73. Chapter 73
Walm was sitting in a corner of the bar from the morning, drinking alcohol. Until he was intoxicated, he filled his stomach with alcohol and ate barely enough to keep himself alive.
This had been repeated every day for a year. Since then, his mind and body had been slowly rotting. As he drank, he blocked out reality, despising himself and coloring the vile memories of his homeland a muddy color. Walm’s target for salvation wasn’t a bystander like God, but only alcohol and cigarettes that could numb his consciousness.
Looking at the liquor bottles lined up on the table, Walm suddenly wondered how many he had emptied. However, suddenly he felt uncomfortable, his eyebrows drew together and his eyelids trembled, and instead of stopping, it turned into pain.
“Uh, urrgghh, aAHH…!!”
Eventually, he suffered from burning pain in both eyes.
“a, AHH, my eyes, aAAHHH…!!!”
The edge of the desk Walm was pressing on squeaked, and his breathing was getting heavy. The excruciating pain felt by the eyeballs was as if a heated five-inch nail were penetrating, and this sharp pain brought back memories of the past. It was the same pain as something that he had experienced in the past. It was the memory of the heinous event at Dandurg Castle. The tragedy of the “Great Outbreak,” deeply embedded in the brain, forced its way into consciousness.
“Hoi, are you okay?”
Since it was still morning, there was no sign of other guests, and Gangut, the owner, hurrying out of the kitchen, called out.
Walm tried to act tough, but Gangut denied it.
“No matter how I look at it, you don’t seem okay. Do your eyes hurt?”
Gangut looked Walm in the eye and sighed.
The pupils reflected in the glass were vertically constricted, like what Walm had seen on the battlefield of the past, swaying freely like a living being of its own.
“Y-you should go to the church’s treatment center right now and see a healing magician.”
Said Gangut in a sad tone to Walm.
For a whole year, Walm frequently saw Gangut, and he could see that Gangut had been taking good care of him. This time too, it was advice spoken with good intentions.
“Ye…ah, I understand. Where’s, the place?”
Walm’s radius of action had been small over the past year, frequenting only a small rented room to spend the night, a general store to buy necessities, and a bar to drink alcohol. Obviously, he didn’t know where the clinic was located.
“It’s on the main street. You can see it when you head to the center of the city. It’s a building with a noticeable blue stained glass.”
And so Walm stepped forward in a wavering field of view, creaking the aged floor slightly.
“Are you okay going alone?”
“I’m not a kid. I can go to a hospi… a treatment center alone.”
Walm tried to make a joke. When he smiled slightly, the owner’s face tightened. Maybe he looked scary from the owner’s point of view.
Just right after Walm pushed open the door, the annoying but blinding sun immediately greeted him. Wondering when was the last time he had walked on Main Street during the day, he tried to search his memories but found nothing.
As Walm walked through the street, the eyeball constantly rejected the blinding sun like he was a vampire, or something like that.
Passersby were dodging Walm’s undead-like footsteps. Seeing how considerate people were of the sick man, Walm laughed at himself.
“Haha, so, far…”
The road he had to pass, which was less than a kilometer long, felt like the Great Wall of China. Occasionally, he leaned against the fence of a private house to steady his turbulent breathing.
As the bar owner Gangut said, the treatment center was easy to spot even from a distance. The building was white, and abundant blue stained glasses were used to let in the sunlight.
It was a building that Walm wouldn’t normally even approach unless he had intermittent eye pain, like now. There were unrelated graveyards and statues of those who couldn’t fight their wounds.
Passing through the fancy gate, Walm pushed open the doors of the building.
Stained glass was stretched around the dome-shaped ceiling. If people came to simply inspect the building, they would already let out a voice of amazement. The current Walm, however, perceived it as nothing more than a lighting fixture with an unsightly light.
A young woman was sitting behind the counter. She must be the receptionist. Certainly, better than a dirty middle-aged man for the eyes.
“May I ask, what’s the problem?”
The lady at the reception asked Walm.
“My eyes hurt.”
Walm dragged his leg to the counter and turned his eyes to the woman.
The receptionist girl disappeared to the back.
“E-eyes, is it? Wait, I’ll check the schedule now.”
