༺ Conclusion ༻
Late at night, when the door to 221B Baker Street opened, Watson, who had been dozing off on the sofa, lifted her head.
“Why have you come home so late?”
Watson, after checking the clock while rubbing her eyes, posed the question to Holmes. However, Holmes just silently passed by her and took a seat in her armchair.
“Did you solve the case?”
In response to Watson’s successive questions, she answered in a soft voice.
“Even though our dear Holmes has solved the case, why does she look like that?”
“I think we might need a doctor’s examination.”
Noticing that something was amiss, Watson switched on the lamp and approached Holmes.
After a brief pause, Watson examined Holmes, who was absentmindedly seated in the armchair.
“Holmes, what the hell happened today?”
“…Do you want to know?”
“Seeing your current state, I definitely need to hear it.”
At her words, Holmes lowered her gaze silently and began her tale.
“I made a mistake while solving the case.”
“You made a mistake? What on earth…”
“And that mistake left an indelible scar on a young man.”
Watson was about to speak, but instead, she closed her mouth and continued to listen intently to Holmes.
“Probably for the rest of his incredibly short life, that scar will consume him whole. And I will have to watch it happen until the very end.”
“Because he stands against me, we are bound to clash eventually. Either I win or the side he belongs to does. Whichever it is, the fate of London will be decided on the day of the final verdict.”
Holmes’ eyes gleamed softly under the light of the lamp.
“But the problem is, he’s in love with me.”
In her eyes, there was a hint of confusion— something she had never felt before in her life.
“Watson, I can’t possibly understand why.”
“There’s no apparent reason or plausible cause for him to love me. It’s neither rational nor logical.”
Holmes was candidly pouring out these feelings to Watson, her only friend in this world.
“For the past few days, no matter how hard I think about it, I am not able to understand the rapid changes in situations and emotions that surround me.”
Saying so, she frowned slightly, pouring out her grievances to her.
“Is that why? My chest feels heavy, and sometimes it churns severely. Irritation rises for no reason and I feel on edge.”
“It’s probably because I’ve been overthinking. Watson, if it’s okay I’d like to get a prescription for these symptoms…”
Then Holmes trailed off suddenly.
“…Why are you staring at me like that, Watson?”
It was because Watson was looking at her with a smile on her face; as if she had finally understood something.
“The diagnosis is over.”
With that confident voice, Holmes looked at Watson with a challenging expression as if daring her to explain it to her.
“I never imagined that I would be saying this to you.”
Watching her, Watson murmured and then cleared her throat and began.
“Holmes, do you realize that everything you just described is the symptoms of love?”
“I wondered what you were about to say…”
“It’s not always the case in every situation. But most love is irrational and illogical, coming in moments we can’t simply fathom or make sense of.”
Holmes turned her gaze away with a flustered expression on her face, but Watson continued resolutely, recalling her own experiences.
“But aren’t you proving it better than anyone else right now?”
At Watson’s laughter-tinged remark, Holmes made a face as if she couldn’t believe it and said to her,
“I can say with certainty, that’s not the case here.”
“I wouldn’t be swayed by such illogical, unproductive emotions that only cloud one’s judgment.”
“Then, what do you think you’re feeling right now?”
However, as Watson stared intently at her, Holmes avoided her gaze and replied to her,
“A sense of duty, guilt… ambition…”
“A bit of sympathy, responsibility. And…”
“You want to say that all of those feelings combined aren’t love?”
Watching her respond sharply, discarding her usual tone, Watson let out a snicker.
“No matter how I think about it this time I believe you’re wrong, Holmes.”
“Without objective and clear evidence, it’s not worth discussing…”
Then, Watson extended a hand mirror that had been on the table toward Holmes.
“Look at your eyes right now, Charlotte.”
Holmes, whose eyes had always been a deep dark gun-metal hue of gray, found herself momentarily at a loss for words when she saw them this time. They were still dark but nonetheless tinged in the shades of yellow.
“It’s said that when a mana user undergoes a significant emotional change, it manifests in the color of their irises.”
Watson continued softly, explaining the phenomenon to her.
“I’m not sure why a non-mana user like you would show these symptoms, but it’s plausible if, due to your constant handling of the magic stones, you have accumulated a large amount of mana within you.”
Hearing the explanation, Holmes pushed the mirror aside and said,
“You seem to be mistaken. This is simply a symptom of mana poisoning, Watson.”
“Newlyweds often misunderstand in the same way and come to my clinic.”
Yet Watson remained firm in her reply.
“After visiting a few times, many of them simply give up and move on.”
“It’s not that. After resting well for a few days, I’ll return to my usual self.”
With that, Holmes rose from her seat, heading toward the makeshift bed beside the chair.
“And, not every ’emotional change’ necessarily means love.”
“You’re going to deny it till the end, won’t you, Detective?”
“I simply think logically.”
And with that, she soon laid down and covered herself with the blanket.
“I should close my eyes now. To quickly alleviate the symptoms of mana overdose…”
As she habitually reached out for her curved smoking pipe, she hesitated for a moment and then lowered her arm.
“Did someone tell you to quit smoking?”
“You seem especially keen on teasing me today, Watson.”
Seeing her surprising behavior, Watson asked in a jesting tone. Holmes, with a weak voice, replied and further covered herself with the blanket.
