Chapter 1 Part 1
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The path became wider and wider. When I finished descending the stairs, a large open space appeared.
The basement looked like the inside of a large mansion. I didn’t know there was such a space under the palace.
In the storeroom, there was enough food to last for a year. There was a preservation magic that kept it from rotting.
Kwanach was really sensitive about safety.
It was the perfect space to take refuge. He said that if walking straight ahead, there was an exit that led to the forest outside the Imperial Palace.
If something serious happened, as long as we could escape here, we would be able to save our lives.
Kwanach had set aside one of the underground rooms as a laboratory. When we entered the basement lab, Simon and Oslin were already there waiting for us.
“You’re here, Your Majesty?”
Simon froze, nervous as usual, and Oslin had a serious expression.
The interior of the laboratory was quite spacious. There were shelves full of various magic books and magical tools. I could sense that Kwanach had taken a lot of care for this, even if he was against it at first.
Simon walked up to us quickly and bowed deeply. I smiled and looked at him.
“How have you been? Is Edith okay?”
“Yes, yes, yes.”
Simon nodded and continued.
“Edith is continuing to take her medication, so I don’t think we need to worry about her. He, and I …… have been looking for this and that about sclerosis for the past few days.”
“That’s really sincere, Simon. It’s reassuring to have you here.”
Simon turned red at my compliment. Then Kwanach coughed a few loudly and suddenly interrupted our conversation.
“So? Were there any results?
“Yeah …… yeah, that’s… ….”
Simon stuttered, his lips twitching. He looked as scared as he could.
“Don’t be too hard on him, Your Majesty.”
When I stopped him, Kwanach looked at me with a shocked expression. However, Kwanach has a tendency to be overly strict with Simon.
‘With great care on the inside, I’m sure.’
Just as the atmosphere was about to freeze, Oslin put a box full of papers on the table with a wavering smile.
“Now, now, let’s take a look at this first.”
Kwanach’s dark eyebrows twitched.
“It’s personal information on patients who were reported to have sclerosis. Only those who received the Temple treatment have been officially recorded, so the actual number is probably much higher. Anyway, I’ve had a lot of trouble collecting these.”
He seemed to have contacted all the temples in the Empire and got the list.
I looked at Oslin in surprise.
“Lord Baynard. You’ve prepared all of this by yourself?”
Oslin shrugged his shoulders and said,
“Yes. At first I was just going to look for this place and watch from the sideline. But since the Empress is interested in curing sclerosis, I decided to help out.”
I was glad to see that Oslin decided to help me. I have one more ally.
“I looked it over with Simon beforehand. Simon told me that it was important to understand the cause of the disease in order to know the exact formula for the cure.”
I nodded and chimed in.
“He’s right. In order to completely eradicate sclerosis, we must further understand the cause of the disease. Finding preventative measures will be more effective. Was there anything you picked up from your reading?”
Oslin shook his head with a slightly heavier look on his face.
“I haven’t finished reading it yet. The characteristics of the disease vary from person to person. The onset time of the disease is also different. The only thing we can agree on is that there were no symptoms, and the disease suddenly started.”
This sclerosis started to spread all over the continent a few years ago.
The previous dynasty naturally neglected this disease. It was because the patients could live a decent life as long as they steadily took the medicine, which was distributed exclusively by the Guilier.
The problem was that the medicine was too expensive.
It wasn’t a problem for the wealthy nobles. Only the commoners suffered constantly.
As Kwanach took the throne, research on sclerosis was underway little by little.
However, the newly established empire had a lot to deal with. With the constant wars of conquest, road reclamation projects, water supply projects, and other large projects, there was no time to give full attention to sclerosis.
Nevertheless, we now have some leeway in national politics. It was also time to stop Guilier, who took the monopoly and profited.
I sat down on the chair in front of the table and said.
“Well, let’s take a look at these materials first.”
It was heartbreaking that there were many sick people enough to fill the box.
I wish I could find a way to help. Just like I helped the soldiers who were defending the wall in my home country.
I was born with power. In addition, I was blessed to live another life. This opportunity will not be wasted.
Protect the people of this land. It was my job as a ruler, and I was willing to do it.
