Actinomyces in the Spotlight and the Miracle of Estaque Village
This point in the story was a few days ago before Falma and Ellen had discovered the first black death patient from the offshore quarantine.
Bruno de Médicis was at the San Fleuve Royal School of Pharmaceutics.
He wrote letters overnight for each and every city of the empire and medical universities all over the world about quarantine manuals and preventing the spread of black death . He wrote each manuals differently in consideration to the topography, race, culture, customs, religion, and actual circumstances of each place for brevity. Based on what Falma had told him, he wrote lots of things, such as what to do if there was an outbreak of black death, how to establish quarantine areas, how to deal with patients, how to detect black death with and without a microscope, how to administer euthanasia for willing patients, how to properly treat dead bodies, and so on.
In addition to these proposals in black death countermeasures, he strongly requested elite Divine Art users regardless of attributes in order to participate in preventing an outbreak proactively. Writing these manuals could only be done by Bruno, since he had built a trusting relationship with research institutions, hospitals, influential people, and knew the circumstances of medical care from all over the world.
Although Falma had the cure, it was only supplied exclusively to the empire, and there wasn’t enough production capacity to supply to everyone in the world.
Therefore, countries outside the empire had to prevent an outbreak at all cost without a cure.
“Falma said so, but will the black death that ended 210 years ago come?”
He still had such doubts. But the sense of crisis that Falma had shown was something he couldn’t ignore. Bruno tried to believe in Falma.
He knew that Falma, Ellen, and his disciples were continuing the quarantine work in Marseille province. He really wanted to help them, but it was unfortunate that he had to do the job of a Royal Court Apothecary, and that was to stay in the Imperial Capital in case of emergencies and take care of this country’s center so as it wouldn’t fall into ruin if an epidemic broke out. That’s why Bruno hadn’t left the Imperial Capital.
“President, Professor Casper is here to see you.”
Bruno’s secretary called out from the president’s room.
“Hmm, please come in.”
Bruno invited an old lady professor into the president’s office.
She was Professor Casper Loiseau, a Wind Divine Arts user who studied fungi and spores. She looked like a traditional witch dressed in black. Other professors were ridiculing her research as useless and gossiping that she didn’t have that many achievements. She didn’t even get that much research funds in the school. She was about to retire next year without her research seeing the light of day.
Her research involved fieldwork collection and taxonomy centered on fungi. However, Nova Root Medical University had a more advanced fungi laboratory which seemed to have been thought to be a field that was not new. Hence her laboratory had few students. She only had two students at this moment.
It was Bruno who still kept funding her laboratory barely, even at the insistence of the other professors and directors to end it.
He believed that the research that seemed useless would yield unexpected results someday.
“Milord, am I being dismissed? It would take at least a month to clean out the laboratory if I start now.”
She was completely scared and wondering tearfully if she would be told to leave her laboratory immediately. She placed her deeply wrinkled hand on top of each other, which seemed to wither more as she waited for a response.
“No. I am not dismissing you. There is a big job that I need you to do for me.”
“Me… A job to do now?”
The old woman adjusted her glasses on her nose. Who in the world would entrust a job to a professor, who was shunted off by a window to pass their remaining time until retirement. But Bruno strongly encouraged her.
“There’s nobody else but you in this empire can have the job to save the world!”
“What, whuー… But that is…”
The old professor faltered at the scale of the word “world”. Bruno always considered the whole world when working, but did she ever consider the world when doing her research? Her eyes were only drawn to the fungi in the empire.
“I want you to find a certain microorganism. And I want you to cultivate it so we can have more, and extract a medical ingredient from it.
Falma was searching for a certain microorganism, but couldn’t find, to produce the antibacterial medicine.
It was a bacteria that was named as such because it grew like a fungus by stretching its mycelia radially.
Bruno appealed for evoking her aspiration and intellectual curiosity.
“Some of the species will become medicines that can become a cure for incurable diseases, black death or other terrible incurable epidemics.”
