A Reincarnation Romantic Comedy Of A Hero And A Witch - V1 Chapter 3 Part 2
Chapter 3 Part 2
“You will still do it and will continue to do the same thing even if you have to pay with your life as the price. Just like back then…”
When I heard the witch’s words, it felt like she was foreseeing something that would definitely happen in the future.
Words were the most basic form of curse. Even without the existence of witchcraft, words had been used by humans to curse one another.
“…Are you trying to curse me with those words?”
I took a jab at her, trying to brush it off lightly.
“No. In fact, I don’t need to. You’ve been cursed since a long time ago.”
But the witch took my words seriously.
Vanquish evil, help others
Those words were what started everything in my life.
I guess her words were true. I was cursed since a long time ago.
If that was the case, heroes were a cursed existence to begin with.
I’ve always tried to live up to people’s expectations.
I’ve always behaved according to Sage Alicia’s will.
‘If it’s the hero, he’ll definitely save us!’
‘Our hero, Grey-sama, the God’s chosen, will be able to drive evil away from our lands!’
‘He’s the hero, he’ll never abandon us!’
‘Endure! Stay strong! Grey will definitely come to our aid!’
I’ve always faithfully acted according to the role that was assigned to me.
‘Sorry, I kept you waiting.’
‘It’s alright now.’
‘I’m here to help.’
‘No need to cry, I’m here to protect you.’
‘Do not worry, I’ll be back.’
‘I’ll do my best to protect your smile.’
Even so, I had no regrets.
Because it was the right thing to do. It was satisfying to see the smile of the people that I saved.
Of course, I was unable to live like a normal person as the price.
Nevertheless, I was born with this power to devote myself to the people.
It was my fate to be on the battlefield. It was inevitable that my body would be smeared with mud, sweat and blood.
And that was why, when I was reborn into this world.
I had lost the reason for my existence as I was no longer the hero.
And at the same time, I lost my sense of purpose.
I voiced my thoughts.
“What’s wrong with wanting to help others?!”
I took a step forward and stared intently at the witch’s eyes.
“So what if I want to help people? Is it wrong?!”
When I asked that, the witch crumpled her face, as if she was hurting.
“…You understood nothing, did you?”
The witch turned her gaze down as she muttered that.
The look in her eyes annoyed me. It was as if she could understand everything.
“I’m going to ask you one more time, witch.”
It wasn’t like I didn’t understand what she was trying to say. I knew that there were truths in her words.
But I didn’t know the intent behind her words.
So, I spread my hands open and asked her once again,
“Is there something wrong with what I’m trying to do?”
Vanquish evil, save others.
Fight for justice.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
There were many times when I had tried my best but, ultimately, I failed.
More than once, I sacrificed others for the greater good.
You could call me a hypocrite, arrogant, liar and self-righteous person, I wouldn’t deny it.
Deciding other people’s fate on my own, acting like I was a God.
I knew that the burden was heavy for me to carry.
In the first place, the role of a hero was too heavy of a burden for a single person to carry.
I knew that my actions had saved countless people’s lives.
I’ve protected those people’s smiles and saved them from tragedies.
This unworthy back of mine carried the will of the people of that world.
The unworthy back of none other than me…
The hero, Grey Handlet.
I wouldn’t reject the result of my own actions.
Even if it was the result of a curse.
“…With the way I am now, I can’t do much. Still, I want to help others to the best of my abilities! Is that wrong? Is that the wrong thing to do?!”
“Yes. You’re wrong.”
“On what ground—”
“Hero… No, Grey… In your previous life, have you ever smiled?”
I was at a loss for a moment.
I couldn’t remember any instance when I was smiling back in my previous life. At least, not at the top of my head.
“What are you… Of course I did!”
“Do you realize that now you’re smiling a lot more than back then?”
The witch, probably still feeling hurt because of her wounds, sat down on the bench.
“I was really surprised when I saw you smiling. I was glad for you. Finally, you could smile without a care in the world, but… It was a year ago, wasn’t it? The time when your memories awakened… Ever since then, you have become more like you were in your previous life…”
The witch continued to speak in monotone.
“I hate it, I can’t stand seeing you becoming like that.”
“What do you care? It has nothing to do with you!”
“It’s funny to hear those words coming from your mouth.”
Her words were sharp, as if she was trying to pierce my heart with it.
“…Try to think deeply about the words you said just now.”
Warm breeze brushed against my cheeks.
Before I realized, sweats had started flowing from my cheeks and fell into the ground.
“You’ve been reincarnated, but you’re still bound by a curse. You know you don’t need to help other people anymore, right? Live your own life, seek your own happiness, why can’t you do that instead?”
I felt my chest tightening.
Once again, I realized that the person in front of me was the Witch of Calamity.
My own happiness? What the hell was she on about? I was happy enough.
I had the power to help people and they believed in me.
People around me and they said that they loved me, if that wasn’t happiness, then what was?
“You tried to save everyone but yourself. You called yourself a hero, you tried to bring happiness to others, but you can’t even bring it to yourself… That’s the thing I hate the most about you… That’s the reason why I hate you.”
The witch ended her words just like that.
As she had no intention of continuing this talk, she walked away.
“What the hell?”
Those were the only words I could say.
I knew that she was kind. I knew that she said those words sincerely to help me.
But that didn’t mean I could accept her words just like that.
