San Fleuve Grand Market and the Dark Rumor
“And you see, I went along with it because Maria insisted, but…”
It was the third day after Palle, the older brother, came home. Palle had repeatedly told the story about how he parted with his 9th girlfriend; Falma was already fed up with hearing it and cut him off immediately, while Blanche already went back to her room stealthily and slept.
“Anyway, tell me about the stuff you learned in the lectures at Nova Root Medical University.”
Falma cut to the main topic after patiently listening to his brother, who was like an honors student at his university, talk for three hours about his chivalric romance with a woman late into the night. It’s true that his muscle-brained brother was a young man so enviably beautiful that it can cause nosebleeds and easily enjoyed a successful social life. He had so many relationships with women that having a strange name that can also mean The Pill was appropriate for him.
It seems that in this world, women will praise you more if you are skillful in Divine Arts, hot-blooded, and manly. That said, Falma doesn’t have an assertive personality except when it comes to pharmacology.
If I reached a marriageable age, I think I won’t be popular.
He was somehow expecting his youthful days to be ashen. But actually, there were already a lot of marriage proposals for Falma from daughters of very important nobles that Bruno received. As for the person in question, he had no idea whatsoever.
“Oh! The lectures? You really want to hear it? Anyway, I’m learning the world’s most advanced lectures. I think you wont undeeeerrstand, I think this is too eeeearly for you. Brother, I totally don’t understaaaaaand, is probably what you will say and then start to cry. Bwahahahaha, little brothers get cuter the more stupid they are.”
“Please teach me.”
Even though Palle keeps on doing it, Falma has the personality to endure even when provoked. Palle would probably be beaten up if he was intolerant. And there was Ellen too, who had no tolerance to being provoked, had previously beaten up Palle after making fun of her. And so it became common knowledge to everyone that they will quarrel with each other every time they meet.
“Very well, this the hottest topic in Nova Root right now.”
Palle took out a textbook with undue importance. The title of the book was “Mystic Elementology”. Falma took it and slowly turned the pages.
“… This is great!”
“I know right? Wait you understand that?”
Falma was impressed. Nova Root Medical University, where the world’s greatest minds gathered, is attempting to establish a field of study based on observation of phenomena instead of speculation by temporarily demolishing the existing Four Elements Theory which was the foundation of Divine Arts, and then replace the mysterious language used in alchemy with a simpler symbols table.
Although myths, lore, Divine Art, and science were treated as a single entity, it seemed that some scholars began to think that deepening their understanding of each individual component would lead to better explanation of phenomena.
For the first time, the genius scholars and the medical alchemists have begun research into the most basic unit of matter.
From alchemy, it became Chemistry.
The bud of Chemistry began to appear. Just like the history of science back on Earth.
You finally did it, Nova Root Medical University. As expected of the place where the world’s greatest minds gather!
Falma welcomed this development.
If it reaches to a point where they are able to write chemical reaction formulas, Falma will write chemical syntheses of compounds and send it to a far away place. Those will become manuscripts and anyone around the world can synthesize modern medicine with these recipes.
“Right now, there are 26 elements that have been discovered and corresponding symbols had been created.”
There are 118 back on Earth, so even if there are only 26 that have been discovered, it is still a big deal.
The text written on the first page was the list of chemical symbols and their names.
Ah, but it has light and caloric in there. Those are not elements, and these 4 are not elements, these are all compounds. Almost got it! So there are only 20 elements that had been discovered.
They made various mistakes like back when chemistry was at its infancy.
If I could just fix the errors… Falma thought about it frustratingly, because the amount of errors were just too many.
If this is how it is, it would be better to quickly write a new textbook. In that case, it would be accepted much easier if I use the symbols that’s already being used in this world. Should I copy this?
That being saidー
“My dear Brother, is it okay if I copy this book?”
“Huh? This is too early for you. It’s because you don’t even understand the basics. You see, if you neglect it, you can’t put anything to practical use.”
The older brother looked at the younger brother like he was a fool. You’re right, therefore I would like to improve my basics, was the refute in Falma’s mind that he didn’t voice.
“Please my dear Brother, I will definitely study hard.”
It can’t be helped theeen, don’t you dare dirty it! And don’t stain it with ink or your dirty fingers! And so Palle lent him the book in a haughty manner. He was a type of brother that was easy to incite to do something.
Back on earth during the medieval period, the center of advanced medical science and pharmacology was in Europe.
However, that position is held by the USA presently.
