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   “Truly inexcusable.”

   “Please, take no notice of it.”

   I smiled wryly at the two people bowing at each other inside the residence of the Eicher family.

   Taking notice of me standing alone and still at the entrance, everyone rushed to apologize.

   I promptly broached the subject, and Georg explained it to me without putting on airs.

   This is what happened. A merchant working below Master Julius had chanced upon it.

   When the merchant first heard of it, however, he had no interest because it was nothing out of the ordinary. If a voyage was long, naturally the body’s health declined, and those who fell ill were to no small extent few. Since the season was Winter, it was likely a cold.
   At best, a few days would see the sailor recovered.

   That merchant’s expectations were half-on point, half-off.

   The physician had prescribed an antipyretic, but it was practically ineffective, and the sailor became noticeably weaker.
   That was when the physician realized it was not a common cold, but it was the first time even he had been at a loss upon seeing the symptoms. It was when everyone believed the worst that aid came from the most unexpected places.

   Coincidentally, a foreign ship had docked at port to avoid a storm, and when one of its sailors heard the story, he delivered a medicine to the physician. He had seen the symptoms before.
   With a word of caution, seven days’ worth of spare medicine were left with the physician, and it seems like he departed when the storm broke.

   Taking the words of the foreign sailor to heart, the physician and his associate frantically nursed their patient.
   In the end, the splendid fever lowered, and the illness was cured.

   Master Julius’s subordinate thought this an undoubtedly incredible medicine, and bought the remainders.

   However, this was where the problem stood in their way.

   If the port entry logs were searched, the kingdom of the foreign ship with the key individual would probably be revealed, but finding that him was next to impossible.
   Even if he was found, getting in touch with him would again take time. On top of that, the physician said that it seems the sailor himself had inherited it from someone else.

   Everything was against us, was exactly what it meant.

   “It’s a most fascinating item, but…we have too little information to go by. As a commodity and an item with unknown properties, it would take a vast amount of money and time, and that will not do,” Georg said with a sigh.

   Master Julius smiled wryly.

   “And there you have it, turned down for such a feeling.”

   “It is not that I do not trust your judgment, but I believe it is not an item we should go after now. Handling it while we are in the middle of expanding poses too much risk.”

   That was the biggest problem. With practically no clue, even if they found something, something that may not even be added to their goods had a huge risk of expending a lot of money.

   Even if my head understood, I could not give up.

   Whether I searched or gave up, the future will change. I had a feeling I was standing on a turning point.

   “May I hold it…?”

   “Go ahead.”

   Permission granted, I reached for the cartridge on top of the table. Even looking at it from up close, none of us had the slightest idea by what means it was made.
   I tried smelling it while it was in my hand, but it was faint. Compared to traditional Chinese medicine, it was an almost odorless object. And, just barely, it had the fragrance of the earth or plants. That was all I got.

   I’ve had a lot of opportunities to come into contact with medicinal herbs, so I had some hope I’d recognize something, but I was wrong. I was completely in the dark.

   Unconsciously, I almost sighed.


   Noticing something in the corner of my eye, I turned to look, and found Michael staring at the medicine with keen interest.

   “Would you like to see?” I asked spontaneously, and he nodded.
   After I handed over the medicine, I shifted my gaze from Michael to Georg.

   “Master Julius. Georg.”


   “What is it?”

   Looking at the two, for a moment, I was filled with indecision.

   I blinked once. Taking a deep breath, I began again.

   “Will you sell this medicine to me?”


   Georg’s eyes opened wide, and Master Julius’s expression changed.

   “In the palace there are wizards and apothecaries. They have more knowledge than I do, and if they take a look at the original I think they could examine it and offer advice. Of course, I will also look into the harbor’s logs.”

   “You mean to say you will investigate it?”


   If I tried and discovered a clue, then I could try to come back and negotiate with these two. But, a business deal with so many uncertain factors can’t be called a deal.
   It boiled down to simple selfishness.

   “May I ask for your reasons?” asked Georg.

   His clear amethyst eyes looked hard at me.

   “Our kingdom will continue to have diplomatic relations with many other kingdoms. Our harbors especially will be receiving the ships of faraway kingdoms. It will be too late once people begin to suffer from the same illness similar to what the sailor experienced. In addition, depending on the circumstances, it’s not unlikely for others to become infected.”

   Going by Georg’s story, it was winter when that sailor came down with illness.
   The route of infection was unknown, but in case there was an infection vector, because it was dormant in the insects and animals which became intercessors, they probably won’t spread it to other people. I simply can’t abandon the possibility of luck being on our side either.

   “There is an illness that cannot be cured with the medicines in our kingdom, and there is a possibility it can be cured depending on my efforts. My reason is quite simply that.”

   “Miss Marie…”

   “Please don’t misunderstand. I am not condemning either of you. I won’t say something foolish like you should throw everything away to saves lives if you had the power and money. A charitable enterprise and business is different. There are different things you should protect in each, so there is no need to feel ashamed.”

