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  One Who Would Kill God  

“Move aside, move aside!”

“Bring in more snow! And fresh cloths!”

“It hurts… I’m burning…”

A massive, blue-roofed mansion sat in western Gustav. The Seven Luminaries owned the building, and it was crammed full with patients and filled with their agonized moans.

One of the doctors had brought Akatsuki and Aoi in, and the two of them gasped upon seeing the condition of the makeshift hospital.

“Yikes, th-things are looking pretty gnarly here…er, I mean, this state of affairs doth displease me.”

“We knew that the domain’s people were starving, that we did, but…Mash, m’lord, what ailment is it that plagues them so? An epidemic?”

The young byuma man who’d taken them there, Mash, answered.

“No, they’re all afflicted by miasma.”


“It’s the malevolent energy that fills this world. Unless you treat wounds with alcohol, it invades the body, causing fevers, swelling, and pain. Healthy people can withstand a bit of it, but because of their malnutrition, the Gustav domain’s citizens have lost their resistance, and the miasma is eating away at them. Dr. Keine referred to it as sepsis, I believe.”

“Ah. I’m familiar with that malady, that I am.”

Hearing Mash refer to it as miasma had stumped them, but it turned out that all he was talking about was bacteria. Aoi had spent much of her life on battlefields, so she was well acquainted with sepsis. It was a serious condition caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream that resulted in inflammation all throughout the body.

“Per Dr. Keine’s instructions, we gathered all the sepsis patients together here. It pains me to admit it, but…we’re having problems treating them. There are far more of them than we’d anticipated, and there simply isn’t enough of the holy water Dr. Keine gave us to go around.”

Mash gave Akatsuki a deep bow.

“Please, God Akatsuki, might I ask that you use your miraculous powers to heal our sick?!”


When Akatsuki heard Mash’s request, he felt stupid for having agreed to come in the first place. Akatsuki was a magician—an illusionist. His miracles, like where he’d flown through the air and made mountains disappear, had all just been stage magic backed by tricks and contrivances. Akatsuki was no more a god than anyone else in the room. In short, he had no way of granting Mash’s plea.

At the same time, however, admitting as much was not an option. He understood full well the implications of his current position as the Seven Luminaries’ holy figure. Saying anything that would mar his divinity wasn’t allowed.

Akatsuki racked his brain as he considered how he was going to get out of this. As his thoughts frantically churned in futility, a new voice cut in.

“Well, well, well. Now, this is a grim spectacle.”

Its ridicule-filled tone seemed deeply out of place, given the gravity of the situation. When Akatsuki and Aoi turned to see who it was, they were greeted by a group of five hyuma. A well-dressed man with bobbed hair, presumably a noble, seemed to be their leader. He cast a gaze at Akatsuki and the others that was just as scornful as his voice.

“The chorus of shrieks and wails filling this mansion… It’s the very portrait of hell, no?”

“Why are you here, Count?”

“‘Why,’ you ask? Well, the Seven Luminaries banned our Healer Association’s nostrum, so I came to see what manner of healing they employ and perhaps learn a thing or two. But this… As I see it, they’re merely allowing these poor people to suffer. Wouldn’t you all agree?” The question was directed at the count’s entourage, who made no effort to mince their words.

“Absolutely. They ban our nostrum, the medicine that could save these people from their suffering, and this is the best they can manage? Pathetic!”

“Some god you turned out to be! Ha-ha-ha!”

Aoi arched her eyebrows vigilantly and posed a question to Mash.

“Who are these people?”

“The one in front is Count Selentius…commanding officer of the Blue Brigade’s logistics division and chairman of the Healer Association. The other four are all Healer Association members.”

Aoi and Akatsuki were familiar with the organization. As the name suggested, it was a group of healers that operated out of the Gustav domain. Tsukasa had arranged to have them help improve health conditions in the region. Yet, for whatever reason…

“They’ve adopted a rather prickly attitude, that they have.”

Mash explained why.

“They bear a grudge over the fact that Dr. Keine banned their nostrum—opium—on account of its addictive, dependence-forming properties. They were in the business of getting patients hooked on the stuff, then wringing everything they could from them. I don’t just mean money, either. They took belongings and property, too.”

At that point, Count Selentius cut in with an objection.

“I ask that you not spread such slander, eh? I’ll admit that patients tend to become dependent on our opium, but it also has the power to free them from their pain. As a doctor yourself, young Mash, surely you understand the salvation that offers, no? Driven mad by fever, skin flushed…these people are beyond saving. They’re already in death’s clutches. Surely the humane thing to do is offer them a peaceful send-off, is it not?”

“Count! How dare you say that in front of the patients…!” Mash raised his voice in protest at the callous statement. Even though their profession dealt with matters of life and death, there were some things best left unsaid. Before he had a chance to continue his dressing down of Count Selentius, Elch rushed through the hall, his face white as a sheet.

“Hey! Is…? Is Dr. Keine here?! Milinda’s in bad shape!”

Akatsuki and the others hurried after Elch into the drawing-room beside the main hall. Inside, a byuma girl was gasping in pain atop a bed. It was Milinda, the girl Elch and Shinobu had met in Coconono Village. She, too, was a patient at the manor.

After the lashes she’d received, bacteria had gotten into the wound, and she’d contracted sepsis as well. Evidently, it was severe enough that she’d been allotted one of the few available beds.

“Milinda! Milinda, stay with me!” cried her mother, Emelada.

“Agh… Gah…” The poor girl could only gasp in reply.

“Her fever’s gotten worse, and even though her eyes are open, it’s like she’s just staring off into space. Dr. Keine really isn’t here?!” Emelada asked with tears in her eyes.

“I’m terribly sorry. Dr. Keine left this morning, saying she had something important to attend to… For now, it’s just me.” Having delivered the bad news, Mash began his examination. It didn’t take long for his expression to turn grim.

“It’s bad. She’s starting to lose consciousness, and her limbs have gone pale… This is—”

“Her end is nigh. With symptoms like that, she won’t last a week.”


Suddenly, a face popped up behind Mash, and Count Selentius spoke with the same unsympathetic tone as before. Mash made no efforts to conceal his contempt for his unwanted, inconsiderate shadow.

“Please, shut up already! You, bring me some holy water, fast!” Mash barked at a nearby nurse.

Dejectedly, the woman replied, “W-we used up the last of it yesterday…”


What they referred to as “holy water” were antibiotics, mainly penicillin, that Keine had produced over in Dormundt. Penicillium mold generated a material with powerful antibacterial qualities. The use of which would likely save Milinda.

Unfortunately, Keine had only just started mass cultivation. As such, there was only so much she could create at a time. Due to the massive influx of patients, they’d burned through her entire stockpile.