“Please read this carefully.”
Falma left some sketches that showed the characteristics of actinomycetes. They also showed a sketch on how to see it with a microscope. The information left by Falma continued to enlighten Bruno.
“Which great professor can do this…? To, to make a great medical component from something like that…”
Professor Casper read Falma’s sketches and notes carefully. She was constantly mumbling and adjusting her glasses. As if comparing with each of her knowledge that had been accumulated over the years.
And then, she swallowed her saliva and responded in a quivering voice.
“Thiー, thiー, this fungus. I, I, have this in a flaー flask in my laboratory for years now…”
The unattractive old professor on the verge of retiring had already obtained the savior a long time ago.
“Well done, Professor Casper!”
The school had decided to focus all of their efforts in creating the new medicine from that microbe.
Immediately, Professor Casper’s laboratory had the highest research budget in the school. Three laboratories equipped with apparatus for organic synthesis were guaranteed for Professor Casper and a large number of scholars, alchemists and technicians were mobilized.
From this day on, it was decided that Professor Casper would direct the project of test production of the anti-bacterial medicines.
“The retirement speech of Professor Casper may be something to look forward to.”
Bruno put out words of encouragement.
“Yes, I will have to do so.”
If the eradication of the black death became a reality, her dream of ecstatic cheers from the academic societies would not be so distant anymore.
It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Professor Casper decided to focus on Bruno’s expectations.
Even if she started working now, she wouldn’t be able to produce anything right away.
However, if she didn’t begin her research now, the lives that could be saved might be lost for eternity.
It was around this time that the carrier pigeon arrived. He received the carrier pigeon from Marseille province with the entrusted information of “Black death has been discovered”.
Falma was flying not too high or low towards Estaque village, which was located west of Marseille harbor. A large bag was on his shoulders containing medical tools, medicines, mask, and the like.
Although it only took divine power to propel the Divine Medical Wand, it needed a considerable amount of concentration to control the levitation and altitude. Thus Falma had very close encounters with birds and tall trees for numerous times.
People on the ground were spooked at the unidentified flying object and were screaming. Falma’s Divine Medical Wand was crystal clear so it was hardly visible from the ground, thus they could probably see only a person flying through the sky. I wonder who the previous owner of this Divine Medical Wand was?, Falma thought to himself.
If a person was seen flying in the sky, they may be reported to the church as a heretic. But if they were wearing a hood to hide their face, like the white robe for quarantine that Falma was using, then they wouldn’t know who was flying. Conspicuous or not, it was a small matter to deal with later.
In a fishing village of Marseille province, hovering directly above Estaque village.
Falma had arrived, floating up quite high in the sky. Looking at the sea, there were only single mast sailing ships and small fishing boats in the wharf. The large ships which smuggled goods into the country were not in the sea. Either they had hidden themselves behind rocky terrain or had probably returned to Nederground.
It would be an unpleasant trip back home if they did return to Nederground.
All the crews would certainly die and the ships would become wrecks.
Damn it, where are the ships? I need to sterilize each ship, else I can’t save the crew members.
“Should I make a sanctuary area…?”
Falma was able to memorize several Divine Arts which Head Priest Salomon had translated from the ancient texts of the Divine Medical Wand’s manual. He wasn’t able to memorize all but the easy ones. One of them was the creation of sanctuaries.
He filled the wand with divine power, holding one end of the wand he twirled his body several times like trying to throw a sledgehammer. Then the purification Divine Art manifested from the whole wand, radiating out in a circle with him as the center.
When Falma activated the sanctuary, a blue shockwave distorted the airspace visibly spreading fast and tremendously all around.
“This sanctuary sure is handy.”
What Falma used was the Divine Medical Wand unique art called “Infestation Invalidation Sanctuary”, which seems like a mouthful to say. By the way, Divine Arts that had names to them and needed incantations were called Divine Skills. Falma could use Divine Arts and Divine Skills without distinction as he could activate Divine Skills without chanting, but Divine Skills basically needed long winded incantations.
