Ghost here. So, I had to get a new laptop. Because the old one died……..*sigh*
Depressing stuff aside, here’s the continuation of the Ghost saga. Watch as Ghost makes his way to the top and conquers the world! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
-tte, what am I even doing?
Anyways, enjoy the chapter.
Ghost – Fourth Grave: Lis, Part 1. The Awkward Magician
After the old man and I got our lower halves out from under the snow, we made our way deeper into the cave. Needless to say, both of us were drenched from the waist down.
Fortunately, there was a fire lit inside the cave.
Unfortunately, we’d have to put it out, lest we risk carbon monoxide poisoning.
Rather, I wonder if the people in this world know that lighting a fire in a closed off space is a bad idea. Seeing as the old man made sure that the cave interior was ventilated before he started the fire, they probably have at least the idea.
A sudden chill ran down my spine, snapping me out of my thoughts.
Now that I think of it, I was already drenched in blood. Now that I got wet from the snow, I’m basically a popsicle waiting to happen.
I walked up to the fire and warmed myself up. The freezing cold that had been permeating my body started to recede, giving way to a comfortable warmness. My hands regained their full sense of touch, now that the cold that made them numb before had gone away.
Thanks to my sense of touch returning to normal, I could now feel the pain the wound on my shoulder gave me more vividly. The torn flesh and fresh blood on my shoulder shined mockingly with the light from the fire. Although I couldn’t look at much of the wound without making my pain ten times worse, I could tell from what I could see that it was quite nasty.
It sure as hell felt nasty.
[Damn, that’s an ugly wound. We better get that treated as soon as possible. Also, you should get out of those clothes. If you let too much heat escape your body, you will die.]
Said the old man, starting to undo his belt.
[Oh, fuck no!]
Unwilling to even think of being half naked in a cave with the old man, I grabbed the firewood with my bare hands and started walking towards the entrance. The hot ember singed the flesh off my fingers, bringing me pain.
This added one more body part to the list of “Body parts that really hurt right now”.
The top spot was, of course, taken by the wound I got from Poochie.
Did I mention it hurt? I did? Well, it’s important, so here it is again.
[Oi, brat! What the hell are you doing?! You know I’m gonna have to be the one to fix those burns!]
Not minding my burning fingers, I got to the entrance of the cave with the embers and started to arrange it there. The skin on my hands had turned darker and kind of wrinkled. I disregarded it and continued hauling the burning wood towards the cave entrance.
This was, of course, in order to start melting down the snow which covered the entrance.
One may argue that the melted snow would only flow towards the cave interior, most likely putting out the fire in the process.
Still, this was not on my mind at the moment. The only thing on my mind was to find a way out of the cave so that I wouldn’t have to spend a single second together with a half naked old man.
This was important.
The highest priority!
Spare me the scenes that look like they came out of a BL manga!
The snow that was covering the entrance had already begun to melt, and the water that it had turned into started flowing towards the inside of the cave. The small streams of water fell steadily down the wall and, when they reached the floor, slid like snakes over the cold stone and joined to become slightly wider streams. Like rivers did on a larger scale.
The old man stopped his undressing (thankfully) and came over to where I was moving the fire.
[For fuck’s sake. You’re as stupid as ever, you idiot. However….]
The old man made a pause there, then started picking up burning logs and moving them to the entrance.
[This may actually be for the best. Seeing as we have a limited supply of air, we should focus our efforts on getting out.]
So said the old man.
And here I thought he would jump on the chance to chew me out.
My thoughts proved to be correct, as the next thing that came out of the old man’s mouth was:
[Well, that, and the fact that someone brought back an avalanche instead of dinner.]
Right in my pride.
[Now what kind of stupid fellow would do such thing? I wonder~.]
Even if you’re trying to make it less obvious, that’s blatant sarcasm right there. Rather, you’re not even trying to hide it! That’s just harassment!
[ Isn’t that right?]
What a bitchy old man.
[Oi! It’s not like I caused the avalanche you know?! Also, I had properly secured some food! Lots of it! It’s just that the avalanche struck just as I was wondering how to bring it here!]
[Whaaaat? You godd a lod of food aaaall by your widdle self?]
I felt a vein popping on my head after that last question.
Said the old man, making a face that just asked you to punch the ever living daylights out of him.
Th-This old man……….if he doesn’t shut up soon, I’m punching him.
I thought so, tightly grinding my teeth and clenching my fist, ready to knock out the old man’s set of pearly whites(lol) with one punch. Even if I wasn’t bald, I had confidence I could do it.
