In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 67
"Hello, Miss Charlotte!" Sue piped up.
The Duke sighed. "Court Magician Charlotte I know I also said for you to feel at home, but do you act like this in your own home?"
"Her house has some doors removed because it's too much of a hassle opening doors to move research materials!" the tired voice spoke up from behind her.
"Eek!" Suddenly Charlotte came back to her senses. The court magician began bowing and apologizing to the Duke for her rudeness. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
And then she looked up and her expression steeled again. "Sir von Chara! I have brought him as you requested!"
I blinked. "... you brought the who in the my what now?"
"Um this is my cousin, Sir Alan. He has the [Null] ability of [Portal] for long-distance travel and transport."
Charlotte stepped aside to show off the person behind her. A walking pile of books. We couldn't see the person's face, but there was no mistaking the tired sarcastic git in his tone. "I'm so happy to meet /exactly none of you./"
"... you know what, I'm just not going to deal with this right now" I sighed. "We're still in the middle of a delicate medical situation. Lady Ortlinde, we're going to have to turn off the [Blind Sight] spell for a while."
"Hurry up and wait, sure why not. It's like I never left the military. /Awesome./"
"Please put the books down on that table there, Alan. But be careful! They're very delicate."-
"These are books, woman! As long as they're not wet or on fire, they're the opposite of delicate," Alan grumbled. "Also, I can't even see where you're pointing. Can you use your damn brain for something useful?"
"H-how rude!" Sue gasped. "You can't talk to Miss Charlotte like that!" Her face puffed up in outrage.
Charlotte escorted her helper to a side table. "It's all right. My sister will make him pay for it once we're done here."
"I already regret everything, there's nothing more you could do to me except make my suffering any shorter." He paused. "Also I regret the most being away from my wife, so you should know there are more pleasurable forms of suffering."
By the confused look on Charlotte's face it was clear that no, she had no idea what that meant. She was separated from her family at the age of about eight years old, and spent most of her formative years in Mismede in the company of fairies with very low fertility rates and disproportionately female at that.
Of course that meant a whole lot of them were shameless perverts, but all that really mentally scarred taught Charlotte in the end was that all pain was pain. While they couldn't do anything directly to Charlotte, her of-age guards were another matter entirely.
"N-no. Of course not. All pain is pain it's a lesson, a reminder to do better next time. Those who do good don't get hit. P-pain is a lesson!" And yet a part of her, that was a child starved for attention and sent away by her family, was willing to suffer pain because it meant her teacher was looking at her and cared about what she was doing.
Alan groaned and put down the heavy load of books that he was forced to carry. Doing so exposed a thin, tired-looking face with long stringy hair. "I am learning nothing from this," he wheezed.
I ignored the overdramatic fool and addressed the Duchess again. "All right. I'll be turning off the spell. Please prepare yourself. In three two one."
/"Spell Slot cleared,"/ Monika noted.
The Duchess flinched.
"Did that hurt?" I asked. "How do you feel? Are you seeing anything?"
She shook her head. "No it was just surprising. I'm seeing this somewhat warm haze." Her eyes had turned a pale turquoise again.
I held up a little ball of [Light] and waved it in front of her eyes. "Pupils are responding to the presence of light. Please follow if you can perceive where the light is coming from."
Her gaze followed the light ball left and right. I continued "Good. Can you perceive any shape or gradation in the light? I will now be varying the distance."
After a while Duchess Ellen said "I can see a little bit of a change, but it still becomes light or dark very quickly. I can tell when only one eye is shaded."
/"So it really is the vision equivalent of TV static,"/ Monika mused. /"Weird. Well, Player, I'm out of theories. We're not actual trained doctors after all."/ Fortunately she only whispered this to my ears. /"How are you going to get us out of this hole? You don't really expect me to keep locked down one of my slots for her sight, right? Are you planning on somehow getting Sue to cast and maintain the spell?"/
I shook my head and stood up. I had a more eerie suspicion.
"By the way, what is your magical affinity, Lady Ellen?" I asked.
"Fire," she replied with a disappointed breath. The same as her father, but despite that he had the power of [Recovery] to uphold the family's reputation as great healers.
I went over to my backpack and brought out a soft sand-filled cloth ball. Then I addressed the Duchess "Lady Ellen! Catch!" Then I threw the ball at her face.
The ball slapped onto a waiting palm.
"Sir Zah!" Sue gasped. "Mother!"
The Duchess lowered her hand and stared at the ball with wide sightless eyes. "What what was that?"
"Sir von Chara, if you do that again, we will not have words," Duke Ortlinde growled.
"Ahah sorry. In my defense it would have missed anyway?"
