Chapter 9:

I hate you, I loathe you, I'll kill you, just don't die.

Theodora Plays to Win (With Cheat Codes)

Theo kneeled next to Edith.

“You seem nearly dead to me, it’s best to cut my losses.” She begins to stand up and Edith pulls her back down. She lets out a yell of pain from the exertion.

“You demon. “Nearly” does not mean “actually” and I’m telling you I’m not “nearly” or “actually” dead. I’m in a lot of pain and I’m bleeding a lot but I’m pretty sure that mutt didn’t hit anything vital. You just need to close my wounds and find somewhere safe for us to rest.”

Theo wasn’t sure what she should do. She was just about ready to collapse herself, it was safe to say she had expended almost every ounce of energy she had during that last fight. If the forest decided to start attacking again, there wouldn’t be anything she could do. They were both as good as dead no matter which way they sliced it. Putting movement aside for a moment, Theo didn’t have any equipment to sew Edith’s wounds and Edith probably didn’t have enough mana left to cast any healing spells. Maybe with a bit of time she could gather her strength, but time was running out. The Enforcers would catch up to them in the morning and before that a storm was likely to hit. A light mist was already being carried on the wind.

All that being said, Theo did owe Edith for saving her, and owing Edith made her wish the forest would impale her to end her suffering. “Fine! I’ll see what I can find.”

Theo got up and half-heartedly looked around before turning back to Edith, “Oooh nooo. I can’t find aaanything. I’m soooo sorry. Oh well, I triiiied. Rest in peace.” Theo bows her head respectfully with her hands clasped in front of her chest.

“You’re pissing me off! Look harder!” She coughs hoarsely.

“Alright, Alright!” She looks again, this time she checks a bit more thoroughly, but doesn’t find anything. Truthfully Theo wasn’t entirely sure what she was looking for in the first place. In their immediate area all she could see was dry soil and broken branches and the decapitated Manabeast.

Theo turned back to Edith. A chilly, wet wind blew past Theo. “There’s nothing…” Just as she was about to tell her to give up, a familiar leaf flew right by her face; It was a large, perfectly-shaped golden leaf. Callum’s voice carried in with it, “This is called a Bayer Leaf, it has the ability to heal any surface level wound. Just apply mana.”

She was back at that stream watching Callum jump from place to place while lecturing her about the forest.

“You might be wondering where this leaf comes from.”

“A tree.”

“There might be a Bayer tree somewhere; however, they are not indigenous to this kingdom, in fact there aren’t any in this whole country. And yet, the leaves always seem to appear wherever people are in need of it.”

“Just like you!” Theo responds enthusiastically.

Callum seems exhausted by this statement. “I think it’s time you went home for the day.”

Theo shakes herself out of her reverie and snatches the leaf out of the air. “I’ve got it.”

“I found something that might help.” Theo runs back to Edith. She takes a seat beside her. Edith appears paler than she did a few moments ago, there wasn’t much time left. If Theo could get her into a more stable condition and find her a place to rest then she might live. This leaf is the thing that will save her. She just needs to add her mana to it. “Hey! Wake up! Don’t fall asleep on me. You just need to channel some mana into this leaf and it’ll patch you up.” Theo put the leaf on her stomach next to her kidney.

Deep down Theo didn’t want Edith to die. All her sisters were horrible but every once in a while Edith was less horrible than the other two, and so it would be a shame if Edith died like this, saving Theo. It was far too heroic for someone like her. She needed to die far more selfishly, perhaps at the hands of a one of her geezer’s future widows. Plus, if Theo managed to save Edith from the brink of death then she’d be the indebted one. It was perfect. Live, damn you, live!


The giggling of school girls could be heard from behind the white and pink wooden door; the only decorated door in the house. Theo hesitated, holding her hand out ready to knock. How would Edith react; would she help, or turn her away? Flowers bloomed around the doorframe, did that belie her inner nature. She’d never asked any of her sisters for anything before, she actively avoided them when she could. They were the ones who shunned her first. in the end they lived in the same house but were practically strangers.

