“You guys are really lucky!”
An old soldier with a beard like a bear was smacking the coachman’s back while laughing heartily. He used so much force that the coachman looked as if he was in pain, but at the same time, he also seemed relieved.
It was a group of palace soldiers who happened to be passing by that saved us in the nick of time.
They were on their way back to the capital after having gone to support a large-scale bandit suppression mission in a different place. Protecting the safety of roads was top priority in nations with many commercial cities.
The bandits who had attacked us were a relatively small group made up of about a dozen people, and they were promptly pulled away.
I seriously thought they were going to kill us, but the soldiers defeated them in an instant.
I knew this from watching Gis-nee, but I realised that soldiers were dependable once again. Rille-nee and I escaped without serious injuries thanks to them.
I couldn’t sit still while waiting for the strong men to push the wagon out of the ditch, so I ran up to the soldier boy who was collecting the scattered luggage.
“Hey, thanks for what you did back there! What happened to your eye?”
The boy, who had saved me from the deadly blade in the nick of time, stopped working and stared at me blankly.
I think he’s the same age as me. Maybe around 12. He doesn’t look younger than me.
He had short brown hair and a toned soldierly body. He was taller than me, but it was hard to tell since he was squatting down right now.
The most distinctive feature is his left eye.
Or rather, jewel?
I looked at it again and found out that I was correct. It wasn’t an eyeball but an emerald-coloured jewel.
It might be emerald or maybe…
I thought of the jewel that was embedded in Gis-nee’s magic sword.
“Is that perhaps a magic stone?”
I crouched down in front of him, pointed at his left eye and asked.
I’m probably right.
His right eye is normal and was dark blue. It followed my movements properly. Only his left is a prosthetic, but the jewel didn’t match the shape of an eye at all.
It had only been polished and buried into his eye. What was the purpose of doing that? Why go to all the trouble of using a precious magic stone like this?
I couldn’t stay still as these questions popped up in my mind.
“It’s just a replacement eye that a mage gave to me.”
It wasn’t the boy himself who had told me, but the hearty old soldier who had just been patting the coachman’s shoulders. Him standing behind me cast a shadow over me.
I hadn’t asked this, but he seemed to be the leader of the squad from the day he was giving instructions to the others.
“A mage is someone who makes magic tools. Now, don’t be surprised, but that jewelled eye can see.”
He can see through it?!
It was impossible not to be surprised. I don’t understand. It couldn’t possibly be connected to his nerves.
“It’s magic. Isn’t it amazing?”
I was surprised, but the commanding officer was smiling.
I don’t have time to deal with him.
I immediately covered the boy’s right eye with my hand to confirm this.
“Tsk, what the hell are you doing?!”
“Just play around! How many fingers am I holding up?”
The boy clicked his tongue before reluctantly answering when I persistently held my finger in front of his left eye.
“… One finger.”
“How about now?!”
“Then how about now! If you can’t see it, then you have to tell me!”
I moved my finger from in front of him to the left, then to his other side, and then to the back but he didn’t say anything.
“I told you to tell me if you can’t see it!”
The vision in his left eye extended almost directly behind him. His left eye can see as much as a normal eye can and more?!
Magic can even do this. Then why do we even need regenerative medicine…?!
“Hey, stop it.”
The boy was saying something to me, but I was busy gripping his face with both my hands so that I could look at the magic stone.
“Oi?! Hey, let me go!”
The jewel looked like an emerald.
The main metallic elements that make up most ores are silicon and aluminium. Emeralds have beryllium in them. Green is the colour of chromium and vanadium. Whatever it was, it was just an ore. Magic stones can be said to be naturally occurring ores.
How can he see just because a jewel was embedded into his eye? Is it connected to his nerves?
Oh yeah, I have heard that people in my previous life had developed a technology for the visually impaired. That technology captures an image with a camera, converts that image into electric pulses, then this is transmitted from a person’s tongue to their brain in the form of a black-and-white image. Does this magic stone act like a camera that transmits electric pulses?
But how does it see something that isn’t directly in his sight? I don’t understand. It’s super interesting. Magic is amazing. Too amazing.
Will I be able to do something like this?
Will I be able to make things that are too good to be true if I become a mage?
When I looked more closely at the jewel, I saw that there were numerous scratches on the surface of the jewel which was slightly wet with tears.
Looking even closer, I could see that they were finely carved, like… letters.
They were nearly written in rows along the round shape of the jewel.
I couldn’t read them because they were so tiny. What does it say?
They might be letters that I don’t know. The boy pushed me away just as I was about to lean in more for an even closer look.
I almost fell but managed to hold myself up. I looked at him in dismay and saw that he was covering his face with his arm for some reason.
What happened? I wondered and the commanding officer behind me gave a hearty laugh.
“You’ve become a man, haven’t you? Saving a beautiful woman and receiving a kiss from her.”
The commanding officer said to the boy.
I looked around and found that even the other soldiers were looking at us with a strange, lewd smile on their faces.
… Hmm, did I get so close that our lips touched?
Ugh, sorry! That’s why you pushed me away! I didn’t even notice!
The boy turned bright red and stood up to yell at those who were teasing him.
He didn’t know what to say and just clenched his fists.
I’m really sorry.
