Promising Raz to come and see him periodically, I and Will left the hut. After that, we spent the night taking care of the patients and investigating the surrounding environment.
I also actively engaged in conversations with the villagers. I even distributed make-up water and aroma oils among the women.
I did it out of various ulterior motives, but I’m glad that they didn’t find it annoying. No, rather, I’m exhausted from talking this and that about my broken engagement with the Prince. No matter what age, women are always hungry for beauty and gossips.
The condition of the critically ill patient had stabilized, so I and Will were allowed to rest at the inn. By the way, we were supplied with adjoining single rooms.
In the evening, I called Will to my room. When I gestured him to sit on the bed ―― next to me, he made a slightly exasperated face, but he ultimately gave in.
When I lazily leaned at him, Will went stiff. We’re both fresh out of bath and smell of soap.
I’d love to test Will’s endurance but would that be too imprudent of me? Just as I was thinking that this was bordering sexual harassment, Will gently tapped my back, as if rewarding me.
…That surprised me. Just as I looked at Will, wondering what kind of face he was making, I found him worriedly looking down at me. I felt both happy and annoyed for being treated as a child, it was a complicated emotion.
I coughed and repositioned myself. Let’s leave frolicking to this. We have a conversation about a heavy topic coming up.
First, I decided to hear his report about the errand I gave him.
“How was Raz?”
“He looked better than in the noon. He took both food and blanket and I left light with him too.”
Will looked gloomy. He must’ve been downhearted, remembering his childhood.
“We must take Raz to a better place even if have to force him. It’s okay for him to leave the village if he’s not infected, right? If you can’t leave this village yet, then I’ll――”
“No. Don’t do anything that would provoke his animosity. Things might turn worse.”
Will gasped and gripped his sword. He must’ve understood the severity of the situation from the tone of my voice.
“…Please tell me the rest of the story from noon. Is Mana Fever not the thing spreading in this village?”
I replied with a nod.
“This village is cursed. No, it’s not just this village. Most likely all the infected regions of Mariala are the same.”
“Curse? What exactly do you mean?”
“Somebody cast sorcery to get all the villagers sick. But such a wide range curse is unprecedented. It’s basically terrorism. I’d rather not believe that something like this is possible.”
After all, curse is a manifestation of the caster’s negative will in the form of magical energy. Having intense hatred, strong enough to want to kill the target, is a major premise.
Naturally, nothing will happen even if normal people burn with scorching hate. As long as they have no magical talent, that is. It has been proven by the history.
“There are various types of curses, but the point they all have in common is that they cause people suffering and kill them. I wonder if they purposely emulated the symptoms of the Mana Fever? If so, they must have researched curses quite a lot. Originally, the caster should have lost their sanity and not been in a condition to think properly…”
Furthermore, the curse is said to shorten the caster’s life.
They can kill people merely with their force of will, after all. That much risk is natural.
Moreover, this isn’t the only village in concern. Most likely all villages in Mariala territory have been cursed.
Would there be a person who would hate so many people at once? And to the point of being ready to put their own lives on line, nonetheless.
Normally, the caster would die before the harm spread so wide.
Everything sounds unbelievable. But I’m troubled because I can’t think of any other explanation but a curse.
The most disastrous death curse incident in history happened a hundred years ago.
The royal family of one country died overnight and a civil war broke out, which led to the destruction of the country itself. The culprit was a witch, called Cuprana, who was imprisoned on charges of bringing forth drought.
Cuprana was weakened by the load of the curse. The shriveled up body was torn apart by the hands of the citizens and burnt in a raging fire.
At that time, there were 10 royalties who died directly from the curse.
Nearly one hundred people seem to have already died in Mariala territory, so if the cause is really a curse, this incident will set a new grand record as the worst incident in history.
“I don’t really get it…I’ve heard that my Witch Killer was created through sorcery, is it different from what you’re describing?”
“Witch Killer is just a sword with magic-annulling effect bestowed upon it, so it’s entirely different from the curses. Though it is called a type of the witch’s curse, since it was made using blood of the witches.”
“Development of a curse, or to be more exact, ‘a sorcery to kill somebody without any risks’ is one of the 『taboos』of the witches. After all, if the method was established, everybody would be free to kill anybody. “
If you could kill a person at a distance, the order of the world would collapse at once.
Both killing influencers and making them obey you through threats would be possible. Even world domination wouldn’t be just a dream. That’s why, this is magic that shouldn’t be manifested.
“But why do you think that one of those 『Seven Major Taboos』has been realized in real life?”
