Chapter 127
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The two quickly made their way out of Ethan’s manor, before heading towards the healer’s shop where the unfortunate Mages were located. Ethan led the way, and Alice followed behind. There were also a few [Guards] with relatively high levels tagging along, keeping alert gazes as they scouted the area and tried to keep a wary eye on any signs of the Society of Starry Eyes. Alice felt a little bit nervous as she walked through the streets.

Alice usually didn’t have [Guards] with her when she travelled inside of the capital, apart from her single [Hidden Guard]. When Ethan was travelling with her, he seemed to consider her safety already taken care of. However, this time, even though Ethan and her [Hidden Guard] were both here, Ethan still took ten high-level [Guards] with them. Alice had already known that her research would make her a valuable target for the Society of Starry Eyes, but she had underestimated how seriously Ethan took the matter.

Alice wondered if this was an indicator of what she should expect to deal with in the future.

Once again, Alice felt the pressure of the Society of Starry Eyes like a distant, billion ton asteroid. Even if she didn’t know when it would fall, or even if it would fall, she always had to be wary of it. Alice didn’t want to end up kidnapped or dead. And judging by how many [Guards] Ethan had taken along this time Ethan was now worried that even in the seemingly safe capital he might not be able to protect her on his own.

Alice wondered how long it would take for her to become strong enough to fight off the Society on her own. She practiced fighting a few times a week at her Magic Academy, and recently, she even sparred with Cecilia occasionally as a method of growing. However, even though she needed to work on her combat abilities, if she didn’t work on her research, her combat abilities would end up as a moot question, because everyone would die anyway. Alice also suspected that the insights she had gained into the true nature of artifacts might give her some critical clues about how to interact with the System in the future, meaning she couldn’t wholly ignore them either.

Alice sighed. There was too much to do, and she didn’t have enough time in a day.

Alice was distracted from her musings when she felt someone watching her. The Perk she had recently combined in her [Survivor] Class, {Enhanced Senses}, was quietly needling at her, letting her know that someone was looking at her.

And they didn’t have good intentions towards her. The feeling that they gave her was different from before she had combined her Perks, where she could only sense when someone was watching her and felt hostility towards her. Now, Alice could distinctly sense that the eyes felt greedy and careful, like the eyes of a thief looking at a painting they were planning to steal. She also felt her Perk feed her a little bit of information about how strong that person was, one of the handy boosts the Perk had gained after Alice acquired the Perk from combining two older Perks.

Alice shivered.

The pair of eyes watching her felt dangerous. They were obviously very high level. And they probably had a combat or assassination-focused class.

She found herself reaching for her magic tendrils, although she managed to restrain her urge a moment later.

“Ethan,” she whispered, feeling her anxiety spike more and more with each passing moment. “Someone is watching me.”

“I know, I can feel them,” whispered Ethan, as a rainbow shield of mana sprang up around them and blocked their conversation. “Try to relax, and don’t tip them off. I want to see if I can get a little information about who they are. If they’re from the Society, finding out how much they know about you and confirming whether or not they’re targeting you is crucial to figuring out how much danger you’re in. In the best case scenario, we might even be able to give them a pre-emptive blow. And if the person watching you isn’t part of the Society, I want to know why they’re following you. Just pretend they aren’t there.”

Alice relaxed a little bit. If Ethan knew about the enemy, and was monitoring them, then she shouldn’t be in danger right now.

However, seeing another person stalking her was a good reminder of something else.

Now that the System was collapsing, the Society of Starry Eyes had likely started to notice something was wrong. Alice didn’t know how much the Society knew, but the more time passed, the more obvious it would become that some part of the world had changed for the worse. Once the Society realized that, they would likely grow far more desperate to acquire information. Desperate people were more likely to take stupid risks, after all. And that wasn’t limited to just the Society. Alice would need to be more cautious than ever before.

Despite the fact that she was the disciple of an Immortal and travelling with one of the most magically powerful people in the country, there was already someone following her with bad intentions. And Alice suspected this problem would grow worse and not better over the next few weeks.

Ethan and the [Guards] all ignored the hostile watcher, and after a few minutes of walking, Alice felt the hostile eyes on her disappear. If anything, that made her feel more nervous. Had they noticed that she was aware of them, and a way to make their presence disappear? Had they gone back to report to their superiors? What if Ethan’s [Spies] didn’t figure out who they were and why they were? What if they brought back a large group of enemies?

Alice felt her nerves get tighter and tighter, and forced herself to take a deep breath and calm herself down a little bit.

She felt more tense than ever before. However, even on her own, Alice wasn’t defenseless. And right now, she was standing next to an Immortal and surrounded by high level [Guards]. It was hard to find a safer spot on the planet right now. She just needed to trust in her allies and her own skills, and avoid letting fear control her.

Alice straightened out her back, realizing for the first time that she had started to duck a little into the crowd of [Guards]. She did her best to ignore the disappearance of the enemy. There wasn’t much she could do but remain alert now.

