Silver and the Blue Earl
The inspection of the Archduke of Marsielle province continued.
By the time Bruno had begun eagerly listening to the citizen’s story, it had already become noon. Occasionally, he would also assist with the inspection by using his Divine Art. In the evening, they ate the signature dishes that were offered up from the various regions as tribute. A few days had passed—during which, he lived a substantial life of inspection, eating, more inspection, and more eating.
One day—while spending time at the Lord’s mansion—Falma received a sudden notification. It was a message from his father which said:
“This is very urgent; I have been invited to Count Chillon’s castle tonight. It appears that all family members and servants are allowed to attend as well.”
Count Chillon was was a young feudal lord who ruled over a territory that was right beside the province of Marsielle.
Bruno, who had already eaten his dinner, still wanted to proceed and meet him. As he wanted to introduce his butler, Adam, as the acting feudal lord.
“Have a safe trip!”
Lotte sent them off with a smile after she heard they were going out.
“You know that Lottelita is coming as well.”
Ellen smiled wryly.
“Eeh, I can come too? But I am just a servant!? Right!?”
“This time everyone is invited, even the servants. Come, let’s dress for the occasion.”
A banquet was a social gathering. It was also a way to test how generous and influential a feudal lord could be.
Thinking about all the kind of dishes and desserts that would be served, Lotte got hungry and became delusional. She almost unintentionally drooled, but she managed to gulp it down and hold her mouth shut.
“I, I, I, I, I! What if I? What will we do if the dress I am going to wear is not elegant enough for the banquet?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be wearing this. I bought it for Blanche, but it’s still too big for her.”
“Is it okay if I wear it!?”
Lotte put on the dress that Falma’s mother, Beatrice, presented to her and became ecstatic.
“Waa, thank you very much my Lady!”
“But still. . . I wonder if it’s okay to go.”
After Lotte put on the dress, Ellen shifted her glasses and began to apply Medique cosmetics. She brought her face closer to the mirror and muttered those few words to herself.
“Huh? Why? I thinks it’s fine if Ellen comes with us.”
Falma, who had received the clothes prepared by Lotte, looked back at the rather anxious Ellen.
“But I’ve only heard bad rumors regarding that Earl. I wonder if we are going to be poisoned.”
When Lotte shrieked after hearing this, Falma just shrugged and held her cheeks to reassure her:
“It’s going to be alright, since I will know right away if something is poisoned.”
Something like trying to poison a party consisting of the Royal Court Apothecary and First Class Apothecary would be a bad plan.
The young Count Chillon was also known as The Blue Earl (Le Comte Bleu). It was said that he’s been married countless times, but each time the wife would disappear within a month. And that’s not all, Ellen brought her face close to Falma and pushed up her glasses. It was a habit of her’s to do so when she wanted to emphasize her words.
“There have been rumors that there’s a forbidden room inside his castle. They say that the wives were killed there. . . I heard the story from a servant who had claimed to seen the bodies of his wives in there.”
“You sure do know a lot, Ellen.”
Falma thought they were just false rumors after seriously thinking about it.
“Enough already. You sure do know various pieces of information from trivial to useful though, Miss Ellen~”
Ellen was at an age where she wanted to be act an adult lady. Ellen was still a woman despite being a First Class Apothecary. She seemed to get her information from socializing with the upper classes of the nobility, like a ballroom dance party for example. Gatherings such as those, which are held regularly, provide a good opportunity to learn new rumours. Even today, she was wearing an evening dress with high degree of exposure that emphasizes her breasts.
Bodies of the wives that were killed. . . Falma felt a cold sweat upon hearing this. That was because,
This is completely an episode from Bluebeard(!). . . The wives are missing, and there’s a small room in the basement.
Falma was bewildered after listening to the story. He wanted to believe that it was all just a coincidence.
“One more thing, there are rumors that the Earl is ghastly blue.”
