The Medical Examination of Empress Elizabeth II
“It’s me, Falma. I’m coming in.”
Bruno glanced at Falma as he entered the room. Bruno then gathered up all the documents in a hurry, put them in the bag with the medicine bottle, and fixed his clothes.
Several servants and apothecary apprentices gathered to help Bruno with his preparations. Though, Ellen was not amongst them. Bruno then made them leave.
It seemed that Falma’s father was hard at work, as he could see that his father was losing weight recently. He also remembered that his father had this dry cough for a long time now.
(It certainly seems bad; I’ll have to check on it later.)
Falma then casually placed his hand on his left eye.
“What’s wrong? Does it hurt somewhere?”
Falma lost his concentration for a moment when his father spoke, and stopped his examination.
Falma was unable to continue, as he drew attention.
“Stand at attention when listening to what I say. You’re slacking off!”
Falma quickly stood at attention.
Absolute obedience towards one’s father was the custom of this world.
“The condition of Her Majesty changed, suddenly.
If you’re not in the condition to go, then stay here since you’ll only be a hindrance. Otherwise, get dressed immediately and accompany me.”
The contents of this conversation couldn’t be heard by just anyone as Falma’s father hushed his voice, despite clearing everyone out of the room.
It was unusual. His father didn’t look confident.
“I’ll come with you. What made Her Majesty ill?”
“I cannot say for sure, but her recovery is taking a long time.”
The condition of Her Majesty took a sudden change for the worse in the few recent days. The live-in Chief Physician (Royal Court Physician) was the attending physician that was constantly monitoring her. Sadly, he didn’t have any considerable success in improving her condition. That’s why Bruno was called almost daily as well.
(Is the condition of Her Majesty or her disease being kept secret? I wonder… were they able to give the correct diagnosis?)
Falma decided to come along as an attendant. Only the Royal Court Apothecary and their apprentice were able to diagnose the Empress. 1st Class Apothecaries and below were not qualified. Falma as an apprentice for the medical exam, was tasked to hold on to the medical bag, help with the compounding, and do menial jobs.
Only the Royal Court Physician and the Royal Court Apothecary could perform the diagnosis and treatment of the Empress. The Royal Court Apothecary would prepare medicine based on the prescription of the Royal Court Physician. Assassination attempts aimed towards the Empress could occur, if the system of completely separating the diagnosis and the treatment were not in place. The skill and the lineage of the Royal Court Physician and the Royal Court Apothecary were similar. One would diagnose the disease and the other would prescribe the medicine. The apothecaries of this world were different to that of pharmacists in Japan. The apothecaries have the right to independently prescribe medicine. If it’s done this way, you can get hold of an apothecary, even if one were unable to find a physician. However, physicians were different in the fact that they were able to perform surgical treatment.
In such circumstances the Empress trusted Bruno, who was a Royal Court Apothecary, more than the court physicians. So much so that she appointed him as the Chief Royal Court Apothecary. Bruno, who was conferred the title of Archduke and living a lavish lifestyle, had the protection of the Empress.
Ellen had said that when there was a mistake in the treatment of the Empress, it caused the status of the Royal Court Physician and the Royal Court Apothecary to reverse.
In other words, the fate of the de Médicis family would rest on the outcome of the Empress’ condition. It would be a serious matter if they failed. Falma knew this was the reason why his father was so agitated.
(Is the Empress seriously ill?)
Falma was preparing in a hurry while thinking about this.
He only had one bag since it was the only one he prepared. Among the tools Falma had in his bag was a gadget of sorts.
“Master Falma, please do your best!”
Lotte put on Falma’s best gray coat on him.
“See you later.”
Falma waved his hand and smiled towards Lotte as he left.
“Let’s go Falma.”
Bruno de Medicis, and his son Falma who accompanied him took horses provided by the stable boy. They rode the horses towards the San Flueve Grand Palace, where the Empress resided. Riding with a carriage towards the palace would be too slow.
As the father and son rode their horses, they dashed through the main street of the royal capital along with several personal attendants.
“The Archduke is coming through! Make way!”
An attendant made this announcement as the sound of a trumpet echoed through.
Several elite Holy Knights that Bruno employed were gathered in a tight group. All commoners lowered their head and made room for them.
Falma’s horseriding skills were magnificent. He was taught by Ellen and he basically inherited the skills learnt by the original Falma.
As he would be helping in the medical examination, Falma grasped the reins while putting together the information he had obtained from Ellen regarding the Empress.
Elizabeth II, Emperor of San Fleuve Empire.
24 years old. She was actually an Empress from that young of an age.
She came from a family of divine art users (fire attribute) with the most power in the whole continent. She holds the authority as Empress to all the countries within the continent.
She was chosen by the temple, as the successor of the late Emperor who died of illness, and she reformed the despotic government after she ascended the throne. She now reigned for 7 years.
