"Lady Odin, please… is there no way to save her? At this rate she'll bleed to death!"
"I don't know… magic circuits exist in all living beings. I… I don't know what I should do! I never seen anything like this."
"Stand aside if you want her to live!"
"I owe her a debt for destroying Corruption, a task that normally should have been mine."
As instructed, Grace and Odin made room and Ornis kneeled next to Milla's bleeding body. He placed his hand on her stomach and immediately released a huge amount of mana.
"Lord Ornis, what are you…?"
"It's not a solution. Right now her body lacks mana. So I'm forcefully putting mana into her. That way her vital organs will keep functioning. Odin… she's in really bad shape. You help me too. Meanwhile, Persia and you, battle maid, quickly tend to her wounds."
"So that's how I survived."
"Yes. Lord Ornis wanted to repay his debt. He also said that he will keep your current condition a secret so that enemies won't target you."
Who would of thought that he was actually a decent guy. But this explains many things. In this world, all living beings function on mana. The heart beating, muscles, nerves, everything functions because of mana. It's the body's fuel. That's why I felt hungry. High Mazoku get nourishment and energy from the mana in the air. But since I couldn't do that anymore… I got hungry.
The current me… is no different than a human. Perhaps even weaker. But I can't help not asking…
"Grace… Cleo said Persia and Odin were sleeping because they treated me. Does that mean they also injected mana in my body?"
"Yes. However… the mana needed to keep you alive is huge. You're fine with the current reserves in you but… we can't keep pumping it into you."
"How long do I have?"
"Give it to me straight, Grace. It's alright."
"So I have 3 months to live. I guess it's enough time to make sure this place will be safe and peaceful after I'm gone. Grace, I'll make it so that this territory will be yours and…"
I didn't get the chance to finish my sentence. Grace raised her hand at me and slapped my cheek. I didn't know how to react. Grace never lifted a finger against me.
"You can't die! You hear me!? You gave me the order to live. But a battle maid's code says that if their master dies, then the maid must also take her life. But that contradicts the order you gave me. So… no matter what happens… you can't die!
Do you think everyone will be satisfied like this? We still need you!"
"But… even I don't know how to recover from this. Grace… it truly feels impossible…"
"So? Are you not the Demon King of Insanity? You proved it countless times. You are the one that can make the impossible possible. Why should this case be any different?"
I closed my eyes. Grace was right. I was prepared and accepted my death, but I didn't think about the feelings of those I was leaving behind. She was right. There has to be a way to overcome this shit.
"Thanks, Grace. Thanks for everything! You're right. I won't give up!"
"That's the mistress I know and love!"
As we looked deeply into each other's eyes, the door to my bedroom suddenly burst open.
It was Odin. God! She's a complete mess. Her hair is ruffled, bags under her eyes… yeah. She gives of a different feeling right now.
"Odin… you should take it easy. I heard you did many things for me. I will properly thank you but you really should…"
"No! I have to tell you this now! I don't want to forget so listen carefully, onee-chan. There might... *yawn*... be a way to save you. Onee-chan, what do you know about the Great Desert?"
The Great Desert? I remember when the church showed us the world map. There was a place on the demon continent marked with question marks. It was called the Great Desert but…
"Other than the fact that everyone who went in there never came back, not much."
"You're wrong. There is someone who managed to return alive from there. It was… *yawn*... kept a secret. Don't ask me how I know… I just know for some reason. Your father. Gilbert Walpurgis."
"Lady Odin, that's impossible. Lord Gilbert never went on a journey that long."
"It was most likely before Milla was born. Before you started to work for them. He is the only one who went in and came back. Maybe… he left something for you there. Or maybe found some source of power. I don't get it myself… but every part of my body is telling me that if there is a way out of this, it's… in… *ZZZZZZ*..."
Hey. Don't just suddenly fall asleep. I didn't even know you can sleep on your feet. But I guess I can't blame her. After all, she really must be tired. I'll make sure to play with her ass thoroughly when she wakes up, fufu~.
"Grace, can you get her back in bed?"
"Of course. But, Milla-nee, are you really considering it? If you had your strength I wouldn't argue… but as you are I am afraid you won't come back. The desert is a dangerous place."
She has a point. I'll wait for now until I can take off all these bandages. But if Odin is so sure, then there must be something out there that can help. Still… why did Milla's father go there in the first place?
"Grace, I'll wait a few days until I feel better, but I am going. I also need to do some paperwork myself and make some arrangements. But don't worry. Somehow… everything will turn out alright.
In the meantime, would you please call Himeko over?"
"Himeko? Not lady Shiori or lady Momoyo?"
"Himeko is my beloved daughter. It's only normal that a mother wants to see her daughter first. And besides, she spends most of her time with Lorina. I want to bond with her these days."
And so, the countdown to my departure has started.