Ellen put on her stylish glasses with one hand, while using the other to comb her hair. Her movements appeared to be strangely seductive.
“Doesn’t this mean he has a bloodless complexion?”
“You think he’s a ghost with no blood?”
Ellen scowled with a grrr.
“Didn’t I just say he had a bloodless complexion!?”
It was getting to the point where he was better off just being falsely accused.
“Oh, you must have misheard me. His complexion being ghastly blue doesn’t mean being pale, but literally blue.”
“No way! Those are just rumors, right?”
And like that, Falma didn’t give that rumor much more thought.
It had already become dusk by the time the twelve carriages, containing both the de Médicis family and the group of knights, arrived at the Earl’s castle near the lake. The lake served as the castle moat. The fort had tall ramparts, towers, and tall gates—a simple but functional castle.
The banquet was held at the reception hall; it became an extravagant service. Silverware was arranged uniformly, high-quality wines opened on display, and they were generously treated with roasted meat such as pork, beef, and lamb. Elaborate cuisines were carried out one after another. Acrobats, Harpist, and Dancers pleased Falma’s eyes and ears as they entertained.
It was certainly a lavish banquet, however…..
What Ellen said earlier was correct.
The Earl’s complexion was blue—it was clearly distinguishable, even despite the dimness of the illumination. Lotte didn’t seem to have a care for the world as she sat at the very corner, and ate up the food with ravenous speed. Even though table manners were firmly hammered into her, the pace at which she ate was still quite fast. Lotte said afterwards—while rubbing her tummy— the banquet dishes were not something they could eat easily.They were only possible because the place was near a harbor.
The Earl’s wife was not on her seat during the banquet. Nobody inquired, however Bruno certainly heard the story of the Earl having married several times.
“See. . . I knew it. Even the new wife was killed.”
Ellen whispered to Falma in a low voice.
Bruno completely feigned ignorance as he happily conversed with the Earl while enjoying the wine and cuisine. He introduced Adam as the acting feudal lord, explaining that Adam was the one planning for the management of the Marseille province. He lay emphasis on medicinal herb production, and maintaining the profitability of the trade surplus of Marseille harbor as well. He craftily told the Earl—despite it still being in its planning stages—the fact that there was a plan to build an innovative medicine research base.
“Really? An institute for developing medicine in Marseille province? Isn’t there already a research facility in the university?”
“The medicinal herb garden, and the research facility as well, are a little too cramped within the imperial capital.”
Bruno didn’t mention that it was the suggestion of Falma. Instead of saying it was Falma who had planned it, the Archduke, Bruno, made it seem like he was the mastermind on the surface. That was what Bruno and Falma talked and agreed upon. After exchanging idle chatter, even though Bruno and the Earl were enjoying the music of the orchestra, they became tipsy from the wine and the Earl finally consulted Bruno regarding his health.
“I would earnestly consult with you my Lord Archduke, but…”
“So this conversation is now a medical consultation”
If Bruno didn’t specifically get requested to perform a medical examination, he would not examine any king or nobleman.
“I have been troubled that my skin is becoming blue every year.”
“Certainly, it’s getting more blue. Have you consulted a physician?”
Bruno concluded that politely being careful on what he said didn’t benefit the patient.
“I have consulted a physician.”
Rather than blue, it’s silver. . . Did he drink some silver?
While watching their conversation, Falma started to examine the Earl with Diagnosis Eye from a secluded area. He gently placed his hand to his eye. The whole body of the Earl emitted a blue light. It was as he expected.
The blue light faded away, but there was a thin red light remaining.
Usually after diagnosis, only a white light was left, but today it was different.
Falma perked up. There wasn’t something like a miracle cure for Argyria. However, he tried to enumerate the name of all medicine he knew and it seemed there was some little effect. In addition to that, he mixed a solution with water created from Divine Art, a solvent Falma avoided using as much as possible. Still, the red light didn’t substantially change even though the red light became dimmer.
