Volume 4, Chapter 34: Alice Cheat, Once More

“Alice, we can cleanse her stomach using spirit magic!”

Elyse is unable to drink anything on her own, but Alice can use her magic to remove the poison from her stomach.

But Alice looked troubled.

“…that’s not possible. Leon, you know that the mana in a person’s body causes interference. It’s nearly impossible to directly affect someone’s body.”

“I know, but it should be possible if the mana in a person’s body is completely depleted.”

“It might be possible if Elyse was really suffering from Magical Power Conversion Inhibitor, but she’s not suffering from a disease but rather from poison. It’s not possible.”

“Even if she isn’t suffering from that disease, don’t you think we can deplete her mana? Her body has been fighting off the poison for months now. She must be naturally converting only a small amount of mana right now, and if we can make her use more mana, we can use up whatever she has left.”

“But how…. Oh, that might work!”

I reached out and removed Alice’s hair ornament. As I did, the effect from the inscription magic was removed and her right eye turned from blue to gold.

I then attached the ornament to Elyse’s hair.

Elyse’s eyes are blue to begin with so the effect was less noticeable, but the iris in her right eye seemed to change a little. The inscription magic is working.

The average person can maintain about three inscriptions at one time. If you activate any more, you’ll almost certainly run out of mana.

“If we completely drain her mana, there may be no interference but…I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’ve never used magic to directly control a person’s body. I don’t think I’d have the ability to wash out her stomach using spirit magic.”

“That may be true.”

She’d need to conjure water inside of Elyse’s stomach to cleanse it. She would then need to keep Elyse’s airway clear while simultaneously draining her stomach. It would require delicacy and precise timing.

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But –

“Remember what we did in the forest? If we work together, we may be able to do it.”

“…are you sure? If it’s the two of us, we should be able to control it better, but if we fail….”

Alice’s words trailed off. I don’t even want to consider that outcome. If we fail, Elyse’s organs will be crushed just like the clay bath we were trying to make.

“I know…but do you think she’ll survive if we don’t do anything?”

Garlic won’t have an immediate effect and the leaves from the World Tree will only give her body a better chance of fighting against the poison. If Elyse’s body continues to deteriorate as it has, she’ll have a very slim chance of surviving.

“Besides, even if her body can withstand the poison, who knows what kind of damage it will do to her.”

“Neither of us can know what will happen to her if we don’t do anything, but if we try this and fail…we’ll kill her.”

“I know.”

I’ll hate myself if we fail and kill Elyse, but, even worse than that, Sophia will blame us if we fail.

It’s similar to how I felt in the forest once Max and Melissa had killed the bear.

Still –

I’d never be able to forgive myself if I did nothing out of fear and I just let Elyse die…. That would be the worst outcome.

“I want to give Elyse the best chance of surviving. It doesn’t matter if we’re scared, we have to do this. I promised Sophia that I’d do everything within my power to save her.”

“…are you sure about this?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry that I’m putting you in such a difficult situation….”

Alice then pinched my cheek. What is she doing in this situation?

“I want to help Sophia as much as you do. Don’t say that I’m only doing this because you asked…or I’ll pinch your cheek.”

“You could at least say something before pinching me…. But is it really okay?”

“Of course. I’ll walk side-by-side with you down whatever path you take. Even if it leads to pain and sorrow, I’ll be by your side.”

“Alice…thank you.”

I can’t describe the happiness I feel knowing Alice will stay by my side no matter how hard it gets.

But, at the same time, I realized that my decision may lead Alice down a painful road.

“Hey, don’t make such a face. Everyone will be happy if we succeed, and I know if we’re working together we can’t fail.”

“…yeah, you’re right.”

It took us ten times to get the bath right. That means we only had a ten percent success rate, but we’ve done it more since then and I know we’ve got better at it.

We’ve only got one chance at this, but I know we can do it. I turned my attention to Eric.

“Eric, I’d like to try using spirit magic to save Elyse….”

“Of course, if you feel like it will help.”

“I don’t think you understand…. If we fail, Elyse will die.”

“Still, I want you to do it. I was listening to your conversation and I understand the risks. To make the decision easier for you, I order you as Earl of the Sfir family to do this. Don’t worry about failing.”

