I’m a D-Rank Adventurer Volume 2 Chapter 4 part 12

“Ah–!”

I was the first to rush towards Ray. Seeing his agonizing state, I couldn’t bear to stay still.

I foolishly tried to rush towards Ray’s location—the place where the dragons lay—despite knowing that I couldn’t heal Ray, who was in a condition worse than critical.

…And then it happened.

“!? “

Suddenly, I felt a sensation as if all the strength had drained from my body. Unable to support myself, I lost my balance and fell to the ground.

“W-What… is this?”

My thoughts couldn’t come together, as if my mind had been jumbled and confused. I couldn’t understand what had happened.

To confirm what had happened, I looked around. And for some reason, a “sinister black magic” was wriggling and covering my body.

I wasn’t injured anywhere. Yet, this black magic, like a living creature, was pulsating around me as if an enchantment had been activated. It seemed somewhat… joyful.

The black magic swayed and floated in the air… then it separated from my body, as if it had detached, and moved towards a certain place—the direction where Ray and the dragons were lying.

It reached the fallen dragon and disappeared as if being drawn into its massive body.

“—Eh?”

Suddenly, a large, snake-like eye opened wide.

The eye of the dragon, which should have been dead with a large sword pierced through it, opened.

“Ah…”

Reflected in its lifeless eye was… my own figure, collapsing onto the ground in a disheveled state.

Slowly, the dragon’s mouth opened.

In the next moment.

A breath with heat capable of instantly melting iron was forcefully exhaled. Straight toward me.

The immense black flames, larger than my height, slowly advanced toward me, as if time itself had slowed down.

I tried to move my body immediately to avoid it… but I was too slow, not just in evading the breath but in everything. I couldn’t do anything but stare blankly, as if it were someone else’s affair.

[“Listen, the power of protection is not absolute. It’s common for the power to weaken or disappear from one day to the next. Even your near-immortal protection could disappear at any time, you know. Understand that you’re just alive now by mere chance. If not…”]

In the slow flow of time, an image appeared in my mind. It was the conversation I had with Ray about the protection.

[“When the power of protection weakens or disappears, there are always signs. Like hearing the voice of a spirit in a dream, or feeling a sensation as if ‘something is escaping.'”]

As I watched the approaching flames, I pondered. What had happened to my protection?

That sensation I had felt earlier, as if something had completely escaped. The scene where the black magic separated from my body and was absorbed by the dragon.

It looked exactly like the signs Ray had mentioned. That’s how it appeared to me. Which means my protection…

The roaring black flames approached. I couldn’t do anything and just stared blankly.

My field of vision was engulfed in darkness, and I felt my skin burning from the intense heat. The heat wind blowing made it impossible to keep my eyes open, and I tightly shut them.

Unable to do anything, the black flames made contact with my body—in that instant.

“—? Oh… there…?”

Several seconds later, I questioned why I didn’t feel any impact and opened my previously closed eyes.

And then…

“You… why… how did you… here…?”

Ray was standing in front of me.

He collapsed onto the ground as if his role was over. Simultaneously, the dragon that had exhaled the breath lost all its strength, and light vanished from its eyes.

For a moment, I didn’t understand what had happened. But I quickly realized it. Ray… had protected me from the dragon’s breath, shielding me with his own body.

“Why…? What about me…?”

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I didn’t understand why he protected me. Ray had said that he didn’t care about me. He had said that he loved himself the most and didn’t care about others. And yet, why…

“You… suffered… even though… it’s my… fault…”

Ray’s voice came out hoarse, as if his throat was burnt. His voice was weak, as if it was a struggle to utter even a single word. He looked so exhausted, as if he could die any moment.

“No… No… Someone, help Ray—!”

Unable to bear seeing Ray in that state, I cried out for help from those around me. I wanted someone to help Ray, who was on the verge of death with injuries that I couldn’t possibly heal.

Immediately, the knights who had been frozen in shock from the sudden dragon’s breath and the white mages realized the situation and started moving to heal Ray’s injuries. However…

“—!? Why isn’t ‘Healing Magic’ working…!?”

