Landing of the Black Death
“This is a great achievement, even though a year has not passed yet.”
Empress Elizabeth II raised her voice in amazement. Amazed from the annual statistical report on birth rate and mortality rate of the Imperial City. A report her aides had given to her as she sat in the large conference room inside the royal court. The Empress was in ecstasy. That was because the mortality rate of the Imperial Capital had decreased by almost 20% compared to last year.
Statistics on the number of deaths in several towns and cities were the same level as usual, only the Imperial Capital had a big change.
“But, these figures are only in the Imperial Capital. Doesn’t it mean that these was an achievement of Diversis Mundi Pharmacy and the affiliated Pharmacy Guild?”
Isn’t it obvious that you are not looking at this in a positive way, was what Elizabeth wanted to say to them.
After Apothecary Falma became a Royal Court Apothecary, it has been almost a year since he invented the microscope.
He established the flagship store Diversis Mundi Pharmacy and created many new medicines.
He advised on regulations on the human consumption of products containing toxic substances such as mercury and lead.
He opened the medical cosmetic speciality shop “MEDIQUE”, and dental hygiene speciality shop “8020”.
Founding of the Pharmacy Guild, and a cooperative guild to sell new medicines.
Holding a public health lecture.
Furthermore, he visited clinics managed by the empire. He prescribed medicines for patients, and instructed physicians on medical treatments.
Everyone of them was a meritorious deed that can earn rewards. There wasn’t any other person that can do all this in a year.
Besides, the fact that the concept of microorganisms, established by the public health lectures and the invention of microscopes, proved successful that people began to pursue cleanliness. In return the number of epidemic outbreaks happening in the Imperial Capital became less. Every year, they were worried about an epidemic of flu, but it was controlled this year to a small amout.
“Ha, It is needless to say, but I am in agreement.”
Minister of State Philipp, a crusty and conservative retainer. He finally managed to acknowledge Falma’s achievements.
“Sir, what do you think?”
“You are quite right. If the success of this city spreads to each city and town, the prosperity of the empire will be amazing.”
Even the Minister of Internal Affairs Yoan nodded his head at the question of the Empress. Yoan was the minister who was reluctant to give a Royal Charter to the pharmacy that a kid oversees.
Noah felt relieved that Falma’s achievements were finally recognized because the Empress’ close aides were opposing it hard. As an aside, he was finally promoted from being the Empress’ Page to a quasi-Knight.
It seems that I would have to give him another reward, the Empress pondered as she ignored the meeting.
“Is it possible to give Falma the title of Archduke as fast as possible, Bernice?”
“Mr Falma is not an adult yet, so we are not allowed to confer titles towards minors under the Imperial Law.”
The beautiful looking woman who disputed the Empress was Minister of Justice Bernice. She was just recently inaugurated this year. It would be troublesome to change the Imperial Law as you see fit, she added. Incidentally, Bernice was a regular user of the medicinal soap from MEDIQUE.
“Hmm, it is still early huh?”
The empress seemed to reflect whether she was being overeager.
“His reputation from the people of the Imperial Capital is also excellent.”
Minister of State Philipp had heard of his reputation from the masses. There were fewer patient deaths, except for the terminally ill, in Diversis Mundi Pharmacy. Philipp himself had a chronic disease called gout, and that pharmacy became his personal choice. For a patient who was taking weekly medication, there was no way he could criticize the Chief Apothecary.
There was an inhuman thing that possessed the young apothecary Falma.
Elizabeth was gradually convinced of that. Elizabeth had known Falma, who had been going in and out of the Royal Court for the sake of training from his father since he was 8 years old. However, she can’t help but look at his personality that was different from those times.
Whatever is possessing him must be known, Elizabeth surmised. She assured that the divine power hidden in him that was beyond the norm was not evil, and if he was possessed by a god or sacred spirit they disliked being revealed to the humans. And just because they would be found out doesn’t mean they would leave the mortal world.
