I wasn’t a healer by any means, but I’d seen what Kantrilla could do, and discussed the limits of healing magic. In fact, the limits were rather high- but that depended on two things. First, more powerful healing magic required a more powerful healer. That was obvious, but the important thing was such powerful healers were also more rare.
The other important part of healing was timing. Problems were easier to fix the earlier the healer was there. That was why adventuring parties liked clerics or other healers to be with them. Besides the chance that they might be needed immediately, they were also more effective if treatment began immediately.
Father Thomas was the most powerful healer I knew. He was able to cure my muscular dystrophy at Kantrilla’s request- but at the cost of overdrafting his mana for a week. Using him as an example, it might have been possible for him to heal Kasner’s leg if he had been down with the dungeon when it happened… but it might not have been.
I could only watch blankly as the on duty healer and Kantrilla took Kasner away on a stretcher. I couldn’t even hear anything that was being said around me.
I knew serious wounds and deaths happened to adventurers… but that was other adventurers. Not us. Not any of my friends.
The next day, everyone went to see Kasner. He was still pale, but able to sit up in bed on his own. I tried not to think about how big the bed looked with his small form in it.
When I entered the room, Kantrilla was standing next to the bed, stammering. “W-we could maybe s-sell some equipment, and then-”
“Don’t.” Kasner held up his hand, “It’s fine.” Instead of his normal wild hair and maniacal look, Kasner’s face was blank, and his hair flat on his head. “Even if we could find someone with the power to heal… this-” he gestured toward the blankets covering his legs, “we couldn’t afford it even if everyone sold all their equipment- and you guys need that to keep adventuring. Nobody gives credit to adventurers… but it doesn’t matter anyway. Do you know what I was doing before I became an adventurer?”
“Umm…” Halette frowned, “Shocking people in the streets?”
“Hah.” Kasner only gave the most token response to her attempt to improve the mood. “No, I was working with farmers. Watering crops, helping find the best place to dig wells… normal country mage stuff. Then a mage came through the town, causing trouble. I challenged him to a duel. It happened on a rainy afternoon- conditions that heavily favored me. Even so, I was losing. I didn’t really know how to fight, even if I could control water and ice. Then… bam. Lightning.”
“I do remember you mentioning something about getting hit by lightning,” I nodded.
“Well, when I woke up that evening… the troublemaker had been completely obliterated. Yet, there I was… relatively unharmed. Seeing the power lightning had, I thought maybe lightning magic was my true calling all along. I started practicing with it, but the only practical applications of lighting magic were adventuring. Not long after I started adventuring, I met up with you two-” Kasner nodded to Halette and Alhorn. “Then we added Llyr and Kantrilla. It was enjoyable while it lasted… but I don’t know if I should have even tried being an adventurer in the first place.”
Alhorn cleared his throat, “You’re an excellent sorcerer, skilled in two elements of magic. Not many people have those sorts of talents.”
Kasner shrugged, “Even so, I was much better at the non-combat parts of magic. Now…” Kasner revealed his leg- which was just the upper half of his leg, wrapped in bandages. “Well, it’s a good time to give up adventuring. I won’t be able to move around properly in a dungeon. The next time, I might just die. If I quit here… I can sell some of my equipment and take my savings and start another life. I’ll still need income but water magery pays pretty well. Enough to put food on the table, and tasty food at that.”
Alhorn sighed, “I understand. We don’t want to make you put yourself at risk.”
“It’s better for all of you, too,” Kasner said, “I’d just be a burden.” He held up a hand, “Don’t bother saying I wouldn’t. I don’t mean to say I wasn’t doing my share before, but now you’d just have to watch out for me. I mean, the leg’s already gone… there’s not much to be done about it now.”
The silence that followed that was awkward but probably not quite as long as it seemed. However, nobody had much else to say. What could we say? ‘I’m sorry we couldn’t stop the room sized minotaur from getting to you’? ‘I’m sorry you don’t dodge well’? Neither of those would be appropriate to say.
Kasner was already taking the loss of his leg better than I would have. I’d barely been walking again for a single year. Having that taken away from me- or even partially taken away- I don’t know if I could have been so graceful about it.
The four of us met together to discuss our future plans. That was me, Kantrilla, Alhorn, and Halette. Five if we counted Socks, but she didn’t contribute much to discussions. Even in the inns that were accepting of animals, they drew the line at hooved animals inside on their nice wooden floors. Thus, Carlos was out in the stables.
“So…” I started, “Do we look for another magic user?”
“Well…” Alhorn sighed, “I didn’t want to just drop this on people, but I have to leave for a while. I have business to take care of in my hometown. I could be gone for a few months, or more. I’m not quitting adventuring, but I can’t just ask you to reserve my spot in the group for such a long time.”
“Sure you can,” Kantrilla said, smiling, “We’ll always have room for friends.”
“Well… if you change your mind…” Alhorn shook his head, “Anyway, we can keep in touch through mail. The guild will be able to forward messages to you even if you move away from Ekralas.”
“Yeah, umm…” Halette hugged Socks from behind, looking at the rest of us, “We also have to go away. There are some family problems that I need to deal with sooner or later, and now seems like the best time.”
Just like that, our party split up- with the promise to form back up again ‘eventually’. However, everyone knew that such promises didn’t always work out.