Chapter 1 Part 1
“Madam, you don’t look well.”
Kwanach’s big, thick palms covered my cheeks. I stared at him, trembling.
‘How can I tell him about this?’
Someone had applied a magical force to the Fahar River. The water in the river was contaminated, and it might have something to do with the sclerosis.
Let’s say I told Kwanach that fact, but what would I say if he asked how I knew it?
‘No one knows I can talk to plants.’
There was a reason why I had hidden this ability since my regression, because it was an ability that became more powerful when others did not know about it.
I believed that I could secretly gather information from plants and that it would help me.
If it became known that I could communicate with plants, those who wanted to harm me would refrain from speaking in their presence and would try to hide themselves.
I didn’t want to tell anyone if I could help it…..
I turned to face Kwanach’s eyes, which were staring at me with concern. Then I looked sideways at the quietly flowing river.
We had to solve this problem as soon as possible. People were still dying, and we couldn’t just leave it like that.
It seemed that I could tell my secret to Kwanach. I was sure that he was not someone who would plot behind my back to hurt me.
On this unfamiliar ground, at least I could trust him.
“Um, there’s something I need to tell you.”
“What is it?”
I moved a little closer to Kwanach, wary of the surroundings. Kwanach flinched and gently lifted the brim of his hat and tilted his head toward me.
I whispered to him in a low voice.
“You know that the farther I am from my homeland, the weaker my Magic power.”
“Yes, I know.”
As I continued to speak earnestly, Kwanach stared at me nervously.
“In my country, I was able to grow plants big enough to fill a room with just one seed. Now… I don’t know. There’s a limit to bringing a little life to dying plants. But actually…….”
I was about to say that I had another hidden ability. Kwanach grabbed my wrist.
“If you are going to talk about …… that you regret leaving your homeland to come here……..”
Kwanach stammered out the words in a stifled voice. The corners of his eyes were red.
“I’m sorry. You can blame me. But I can’t let you go….”
“What? What are you talking about? I’m not trying to talk about that.”
Kwanach stared at me. He looked like an abandoned calf.
“Why are you so worried about that? I was just trying to tell you about my magic honestly.”
“I’m sorry. I’m always worried that you might regret marrying me.”
I held Kwanach’s hand tightly and tried to speak clearly.
“I’ve never regretted it.”
“You’re always worried. Why is that? Don’t think about it too hard. You are a very good husband.”
Kwanach often became small in front of me. He was like a tame bear or a big dog, drooping with trepidation.
I heard that he was quite cold-hearted when he was reigning as emperor.
But in front of me, he didn’t match his coarse impression, he was always meticulous and anxious.
I patted him lightly on the back of his hand.
“Anyway, this isn’t important right now. We came here to work.”
“Yes, we did. I’m sorry. Ma’am, you can continue what you were trying to say.”
“Actually, I was going to say that I have another ability.”
Kwanach, who almost called my name, suddenly paused for a moment then spoke again.
“My wife is truly an amazing person.”
“Thank you. I just used that ability to find something out. But that was…”
I whispered more quietly in Kwanach’s ear. Kwanach listened to my explanation, his large body shaking with fear.
After hearing the whole story, Kwanach’s face was very cold. He bit his lips and said in a cracked voice.
“We should investigate thoroughly. What kind of people could have done this?”
“Yes, let’s go back to the palace and find out.”
The moment was urgent. Even at this moment, the polluted river was seeping into every corner of the empire, threatening the lives of the people.
Death was dwelling beside us, in the most mundane of places.
* * *
Diaquit was very happy to see him in person after so long. In the meantime, they talked only through the pendant.
Roman. Ostensibly, he was the master of the Guilier. However, everything about him that was revealed to the world was false.
‘The name ‘Roman’ must be an alias, too.’
In fact, what Diaquit knew about Roman was only a small part.
When Roman acted as the master of the Guilier, he was a very ordinary, middle-aged man.
How about now? He was a slender young man in his late twenties. His long hair was a brilliant silver, and his two eyes were a vivid purple.
Roman said with a smile.
“Crown Prince. It’s been a long time.”
“Yes. Thank you for your efforts in getting here.”