“Milinda, Mom’s right here! I’m right here, honey!”

“Mama…where…are you…? It…hurts… It hurts…Mama…”

“Milinda… Oh, God! Please, please save my Milinda! I’m begging you! Please!”

Seeing her daughter without even the strength to speak, Emelada clung to Akatsuki with a look of abject desperation on her face.

The young magician was overcome with an immense wave of guilt. All his laughter and bravado were worthless here. The fact that he was lying to that poor mother made him feel utterly wretched. He wished he could just tell her the truth and be done with it, but he held his tongue. Exposing himself for what he was now would bring no comfort to anyone save himself. It would only succeed in robbing Emelada of her last shred of hope, and it was sure to cause a lot of trouble for Akatsuki’s friends.

As the magician sat there pondering…

“Well, well, well, aren’t you the heartless deity. You would just leave a poor child to suffer like that?” Selentius leveled a contemptuous quip at Akatsuki and laid his hand atop Emelada’s shoulder. With a big smile, he continued.

“Listen, ma’am. Let us give salvation where this cold God won’t, eh?”


“This opium can take away your girl’s pain. It carries a correspondingly high price, but…you’re an attractive woman. If you can’t afford it, I’m sure we could find you a…suitable source of income to pay off the debt.” As the count whispered, he pulled a folded, triangular paper pouch of powder from his pocket.

Mash went berserk. “Quit running your mouth! That’s enough of your—”

He made to throw Selentius out, but to his surprise, Emelada cut in between them.

“Yes, please! I don’t care what happens to me; I’ll do anything! Just please, save my girl!” She didn’t understand how dangerous opium was. More importantly, however, she couldn’t bear to stand by and watch her daughter suffer any longer.

The count merely smirked at the despondent woman.

“Can’t! That was aaaall a lie.”


“So very sorry, ma’am. The Seven Luminaries banned the use of our Healer Association’s opium, you see. Sooo I’m afraid I can’t even prescribe her any. No matter how much you offer to pay, it simply can’t be done. Your girl is past rescuing. All that’s left for her is an agonizing death as the miasma burns through her body!”


“It pains me; it truly does! We would love more than anything to be able to help! So if you want to blame someone, then blame the Seven Luminaries for abandoning these patients and blame their powerless God! Oh-ho-ho-ho!”

Aoi had remained silent but could do so no longer. “I’ve not run across such a foul, depraved man in quite some time. Shall I silence him for good?”

Her eyes narrowed, and she reached for Hoozukimaru, the katana resting on her waist.


“Restrain yourself, Aoi.”

—a dignified voice called her off.

It belonged to prodigy magician Akatsuki. He took a long stride toward the count.

“Listen well, lowly human! When did I claim I couldn’t save these people? Never! I’ll save the girl, along with every other soul in this building! The angel I’ve granted the power of healing to, Keine, will bring forth a miracle!”

Admittedly, Akatsuki was being extremely rash. He had no reason to believe Keine could save all those afflicted with sepsis. Such an outlandish promise really wasn’t something that God Akatsuki should’ve said. If any of the patients died, it would be a serious blow to his divinity claims. Even knowing the risk it carried, he had to say it, however.

Akatsuki refused to sit by and watch Selentius trample all over a desperate mother’s heart. So he chose to put his faith in Keine Kanzaki.

No sooner had the slight magician made his outrageous declaration, than—

“Quite right, Akatsuki.”

—Keine appeared in the doorway and affirmed his statement herself.

“Dr. Keine!”

“…Keine. We meet again, eh?”

Elch and the others reacted to Keine’s appearance with joy, while Count Selentius glanced over in her direction with clear disdain. Keine turned her ever-constant smile his way.

“You needn’t worry, my good count. I intend to save every last patient here.”

In other words, his intervention was unnecessary. The count’s lips curled upward.

“Oh-ho-ho…? My, how relieving. But how do you plan to do that, eh? Even I have eyes and ears, and I heard you can only make a tiny amount of your ‘holy water’ each day. With your stockpile depleted, how do you intend to save all these suffering people? Unless you can squeeze some miracle panacea from stone, you’ll never be able to produce enough for all of them.”

“Yes, you’re quite right. We can’t create nearly enough penicillin—holy water, rather—nor can we alleviate these poor people’s pain.”

“Then, allow us to use our opium to—”

“No. As I said, you needn’t worry,” Keine interrupted. Before Selentius had time to object again, Keine continued.

“I’m going to do exactly what you just suggested. I’m going to squeeze a panacea from rocks.”

“…Excuse me?”

Keine walked over to the count, took his hand, and placed something cold and hard in it.

Confused, the man looked down at what he’d been given.


“It is indeed…and it’s the source of the medicine that will cure these people.”

Hearing that, the count’s eyes went wide, and he promptly burst into raucous laughter.

“Pfft, ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! This rock emits noxious fumes so foul it can’t even be used in the hearth. Even children know that! Mercury is considered a miracle cure, so that would’ve been one thing, but making medicine out of this common trash? Ah-ha-ha-ha! Now that is something else! I suppose you really are an angel! Your ideas are truly unfettered by the common sense of us mortals!”

Selentius enjoyed a few more moments of vulgar revelry before deigning to jeer at Keine again.

“Go on, then. If you think you can make medicine from this junk, be my guest. But when it fails to help anyone…you’ll agree to lift the ban on our opium sales. As medical professionals, we refuse to kowtow to you Seven Luminaries while you allow innocent patients to suffer!”

That was the whole reason the count had come to the makeshift hospital that day. He wanted the opium ban lifted under the noble pretense of it being for the sake of the ailing. Keine was well aware of that, but she nodded nonetheless.

“Very well. I have no objections.”

“Then it’s a promise. Now, allow us to take our leave. Oh-ho-ho-ho!” The count sneered in obvious glee as he left the room.

Mash stared daggers at his back.

“That bastard, talking about helping people when he hasn’t done a goddamn thing…”

“Watch your language, Mash,” Keine scolded.

“Ah, I’m sorry…”

“Dr. Keine, Milinda is—,” Emelada started.

“Yes, I’m aware,” Keine interjected.

With the obnoxious man gone, the prodigious doctor got started on Milinda’s examination. After looking the infected girl up and down for a moment, Keine withdrew a long needle and pricked Milinda in the neck.

Emelada let out a horrified gasp, but a moment later—

“…Zzz, zzz…”

—the agony in Milinda’s expression waned as her breathing stabilized.

“Did her pain…go away?”

“It did. By using a needle to numb her nerves, I was able to dull a good deal of her discomfort.”

“Th-thank you, blessed angel!”

Before Emelada could get too excited, however, Keine did her professional due diligence and delivered the bad news.

