Chapter 127 – The Philosopher's Stone
I was drinking tea inside Raine's lab. It tasted quite good, so the leaves might be of a good quality tea.
However, it's not a cup I'm using to drink. Instead, it's a gla.s.s container called the beaker, and it's supposedly used mainly for experiments.
I wonder if there was a slightly more normal cup here…
My dissatisfaction might've been a bit obvious from the look on my face.
[What's wrong? Do you need more sugar?]
[It's not that. It's this beaker. If you don't have a cup here, shouldn't you just bring one from home?]
[Can't. It'll just get in my way. Beaker is more convenient, as I can also use it for my experiments.]
[And just what experiment you've used this on…. I'm curious, but I'd rather not know.]
[That's the Fate I know, so understanding.]
As long as it's been washed properly, then using it for anything else should be okay.
But then I looked around the laboratory. As usual, it's so messy to the point that it's hard to find s.p.a.ce for footing.
…this beaker, it may not have been washed. Thinking that, I couldn't help that my face turned ugly once more.
[How rude. I'm still a lady. I won't give my customer a defective item.]
[I get it. You washed this, but I still can't get over the fact that you use a beaker.]
I still felt wronged even if you say that.
The one who felt the most wronged at the moment was probably Mimir, who was undergoing a blood sampling.
[Please, if you want to stab it then stab quickly. If you don't then say that you don't…please be clear about it.]
Her bemoaning clearly showed her fear of syringe needle.
Raine kept retreating the needle back just right when she was about to stab it in every time she responded to me.
Mimir should've kept her eyes shut during the entire process. Because the needle barely hurt, it should be already nowhere to be seen when she opened her eyes again.
I've experienced it many times myself, but not as often as Mimir did.
[Because it's entertaining to watch]
[What do you mean by entertaining!?]
[Look, if I put the needle closer like this.]
[And, when I pull away the needle]
[Fuu~….really now!? Please don't mess around like that]
[Sorry, sorry. Seeing Mimir acting like a cute child like this makes me want to bully you. Shall we do another one?]
[Please don't. Fate-sama, please say something!]
I pretended to not hear Mimir's plea for help. The memory of her forcefully sucking my blood in the elevator was still fresh in my mind.
Please do some introspection by having your own blood taken by syringe
As for Raine, she looked just fine since she does this kind of thing on regular basis.
[You two really get along well.]
[Get along what! Your sister is in huge trouble here.]
[Ah… tea after a rough day is perfect… very relaxing.]
[Are you listening?]
[So you are actually listening!]
I already received the enlightenment. And I don't think I can do anything about what Raine wanted to do anyways.
Just let it flow as it is.
That's the secret in getting along with Raine.
If you're reacting to every little tidbit she does, it'll only amused Raine and encouraged her to do more.
Mimir still has a long way to go.
Finally satisfied with playing around, Raine began the blood sampling. Mimir's complexion turned blue when the needle pierced her skin.
This girl loves sucking blood, but absolutely hates having her blood sucked.
[Uuuuuuuuuuu…. Is it over yet?]
[Isn't it enough already?]
[That's too much blood you're taking. I'll be taking the replacement from Fate-sama later…*wink*]
Just because you couldn't handle it yourself, you just had to make trouble for me as well, huh…
Are you asking for more after you had your way back at the elevator? Anyways, let's just shake our head for now.
[More bloodsucking is impossible today. I'll die from blood loss]
[But I also lost a lot of blood from the previous fight.]
She certainly did. Mimir did seem to get seriously injured after protecting Roxy from an ogre attack.
The wound had been fully regenerated back thanks to nightwalker power. However, a large amount of blood was consumed for the regeneration.
Mimir had never sought for blood while she's outside of the mansion before. She was already at her limit back at the elevator.
Even so, Raine kept collecting Mimir's blood sample silently.
There were already 4 vials now.
[Hey, do you really need that many samples for the test?]
[Two for testing. Two for my experiment…no, let's take one more.]
[Wait a minute there! Did you even listen to yourself just now!]
[No worries. It'll be done soon.]
Realizing that she's being played with, Mimir could only complain with her stare. Raine ignored her as if she's just a pa.s.sing wind and continued taking samples.
When it came to research, she won't care about anything else.
Her father, Mugan, often consulted with me over what he should do when we happened to be drinking together at the tavern.
Next would be my turn. What will she do to me… wondering about that makes me scared.
For now, at the very least she'll take five vials of blood sample. That's quite a lot, considering how much blood I've lost today.
But it's Raine we are talking about. She won't try to harm me, would she?
[Yes, that's it. The blood sampling is over for now.]
The sluggish Mimir was finally released from her torment.
She looked oddly exhausted. Perhaps due to losing too much blood, or because she's under heavy stress during the entire process.
She didn't even respond when I called out to her. By the way, I would be taking the blood sampling on other room.
[Please sit here.]
[Ah, so it's gonna be a lot of blood after all, huh?]
[Indeed. Your case is even more special than Mimir's after all.]
[I see… what experiment are you going to use Mimir's blood for anyways?]
[It also has something to do with you. I think I've found something interesting.]
[Eh, what is it what is it? Please tell me.]
[No can do. Not until I'm sure of it first. Until then, you just need to enjoy the ride. Well, here we go.]