[What had to happen for you to get so much game? Did you get ambushed by a wolf pack again? Did ya? Heh?]
Shit. Way to hit where it hurts.
[Isn’t that the-]
[Fourth time this week? Yes. It is.]
There was a brief moment of silence. The old man stared at me as if I had just told him that aliens had stolen his laundry from the cleaners. After a few more seconds of his stupefied look……..
He burst into laughter.
Tch. Fucking noisy old man.
The aforementioned old man was lying on the floor, laughing mockingly while holding his stomach.
[HAHAHAHAHAHA! *Gasp* Hahahahahahahahahaha!]
[Oi, are you stopping anytime soon?]
I tried using the same trick I had used on the wolves earlier on the old man, but it seemed to be ineffective, as he kept on laughing and laughing until he couldn’t breathe properly. He looked like a child that had just pulled the prank of his life and was fully basking in the glory of his success.
Point is, he looked like a stupid kid.
After what seemed like an eternity of hearing the old man’s annoying laughter, he seemed to have settled down, as his breathing had returned to normal and I could no longer hear the unbearable noise he was making a little while ago.
[Man, you really are the unluckiest person I have ever met.]
[No, seriously. Starting with that Great White Bear that left you in tatters, then that one time when a sword that was nailed to the wall almost beheaded you in your sleep, followed by the time a tree fell on you during training and-]
[Stopstopstopstopstop. I get the point already, okay?]
[Are you sure? I could keep going you know?]
[Believe me, I know you could.]
I said as I let a sigh escape from my mouth.
I truly did know he could.
My luck was never that good to begin with, but, after coming here, it had taken a turn for the ridiculous. It was like the universe got off on playing pranks on me.
Well, even if I complained about it, it’s not like it would change. Hence, I decided to suck it up and live with it.
Rather, what sort of thing are titles anyways? Just because I got a title called “Unlucky” my life expectancy seemed to drop dramatically. All sorts of implausible and ridiculous things started happening as if they were happening for the express purpose of making my life miserable. Even then, altering the laws of probability just to make a single man’s life a living hell………were titles such powerful things? Were they able to so extremely twist the fabric of reality to suit the effect they were supposed to cause?
If that was indeed so, then why did I not feel particularly violent all the time? I had the “Violent” title as well. Were titles selective in when they affected reality? Or was it that certain titles could change reality and others couldn’t? If it was like that, what was the criteria that dictated which titles could warp reality and which couldn’t?
Or was it that I had actually become more violent, and I just hadn’t noticed?
Was I slowly turning into someone else? Was my psyche being twisted beyond recognition without me even noticing?
Was I being turned into a madman?
Pfft. Hahaha. Nah, no way.
I was already insane to begin with.
How do you even make a madman go mad?
After the old man was done laughing, we got back to work and continued carrying the logs to the cave entrance.
[Hey, are you sure you’re not gonna do anything about that wound of yours?]
[Heeh~. It’s not that big a deal anyways. It’ll fix itself up if I leave it alone for a bit.]
That was, of course, a lie. The wound still hurt and blood was still gushing out, albeit slower than before. My head was beginning to feel light and my body numb. The blood loss was getting to me.
Now, you’re probably thinking” “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to lie down and rest if the injury is that bad?” Or “Get yourself treated by the old man already, you idiot!”.
Well, the reason why I didn’t do either was this.
The old man could only give first aid treatment. He knew how to patch someone up in order make them last until they got to an actual medic, but he couldn’t do anything against major wounds.
The bite I had received on my left shoulder (courtesy of Poochie and may he suffer in hell for it) most likely got to my subclavian blood vessels, which, as far as I knew, were a pretty important set of blood vessels and couldn’t be patched up with some simple treatment. This made my wound a major one and hence outside of what the old man could help with. There was a medic in the village the old man lived in; the same one that treated my broken bones back when the bear attacked me. I didn’t know who this medic was though.
That was why, helping the old man clear the cave entrance was probably the best course of action I could take right now.
[Man, you sure are carefree. Just don’t push yourself too far.]
Such a caring line from the old man was a rare sight. It actually gave me the chills.
That is until-
[Otherwise, I’ll have to carry your unconscious body back to town again. You’re one heavy bastard, so I really don’t wanna do it.]
I knew it.
There was no way this asshole could be so nice.
As I was carrying the last log to the cave entrance, my trembling hands dropped the thing and it fell onto my right foot.
The pain on my right foot was something I couldn’t really focus on for some reason.