Pathogens wouldn’t be able to survive in the air within the Infestation Invalidation Sanctuary, so it was reasonable to believe that uninfected people within that area would not be affected by said pathogens.
Falma had now covered the entire Estaque village with Infestation Invalidation Sanctuary.
In addition, Falma dived down towards Estaque village while controlling his speed and then got off from the Divine Medical Wand.
With the sun behind his shoulders, the white gowned boy that got off stole the villagers eyes.
In Estaque village, seriously ill patients were gathered in the free clinic and a vast majority of the villagers were about to ran away from the village in a rush to abandon the sick and escape the plague.
Falma stood in the village entrance, stretch both hands sideways to obstruct their path.
He then slammed the wand vigorously to the ground and activated a Divine Art. Estaque village was then completely surrounded by a thick wall of ice.
There weren’t many opportunity for rural villagers to see this kind of large scale Divine Art.
“Uwaaaaーー! It’s a wall of ice! What the hell are you!”
“H-he flew from the sky! He’s a monster!”
“We are trapped in a wall of ice!! We can’t get out!”
The villagers who mistakenly thought that a monster came by to slaughter them went into a panicked state.
Although they saw me flying there’s nothing I can do about it, should I show my face?
He wanted to hide his face as much as possible because he was seen, but everyone was suspicious if he stayed as he was. Falma wore a mask as he took of the hood of his robe and addressed them.
“I am a Royal Court Apothecary from the Imperial Capital. I have come to save you all.”
“He’s not a monster but a human?”
“I-isn’t he a kid?”
“Y-you tell me now, what is my sickness!?”
“It’s the black death.”
Falma told them immediately. First of all, he must absolutely give them the greatest sense of impending doom.
“It was that after all! I’m going to die! Every villager will die!”
When the villagers who knew the nightmare 210 years ago was about to become hysterical, Falma gave them hope in a loud voice.
“If you want to survive, please listen what I have to say now!”
Falma continued to speak in a loud voice as he took an extensive view of the villagers.
“The black death is a disease caused by a small invisible creature entering the body. If left alone, more people are going to die. If you are suffering from black death you will still die even if you run away from here. Even if you are healthy and go out of the village, if you get bitten by a flea with black death, you will be infected with it.”
“What should we do?! Whatever we do we will die! So why are you trapping us here!?”
A half-crazed male hunter pointed a knife at Falma as he bellowed angrily at him.
“Because I brought with me medicine to fight back against the black death.”
“There is such a thing as a medicine against black death…?”
A Third-class Apothecary of the village, who was the first to ran away from it, came out walking unsteadily as he was doubting it.
“I can’t promise that I could save everyone. But, in order to reduce the number of deaths, we should fight it together. It is also to help you that I enclosed the village with a wall of ice. Everyone is afraid of the fatal disease, but please don’t run away and get your medicine.”
Falma enlisted the help of a village official, and had an understanding on the number of people in the village.
The population of Estaque village was 524 people.
There were 93 people who were brought to the two parts of the free clinic.
There were 15 dead.
8 people had already fled the village.
There were 18 people who had already been out of the village before this had happened.
And there were 390 villagers in the area.
Inside the village which was already surrounded by ice, Falma added more partitions by dividing it into three sections. One section of the ice wall divider was removed to serve as an entrance.
“Split the infected and non-infected persons, and separate them into the seriously ill section, infected section and non-infected section.”
He was performing a [triage]. He examined 390 villagers who were on site with Diagnosis Eye and divided them into sections based on severity. At that time, he handed out masks and urged them to wash their hands with water that he created.
Those who were in non-infected section rejoiced, while those in infected section drop their shoulders unable to put their mind to rest.
“Segregation is a measure to prevent the spread of infection. We will still distribute the remedy to everyone.”