She showed shrewdness and expanded the empire with might that surpassed a military genius. She was known as the wise monarch that stabilized the political situation and developed the remote regions.
Falma understood vaguely that her reign was similar to the Roman Empire or like the Russian Czar, who spread absolute imperial rule.
The throne was not hereditary. It was a meritocracy. In other words, Empress Elizabeth holds the largest divine power and the best divine art in the continent. It was said that when she held on the divine power meter during the coronation ceremony, the gauge recorded the highest level of all time in the empire.
To be blessed with strong divine power at birth would mean, royalty recognized by the gods, and by that logic it was something like the theory of the Divine Rights of Kings.
(Emperor, I thought it was a title only, but they take the throne by true strength… So powerful.)
Falma completely ignored his predicament as he admired the gauge of the divine power meter as it swung all the way around. Of course divine power wasn’t the only aspect that was used to gauge the Emperor. Their talent was also taken into consideration as well.
The vanguard knights had made arrangement with the gatekeepers and the golden grid gate of the palace was opened with bombastic sound.
(The architecture is much more modern than our mansion. It looked like the Versailles Palace).
The Imperial Palace had a magnificent baroque style view that looked modern as well as a vast garden.
There was a large fountain with a golden statue at the center spouting out water freely. A vast park filled the back of the palace. It was magnificent.
The Imperial servants lined up along the entrance wearing gorgeous costumes.
Falma got off the horse with his father.
“We have awaited, your Grace.”
They were guided by the Empress’ aide as their eyes were dazzled by the expensive furniture. The hallway was covered with several large mirrors. They were moving quickly while being surrounded by several chamberlains. They thought they were going to be ushered into a waiting room, but they were allowed by the court physician to enter the Empress’ bedroom immediately.
When Falma entered the Empress’ room after his father, he saw the court physicians were waiting at the corner.
They all wore the same black coat. When physicians gave treatment, they sometimes got bloodstains on their clothes. This is the reason why they wore black attire. It reminded Falma that his father was also wearing the same attire. Of course, they rarely washed their attires. This was an extreme lack of hygiene.
“Chief Royal Court Apothecary, Archduke Bruno de Médicis and his attendant have arrived.”
Falma followed his father and showed the same etiquette.
The Empress was laid on her canopied bed. She looked awfully emaciated.
Bruno exchanged words with the court physicians.
As Falma was straining his ears to listen while holding his father’s bag, the Empress coughed out phlegm non-stop. With that, one could see that her condition had already advanced to hemorrhaging in her lungs due to the sight of the blood in her phlegm. She had recurring lung hemorrhages, it seemed like she was suffering from dyspnea. Bruno scanned the records provided and her meal contents with a serious gaze.
“Excuse me, your Majesty.”
Bruno went beside the Empress’ bed and spent time examining her.
He respectfully bowed and took the Empress’ pulse without directly touching over her white silk cloth.
(Is it increasing?)
Falma observed Bruno’s condition while he holding his father’s bag. His father was a Royal Court Apothecary thus his diagnosis skills should be high. Falma was anticipating what could Bruno do.
Bruno was checking the hourglass and alternately checking the Empress’ pulse.
When it was done, he collected a small amount of blood from the Empress’ fingertips and let it dripped into a petri dish. He also asked for saliva and urine samples, and examined them in detail. He diluted it in water made by his divine art, and placed it in a test tube and a reaction occurred. He glared at the astrology board with a serious look.
Falma tilted his head in confusion when he saw this.
(Is he diagnosing by divine art or fortune-telling?)
Falma didn’t believe that his father would be able to diagnose the disease with such methods. Ellen told him that his father was a famous and excellent Royal Court Apothecary even within the royal court. That he had excellent diagnosing ability. Falma initially doubted his father could become a Royal Court Apothecary with excellent fortune-telling skills. Though, In this world with divine arts, having a skill in fortune seemed to be really important to them.
Bruno then bowed pompously and made eye contact with a court physician.
The court physician responded in agreement and whispered into his ear.
“How was the examination, your Grace”
Bruno signed a document after he closed his eyes with a mournful expression.
It was necessary to write down name of the disease to check whether there wasn’t any discrepancy with the diagnosis of the court physician.
(What is the name of the disease? What is he thinking? Did he correctly diagnose her?)
Of course the name of the disease was a local name to this world. Even if a Japanese person heard it, they would only get confused.
Falma memorized all the names of diseases in this parallel world and their equivalents in Japan. Therefore, Falma would know if they diagnosed correctly if he knew the name of the disease.
When Falma was eavesdropping on their conversation, it seemed the both of them didn’t mention any diagnosis.
He only heard nuanced phrases such as: “her lungs are failing”, “the movement of the star are bad according to the divination”, “her doom is upon her.”
(They didn’t know the name of the disease?)
Bruno then said “I’ll be using the compounding room” and left the bedroom.
Falma also tried to follow and help him, but he stopped Falma and said “You do not need to see this, look after Her Majesty.”