“The unnatural way with which the infection spread is the big reason why I’m suspecting a curse over Mana Fever. Oh, but I don’t think that this is a risk-free spell. I think that it’s designed to reduce the price the caster has to pay. Also, the story I heard from Brother bothered me.”
Brother said that one day the infection suddenly stopped and all patients started to recover. Even though Doctors and sorcerers were investigating the cause, they still couldn’t identify the reason.
“You see, the curse is said to disappear if the caster’s body is burned. After evoking a lot of death curses, the caster must’ve been worn out. After dying from the exhaustion and being cremated by the villagers who thought that they died from the disease, curse was lifted.
“Huh? You mean…”
“There are multiple casters. I think that this is an organized crime…by the mastermind of mystery incidents.”
It would be a problem if there were so many criminal organizations in Mistria.
But I don’t understand their goal. Don’t they want to make the Rose Gem?
There’s no need to go through the hassle of cursing masses if they’re just collecting ingredients.
No matter how you think about it, it’s faster to just secretly kidnap people and kill them.
“Wait a minute, I don’t get it. The caster died even though the risk from the curse was reduced? Doesn’t that negate the whole purpose then?”
“It means that there was two casters per one curse. They are dividing their roles into two: those who have strong hatred towards the targets and curse them at the price of their own life and those who support them with magical abilities. The latters are probably the witches.”
Will was at a loss for words.
A witch, who wants to carry out terrorism but doesn’t want to undertake the risk.
A person who wants to curse the target to death even at the cost of taking on the risk, but doesn’t know the way to do it.
A witch with means and a person with motives.
The two join hands and cast the spell.
Everything would make sense if you think that way.
The severity of symptoms and infection rate differed from region to region because the strength and the extent of hatred were different.
Some patients in Mariala territory experienced pain strong enough to make them writhe in agony. That’s probably how strongly they were hated.
Some casters hated the whole village, while some only cursed 3 houses.
And there were no casualties in regions where nobody took on the risk.
The culprit witches must’ve looked for those with strong hated in each land and used them, making them cast the curse until they died. In other words, they’re using their collaborators as throwaways.
“No way…is such a thing possible?”
“I think it’s theoretically possible, but in order to actually invoke a curse so splendidly, one would need decades of research. Like the recipe of immortality, the recipe of the curse might’ve been passed down the witches too.”
Each time something like this happens, I can’t help thinking that the witches ought to be eradicated.
Will became silent.
I, too, frankly speaking, was at a loss at what to do.
What would happen if it was discovered that this curse terrorism was a work of the witches?
This is different from mystery incidents. In the worst case, angry mob might resume the witch hunts.
I don’t expect the King to stop them. Rather, he might be thinking to use this opportunity to get rid of me.
After a heavy silence, Will hesitatingly opened his mouth.
“Then, Raz is…”
“Most likely one of the casters who was used by the witches and forced to take on the payment for the curse. His eyes were hardened, as if he hated everything in this world…Besides, he was quite weakened. His life is slowly running out.”
The boy who said that he wanted to see this village perish. There aren’t so many people with such strong hatred.
Moreover, I felt the villagers out about it, but there don’t seem to be any other people who would hate this village so much like Raz. The critically ill patients are adults, who physically abused Raz on a daily basis and children, who bullied him by pushing him into cesspool.
It’s almost fully confirmed.
“We must make him stop this immediately.”
“It’s impossible. As long as that boy desires it, that is. If we try to interfere, even I and you might become the targets of the curse.”
“Then what should we do to save everybody?!”
Everybody, huh. I smiled faintly.
“It’s easy to lift the curse on the villagers. We just need to kill Raz and burn him. However, it would be difficult to save Raz himself. There are 3 ways, but there’s no time for either of them.”
I told Will one by one.
“We must either get rid of Raz’s hatred, find the other caster witch and kill her, or go to the Sacred Mountain Cathedral and get the Silver Tears.”
First, to make the hatred in Raz’s heart disappear.
I shouldn’t even need to voice how difficult that would be. The grudge from being abused for many years won’t disappear so easily.
Second, finding the other caster witch won’t be that easy either. In the worst case, they might not be in the vicinity anymore and searching for somebody to pay the cost of the curse in other region.
Third, the Sacred Mountain Cathedral towering in the center of this continent. If we get approved by the heavenly servant who lives on its summit and given the holy water of Lumitia, we will be able to undo any curses. It’s a so-called “cheat item.”
By the way, this is what Emerald and her friends used to undo the curse that was placed on the Prince in original “anime.” There were many ferocious magical beasts and traps that tested their friendship on the sacred mountain and they went through a big ordeal to overcome it.