Isn’t there any medicine to treat it? It’s no good even if I mix something with the water I created! Damn, if only I had a laser to use.
A cure doesn’t exist within this realm. When it sometimes show a red light, Falma already knew there was no existing cure. It was a cruel verdict. There were plenty of illness that can’t be cured with modern medicine. It was Falma’s work to destroy such illnesses within his lifetime; it was his life’s work.
Once silver found its way into the body and accumulated, it didn’t easily leave the body.
“What will happen to me now. The citizens of my province are afraid of me, I don’t go out that often anymore. It was probably because of my appearance that those false rumors came out. . . Although the physician said I should go out to bathe in the sunlight.”
The Earl finally said all of this, while weeping to Bruno.
“According to my knowledge, there were people who’s entire body became blue in the past. But, that in itself didn’t cause much harm. So it was not the cause that shortened one’s lifespan. There were also also people who lived long. This is simply an aesthetic problem. For aesthetic purposes, you shouldn’t bathe in sunlight for too long, it will only make you more blue.”
Father’s knowledge is awesome. I would have given almost the same advice.
Falma increased his admiration to his father more than ever before. Falma thanked from the bottom of his heart that he was blessed with such a father after being reincarnated.
“Because there is a good cosmetic, let’s gloss it over.”
He had recommended the Medique cosmetics shrewdly.
Wait a minute. . . isn’t my “negative” ability a good solution for this like that time?
Falma had already accumulated knowledge in verifying his “positive” ability, but he hadn’t used his “negative” ability that much. It was a fact the other day that Falma was able to eliminate seawater in a fixed area, all the water, salt, and minerals too, all of it was literally erased. Was that the cause of it?
Falma wanted to make sure. So he quietly approached a pail that was at the corner of the large hall. He filled it with water salt, and iron sand which was created by his left hand and plunged his right hand in it.
He dissolved the salt into the water, and began a series of experiments based on the fact that the iron was not soluble.
Salt was soluble in water, but the iron sand sank to the bottom because it was not soluble. The model and structural formula was really simple. It was a simple experiment to carry out.
“What are you doing there in the corner, Little Falma? Are you vomiting due to eating too much?”
Because the slightly intoxicated Ellen approached, “Bleaargh” was his response as he wave her away.
“Should I start the experiment?”
Falma imagined analysis scenarios in his mind, and he analyzed each one.
Control Group 1: Delete the pail → Failure.
Control Group 2: Delete the water → Success. Salt and Iron was left inside the pail.
Experiment 1: Place hand in salt water. Delete saltwater → Success. Iron sand was left inside the pail.
He clearly understood it up to this point. However,
Experiment 2: Place hand in saltwater, delete everything without touching the iron sand → Success. There was no residual substance left in the pail.
“So then, how about this?”
Falma had entered the final stages of his experiment.
Experiment 3: Place hand in salt water. Delete only iron sand without touching it → Success! Only the salt water remained in the pail.
And so his conclusion was,
It’s the water, my “negative” ability was being transmitted through a fluid medium.
If it was like this, then since air was considered as a fluid too, he could eliminate any target as long as he had the structural formula in his mind even without touching it. To be exact, he didn’t know yet if he could target an object that was shielded. So, he would check on it later, as the conditions he could prepare this time was limited.
The hypothesis was,
“If I thought of a compound in my mind and set a target, I can eliminate it even without touching it!?”
And he also noticed a terrifying thing. Whenever Falma used his “Negative” ability on his right hand, his hand will temporarily become transparent like a ghost and could penetrate objects if he intended to go through.
Because Falma was working quietly at the corner of the large hall, nobody cared and approached him as they thought he was just vomiting. Lotte would sometimes call him out by saying “Are you all right? Shall I rub your back?”, Falma would reply in a disheartening way that he was all right.
“Even so. . .”
Aah, I, I’m increasingly losing my humanity.
