“– how is this possible!?”
After Sophia finished reading the last person’s feelings she discovered that there was no traitor among the staff.
“Calm down, Sophia. Eric, is this everybody in the mansion?”
“There are knights and a few others that are staying in other villages, but none of them have left within the last few days.”
The only way someone would know we had the liver is if they were here yesterday…but nobody here is the traitor.
“Leon onii-chan, I’m going to read everyone’s feelings once more.”
Sophia raised her voice. When she first read their feelings, she was only reading the surface. Now, she plans on using her ability at full power. She’s going to relive the memories of every person here.
Most of them are servants that I’d imagined have been treated well, but I can’t imagine what kind of effect this would have on Sophia’s mind. I can’t allow her to do that.
“You can’t do that, Sophia.”
“But it’s the only way we’ll be able to find the thief!”
“I know that. So, question them once more, but just use your ability to see if they’re lying or not.”
“…fine. I’ll do that for now.”
I didn’t want her to overexert herself, but we really don’t have any other options. I left Sophia to do her second interrogation.
Once Sophia left my side, Alice tugged on my sleeve.
“…is something wrong?”
“There are three people still inside the mansion.”
Everyone except for Seth -who is making the medicine – is currently gathered here in the courtyard. It could be the criminals….
“I think one of them might be Claire.”
“Claire? What is she doing here?”
“I don’t know, but they’re walking all over the mansion. I think they’re looking for someone.”
“Can I leave Sophia to you? If we leave her alone she’s likely to use the full power of her ability.”
“Yeah, leave her to me. Claire’s close to Eric’s office currently.”
I left Alice and headed to where she said Claire was. I found her walking in a hallway with Michelle and Elsa.
“O-Otouto-kun? I’m glad that you’re okay. Why is there no one in the mansion? We were worried something happened to you.”
“Oh…something has happened. Everyone’s gathered in the courtyard.”
“Actually…I’m sorry. After all you did, the liver has been stolen. Sophia’s currently questioning everyone.”
“…the liver? So that’s what happened….”
Claire was quietly muttering to herself.
“…Claire? Do you know something about this?”
“Oh, yeah, I may. I can’t confirm anything yet, but if the liver has been stolen it seems likely.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll tell you later. I wish to speak with the doctor; is he in the courtyard?”
“No, he…should be in his office.”
“Thank you. — Michelle can you go and bring Eric and Sophia to the doctor’s office?”
Michelle turned and ran off to the courtyard. After watching her leave I turned back to Claire.
“Can you tell me what you know?”
“I’m still uncertain so I’d like to speak with the doctor first.”
“…all right. His office is this way.”
We walked off in the direction of Seth’s office.
“What is this doctor doing in his office?”
While walking down the hall, Claire asked me this. Elsa was silently following behind us.
“Seth is making the medicine for Elyse.”
“…medicine? If the liver’s been stolen, how is he making the medicine?”
“He can’t make the original medicine he planned, but even without the liver, the leaves and claw may be able to alleviate some of Elyse’s suffering.”
Claire fell silent again. I’m worried, but she looks deep in though, so I shouldn’t disturb her.
We didn’t say another word to each other until we reached Seth’s office.
“This is his office. — Seth, are you in there?”
“…did you need me?”
Seth quickly emerged from the door after I knocked.
“Are you the doctor Seth?”
Claire answered for me.
“Ah, yes, I am Seth. Who might you be?”
“I am Claire Ridill of the Grances family.”
“Hou~, Claire Ridill. And what can I do for you?”
“There was something I wished to discuss concerning Elyse’s illness.”
“Hmm…I’m not sure what I can tell you that Leon doesn’t already know, but I’ll try to help. My office isn’t very large but you should all be able to fit. Come in, please.”
“No, we’re fine here.”
“…is that so.”
Seth seemed confused after hearing Claire’s refusal. I was just as confused as him. I’ve never seen Claire refuse someone’s hospitality like this.
“I’ll speak frankly. Is it true that Elyse’s disease is called Tuberculosis Magical Power Conversion Inhibitor.”
Claire’s question wasn’t what I was expecting. In response, Seth said, “Of course,” without any hesitation.
“Yes, I’m sure of it.”
“Even with my large information network, I haven’t been able to discover any other instance of a disease like this. There are cases where a person’s body fails to properly convert mana in their body, but this can be cured by training themselves to convert mana manually.”
“…I see. The Grances family possesses a vast amount of knowledge.”