“Sorry? I was caught up in the moment and didn’t notice. Did our lips touch?”
I asked him just to make sure, since a more sincere apology would be necessary depending on where my lips touched. Then, he denied madly, “It didn’t!”
Well, I was looking at his left eye, so even if my lips touched him, it would have been on his cheek.
I would have just insisted it was a greeting if it only touched his cheek, but people in this kingdom don’t kiss as a greeting unless they have a close relationship, such as being family or lovers. I’ve made a mistake.
I bowed as courteously as I could to the boy.
“I am really sorry. I know it’s not my place to say this, but it was an accident, so please forget about it. I will thank you in another way.”
I’ll thank you for saving me and showing me your eye.
The commanding officer went behind the boy and patted him on the back.
“You’re making the girl uncomfortable. It’s usually the other way around.”
It’s fine, you can call me whatever you want. I’m sorry, Kid. Your sacrifice has satisfied my curiosity.
Come to think of it, we haven’t introduced ourselves yet.
Well, maybe I shouldn’t make more of an impression on the boy, but I’m sure we’ll meet again since they’re soldiers in the palace, so I’ll introduce myself just in case.
“Excuse me, please let me introduce myself. My name is Aime, and this is my sister…”
Rille-nee stood beside me and greeted the commanding officer.
“I will be taking an interview at the palace’s medical department. I don’t know whether I will be hired, but please take care of me if I do.”
“Oh?! Really? Pretty girls are always welcomed.”
“I’m always happy to help!”
The other soldiers made vulgar jeers after the commanding officer spoke.
Ah, I feel uneasy. I’ll give them warnings.
“Me too! I’ll check on my sister from time to time!”
The commanding officer tilted his head. He’s big, but his gestures are cute.
“Will you be working at the palace too, Jou-chan?”
“Aime is going to become a mage.”
Rille-nee placed a hand on my shoulder and said as if it had already been decided. But I don’t know if I will be a mage yet.
As expected, the soldiers widened their eyes in surprise.
“I’m going to the capital to take the exam for the magic school.”
“Liar. You’re not a noble.”
The boy flared at me for some reason. Don’t get so grumpy over something as simple as a kiss on the check. I’ll get a bit depressed.
“You don’t have to be a noble to take the exam. There isn’t a rule like that. Since long ago, there have been people who aren’t nobles among mages. They were given peerage later.”
“I’m not. It doesn’t matter if you can become a mage or not, you can enter the school if you pass the exam. ――― Well, just watch if you don’t believe me. I’ll top the sheltered noble kids.”
I held out an index finger in front of him and declared.
Talking a bit big can be a trigger. It raises the tension and motivates you and those around you.
“You might even get a medal later for saving my life!”
“How high are you trying to climb?”
Then, the grumpy boy finally smiled cruelly.
“Then, I’ll expect a lot from you, future great mage.”
It sounded as if he was making fun of me, but it gave me motivation.
“Just you wait. If you don’t mind, can you tell me the name of the person who saved my life?”
“Giedt. Giedt Ackroyd.”
Him having a last name meant that he must come from a family with a solid background even if he isn’t a noble.
In Traus Kingdom, where there are many immigrants, there are people who have inherited the surnames of their ancestors from before they immigrated, even if they aren’t nobles.
Since the surname is usually the name of the land where the ancestors once lived, anyone who hears their surnames can tell where their family came from and which ethnic group they belonged to. So, they have ancient and honourable origins.
Ok, I won’t ever forget your name.
In the meantime, the wagon safely returned to the road and the luggage was loaded back onto the wagon. Rille-nee and I got on the back of the wagon, and we parted ways with the soldiers in the mountains.
They were going to clean the place where the bandits used to live before returning to the capital. I guess this means that they’ll seize the bandits’ loot.
“Then we’ll see you in the capital if fate allows it!”
We both waved at each other, and I let out a sigh of relief when they were out of sight. Rille-nee chuckled next to me.
“Why’re you laughing?”
“You were so daring, Aime. It’s so funny.”
Uoah, you’re bringing it up?
I was fine when the soldiers were teasing me, but it’s really embarrassing when my sister does it.
“Ah, that was inevitable. I wasn’t planning on kissing him or anything.”
“I was so excited. You kept getting closer and closer to him.”
“I wasn’t trying to kiss him! I wanted to see his jewelled eye. There’s no way I wouldn’t be curious about it.”
“That sure was a surprise.”
Rille-nee finally stopped laughing and said.
“It’s a magic tool like Gis-nee’s sword. I wonder if there are different types of magic tools in the capital.”
“Maybe? I can’t wait to see them.”
“We have more to look forward to.”
My heart was already racing.
I recalled Giedt’s eye and sighed in amazement.
“It’s amazing. Can I make something like that too?”
“I’m sure you can since you can even make new medicine.”
“It was more of a poison than medicine.”
“But it was useful. It’s okay. You can do anything.”
Rille-nee declared more confidently than me.
No medicine can make up for a lost eye, but he has shown me that magic can.
“I don’t want to be just a mage; I want to be a mage technician.”
It would be a waste to use this wonderful and mysterious power only for myself.
I want to be able to help someone, like the mage who created Giedt’s eye. I would love to meet them.