Roman stopped by the Kingdom of Achaia for a moment while he was on his way visiting the northern part of the country for business.
Diaquit somehow seemed to become smaller when he stood in front of Roman. But it was ridiculous. Isn’t he a noble royal family?
Diaquit raised his head more forcefully to keep his intimidation from showing.
“Is the experiment going well?”
“Of course it is. The magic will be ready soon.”
“Everyone is expecting it. Your magic will help us win the war against the Empire.”
“Of course. The First Emperor will have to come down from his throne dragging his feet like a stray dog.”
The mere thought of that arrogant slave being humiliated made Diaquit feel better.
“Do you have enough funds?”
“Yes, the income we earn from the sclerosis cure is enormous, and the interspecies trade is still in the black, so you don’t need to worry.”
“You’re very good at it.”
Creating a disease that didn’t exist, then selling the cure. Diaquit had never heard of such business skills anywhere.
It may be somewhat unethical, but in any case, sclerosis was not life-threatening if people kept taking the medicine.
As for the common people who couldn’t afford the cost of medicine….What can they do? Such despicable people usually suffered from many illnesses and shortened their lifespan, even if it was not due to sclerosis.
“Um, so……is what you said before about the Princess still valid?”
Diaquit felt uncomfortable with Usphere suddenly becoming the topic of conversation. In the meantime, he had communicated with Usphere only twice through the pendant.
‘That useless girl, you know how to show off.’
When he asked Usphere to find out why the nobles of the Imperial Council had voted in favor of the tax reform proposal, she immediately gave him an answer. She said that it seemed that they had struck a deal with the imperial family over the mining rights of the mithril mines.
That was a plausible story, but somehow he felt bad that Usphere had found out about it.
Surely, if she couldn’t properly accomplish what he made her do, he would be annoyed because she was pathetic. But either way, he didn’t want to hear about Usphere.
This twisted emotion started at a very young age. From the day Usphere awakened, leaving behind the legitimate eldest son of the Catatel family, Diaquit couldn’t stand anything about her.
Roman said as he stared at Diaquit, whose expression twisted from moment to moment.
“Didn’t you say the other day that you would be willing to deal with the princess if she caused us any trouble? Do you still think so?”
“Why? What did she do?”
“I heard that she went to the Fahar River with the Emperor while undercover. The imperial palace’s spy told me.”
“What? To the Fahar River?”
“─ Of course, it could have been just an outing…….. But since the Princess is blessed by the Goddess and can use magic, I’m afraid she found out something.”
“I don’t think she’s that clever.”
“Recently, she even let a woman with sclerosis, whose sister is the Princess’ maid, into the palace.”
“We’ll have to keep a close eye on her. In the event of an emergency, we can remove her at our discretion. Are you okay with that?”
Diaquit answered without hesitation.
“No problem. Do whatever it takes to help our grand plan.”
“Okay, Crown Prince.”
Roman smiled, his purple eyes sparkling.
* * * *
It’s been a few days since I went with Kwanach to the Fahar riverside. In the meantime, I have been visiting the underground laboratory every night, not missing a single day, to analyze the water in the river.
Although the power of magic was weakened by the distance from the Silver Forest, I could at least grasp the movement of magic.
Then, during the day, I checked on Edith, and stopped by the library to look up all the books on magic that causes illness.
‘I have to find out. I have to do this.’
Among the people investigating this, I was the only one who knew magic.
This was a human continent where the seed of wizardry had died out. Even then, those that remained were mostly in hiding. There were a few wizards in the Imperial Palace, but I heard that their power was very weak.
Moreover, this matter was being investigated in secrecy. Until we had solid evidence, we couldn’t announce it to the world and ask for help.
No one knew that the Fahar River had been contaminated. The moment this became known, the entire empire would be thrown into chaos. For the people, the Fahar River was not just the water of the river, but the water of life, the Goddess herself.
And because the culprit might notice the signs and go in hiding. We had to make sure that we got the right person after a covert investigation.
After a few days of covertly examining the water in the river, we seemed to have no success at first.
What kind of magic could cause a disease that makes one’s body as hard as stone? How could all the people live on the same river, but some got sick and some didn’t?
It was all a blur. On the fifth day, after much effort, we finally found a clue.