Elizabeth had fully accommodated Falma so he can easily operate in the Imperial Capital. If she followed his intentions, this would be the result already.
“Well then, are the preparations ready for San Fleuve Grand Market?”
“Yes, it was the same as last year. I had no doubt the guilds of the Imperial Capital and the merchants had already prepared their goods. Also, foreign merchants had steadily arrived and had gathered already.”
Minister of Finance Herman, while adjusting the rim of his glasses, reported the preliminary conditions of the preparations together with his assistant, the Grand Market Inspector. The empress suddenly remembered and she reminded them.
“Make sure there would be no disorder in public security in the Imperial Capital. Also, anyone who will cause trouble will be expelled from the Imperial Capital without question regardless of their social status.”
“Yes, we will strictly manage. There is only one thing to worry about.”
Herman had already seen signs that this year would not be usual.
“Looking at the prior registry of peddlers, it seems there would be more foreign wholesale medical merchants and advance apothecaries this year.”
“Do you think it is because they would be buying from Diversis Mundi Pharmacy and the affiliated pharmacies?”
It would seem that their purpose was to bring back the medicine to their country and resell it at a high price to the aristocracy. However, Falma directly prescribes medicines directly to the patient because Diversis Mundi Pharmacy was a dispensing pharmacy. If a patient doesn’t have a prescription, they wont sell it.
The Pharmacy Guild, on the other hand, deals with new and effective medicine although not as effective as the one at Diversis Mundi Pharmacy, so it seemed they expect the merchants will buy those to bring back home.
“During the Grand Market, the medicines of Diversis Mundi Pharmacy would probably be the aim of the apothecaries of other nations. That pharmacy is the pride of our empire, our treasure. Together with Apothecary Falma, we shouldn’t let go of this partnership. Please give Falma the best escort for his personal use, and each member of the pharmacy should also have an escort.”
The empress plans to keep Falma to herself while giving him freedom to manufacture medicines as to maintain national interest and global competitiveness. Diversis Mundi Pharmacy and it’s affiliated pharmacies will bring enormous wealth to the empire.
“By your will.”
The ministers completely agreed with the empress.
“The black death may come mixed with the cargo for San Fleuve Grand Market.”
At the same moment, Falma was inside the president’s office of San Fleuve School of Pharmaceutics, as he was telling his father of the danger of the looming great plague. Bruno was busy with administration and research as the president, as such he hasn’t returned home.
“Well, the island colony of Nederground got annihilated by a mysterious plague. It had also reached my ears. And yet, Nova Root has no idea what kind of pathogen is this, and you believe this is black death?”
The bubonic plague was called the black death in this world, it last appeared 210 years ago. Bruno had read archival literature and was able to fully analyze the text, he had recognized how horrifying was the black death. It was said that dark purple bloody spots are left on the victim’s skin, and the contagiousness of the so-called black death was tremendous, by only burning several cities including the infected people with Flame Divine Arts they were able to contain it.
“I concluded this is the black death.”
“The Black Death is deep-rooted. Recurring in archives many times about containment and breakout. As for the portion of cargoes traded with the dead island, it may arrive in the Imperial Capital by land routes. Merchant ships trying to sell directly from the colony to San Fleuve Grand Market will arrive at Marseille Harbor.”
“Although this is an old report, I had already instructed to create a quarantine station in Marseille harbor.”
“Good, you have excellent judgment.”
Bruno appreciates Falma’s countermeasure.
“If the Black Death arrives at the Imperial Capital, it will be the end of that city.”
Bruno said there was no medicine that can be effective for the Black Death, and the only thing the physician and apothecaries can do was count the dead bodies. If the Black Death occurred in the densely populated Imperial Capital, the downfall of the Empire will increasingly become a reality.
It will be necessary to burn the empire’s catastrophe by the Flame Divine Art.
“At any rate, we have no way to fight the Black Death.”