The girls continued on until she heard a crashing sound, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll go get you another one.” Edith swung open the door. She was consumed in a halo of light as if casting a spell. Her long blonde hair ran smooth like water down her back, the picture of effervescent beauty stood before Theo.

“What do you want?” And all the light faded as a cloud obscured the sun shining through the window behind her.

Theo nearly backpedaled out of the hallway, through the kitchen, and back to the forest, she was so taken aback by the sudden ferocity of the picturesque princess. Theo took a breath to calm herself then, “I’m sorry.”

“You should be. You’re blocking my way.”

“Sorry! I need your help!” She backed up anticipating violence only to hit a wall.

“Why ask me? Bother mom. She’s the only one who cares even a little bit about you anymore. Now, could you get out of my sightline.”

Neither one of them seemed like they were going to move. Edith was determined to get Theo to acquiesce and leave before continuing on her way, while Theo was paralyzed from fear. Edith’s eyebrows scrunched in disgust, “What is it? What’s your deal?”

“I don’t want to get big sister in trouble.”

Edith crosses her arms, “Why would she-?” Edith finally notices her half-sister’s hand and her animosity wears away.

“What-what happened?”

Theo timidly explains her injury, “I caught Cambria going through mother’s jewelry. She didn’t want me telling mother so she stuck the ring on my finger and melted my hand with fire magic to keep it on.” She held out the hand to Edith which caused her to stumble slightly.

“This, this…it smells…how could she…why didn’t you…” She was at a loss for words, it was such an extreme and barbaric use of power, it could even be called evil. No one, other than mother, would chastise Cambria for it since the victim was Theo, but it strangely left a guilty feeling in the pit of Edith’s stomach.

“It’s okay. I can tough it out. I don’t even feel it anymore.” Theo smiles sadly, “Anyway, It’s better if no one finds out, right?” Edith nods silently and Theo continues, “Right, so I found this leaf in the woods that’s supposed to heal wounds, all you have to do is apply mana, but I don’t have any so…”

Edith takes a shaky breath, “I see, but why did you come to me?”

“I’m not really sure… will you help?”

Edith lets out a short growl then gives in, “Fine, just don’t tell anyone about this, or that” she points at Theo’s hand.

“Thank you.”


Theo pushes the leaf hard against Edith’s wound causing her to grimace but not wake. “Shithead! Hey! You’re not done yet. What about the inn with the hot springs? Weren’t you gonna beat me there and gloat about it when I came stumbling in half-dead? Hey!” She pushes harder, “You wanna know something? You’re pathetic! The pride of Rhoaldstahl just let her little maggot sister show her up big time. Are you gonna let that slide? Your useless half-sister who barely has the right to breathe the same air as you just slayed a monster that’s ripped you to pieces! Haha! I could laugh! Hahaha! If only Cambria, or mom could see this scene, I wonder what they’d think?” Edith’s face twitches in absolute fury as she fights to open her eyes, “Maybe, I’ll head back to the village and let them know how weak you really are? Hahaha! Not a bad Idea right?”

Edith’s eyes shoot open and she reaches for the collar of Theo’s shirt. “I’ll kill you!”

“No need for all of that. Just let the mana flow into this leaf.” Theo gently lowers Edith back down. She takes a breath and her entire body begin to glow along with the leaf. Edith bites down on her lip as her body slowly begins healing. “You’ll return the favor later I hope.”

“I hate you.” Edith rasped.

“Save your energy, leather trap.” Theo’s speech was becoming slurred. It was becoming harder to speak.

“Same to you, basement leech.” Their journey so far had taken every bit of energy Theo had, whatever had kept her going to this point was now completely gone. She teetered around a bit before collapsing to the ground. She shut her eyes and fell into unconsciousness.