Not long after the stalker disappeared, the group arrived at their destination. Alice did her best to put the hostile eyes out of her mind and started looking at the Mages who were ill.

To the side, there was an [Organic Mage], who had helpless expressions on his face as he looked at the patients, while two other [Organic Mages] kept their hands on two of the three injured Mages and pumped organic mana into their lungs. Alice noticed that the [Organic Mage] who wasn’t healing a patient had bone-deep exhaustion etched into his face. It was obvious that he had drained himself dry trying to heal the patients, and was almost out of stamina and mana now.

On the table, there were three wounded Mages. Two of them had malformed kinetic seeds in their bodies, and the third had a malformed organic magic seed in the middle of her body. All three of them looked incredibly ill: if Alice were back in her original world, she would have assumed that the three people in front of her were long-time patients of some sort of horrible illness. Their skin was as pale as a ghost, and their lips were bloodless. Two of them were coughing every so often, and occasionally reddish-pink goop dribbled out of their mouth.

Alice frowned.

When she had formed her own magic seeds without the help of the System, she had usually scrapped any malformed seeds she made less than an hour later. After all, her {Safety Analysis} Perk usually informed her in no uncertain terms that keeping the magic seed around would be dangerous. However, according to the information Ethan had received, the Mages had only formed their messed up magic seeds a few hours ago. Based on her understanding of the way magic seeds were created, it should have taken much longer for the three Mages to get sick. The only other case she could think of where a magic seed had been ‘malformed’ was Samantha, and it had taken her around a week to start really suffering symptoms of her malformed magic seed.

These three Mages had taken less than six hours. Was this a symptom of the System’s deterioration, or the result of some other factor?

Either way, the situation for the three injured Mages was dire. Alice only had a way to break one person’s faulty magic seed at a time, and then she would need to wait four days before she could break another malformed magic seed. She had no way to cure all three magic seeds today, and she had no idea how long the other two would last.

And in the future, more and more people might have similar problems. The System had broken down, and that meant that it would no longer help humans form magic seeds. Ethan had sent word to a few people, to ensure that Illvarians knew that forming Magic seeds was currently dangerous. This would reduce some of the damage.

However there was no way that news would reach every corner of Illvaria instantly. At least a few other Mages would form magic seeds before any news reached their town, completely unaware of the dangers they faced. When that time came, they would probably come down with similar symptoms to the Mages in front of her.

Alice frowned, and then moved closer to the nearest patient. The Mage wasn’t unconscious, although he seemed to be in a great deal of pain. He looked to be in his mid twenties, and around level sixty. Perhaps due to his high level, he looked to be in slightly better shape than the other two. Unlike his injured friends, he was still conscious, although he certainly looked like he wished he was unconscious.

He coughed violently every few seconds, and each racking cough sounded miserable. As Alice approached, he briefly focused on her, before another fit of coughs distracted him.

“Give me consent to use Perks and Achievements on you. I need them if I’m going to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it,” said Alice.

The man coughed again, before he managed to squeeze out a single word. “Okay.”

The moment she had consent, Alice activated {Lesser Organic Vision}. In addition to {Lesser Organic Vision}, Alice also used her physical eyes to look at the man’s chest, where his mage core should be located. She wanted as much information as she could get ahold of.

Then, her frown became deeper.

The issues were indeed located in the man’s mage core, but they were different from what she had expected to see.

The man’s mage core, which all Mages condensed after being born or after surviving their mana baptism, was a mess. It looked like a chaotic whirlpool of kinetic mana, which swirled around his body like a chaotic mosaic of light.

This was creating a rather odd effect on the flesh surrounding the man’s mage core. The man’s malformed kinetic seed was clearly different from Samantha’s malformed kinetic seed.

The kinetic seed in the man’s mage core was applying kinetic force in completely random directions every few seconds. The one and only reason the man was still alive was because the core was tapping itself out of mana almost every second, meaning it had no time to build up a big enough push to accidentally crush the man’s internal organs. Trying to fully heal the man in his current state was useless. After all, even if one healed his injured organs and stitched everything back together, his failed magic seed would turn everything back into a mess within an hour or two. This made any healing attempts basically futile. Healing could stave off death for now, but couldn’t actually fix the problem.

There was another problem with what she was seeing, though. One that made her far more worried.

When Alice had tried forming a magic seed without the help of the System, she had messed up several times before she started succeeding. Through that process, every time she made a mistake, she would have fairly similar symptoms to the symptoms of the man in front of her. She would start to get sick, and then after a few hours she would start coughing and feeling like she was about to puke. That was usually about the point where Alice scrapped the seed: after all, while she was more than willing to use herself as an experimental subject, she didn’t enjoy pain. Once she confirmed that having a malformed magic seed was bad, she was happy to leave it at that.

However, she was pretty sure the man’s magic seed was malformed in a way that was different from the problems Alice had experienced when forming a magic seed without the System’s help. The man showed no signs of puking, and Alice was pretty sure her malformed magic seeds had never gone haywire and started attacking her body, either. The man’s symptoms were quite different from what she herself had experienced. And the man’s symptoms had also started to force his body into collapse much faster than Samantha’s malformed magic seed.