“Not necessarily true, we can fight back.”
Falma immediately replied.
“Is that true!? It is a fatal disease that no one knows its real nature.”
Bruno seemed to be overwhelmed by Falma’s words.
“We can fight it. Just like the time during the white fatal disease, I have a weapon to fight.”
The most effective medicine for bubonic plague was antibiotic (antibacterial medicine), several drugs had been developed on Earth and there were many choices. … However, in this situation where the Marseille Pharmaceutical factory was not completed yet and there were only a few days left to prepare, there was no medicine that can be synthesized in a large quantity at the laboratory level of this world. Since antibiotics can be extracted from microorganisms such as mold and fungi, and if culture technology can be prepared for this world, any country might be able to manage the epidemic.
However, there were only a few days left to prepare. There was no choice but to rely on Falma’s material creation ability.
“H-how are we going to fight it…”
Bruno couldn’t think of anyway. Even the scholars of this world didn’t know that the Black Death spreads via a carrier.
“I have already prepared a special medicine for it.”
Falma prepared a synthetic antibacterial medicine.
He chose Sparfloxacin (SPFX).
It was an agent that prevents bacterial growth by inhibiting DNA compounds of bubonic plague.
It was convenient that it was not administered by injection but by drinking it. Because handling injections carry high risks, Falma doesn’t want to use it until the technical foundation had been established. Drinking this medicine once a day was enough. Sometimes side-effects would occur, like phototoxicity, it wouldn’t be serious as long as they don’t expose themselves directly to sunlight and the apothecary manages the dosage. With this, Falma would be able to entrust the medicine dosage to the apothecaries of the Pharmacy Guild, who were diligently studying every day.
Falma had previously created this Sparfloxacin with material creation.
Because the structure was complicated, he used up all of his concentration and was exhausted, however, he was still able to prepare for as much for 1000 patients to recover.
Immediately, he held a prescription workshop for the new medicine and taught apothecaries how to diagnose and prescribe patients. But not all apothecaries were involved. Those who just recently joined the guild and apothecaries whose knowledge and skill was still immature were not allowed to diagnose and treat patients.
There were strict orders that if the black death occurs, the new medicine Sparfloxacin would be offered free of charge. For a powerfully contagious disease such as the bubonic plague, it was important to prescribe it without hesitation nor care for the price.
At the moment, Falma entrusted the individual packaging and distribution of the medicine to the affiliated pharmacy. If there was not an outbreak of the bubonic plague and it wasn’t necessary this time, the medicine can be used for other contagious diseases, so the medicine will never be wasted.
When the apothecaries of the Pharmacy Guild heard that the black death, an old nightmare, may return, they trembled with fear.
“We had prepared the medicine in the Imperial Capital pharmacy. The first battle would be to keep the infected people out.”
Falma and Bruno summarized the countermeasures and advised the empress.
* The gates of San Fleuve Imperial Capital will be restricted, all land routes the merchants used to enter the Imperial Capital will be restricted to several places.
* Establish a quarantine station equipped with microscope to inspect microorganism at the gates
* Thorough enforcement of cleanliness by distributing water made by Water Divine Art citizens of the Imperial Capital hand washing and bathing.
* Rats and fleas must be exterminated on each and every house and shops.
It was probably because there was a relationship of trust between Falma and the Empress. “Immediately do it, do it now”, the empress said spiritedly as she quickly issued a decree. The sanitation environment of the Imperial Capital was originally improved by the Diversis Mundi Pharmacy Public Health Lectures that was done by Ellen to the commoners, it has been improved again at the last minute. The rats were exterminated by dredging the water of underground waterways. Both the children and cats have caught all the rats.