Falma was quite completely at a loss. He had regrets when he died, but he couldn’t complain since he was reincarnated into this world. In addition, he undertook the life of the young Falma.
“Also, I don’t have a shadow. I’m a ghost that everyone can see. If I think about it that way, I can rest easy.”
Since I already died, it would be easier emotionally to accept that I’m a ghost. Falma had changed his perspective.
His father was still trying to recommend the Medique cosmetics to the Earl. Falma fixed his appearance, wipe his mouth with a handkerchief and approached the Earl. He then greeted the two people.
“Ahem, Excuse me my Lords. Let me choose the cosmetics that the Count will like.”
“Certainly, my son here knows all the details.”
Since the Earl heard that it was Falma doing the compounding, he was intently listening to every word Falma spoke.
“Before that, would the Count show me the medicines you’re currently taking? Since I have to make sure if there are any incompatibilities.”
“There are several medicines that the physician prescribed to me for my health.”
The Earl ordered an attendant to bring his medicine chest.
Inside, the medicine chest that was studded with jewels, was full of medicines. The Earl, despite being young, was considerably health-conscious. Even though that’s how it looked inside, there were some things like food supplements and energy drinks. Falma opened the vials one by one, and altered the contents.
“This is. . .”
Falma’s hand stopped at a certain bottle.
“Aah, Are you interested on that one? That is a high quality pill, it adjust the circulation of body fluids and prevent diseases.”
Wrapped in the silver foil, what appeared was a large sized pill. He inquired the name of the pill. He also knew that there was no problem with the herb contained within the pill. Ten of these pills were being consumed by the health conscious Earl everyday, and he has been taking it for several years.
“Please stop taking this pill from today onwards.”
Falma said it to the Earl with all seriousness.
“Why? My condition is good every time I took this. I cannot stop.”
“Small amounts of silver will not cause any effects, but that amount is just too much.”
“What did you say. . .!?”
Bruno too was shocked in surprise. Bruno used silver foil as the capsule when he prescribed a pill. A silver foiled pill was less likely to rot and would last long, it was also pleasing to the eye. It was prevalent among the apothecaries and physicians in the imperial court.
“Come to think of it, this is only happening to the nobility.”
Bruno recalled that he had never seen a commoner that had suffered symptoms which their whole body turned blue. It was because commoners don’t consume silver foiled pill.
“This silver foil that you consume little by little every day is the cause of why your skin is getting blue.”
“Why does it turn blue?”
Bruno asked and Falma answered immediately.
“When silver is exposed to the sun, it turns black.”
“How, how can I be cured? How about if I only took one pill a day?”
“First of all, please stop consuming this at once.”
Falma slightly emphasized his tone.
“I, I understand. However, does this mean my skin can’t be healed anymore. . .!?”
The Earl was getting paler as time went on. Bruno thought he looked pathetic so he made a suggestion.
“I don’t know if this will cure you but. . . Please stand up. Let us first balance your body fluids.”
“Ple, Please by all means. I will pay for the medical fee!”
“Because I received a free meal, you don’t have to mind it.”
Bruno held on his wand and stood behind the Earl, he chanted some sort of invocation chant and tapped the wand at the Earl’s back. It seems to have stimulated a key point. The Earl, having received a medical treatment, had a relieved expression.
Ah, I should do it during this commotion.
Falma, who watched absent-mindedly, stopped being a bystander and quickly rolled up the sleeves of his right hand. Imagining silver in his mind, and activated his “Negative” ability.
“Hey, what are you doing Little Falma. . .!?”
Ellen noticed that Falma’s right arm was glowing, and felt nervous as she watch with bated breath. She clearly knew that light signifies that a Divine Art was being activated.
Falma was concentrating, as he glared the Earl.
“Ag, Ag+ Elimination”
He did it the same way as the experiment a while ago, he imagined only the space the Earl was occupying, he didn’t tamper with all the other trace elements, even the liquids and salt too, and only removed Silver (Ag, Ag+) as the target.
