The sun was shining brightly today as I stood on the balcony of my room in the Sfir mansion.
There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, no wind, and the warm sunlight was gently caressing my skin. The weather was nice, but the atmosphere…didn’t match it.
Amazingly, Elyse did manage to escape death. She ingested more than ten times the lethal amount of arsenic and managed to survive, but it still wouldn’t feel right calling this a miracle.
We confiscated the arsenic that Seth had hidden away in his office and also discovered the mixture that he had been adding to Elyse’s food. The entire mixture was about 10% arsenic.
Which is more than enough to kill any adult if left untreated, but also low enough, that if she had received treatment, she’d likely have survived.
So it’s thanks to our treatment that she was able to survive.
— but that’s not to say there will be no aftereffects. Elyse still has symptoms of medicinal poisoning.
“What are you doing out here? Have you already talked to Eric?”
It was Alice. I took my eyes away from the sky and looked to my side. Alice was by my side, leaning against the terrace rail.
“I finished speaking with him a moment ago…. I just came out here to get some air.”
“I see…. So what did you two decide? What’s going to happen to the doctor?”
“Seth is being confined to his room. If he agrees, he will be allowed to continue working here.”
“He won’t be allowed to make any medicine or treat anyone, but he is knowledgeable and we hope that he can teach future generations.”
“Are there no other doctors? After everything he did, even poisoning Sophia’s mother.”
“Sophia allowed it. She told him, “I’ll never forgive you for what you did to my mother, but I understand the pain you’ve been living with. So live. Live and make amends for the terrible things you’ve done.”
Alice showed me a small smile. I had mixed feelings about it, to be honest. The reason Sophia can understand Seth’s pain is that she used her ability to relive his past.
“…why are you smiling?”
“She’s starting to act like you.”
“Like me…? What do you mean?”
“Haven’t you realized? Sophia forgave him, just like you’ve done before.”
“You think so…?”
Honestly, I don’t feel that way…but does Alice really think that? It would be nice if I had a positive influence on her.
“Leon, why do you look so happy?”
“It’s just nice to hear. A girl I like is taking after me.”
“Fu~n…. That’s right…you’re a guy. Once you get tired of one woman, you just go after another and mould her into the girl you want.”
She gave me a mischievous look.
I couldn’t help but smile and decided to tease her a little.
“Oh, I see. You’re afraid that I’m going to get bored of you.”
“Wha–!? T-T-That’s not true!”
I was just playing with her, but…I guess I was spot on.
“Don’t worry. I care about you and Sophia equally.”
“…that’s a terrible thing to say to a girl. I’m worried that you’re going to turn into a bad guy in the future.”
“You’re saying that?”
It wouldn’t be wrong to say I’m indecisive or even to say that I’m thinking with my other head, but I originally wanted to be with only one girl.
Sophia, Alice, and Claire mean a lot to me, but I chose to only be with Alice. It was her that encouraged me to date more than one person.
I’d have to accept it if anyone else was saying this to me, but I don’t want to hear that from her… Still, it’s not like I don’t understand what she’s really trying to say.
And Alice herself understood that she’s being a little unreasonable.
“…mou~, it’s still unfair.”
She quietly murmured this before laying her head against my shoulder. She was taller than me when we first met in this world, but…at some point, I outgrew her.
“…so, where is Sophia-chan?”
“She’s still with Elyse.”
“Are they talking at all?”
“Elyse is still slipping in and out of consciousness, but I’ve heard them talking some. I asked Sophia how she was doing and she told me they were finally able to make up.”
“Oh…I wonder if Sophia-chan will be okay?”
“She seems fine for now, but I don’t know how all of this will affect her in the long run. I think as Elyse’s health improves, so will Sophia’s mental health.”
“…what makes you think that?”
“It’s just a feeling. I believe in Sophia.”
Alice didn’t seem reassured by my answer.
“But that’s only if Elyse gets better, right? It’s entirely possible that she gets even worse.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Sophia will be fine as long as Elyse gets better.
I don’t want to think about what will happen if she doesn’t. Sophia would be forced to stay by her side, watching her slowly get worse and worse, knowing there isn’t anything she can do to help. Alice and I know this feeling all too well.
But, still —
“I know Sophia will be fine.”
“…how do you know?”
“Well, we turned out all right, didn’t we?”
Alice immediately knew what I was talking about.
“I was only okay because I had Yuya nii-san.”
“And I had Saya, and Sophia has us.”
Elyse will surely get better. But if things turn for the worse, I know the sorrow and pain that Sophia will be facing. If that time comes, we have to be there for her. We’re her family.
“Honestly, I don’t think we need to worry. Her symptoms may seem bad by this worlds standards, but they’re really not as bad as they seem.”
“Yeah, that may be true.”
In my previous life, if one of your organs failed to function normally, there were ways to artificially supplement this failure.
But this world is different. We can treat her, but her ‘treatment’ involves ingesting garlic and basic medicine. Someone considered to be in a life or death situation in this world would be considered to be saveable in Japan. We have more modern treatment methods we can use if necessary, and the leaves of the World Tree will aid in her recovery.
“I think it’s nice that one of her parents is alive no matter what state they’re in. I’m a little envious of her.”
The final words of my father passed through my mind once more. I still didn’t know how he really felt about me.
“That reminds me…. You told Sophia she’d regret it like you if she didn’t use her ability.”
“I…I was never able to ask Father how he really felt about me.”
“Is that why you started acting strangely after we visited the grave?”
“Oh…yeah. There’s nothing that can be done about it now, and I didn’t want to worry you.”
“Oh, so that’s why. I thought Elyse was the cause. If you had just told me I could’ve put your mind at ease a while ago.”
The last thing he told me was he was proud of me, but I don’t know if he was just saying that because he knew it was the end or if he actually meant it.
But Alice said, “Robert cherished you, Leon.”
“…how would you know that?”
“Because of my heightened senses. When we were locked away in that building, I could occasionally sense someone watching us from outside.”
“And…you’re saying it was my father?”
“I didn’t know who it was at first, but when I met him in the mansion, I knew it was him. He’d stay outside for hours, never taking his eyes off of you.”
The missing piece finally clicked into place and many of the questions in my mind finally had their answer.
When we met for the first time in four years, he believed me when I told him I knew about the disease affecting the servants and citizens. He believed me even though all the common sense in the world was telling him not to. That’s because all along —
All along he cared about me. For years…he was watching over me.
“…he was. Father was…always watching.”
I finally understood how my Father felt about me. With this thought in mind, I leaned against the rail and looked up into the sky.
Not a single cloud was present. A pristine blue sky spread out before me.