Chapter 1173: A Tough Decision
Even though Rhode was mentally prepared for the bad news, after hearing Marybelle’s response, he still felt discouraged. He gazed at the bedridden, skinny, yellowish, and unconscious Lilian and couldn’t help but feel his heart ache. He had known Lilian for a considerable amount of time and always treated her like a younger sister. Due to this reason, Lilian’s predicament broke his heart. But even so, he took in a deep breath to stifle the uncertainty in him and asked.
“Are you sure there is no other way, Marybelle?”
Upon hearing Rhode’s question, Marybelle nodded slightly.
“Yes, Your Majesty Rhode. There isn’t any issue removing the presence of Chaos in her arm. But just like Miss Gillian said, the power of Order contained within it feels really strange. I’m not sure if Chaos would use the power of Order and alter Her Majesty Lilian’s body and spirit from the inside-out. So, I think the safest way is to kill her.” Marybelle said, let out a cough, and raised her head. “Of course, Your Majesty Rhode, if you’re willing to, we can always resurrect her afterward. Through the rinsing of the power of Order, I think there shouldn’t be any after-effect.”
At that moment, Rhode finally understood what Marybelle meant when she said she was powerless in this situation. It wasn’t that she couldn’t do it, but it was just her ‘better-to-be-safe-than-sorry’ attitude that was doing the talking. She was just like before. For safety’s sake, she was even willing to abandon her body to let Rhode transform her into a card spirit, not to mention doing this to others. Perhaps this option was worthy of consideration, but Lilian was as though an object in Marybelle’s perspective. Since Lilian was eroded by Chaos, Marybelle believed that the most reliable method was to eliminate the problem completely.
Rhode and his younger sister exchanged looks and noticed the helplessness in each other’s eyes. Marybelle was a principled person. She was merciless to others but more ruthless to herself, so if she determined that this matter wasn’t safe and wise, she would never do it. It was especially so for Lilian’s unique identity. If she were truly invaded by Chaos, Marybelle would definitely place eliminating her as the top priority and rescuing her as the least important. After all, all troubles would be solved after killing her, while resurrecting her later might cause several unknown aftereffects to show up. If Chaos lurked inside Lilian’s body and altered her thoughts later, Rhode and the rest would definitely not notice it.
Intellectually speaking, Marybelle’s decision wasn’t wrong. But emotionally, it was totally unacceptable.
“Can you do something about this?”
Rhode knew that he most likely couldn’t change Marybelle’s view even if he persuaded her, which was why he asked his younger sister for help instead. After all, she was the original Void Dragon who created the deity wardens and Marybelle would surely respect her to a certain extent. Upon hearing Rhode’s doubt, the younger sister shook her head helplessly and answered in a lowered voice.
“It won’t work even if I persuade her; Marybelle is just that serious of a person. It will be tough to make her change her mind.”
Upon hearing the younger sister’s answer, Rhode knitted his brows. Even though he understood Marybelle’s concerns, he could never kill Lilian on his own. Besides, even if he couldn’t, he wouldn’t want others to do it either. Be it whether Lilian could be resurrected or not, anyone who did the dirty work would be under extreme psychological pressure.
Rhode had also asked Stefania about it. The latter had some ideas, but rules were different in every world, which was why she couldn’t guarantee that her ideas would work. This was why Rhode could only give up the idea of taking the evil path and continue to think of other fitting means.
“Is there really no other way?”
Sonia was clearly reluctant to accept this fact. She knitted her brows and gazed at Marybelle with some hostility. After being with Lilian for so long, Sonia completely treated Lilian as someone like a younger sister or daughter. It was due to this reason that she strongly objected to Marybelle’s suggestion, which was also why her tone of voice was filled with vague indifference and hostility. The rest noticed it, but they exchanged glances with one another and didn’t say a word.
“I think this is the best way.”
Marybelle gazed at Lilian and said firmly.
Upon hearing Marybelle’s answer, Sonia scampered toward Lilian and hid her from Marybelle’s line of sight. Even though there weren’t any changes in Sonia’s expression, her gaze was filled with obvious objection. Upon detecting Sonia’s hostility, Marybelle twitched her brow and extended her arm. Along with this movement, a small magic wand appeared in her hand. In response, Sonia’s face turned dark. She stretched out her arms and an illusory mirror appeared between them, reflecting a faint and blurry radiance.
