‘Why is this happening to me..?’ Full of sadness and regret Satoru looked at Rita. Her body trembled from fever, wriggling in pain. ‘Rita… Please, Rita, don’t give up…’
Orisa violently shook her head while biting the lower lip. Blood trickled down, but the pain helped, clearing the mind a little.
‘There must be something I can do!’
Orisa reached for the book but then remembered that it would be of no use to her. Frustrated from her powerlessness, Orisa pressed her hands to her chest and was about to cry. Then she felt a slightly rough surface of the Seals on her skin and it hit her. Remembering her morning sealing ritual she jumped to her feet and rushed to the cart. Grabbing her backpack, she returned back to Rita and sat down on the ground.
She laid out the contents on a shirt lying on the ground and began to study them while recalling Tomas’s instruction:
“Military band-aid,” he said, giving her two small packs of cloth, “it will provide a small healing effect. You should cover the seals with it if they begin to itch or hurt. The band will attach itself to the skin, isolating the site from external stimuli.”
“Disinfecting gel." Tomas pressed the tip of the jar and a thick yellowish substance squeezed out of it. "An infection can penetrate the body through the inflamed or otherwise damaged seal. Disinfection and painkilling, in addition, minor healing."
“Mana-infused water can do a bit of everything. Use it as a supplementary measure if things go wrong. Or drink it, for what I care.”
‘I need to play it right. Not enough resources to make a mistake and redo everything.’ Satoru thought hard for a minute, before coming up with a satisfactory sequence.
Orisa removed the scraps of Rita's blouse, leaving her in a bloodied bra. With a bottle of drinking water, she washed her hands thoroughly and used some Disinfection gel after. With leftover water, she cleaned Rita's belly wound and the skin around it.
‘If I understand the mechanics of these items correctly, they will multiply each other’s effects if used together.’ Satoru thought again, fearing a mistake and its cost. ‘I hope I am right.’
Orisa opened the bottle with Mana water and splashed a bit over the wound. Leaving an opened band-aid in one hand, she wetted it with Mana water and then squeezed the gel all over it.
Taking a deep breath Orisa pressed her medical abomination against the wound. After a moment there was a hiss and smoke poured out. Rita’s face twisted in pain, and her whole body trembled.
‘Shit! Was I wrong?!' Satoru panicked, seeing Rita's reaction. After a few seconds, the band-aid suddenly flinched and zipped itself to Rita's skin, covering her wound.
Rita visibly relaxed and breathed more evenly. Orisa took a deep breath, calming her trembling body. ‘That will do it for now. More importantly – what should I do next?’
They were at least an hour away from the fort. ‘We’ll need around two hours to get there, maybe a little less.’ Satoru recalled Rita’s words.
‘So we drove more than half the way. No point going back.’ He looked at the horse’s body. Flies began to gather around it. ‘I need to get Rita out of here, at least because of them.’
Orisa gently stroked Rita’s cheek, muttering “Don’t worry, I will get you out.”
It took her some time to free the cart from the horse’s body. Another ten minutes were spent loading Rita into the cart.
‘My body is so weak… I’ve never felt so powerless.’ Orisa sat on the ground leaning on the cart’s wheel and heavily panting. She made one sip from the bottle of water and closed it with a regretful face. ‘I need to save the last bottle for Rita’s second bandaging.’
Resigning to her fate, Orisa stood up and went to the frontal part of the cart. She picked up the arc which the horse had been pulling before and begun to push it.
‘Heavy..! So damn heavy!’ The first step was the hardest one. It became easier after the cart finally began to move. ‘But god save me if I need to push it up the hill.’
After some time, Orisa got into the groove of movement. Moonlight was enough to see the road. Without a need to focus on each step she recalled today’s morning and the sealing ritual:
“Can you elaborate on those Seals, please?” Orisa finished a sandwich and asked a timely question.
“We can communicate because of the translation spell. But it will expire in a day or two.” Rita finished her breakfast and, after passing the dirty dishes to the cook, left the dining room. "Instead of a constant replacement, we use a Seal. To put it simply — it's a magical drawing on your body that carries a permanent effect."
Countless possibilities flashed through Satoru’s mind. ‘Just in case, I need to make sure.’
“Can I cover my entire body with them to get a lot of effects?” He asked innocently.
“For now, your body will be able to withstand two Seals at best. By the end of the training camp maybe one more. Trying to add another Seal will either break existing ones or harm your health with no positive effect at all.”
She opened the gate to the sealing room with her armlet, letting Orisa inside.
“I’ll be back in ten minutes or so. Tomas, be gentle with her.”
A thin, withered old man looked up from the table and nodded briefly, returning to his work. The gate closed behind Orisa and silence fell on the room. Few minutes passed before he looked up again.
"Earth, Japan. Correct?" The hoarse voice perfectly complemented an already vivid image of a tired old man.
“Remove your shirt and bra, and lay down on your back.” Without looking up from his papers, he pointed to a couch next to the table.
Orisa was a little confused by his request.
Mistaking her confusion as embarrassment, he grumbled irritably:
“Oh, come on. I have seen thousands of naked girls like you. Long past the point of caring.”
“No, that’s not it”. Orisa said while undressing. “I was just curious, why put the seal there, and not somewhere else?”
While she was settling on the couch, Tomas pulled out of the table the sealing equipment.
“Simple. If you lose a hand or a leg with a Seal on it, the Seal will lose its effect. If your chest is damaged to a point that it loses the Seal… Then this is the least of your concerns.” He blandly explained, while dipping a brush into a jar of blue liquid. Orisa was about to ask a question when he interrupted:
“Don’t talk, you’ll ruin the lines.” It took him five minutes to finish two sealing circles. Each was about five centimeters in diameter, with lots of small letters inside.