Probably, no one would mind if the research center of medical science and pharmacology shifts from Nova Root Medical University to the Imperial Capital.
Bruno can gather excellent talents from San Fleuve Royal School of Pharmaceutics, where he is the president, and train them for modern pharmacology. In that situation, Falma will not have to bear the endeavor alone as he can entrust the medicinal drug research to the many specialists. He would also make progress with his own work. Science will grow at a faster rate if there was more manpower available.
“After that, when it comes to a ground-breaking discovery, it would be the Microscope. With the invention of that device, it is now possible to see small organisms that we had never seen before! Can you imagine that!?”
“Your reaction is too weak. Don’t you understand its value? Can you even imagine the microscopic world? Bwahahahaha, you probably don’tー!”
“That’s amazing. I wonder what kind of a world is thatー!”
Palle sneeringly laughed at the pharmacologist, who in his previous life, operated on microscopes of all performance from optical microscope to electron microscope, and was able to observes atoms if he wanted to. It was like he was pushing at an open door.
Even so, it’s unlikely that he will know it was me all along.
Palle wasn’t aware that it was Falma who sent the single lens microscope to Nova Root. It was no doubt that Bruno and the Royal Court Physician, Claude, pressured Nova Root Medical University to stop inquiring on who invented it.
“Oh, and one more thing. There was a rumor that a special medicine exists for the White Fatal Disease (Tuberculosis).”
Falma was startled.
“As for the recipe, it has not been released yet. Don’t you think it’s great? There is a possibility to cure someone who contracted the White Fatal Disease, an incurable disease!”
“Eeeh, that’s wonderfulー”
It seems that the story of San Fleuve’s Empress getting sick from the White Fatal Disease didn’t spread all the way down to the students of Nova Root. Probably only the upper echelons knew the truth.
It seemed that the private information of the patient didn’t leak out.
After that, Palle boasted of Nova Root Medical University’s achievements like they were his own.
“It’s a good thing to have pride in your Alma Mater”, Falma thought to himself.
“Today is Sunday, we will go to the Guardian Deity Church for the Sunday service!”
It was early morning when Palle took Falma and their younger sister, Blanche, to the Guardian Deity Church in the parish of San Flueve Imperial Capital, where Guardian Deities of all attributes are enshrined. Speaking of which, not once did Falma’s father bring him to worship in the Guardian Church, while his elder brother, despite his looks, was very religious. It was Falma’s first time to set foot inside the Church ever since he came to this world. However, it had been a while for Blanche as she looks around restlessly.
“If you don’t have the divine blessing of the Guardian Deity, both your study of Divine Arts and academics won’t go well!”
I see, no wonder my very self-confident brother was very adept at using his Divine Arts, perhaps it’s the result of his continuous worship.
On that subject, even when Falma has the Divine Medical Wand, which increased Falma’s physical ability, and Palle having a fever, Palle was able to hold out for a long fight. Falma had glimpsed at his brother’s effort.
The Sunday service ceremony was held at the shrine of the Church. Both the nobility and the commoners will visit the shrine.
There was a familiar figure at the altar, it was the Head Priest, who frequently visits the pharmacy.
The ceremony consisted of reading the bible, the sermon, and the blessings, all performed by the Head Priest. The Head Priest became aware of Falma after the ceremony, and was trotting towards him delightedly.
“Has master Falma finally come? I humbly welcome your arrival!”
The Head Priest always tries to persuade Falma to come visit the Church. He said that just by Falma entering the Guardian Church, the church will be purified and it will become a sanctuary. Every time Falma took a step, the patterns embedded on the floor of the Church began to emit a pale light.
Whaaa… It’s shining somehow.
Not knowing what was happening, just seeing the eerie changes he caused only made Falma feel some inexplicable anxiety.
“Waiー, you!? Why is the Holy Father addressing you with master?”
Palle was surprised and whispered to Falma asking why the Head Priest of the Guardian Church, the person with the most authority in the Imperial Capital, was talking to him with such respect. Falma held back the Head Priest as he was about to carelessly blurt out “Medicine God” and told him “Hold on, come with me”, as they distanced themselves from his siblings.
“I am concerned about the condition Divine Medical Wand, how was it?”
The Head Priest wasn’t able to ask about it because the pharmacy was closed for a few days due to Palle’s homecoming.
“I’m very pleased with it. I felt my physical abilities improved just by holding it.”
“That’s good to hear. Please use the wand as much as you want.”
The Head Priest was too generous in lending the wand, which was a secret treasure, to Falma without any strings attached. Falma was a bit suspicious that there might be some ulterior motive. It was certain that part of it was for the treatment of his bone fracture.
