this necklace have to do with me?
“Alright. I’ll take it off.”
Just when the bell on the necklace softly ringed as I was pulling it off, a white light suddenly erupted out of the bell.
“Tsk, teleportation magic. That f*cking old lady was listening…”
Butz ripped off the necklace and smashed it onto the ground. But the light didn’t stop.
“Sh*t, she’s coming. Rick, Sasha, stall for time.”
I had absolutely no idea what was happening. I just stood still in confusion.
“What are you doing? You’re out of the party. Get out of here!”
It was the first time I heard Rick raising his voice.
“Yeah. Go. You don’t deserve to be an adventurer.”
Sasha was casting some kind of magic at the bell.
“What the f*ck is happening here?”
Everything smelled fishy. Their harsh words of kicking me out of the party seemed… too emotionless.
The light emitting from the necklace burst into a fountain of light.
“What the h*ll are you guys thinking?”
The Grand Sage Nerissa appeared in the midst of the light.
She occupied the first spot on the adventurer rankings since ages ago. Nerissa Lucia Ashtall Tsilt, an immortal elf who lived for over a millennium, had the typical long and pointed ears endemic to elves, shoulder-length silver hair, and droopy grey eyes. Her ethereal beauty long surpassed even the prettiest human; despite her age, she only looked around twenty-five.
There were tales of her epic battle against the Ancient Dragon being sung by bards all over the world.
And such a legendary figure was glaring at us.
“I’m using my authority to kick Takumi out of the party. Let’s leave it at this.”
“He’s already at his limits. My healing can’t keep up. Sooner or later, he’ll die.”
“He’s just too weak. Not at all fit for our high-level party. Get a f*cking clue.”
I wondered if everyone was trying to think of how to get me out of the party while Nerissa was away.
But even without doing all this, I didn’t believe that Nerissa needed me as weak as I was. Why not let me leave the party normally?
“I will not let that happen. Takumi will live with me, forever.”
Nerissa called out my name.
Back when I failed my adventurer advancement test, Nerissa pulled some strings to pass me and put me into the party. I still didn’t know why she did that.
She tried to walk closer to me.
However, the three other party members stood in her way.
“Get out of my way. You three can’t beat me.”
It did seem to be that way.
While Rick was high up in the rankings, he was nowhere near Nerissa’s level.
“Why? We can still function as a party even without Takumi.”
“Yeah, our fighting strength wouldn’t even decrease by a single millimeter.”
“Without him dragging us down, we might even be stronger.”
Tears blurred my vision.
It was an act. It was all an act to get me to leave.
“How would you shallow people only caring about power know a single thing about Takumi? Have you ever thought about why Alice, even as powerful as she is, only cares about Takumi?”
The reason why Alice is only really close to me?
It wasn’t because I found her first?
“…Leave, Takumi. We can buy you a little bit of time.”
“Thanks for everything. Your food was always good.”
“Go and don’t look back.”
The three of them ignored Nerissa’s question.
“So you do know. And you still want to let Takumi go.”
Nerissa’s magic got visibly angrier.
I didn’t really understand a single thing.
But if this is what my friends thought, then so be it.
“Thanks for everything, guys. I’ll be off.”
I came into this world longing for adventure.
The reason I went as high as I did was all because of my friends. I had no talent, after all. I left behind my time as an adventurer and ran as fast as I could.
“Wait, Takumi. Don’t just think you can leave. I’ll deal with you three in a second…!? Alice!”
For the first time, Nerissa raised her voice. Alice woke up and had left the tent. For just an instant, I turned back to look at Alice.
“Hey, where’s Takumi?”
Still half-asleep, Alice rubbed her eyes and looked around.
“Alice, Nerissa bullied Takumi and he ran away.”
“Y-Yeah, it’s all her fault.”
“Beat, beat her up!”
“You f*cking… Wait, Alice, calm down! I didn’t do anything bad. Don’t cry. Don’t cry, okay?”
Although I heard the sound of an explosion, I didn’t turn back. I kept running straight forwards.
Nerissa’s voice echoed through the area.
“No matter where you go, I will definitely find you!”
And for the ten years after, I pretty much never left the mountain. I never expected to meet her again, but here she was. I had thought that she would’ve already given up looking for me. But, she never did.
“Takumi, these ten years felt longer than the other thousand I’ve lived for.”
Facing her unchanged features, I couldn’t help but remember the events of a decade ago like yesterday.
“I won’t let you go ever again.”
After a decade-long separation, they met again.
And such began their destined confrontation.