For some reason, even when first-class white mages joined forces to cast healing magic on Ray’s body, his injuries didn’t show any signs of healing. It was as if… some kind of magic was interfering, and the magic was dispelled just before it reached Ray.

“Please, please… Don’t die…!”

“Th… That’s right… It’s wrong… but…”

Ray weakly uttered words to comfort me in a frail voice.

“That’s right… You won’t die, right… Ray? Because… you haven’t finished the training you told me about.”

The white mages continued to cast numerous “Healing Magic” spells, trying to save Ray’s life—the life of the hero who saved the town.

Somewhere deep in my heart, I believed that Ray would survive. I had an unfounded confidence that Ray wouldn’t die. I thought that I would return to the ordinary days of teasing and rude remarks from Ray, that I would see him again. That’s what I thought. I really thought so.

But…

–From that day on, Ray never woke up again.


When I heard that Ray had died, at first, I thought it was a dream or something.

So, even when Ray’s funeral was held grandly throughout the country, I couldn’t shed any tears. I just watched as Tiz and everyone else cried, as the townspeople mourned the death of the hero, as if I were just a bystander.

I didn’t feel it.

I couldn’t accept reality.

I didn’t want to acknowledge that Ray had died.

But no matter how many times I slept and woke up, the reality remained unchanged… Ray never appeared before me again.

Thinking about Ray, my chest tightened painfully. It felt as if something important had been lost, leaving a hollow void inside me.

I didn’t understand why it hurt so much.

Why my heart was in such turmoil that I wanted to scream right away.

I lived a life where I didn’t eat, just repeating sleep and wake up in my room. I escaped from reality into a world of dreams, hoping for the daily life where I would wake up and find Ray there.

“Eve… Sensei is already… gone…? So, let’s stop… You have to eat properly–“

Tiz, seeing me grow thinner day by day, repeatedly expressed her concerns in a worried voice.

“That’s not… true. Ray is alive. He will surely… be here tomorrow…”

“Everyone is worried… Even I couldn’t believe that Sensei had died. …But, we have to accept it, right? I don’t want to, but–“

“There’s no need to accept it. Because Ray… is not dead.”

He’s not dead, no matter what anyone says. Ray is still alive. He should be alive.

“Ivy, I know that you ‘loved’ Sensei. But… he’s not here anymore. So–“

“–? ‘Loved’…?”

Tiz’s words struck a chord. What… was she saying? That I loved Ray? Where… did she see that?

“Huh… You didn’t ‘love’ him? You were always watching him with those eyes, and you said you felt your heart race when you were with him… I’ve noticed it a long time ago…”

“That… that’s not…?”

I tried to deny it, to say that it wasn’t true. But for some reason, the words wouldn’t come out.

In my mind, past actions flashed by.

–My heart pounding loudly when we were together, blushing with embarrassment when he looked at me.

–Feeling disappointed when his training was interrupted due to a cold.

–Getting stubborn about wanting him to say I was cute.

Being with him made my heart warm, and when I saw his childish side, I couldn’t help but laugh. I studied hard because I wanted to be able to talk about the magic tools he liked.

Without realizing it, I acted that way naturally. It was about myself, but I didn’t even notice.

Yes, that’s how it was.

I… had feelings for Ray.

“…Ah.”

A drop of water fell onto the ground. Tears fell from my eyes, one after another.

I knew about love from stories and books. I knew about the feelings of a princess loving a hero.

But I didn’t know what it meant in concrete terms. I had never loved someone myself. …That’s why I didn’t realize it. I couldn’t realize it.

“Why…!”

I became a slave and gave up everything, and I rarely shed tears anymore. But now, even as I wiped them away, tears overflowed uncontrollably from my eyes. Even though I didn’t cry at Ray’s funeral, I thought my tears had dried up.

“Ugh… Ahhh…”

Tiz gently embraced me as I cried, feeling the warmth of her body. In that embrace, my heart that had been escaping finally began to understand the cruel reality. That the person I loved was no longer here. That this was not a dream.

When I realized it, it was already too late. Too late.

Ray was nowhere to be found. I couldn’t train with him anymore, couldn’t talk about magic tools, and couldn’t be casually teased by him. He wouldn’t do any of that.


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