One Way or Another
On a certain day, about one week after the pudding incident, I sit on the sofa in the living room enjoying time with Milli after supper.
“Milli, thank you very much.”
“What’s the matter, saying that so suddenly.”
“No, sometimes I feel like I need to express my gratitude for you.”
We have been together everyday since I was born, Milli has been like a mother to me. If she had not been here, I would have spent most of these eight years alone.
“Leon-sama……do you think it will rain tomorrow?”
“Eh – you’re terrible, I said I’m thankful for you, don’t you care about that?”
“I know, I’m joking.”
I may not be living my life freely, but calm days like this are nice. It was just as I was thinking this that it happened.
Suddenly the door to the room burst open and Claire came running in.
“Who is it……Claire? What’s wrong?”
“Help me, otouto-kun! Michelle is…. Michelle is going to be killed!”
Claire ran to me and jumped into my chest.
“Going to be killed……? Calm down, explain from the beginning, what happened.”
“I can’t remain calm! Michelle is going to be killed!”
Claire is unable to focus, her platinum blond hair has become completely disheveled . Panicking, I firmly grasped both of Claire’s shoulders and yelled her name.
“Okay, it’s okay Claire. No matter what it is, I’ll do anything I can to help. So please calm down and tell me what happened.”
“Really? Are you sure you can save Michelle?”
“Yes, it should be fine.”
I had no way of knowing if I could help or not, but I couldn’t stand seeing Claire like this, so I said that it will be fine.
I’m not sure if it helped or not, but soon Claire seemed to regain her focus.
“…… Sorry, I…”
“Okay. So, there must be something that caused you so much distress, right? So please explain it to me.”
“…Yes…Remember earlier,when you thought that more people would start to catch colds in the winter? It seems that it is more than just a cold, everyone has fallen ill with a high fever. People believe this must be due to God’s anger and they’re unsure of what to do with all of the sick people.”
“They’re deciding on whether or not to quarantine them?”
“No, there’s no time left to quarantine, they think that it is better to start killing people before the disease spreads.”
It’s just as stupid as killing all the birds to stop bird flu – no, in this world with such a small amount of medical knowledge, maybe it seems like the only decision?
That may be the case.
There are similar cases in recent history on Earth, the Spanish flu for example. Even with the countermeasures of modern medicine the flu spread across the globe. The chances of containing the disease in this world seems low.
Whether I can convince people there is another way…… is another matter.
“So you’re saying Michelle may be killed because she has this flu?”
“Yeah, she suddenly developed a high fever yesterday and collapsed.”
“I see……and what are her symptoms?”
“She had no appetite and felt exhausted all the time. She collapsed from her high fever and has been quarantined since.”
……Quarantine, huh….When I think of how people would’ve been quarantined on Earth when it had the same medical knowledge as this world, it doesn’t leave a good impression in my mind….
“Tell me, are the sick being quarantined in a warm and humid room?”
“All of the sick are isolated in a warehouse outside of the mansion.”
….Like I thought. The sick are all servants of the nobles, if they were just common people they’d probably be treated more cruelly.
“So, what are the other symptoms? Does their skin become black, develop any rashes, or have severe diarrhea?”
“Well … I haven’t heard about anyone with such symptoms, though other people in the province could have these symptoms and we may not know about it.”
I see. It doesn’t seem to be the black death, or a similar disease. Then, what disease could it be…..
I kept asking as many questions as possible to, hopefully, determine the right disease.
As a result, the majority of patients have a short period of about two days from becoming infected to showing symptoms, when they suddenly generate a high fever. Furthermore, the symptoms are prolonged, the sick continuously have a cough and runny nose.
Also, I found that there was the feeling of being completely exhausted.
In addition, some people have already died, but some people have recovered. Many of the people who recovered are wealthy. The recovery seems to be due to the difference in living conditions.
After listening, the first thing I thought of was influenza.
For example, most people confuse influenza with a cold, but the other symptoms such as fever, whole body fatigue are unique to influenza. Besides, the amount of time the symptoms last are different from a cold.
To begin with, even if it is a cold, I don’t understand how it could have become so widespread. And if it is just a widespread cold, it couldn’t be more dangerous than influenza, so I can rule that out.
So the next one to worry about is SARS, it’s supposedly easy to mistake for influenza.
I think that it’s most likely something else if I consider the duration the sickness seems to last and the time from initial infection until the sick begin to show symptoms, but…I can not completely deny it because of the similarities.
And if it is SARS, it could be even more dangerous.
Given that 10% of the people infected with SARS on Earth died, I can not imagine how many people may die in this world.
However, this is just in one case. In Japan, for example, nearly 30% of all people diagnosed with SARS died. Though this figure is hard to trust, of those 30% many may have died from another disease that had been misdiagnosed. So, if there are dozens of cases, the probability of some of these deaths being caused by something other than SARS increases dramatically. (TN: This entire SARS sequence was annoying to translate sorry if it may be confusing.)
So, I think it’s not an outrageous assumption to think this disease may be SARS.
However, the most important problem still remains. It is still a question of whether diseases of this world and Earth are similar.
…..To be honest I’m still unsure about that.
Considering the environments of the two worlds are similar, the possibility of having similar viruses is high. And considering the nature of the virus – and with a little speculation, it is possible that the disease with these symptoms is influenza or a similar viral disease.
But even if the current symptoms are similar to influenza, it is impossible to deny the possibility that the disease could be drastically changed by the magic in the atmosphere of this world – so the disease could be something entirely different.