The needle is approaching my skin, so I adjusted my stat so that AreE toughness would not obstruct it.
At first, the needle won't even pierce my skin at all due to AreE. Only when I consciously 'accept' the needle that it could stick in.
Area E offers a lot of convenience in battle. But when it comes to treatment and testing, it becomes a hindrance because normal medical tools or treatments won't cut in.
[Hey, how does it feel like to be an Area E? Painful? Hurt? Enjoyable? Comfortable? How is it?]
Raine asked while collecting the blood sample. She seemed to be very interested in Area E, seeing how she always throw this kind of question in during every check up.
[It's just normal. Neither painful nor comfortable.]
[The statuses. Because it's a realm away, I thought there will be a change in terms of mentality…or am I wrong?]
She's actually half correct. If a person who reached Area E lost their humanity and heart, they will turn into something that is no longer human. The collapse phenomenon.
Rafal became the brutal Undead Archdemon. And the goblin shaman we fought earlier today, it forcefully raised regular human status to reach Area E, but at the same time turned them into ogres. It's certainly not a good thing.
[I think that one's mind needs to be in balance with the stats, otherwise one will be very unstable.]
[That's a good guess. There was that case with Rafal. And there were also those ogres….]
[What do you mean by ogre?]
[I'll tell you as we proceed with the check up.]
While she took the blood sample, I told Raine about what happened during the fight against the goblin shaman.
Under the hobgoblin forest, there was actually what seemed like a Gallian laboratory.
The people that had gone missing were held there, forced into a human experiment that forcefully raised their stats to Area E, but turned them into a monster called ogre in exchange.
[People changing to ogre…it's interesting to note that a person can become a monster. What happened to the facility after you've beaten the ogres?]
I suppose that she wants to see it with her own eyes. Raine's eyes were sparkling like a child in front of their favorite toy.
She'll keep asking about it until I give her an answer.
[The facility was sealed by a powerful freezing field, so we can't enter there. The ogres on the other hand, should still be salvageable.]
[I will be going to the site tomorrow. So… I'll be counting on you.]
[I knew it. You need me to escort you, right?]
[Un, correct. Nothing less from Fate.]
You are welcome. If I don't come along, you'll still insist on going there on your own.
Mugan asked me to watch over his daughter so that she won't get involved in any mess. Although the mishap with the goblin shaman was over, the hobgoblin forest was no less dangerous.
It was originally the goblin's nest after all. If Raine, who has no battle capability whatsoever, went on her own and came across the goblins, she'd be in big trouble.
[Don't fuss about it so much.]
[I'm older than you. No longer a child.]
The blood sample collected in the vials would be transferred to other researchers. There were 4 vials in total…one less from Mimir.
I guess I should be happy with that? I lost a lot of blood before this after all.
[Yes, that's it. We're done.]
[Now, please take off your clothes!]
This is to check if there is any change in my body. Raine would do direct hand checks to see if there is a problem.
[Looks like there is no change in your body. The problem is…]
[Is it my blood?]
Raine picked up the report on my blood sample test, and said.
[Your blood is so much more altered than Mimir's. It's… hard to say that you're still human.]
[Is it because of Area E?]
[That's unlikely. Because Aaron-sama's result was normal. Your gluttony skill is more likely to be the cause.]
[And what if this continues on…?]
[I think it'll eventually alter your body as well. When that happens, I doubt the form will still be that of a human.]
So, pretty much turning into a monster. And the time is drawing closer.
As of now, Raine is trying to find a solution to suppress the symptoms. However, no cure has been found so far.
[We still have time. So don't be quick to give up.]
[Yeah, I'm not giving up yet, so don't worry.]
[In that case, please refrain from consuming Area E enemy for a while as much as possible.]
I supposed she warned me due to the ogres appearance.
[It might be a treat for the Gluttony skill. But for you, it's an action that will cut your life even shorter.]
Raine advised me while correcting the position of her gla.s.ses. I guess I understood what she meant.
At that time… my right eye bled after consuming the ogres. By eating those ogres, my blood experienced a change, and the regular human blood that has lost its place inside my body was ejected out of my body through my eye.
A long time ago, Greed also told me. A Mortal Sin skill owner is easy to recognize through looking at their eyes…
Because the transformation always started from there.
[I will try my best. I've come this far after all.]
[…. you really should. Oh, right. I received report that something interesting was found at the mountain city.]
[Is it related to Rafal?]
[En, a new ruin was found in the mine managed by the Burix. I heard they found a philosopher's stone. It will arrive here tomorrow morning it seems.]
The origin of nightwalker was separated into collective lifeforms――which was actually s.h.i.+n's body. It's a dangerous item that has a life of its own and will seek to infect a host.
It parasitically latched on Rafal, and eventually turned him into undead archdemon.
I must've looked so worried. So Raine rea.s.sured me with a smile.
[Don't worry. It's contained in a special compartment so that no one could touch it.]
[Is that so…]
[We've dealt with various dangerous things in Gallia. We'll be very careful in handling it.]
Tomorrow morning, the philosopher's stone and the result of the blood sample test should arrive before we head out to the hobgoblin forest.
Is it really s.h.i.+nn's body…? If it is, then we might be able to use it to locate the main body, and that means, Myne as well.
It's nothing but a farfetched thought for now, but still a glimmering light of hope nonetheless.