“So you’re lying about Elyse’s disease?”
Claire raised her eyebrows as she asked Seth this. However, Seth calmly replied, “No.”
“The disease you’re talking about is Magical Power Conversion Inhibitor. It’s similar but Elyse’s disease is Tuberculosis Magical Power Conversion Inhibitor. This disease cannot be treated by normal means.”
“So that’s your theory…?”
“No, it is a fact.”
“Then…what does the word ‘tuberculosis’ mean? Did you know it was us that coined the word ‘tuberculosis?’”
The word tuberculosis existed in my previous life as well. It was created by combining words of a similar meaning in this world.
A disease that had the same general symptoms of tuberculosis would be called tuberculosis. It doesn’t necessarily have the same bacteria causing the disease.
Seth fell silent after hearing this. His expression seemed to slip for a brief moment.
“Of course I knew that. I was searching for what disease could be affecting Elyse-sama and after receiving a report from the Grances family, I was able to judge that her disease had to be tuberculosis.”
“Judge, huh. And how exactly were you able to judge that?”
“I did it based on my many years of experience and sheer intuition…. It’s possible it’s not actually tuberculosis, but I know for a fact that it is not a simple case of Magical Power Conversion Inhibitor.”
I wasn’t suspecting Seth earlier, but now I was beginning to doubt him. Even if he isn’t the culprit, he’s clearly acting suspiciously. But he hasn’t said anything incriminating yet and we can’t disprove what he just said.
“…then, I’ll change the question. You said there was a medicine that could cure Elyse, but no matter where I’ve looked, I’ve never been able to find any mention of this medicine. I’ve also read no instance of an earth dragon’s claw being used for any medicinal purpose…. Does this medicine even exist?”
“I’ve only read about it in old books. I can’t say for sure whether or not it will actually work.”
Seth continued to dodge Claire’s questions. It will be hard to prove anything if things stay like this.
— That is, of course, if we didn’t have Sophia.
Michelle then appeared with Sophia and Eric following behind her. Claire looked at Sophia with a bitter smile.
“Will you confess now or do we need to use Sophia?”
“…fine, let’s get this over with.”
I shook my head and let out a big sigh. It’s clear what he’s done now, and he’s not even trying to deny it anymore.
Alice arrived with everyone else and came up to me to find out what was happening.
“Actually…Seth seems to be the culprit.”
“Wha –!? What are you saying, Leon? Seth has been serving my family for years! He would never do something like this!”
Eric refused to accept my words. But,
“No, what Leon said is true.”
Seth spoke up and confessed himself.
“…that’s ridiculous. You’re saying you’re the traitor?”
“No, I did everything on my own.”
After hearing his words, I understood why only the liver was gone. Seth knew that the liver was the hardest ingredient for us to obtain. Still, Eric can’t seem to believe it. No, he just doesn’t want to believe it. He’s afraid that what Seth is saying is the truth.
“Are you serious…? This was all you….”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Why…. Why would you do something like that!?”
Eric barked out these words as he rushed towards Seth, but Seth didn’t back down and met eyes with Eric.
“Because Carlos-sama and Elyse-sama are responsible for my son’s death. Eric, you’ve heard that my son died out on a mission, right?”
“…of course, I know that. My father may be the one that issued the order but that is the job of a knight. Your son knew the risks and willingly accepted them.”
“Yes, and if he had died as a knight I would’ve accepted it. The story that my son died while out on a mission was all a lie created by Carlos-sama.”
“…what are you saying?”
“…my son did not die as a knight. He was sent out to act as a bandit and he died as a bandit.”
My voice was caught in my throat. I knew exactly what he was talking about.
An incident where the Sfir family sent their knights out in disguise to lead a group of bandits in an attack. The security at the Grances mansion was poor after the majority of their knights had been sent out to deal with bandits in the area. The mansion was destroyed and most of the servants and Grances family were killed.
I thought it was just a few skilled bandits leading the party that had been hired by the Sfir family.
But now I know that at least one of these leaders was Seth’s son.
Seth’s son is just another victim of Carlos’ ambition.
“…is this true? Are you sure it’s not just a misunderstanding?”
Eric still refused to believe him.
“It’s true. I heard it from Elyse-sama directly.”
“Elyse lost her husband and, with him, her ambition. She didn’t believe she deserved to live, so she confessed many of her crimes to me.”