Falma provided them sparfloxacin which he had prepared in advance to each person with the help of the village officials and apothecaries of each sections. They instructed the villagers on how to take the medicine based on the manual that Falma gave to them.
“All pregnant women, children, and babies must come to me.”
Falma gathered the villagers that needed careful consideration when taking medicines. He checked each one of them personally and gave them adjusted dosage.
And so, when the prescription of the medicine went on there was a squabble and a scramble to get the holy medicine first, at one point a knife was pulled out.
“Bastards, the noble Apothecary is giving each of us medicine, so stop fussing now! Which bastard wants to die right now!?”
As the village officials pulled out their swords and threatened them, the squabble subsided.
“Please calm down, I have prepared enough for everyone. Because anyone who is not sick should still drink this too.”
Falma reassured them to calm them down.
He completed the distribution of medicine in that place and everyone was able to take a medicine. He now had a complete grasp on the total population of the village. At the moment, those who had taken the medicine seemed to feel a sense of comfort. Falma created some water with his Divine Art and collected them in water jugs, he then told them to wipe their body with that water. Next, he instructed them to take off their clothes that was contaminated by yersinia pestis and incinerated them. He then told them to change to an old set of clothes that was stored in their dressers, clothes that weren’t contaminated by yersinia pestis.
After that, Falma headed to the free clinic where the seriously ill were gathered to treat them. The beds, where the patients were laid down, were lined up in a large space. There were even patients who were filling up the floor space. A few healers and priests of the church stayed behind to do charity work in the free clinic. They had already been at their wit’s end regarding the patients that were delirious due to high-fever and bloody spots that emerged.
They wore face masks that resembled weird birds, thick white hooded protective robes, and gloves. Packed in the beak of the birdmasks was a potent fragrance of herbs to ward off evil spirits. The eye section of the masks had been fitted with glass. They were holding wands so as not to touch the patients directly. It was a strange appearance resembling the medieval bubonic plague doctors back on Earth.
The costume that Falma saw was not sufficient, but it was somewhat reasonable apparel as a measure against plagues. However, it was meaningless if it was not disposable.
When Falma entered the free clinic, he immediately concentrated his effort to the Divine Medical Wand to fill up the area with sanctuary. This would then prevent more airborne infections. When the sanctuary suddenly appeared the priests reacted too.
“I could see signs that the air is being purified…”
“Ah! Isn’t he the Medicine God?!!”
One of the priest, who was an Inquisition Officer that was present at the battle on the hill in the Imperial Capital some time ago happened to be there. It seemed that he was dispatched by the parish of Marseille upon hearing that a plague had occurred.
“Children must not come here, please leave!”
“Insolent fellow, that is not a child!”
Thanks to him, the conversation was alleviated.
They told all the patients to take the medicine as instructed by Falma. Falma raised the medicine’s potency for patients that were highly unlikely to survive, by creating it with Divine Art. They hastened the treatment of the seriously ill. For patients who were suffering sepsis, a number of measures had to be taken together with antibiotics administration. Large amount of infusion and surgically removing necrotic tissues must be done at all cost. He would also have to manage various states of conditions.
There were patients who were deranged, some didn’t have the vitality to struggle, and some had lost consciousness. Groaning and sobbing voices could be heard here and there.
The scene inside the free clinic was just like a scene from hell. Despite it was a sanctuary now, the place was still filled with signs of death.
When Falma looks at them with Diagnosis Eye, the patient’s whole body was covered with pale blue light that looked like a human soul.
Falma used water generation for infusion and began a large amount of infusion for patients with sepsis. The water he created was sterile, and the infusion solution was created using his substance creation skill. Falma refrained from puncturing patients with needle, including injections, but he had to do everything in his power in this place. Still, even in most modern Japanese hospitals with the most advanced equipments, 30% of patients with severe sepsis still died.
This is no good… I might not be able to save them all!
It was not a problem that could be solved by prescribing medicine alone. The level was beyond what a single pharmacologist can do.