“Sadly, I’ve only abated her suffering. Your child’s life has not been saved. The bacteria inside her body is still there, so this relief will prove temporary. From what I can see, her symptoms look to be quite advanced. There’s no telling when she’ll slip into a state of shock. When that happens, her body won’t be able to hold out.”

“I-it can’t be…”

“But know that the human soul is tenacious. It refuses to accept death easily. So as long as her willpower remains strong, her body will be able to hold out for a little while longer. Emelada, I ask that you not give up on your daughter until the bitter end. Hold her hand to bolster her spirit and give us time to prepare medicine for her. She no doubt loves you more than anyone else in the world, making that a task that only you can perform.”

“Y-yes. Of course, I will…”

“Very well. Mash, take over for me.”

“Yes, ma’am!”

The count had toyed with Emelada’s heart nearly to the point of breaking it. Knowing that, Keine left the woman with words of encouragement before putting Mash in charge of the patients and exiting the room with the other two Prodigies to go make the medicine.

As they headed out, Akatsuki turned to Keine with concern in his eyes.

“Hey, Keine. That count guy pissed me off, too, so I get the impressive declaration, but can you really make medicine from coal?”

“But of course,” Keine replied with a confident nod. “Although strictly speaking, I’ll be using the coal tar that Ringo’s coal-powered factory produces as a byproduct.”

“C-coal tar?! That nasty, gloopy stuff?!”

“Is such a thing even all right to use on the human body?”

Keine replied to Akatsuki’s and Aoi’s questions with a smile.

“Mm-hmm. It’s common knowledge among medical professionals, but I suppose your reactions are typical for modern youth such as yourselves. However, I’ll have you know that coal tar has a long and storied history as a pharmaceutical ingredient. Although we now primarily use steroid ointments in Japan to treat skin diseases, we used topical solutions made from coal tar before they entered the scene. Even today, such solutions are still widely used in the West.”

“H-huh. That’s kinda surprising, given how dirty it looks.”

“Most tend not to be aware of this, but tar has powerful antiseptic properties. That, in turn, means that it’s good at preventing the spread of bacteria. Simply put, it’s antibacterial. The medicine I’m about to make relies on that quality of coal tar.

“During the wars of the twentieth century, mankind faced off against his longstanding foe, the grim reaper known as sepsis. However, during that era, they took their ‘red bullet’ and shot it square into the reaper’s heart. That ‘red bullet’ was humanity’s first-ever synthetic antibacterial medicine—sulfa drugs.”

There existed a branch of science called carbochemistry.

At one point in human history, due to the steam engine’s invention and the sky-high price of petroleum gas, humanity began generating huge amounts of coal tar as waste. Naturally, many wanted to find some use for it, if at all possible.

Scholars racked their brains, testing and analyzing that industrial trash every way they could. Finally, they discovered a structure called a benzene ring comprising six carbon atoms arranged in a hexagon. That moment marked the birth of carbochemistry.

Eventually, people learned that they could combine that hexagonal structure with other atoms to create all manner of compounds, both those that existed in the natural world and even those that didn’t.

From this revelation came phenol, the cornerstone of antiseptic medicine, aroma compounds that smelled just like cherry blossoms, vivid, nonfading tar dyes, and countless other new creations.

Like the philosopher’s stone of legend, that little hexagonal structure was responsible for birthing countless substances, rapidly accelerating mankind’s development. Sulfa drugs were merely one of the miracles produced.

“In the 1930s, German pathologist Gerhard Domagk discovered that a red coal tar dye possessed antibacterial properties and created Prontosil, the very first sulfa drug. With sulfa drugs, mankind now had a way to attack blood-borne pathogens, causing a sharp decline in the mortality rate caused by postsurgical infections. It’s said that the drop in surgery-based mortality was directly responsible for the rise in the social status of the medical profession as a whole.”

As they walked through the mansion, Keine gave Akatsuki and Aoi a lecture on the history of sulfa drugs. After hearing the history lesson, Akatsuki let out an earnest coo of amazement.

“Wow, I had no idea about any of that.”

“Antibiotics like penicillin came onto the scene shortly thereafter and stole the spotlight, so it’s only natural that general awareness of them is low. But we doctors won’t soon forget the miracle drug that changed the course of medical history.”

“Any man who can find antibacterial properties in dye must be quite the incredible fellow, that he must,” Aoi praised.

“I should certainly think so. For a German to earn a Nobel Peace Prize shortly after World War Two, he had to be quite incredible indeed. That said, they did discover after the fact that the dye had no antibacterial properties to speak of.”

“Huh? Whaddaya mean?”

“In short, thinking that the red dye itself had antibacterial properties was a misconception on Mr. Domagk’s part. In truth, those properties belonged to the tar dye they added to their dyes to prevent them from fading. Everyone took its use in dye manufacturing for granted, but that was what afforded the substance its antibacterial effects. The color had nothing to do with it,” Keine explained.

“Wait, for real? Even the guy who made it didn’t know why it worked?” Akatsuki asked.

“He didn’t know the underlying logic, but he did understand that it was effective. It’s a relatively common occurrence in the world of medicine. Most pharmaceutical products exist in a constant state of human experimentation. That’s why we often discover new, alarming side effects in drugs even after they’ve been in common use for decades.”

“Well, that’s not exactly comforting…,” muttered Akatsuki.

“I’m afraid I don’t quite follow all the technical details, but the long and short of it is that this medicine is capable of saving all these fine people?” Aoi inquired.

“That’s right,” affirmed Keine.

“Then we should get to work posthaste, that we should. How many hands do you need? I shall assemble them without delay.”

Keine shook her head at Aoi’s offer.

“Thank you, but that won’t be necessary. The synthesis is too dangerous a task to be left to amateurs, and getting people up to speed would take too long.”

Synthesizing sulfa drugs wasn’t difficult in and of itself. The organic compound that gave them their antibacterial properties, sulfanilamide, had an exceedingly simple molecular structure. Even the facilities and equipment of this more primitive world were sufficient for synthesizing it. The whole reason Keine had chosen sulfa drugs over the comparatively harder-to-produce penicillin was that she eventually planned to set up a sulfa drug assembly line staffed by natives of this world.

The trouble was, the process of production employed a number of toxic substances. As such, it was too dangerous to let anyone interact with them until they’d been properly educated on the hazards they posed.

Suppose Keine constantly supervised and instructed a group making the medicine. In that case, there likely shouldn’t have been any issues. Still, given the amount of the compound that they needed to synthesize, it simply wasn’t realistic to have Keine watch over the correspondingly high number of personnel that would be required.

“Gonna have Ringo make the medication, then? This is more her and Bearabbit’s wheelhouse anyway, right?” Akatsuki asked.