Apothecaries who had taken the usual training were dispatched in rotation by the Pharmacy Guild. They were temporarily employed by the empire and were trained to detect plague bacillus (Yersinia Pestis) with a microscope and a simple inspection kit prepared by Falma. This time the number of affiliated shops to the Pharmacy Guild was now 19. They will check the merchants and their cargoes, to prevent the invasion of pathogens into the Imperial Capital. Guild Leader Pierre was leading and supervising them as he helps with the inspection.
The church had heard the circumstances from Falma, so the Head Priest of the diocese of the Imperial Capital, Salomon, had gathered Wind Divine Art users who were excellent in purification from Guardian Church all over, purifying the entire Imperial Capital.
And then, Falma and Ellen had stayed in the province of Marseille.
Ships from Nederground only arrives at Marseille harbor, but cargoes are arriving from ships all over the world to make it in time for San Fleuve Grand Market.
Complaints from ship owners and crews exploded in Marseille harbor.
Falma had stopped all ships that were about to dock at Marseille harbor to quarantine them at the sea.
Offshore quarantine was general knowledge back on earth.
Falma boarded each sailing ships from each country that was anchored at sea via a small boat. Every crew member was diagnosed for traces of bubonic plague using Diagnosis Eye, while Ellen and First Class Apothecaries assistants, who took an antibiotic in advance and Bruno’s aides who were Flame Divine Artist wearing protective clothing were inspecting the cargoes for microbes.
And so, Yersinia Pestis was detected from approximately 2% of all the ships, most of them Nederground registered ships. Crews that already showed signs of the plague had already died. Falma immediately sent a carrier pigeon to the Imperial Capital to inform Bruno about one thing. To strengthen the quarantine.
When a Yersinia Pestis was discovered, a Flame Divine Artist will incinerate and Falma activates the Divine Medical Wand with divine power to purify the plague.
Carries were quarantined and antibiotics were administered.
“I cannot believe it, it is true that the black death has revived.”
Without Falma’s antibacterial medicine, wouldn’t Marseille harbor had already become the death harbor?, Ellen can’t help herself but tremble. And so they were able to hold it at the shore as if they crossed on a tightrope.
However, the sailors were unable to understand what was the quarantine for despite the struggle that Falma’s team did. From the ships which were anchored for 2 days and those who were impatient to unload were noisily pouring criticism towards Falma’s team.
“Quickly let us unload our cargoes. There was no quarantine until this year, this year’s Lord of Marseille is crazy.”
“I need to unload my cargo by the end of the day. I had already arranged a carriage.”
“These needs to go first, these are fruits, it’s perishable.”
“Why is there a kid mixed together with the apothecary doing the inspection? What’s going on with San Fleuve Empire?”
“Don’t skip the line!”
Although Falma’s team were working round the clock on quarantining, at best they are only able to quarantine 20 ships a day, but ships coming for San Fleuve Grand Market keeps on coming each day. Marseille harbor had been inundated with ships trying to dock and complaints coming from the sailors eventually became uncontrollable.
“You’re so noisy… I should just make you quiet for a while.”
Ellen was ready with her wand, but as she was about to use a Water Divine Art on the disobedient ships, a cannonball was fired and a tall column of water rose up. Ellen hasn’t used her Divine Skill yet.
Ellen adjusted her glasses. Falma covered his ear too from the loud sound.
“Don’t make trouble! Since you are entering the harbor of the Empire, you should follow the rules of the Empire!”
A loud voice thundered. All attention was focused on the direction where the shelling originated. Then, four beautiful large warships, with the empire’s emblem and the letters S.I.O. emblazoned on their fluttering flag, magnificently appeared. A sniper was aiming from the mast and the gun ports were open.
From the bow of the flagship that was equipped with dozens of gun ports, there stands folding his arms the admiral of the combined fleet of San Fleuve Imperial Chartered East Indain Company (S.I.O.), Jean-Alan Gagan.
Jean was the old man who was a regular customer of Diversis Mundi Pharmacy and was hooked on “Sailor’s Candy”.