The receptionist girl disappeared into the back.
Walm sat deep in a chair and rested his back. The pain increased without any sign of improvement.
“Fuu, huu, huff…”
Disordered breathing. Walm hastily stopped reaching for the flask on his hip. He tried not to rely on the alcohol he had been relying on until now. He understood that alcohol wasn’t really a panacea.
“Please, go inside.”
Feeling the receptionist’s eyes on his back, Walm stepped into the guided room.
Old books, bottled specimens, herbs, and liquids of unknown use were lined up in the room. Meanwhile, the healing magician was sitting.
“Sit there. Your eyes, seem like they’re burning.”
Walm sat down on the chair pointed to and answered.
“Yeah, it hurts, like, it’s about, to melt.”
“I see, let me check.”
Leaning forward, the healing magician looked him in the eye. The skin was sagging and wrinkled according to age. The healing magician squeezed out the words in a slightly quivering voice.
“No way, are those the evil demon eyes? What did you do? Really.”
There was no reason to hide it now. So, Walm answered honestly.
“During the war, I lost both eyes. And the eyes of the Ogre Lord were transplanted.”
“The eyes of the Ogre Lord? What a ridiculous story.”
The stunned healing magician, who suddenly fell silent as if she had lost words, began to ponder.
“First of all, it’s impossible to be alive. But, is it really that compatible?… I still can’t believe those bloodshot eyes, the mana and fresh blood that flow out of them are compatible. You should’ve died on a day of rejection. For your body to get used to it……”
The healing magician sneaked into the sea of thoughts and never returned.
Walm, tired of waiting, sought a conclusion.
“So, could you cure it?”
“Me? Curing it? That’s, impossible.”
Expecting a long answer, the healing magician succinctly explained that treatment was impossible for her. In this case, a second opinion would be needed, but unfortunately, there were no other healing magicians around here.
Walm looked at the healing magician, revealing his distrust.
“Ca-calm down. I mean, my skills won’t do… What happened to the healing magician who transplanted those demon eyes?”
The healing magician who had transplanted the eyes was dead in Dandurg Castle. She was no longer in the world, she crossed the other side when she was invited to the Netherworld. That was all Walm knew.
“She, died in the war.”
That was more than enough words. Feeling disheartened, the healing magician sighed a little.
“War, is it? I want to meet a healing magician who managed to transplant those demon eyes, but she’s already left this world, huh?”
The healing magician made a hand prayer.
“If that person were here, the symptoms could be suppressed, and maybe an adjustment to perfectly fit those eyes to you could even be achieved…”
“So, there’s no other way to do it huh.”
“I don’t want you to jump to the conclusion in a hurry… Let me tell you, I’ve healed many people to the extent that many called me a veteran.”
It seemed as if the healing magician wanted to oppose Walm’s words of acceptance, which were mixed with self-ridicule.
“…Let me ask. How much money do you have?”
Even in this world, no one could live without money. Walm understood that. So, when he left Dandurg Castle and Highserk Empire’s territory, he recovered supplies and valuables from those who no longer needed them.
Walm took a bag full of coins from his magic bag and spread the content out on the desk.
“Surprisingly, I’ve quite some.”
After counting the gold coins and magical silver coins, the healing magician left her seat and opened the tightly closed shelves. Inside were only suspicious items, a bottle of liquid that looked as muddy as a poisonous swamp and even an ointment that shimmered in seven colors
“Umm, where did I put it… Ah, here it is.”
The healing magician took out a bottle with red liquid.
“What is that?”
“It’s an eye medicine. It won’t neutralize Hydra’s poison, but it can neutralize most poisons and even heal minor defects. It’s a genuine product with the approval of The Great Forest Alliance.”
“About, this much.”
The healing magician took a sum of money which Walm could use to drink for about 20 years. In one fell swoop, that many coins were gone.
“It’s a joke, right?”
“I’m not trying to take advantage of you. In fact, I’m even giving a discounted price, since I feel bad for you, a person with the problematic demon eyes who the healing magician responsible for them had died. In other cities, this coin bag would be taken too…”
“…Trust me. It’ll get rid of the pain.”