Eric still didn’t want to believe him, but I knew Seth was telling the truth. It’s the only way he’d know that Elyse and Carlos were behind the attack on the Grances mansion.
“…I understand. I certainly can sympathize with you, but that does not mean I’ll allow you to kill Mother. Tell me what you’ve done with the liver.”
“I’m sorry but I can’t do that.”
Seth responded flatly. Sophia than stepped toward him. She’s going to use her ability to find the location of the liver.
As Sophia approached him, Seth recoiled back and said, “Becuase I’ve already destroyed it –”
Sophia collapsed to the ground, her eyes opened wide in shock. I quickly embraced her and tried to calm her down.
“Leon onii-chan, Seth really destroyed it….”
“I know that, but it will be okay. Elyse can be saved even without the liver.”
“Eh? What do you mean?”
“It’s just a guess, but…Elyse isn’t actually sick. This medicine never even existed. — Isn’t that right?”
That last line was directed towards Seth.
That is why the medicine needed such rare ingredients.
There is a cure for this rare disease, but the ingredients are near impossible to find. If Seth were to tell Eric that, he’d be desperate to find the ingredients and the thought of confirming Elyse’s illness would never even cross his mind.
I acted the same way. Gather the ingredients first, look into the disease after.
“…as expected of you, Leon-sama. It’s just as he said. Elyse was never sick. I’ve been feeding her a small amount of poison every day.”
“I can’t believe this….”
Eric was betrayed by Seth, someone he felt he could trust completely. Now that he knew the truth about the death of Seth’s son, Eric seemed to lose all the strength in his body as he collapsed to his knees.
Still, something is strange. He wouldn’t admit what he did when it was just Claire and me, but he so easily admitted to it when Eric arrived. He also didn’t try to flee even though he knew about Sophia’s ability. He was just waiting here in his office.
…wait a minute.
Sophia doesn’t use her ability at full power most of the time.
She does enough to tell if someone is lying but that’s it. As long as Seth doesn’t lie to her, Sophia wouldn’t be able to tell if he was plotting anything else. So if avoids lying, he can keep us here so we don’t discover what his actual plan is —
“Eric, is there someone with Elyse!?”
“– Everyone should be gathered in the courtyard.”
After raising my voice, Alice seemed to understand what I was thinking. Alice turned and ran off in the direction of Elyse’s room with Sophia following right behind her. I wanted to stop Sophia in case it was too late, but…I let her go.
I need to give instructions to everyone else.
“Michelle, go to the courtyard and tell everyone they no longer need to wait out there. Send the knights to Elyse and tell them it’s urgent.”
Michelle ran off as well. Eric then turned towards me.
“…Leon, what is going on?”
“I’m about to find out.”
I watched Seth’s face carefully, trying to see if he had any reaction to what I was doing. He still seemed calm, but there was a slight change. He wasn’t as expressionless as before, but I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.
“…you knew that Sophia would be able to find out what you did. Why didn’t you flee?”
“You already know the answer to that, Leon-sama.”
“You were buying time.”
“Yes. Elyse-sama told me that Sophia-sama could no longer use her ability. So when I found out she could, I had to make some changes to my plan.”
Sophia lied to Elyse and told her she couldn’t use her ability.
Seth would’ve believed this as well but would’ve found out she could when we gathered everyone in the courtyard to question them.
Seth was then allowed to roam freely in the mansion as everyone was gathered outside.
…I can’t believe I didn’t notice sooner. I don’t have time to blame myself for this. I took a deep breath and asked the question I was afraid to hear the answer to.
“…you gave Elyse a lethal dose of poison, didn’t you?”
I was hoping I was wrong, but Seth’s lips began to curl into a cruel smile.
“I lied and told her it was the cure. The cure that was made thanks to the efforts of Sophia and you, Leon. I think I saw her crying when I left her room.”
I clenched my fist as I held back my desire to kill him now.
It wouldn’t be enough to just kill Elyse. That wouldn’t satisfy Seth’s desire for revenge. He needed to watch her suffer.
And Sophia and I just made his revenge even sweeter. He told us there was a chance to save Elyse and we convinced her not to give up on life. Elyse had a reason to live, and, with this, Seth’s revenge was complete.
It was thanks to our efforts that Seth was able to complete his revenge.
I could feel a sharp pain in my chest and I felt nauseous. I was the one that convinced Elyse to not give up. I wanted her to live for Sophia’s sake.
But this man —
“– Elsa, tie up Seth. We’re going to check on Elyse.”