After watching her with a smile on her face for a while, Watson, who was about to get up from her seat, tilted her head at Holmes’ muffled voice coming from under the blanket.
“…Is there absolutely no way to cure someone afflicted with vampirism?”
“Of course not.”
Immediately, Watson answered her question.
“I’m no expert in that field, but if there were any sort of cure there wouldn’t be any vampire hunters out there.”
Upon hearing that, the blanket Holmes was under trembled ever so slightly.
“But if we’re talking about methods to alleviate the symptoms of vampirism even a little, I do know of some.”
Watching her, Watson was reminded of the papers she had read during her university days.
“I once read a paper that claimed vampires who drank the blood of their loved ones were stronger and more rational than other vampires.”
“It’s quite old so I’m not sure if we can trust it but if it’s necessary for the case, I’ll look it up for you.”
Charlotte Holmes quit her research on tobacco and mana stones from that day on.
“…Thank you for the answer, Watson.”
It was because of a mistake she had made. There was a man who, due to her mistake, was facing a life that would soon become hell without her presence.
And in a way, Charlotte felt the same.
‘For me, it’s a curse, for you it’s vampirism.’
Whether it was due to her inherent nature or something she hadn’t even fully realized yet…
‘In the end, we need each other.’
Deep within her eternally frozen heart, something illogical and improbable planted by Isaac Adler was already stirring waves.
‘Even if I put aside emotions and make a rational judgment, the conclusion is the same.’
“Holmes? Are you smoking in there?”
‘You have to spend the rest of your life as my assistant. That’s the most logical, probable, and justifiable outcome at this moment…’
However, the fact that this outcome would grow a bit skewed…
“Why is there so much black smoke…”
‘…not belonging to that gray-haired woman.’
Even Adler hadn’t anticipated that outcome.
– Progress: 20% → 51%
“It feels somewhat eerie for some reason.”
Seeing the message that popped up in front of me, I brushed aside the fog on the roadside of the streets. Overwhelmed by the suddenly eerie sensation, I shivered a bit and swiped the message away.
‘…Well, at least I feel more reassured now.’
The end of the first incident, signaling the start of the main storyline. The outcome was quite successful if I say so myself.
‘It’s the perfect start for our organization.’
A flawless takeover of Princess Joan Clay, one of the top mid-bosses of the game. This led to the successful absorption of the Red Mana League.
And there was significant progress in two main quests as well.
‘…My combat power has also significantly increased.’
What particularly pleased me was successfully obtaining the abilities of the pureblooded vampire.
Of course, the penalty was no joke as well.
However, due to a body that’s as good as dead and on top of that… if the original owner’s golden-hued mana – which had been mistaken for a different color all his life – was appropriately utilized, such a penalty shouldn’t be a problem for me.
Feeling rather exhilarated, another message appeared before my eyes.
Seeing that message, I finally understood the nature of this system.
“This is the karma system I proposed, damn it.”
It was the karma system I had passionately advocated for during a meeting that lasted a whole hour.
Unlike generic systems that grant stat bonuses or overpowered skills, its unique feature was solely focused on showing the player’s current situation and progress, aiming to boost their motivation and enjoyment.
Naturally, for me who had been dropped into this world, it wasn’t a favorable thing in the least.
While showing the current situation and progress was a good thing, on the flip side, it meant a system that only displayed such things without intervening in any situation.
I should have suggested something like a shop system if I’d known this would happen.
Although I couldn’t avoid checking it, as I tried to extend my hand forward, I suddenly felt a tingling sensation in my hand.
When I turned over my palm, wondering what could cause pain in a body that’s as good as dead, I couldn’t help but widen my eyes.
｢Adler, come to my office immediately.｣
It seemed that I’d have to check my karma a bit later.
Several minutes later—
“Have you arrived?”
Hastening my steps, I reached Professor Moriarty’s office only to instantly furrow my brows.
The reason was Professor Moriarty, who was pouring some alcohol from a whiskey bottle that was already half empty, and dropping a sugar cube into the glass, was staring intently at me.
“What are you doing here at this hour?”
“I have something I want to ask you.”
However, in her sharp gaze and demeanor directed at me, there wasn’t a trace of intoxication whatsoever.
“In this recent case, I took a risk and hid my mana within the magic circle.”
So, with growing tension as I looked at Moriarty, she began speaking in that unwavering voice of hers.
“It was something I’d never done before. I don’t want anyone to know that I’m a mage.”
“But aren’t you my one and only assistant? That’s why I could take the risk.”
As Moriarty said those words, she tilted her head to the side in her habitual manner.
“However, Mr. Adler, it seems to me that you value that girl, Charlotte Holmes, more than you do me.”
“Ah, about that…”
“You claimed that you couldn’t replace her even if you were given everything in the world. You even offered the rest of your lifespan for her.”
And without giving me a chance to explain, her deep grey colored eyes sparkled as she questioned me.
“After hearing that, I was genuinely curious.”
“Does that everything in the world include me as well?”
The air in the room began to gradually freeze as she uttered those words.
In an atmosphere that felt reminiscent of the first day I met her, with cold sweat trickling down my face, Professor Moriarty posed a question to me with a bright smile on her lips.
“You can answer slowly. We have a very long night ahead of us.”
It was a question that not only concerned my life but also the fate of this world.
“To you, just what kind of being am I?”
‘Someone save this grad student from his scary professor, please…’
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