* * *
Kwanach , me, Simon, and Oslin. About a week has passed since the four of us gathered in the basement of the palace and started researching sclerosis.
We worked hard to find commonalities and trends among the patients, suggesting that we should first understand the cause of the disease.
However, there was no income from this.
Almost every night, I rummaged through documents and squeezed out my brain, but I couldn’t find a good clue.
I overworked myself a little for a few days. Kwanach watched me and became increasingly restless, and yesterday he was quite tough on the way to the basement lab.
“You’re going to get hurt if you continue like this. You are a weak person. Don’t overdo it.”
“I’m getting enough sleep. I go to bed late but I wake up later.”
“Still, every day you’re stuck in a poorly ventilated basement, staring at the documents, and I’m worried.”
The lie that I was sickly became poisonous in such a situation.
In a week, Kwanach had put up with a lot. I had a feeling that maybe he was going to tell me to get out of the lab.
If I could find even one small clue, I would be able to take a breath and feel a little better …….
I was getting frustrated, and the conversation with Marianne gave me a clue.
“You lived near the river when you were young?”
Marianne was telling me about her childhood with Edith.
“Yes. It was upstream of the Fahar River.”
It was a river named after the goddess Fahar, whom the humans served as their main deity.
The Fahar River went through the Radon Empire. It was a very large river that at first glance could be mistaken for an ocean.
All the waterways of the Radon Empire led to the Fahar River. The streams of water derived from the Fahar River extended from place to place and made the land fertile.
According to mythology, the goddess Fahar mixed her blood with this river. After absorbing her blood, the water became full of life.
“Since we were upstream, the water was very clean and clear. You could see the entire bottom of the river. I didn’t have to boil the water, I would scoop up the water and drink it right away.”
In my homeland, there was no river as big as the Fahar River, which was strange.
“In the empire, river water is a blessing. The areas where the waterway is located are exceptionally abundant. That’s how many people live together.”
“How long did you live by the river?
“I came up to the capital by myself when I was about 10 years old. To get a maid education. I was separated from my family a little earlier because they offered me accommodation and scholarships.”
“What about Edith?
“Edith lived there until our parents died. It hasn’t been long since I left my hometown.”
“I see. ……”
I was pensive for a while, feeling awkward.
The river ……. It was the water of the river that spread to every corner of the country.
* * *
That night, when I visited the underground laboratory with Kwanach, I spread out the large map of the empire on the table.
On the map, I had marked with dots the areas where the sclerosis patients occurred. The patients were evenly distributed throughout the empire, with no one area being particularly crowded.
There were more patients in the cities, but not by a noticeable margin compared to other places. The disease occurred at a relatively constant rate in proportion to the population.
This meant that it was not a disease that could be transmitted locally on a person-to-person basis. If this were the case, the incidence of the disease would have to be much higher in cities with large populations.
So I set aside the hypothesis that it was an infectious disease early in my research. However, I was curious about some of the areas.
Areas where the water of the Fahar River had not reached, but had grown significantly in recent years due to mining…
After Kwanach became the ruler, mining development happened more and more aggressively. It was because the technology using minerals has developed dramatically.
Such areas were not the traditional cities that fattened up along the river, but their population numbers have recently skyrocketed.
However, there were very few sclerosis patients in these areas.
The incidence of the disease was far less than the average incidence in other areas.
“I was wondering if you could help me find some data on the sclerosis patients from the mining areas.”
“What’s the matter?”
“I need to check something.”
Simon organized the materials he had received from the temples in the mining area and handed them to me.
I read through the few files on the patients, one by one . All of these patients now lived in the mining area, but that was not their home.
They were migrants who had come in search of new jobs after the mines were developed. And their homelands were all in the area where the Fahar river runs.
All the information began to come together.
I slowly moved my fingers along the Fahar River on the map.
The water of the river stretched through every region….and the patients were distributed evenly along that river line.
This was an epidemic transmitted through water.
I opened my mouth with a trembling voice.
“The water… The river water is the problem.”
“What do you mean?”
Kwanach, who had been looking at the papers beside me with narrowed brows, looked at me.
“Kwanach, we have to investigate the Fahar River.”