Sue leapt over to her mother's side. "Mother, can you see now?!"
"No. I'm sorry, Sue. There's nothing." She furrowed her brows a bit and looked up. Somehow she could tell where I was standing. "So how did I just do that?"
I shrugged. "My spells generally don't act like making something from nothing. It takes either something that exists, or a known quality like speed, pressure, or direction, and then builds off that. [Blind Sight] doesn't give you a new magical form of sight, but takes in and amplifies everything else you may perceive and builds the information you receive into something that seems like sight."
/"What, is this like the reason why Air Benders have shaved heads? So they can better feel changes in air pressure on their naked scalp?"/
I grimaced. "This means that even if we terminate [Blind Sight] it takes a while for your body to forget what it was doing. It's actually making new connections in your brain, because while the human body is actually surprisingly clever at healing around damage. It is accidentally teaching you some sort of [Blind Fighting] skill."
Everyone stared oddly at me. "Isn't that a good thing?" asked the Duke.
"[Heal] spells repair damage. If doing this eventually trains Duchess Ellen to see without using her eyes, heal spells will no longer function because her brain has repaired itself. But the alternative is to keep her blinded for longer."
The Duchess responded with a light, dismissive little laugh. "I have endured five years. If it would mean being able to see my family again, please do not mind me."
I made some sort of frustrated guttural sound. "But this leaves us with another option! Which is to build upon [Blind Sight] and make it able to perceive shapes and colors. You would retain the improved reflexes and heightened perception with all other senses than sight, without it interfering with your vision.
"Speaking as a person who is mostly blind, sight is the most precious of our human senses and the one we depend on the most for our survival. Many would rather give up their ability to speak, to hear, or to feel, than give up sight. We overdepend on sight because without it we are starkly reminded that this fangless, hairless two-legs should be prey to larger animals.
"This is very tempting to me because the cure to your eyes would likely also be a cure to my own while permanently also improving my combat abilities. Also, um, yours."
/"Player, it is GROSSLY UNETHICAL to use your patients for UNSANCTIONED MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS."/
"I knoooowwww." I wailed and flapped my hands around helplessly.
Duchess Ellen raised a hand to her lips and giggled delicately. "I think I would like to hear more about this before coming to a decision."
/"Lady Ellen, please do not indulge his foolishness. The first Oath of a Doctor is 'Do No Harm'. Patients are there to be healed as soon as possible, not to be upgraded."/
"Excuse me! Excuse me!" Charlotte waved for attention.
"Yes?" I replied with a nod.
"Doesn't this mean that all you need is something that gives normal sight? She would then get used to seeing again until a time when such a spell is no longer necessary? If the body is so good at repairing around damage, how come vision only grows worse with age?"
"Obviously because what's damaged can never really be as good as the unbroken," Alan retorted. "You can only exercise so much before you're tearing open your own muscles and lose them. That's why we don't need bulky muscle-heads in the army."
Then he looked up and around, "Where is that other woman's voice coming from anyway?"
/"It is a mysssterrryyy.."/ Monika replied in a spectral whisper.
Then belatedly she answered Charlotte's question, /"Some parts of the body can only degrade after being fully formed, not improved by exercise. Aging is largely the body's eventual inability to cope with repairing itself after the small amounts of damage and new growths needed after everyday exertions."/
"Uh, Charlotte, does your friend actually have the security clearance for this?" I asked, belatedly realizing the sensitive nature of medical information regarding the Ducal house.
Duke Ortlinde sighed and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. "Sir Alan Droz is a member of the Royal Guards."
"Nice." I brandished a thumbs-up. They should be hella suspicious about me and make sure that I intend no harm to the kingdom no matter my words or how much Duke Ortlinde gave his trust.
Alan copied the gesture. "I would really like NOT to have to deal with any of this noble scheming, if you don't mind."
"Fair enough. As a soldier yourself, would you mind sitting in with the medical lecture I'm presenting soon after this?"
" that interests me a little bit, yeah."
"A lecture! Yes! That's good too! Medicine is important for everyone! Even the military can't ignore its importance! Alan, I need paper! Where did you put the paper?!" Charlotte sprang up and began to carelessly rifle through the books. Some of them were blank notebooks and journals.
"On top!" Alan yelled back. "I knew this would happen! Stop being in such a hurry, woman! You don't need to rush everything!"
Charlotte stopped. And then had a full-body shiver. "No no can't be too slow. Speed is life. Too slow gets hit. Too slow gets the whip"
Then after a few seconds of fugue, she went back to flipping open books for a blank journal.
Sue gave her a pitying look, then reached out to clasp her mother's hand.