The snow had already melted enough that we could see a tiny bit of sunlight filtering through it.
My hands were burned, my shoulder had a deep gash on it, my head was dizzy and the only thing on my mind other than “Shit, this hurts” was a really bad song from a commercial I had heard long ago. Why that song had come to my mind, I didn’t know.
Then, the floating cat said-
[Man, you’re clumsy…. Actually, now that I take a good look at you kid, you don’t seem too good. We will be able to get out of here soon, so we’ll head to the village to patch you up quickly.]
Village? What village?
Is the talking cat taking me to see its leader?
Man, this is bad.
I don’t have my duck tie.
If I knew this was going to be a formal party I would have asked Alice to bring me my good bowling shoes.
Is it just me, or is it getting kinda dark here?
It’s kinda chilly as well.
[Hey, kid? Are you-]
I fell flat on my face onto the marshmallow floor.
This was some really hard marshmallow.
Must be imported or something.
[Crap, he’s lost too much blood! Shit! I’ll have to squeeze through the gap and run to the village. Hopefully, little Lis will be able to do something about him if I’m fast enough.]
The talking cat is funny. He says some weird shit.
It’s cool though. I’m totally okay with weird stuff.
Spare me from any kind of BL though.
I don’t swing that way.
Even though I told the talking cat I’m not into BL, he got all touchy and started carrying me on its back.
Yee haw! Run like the wind Bullseye!
Hmm? Is it morning already?
Are the neighbors having a fight?
They are awfully noisy. Wish they could take their fighting out of my room.
Out of my room?
I sprung up from the bed and looked towards my left side.
I noticed three things when I did.
The first, was that this wasn’t the old man’s place. There was a smell of freshly baked bread in the air and the temperature of the room was notably high for a house in a snowy region. The bed I was lying on was in a small room with nothing more than a dresser, a closet and a bookshelf that was full to the brim with books with obscure titles like “The Fundamental Theory of Fire Related Phenomena Created Via Mana Imbuement, Vol. 1” or “Healing Magic. A Detailed Guide to All Healing Spells Up To Intermediate Level”. I believe I also saw a small book that read “Friend Making for Dummies”, but I’ll keep that info to myself for the sake of whoever owns that bookshelf.
The second was the old man making a stupid looking face while he was putting his hands in the air and looking over here.
Lastly, the third thing……
Woah! What’s with this high class bishoujo?!
It was a really beautiful girl with white hair that reached all the way to her waist. She had a beautiful face, which was making an angry expression while she looked at the old man (maybe she hadn’t noticed me getting up?). She had beautiful white skin and a figure that would make any professional model jealous. She had these captivating blue eyes that just took you in the second you looked at them.
She was a beauty in every sense of the word.
A true goddess of beauty!
This is bad, my mind is getting slow.
[Ah! Are you already awake? You should rest some more you know?]
Ah, her voice is also lovely~.
I obediently went back to lying on my back when she told me to.
Immediately afterwards, I received a punch on the forehead.
[OI WHAT THE HELL’S YOUR PROBLEM GEEZER?!]
[QUIT DROOLING ALL OVER LITTLE LIS! YOU WANNA DIE BRAT?!]
[OH, BRING IT YOU FOSSIL!]
I stood up on top of the bed and got ready to punch the old man’s face all the way to next wednesday. The white haired beauty looked flustered as the old man and me went into full battle mode in a matter of seconds. I brought back my arm and gave the old man a right straight with all my might. The old man also let out a punch aimed towards my face. However, before either of our attacks could reach the other person-
[Stop fighting with the patient!]
A tremendous gust of wind pushed me back against the wall. The old man got pushed against the dresser instead.
Ouch! Rather, was that magic just now?!
I mean, I had my suspicions. I figured that if I had come to a world where your strength could be quantified using levels and stats, it wouldn’t be weird if there was also magic and stuff.
Still, seeing it with my own eyes for the first time sure was surprising.
Hmm. I didn’t hear anything like an incantation, which means that the magic of this world was chantless or that this girl Lis was a skilled magician that could omit chanting. The gust of wind was quite strong, but it sure as hell wasn’t lethal. It must have been some sort of crowd control magic. Either that, or this girl was a novice magician that couldn’t put enough strength behind her spells.
Wait, that’s wrong.
This girl just used a magic spell against people she presumably didn’t want dead in order to break up a trivial fight. She must have some confidence in her own abilities, which probably means she isn’t a novice.
[Hawawa. I didn’t mean to be that forceful! I’m sorry!]