“It is, and I imagine it would only take the two of them a few days to set up a production line. But as you know, Ringo currently has her hands full with that other task,” replied Keine.

“Oh, right.” At Keine’s vague reminder, Akatsuki suddenly remembered the message he and all the other Prodigies had received. Tsukasa had contacted them all the night after he and Ringo had taken a day off together.

“Ringo’s mission concerns the nation we intend to establish and is of the utmost importance. It can’t be postponed, and I’d rather not add to her workload at the moment. We’re only going to turn to her as an absolute last resort. First, I have someone else I’d like to test out. I wanted to see how useful her power might be to us going forward, so this will be an excellent opportunity to do so,” Keine said.

“Her power” was the phrase that tipped Akatsuki off.

“Wait, do you mean…?”

Keine nodded. “That’s right. I’m talking about Lyrule.”

Behind the mansion that Keine was using as a hospital sat a courtyard. Placed in the middle of said courtyard was a massive, fifteen-foot-diameter cauldron. One after another, the medical staff carried blood- and pus-soaked bandages and clothes and tossed them into it.

Even in this world, it was an unusual sight. The reason for the unique ritual rested with the blond girl standing beside the large pot: Lyrule. Once the container had been filled with soiled dressings, she began to recite something.

“Water spirits…I call on you.” As she murmured, Lyrule tapped her silver baton on the cauldron’s rim. When she did, the water inside began swirling and swallowed the dirty things whole.

After about a minute of that—


—Lyrule tapped the rim once more.

With a loud poof, a massive cloud of smoke billowed up from within. If one peered inside the cauldron after the curious little display, they would find that the bandages and clothes within were so clean they looked brand-new.

In effect, Lyrule was doing laundry.

Per a request from Keine, Lyrule spent her time with the medical team and handled all the group’s laundry on her own.

“Wow, this is amazing! They’re so clean and dry!”

“And the sheets are all fluffy!”

“This magic of yours is really handy, miss.”

“Yeah, thank you! Clean bandages are worth their weight in gold for us. You’re a lifesaver!”

“Oh, it was nothing. I wish I could do more to help.”

There wasn’t a single staff member who didn’t thank Lyrule profusely as they retrieved the various pieces of clean cloth from the cauldron.

After a modest reply, Lyrule turned away and spoke her own words of gratitude to empty air.

“And thank you all.”

Seeing that, a blue-robed man behind her spoke up.

“…You conversed with the spirits, didn’t you?”

The man, Gale Stafford, was a former First-Class Imperial Mage and was currently working as Lyrule’s magic tutor. Lyrule answered his question with a nod.

“Yes. All I did was ask them to remove the dirt and grime from the laundry. Really, the little spirits were the ones doing all the hard work.”

Gale let out a small sigh of amazement. Listening to the spirits’ voices and bending them to one’s will was Magecraft 101. The interaction was fundamentally one-sided, however. Magic involved envisioning a spell and commanding the spirits to carry it out. In essence, that was how the process worked. Having a true back-and-forth conversation with spirits wasn’t supposed to be possible. Even back in the imperial capital, Gale had never heard of a mage doing anything of the sort. As he saw it, Lyrule possessed extraordinary talent.

Even just finishing the laundry, a task Lyrule had achieved in a mere minute, would’ve taken five average mages a full hour to complete. What’s more, such a task was sure to be incredibly draining, leaving those five mages completely useless for some time. To Gale’s astonishment, however, not only had Lyrule finished her task in the span of a single minute, she didn’t seem weakened in the slightest.

Lyrule’s instructor still considered it something of a waste, however.

“If only you turned those talents of yours to battle. You would truly be a force to be reckoned with…”

As Gale sighed, Lyrule looked down apologetically.

“I know. I just…I can’t envision telling these little ones to hurt people…”

Lyrule’s gift for magic was incredible, but there was one type of magic she just couldn’t get a handle on: offensive magic. Her gentle disposition made it difficult to hold an image of wounding others, let alone killing them. In that regard, her talents might as well have been nonexistent.

When it came to fighting, Lyrule would’ve had more success picking up rocks off the ground and throwing them at people. She was completely unfit to set foot on a battlefield.

Despondent over her inability to fight, Lyrule cursed herself.

“I’m terrible, I know. Everyone else is fighting so hard…while I…”

“Not at all” came a female voice that refuted Lyrule’s self-deprecating words.

“Keine!” Lyrule exclaimed.

Akatsuki and Aoi accompanied the doctor making her way into the courtyard.

“Everyone has things they’re suited for and things they aren’t. War may not suit you, but that’s hardly a problem. Besides, cleaning clothes and bandages for the wounded is a battle in and of itself. With over five hundred patients, managing their laundry is quite the ordeal. We’re depending rather heavily on your ability to clean them instantly, you know. In fact, I daresay that without you, this hospital would barely even function. You’re as far from terrible as they come.”

“I’m…I’m glad to hear that.” At Keine’s earnest words of appreciation, Lyrule lifted her head and beamed warmly.

Keine responded to Lyrule’s smile with one of her own, then quickly got down to business laying out the reason for her visit.

“…However, there’s another task I need your help with today,” Keine said after explaining the situation.

“Hmm? What kind of task?” asked Lyrule.

“You’re going to prepare the medicine to save the patients suffering inside.”

“I-I’m making medicine?!” When she heard what her new job was, Lyrule began panicking. “I—I can’t! I don’t know the first thing about restoratives…”

“I’m well aware, which is why I’ll be instructing you every step of the way. We need your help, though. Your magic is essential if we’re to synthesize the drugs.”

“It is…?”

Keine nodded.

When viewed from an outside perspective, what exactly was the magic of this fantastical world? Of the High School Prodigies, Ringo, Tsukasa, and Keine had a shared theory on the matter. Specifically, they believed it to be a technique that allowed one to manipulate objects on an atomic level.

Creating fire from nothing, removing dirt from laundry, and extracting oils from rose petals were all possible via a manipulation of particles too small to be measured even with micrometers. If the Prodigies’ mutual hypothesis was correct, then that power surely held untapped applications in all manner of fields. Keine’s goal was to use her own knowledge to put those functions into practice.

“I’ll be right next to you, giving you instructions the entire way, but we can’t do this without your help.”

“B-but…” Lyrule remained uncertain.

Everyone knew how dangerous it was for an amateur to try to make curatives.

Her tutor, Gale, gave the elf a little push.

“Go on, give it a try.”

“But, Teacher…”

“Your skills are being wasted just handling laundry all the time. You must realize that on some level yourself, don’t you? You’re capable of greater things.”


“Go make use of those talents of yours.”

Lyrule hesitated for a moment, then turned to Keine.

