18-26. Shooting Stars (3)
Satou here. I don't dislike fictions fashioned over pandemic, same with many panic-type movies, but I've never even entertained the thought of experiencing one such situations for real. Peace is best in real life.
I walked up to a body that hadn't been cremated yet.
"Allow me to examine the body."
"Y-ye can't. I ain't letting ya touch my grandson."
"Let him rest in peace."
Unfortunately, I couldn't get the permission to check.
The soldiers in charge of cremation came asking me if I wanted to have the family comply by force, but that's just too much so I plan to patiently persevere until they agree.
I used force magic [Through Eye] to check up on the insides of the corpse.
Innumerable fungal filaments/hyphae-like matters are growing thickly inside the body.
What the heck are those?
These appear to be the cause of death for the victims.
I'd like to get a sample somehow--.
I tried to execute a Map Search for the strange disease.
"--There it is."
I left the crematory and ran to a nearby forest.
There lied a deer whose internal had been half eaten.
A bear that had its meal interrupted came charging at me while howling fiercely, so I made use of its momentum to throw it back into the forest.
The bear shook its head and attempted another charge, I drove it away by a maxed Intimidation skill.
I'll put a marker on that bear just in case.
I made a cross section on an internal organ I picked.
The same white hyphae from earlier filled the inside.
Looks like wild animals also act as a vector for this disease.
I stared at the hyphae and scanned over the AR reading.
The heck, it just put the name as is!?
I thought it'd know the disease name from the hyphae... Then suddenly an unpleasant possibility hit me.
"Could this be an entirely new type of disease?!"
I went around the forest to gather the hyphae samples in test tubes I put away in Storage. I also gathered blood samples just in case.
Who could have thought that these hyphae even grew in blood vessels.
"Could eating this meat be the cause--or maybe not."
Don't think people would want to eat the insides with these much hyphae growing unless they have no other choice.
"--And now the question is what caused this."
There must have been something that brought these hyphae here.
But I need opinions from a real expert from here on out.
I consulted with Aze-san through space magic [Telephone].
『--A disease that has hyphae grow inside your body?』
『Yes, it's spreading in my acquaintance's kingdom, perhaps Aze-san knows someone who can offer their expertise on this?』
『Oh that would be Muze-san of Burainan, she knows a lot about this kind of thing.』
『Got it. Thank you again.』
As I hadn't been acquainted yet with Muze-san, I asked Keze-san who always mentioned her during our research to mediate us and went there with the samples through Dryad's [Fairy Road].
"These hyphae are news to me."
Muze-san wearing a bio-lab like protective clothing is holding up the hyphae sample with tweezers.
Then she cut open the back of a test maggot and planted the sample in.
The hyphae proliferated at once, the maggot quickly died out while vomiting liquid.
This happened with other test animals, we found out that the hyphae would proliferate while taking away the nutrients inside the body and blood vessels.
"Do you think we can make an effective medicine for it?"
"First, let us test the drug we have on hand one by one. We found out these hyphae are weak to fire during testing, but that's not a solution for living beings."
Someone knocked beyond the transparent wall, it was Keze-san waving at us.
『It's noontime. Let's all eat curry together.』
"Rich coming from someone who always forgets to have a meal herself--."
Together with the wryly smiling Muze-san, I had a curry dish whose recipe is passed down in Boruenan Keze-san brought for us.
It's got salad too, the complete nutritional set.
There's plenty of foreign vegetables to me, but they're all crisp and so good.
"Muze-sama, I have brought the medicine samples with me."
"Good job. I'll take them inside myself, you can leave them there."
A researcher-looking elf brought around 50 types of medicine on a cart.
With that many, one of them should prove effective at least.
"Let's do this, Satou."
"Geez, you could have at least enjoy after meal tea slowly."
I thanked the grumbling Keze-san for the curry and followed after Muze-san.
The instance we got in, the hyphae left on the body on a petri dish inside stretched out all at once and came assailing us.