“…What? Do you have something to say?”
The moment I took another step toward her.
My phone rang.
I didn’t have to check to know why it was ringing. It was about time for my shift to start.
I spent too much time talking to her.
I couldn’t ignore this as I’d be late.
“…It’s goodbye then, hero. See you tomorrow.”
The witch walked away without saying another word. It really seemed that she had no intention to talk with me anymore.
Her gait was still unsteady because of her injured leg.
“…Your bike is still here, you know?”
This girl was as hopeless as always. I ignored her and answered the phone. As expected, it was from the manager.
“Hello? Yes, I’m sorry, I had a business to take care of! Yes, I’ll be there quickly!”
As I was apologizing like that, the witch came back, took her bike away and left. I could see her face was red up to her ears.
After she left, only the sound of cicadas could be heard in the park.
* * *
The witch once said to me that the most powerful curse wasn’t witchcraft.
It required no chant, mana nor preparation. The effect of the curse wasn’t visible to the senses, one wouldn’t feel pain or discomfort because of it.
Yet, it ate away the mind of the one who was afflicted with it.
And the worst of it all, said person wouldn’t be aware of its existence.
“…You are the same as me, don’t you know that?”
Probably, those words she said to me were her true feelings. She just wanted me to be happy.
Probably, she was concerned about me, that was why she said all that to me.
Even so, even if her words were true, that my way of life was wrong…
As long as she still did the same thing as me, I had no intention of admitting it.
My thoughts were broken by the sound of the bell, signaling someone’s arrival to the restaurant.
I almost dropped the cup I was holding when I saw the person in front of me.
“What’s wrong? You look off today, senpai.”
It was Kawasaki. She placed her hands on her hips and started to scold me.
I was just distracted because I had a lot to think about.
“I knew it, you’re overdoing yourself. If you’re not feeling well, take a leave.”
“But, if I do that, we’ll be even more short-staffed than we already are…”
Then, I realized something.
“Wait, I thought you won’t have any shifts until after the exam?”
She told me yesterday that it would be her last day.
Then, she pouted her lips and muttered shyly.
“The manager is trying to get more senior employees to work on more shifts and since I’m one of them… Well, I can’t say no, even though it’s troublesome…”
Kawasaki shrugged her shoulders.
“I see… Thank you…”
It seemed like she was worried about me.
Well, I guess it was natural. I wasn’t a hero anymore. No one expected me to do everything. People wouldn’t put their complete faith in me without any reason anymore.
They would probably treat my attempt to help them as unnecessary.
“I’m just trying to make it harder for you to make money, senpai. Don’t thank me for that.”
“Alright, I’ll hold a grudge on you for it, then.”
“Okay, that’s too far! At least, be a little grateful!”
I tapped my cheeks a little with both hands.
I need to get myself together. At least, I shouldn’t make her worry about me.
“I’m just a little sleepy, don’t worry, Kawasaki.”
I shouldn’t let my personal problems get in the way of work.
Since they paid me for this, it was my responsibility to do my job properly.
If anything, I should do my best for the money. To do that, I need to concentrate.
I took a deep breath and analyzed my physical condition.
I felt a little tired, but this much should be nothing to me.
My current body was far less capable compared to my previous one, but I could do nothing but deal with it. I had been working out to hone my body and the effect of all those efforts had begun to appear. I managed to correct the ‘error’ in my body, little by little.
Even so, I knew that I could never become like I was back in the day.
‘You’re no longer a hero.’
The witch’s words flashed through my mind.
It repeated in my mind over and over like a curse.
“…I’m aware of that, more than anyone.”
My hand could only reach those within the reach of it.
In the first place, no one would even try to reach their hands out to me.
That was my current reality and I accepted it.
But still… The height where I stood… The reach of these arms of mine during that time… Compared to back then, my current self seemed pathetic. That was why, I kept chasing after the illusion that was my former self.
Even though no one asked for my help
Even though this was a world that didn’t need my help.
“D**n it… Focus! Stop thinking!”
I shook off the vision of the witch in my mind and tried to concentrate on my job.
* * *
Even after I was done with work and the darkness of the night became deeper, the insects still buzzed energetically.
There was barely any other sound in the neighborhood. I looked outside the window. I could see the surrounding houses were lit, showing that there were people living in those houses. Hina’s room next door was also lit. Was she still studying?
The coffee in my hand tasted too sweet for my taste. It seemed like I put too much sugar in it.
Tonight was cool for a summer night and I could go to sleep without turning the AC on if I wanted to.
I noticed the textbooks and notebooks spread out throughout my desk.
I had to study for the exam. Honestly, I didn’t need to worry about getting red marks, but I felt a little worried about the witch who had just transferred in.
I knew that she was an honor student, but if the scope of the exam was different compared to her previous school, she would be bound to have a hard time.
I should summarize the main points and give it to her later.
I wasn’t a great student, but anyone could study if they put their mind into it.
After stretching my body, I sat down on the chair and started studying for the first subject, math.
Suddenly, my hand stopped.
Were the witch’s words true? Was my current action just something that was born from a curse?
All this time, was it true that I did nothing but chase after the shadow of my former self?
I thought that I had been following my own will.
If I were to think about it calmly, there was no reason whatsoever for me to help her as she was my nemesis.
…If this action was the result of a curse then, where did my will, my dream and my happiness go? It was exactly like what the witch said to me then…