“Can I really just use the secret treasure of the Guardian Church? Won’t the leaders get angry that the treasure was forfeited?”
“It will be beneficial to us too. You already create a small sanctuary around you, but with the Divine Medical Wand, it will spread that area more because of its sacred power, that in turn will expand the sanctuary. In fact, this is the proper way to use the secret treasure.”
“Sanctuaries are created!?”
It was the first time he heard it.
“Despite the sick people coming in every day in Diversis Mundi Pharmacy, your personnel had not experienced even a cold. They shouldn’t even be getting minor injuries. This should also be true for the people living around the pharmacy.”
According to what the Head Priest told Falma, evil spirits can’t come near him, which in return will make the people near him less likely to get sick. It seemed that the Head Priest had observed that it was not just a simple case of buying and using the medicine.
“Don’t you think that not catching a cold is just coincidence? Besides that, do evil spirits exist?”
He can only think of it as occult. But the Head Priest saidー
“What are you saying, evil spirits exist.”
Like it was just a normal thing to respond.
Falma didn’t want to believe it. Since it was a world where Divine Arts exist, it would be wrong to completely deny it. However, Falma hasn’t seen an evil spirit.
“You know, you don’t need to hide it from me. For I am a priest.”
The Head Priest was being considerate in his own way.
“Is it not inconvenient for you not being able to use your power as much as you want if you keep hiding your true identity?”
“What do you mean?”
The Head Priest seems to be really concerned about Falma, who was purposely evading the issue.
“I am just a humble priest studying theology. If you have anything that troubles you, do please request this Head Priest, Salomon, to help you.”
I may be able to offer you some advice was what the Head Priest, Salomon, told him.
“Although this world has too many impurities, I would like you to stay here for as long as possible.”
According to legends, reincarnations of gods only descend upon this world briefly. They conceal themselves as they hate the impurities in the world.
Falma already planned to live his whole life in this world, but as per what the Head Priest said, he thought about the possibility that his existence, which was alien to this world, will disappear someday.
Will I disappear in the near future…?
With an unspeakable feeling, Falma returned to his brother and sister.
“What did you talk about?”
“It’s not that big of a deal. Brother, do you believe in evil spirits?”
“Now that you mentioned it, I haven’t seen any since I came back here. Holy Father might have exorcised them already.”
It seems that it was inherent to Palle to see them.
“There are no evil spirits these days. I don’t see them anymore.”
Blanche said the same thing. They said that these evil spirits were black shadows that can be found everywhere, when they make physical contact with a person, unfortunate events occurs on that person. I have seen a person come in contact with an evil spirit and they died immediately, Blanche added on.
These siblings are spiritual… Oh! Is my existence then spiritual?
Falma was doubtful.
“This is all because of the gods’ blessings. Let us pray to the Guardian Deities.”
Blanche raised her hand too.
They went inside the shrine where the statues of Guardian Deities were worshiped. It was a spacious and quiet place for praying, the light from the stained glass was magical.
Palle closed his eyes in front of the statue of the Medicine God and was seriously praying. His Guardian Deity was the Medicine God. Because Blanche’s Guardian Deity was the Water God, she went in front of the statue that was further down.
As if reacting to Palle’s prayer, the hidden lightning-like crest on Falma’s both arms began to throb, and the Medical Divine Wand glowed brighter. It seemed like Palle’s prayer became Falma’s nourishment. Maybe there is a correlation between the Medicine God and my real identity, was what Falma had to admit to himself.
Just why am I really in this world?
Falma felt really anxious and lonely that he wasn’t able to determine his identity and even his real self was unknown.
Because he died due to wanting to help the people, it might be the reason that it had something to do with the Medicine God.
I don’t know anymore. I’ll stop thinking about things that I can only speculate on.
… Falma decided to put if off for now.
A week had passed since Palle’s homecoming and it was now the day that he will return to Nova Root Medical University.
Falma, Blanche, their mother, and all the servants sent him off. Their father left home early for a medical house visit.
“Well then, dear Mother. I will diligently continue my studies.”
“Make sure to study hard.”
Their mother was sending off the brother that grew up splendidly while holding back her tears.
“Falma, Blanche, both of you stay healthy. I have to return quickly.”
“Is there something you need to do?”
“If I can’t meet Natalie at least once a week, she will definitely cry from loneliness! It’s so hard to be so popular, Bwahahaha.”
