Gotta catch them all.
308 – What was accomplished
「Sensei! Please hang in there, sensei!」
The first to move, was Yamada-kun. He immediately rushed over to where sensei had collapsed from her chair, and then checked her condition. Sensei was shedding tears with her eyes open wide, and while breathing irregularly and raggedly her body was also spasming irregularly. She kept trying to breathe desperately, but since she’s suffering despite that maybe the problem is that she’s hyperventilating? Sensei had collapsed on the ground and Yamada-kun lifted up the top half of her body in his arms, and then performed Treatment Magic. However, as the Treatment Magic in this world could do nothing more than restore wounded tissue, it could not cure sicknesses. While I don’t know whether it’s appropriate to call hyperventilating a sickness, I do know that Treatment Magic can’t cure it.
As Yamada-kun could do nothing except to try casting Treatment Magic, I pushed him aside and looked into sensei’s eyes. Then, I activated my Evil Eyes. I make them perform the opposite to their normal effect. My Evil Eyes have the effect of causing fear in those that see them. Meaning that they affect the mind of the opponent. I’ve not done it before, but if it’s possible to cause fear, then conversely it should be theoretically possible to grant serenity as well.
As I peered into sensei’s eyes with my Evil Eyes, her body performed one big spasm. However, after that the large spasms stopped. That being said, her breathing was still disarrayed and the small spasms hadn’t abated.
「Sensei, please calm down and take a deep breath.」
So as to not provoke sensei’s mind as much as possible, I spoke to her slowly and calmly. Sensei followed my words and breathed in.
「Like that, without rushing, slowly, breathe out please.」
Making it easy to understand, as if instructing someone, yet still calmly, I carefully formed the words.
「Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.」
By having her slowly take deep breaths like this, little by little sensei’s condition improved. During that time I grasped sensei’s hand tightly. Although her breathing has become stable, the tears spilling down her face have not stopped. Also, perhaps because she was crying intensely, the occasional hiccup-like spasms continue. Her face is covered with tears and snot. I mop that up with the sleeve of my clothes. But, as soon as I mop it up they start spilling over again.
For a while, sensei continued to cry. As sensei is an elf her body matures slowly, so compared to the other reincarnators she seems very young in appearance. Simply going by her appearance, it doesn’t feel out of place to see her crying so badly like this. However, seeing her like this should be shocking for the reincarnators. Unlike the other reincarnators, sensei was the only adult. Contrary to her appearance, she has been alive for the longest amongst the reincarnators when combining her previous life and this life. For such an adult to show that she has gone to pieces so blatantly, is surely something they could have never imagined. Even I hadn’t imagined it.
「It is alright. It is alright now.」
While running my hand over sensei’s small back, I gently caressed her.
「You have not made a mistake.」
I gently persuaded her.
「To risk your own life and fight for the sake of your students surely cannot be a mistake.」
I could tell that at my words Kudou-san had averted her face feeling awkward. I might be looking at sensei, but since I habitually use my Fluoroscopy ability to understand everything around me, I could tell that much even though I hadn’t focused on her. I could tell that based on her attitude until now that Kudou-san had harboured suspicions about sensei. However, Kudou-san hadn’t been aware of just how desperate sensei had actually been, and just how hard she had struggled to save the students. And also, just how serious she was given how she had collapsed like this when she found out that Potimas had been gathering the reincarnators in order to use them. I had also misjudged her about the latter. I had never even considered that sensei could actually collapse. I had been convinced that sensei of all people could deal with knowing the truth.
「It is certainly the case that Potimas was unscrupulous. But sensei, you had honestly done your best for everyone’s sake, right? There is absolutely no mistake in that. Besides, everyone has been able to survive and meet together like this, right?」
I gently spoke to sensei who hadn’t stopped sobbing. In practice, while it might be true that sensei was used by Potimas, it is still the case that many students have been saved by sensei. Unlike Earth, this world is a harsh place. I have no idea how many times I almost died, and I’m sure that vampire girl and oni-kun had the same experience. So despite all that, we were simply lucky. It wouldn’t have been strange at all for us to have died. The other reincarnators would surely also have faced living each day with death always at their side, unless they had been born to some privileged class like Yamada-kun and the like. If by some chance they hadn’t been sheltered by sensei, there might have been only half the number of survivors here instead. And so, it’s precisely because she had assembled the reincarnators here in the elf village that it became possible to safely defeat Potimas. It turned out alright in the end, so sensei doesn’t have to worry about all that.
「It’s… not… everyone!」
Sensei shouts that while crying.
「I… couldn’t… save… them! I… couldn’t… save… them… all!」
Her way of shouting made me think that this is probably what’s called “wailing”. While crying, her broken voice never became loud. Yet despite that, why does her voice resound so much?
Certainly, there are some who are not here. Sakurazaki Issei. Kogure Naofumi. Hayashi Kouta. And finally, Natsume Kengo. Apart from Hasebe-san who is sleeping, those are the reincarnators who are unable to be here. The reincarnators that we can never meet again.
It seems that sensei feels responsible for their deaths. There’s nothing that I can say about that though. However, I do think that to take responsibility for that, is basically barking up the wrong tree. Their lives are their own. And so, their deaths are also their own. I don’t think that sensei needs to take the blame for their deaths. Perhaps sensei thinks that she could have saved them, but there are things that humans can do and things that they cannot do. To assume that they could all have been saved is an arrogant notion. Unless you are all-knowing and all-powerful, you would never be able to save them all. Even I couldn’t have done it.
Afterwards, sensei continued to sob like a child. “Why”, “I couldn’t save them”, “just what for” – sensei murmured such things as if talking in a delirium. In the end, I don’t know how much time passed, but sensei finally stopped crying. However, her eyes were somehow hollow and felt lifeless.
Kushitani-san spoke to me, after having silently watched over the course of events.
「It seems that sensei is tired, so I’ll put her to bed. We shouldn’t burden you any further at least. I’ll watch her, so continue the discussion.」
That proposal, was something I both wanted to hear and didn’t want to hear. Right now, it would be bad to leave sensei alone. I would prefer to watch her myself, but I’m not sure if it would be for the best for me to leave here to nurse sensei. Kudou-san and the others have all sorts of thoughts with regards to sensei I’m sure, so I cannot leave her to someone with such mixed emotions. On that point, since Kushitani-san came to the elf village recently, she should be able to watch over sensei without getting caught up in her emotions. She’s also one of the few reincarnators who are able to fight, so there is nobody better to entrust this to than her. Vampire girl is out of the question for a start, and oni-kun is basically a man so I’m sure he’d be unsuited for nursing sensei.
「Can you take care of her?」
「Leave it to me.」
Kushitani-san carries sensei in her arms. After gazing at Tagawa-kun, Kushitani-san went up the stairs like that. Kushitani-san is dependable, so I’m sure it’ll be fine to leave things to her. Even in the worst case that sensei tries to kill herself, Kushitani-san should be able to stop her.
After sensei and Kushitani-san left the scene, the room was filled with an uneasy atmosphere. From having seen sensei’s state just now, they surely understand just how serious sensei was about wanting to shelter the reincarnators. Starting with Kudou-san, the reincarnators who had been sheltered, had condemned sensei instead. Having seen sensei become like that, perhaps they have a guilty conscience.