༺ Friendship (2) ༻
Sharon didn’t waste any time and immediately treated Siwoo.
Ancient myths stated that humans were made of earth, in line with the earth element in the Elemental Magic, which held the power of healing and restoration to the human body.
She didn’t think twice about using a total of six small jade beads, which she had been saving to use as offerings to the earth element. Normally, she’d only use them in critical situations.
Sharon whispered as she swiftly swung her staff, causing the jades that had been floating around Siwoo’s body to melt onto his wounds, acting like a soothing ointment.
The reddish areas, akin to withered autumn leaves, on his body began to undergo a change. Blisters that had formed on his body rose up like bubbles and disappeared, replaced by newly regenerated skin.
He watched the mesmerizing scene with amazement.
“Wow, my body’s healing so quickly…”
“Obviously. This is magic.”
After they assessed his injuries, it became apparent that Della hadn’t actually caused significant harm to him. He only mostly suffered from first-degree burns.
Not to mention that he also possessed a spirit body.
Such minor injuries would heal within a week, but Sharon just couldn’t bear to leave it, and that was why they treated it in the first place.
Her moral code couldn’t let her neglect his well-being over a few gemstones, especially considering that the reason why he had gotten hurt in the first place was because of her.
“By the way, you’re good. How did you bring her down? Yes, she’s ugly and her personality is shitty, but her skills are no joke.”
“I have my ways. I learned it from someone.”
Siwoo said as he grinned with confidence.
Watching him, Sharon felt a surge of emotions welling up within her chest.
Suppressing those feelings, she glanced at her watch.
“Ah, it’s almost time for my part-time job. I guess we have to skip today’s class…”
“Sure. I need a day off anyway. Let’s meet up later and grab some food.”
Leaving his smiling face behind, Sharon quickly made her way to the bathroom.
She took off her clothes and turned on the shower.
Inside, she covered her mouth as muffled sobs started to come out of it.
Those tears nearly escaped her eyes while she was treating Siwoo’s wound. Back then, she managed to hold them back, but this time, they burst forth uncontrollably.
In front of him, she pretended to support his claim of defeating Della in battle, but in her heart, she refused to believe it.
Or rather, she couldn’t.
After all, it was Della Redcliffe they were talking about.
She was a formidable witch in her 20th rank. In the domain of fire elemental magic, she was literally unmatched by anyone.
As for Siwoo? His own rank was far below Sharon’s, let alone Della’s.
In standard duels between two witches, when there were two ranks gap, the result of the fight was pretty much decided.
Compatibility and combat experience? That would only matter within a single rank gap.
Sharon was a quite formidable witch herself as a 17th rank witch whose expertise was Elemental Magic. But Della handled him with such ease.
Della even had the lenience to make a cigarette out of mana and volcanic ash, and offered it to her mid-battle.
That was why she couldn’t just accept Siwoo’s claim about defeating Della.
Instead, she convinced herself that there must be a reason why he fabricated such a lie.
For her sake.
The various burn marks and damaged magic circuits on his body were clear evidence that he had participated in a fierce battle.
Considering Della’s personality, it was most likely that he had suffered a humiliating defeat, mercilessly played like a toy by her.
In this world, there were things that simply couldn’t be overcome with effort. There were opponents that simply couldn’t be beaten no matter how hard one tried.
Sharon could imagine how powerless Siwoo must have felt when facing that kind of situation.
How arduous the battle was.
And how agonizing the experience was for him.
She could totally empathize with his feelings.
After all, she was someone who had already experienced the cruel reality of being unable to achieve her goals, and she had to suffer through insurmountable obstacles. She knew the pain all too well by now.
But, even amidst such agony, Siwoo still told her an obvious lie.
All because he didn’t want her to blame herself for his injuries.
To alleviate her guilt.
She knew how kind-hearted and gentle he was. This was the answer he came up with to console her.
A white lie.
And since she understood his true intention, she willingly pretended to be deceived by him.
She accepted his kindness without a hint of doubt and played along with his act.
Thinking back, she realized that he had always been like that.
Knowing the risk of him being discovered by other Exiles, he still ventured out to hunt for the Homunculi.
As soon as he heard that Sharon was suffering through a huge debt, he immediately offered to pay off her debts.
When she had nowhere to go, it was him who offered a place to say and provided her comfort.
He never insisted on his own opinion when she wanted to eat something delicious, instead he patiently waited for her to choose his own food.
And today, for her sake, he confronted a dangerous witch.
Instead of dwelling on his sorrow after a brutal defeat, he lied to Sharon instead, so that she wouldn’t be worried for him.
‘Is this because I cried so much?’
She could hear her heart beating faster than before, as if she suffered from an arrhythmia.
After that, a clear and strong impulse surged within her.
An urge to rush to him and embrace him.
An inexplicable feeling.
She vigorously shook her head and quickly finished her shower by using her magic.
‘I have to treat him well after I return from work.’
‘Don’t doubt his words, just follow along, after all, he’s being considerate to me.’
‘And I shouldn’t mention this topic again so that he wouldn’t need to lie anymore.’
With that resolution, Sharon exited the bathroom.
Sharon’s magic had an incredible effect.
Though, the fact that he had a spirit body probably contributed to his fast recovery. All his wounds, muscle pain and destroyed magic circuits recovered in an instant.
After Sharon left for her part-time job, Siwoo sat down on his desk.
He wanted to review the battle with Della in the tunnel.
It made him certain about something.
In this treacherous world, anything could happen, thus making it necessary for him to have the means to protect himself.
He imagined what would have happened if he had lost to Della earlier.
First, she’d have taken Sharon away.
Sharon would unquestionably suffer at Della’s hands.