He made it clear that it was a command. In other words, he’s taking all responsibility for this if we fail.

“Otouto-kun, and Alice, I don’t believe Elyse will survive as things stand. If there’s something you can do that will give her a chance, I think you should try.”

“Claire….”

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Her medical knowledge is about as good as mine. I could tell by looking into her eyes that she felt the same as Eric.

If we fail, she’ll take responsibility.

“…you’re all too kind.”

Everyone showed a bitter smile. I can’t fail when everyone believes in me.

“By the way, Leon, should we ask for Sophia’s opinion?”

“…I know she’d say the same as everyone else. We don’t need to worry her anymore.”

That much is obvious and I don’t want her thinking about her mother’s death.

“I’m sorry but Eric you should take Seth with you and leave.”

“Okay, I’m counting on you.”

Eric nodded and tried to pull Seth out of the room but he resisted. His eyes were filled with hatred as stared at me.

“– Why are you doing this!? Why are you going so far to save Elyse!? Didn’t she kill your family!? Don’t tell me you’ve forgiven her!”

“…I don’t think I can forgive her for killing my father, nor do I think he’d forgive her for killing his wife.”

“Then why would you not what to get revenge for your family!? Did your father mean so little to you!?”

“– Seth! I won’t allow you to say anything else!”

Eric raised his voice before trying to drag Seth out of the room, but I motioned for him to stop.

Although we have something important to take care of, I don’t think I’ll be able to focus until I say what I have to say.

“I think Sophia is more important to me now than my father who died several years ago. I think this is the main reason…but even if this weren’t the case, I think I’d still save Elyse.”

“…but why?”

“My father didn’t want revenge. He wanted me to protect those I care about.”

I could understand if he wanted revenge, but that’s not what he asked of me in our final moments together. He asked me to protect Claire and Milli. Father…didn’t want revenge.

“…he must’ve wanted revenge on those that betrayed him.”

“No, he didn’t seek vengeance when he knew he was going to die, and I’m sure your son felt the same.”

“You don’t….”

I’m going to save Elyse in order to protect someone I care about, but Seth has nothing left but the pain of losing a child. This weighed on him heavily and there was nothing to take his mind off of it.

I don’t know what Seth thought of my words. He remained silent as Eric dragged him out of the room.

I pushed back these thoughts and turned my attention to Elyse.

“Now then, you two, take off your clothes.”

“Okay.”

“I understand.”

With no hesitation, but a little embarrassment, Alice and Claire started to undress.

“No, no, no, you need to do this because…wait, aren’t you both too willing to remove your clothes?”

“We have to put our clothes on Elyse so the inscription magic will drain her mana, right?”

“Y-Yeah, that’s right, but….”

Okay, so they did understand. Then why were they acting so shy? Anyway, I also removed my jacket that was inscribed with magic.

We dressed Elyse in our clothes and the inscription magic activated all at once. Elyse’s mana slowly began to drain.

With this many inscriptions active at once, she’ll run out of mana in no time.

“Alice, let’s get ready….”

I looked over at Alice and fell silent. Alice and Claire were only now only wearing their bras and were openly facing me.

“Fufu~, why do you look so nervous? Aren’t you used to seeing Alice in her underwear anyway?”

“S-S-Shut up! I’m not used to this situation!”

“Fu~n, so you’re not denying you’re used to seeing Alice in her underwear?”

“Ah, geez, stop messing around. I need to be calm right now!”

I tried to calm down, but it was impossible given the current situation. If we mess up Elyse will die — no, thinking about that just makes me more nervous.

All right. Just calm down. Stop enjoying the sight of those two in their underwear…. That’s not possible.

I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I waited like that for a while. Before long, the inscription magic on Elyse began to wear off. Her mana’s almost gone.

Once it was completely gone, I turned to Alice.

“Well…are you ready?”

“Yep. I’ll show you I’m deserving of the name ‘Alice Cheat.’”

Alice Cheat…I always thought she hated that nickname, but now it seems reliable.

“…okay. I believe in you, Alice. And I’ve been practicing with you for years so I know I can do this.”

“Yep. So–”

“– let’s save Elyse together.”

Alice’s senses flowed into me. I embraced this feeling and my own senses flowed into her. We became one heart, one mind, one person.

And —

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