Looking at this scene, everyone was appalled. They didn’t expect to witness such a state of mutual hostility shortly after their return to the continent. Many of them knew about the deep relationship between Sonia and Lilian. If Marybelle were to lay hands on Lilian, Sonia would surely defend Lilian with all her life. There would be no room for compromise, not even when Rhode did the talking. On the other hand, Marybelle was also a stubborn person who trusted that everything she determined was right and that they must be carried through to the end. Anyone who stopped her was her enemy. Since Sonia defied her, she was basically an enemy of Marybelle now.
“You want to kill Her Majesty Lilian just because of one possibility? I cannot accept that, Miss Marybelle. If you’re uncertain of your chances, I would need to ask you to leave.”
Sonia glared fiercely at the young lady before her. The silver-whitish, circular mirror in her hands emanated a faint radiance.
“It is by no means what I expected to see for a dragon soul heir to be eroded by Chaos. But just in case, we need to be prepared to face any possible unexpected situation. You can’t guarantee that no traces of Chaos will remain in the dragon soul heir behind you, can you?”
Marybelle raised her magic wand gently, seemingly incomparably relaxed.
“You also can’t guarantee that traces of Chaos will remain in Her Majesty Lilian’s body, can you?”
Sonia twitched his brows. She narrowed her eyes and stared at Marybelle.
Everyone gazing at this scene were at their wits’ end. Sonia was determined to not let Marybelle lay a finger on Lilian, while Marybelle was resolute in doing so. No one expected things to turn into this stalemate in an instant. Alice and Marlene who stood at the side watched blankly. They were at a complete loss.
“Big Sister Marybelle, Big Sister Sonia. Please calm down.”
At that moment, Christie let out a cough to gather their attention before stepping forward. Upon hearing her voice, Marybelle and Sonia shifted their gaze to Christie and each took a step back albeit maintaining their stance. This gave Rhode a huge headache. He didn’t expect Sonia to be this agitated. If he knew this would happen, he would have handled the situation himself. But now…
“Marybelle, do you really not have any other solutions?”
The only thing Rhode could do now was to step forth and ask again. Facing his question, Marybelle shook her head.
“This is the safest method, Your Majesty Rhode.”
“Hmph, after all is said and done, the truth is that you aren’t capable enough.”
Sonia lowered her gaze to the ground and mumbled under her breath. Even though her voice wasn’t loud and it sounded like she was soliloquizing, none of them present were ordinary beings so they naturally heard her grumbles. The crowd forced a smile and even Rhode was at a loss for words. A fight between women didn’t involve any logic and reasoning in the first place. Fortunately, this had nothing to do with Rhode. If not, he would have turned around and left immediately. He knew clearly that he would sink deeper if he were dragged into it. When that happened, he might be thoroughly out of luck if he mishandled the situation.
“Marybelle, is there really no other alternative?”
At that moment, the young lady standing beside Rhode asked in a gentle voice. Her voice wasn’t loud, but it was clearly heard by everyone as though she were whispering into their ears. Upon hearing Rhode’s younger sister’s question, Marybelle pondered in silence. Even though Marybelle was stubborn, she wasn’t as emotionless as the original Marlene. If it were the original Marlene, this suggestion by Marybelle would definitely please her. Because theoretically speaking, this suggestion was the most practical and reliable to handle the situation. As for the fact that it would cause cracks among the group, the original Marlene wouldn’t give a damn. The feelings between people weren’t set rigidly in place, which made them far less important than a clear and rational plan. But now, the reincarnated Marlene naturally wouldn’t be as heartless as before, whereas Marybelle was only being stubborn. Upon hearing the original Void Dragon’s question, Marybelle couldn’t help but pucker her brow and reply.
“There is an alternative, but I think it will be more painful than killing her. That was why I didn’t bring it up.”
“What is it?”
Upon hearing the possible alternative, Rhode asked hurriedly. Marybelle pondered for a few moments and eventually said.
“We can forcefully awaken and rinse Her Majesty Lilian’s spirit like a shower, before using the power of Order to cleanse her spirit. After I eliminate the presence of Chaos, the remaining of its traces and fragments inside her body and spirit will likely be eradicated. Even though ordinary dragon soul power is unable to be transmitted, both of you are the Void Dragons and the power of the void is able to contain the power of the other four Creator Dragons. So I suppose there shouldn’t be any issue if both of you act together.”
“Are there any side effects?”
Rhode was taken aback. This method sounded much better than killing Lilian directly. But he realized that it wasn’t as simple as it sounded. If not, Marybelle wouldn’t have chosen to kill Lilian and not use this way to get rid of Chaos inside her body.
“Of course, Your Majesty Rhode.”