“All of those need time, but the villagers might not live until tomorrow. Raz won’t be able to hold on for more than a few days either, judging from his condition. Many lives would be saved if Raz became a sacrifice.”
Though, as long as we don’t kill the witch casualties will continue to increase in other regions tooIt will only be a momentary solution.
“Are you planning to kill Raz, Sonia?”
“I don’t have the authority to decide that. This is a matter that must be reported to Brother and will depend on his instructions.
“To the Feudal Lord…”
“Personally, I’m hesitating. It is important to save the villagers, but we must also get the information about the witches and the spell from Raz.”
I would love to settle everything if it was possible, but as expected, that would be a lot on my shoulders. Brother told me that he would leave all decisions at scene to me but the situation changes if it concerns a deadly curse by the witches instead of a Mana Fever. I can’t act out of my convenience.
“I’ll send the dragon bird with a report the first thing in the morning…I’ll say this in advance. Brother will choose the solution with minimal sacrifice. That’s the kind of person he is.
Brother definitely won’t prioritize certain lives. In other words, he won’t favor Raz out of pity. He will coldheartedly choose a way that will save as many people as possible.
Will closed his eyes, as if he couldn’t bear it anymore. From the looks of it, he’s started to like Raz. It’s understandable…
But, we must first think about our own safety.
The mastermind of the mystery incidents holds no little ill will towards me.
There’s a possibility that they will try to set traps for me while I’m away from Cucurouge. I should immediately head back together with Will as soon as a reply from Brother comes.
“Fortunately, right now Raz is calm and the conditions of the patients is stable. We have a luxury of one more day. I’ll keep it stable with my control of magic, so let’s obediently wait for Brother’s answer.
Will bitterly cast his eyes down.
“Even you can’t do anything?”
Will’s golden eyes were tinted with pale color of despair.
It would be better if I was duller, but unfortunately, I noticed it.
I was compared.
Miss Emerald would definitely not give up and try to save everybody even in this situation. In fact, she had been able to solve things in one way or another through pure vigor. Just as befitting of a heroine.
However, the reality isn’t that simple.
In my opinion, there is no guaranteed victor in this world.
“I feel sorry for betraying your expectations, but I will do my utmost best for myself and things I hold precious. That’s all… Will, don’t do anything selfish, okay?”
I keep saying harsh things. As I thought, I shouldn’t have brought Will with me.
“I get it. I can’t really choose myself. I’ll obey my master’s decision…sorry.”
Will returned to his room with a sunken expression.
We’ll both have a sleepless night, from the looks of it. It’s bad for my skin.
Once I was left alone, I burrowed into my bed and closed my eyes.
My heart is restless.
On one hand, if I can’t save Raz, I’ll disappoint Will and I don’t find that very amusing. But, on the other hand, there’s no point if we run out of time and the villagers die.
I can’t make a medicine that works on curses.
It takes at least two weeks to go and return from the sacred mountain. Lumitia isn’t something that can be transferred easily, so no matter how much money you flaunt, you probably wouldn’t be able to obtain it.
In truth, I do know a trick that could more or less lure out the witch, but it’s a childish plan. I doubt that they would fall for it…they shouldn’t be that stupid.
I would love to beat down the mastermind of mystery incidents, but I feel like I would be playing right into their hands if I challenged them directly. Besides, I don’t know anything about the scale of the organization or its aims.
I gradually got angrier.
Why should I be the one to worry so much over this? I ought to stop jumping at any random deals with money. It only leads me to the troubles.
While I’m waiting for a reply from Brother, I’ll fish out information from Raz. Though, if it doesn’t work out…I’ll have to give up.
I do feel sorry for him but there’s nothing else that I can do. Will should understand this much too, even if he doesn’t fully agree.
I cannot save everyone like Miss Emerald. I mustn’t let the greedy desire to save everybody get in the way of my important goal. I’ve come to this village to say as many people as possible.
However, from the other point of view, it means that I can do whatever Miss Emerald cannot do. I’ve brought medicine for Euthanasia and I’m also ready to dirty my hands. I won’t hesitate when the time comes.
…I don’t feel pleasant about competing with Miss Emerald though.
The incident occurred next day at dawn.
One of the villagers died, while Will collapsed after getting cursed.
And lastly, Raz disappeared.
Like I said, not dead.
Things are becoming more tense. I wonder what caused Will to get cursed? he was too… kind to Raz? I can imagine how annoyed someone as prideful as Sonia must’ve felt when she realized that a guy she liked was comparing her to his “ex”.
As usual, give me a nudge about typos, awkward grammar and mistranslations so I could fix them afap.