The healing magician divided it into small bottles and instilled the liquid into Walm’s eyes. The burning pain that plagued Walm faded like a lie.
“To be honest, I was skeptical.”
It might be a side effect, but the muddy sea of thoughts also cleared, albeit a little.
“It’s a drug made by an elf. Of course, it works like a wonder. The problem is that this isn’t a 100% cure for it.”
“This world… ain’t it so convenient? Huh…”
“Once a week, you have to use this eye medicine. This much will last for about a year, but if your symptoms worsen, it’ll be even shorter. Consuming too much mana will put a strain on your eyes. Please refrain from using it.”
“… Since you asked, it seems you have some need for it. I don’t know if you’re a mercenary or an adventurer, but high-ranking “magic” and “skills” can worsen the condition. There may be a time it’s unavoidable to use it, but… Be prepared when you use it too much.”
“Right, I’ll keep that in mind.”
Walm, who became a defeated soldier and fell into the life of a drunkard, had no need for a long-range attack like 《Demon Fire》. Such a large attack would turn many citizens here into ashes and dust. No benefit he would gain for doing it.
“Is there any other way to heal it completely?”
“The Great Forest Alliance of the Three Big Countries may have more effective medicines, but the ones in that country are extremely low in distribution. You won’t be able to get them in this city. But—”
“There are miraculous items known as the Three Hidden Treasures of Healing. All defects and diseases can be cured, but not even the royal family and the great aristocrats can get them so easily. The “Crimson Grass” appeared inside the deep layer of a labyrinth in the Labyrinth City. An “Elixir” made by the elf from refining the world tree sap. A miracle drug called “Water of Life” whose maker and origin are unknown. All of them are supreme items that are effective against all diseases and even heal defects. All of them are hard to obtain. Asking for it would be pointless.”
All sounded like a mythical item that only appeared in a story Walm had ever read.
In reality, it would be best to keep the current situation, but eye medicine for a year was already gobbling up most of the money. Above all, if Walm didn’t get something that equaled eye medicine, the light would go out of his eyes again.
“Let me give you another piece of advice as a healing magician. I also like alcohol, but you’re just overkill. Your body odor is the alcohol itself. Please keep it moderate.”
“Rest assured, my time for drinking is now over. Thank you for the examination.”
Walm left the room with a little laugh. The receptionist watched him from a great distance. When he bowed a little, the receptionist responded with a tense smile.
“Please take good care of yourself.”
Ironically, Walm could now see the surroundings properly after being hit by the reality that he had an incurable disease. He could see a bluish light shining through the stained glass into the room.
The fog in his cloudy consciousness was blown away by the medicine. After losing his homeland, he lived a self-deprecating life. More than enough. There was no doubt that this would be the last opportunity. Now he had to seriously think about how he wanted to live in the future.
What moved Walm, who was drowning in alcohol and cigarettes, wasn’t the pleasant things like love, friendship, or the recovery of his homeland, but the unbearable pain of the demon eyes. How ironic.
As always, he was nauseated by his frivolity. However, he decided to take a step forward, regardless of how aimless he might be.
Outside the sun was shining, and there were people everywhere in the streets.
It was safe to say that Walm was good at doing the tasks and jobs assigned to him because of his original personality and military life. Even if it was a difficult task, he could bring himself to focus on it.
However, when he was told to live freely, Walm felt he was just being crippled. Now he had to give up his decadent life and move on, even if he didn’t like it.
Looking at one spot, an old memorial monument stood out.
It was a statue of a soldier and a demon piercing each other to honor a soldier who was once killed in the Archipelago’s attempt to shave part of the Demon Territory.
Schistostega grew in clumps, probably because the statue hadn’t been maintained for some time.
Walm took out the flask, and shook it to check the contents. When he opened the lid, a thick smell of liquor poured into the air, irritating his nasal passages.
“To an unnamed ancestor, this is my offering.”
The contents dripped into the silent statue. It was a parting salute, meant to show some sort of determination. That, the alcohol wouldn’t be needed again for a while. A farewell to this lifestyle.
After scattering the entire contents, Walm quietly walked away.
TN: Schistostega, also called luminous moss, is known for its glowing appearance in darkness.
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