Because Falma’s wand was silver, it will disappear if he was too close, but his father’s wand was made of gold.
However, one of the Earl’s ring had disappeared. The jewel that was on the ring fell and rolled of the floor.
By the time Bruno’s treatment was done, Count Chillon’s complexion completely turned reddish. The dark bluish skin that was like alien went back to a fair skin. Nobody knew, but when you look closely, Count Chillon was a handsome young man.
“Oh my. . . Your complexion was restored.”
Count Chillon heard the words of the family steward.
“Miー mirror! Give me a mirror!”
He ordered the steward. The steward came back with a mirror, whom the Earl had not used for a long time. It became a bitter act for the Earl to look at the mirror. Thus, he looked at the mirror in fright.
“My skin. . . it’s restored!”
The Earl jumped in joy right on the spot, and danced with the steward at the same momentum.
“As expected of the Lord Archduke’s Divine Art!”
Bruno was confused. He knew all the effects of the art that he applied to the Earl. It was to stabilized the physical condition, there should only an effect that will lift up his mood.
“I’m finally relieved with this. How much should I pay you? Actually, my wife gave up on me and left me. . .”
Falma heard it,
Thank god, there was no murdered wife like in Bluebeard.
And he heaved a sigh of relief.
But, what about the rumor of a small room that Ellen heard? That question still remains.
After everyone has calmed down, Falma was approached by his father.
“That was your work, wasn’t it?”
Were the words he sent to confirm as he went to took a glass of wine.
After that, the Earl was in a good mood and opened more wine, and continued the grand ball. His recovery from his illness was the attraction of the party. The banquet was not over. However with this, the children became impatient.
“Pardon us for leaving, I bid you good night.”
Falma and the children were assailed by sleepiness. They should be in bed by now anyway, but the Earl called them out.
“I know, there is a place that all of you will definitely like. By all means, follow me.”
“No, but, we must go home and sleep already.”
“It’s all good, this will be quick.”
As he said so, Falma, Blanche, and Lotte were taken to a certain place. They went down to the basement via the stone stairs, and were ushered into a small room at the far end of a spooky corridor.
“Here we go. Please don’t hesitate.”
Don’t tell me. . . Is this the room with the bodies of the murdered wives that Ellen talked about. . .!?
Either way Falma will use Divine Art when necessity arise, so he went into the room and place himself in front of the Earl to protect Blanche and Lotte.
From inside the room, he felt countless gaze. Falma inadvertently took a stance.
“Everyone, we have some guest.”
The other party that the Earl talked to were countless life-sized beautiful dolls. The small room in the basement was a doll collection room. Life-sized beautiful dolls were neatly dressed, and was arranged in various positions.
Falma was taken aback, and almost screamed inadvertently. The dolls were life-like. The Earl was in high spirits, and recommended a life-sized doll to Falma and the rest.
“Well, I feel good today. Take anything you like. Everyone of them are expensive, but it’s not precious if you don’t like it.”
The Earl hugged and rubbed his cheeks together with the life-sized doll.
“This one is little Alice. Look at her. I recommend her to you. Her skin is so soft. It’s like she is alive! Ah, I want to make her my wife. I recommend that you sleep with her, tonight you should share a bed with her.”
“Ha, huh. . .”
To Lotte and Blanche, the oversized doll was scary.
“This wife isn’t so bad too. This wife too sleeps with me. All of this, I made all this for my ex-wife.”
The Earl felt regretful as he continued his explanation. Both Falma and Lotte came to the same conclusion. It seemed that the dolls purpose was a sleeping partner.
“I respectfully decline.”
The Earl’s wife disappeared, It might be because of this that she gave up and left.
One can imagine. . . There was enough bed space for a doll to sleep with him.
That was not the legend of Bluebeard.
The wives were not killed by the Earl, however there were numerous “wives”, is what Falma told Ellen the next day.