Falma knew the limits of his ability as an apothecary.
However, he forgot a certain thing.
He had the Divine Medical Wand, he was the so called inhuman Divine Arts user who could use the power of the Medicine God.
I should probably try ‘that’.
He raised the Divine Medical Wand with both of his hands and held it over the patient and casted the secret art called “Primeval Relief”. Head Priest Salomon translated that art and taught it to him. He learned that it was a cheat Divine Skill that could incite the patient’s inherent immune system, boost the efficacy of the prescribed medicine, and counteract any side-effects. Although he didn’t entirely understand how it would enhance their immune system. He learned that particular Divine Skill would not activate unless a specific medicine was given first, therefore it couldn’t be done without medication.
Because Falma was doubtful of its effect he hadn’t tried it yet, nor there was an occasion to try it.
However, he used the secret technique on everyone with his Divine Medical Wand since it was the last resort.
When Falma invoked the Divine Skill to a patient, something like a holy crest of the Medicine God appeared on the patient’s body. Their entire body began to emit a faint light as if being protected by a white veil.
Is this amazing Divine Art effective?
He didn’t see the effects immediately so he didn’t realize it at the first glance. Although it might only be a standard magic spell.
I hope it’s effective. Even if it is not amazing.
Falma was being impatient. While he spent all his time on the terminally ill patients, the smugglers and their cargo were heading towards the Imperial Capital spreading yersinia pestis along the way. He had conveyed the information about the discovery of the black death to his father. Even if they wouldn’t be able to break through the quarantine zone of the Imperial Capital, the source of infection had already passed the villages, towns and hillsides leading to the Imperial Capital.
Many people and animals would be infected.
The priests were stunned, not knowing how to respond to the miracle that was held in front of them.
To the priests who saw the Divine Skill Falma invoked, which they couldn’t believe was a human skill, they now believed that he was the Medicine God as testified by the former Inquisition Officer. And so, as they reached their highest level of faith and loyaltyー
“Medicine God. Is there anything we can do to help you?”
They called out Falma.
“Thank you, I would like all of your help. Is any of you a Divine Art user of water or fire?”
“I am too, please do not hesitate to ask anything of me.”
Two priests came forward. Both of them were not infected.
“The smugglers and their cargo that had caused the disease to spread are heading to the Imperial Capital. If you come upon an infected person, surround them with a wall of ice, completely burn their cargo, and have the infected person take the medicine. I too will follow after I’m done treating the patients.”
They would be exposed to infected people and sources of infection, but they would be taking prophylactic medication as well.
Having the fire and water Divine Art users as the core of the team, a four-man pursuit team was composed.
Half a day was passed.
It was already past midnight that the boy apothecary, together with the priests, came out of the free clinic with great exhaustion. The villagers had dug a large number of graves, but there were only three bodies out of the 96 people that had been carried out of the free clinic. There were patients who had suffered cardiac arrest before they were given medicine. Several patients, whose bloody spots had disappeared, came out asking for food and water.
Modern medicine and Falma’s Divine Art had synergistic effect, which minimized the number of deaths and saved a lot of patients.
“I will come back.”
Stay for several days since within the ice wall is a sanctuary. Even if the ice crumbles and you are able to go out, do not make contact with rats and small animals as much as possible. Exterminate any rats that had entered the village, including any vermin, harmful animals and the like.
After telling them all those important notes, he flew away to the next place that awaited his help with the Divine Medical Wand. The villagers clasp their hands in prayer towards the flying Falma.
Everyone in the free clinic who had received Falma’s Divine Skill began to see signs of healing as the bloody spots were becoming thin. And there were no more seriously ill patients on the brink of death. Even the patients who were on the brink of death had their lives saved.
Villagers who came back from outside the ice wall through the small entrance were given prophylactic medicine.
“The Medicine God has appeared in human form.”
The tragedy that struck the small fishing village had became their only legend.