   My knowledge and skills cannot prevent a pandemic.

   But it was different for Princess Rosemarie. Even without knowledge of medical science, she hadpower.

   “However, I am the princess. In order to protect the people and their livelihoods, I want to do everything I possibly can.”


   The silence dragged.
   Georg sighed deeply, and looked at Master Julius next to him.

   “Understood,” Master Julius said. He nodded, for some reason smiling with lively eyes. “There are three of the medicine’s reserves. Please take one of them.”


   “I have to beg forgiveness regarding the other two. We too will begin to investigate, so we have absolute need for them.”


   Thank you, I opened my mouth to say and froze.
   I was simply astounded by this rapid development.

   What did he just say?

   “May I request for you to look into the port entry logs? It would probably be faster to have you investigate it than for us to put in a petition and wait for it to be processed. If the kingdom and boat is identified, we will take over.”


   “In any case, the doctor has no wizard acquaintances, so may I also bother you to ask the palace wizards their opinion? If possible, one with an earth attribute would be best, but I wonder if there is anyone in this day and age?”

   “Eh, umm. There are no earth attribute wizards.”

   “Well then, let us see if I can unearth any in this district. Even with low magical power, someone with plant knowledge is preferable to a wizard with a different attribute.”

   The conversation progressed rapidly while I was still in a state of confusion.
   I’m not sure how it came about but these two men of the Eicher House were joining in my investigation, but why? When I didn’t even ask them to? Have I been sleeping with my eyes open?? …no, no, that’s stupid.

   “If there is any progress, we will report it in detail…”

   “Um, excuse me!!” I interrupted Master Julius.


   “You two…are helping me?” I asked, hesitantly.


   The question I approached while preparing to be thoroughly mortified if I’d misunderstood was immediately affirmed.

   “For what reason…?” I asked in a lost voice.

   I’m supposed to be saying There are things I must establish, could you accept that? so even if I accepted this turn of events tell myself I should be pleased, my confusion did not disappear.

   I must look rather pathetic, because Master Julius smiled with an expression that made it difficult to tell whether he was troubled or having fun.
   But I didn’t feel malice. Those eyes were kind through and through.

   “The reason is very simple. You are our…nay, the Viscountcy of Eicher’s benefactor.”


   I flinched.

   “If you had not come to our home, my sister-in-law would still be in her sickbed.”

   I was nothing so outrageous. I’m sure I couldn’t do anything by myself.

   “That wasn’t…through my own power. Rather, my power and the like is a very small thing. With the help of everyone, the fruit was auntie’s own effort.”

   That was what I believed.
   Master Julius shook his head. The next moment, his eyes became distant as if he were looking back on the past.

   “No. If you had not been here…if Your Royal Highness had not been here, nothing could have been done.”

   My eyes opened wide to be addressed with that title again.

   “My elder brother loves my sister-in-law so deeply he could not bear to be strict with her. Even when I said it was not good for the body to shut oneself away, he spurned my advice, saying the outside was too cold. Even when I brought nutritional foods or medicine, if my sister-in-law refused them there was no choice but resign oneself from forcing her to take them.”

   Well, they were not very easy on the palate, so it is no wonder she hated them, said Master Julius with a wry smile.
   I agreed as I listened.

   Other than the recipe, the routines of hygiene I came up with wasn’t that unusual. Had it not occurred to me, it would not have been able to be put to use.

   The head of the family was in no position to refuse, and his partner, Lady Emma who was fond of children, had been willing to try. She called me the most talented sort of person.

   “Despite my belief that someone could change the way things were, I gave up believing before long. Therefore, when you stated you would improve my sister-in-law’s physical condition, it was the first time I was thankful to God for the miracle that had occurred.”

   “Calling it a miracle is really too much of an exaggeration…”

   “It is not an exaggeration. You were even smaller than my nephew, but to have the wisdom to take care of others is indeed a miracle. Moreover, you not only made the suggestions but offered assistance. Making use of your spare time to come and go between our home and the palace, sharing in our troubles and our joys. Are you aware of how rare a trait that is?” Master Julius said energetically.

   The tone of his voice was unusually bouncy, as if it had been elevated, and his cheeks were a little flushed. His eyes sparkled brightly like a young boy’s.
   Overawed, I leaned back a little before I realized how rude it was, and cleared my throat.

   Georg, who had been keeping quiet as he listened, smiled wryly at his uncle and spoke.

   “It was because you brought my mother back to good health that my father and my uncle were able to devote themselves to their work, and in the same way, I could study so much. Fearful of the possibility of parting with my mother any day, we came to standstill. There is no mistake that the one who showed us the future and allowed us move forward was you.”

   It was a gentle smile.

   That the future changed. One tragedy was averted.

   “Your Royal Highness, Princess Rosemarie. To you who brought it upon yourself to save our beloved family, we would like to once again express our gratitude and respect.”

   “This time, please allow us to be the ones of service to you.”

   Both of them bowed to me with deep reverence.

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