Upon hearing Rhode’s question, Marybelle twitched her brows and said.
“This will be an agonizing process because we will be cleansing Her Majesty Lilian entirely from her spirit to flesh. Her Majesty Lilian will be in unprecedented torment. It will be as though we are tearing off a layer of her rotten skin before beginning the treatment. If there is too much presence of Chaos remaining inside her body, it will undoubtedly be as though we are reconstructing her body from top to bottom and spirit to flesh. I’m sure not anyone would be able to tolerate the pain. If any accident were to happen, Her Majesty Lilian may have a mental breakdown from failing to handle the intense effects even if the cleansing is successful.”
Marybelle said and shifted her gaze to Lilian who lay behind Sonia.
“I’m certain that the possibility of Her Majesty Lilian crumbling mentally to the agony is around 99 percent.”
It was basically no different from 100 percent. If it weren’t for her ‘better-to-be-safe-than-sorry’ attitude, perhaps she would have gambled on that one percent.
After hearing her words, Rhode was speechless. If that was the case, what Marybelle decided earlier was better for Lilian as Lilian would be suffering much less. Even though Rhode didn’t experience the mentioned agony himself, he was sure that since Marybelle pledged in all seriousness and sincerity, most people would be unable to withstand the torment, not to mention a child like Lilian who wasn’t much stronger than most people mentally. If they were to adopt this method, it would mean letting Lilian suffer and the so-called mental breakdown would be no different from death itself…
Even though Rhode could still kill Lilian and resurrect her into a card spirit if she was on the verge of mental breakdown, he clearly knew that the rationality of spirits had a close relationship to their mental health when they were alive. Taking the card spirits that he resurrected, for instance—they were mostly clear-headed when they were alive. If they were in a state of insanity while they were alive, they would remain crazy even after they were resurrected as card spirits. That was why if Lilian suffered the mental breakdown, she would still be a mentally-distraught card spirit even if Rhode resurrected her as a card spirit.
In an instant, Rhode was torn between two choices. This situation was as though a person on Earth who had succumbed to brain death. Even though artificial life support could sustain that one’s life, the dead brain also signified that one was legally dead. Logically speaking, during such moments, it might be better to resort to euthanasia. But to one’s family, there was still hope as long as one was alive, where perhaps one might wake up from one’s sleep. Even if one was more dead than alive, the family would rather wait until one could no longer hang on.
No one could determine if the decision made for such a situation was right or wrong, which was why euthanasia was widely debated on Earth. To outsiders, not only was putting one on artificial life support a waste of money, but it was also misspending time and misusing hospital resources. Moreover, the patient was also in constant pain, so they might as well end the torture forever. But to the family involved, there was hope as long as one was alive. Was there any difference from killing one when they agreed to euthanize their loved one?
In the first place, there was no reasoning involved for such matters. The theory was correct, but even if it was right, it wouldn’t be fully accepted by everyone.
And now, this was the tough decision that Rhode had to make. Indeed, if he killed Lilian just as Marybelle suggested, he could resurrect her painlessly after. Despite that, the most important thing now was whether he could get over the hurdle in his heart. On the other hand, if he didn’t kill her, she would continue to suffer in agony with an extremely low success rate. Meanwhile, he and the rest would be free from guilt and moral burden. But was it the best choice for Lilian?
All in all, it is a question of selfishness.
At this thought, Rhode knitted his brows. After pondering for a few moments, he eventually let out a sigh.
“How much time do we have left?”
“Based on the current situation, we have two days at the very most.”
Marlene said, stepping forward to check on Lilian’s arm. Then, she spoke with a solemn expression.
“After two days, the power of Chaos will erode past Her Majesty Lilian’s arm. We thought of slashing off Her Majesty Lilian’s right arm before that happens. Even though it doesn’t sound like the best solution, at least we’re able to keep her alive. But now, it seems like…” Marlene shook her head and shifted her gaze to Marybelle. “… our solution isn’t as useful anymore.”
As a matter of fact, Marlene knew deep down that Marybelle was right; it was just that she couldn’t accept the fact.
Rhode gazed at Lilian silently. There were only two methods to choose from now, but they were both tough choices. Rhode didn’t expect to face this situation right after his return. His good mood was long gone. But even so, he forced himself to calm down and said.
“Don’t worry. In this case, we’ll make our decision tomorrow… If it doesn’t work out, we will tell Lilian the situation and let her decide her own fate.”
Upon hearing Rhode’s remark, everyone felt helpless. But they knew that perhaps this was the only way left.