‘I am a work of art. Behold, revere, prone.’ The critic finally woke up, reciting in a pompous tone.
Putting away the brush, Tomas gathered some minerals and crystals in one hand and pressed his other hand to Orisa’s chest.
‘Cool. I’m being groped by an old man. Not what I was expecting on my third day of being an Isekai hero.’
Burning pain pierced Orisa’s chest suddenly, and left after a moment. Reagents from Tomas’ left hand disappeared, too. He then chanted another spell:
“Do you understand me?” He asked
“Dress up. We are done.” He took out a small bag and gave it to Orisa. “There are some meds in there. I’ll explain their purpose later. Right now remember one thing.” He paused to stress the importance of his words. “No physical exertion today and tomorrow. The Seals won’t break, they might break you instead.”
Orisa decided to rest a bit. Her arms and legs were very sore. Wiping the sweat from her forehead, she went to check on Rita. The band-aid changed its color from crystal-white to a dark brown. ‘Guess it's time to replace it. Hope it will last, this is my last band-aid and the gel is running out.’
Repeating the same procedure Orisa noticed another worrying thing. Rita’s body temperature was extremely low. ‘Shit, it’s actually damn cold here at night.’ She pulled out all her spare clothes and covered Rita with them. Her pants were too thin to keep Rita warm, so just in case she took off her own clothes and together with her spare ones pulled them on Rita.
‘So cold!’ Orisa shivered, rubbing herself to warm up a little. ‘Screw it! I’ll manage somehow. Rita, please, hang on!’
She raised the arc again and began to pull the cart.
At the same time, three people looked at the scene of the fight, using the blue light of the crystal lantern.
“If this piece of meat was someone’s hand, and this is what was left of the wolf, I can more or less imagine what happened here.” Said the Captain. “Looks ugly.”
“Lots of blood. Bad. No corpse. Good.” Commented a green-haired girl, San.
“Buff the horses.” Captain said, turning to the third man.
“Cap, the horses might not make it, and you know it.”
“Buff. The. Horses.”
The third man, Tinn Varao, grumbled but began spellcasting.
Orisa kept pushing. She knew that she could not stop and take a break. She would not be able to get up again.
The last hill nearly killed her. She no longer felt her hands or legs. With each step, her boots made gurgling sounds, wet with the blood from blisters. The wooden arc was wet for the same reason, and Orisa’s hand were full of splinters. It was cold, but heavy labor made her body warmer. It was the only good thing about the situation.
The last sip of Mana water gave her some strength, but it was an hour ago. The world around her was getting a little brighter, but she didn't notice.
She stopped noticing the pain in her chest. Both Seals were bleeding heavily, smearing her bra and panties in red.
Her mind was completely blank, cut off from the world.
Step. And one more.
And another two steps.
When the soldiers were some twenty meters away from the cart, Captain’s horse fell, foam oozing from its mouth. He covered the remaining distance in a blink of an eye. Grasping the situation he called Orisa:
“Oi, girl, you can stop. We got this.”
One more step. And another one.
“Hey, stop the cart. Hey!” When he caught up with her, Captain was overwhelmed by the sight — a pale girl in the underwear was pushing the cart with bloody hands, and more blood was oozing from her Seals.
Two more steps. And step. And step.
She muttered something but he was unable to hear it, so weak was her voice. Moving backward in front of Orisa, he leaned closer to her face.
Step. And another step.
“Rita… hang on…”
Captain grabbed Orisa shoulders and forcibly stopped her. “Tinn! Status on Rita!”
"Critical. I see traces of meds." With a grave expression, Tinn reported to the Captain. "If not for them, she would have died from an infection or blood loss. We can't save her here."
“Train station fort.” Captain looked at San. “I can already see it from here. Take her there.”
“Third time today. Hard. I might break.” Uttered San.
“It’s Rita we are talking about.”
San took a long look at Captain and climbed into the cart. She lay down next to Rita and hugged her tightly. After taking a deep breath she muttered:
Captain slowly pulled his hand to the sword on his belt. Tinn gripped the rod tightly.
A large purple circle appeared around San and Rita. Their bodies flickered purple, and the next moment, after a loud cracking sound, instead of the pair stood a giant purple wolf. She bared her teeth and growled lowly. Her body was trembling in rage, hungry for blood. Then the growling stopped. She shook her head twice before jump out of the cart. She took another long look at the Captain.
A moment later San dashed away towards the station. Both man visibly relaxed, letting out a sigh of relief.
“Rita…” Muttered Orisa absentmindedly. Captain easily pulled her away from the cart before putting a potion bottle to her mouth. She grabbed the bottle with both hands and greedily swallowed its contents. Her look became more conscious.
“Rita… where?” Asked Orisa slowly.
“Sent her to a healer." Captain took off his cape and threw it over Orisa’s shoulders.
“Good.” That’s all she said, standing still.
After taking another look over her body, Captain easily tore off her panties and bra and poured a whole bottle of water on her, washing blood with his hand. Then he took out a jar of gel and applied it on her chest. After smashing two band-aids on top of the Seals, he tightly wrapped her in his cape and put her on the horse that belonged to San.
Captain climbed onto the horse and sat behind Orisa, hugging her with one hand and steering the horse with another. Together with Tinn, they slowly moved towards the station.
“I must say, girl…” Captain chuckled. “You are a bloody hero!”
Orisa’s internal critic giggled, putting a small ‘plus’ sticker to the Captain’s profile. She herself had no strength to answer the joke.
“It makes me wonder… For how long were you planning to push that cart?”
“Until my body is dry.”
Then she blacked out.