“If I make this medicine…will it really help those people?”

“Yes, of course. It’s the only thing that can.”

Upon hearing that, Lyrule seemed to make up her mind. If her power could be used to help all those suffering in the hospital…

“…Okay. I’ll do it. Or rather, please, let me help!”

Thus, the first-ever joint project between Earth’s knowledge and this world’s magic began.

Having secured Lyrule’s assistance, the High School Prodigies took the chemicals Keine had gotten Ringo to send over from Dormundt, along with the massive iron “magic crucible” Lyrule had received from Gale to use in her training, and took them into the woods near the mansion. Attempting to create the necessary medicine inside risked exposing the patients to toxic chemicals.

After they’d set the crucible down on the ground, Keine began.

“Let me explain how we’re going to make medicine out of coal tar.”

“Y-yes, please,” Lyrule replied.

“Now, the first thing we’ll need to do is extract the component we want from the tar.”

“We won’t be using the coal tar as is?”

“No. Coal tar is a mixture of all sorts of things, but all we need for the medicine we’re making is the benzene component from it. As such, our first mission is to isolate the benzene.”

“But how do you do that…?”

“Normally, we would take advantage of the materials’ different boiling points and utilize a process called fractional distillation. Benzene’s boiling point of approximately eighty degrees Celsius is the lowest out of all coal tar components. To put it simply, you can think of it as the first thing that evaporates when coal tar is heated. However…” Keine paused for a moment to take a metal flask and pour a clear liquid from it into the iron cauldron. “…None of that will be necessary today. Ringo was using benzene as a raw material for something else, so she already had some on hand.”

“Eww, this water smells oddly sweet…!” Lyrule scrunched up her face at the clear liquid’s aroma.

Akatsuki took a whiff, too. It definitely smelled a little syrupy, but it wasn’t a nice, fruity sweetness. It was a dangerous, chemical sort of scent.

All present but Keine had to wonder if Ringo really was using such a strange liquid to produce something.

“Hey, Keine, what exactly is Ringo using this stuff for?” Akatsuki asked.

“Bombs,” she answered flatly.

““WHAAAAAT?!?!”” the others exclaimed.

“Bombs, I said.”

“F-for real…?” inquired Akatsuki, as if fearful of hearing the answer.

“Yes. Benzene is used to make the infamous trinitrotoluene, better known simply as TNT. Gunpowder doesn’t even come close to its destructive capabilities. Oh, and take care you don’t breathe too much in. It can prove quite fatal.”

“Fatal?! Oh dear… Ohhh dear…” Lyrule pulled away with a frightened look.

“K-Keine! You want us to dose the patients with explosives?!”

“Oh? Akatsuki, surely you know that scientists have used the famously explosive nitroglycerin as a heart medication, don’t you?” Keine asked rhetorically.

“Oh, uh… Now that you mention it, that sounds familiar. I might have seen something about that in a TV show or an anime once…”

“Well, it’s true. So as you can see, there’s no rule that says bomb components can’t be used in legitimate pharmaceutical products. I assure you, there’s no cause for worry.” Having made her case, Keine began describing how they were going to synthesize sulfa drugs.

“In any case, our process today begins with this benzene. Now, Lyrule, from here on out, I’m going to need you to follow my instructions to the letter. If you don’t, it’s liable to cause serious problems.”

“L-like explosions?!” Lyrule shrieked.

“Quite possibly,” Keine explained calmly.


“But as long as you do exactly as I say, we’ll all be fine.”

“…G-got it.”

Keine laid on the pressure with her smile, and Lyrule gave the doctor an ashen-faced nod. With the powers of magic and science working in unison, the sulfa drug production began.

The antibacterial properties in sulfa drugs came from a component called sulfanilamide. Isolating the benzene from coal tar was the first step in producing sulfa drugs. Adding sulfuric acid and nitric acid yielded nitrobenzene, which could be reduced to obtain aniline. From there, acetic acid was used to solidify the aniline into acetanilide. Finally, adding sulfuric acid and an ammonia solution would, after additional processing, yield the final product.

Lyrule carried out the steps under Keine’s instruction, using magic to stir the liquid, regulate the temperature, and remove unneeded components in the form of steam. However…

“In this next step, we’ll be using a chemical called sulfuric acid. However, there’s something crucial I need to note first.”

“What’s that?”

“Touching it will kill you, so please make sure you refrain from doing so.”

“Why is everything here so deadly?!”

“Hwa-wa-wa?! Keine, the water! The water in the cauldron turned into milk all of a sudden!”

“Not to worry. Liquids change color all the time, you know. Now, after a little bit, a substance resembling oil will float to the top. That’s what we need, so when that happens, please use your magic to get rid of everything else.”

“Now, we add this ammonia solution.”

“That reeks…! Why does it smell like pee?!”

“Well, it’s quite similar to highly concentrated urine. I should think it quite natural that it smells that way.”

“Are you sure we’re making medicine here?!”

“Don’t worry.”

“I’m a little worried!”

The process of synthesizing sulfanilamide wasn’t difficult in and of itself, but hearing about the myriad toxic substances and seeing the color changes, crystallizations, and other chemical reactions sent Lyrule into a tizzy.

The elf had to wonder if it was truly safe to administer such a concoction to people, and her doubts only worsened by the minute. Even so, she made sure to carry out her instructions properly.

“Fire spirits, I call on you.”

After a long series of steps, Lyrule used fire spirits to evaporate the last remaining undesirables from the crucible. All that remained was a fine white powder.

Keine picked up a pinch of it, then abruptly gave it a lick.

She turned to Lyrule and smiled.

“…It’s finished. Well done.”

“Th-thank goodness…”

Upon hearing the good news, Lyrule breathed a deep sigh of relief.

“This powder is medicine?” Akatsuki asked.

“Yes. This sulfanilamide is the essence of sulfa drugs—the source of their antibacterial properties. Turning this into doses we can administer to people will take a little more work, but the active ingredient is complete. With this, we’ll be able to save everyone from their sepsis.”

“Huzzah! I shall go inform Elch and the doctors of this at once, that I shall!” Aoi exclaimed.

“Oh, I’ll come along. If I order them to listen, it’ll make the explanation go faster!”

With that, Akatsuki and Aoi headed back to the mansion.

Keine watched them go, then peered down into the crucible. By her estimation, the yield looked to be about three hundred grams. Given the amount of chemicals they’d used, it was admittedly on the low side. In all likelihood, the acid had melted the inside of the crucible a little, causing a number of unwanted reactions. The fact that they’d used concentrated sulfuric acid for the sulfonation instead of chlorosulfuric acid had probably also been a factor.

Such details were negligible for the time being; what was important was that the process had been extremely quick.

