What do you mean, an utter failure Varegrave wasn\'t jumping out of joy like the others, yet couldn\'t understand why Lith was being so negative.
It was the first time since the plague\'s breakout that a patient had been cured.
I saved her arm, yes, and maybe even her life, but only in the short term.
It will just take a while for the parasites to invade the healthy arm, and then she will be back at square one.
My experiment had many goals, but I reached only one.
I wanted to remove the worms safely, and it failed.
And so did my attempt to collect the substance they release upon death, and even to nullify its effects.
It all happened too fast, I was able to save the arm only because it has no vital organ.
Had the wound been in the chest or head, the patient would be dead.
The only things I managed to accomplish was to collect the toxins, and I could have done that anyway, anytime, and restore the arm.
But as I said, all in all is a hollow victory.
I need time to think.
Despite every success Lith achieved brought him closer to gallows, Varegrave didn\'t share his pessimism.
Lith himself had predicted the experiment to be a failure, giving it a low chance of success.
The patient wasn\'t dead, on the contrary, her conditions had improved.
It was a small step, but a step forward nonetheless.
After dismissing the medical team, reminding them to not use the new detoxifying spell without Lith\'s permission, he went back to his tent to inform the Crown of the latest news.
Sylpha, Queen of the Griffon Kingdom, listened to Varegrave\'s report with ambivalent feelings.
She was pleased hearing so many good news, after over a month spent stumbling in the dark.
First, a proper diagnosis for the plague had been found, and thanks to that, healers and alchemists were busy looking for a cure instead of trying to minimise the body count.
Two days after that, the conditions of an infected had been stabilized.
Yet she was bewildered by how things were moving fast.
It was completely out of her predictions.
When Sylpha had forced Linjos to send help, threatening his life, it had been a punishment for his incompetence in handling Manohar.
Every time the runaway genius disappeared, she could only pray for nothing bad to happen.
And when her pleas fell on deaf ears, she would inevitably let down the Crown\'s most loyal supporters, undermining her prestige and authority.
This time it was even worse, thousands of lives were at stake, an entire region was about to be burned to the ground.
She had just wanted to teach him a lesson, showing how heavy were the consequences of letting one of their most prized assets slip away.
The recent events were a pleasant surprise, but a surprise nonetheless.
Sylpha needed answers, and she knew who could provide them.
Right after hanging the call with Varegrave, she called the Royal Captain, the commanding officer of all the Queen\'s corps units.
Your Majesty, to what do I owe the pleasure of your call
Cut the cr*p, Mirim, I\'m not in the mood.
You are never in the mood, Sylpha. Marchioness Distar was at her work desk, as usual, swamped in paperwork.
We know from over thirty years, so I\'m asking you as your friend, not as your Queen.
Why did you lie to me
Mirim was flabbergasted by the allegation, her eyes wide open from the surprise.
I have no idea what you are talking about.
All these years, you have marked Lith from Lutia as a rank B asset, that\'s why the Mage Association never paid him any attention.
And that\'s exactly the value he holds for the Kingdom. Mirim rebuked.
Yet, once he entered the White Griffon academy per your recommendation, he proved to be a rank A talent.
Then, he brought you the box and the coded letter, and now is providing invaluable help against the plague.
Do you deny it
Sylpha\'s eyes were reduced to fiery slits, overloaded with mana.
But I never lied to you.
I gave the Association a complete file, and they agreed with my evaluation.
Being a talented mage and a valuable asset are two different things.
Please, elaborate. Realizing her temper may have rushed her judgment, Sylpha calmed down.
When I first met him, he was just eight years old, but you could already see how dangerous he was.
Beyond his smiles and niceties, there was nothing but a caged beast.
Being able to create such a complex game like chess and being good at it, only made him more unreliable in my eyes.
You know as well as I do that power and brilliance are a hard mix to control.
And that is what the Mage Association ultimately wants from its members, control.
And when four years later he was a bounty hunter with more than thirty confirmed kills, I knew I had been right all along.
The reason why Miriam Distar had reached her rank in the corps wasn\'t only because of her talent for magic and loyalty, but because she had proved countless times to have an outstanding skill in evaluating people.
When Count Lark started pestering us all, my intention was to mind my own business.
I knew that with his talent, sooner or later Lith would have joined the Mage Association, and I needed more time to assess what kind of threat he could pose to the Kingdom.
Then what made you change your mind Why did you help him
Because in my time of need, you let me down.
And he saved my daughter. Mirim\'s eyes were brimming with determination.
In that moment, I understood that he could be a second rate asset for the Crown, but an invaluable tool for me.
I know that officially I\'m just a middle-level noble, and that there\'s a limit to what you can do for me without blowing my cover…
Sylpha inwardly cursed Linjos and Manohar again.
It was all their fault if back at the time Mirim had been pushed in a corner.
The Corpse existence was a secret that had to be kept at all costs.
The Queen would not use them to help a friend, nor to save her own children.
If miracles started to happen whenever the Crown or one of their most loyal retainers where in danger, the rumors about them would turn into a certainty.
That was the reason why they had made Manohar the Royal Healer, why he was so important.
…but if even after everything I have sacrificed for the Kingdom, you can\'t even guarantee the safety of my husband and daughter, then you can take back my rank and status, and shove them up your as*!
Sylpha let her old friend rant slide.
As a mother, she could understand her feelings.
What level of threat are we talking about
Talking about her job, Mirim regained her cool.
I estimate him as a Rank A mage, and a Rank S threat for the Kingdom.
What Why The shock was so big Sylpha could not go past monosyllables.
Because he isn\'t like Manohar, that you can bribe with expensive equipment and new puzzles, nor is like Hatorne, that would do anything for money.
Lith has his own rules and agenda, but only the gods know what it is.
If you, or anyone else for that matter, try to force him to do anything, he\'ll bend to your will, bid his time, and then when you least expect it, unleash something that will make this plague seem the common cold.
It\'s not his talent that makes him dangerous, it\'s his patience and ability to manipulate others.
That\'s why I\'m using the kite strategy, and advise you to do the same.
Mirim was referring to an ancient tactic the Griffon Kingdom used when handling dangerous individuals.
Just like a kite, you would not let them fly freely, while at the same time keeping them far enough to be safe and give them the impression of being unchecked.