Then, there was also the possibility that news about his ability to use magic to be spread around among the witches. Or even if it didn’t, there was also a possibility that Della might have just kidnapped him for herself.
In the end, won the battle due to various factors, but he couldn’t be so sure in the future.
He realized that he heavily depended on luck and improvisation on his battles.
And to neglect honing his abilities was a reckless act.
“Alright, let’s sort things out.”
First, he needed to sort out the magic he possessed.
Of course, he needed to do more than organizing it. He also needed to look up ways to use them more effectively.
‘First, Dimension Shift.’
Based on his experience during the battle, he concluded that he couldn’t use it during a battle.
A magical battle unfolded at an intense and rapid pace, every second counted.
Back then, if he even considered using Dimension Shift to escape, he would definitely pay for it dearly.
“I’ll put that one on hold…”
For now, he still couldn’t use it mid-battle, but if other options were unavailable, he could still use it to escape.
‘Next, Maiden’s Loom.’
One of the MVPs in today’s battle.
The ribbons woven from the loom were incredibly versatile. They could attack, defend, and even offer support without him needing to move his arms.
Siwoo realized that if he could use them in greater numbers, they could enhance his dispelling abilities as well as granting him more weapons to use.
He was well aware of how frightening the ribbons were, especially after his battle with Ea.
Studying how that wicked witch twisted and utilized the ribbons was something he deemed worth considering. He decided to incorporate it during his training.
“That means I have to train so that I can use them freely even in big numbers… I have to practice changing their shapes too…”
‘Then, Law of Shadows.’
The magic he heavily relied on during the battle.
Without it, he wouldn’t even dare to step into magic battles in the first place.
Firstly, it offered the needed minimal protection for him, since he didn’t have an autonomous defense.
He could also use it as a support as it could boost his strength, and gave him a way of attacking his enemies, similar to that of a power suit.
In essence, the Law of Shadows served as a base for him, who lacked fundamental skills, to be able to participate in battles.
There was also its unique ability to interfere and elude the opponent’s magic, as well as its shape-shifting capability. He could already combine that with the Maiden’s Loom.
“Its ability to destroy magic circles is just broken…”
However, it still had its limitations.
It still couldn’t take care of anything that possessed dense mana, since things usually were made of countless extremely small magic circles.
To strengthen his abilities, he realized that this aspect was one thing that he needed to fundamentally improve.
“This is it.”
And that was the direction he’d take in his training from now on.
After bouncing back from his fall, he planned to make slight modifications to his magic, just like how he applied the Law of Shadows to the Maiden’s Loom.
So, his self-study session today would be dedicated to sketch out this plan.
Siwoo concluded, determining the direction he would take.
‘Should I weave the small magic circles into something like a net, to reduce the impact of mana pressure it received?’
‘No, that won’t do.’
‘That’ll restrict my movement and the durability of my armor and shield.’
Siwoo’s pondering grew deeper.
After her shift was over, Sharon swung the front door open and stepped into the house.
“You’re a little late. Did you go somewhere?”
Hearing the sound of the door lock, Siwoo came out of his room to find Sharon holding two full plastic bags with both hands.
She curled her lips into a slightly awkward smile as she noticed his surprised expression.
“Well, it feels like I’m always receiving something from you, so I bought this. Also, I wanted to buy some anyway.”
“What are those?”
“King crabs. Freshly steamed.”
After she was done with her part-time job, she headed straight to the nearby crab restaurant.
There, she spent at least 400,000 won on the crabs.
She knew that Siwoo loved eating, especially seafood or something with shellfish in it. He always had this satisfied expression when he ate those.
Also, this was the first time Sharon had spent such a large amount of money on food ever since she came to the modern world ten years ago.
Her hands trembled slightly when she came out to pay for the food, but she didn’t feel the slightest bit of regret.
“Oh, come on. I told you that I’d buy you food in exchange for you teaching me magic, right? How much was it? I’ll pay you for it.”
As she had expected, Siwoo, with an embarrassed look, took out his wallet. However, she remained resolute and tried to dissuade him from paying.
She felt an overwhelming need to express her gratitude to him, fearing that failing to do so would leave her with an unbearable sense of guilt.
“No. Look, if you don’t take the food as it is, I’ll get really angry, okay?”
“But, it’s too much… You’ve even used your gems to heal me earlier today…”
“Seriously, it’s fine.”
“I said, it’s fine!”
After a brief scuffle, Siwoo let out a bitter smile as he looked at Sharon, who showed no signs of backing down.
Whenever she insisted on something like this, Siwoo had always backed down, and this time was no exception.
“I still think this is too much…”
“Enough already, or else I’ll be the one who feels burdened. Let’s dig in before the dishes get cold.”
They spread the king crabs on the table.
As he ate, Siwoo kept expressing his gratitude, saying ‘Thank you, thank you,’ almost every time he took a bite.
Meanwhile, Sharon was relieved to see that Siwoo didn’t seem to act in an awkward manner. Which meant, he completely believed that she bought his lies of defeating Della.
In truth, she wasn’t really confident in her acting skills.
After eating all the crabs and devouring three bowls of ramen, completely satisfied with their meals, they made their way to the living room.
“Wanna watch a movie?”
Today, Sharon actually wasn’t supposed to slack off like this. After all, she lost the crystals from the Homunculi she hunted, and she spent a lot of money just now. But, she didn’t seem to be concerned at all.
She didn’t want to burden Siwoo with the anxiety that arose from her own personal situation.
‘I’ll just take it easy today.’
“Alright, I’ll go change and be right back.”
“Can I pick the movie?”
“Sure, go ahead.”
Wrapping up their typical conversation, Sharon headed to her room.
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