[Seriously little Lis, if you use magic on a weakling like that while he’s injured, he’ll die you know?]
[I’m sorry! I just couldn’t measure the mana properly……..again….]
Is this girl seriously dangerous?!
[Who are you calling a weakling, eh?!]
[YOU STILL WANNA GO, YA WOLF PUP?!]
[ANY TIME, YOU ANTIQUE SHOP MERCHANDISE!]
[WHO DID YOU JUST CALL ANTIQUE SHOP MERCHANDISE, YOU STUPID KID?!]
[I WAS REFERRING TO YOU, YOU ANCESTRAL PIECE OF GARBAGE!]
[I told you to stop fighting!]
I was once again knocked against the wall by a strong gust of wind. This time, my head hit the wall with an audible thud.
[Itte! What’s the point of stopping us if we’re getting hurt anyways?!]
[I-I’m sorry. I couldn’t……I…]
Aw, crap. Now I look like the bad guy.
[Haa. No, it’s okay. Don’t worry. I’m sorry for losing my cool there. I’m totally okay.]
[No buts! I’m fine!]
I flexed my left arm and hit it with my right hand.
[If I didn’t die after getting thrown around by Teddy, I won’t die because of something like this!]
[He means the Great White Bear.]
[Eh? It had a name like that?]
I got hit on the head again. I didn’t complain this time, since I deserved that one.
[Hell no! This kid here calls it that of his own accord. I seriously don’t get what’s inside that head of his.]
[A really smart hamster running a marathon.]
Before I noticed, the white haired girl, Lis, had begun giggling.
Ah, that smiling face was also cute.
[Little Lis? What’s so funny?]
[Hehe. Oh, nothing. Don’t mind me.]
She was totally laughing at the old man. It’s okay. I understand. Anyone would laugh at this idiot once in a while.
[Oi, brat. You’re thinking something really rude right now, aren’t you?]
[Me? No way!]
So I lied with a straight face.
[You guys are quite close, aren’t you?]
[[Haaaah? Who’d want to be close to this idiot?]]
[[Who are you calling an idiot eh?! Bring it!]]
Haa. Well, whatever.
After a huge deviation, my train of thought went back to thinking about my current situation.
I was on a bed in a house I didn’t recognize, my wounds were gone and the old man was here together with magician girl. This meant that the one who healed my wounds this time, as well as last time, was probably this magician girl, Lis. While there were other possibilities, such as her mother being the one that treated me, I was somehow sure that the one who looked after me had been Lis and no one else. Maybe it was some sort of wishful thinking on my part, since having such a cute girl nurse you back to health is something any guy would want.
Well, analyzing this sort of possibility didn’t benefit me at all, so I decided to leave it aside.
When my thoughts got up to this point, I immediately decided on my next action.
[Thank you for taking care of me.]
I said so with the utmost sincerity.
[Ah, uhm. Don’t mention it.]
Maybe she was surprised by the sudden change of topic, but Lis mumbled a bit before saying this with a small smile on her face.
Is she blushing a little?
[Do you want another hit on the noggin?]
[Screw you, old man.]
At this rate, my brain cells will all die.
[Uhm. Uncle Sindri, I think you should introduce us properly.]
[Sure thing, little Lis!]
So said the old man while giving Lis a tender smile, like one would see on a doting father when he was speaking to his daughter.
That old man should just stick to that frivolous grin he has on all the time.
[Brat, this is little Lis. She’s the village’s best healer and a genius magician. She’s also an excellent fighter and the most beautiful girl in this village, nay, the world!]
[Stop it, Uncle Sindri. You’re making me blush. Also, I’m not that amazing.]
Well, I get that this girl is quite amazing, but I think I shouldn’t let my guard down when I’m around her. Otherwise, something will definitely happen to me. “Unlucky” will make sure of it.
[Little Lis, this is the brat. That’s all you need to know about him.]
[What’s with that half assed introduction?!]
[Can’t be bothered to say anything else.]
[Uhm! Could you please tell me your name then?]
Perhaps because she wanted to avoid a fight between me and the old man, Lis cut in with this sentence right after I had decided to kick the old man all the way to the end of the universe.
Still, I decided to spare the old man and answer Lis’ question.
[I am the phantom thief Mask☆DeMasque!]
My bad habit came up again.
The iron fist of judgement fell down upon my sinful self and punished me for my wrongdoings.
That is, the old man hit me on the head again for lying.
[Drop it, little Lis. Not even I know this guy’s name. Asking him just warrants you a fake name and a stupid smile from him.]