So only one thing is important here.
Whether it is better or not to kill all infected people because of the potential dangers, or if we are prepared to risk the pandemic and hope to save a lot of people.
“….From what I can tell it appears to be influenza. Are there no similar cases in the past, maybe a traveling merchant has come across a similar disease?”
“So you do know what this disease is?!”
“Yes. Especially considering the time of year, it appears to be influenza.”
– After all, I ended up deciding on influenza.
And I didn’t even mention the possibility of it being SARS to Claire.
If this action triggers a pandemic, I may as well be a criminal who has killed so many people. That’s why, I won’t mention this to anyone else. I’ll be the only person to blame.
Nonetheless, I have no intention of attempting to treat this disease recklessly.
Even if it isn’t influenza, it may not matter, there is a possibility that it may be a disease that can be treated by resting the sick in an isolated environment. Considering the fact that most who have been cured are all wealthy people, there is a chance.
“Then, Michelle and the others will be saved!?”
“Umm……If someone affected by the disease is already physically weak they have a lower chance of surviving, but if they’re isolated in a warm and humid room, keep themselves well fed, and get plenty of rest, I think there should be a good chance that most will recover.”
“Really? They’ll really be saved?!”
“Yes, young and healthy people, like Michelle, have a very good chance of recovery.”
“Thank you, Otouto-kun! You’re my savior!”
An emotional Claire deeply embraces me.
“You can’t feel relieved yet, they will die if left as they are now, right?”
“Oh, yes, I have to tell my father quickly, will you come with me?”
“…..No, it would better if you went alone.”
“Eh? Why won’t you come with, otouto-kun?”
“I’d like to go with……but I am not supposed to receive any education. If our father finds out I’ve received education, I do not know what kind of punishment Milli would receive.”
“Ah, that’s right, but…but if I am the only one…”
I wonder why Claire began to have a frightened expression on her face. I grabbed both of her shoulders and stared into her face.
“Claire, are you thinking of Michelle?”
“That is……Of course, she was the one who raised me and took care of me instead of my mother who always seems to be busy.”
“If that is the case, be brave, persuade father to try the measure I mentioned before, isolate and take care of the sick people……can you do that?”
“That is – yeah…well…I know, I will try to, If it can save Michelle, I will absolutely not give up!”
Shortly after that, I sent Claire to speak to our father, I quickly went over the ways to treat influenza with her before sending her out, and I turned my eyes to Milli who had kept silent the entire time.
“Hey Milli, do you think Claire can persuade our father?”
“….It will be difficult.”
“Even if Claire tells him everything she knows about the disease and how to cure it?”
“After all, Claire was only given a brief overview of influenza. If her father tries to get anymore information from her, he’ll quickly be able to determine that she learned of this knowledge from someone else.”
“Either way, Claire will not reveal the source of her information……Or don’t you believe so Leon-sama?”
“….I guess you’re right.”
Her father is likely to want to know where Claire came by this knowledge. He may even try to force Claire to reveal her source by risking Michelle’s life.
It seems that Claire’s sole purpose is to save Michelle. So, Claire’s attempt at persuasion is likely to fail.
But, I might be able to persuade him if I can explain it to him directly.
On the other hand, to everyone else, I appear to be just a child. The chances of anyone believing a child are low. If I am taken seriously, Milli may be punished for me receiving an education.
I see, so there’s no chance of a direct meeting.
“Leon-sama, have you forgotten about what I said earlier?”
“What Milli said?”
“If Leon-sama did the right thing and it will result in me being punished, I will gladly accept it.”
–I was momentarily lost for words. But, when I thought about helping Claire, I quickly made up my mind.
“…….Am I seriously considering this?”
“Leon-sama are you unsure of what to do? If you do not help Claire now, will you not regret it for the rest of your life?”
“I know that!”
Over the past few years, Claire has become an irreplaceable family member to me. If someone so important to Claire is going to die, I think I want to help her from the bottom of my heart.
If I abandon her now, if I have to see Claire grieve over Michelle, I would not be able to forgive myself.
“But, is it okay, even if you will be punished for it!?”
“Leon-sama, it’s okay, I may not be able to stay at your side, but I should not be killed.”
“How is that supposed to convince me….?”
It would be better than dying. I know that. But, either way Milli would no longer be by my side. Is Milli being removed from my side really supposed to convince me?
“You should know the right choice, Leon-sama, please go help Claire-sama.”
Her unwavering dark purple eyes stare straight at me. I was able to understand that Milli was prepared to accept any consequences of my actions.
Milli is serious. So I also have to choose. Will I really let this happen to Claire?
Lose Milli, or lose Claire…..
“Milli……It was just you and I for a long time, I’ve known you since I was born, I think of you as my actual mother.”
I only knew my father by his voice. I don’t know anything about my birth mother. Until I met Claire, only Milli was my family.
“…..I rely on you too much Milli…..If I say I’ll be selfish and go help Claire, is it really okay?”
I gritted my teeth and forced myself to say the words. Milli, after listening to me…smiled with a calm face.
“Leon-sama, that is enough, please, please go to Claire-sama.”
“…… Thank you, Milli …Well then – I will go!”
I leave her with my sincere thanks and I turn on my heel and sprint out of the room.
Just before the door to the room closed,
“……You grew up to be a good child. My precious, Leon -”
I thought I heard Milli say.