Notably, the spirits were able to classify components. The most time-intensive aspect of synthesizing compounds like that was refinement. The spirits allowed them to reduce that drastically.

With a container designed to be used with toxic substances, Keine thought it possible to produce pharmaceuticals with an impressive degree of efficiency.

…This is a far better way to use mages than deploying them on battlefields.

Thanks to Ringo, the Seven Luminaries could mass-produce firearms, meaning that battlefield mages weren’t especially important to them. Keine made a mental note to propose to Tsukasa that they explore the medical applications of alchemy, the combination of magic and science, further.

Having completed the sulfa drugs with Lyrule’s help, Keine processed them into injection doses and administered them to the patients in critical condition. Milinda, the girl from Coconono, was one of them, of course.

Day one: no change.

Day two: no change.

Day three: still no change.

Emelada’s desperate pleas seemed to be falling on deaf ears. Milinda refused to wake. Her eyes remained closed, and she continued to writhe in agony. Her persistent lack of improvement cast a heavy gloom over the sickroom.

While no one said it aloud, everyone was wondering if it really had been impossible to make medicine out of coal tar. Even Lyrule, the one who’d actually synthesized the stuff, felt the same.

Worrying that she’d messed up Keine’s instructions, her face grew paler by the day. By the third, she was as white as a sheet.

“Are you worried?” Keine asked with concern.

Lyrule bobbed her head up and down. “I mean…we were using all sorts of dangerous liquids that could melt your skin just by touching them, right? There were no medicinal herbs… We just made it from that black, goopy stuff… We even put in p-p-pee… I have to say, it’s all a little scary.”

Not a moment after Lyrule had finished, she realized that what she’d said could be taken as an insult to Keine and frantically apologized.

“I-I’m so sorry. As an amateur, I shouldn’t doubt you.”

Keine just smiled, not seeming to mind in the slightest.

“That’s quite all right. At best, this world wouldn’t have invented synthetic antibacterials for another five hundred years. Even then, you would have only stumbled on them after a long series of mistakes and failures.”

Lyrule’s reaction was entirely reasonable. What Keine had produced was a substance wholly alien to this world. It was only natural that a native had difficulty trusting its effects.

“But now, that history will never come to pass. Our actions have already irreparably altered your world’s path. Going forward, you’ll likely witness innumerable things you once thought impossible. At times they’ll confuse you, worry you, and likely downright terrify you. Just know that all of this is for the sake of this world and its people. For now, I ask that you please put your faith in us.”

Lyrule’s response was quiet but firm nonetheless. “…Okay.” She nodded. Truthfully, she still didn’t understand what was going on or even what it was that she’d made. Despite that, Lyrule knew from firsthand experience that Keine and the rest of the Prodigies were worthy of her trust. That was why she chose to believe them.

Come the fourth day, a miracle happened.

“Ah… Ma…ma…?”

As Milinda’s consciousness returned, she fixed her gaze firmly on her mother.

“Mi…linda? Milinda! You can recognize me?!”

The young girl replied to Emelada with a weak but definite nod. At last she had awoken again. Her consciousness wasn’t the only thing that had returned, either.

“Her temperature and pulse rate have been stable since yesterday!”

“Inflammation is decreasing across her body! I can’t believe she’s recovered to such an extent already!”

““Fuck yeah!!!!””

Upon hearing the good news from the other doctors, Mash and Elch both threw a fist in the air and let fly cries of joy. Mash, however, immediately remembered how Keine was always going on about how, “Giving the patients a sense of security is part of a doctor’s job as well, so take care to avoid vulgar language.” A moment too late, he clamped his mouth shut.

“Erm, s-sorry…,” he apologized, hoping it would keep Keine from getting mad at him.

She merely offered a smile in reply and raised her fist in the air with them.

“‘Fuck yeah’ indeed.”

Milinda wasn’t the only one feeling better. The door to the girl’s room flew open, and several other doctors barged in. Each was out of breath and wore a joyful expression.

“Doctor! All the unconscious patients we gave sulfa drugs to are starting to wake up! The medicine is working!”

News of one recovery after another came streaming in. Lyrule, overjoyed and relieved, collapsed to the ground.

“Th-thank goodness… Thank—thank goodness…”

She knew Keine’s drug would do the trick but had been terrified that she herself had bungled the preparation and so had fretted the past few days away thinking that the concoction wasn’t going to work.

Perhaps because she’d sensed as much in the elf, Keine placed a hand on her shoulder. “You did well, Lyrule,” she said, expressing heartfelt gratitude. Keine wore the same sort of unflappable smile she always did, though that was to be expected.

To her, the patients’ recoveries weren’t miracles or anything of the sort. Everything had been the natural result of the treatment she’d administered.

Consequently, the celebrations were going to have to be kept short. Keine understood all too well how much work there still was left to do. Clapping loudly to gather the staff’s attention, Keine began to issue new instructions.

“Let’s save the celebrating for when all of our patients are fully healed, shall we? We’re expecting a shipment of penicillin from Dormundt this afternoon. When it comes in, we need to administer it to the patients, prioritizing those who showed allergies to sulfa drugs on the patch test. With our two-pronged attack of antibiotics and synthetic antibacterials, we’ll cure this sepsis for good. It’s about to get busy around here, so look alive.”

“““Yes, ma’am!!!!”””

At their trusty leader’s orders, the staff immediately got to work.

“Blessed angel!” Emelada rushed over to Keine, knelt before her, and bowed low. “Thank you! Thank you so much! I’ll never forget what you’ve done for us!”

Keine refused the gesture, however. “Please, ma’am, lift your head. It wasn’t me who saved your daughter. It was you.”


“Yes, you. The sulfa drugs we gave your daughter didn’t have the power to kill the infection ravaging her body.”

“Huh?! They didn’t?!” Lyrule, the one who’d made the medicine in the first place, was the most surprised to hear Keine’s admission. She’d been under the impression that what she’d created destroyed the infection.

“Penicillin has bactericide properties, but sulfa drugs… Well, to put it simply, they merely gag the bacteria in the blood and prevent it from eating more than it already has. They have the power to hamper the bacteria’s activity and prevent it from multiplying, but they lack the ability to kill it. The human body, however, possesses that power as a natural function. It came from within the child herself. All I did was take your daughter’s will to live and give it a little boost. The one who truly beat the infection was her. And when her suffering caused her to lose consciousness, the reason she never gave up on life…was because you were there by her side the whole time supporting her. This victory belongs to you two. Congratulations,” Keine declared.

“Thank you…Mama… I heard your voice calling me…the whole time…”

“Oh, honey…!” Emelada’s throat trembled. As her daughter smiled, Emelada wrapped her in a tight embrace.