He was an intimidating admiral of the East Indain Company. When he heard that the child owner of Diversis Mundi Pharmacy, Falma, was struggling from the rowdy sailors for the sake of the offshore quarantine of San Fleuve harbor, he set out with his battleships.
“Listen all of you bastards, clean your damn eardrums and listen!”
Old man Jean’s voice echoed throughout the sea. Falma looked up at him from his small boat, he wasn’t able to immediately recognize old man Jean from his Admiral’s clothes. Because the old man usually wears just a piece of ragged shirt, who seems to be a pleasant regular customer with bobbing steps, had completely changed into a demon admiral.
“Give me the name of the ship who wants to get sunk first nowーー! Fiiiirrreee!”
The gun ports have blown fire again and columns of water rose.
It was exactly in the area where Falma was about to quarantine a boat that was loaded with black tea. It would be like the Boston Tea Party incident or more aptly the Marseille Tea Party incident if this continues.
There weren’t any ships showing disobedient attitude to the admiral of the battleships.
And so the Imperial Fleet was keeping a close eye on them as the small to medium ships of each country was receiving the quarantine inspection obediently.
“Mr Jean, … I mean, Admiral Jean. I am now indebted to you.”
When Falma had a good time to take a break, he boarded Admiral Jean’s boat to express his appreciation.
“What? Don’t mention it. However, how long will the pharmacy will still be closed? My life has no meaning right now.”
It seems that Admiral Jean want’s to buy the sailor’s candy from Diversis Mundi Pharmacy instead of the affiliated pharmacy.
“Thanks to your sailor’s candy, there are fewer sailors getting inflicted by scurvy. Next time, I’m thinking of ordering a lot of candies needed for the long voyage.”
Admiral Jean said it with a smile, it seems that he didn’t buy the candy just because he liked it. He seems to have confirmed its preventive properties by giving it to a few sailors who have been on a long voyage.
“We will certainly wait for your order.”
Falma said that it should be done after the San Fleuve Grand Market.
When the offshore quarantine of the ships entering Marseille harbor had passed its peakー
“Master Falma, there is an increasing number of people with high fever in the village of Estaque.”
A certain report had reached Adam, the acting governor of Marseille Lord’s estate.
It said since they are expecting delays in Marseille harbor, some ships from Nederground have unloaded their cargo by smuggling them under the cover of the night in a small fishing village.
At first, every one of the villagers thought that high-fever was not unusual, but then people started dying one by one and so the prevalence of the disease began immediately. After two days when the first victim died, the village chief came to report to Adam.
It is a question whether they were infected by the flea bites of the rats from the cargoes. At this point, infection routes cannot be identified anymore.
“Even though it was discovered early, we still couldn’t stop it…?”
Falma’s tears welled up in regret. Ellen, who had supported him entirely, was unable to find a word to ease Falma’s total exhaustion.
“Let us go immediately.”
“Go now? To the village that is ravaged by the black death!? Will you not possibly get infected and die!?”
Ellen raised a surprised voice that Falma was about to enter the village without hesitation. Falma responded in silence.
“Let us go. I probably will not get infected…. Even if I do, I can heal myself.”
“I will also go, don’t you agree that I only need to take the medicine that little Falma prescribed?”
As an apothecary to this great calamity, I don’t want to turn a blind eye and run away Ellen thought. The only one who could distinguish the black death was Falma Therefore, to continue the quarantine, he was absolutely necessary.
“Ellen, you must stay here and continue the quarantine, the seaport must be guarded. It takes time, but you will definitely find it if you inspect steadily. Please.”
As Falma left those words, he applied divine power on the Divine Medical Wand and floated away to the sky.
“Little Falma! Stop!”
Ellen’s voice calling him echoed through the blue sky of Marseille.
Thus the bubonic plague has landed on the continent.
The first epidemic was in the fishing village of Marseille province with a population of 524.
Apothecary Falma de Médicis went toward the village of Estaque.