The compounding room had a lock. This was where the court physicians and apothecaries would compound medicine for the royal court. It was constructed beside the Empress’ bedroom.
In there, Bruno had compounded something and placed it in a flask, it was anesthesic.
Falma knew what it was as the scent passed by him.
(So it was a mixture of opium, mandrake and other ingredients to form a type of narcotic.)
Falma could guess its contents.
The apprentice apothecary positioned himself between the wall and the furnishings, and watched the course of events unfold, while suppressing his presence so as not to disturb them. At the time, the Empress had an intense coughing fit and woke up.
“Your Majesty, how are you feeling?”
Bruno ran and kneeled down beside the bed and asked the Empress.
The Empress was wearing pajamas. Her cheeks were sunken and her skin was dry. She looked undignified. She was a pitiful sick person and it was obvious to those who saw her that the shadow of death loomed over her.
Falma quietly watched her condition from a distance.
“Say it to me, honestly. Can I… can I be saved?”
Bruno gently reassured the Empress who was giving up.
It was an unexpected side of Bruno who was a loyal retainer of the Empress. That character was new to Falma who only knew him as the strict father with a dignified expression.
“Don’t worry, for I was asked to come here. Her Majesty will definitely get better soon. I’ve prepared medicine with excellent efficacy.”
It was a sedative.
Bruno prepared medicine that had little toxicity, but not enough to result in death. They had abandoned the proactive treatment and switched to palliative sedation. The court physicians also agreed with this course of action.
That was why Bruno didn’t show Falma the compounding, because he didn’t want to let Falma know that they had given up on the treatment.
(It’s obvious that Her Majesty is seriously ill, but…)
Falma would have liked to cheer as he anticipated what skills would be shown by the Royal Court Apothecary, but the father in question was abandoning her with heartrending grief as they started the anesthetic procedure.
“Please gently breathe this vapour, your Majesty, lightly at first”
The Empress’ pain would ease up when the anesthetic was given. In other words, the drug would dampen her senses.
“Call the temple priest, tomorrow night will be the end.”
Claude, the Chief Court Physician, let off a big sigh and shook his head and informed the monarch’s trusted aides and courtiers in secret.
As the vapour of the anesthetic reached her, the Empress’ eyes started to doze off. The temple priest performed a prayer to welcome a peaceful death. Aside from easing up the pain, there was nothing else to do but to wait for the Empress to weaken.
(Nobody is going to cure her?)
Falma, who saw everything was alone did not agree to this kind of treatment.
Falma had decided he wouldn’t meddle with the treatment of the Empress to make his father, as a Royal Court Apothecary, save some honor. In addition, he wasn’t able to move as he was subconsciously bound by the law in Japan that a pharmacist could not do any treatment plan until the physician did the medical examination.
However, his father had already abandoned all hope of treatment and would not heed word from Falma who he assumed to be inexperienced.
(The remaining people have left.)
Falma didn’t want to be under apprenticeship to his father anymore.
Falma placed his left hand on his left eye and channeled divine power to his fingertips.
His pupils had changed into bluish-green color and it emitted some light. At that instant he activated his [Diagnosis Eye].
When Falma used the [Diagnosis Eye], color saturation of the world from his view drops. He raised his concentration. Both of the Empress’ lungs were suffering from a disease. He saw countless pale light emitting from the lesions. He could almost hear the organs affected by the illness scream.
(This is be difficult…. please don’t fail me.)
Falma hushed his voice to the point where no one could hear, and quietly named the disease. If he were in Japan, there would be a place to examine blood tests. There would be all kinds of images, as well as results from a thorough biopsy, but because those kinds facility didn’t exist in this world. Falma was unable to have such luxuries.
Even though the [Diagnosis Eye] showed a pale light on the spots where the disease exist, it was not necessarily a malignant tumor. If he thought of the [Diagnosis Eye] as a normal image analysis, he would fail. In other words, illnesses such as common colds and bronchitis would react to it as well.
“Metastatic Lung Cancer, Pulmonary Emphysema, Pneumonia.”
He called out the names of various diseases one by one, even if there was only a small possibility that those were the likely diseases.
The color of the light didn’t change. The light remained blue.
(It’s different? Is this disease particular only to this world?)
It would be very difficult to deal with if this was the case. Falma, who was faltering, suddenly remembered that this was a parallel world of medieval Europe.
He should take into consideration the culture and civilization level of this parallel medieval Europe.
Besides, it was a disease that was said to be eradicated already in modern Japan and yet, could not be ignored, because It was still rampant in the developing countries of his world.
The Empress was young, Falma subconsciously removed all unlikely possibilities.
The [Diagnosis Eye] cleared the name of the disease. The lesion that was wrapped in pale bluish light was changed into a snow-white light like a soul of a dead person being purified.
This world called it the White Mortal Disease.
During the middle ages on Earth, it was called the White Plague and considered to be incurable.