In truth, the only reason such a dramatic recovery had been possible was because Keine used her needles to strengthen the girl’s immune system to its limits. She certainly wasn’t gauche enough to mention that part out loud, though.

With nothing left to do for Milinda, Keine turned her gaze from the mother and child to Aoi, Akatsuki, and Lyrule.

“Now then, we should go assist the rest of the staff. But first, the three of you need to go wash your teary faces.”


“Snf, got it…”


The three of them pitter-pattered out of the room and headed for the water well.

Keine herself was about to follow after when she noticed something.


Beyond a window, she spotted a man sitting atop a horse out of the corner of her eye. He wasn’t a member of the medical staff, but Keine recognized him all the same. It was one of Count Selentius’s lackeys.

His gaze wasn’t trained on Keine but rather Lyrule, who was making her way out of the room. Even from a distance, Keine could make out the animosity in the man’s eyes.

When Lyrule disappeared from the man’s line of sight, he spurred his horse on and departed from the mansion grounds.

Keine smiled. “Hmm-hmm… Oh my. What a bad, bad boy he is.”

Her grin was cold and chillingly beautiful.

That evening, the Healer Association doctor who’d gone and spied on the Seven Luminaries returned to his chairman, Count Selentius. He reported that the angels’ curative had caused the patients to make dramatic recoveries.

The count went pale at the report.

“I-impossible…! You mean to tell me they really made medicine from coal?!”

“I’m not sure…but there’s no mistaking that the ill did recover.”

“What now, Count?! At this rate, they’ll put us out of business for good!”

“Tch… You think I don’t know that?!”

Count Selentius clutched at his head and moaned.

How utterly vexing it all was to him. Were it possible, he would’ve preferred it if that angel doctor simply up and disappeared. The Seven Luminaries were too powerful for that, however. Selentius knew that only a fool would openly pick a fight with a group like theirs. At the same time, if things were allowed to progress as they were, the Healer Association would shrivel up and die.

Th count ground his teeth as he racked his mind on what to do.


“…Actually, I may have an idea.”

—the man who’d gone scouting spoke up.


“When I looked into how they were refining that red medicine, I found out that they’re using that mage girl of theirs to make it. The angel seems to know how to make it, but she can’t mass-produce it independently. That’s why they need the mage. In other words…” The man broke into a grin. “…If we were to end her life, it might well stop them from making more.”

“ !”

The suggestion instantly replaced the count’s anguished expression with one of glee.

“I love it…!”

Killing an angel was likely to be difficult. They seemed to possess strange powers and incredible knowledge. Assassinating a single mage, however, was child’s play.

“But it would be a waste to kill her off, eh? We should…put her talents to better use.”

“…Such as?”

“We could use her to sully the Seven Luminaries’ reputation. After all, since she’s the one making the medicine…couldn’t she just as easily swap in poison?”

The count’s lips curled into a sinister grin. Such a display of guile sent an excited stir through his lackeys.

“Splendid plan, Count!”

“Yeah! Once all their patients die, their influence will plummet! And when that happens, they won’t be able to stop us from selling opium anymore! The only problem is, how to get the girl to help us…”

“Oh, please, a little girl like that? Once we kidnap and torture her a bit, she’ll be eating out of the palms of our hands.”

“How devious.”

“Heh-heh, nice. I’m on board, Count.”

With the approval of his toadies, Selentius rose from his couch.

“Then it’s settled. I’ll get in touch with our operatives at once and have them—”

Whatever the count had been planning to say was never heard, as the arrival of another had cut him off.

“Hmm-hmm-hmm. You know, I had a feeling you lot would come up with a plan like that.”

“““ ?!?!”””

This new, female voice sounded exasperated yet utterly calm. A few of the assembled members of the Healer’s Association recognized it, too.

“Impossible,” they muttered as they turned in unison to look toward the room’s entrance.

At the doorway stood the doctor of the High School Prodigies.

“Good evening, everyone. Lovely moon out tonight. Wouldn’t you agree, Count Selentius?”


“H-how did the angel find us here?! And what happened to our lookouts?”

“They were in the way, so I had them take a little nap. Like so.”

Suddenly, Keine’s white gown fluttered in the low light as she threw something with her right hand.

A pair of silver streaks, needles, flashed in the dark. The little things sped toward the two men stationed at either side of Count Selentius.



The little projectiles sank into the chests of their targets, and the pair promptly fell unconscious. They were special needles, designed initially to apply anesthetic to hard-to-reach places.

Bearing witness to an adolescent girl taking down adults in an instant, Selentius cowered in terror.

“Y-yeeeeeeeek!” he exclaimed. Face twitching all the while; the count tried desperately to plead with Keine. “Wh-wh-what do you think you’re doing?! This is a gross violation of our agreement!!”

“Oh, there’s no need to glare so angrily. I just want you to cooperate with us and abandon your plans to sell opium so the Seven Luminaries and the Blue Brigade continue getting along. That’s why I’m here—to persuade you.”

“D-don’t be a fool! If you think there’s still room for discussion after this, you’re—”

Keine’s eyes went wide, as if Selentius had said something surprising. A moment later, the doctor covered her mouth and let out an elegant little laugh. Perhaps the word cackle would’ve better described it, however.

“You misunderstand me. I have no intention of discussing anything with you.”

As she spoke, Keine took a step forward, allowing more light from the hearth to be cast on her. It was only then that the count finally caught sight of what Keine had brought with her.

Clutched in her left hand…was a saw.

“—! Y-you mean to torture me…?!” Selentius’s face lost all color.

“Perish the thought,” Keine replied with a snicker. “I’m not a barbarian, you know. I’m a doctor. Weren’t you listening? I came to persuade you…by tapping into your mind directly.

“Changing a man’s mind with torture is simply far too inefficient.

“It’s vastly preferable to meddle with his brain directly. Doing so can change not just his opinion, but his entire personality altogether. That way, he can be altered to become more…cooperative.”

In short, torture paled before what Keine was proposing.


Hurriedly rising to his feet, the terrified man rushed toward a window. Despite his very best efforts, the count never reached his chosen avenue of escape. He’d collapsed onto the ground. Curiously, his left leg felt as heavy as a boulder.

“Agh! M-my leg!” he exclaimed, noticing a needle stuck in his left calf.

Keine had thrown it, striking a pressure point to paralyze his body.

Rather roughly, Keine lifted the immobilized count and turned him upright. Then she planted herself atop his chest, straddling him.

“Hold still now, please.” After grabbing his hair to steady his head, Keine placed the saw blade against his temple.

The abject terror that overcame Selentius as he pictured what was about to happen to him sent tears, snot, and urine gushing from his body.