Damn that womanizer, was what Falma was thinking while waving goodbye to the horse. But as he was about to send him off,
“By the way, Falma. The San Fleuve Grand Market will be in the Imperial Capital next month.”
Suddenly, Palle remembered something as his expression became serious. The San Fleuve Grand Market was a yearly grand market exhibition that lasted for a month. Merchants from all over the world would gather and conduct a large wholesale market that last throughout the night.
“You need to be careful.”
As for what Falma needs to watch out for, he had no idea at all. Because the pharmacy’s reputation had began to spread outside the empire, he had to be careful about theft of medical supplies, but Palle didn’t know that Falma had opened a pharmacy.
“It seems that an epidemic of a strange disease has occurred in one of the large island colonies of Nederground. It looks like that 10,000 colonists died.”
“Was it a local disease, or something else?”
“I don’t know the details yet. The Nova Root Investigation Team had brought back some samples and were researching it at the university. But the two scholars who were researching it had died.”
Was it something infectious?
Falma became more vigilant.
“Since the bodies of the scholars and the specimen samples were incinerated there were no more victims, and the colonists ended up being wiped out, therefore Falma, you have to be careful. Since commodities will come from all over the world in the Grand Market. I heard that a ship of Nederground loaded with tradable goods from that island is missing right now.”
He was insinuating that payloads loaded with pathogens might have mixed within the trading vessels of Nederground and might be coming to the Imperial Capital. The only place in the empire where Nederground trading vessels are authorized to dock was in the port of Marsielle.
It definitely must be stopped before it docks.
Falma became anxious.
“Brother, about the sample taken from the patient, was that completely incinerated and nothing remained?”
“Nothing was left, it was incinerated using Flame Divine Arts. Not even bones were left. Even the specimen room where they worked was purified with Wind Divine Arts and was sealed.”
Nova Root Medical University probably decided that it was something they can’t manage.
It was certainly safe to incinerate the samples. Falma asked Palle about the symptoms and how the scholars died. The more Falma listened to the symptoms, the more he felt something bad will happen.
Don’t tell me…
“Now that you mentioned it, there still exists a sketch of that organism from the specimen samples using the microscope.”
Falma’s single-lens microscope had unexpectedly became an immediate and effective asset in Nova Root’s repertoire.
“Dear brother. Will you somehow be able to copy the sketch and send it in a letter via a carrier pigeon?”
“You want it? For what purpose?”
“I would like to investigate it with father.”
“Is that so? Certainly, father might know something.”
It seemed that Palle greatly revere their father, who was an Archduke. They said that Bruno’s reputation had even reached Nova Root.
Nova Root was too far to fly to using the Divine Medical Wand. Since Falma can only levitate at best with the wand, it would be faster for a carrier pigeon to do a long-distance flight.
“I will copy it when I get the University President’s permission.”
Falma entrusted Palle with getting the most important information.
It was 2 more weeks before the San Fleuve Grand Market. Even if he advises the Empress to stop the Grand Market now, cargos from all over the world would still arrive.
Even if the worst doesn’t come, Falma thought they should start taking countermeasures against infectious diseases as early as possible. Even if the outbreak had ended on that island, there must not be another outbreak started by the cargoes that reach the Empire.
Falma went back to his usual work in the pharmacy, just dealing with the critically ill patients and sending the milder cases to the guild affiliated pharmacies, as he directed the establishment of a quarantine station at Marseille harbor. He also hastened to complete the compilation of basic chemistry and modern pharmacology textbooks. Even if Falma disappears from this world, the people of this world will still be able to heal other people if there are textbooks to help them. It was all because he expects trouble.
The carrier pigeon that he waited impatiently for from his brother had arrived. Opening the letter, Falma was petrified.
So, it even exists in this world…
He wasn’t certain though. They said that the specimen of the pathogen had been incinerated, and there are bacteria that were similarly shaped, perhaps this was another type since this was a parallel world’s pathogen. He didn’t want to declare any conclusion until he checked it with his Diagnosis Eye.
Nevertheless, Falma was able to recognize it.
Deducing thoroughly from the symptoms that he heard from his brother, the drawn sketch of the long cylinder bacterium wasー
Plague Bacillus (Yersinia Pestis).
It was the cause of the once feared Black Death that was widespread during 14th century medieval Europe which caused the death of 30% of all its population, the most horrific pathogen to torture mankind in its history.
The mortality rate of the Bubonic Plague was at 50% to 70%, and it will develop into a more serious Pneumonic Plague.
At this point, the mortality rate is 100%.