I used to think that I was a genius, but when I look back at it now, it’s so embarrassing that I might just go crazy. However, the fact remains, I truly believed that I was a genius.
At the start, I did have enough talent to allow for such a misguided belief. During my childhood, I had no trouble when it came to learning new things, and I was able to improve my skills at a faster rate than others.
However, things were only easy at the beginning. Although I improved faster than everyone else at first, when things really got going, I slowed down to match the others’ pace.
I didn’t think much of it at first since I thought that these things could happen. After all, wasn’t I still improving little by little? I can still do it. Why? Because I’m a genius.
In the end, I was forced to accept the reality that I had tried so hard to reject.
I wasn’t a genius.
It was all thanks to meeting a ‘real’ genius, one who I couldn’t even compare to, that I was finally forced out of this ridiculous and childish delusion.
The me who thought I was a genius was but a frog in a well. Inside the comfort of my little well, I had gotten drunk on a false sense of superiority. Meanwhile, the real geniuses were already flying through the wide-open sky.
I hated that genius.
I felt my killing intent rising whenever I heard him spout nonsense about how anyone could possibly be able to do what he had done if they really tried. Whether or not he really believed what he said, or he was just looking down on the efforts of someone less talented than himself, it still made me feel like shit.
‘Are you jealous?’
Fuck jealousy. You're the one who started talking shit first. I just returned the favor, so how the fuck am I being jealous?
‘I didn’t think that you’d take it like that. I was just… feeling sorry for you.’
Feeling sorry? What?
‘If you just tried a little harder….’
Just what do you know that makes you think you’re qualified to preach about hard work?
‘You could be a lot better than you are now.’
Hey, I’m doing perfectly fine, thanks. Your standards are just too damn high. Do you really think that everyone can be like you? Since you’re a genius, don’t assume that everyone else is capable of doing what you do.
I can’t be as great as you.
* * *
I could barely squeeze out these words. A gaping hole was running through my chest. To try and treat my wound, they were desperately casting magic and pouring out drops of the precious elixir, but it was pointless.
“No, please no.”
She’s crying? I never expected a girl like her to make that sort of expression for me. Even though we argued about everything, and she always had a nasty look on her face whenever she talked to me, I guess she still got a little attached to our quarrels.
“That’s why… that’s why I told you. Just go back. Why did you have to be so stubborn and keep following us…?”
“Sienna. For now, just put that away.”
My voice wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to. It was probably because of all the blood rising up my throat.
“I don’t need the elixir. You don’t have enough of them to be wasting one here. Don’t be foolish.”
“Enough. I’m the one who knows my own body best. There’s no way I’ll survive. I’ll be dead soon.”
I was dying.
I had resigned myself to this fact even before my chest had been pierced. In the first place, my body was so broken that it must have looked like I was embarking on a fool’s errand. They’d told me to turn back and wait for them, but I had ignored all their worries and their lectures to follow them up to this point.
“...I could have avoided it.”
His voice was as cold as ever. This son of a bitch. It looks like he’ll be a pain to deal with until the very end.
“So there was no need for you to do this.”
“Didn’t I tell you to fuck off already?”
Even though it’s so hard to talk right now, why does he keep yapping at me like this?
“You should have known that as well.”
His expression showed that he just couldn’t understand. There was a chance that he was correct. Even though it might have looked like a desperate crisis to the others, it probably hadn’t seemed all that dangerous to him.
Didn’t I know that? Of course, I did. After all, we’ve been traveling together for so long. So I knew just what kind of an unspeakable monster he was. And even among all those who called him a monster, I was especially familiar with his abilities.
“...There was no need for you to die like this.”
Then how else was I supposed to die? He should know it as well. How much of a miracle it was for me to have come this far. Without him, I would never have made it here.
“...At least like this, it’s an honorable death.” It was so hard to get my voice out, but I had to say this, “I would become nothing but a burden if I went on with you, but I didn’t want to turn back either.”
And I didn’t want to try and live an ordinary life with this crippled body of mine.
“Since you’re so talented, you really didn’t need me to cover for you, right?”
Even though I knew this, I still threw my body in the way. My body that was no longer able to move properly, just for a moment, moved exactly as I wanted it to. Thanks to that, I was able to push this detestable bastard out of the way, and I ended up with this huge hole in my chest.
“...I’m tired now, so just get going already.”
Slowly, it was becoming even harder to speak. It felt like my own voice was coming to me from a distance and, from even farther away, I could hear the sound of weeping. My body was so heavy that I couldn’t even move a finger. Everything in front of me was growing dark.
In my final moments, I heard his voice. Bastard, if you’re going to say it, why didn’t you say it sooner. Still, it made me feel good. After all, this was the first time I’d ever heard him thank me.
What the fuck.