Don’t blame me. It’s my bad habit.
[Is..is that so?]
I could tell she was trying to look like she understood, but, since her face was twitching, I could totally see right through her.
Well, it didn’t really matter if she got it or not.
It was inconsequential.
I was totally not hurt at all.
[Well, now that you’ve recovered, we should get back to work.]
[Man, what a slave driver. Let’s go boss.]
Refusing the old man here would be a bad idea after all. The guy is my employer you know?
A man’s gotta eat if he wants to live! A man’s gotta work if he wants to eat!
Or something like that.
This stupid sounding grunt-question hybrid was uttered out of Lis’ small mouth.
I wonder what she’s worked up about……..Meh, I won’t bother.
I got up from the bed and got my jacket from the headrest. Just when I was about to put it on-
[You can’t go out yet! You still have to get some rest in order to fully heal!]
Lis started to try to push me back onto the bed. Her slender hands pushing my chest exerted more force than what I would expect of a girl of her build. Still, I didn’t spend three weeks in hellish training for nothing. I grabbed Lis’ hands and gently moved them off my chest.
[Seriously, I’m fine. Now, I have to get back and kill a thousand or so wolves. You know, for science.]
I said this and then gave the most refreshing smile I could give.
[As if. You’re just being petty over that shoulder wound you got from them.]
[Tch. Quit reading my mind and saying my thoughts out loud. It ruins my image you know?]
[Who cares about your image?]
[Still, the brat’s right Lis. He’s as tough as this bookshelf.]
As he said that, the old man knocked on the side of the bookshelf twice.
From that point, the situation developed into a skit from a comedy show. I, however, was not amused.
The bookshelf started cracking, starting from the place the old man had knocked on and all the way to the other side. It made audible cracking noises all the while. It didn’t take long for it to fully break though. It was probably around 3 seconds. As soon as the crack reached the other side, a shelf fell off the structure and books sprawled across the floor.
This, however, was not the end of it.
Right after the last book hit the floor (a couple seconds later than the book before that), the top half of the bookshelf started falling down towards where Lis and I were standing.
I say it was falling towards us, but, actually, it looked like it would fall right next to us without so much as touching either one of us.
That, however, was naïve thinking on my part. The side of the bookshelf cracked just a tiny bit more, making the trajectory of the falling upper half slightly diagonal.
You probably know where this is going already.
The top corner of the bookshelf crushed my right foot.
It broke around 5 bones.
[Ah, are you okay?!]
Lis asked me so, then started trying to get the bookshelf off my foot in a hurry.
The old man though…..
He started laughing.
[It was about time something unlucky happened to you! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!]
[Shut it, you ancient bastard! This is your fault and you know it!]
The old man ignored my rebuttal and just kept on laughing.
Tch. Goddamned bastard. I’ll get you back for this eventually.
It didn’t hurt as much as Poochie’s bite from before, but getting your foot crushed under a packed bookshelf really hurt.
It seemed that none of the books that were left on the bookshelf had fallen off for some reason.
It was like they were sticking to the back of the thing.
This, of course, increased the weight pressing on my foot. It seemed that the weight was too much for Lis to lift on her own, since she was struggling to move the bookshelf even a little bit.
[Owowow. Okay, okay. Hang on a sec.]
Lis stopped lifting the piece of furniture and looked at me.
Ah, her worried face is also cute.
[W-What is it?]
[Let’s lift it together. You grab that side and I’ll grab this one. We lift at three.]
[That’s a good idea. Okay, I got it! On three!]
She looked overly enthusiastic for something as trivial as lifting a bookshelf. That and she’s also been oddly giddy since I woke up. Whenever she wasn’t reacting to something she would have this sort of restless expression on her face.
I wanted to deduce the reason why this girl looked excited, but my thought processing was being slowed down by the pain. I decided I would think about it after I got the thing crushing my foot off it.
I grabbed the bookshelf from its corner and Lis grabbed it from the side.
[Okay. One. Two. Three!]
When I finished my counting, we both lifted the bookshelf. With our combined strength, we were able to finally get the thing off my crushed body part.
You would think this would be over with just that, right?
Well, it seemed that the universe hadn’t mocked me enough at that point.
As such, the previously stuck-to-the-back books magically un-stuck themselves and fell off.
On top of my foot.
[Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!]
Because we were both surprised by the falling books, we let go of the bookshelf at the same time.
And it fell on my foot.
The old man went into an even louder fit of laughter, and Lis’ face went from the excited look she had on before to a really flustered one in a matter of seconds.
Give me a break.