In other words, every single malformed magic seed might be subtly different. ‘Subtly different’ meant that, aside from Alice’s ability to destroy magic seeds, treating the malformed magic seeds ‘normally’ would require subtly different treatment plans. And Alice could only break one magic seed every four days.

And with a bunch of people all facing different medical issues that required a high level of expertise and knowledge to treat them, coupled with whatever else was going to happen in the next few days and weeks if the System didn’t come back…

Alice suspected that the Illvarian medical system would get overloaded in days.

Alice glanced at the other two ill Mages to see if she could confirm her suspicions.

Sure enough, the problems in their bodies were slightly different. The other man who had tried to form a kinetic seed seemed to have accidentally mixed his magic seed with a few other kinds of mana. Instead of a pure kinetic seed, the man had combined his seed with organic mana and pure mana. This had created an issue where his seed was trying to convert his body into the ‘concept’ of force. He was the only Mage that wasn’t coughing out blood, and this was because his lungs and heart looked like swiss cheese. If it weren’t for the fact that the people of this world had [Endurance] stats that made them stronger than most Olympic athletes at home, this man would have certainly died. In fact, even with his remarkable [Endurance], the fact that the man was still alive was a small miracle. He looked like he could die at any minute, and the [Organic Mages] in the room weren’t even trying to heal him anymore. Either his magic seed was blocking their healing somehow, or they had just given up on him.

Finally, the woman who had been trying to form an Organic seed also had her magic seed going out of control, similar to the first man. In this case, her lungs were slowly but steadily filling up with some sort of fleshy goop. Her magic seed kept creating more and more fleshy goop, and then adding it to her lungs over and over again. This caused the woman to frequently cough out the goop in her lungs.

Unfortunately, her lungs kept getting filled up. And equally unfortunately was the fact that her magic seed wasn’t acquiring the ‘fleshy goop’ from nowhere. It seemed to be ‘harvesting’ random bits of her body, especially near her shoulders and stomach. Several parts of her organs had already been chewed up by her magic seed and randomly added to her lungs, and at some point, part of her stomach lining had also been consumed, causing her stomach acid to start drippling into other parts of her body.

Alice glanced at her Perks, and thought of {Broken Seed} again. She could activate the Perk once every four days, meaning she could save one of the three patients.

What could she do for the other two?

The woman with an organic seed filling up her lungs would probably die soon. The [Organic Mages] treating her were running out of mana, and her death would be incredibly agonizing. Both men with kinetic magic seeds would also die horrific and painful deaths if she didn’t help them.

She had an easy way to treat one person, and then the other two would die.

Alice felt her brain churning and scrabbling for an idea, and desperately latched on to her pure and organic mana seeds. She was missing a lot of components of System mana. Over a dozen ‘ingredients’ were totally absent from her body. But the people in front of her had no time to waste.

“Can you save all three?” Ethan whispered, using his Perk to keep their conversation private.

Alice frowned. “I can save one easily. The other two might die.”

Ethan paused, and then nodded. “First of all, don’t feel guilty if you can’t save the other two. It looks like all three would die without your intervention, so no matter what happens, you don’t have to feel bad about the results. That being said, do you have any ideas at all that could save the other two?”

Alice hesitated. She had absolutely no certainty at all that her next idea would work, and she strongly suspected that she might fail miserably. Her odds of succeeding were probably several times lower than the odds of surviving a mana baptism.

But it was also obvious that this couldn’t continue. All three patients would not live more than a day after this. Her Perk cooldown was four days, meaning that if she didn’t try, two of the three patients would die today.

“I have an idea. I’m going to try ‘straightening out’ their magic seeds using my pure magic seed and my organic magic seed,” said Alice. “Or I’ll try copying whatever my Perk is doing to break their magic seeds. Both seem like they would help.”

Ethan nodded. “I know this will be hard for you, and you might not succeed. But good luck. Whether you try to fix their magic seeds, or copy what your Perk is doing… do your best.”

Alice nodded, and resolutely strode up to the man whose magic seed was the most deadly. The one who had mixed his kinetic seed with pure mana and organic mana. She laid her hands on top of his arm, and utilized {Broken Seed} to deal with his malformed magic seed. Luckily, it seemed that the man had given anyone trying to heal him blanket permission to mess with him before he passed out.

The magic seed shattered as Alice carefully watched what her Perk was doing, trying to figure out some way, any way to replicate it and help the other two patients before they died. Alice saw a few level-up notifications appear out of the corner of her eyes, but she blinked them away. She was happy to see that levelling up still worked, despite the lack of System infrastructure, but she had more work to do before she could figure out what was happening to the System in the background.

She stepped towards the man with a malformed kinetic magic seed, and felt her lips tighten into a grim line.

The easy part was over. It was time to see if she could perform a miracle.



I don’t seem to quite have room for the next part of this scene in this chapter. :(

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