“F-fiiiiine! You win! I give up! No more selling opium! We won’t get in your way, and we won’t lay a finger on your associates! I—I pledge eternal loyalty to you! I-I’ll do whatever you say, just please, spare meeeeeeee!!!!”

For all his sobbing, Keine’s smile didn’t so much as waver.

“Really now, there’s no need to be so frightened. The anesthesia will kick in soon.”


Suddenly, the count was overcome with drowsiness, though perhaps that was too romantic a word.

The sensation was closer to arms reaching up from the ebon and forcibly dragging the man’s mind back down with them. It was a violent robbing of the senses that Count Selentius was powerless to resist.

He knew that his current self would be lost forever if he passed out, and some stranger would have replaced him when he woke back up. The count bit down on his lip so hard it drew blood, but it proved a fruitless bit of resistance. The man’s vision darkened, and his consciousness grew dim. With the last of his energy, he spat one final epithet.

“Y-you’re…a demon…”

Keine’s reaction, however, defied all expectations.

“Ah-ha. Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha! How exquisite…!”

She smiled, and it wasn’t the usual one she intentionally wore to set her patients at ease, either. It was an expression of heartfelt glee. Evidently, Keine was so elated that she couldn’t keep it to herself.

“I much prefer that moniker over being called something as cold and aloof as an angel.”


Blasphemy spilling from her mouth, the corners of Keine’s lips stretched so high her cheeks seemed liable to rip. When the doctor drew her face so close to Selentius that he could practically feel her breath, he saw a deep hatred in her eyes.

Two pools of a deep, black loathing rested above Keine’s nose, and the count could’ve sworn they were sucking him in.

“You’ll forget all of this anyway, so let me confess a little something to you, Count. If an entity like a god truly existed, I would despise it enough to kill it myself.”


“As a doctor, I’ve seen people suffering under countless ailments. Each time, I can’t help but think that if God had built us properly and made our bodies and minds a little sturdier, humanity would never have had to suffer under the yoke of illness and war. It’s utterly unforgivable if you ask me. What kind of incompetent creator builds such lovable creatures with such glaring flaws?

“I found myself compelled to swear an oath. I vowed to take our inept creator’s mistakes and fix them myself. For those frail bodies doomed to die, I would grant eternal life. For those weak minds driven to harm others, I would impart perfect harmony. I swore to build a world where all would live forever, wanting for nothing. Yes…

“…I promised myself that I would become a god!”

“…… ”

The young woman’s hate-filled eyes gleamed with an unnatural light as she made her obsessive speech.

In that moment, Count Selentius realized that the girl before him was no angel, nor was she even a demon. Keine Kanzaki was something else altogether—a terrifying entity that could very well kill God someday.

While he desperately wanted to run and scream, the count’s body was no longer capable of either. Eventually, his eyelids slumped shut—

“Now then, let’s begin the operation to make you into a very good boy, shall we?”

—and the man named Selentius was cured of his malice.

Two weeks passed, and the first signs of spring began sprouting from the ground. A crowd of fully healed patients stood before the mansion.

With vigor in their strides, they hopped aboard one of the Seven Luminaries’ trucks.

“Thank you for everything!”

“We’ll never forget how much we owe you!”

“Long live the Seven Luminaries! Long live the angels!”

“And thank you, too, miss mage!”

The once deathly ill people waved good-bye to Keine, Lyrule, and the rest of the medical staff as cheers of joy and gratitude spilled from their mouths. The Bearabbit AI copy started up the truck and began the journey to deliver each of those cured back to their villages.

Lyrule watched the vehicle until it crested a hill; then she let out a long exhale. “Those were the last of the patients, right?”

“Yes, they were—the last of the ones being cared for at this camp, anyway. The fact we were able to send them off in good health is all thanks to you, Dr. Keine…and you, too, Lyrule,” Mash said.

“O-oh, I wouldn’t go that far. All I did was tell the spirits to do what Dr. Keine said.”

“But only you could have pulled that off, right? I’d say that’s still pretty darn impressive.”

“Yeah, it is! You were awesome, Lyrule!”


Hearing the medical staff heap praises on her made Lyrule squirm uncomfortably. She wasn’t the type who enjoyed being lionized in the first place. From her perspective, she’d done nothing more than give the spirits instructions. The accomplishment hardly felt like it belonged to her.

Thankfully, Keine came to Lyrule’s rescue.

“The two of us might have made the medicine, but what really brought them back to health was the diligent care you all gave them. Treat their smiles as a badge of honor. We also can’t forget about the Healer Association, who took on a large amount of the work part way through.”

As if on cue, a man that the hospital staff all knew quite well came trotting over.

“Dr. Keine!” Count Selentius cried. Whatever animosity the man had once harbored had recently disappeared. In its place now lived a bright and cheerful expression. “Did you see those beaming faces of theirs?! Why, I’ve never felt so blessed to be a doctor before in my life! Patients’ smiles truly are the best reward!” The man’s eyes gleamed like those of an excited child, and his body practically radiated joy.

Keine nodded.

“I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for all your hard work, Count. It looks like we’re finished here for the time being. You should take some time off and let that head wound the burglar gave you heal up.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it! There’s no time to spare, not with all the Gustav domain people who still need our help! The Healer Association is at your disposal, so please, just tell us what to do!”

“My, how eager. If you’re sure, then after we finish prepping for teardown, we can talk about our next moves.”

“I look forward to it!”

After giving an enthusiastic reply, Count Selentius took off at full speed. He hardly seemed to notice the blood dripping from the bandages wrapped around his own head.

Mash watched the curiously jubilant count make his departure with a dubious look on his face as he returned to the mansion.

“…I wonder what put old Count Selentius in such a cooperative mood. He said that he had a change of heart after robbers attacked his estate and left him for dead, but…it’s more than his basic values; it’s like he’s a completely different person. It feels almost uncanny.”

Mash wasn’t the only one who’d noticed, either. Lyrule and the rest of the medical staff felt the same way.

One could’ve only wondered what had happened. Some thought it was a trick of some kind. Given the count’s previous behavior, none of them could help but be suspicious.

Keine was quick to chide Mash, however.

“Now, now, don’t say that. People change all the time, you know. Everything the man’s done recently has been out of sincere regard for his patients. It’s unfair to doubt him like that, don’t you think? To the contrary, we ought to welcome our new ally with open arms.”

“…You’re right. If Selentius really were acting out of self-interest, he would never have handed over all the opium as he did. He must have taken a good, hard look at his past deeds and decided to turn over a new leaf. I guess I’m not really being fair to him. I’ll try to be careful about that from now on.”

Keine gave Mash’s answer a satisfied smile.

“Good. Please do try to get along with him, everyone… After all, he’s a very good boy now.”

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