I protected myself and Muze-san with low level defensive magic [Shelter].
"Satou, your magic's melting!"
The shelter touching the tip of hyphae is dented like it's been eroded.
I produced [Flexible Swords] outside the shelter and cut the hyphae into pieces. Then I gathered them all into a clump with [Magic Hand] and Muze-san incinerated them wholesale with spirit magic.
『Are you all right, Muze! What happened?!』
Keze-san banged on the transparent wall from outside.
"We're fine. We just discovered these hyphae's favorite food in curry."
Muze-san was probably joking around, but she might not be necessarily wrong seeing that.
We continued our experiment after completely deodorizing the curry smell.
"--Of all the medicine, it's this one huh."
Muze-san smiled wryly.
"Is it some kind of remedy?"
Maybe for athlete's foot?
"It is not. It's a magic potion used to neutralize contaminated sap of the World Trees."
"Contaminated sap, as in--."
"The fluid produced to protect egg sacs laid by Evil Jellyfish."
The last term I would have expected.
How come the topic of Evil Jellyfish comes up about Norooku Kingdom that's completely detached to Void Space?
"I cannot imagine the reason for it, but we have plenty of this medicine in the underground warehouse, take all you need. Mass producing it is a simple matter. We can make more if it's not enough."
"Is there no complication to humans taking this medicine?"
Muze-san confidently stated.
"It's a medicine prescribed for World Trees. We have of course tested it on forest plants and animals beforehand. Theoretically, it has no effect whatsoever on anything but Evil Jellyfish. As long as you mind the dosage, it should pose no harm."
I received the prescription data sheet and skimmed over it.
It appears to be a special magic potion that specifically targets Evil Jellyfish's factor. Yep, this should be fine.
Just in case, I'll test it on volunteers first.
『Master! The people who were cured are relapsing!』
I got an emergency call from Arisa through World Phone.
"Where's the patients?!"
I took a barrel of the magic potion in question and warped back to Norooku Kingdom.
I followed Arisa toward the patients.
AR Reading showed that the [Strange Disease] has relapsed on them. Searching the Map for it found them propagating back in the patients' bodies.
"All the patients beside the first one are relapsing."
The first patient was the boy who got the precious Lesser Elixir huh.
"Doctor, ain't ours been cured?"
"Aunty, let's leave it to doctor."
Lulu pulled back a family member who came clinging to me, creating a space before the patient.
The patient's [Strange Disease] went away after I let him take one of the few remaining Panaceas.
"It's there, as suspected."
Those who took Panaceas still have a trace amount of hyphae in their bodies.
These hyphae must have propagated from this state until the disease came back.
"Doctor, haven't you cured ours?"
"I merely relieved the symptoms for the time being. For a complete treatment, this medicine here is needed, but it hasn't gone through the clinical trial--"
"Doctor, use it on me."
The patient who just came to from Panacea I used said that.
"It hasn't passed through clinical trial yet. I cannot guarantee its safety."
"No sweat. I shoulda been dead anyway. I ain't mind my life if it coulda save my boy sleeping there."
The wife clung to the gallant patient.
"Mast--Doctor Hippocrates, let's answer this man's chivalry in kind."
Arisa pushed my back as I was hesitating whether to let him take it or not.
"Are you really sure about it?"
"Give it a shoot. I mean, things ain't going anywhere at this rate. Am I right?"
"--Right, you are."
It's only a matter of time till we run out of panaceas.
Making them takes time even for elves, and they cannot be reproduced infinitely.
"I shall administer it. Rest assured, I will do everything in my power to save you even if a rejection occurs."
I don't mind using the few remaining Lesser Elixirs to save this gallant man.
"I believe in you, doctor."
The man received the magic potion and took it in without hesitation.
"Something's warm on my stomach--"
The man spoke nonchalantly before he suddenly paused and started suffering.
I checked his insides with [Through Eye] as I grabbed a Lesser Elixir from Storage.
"It's fine. The hyphae just resisted a bit."
The hyphae attempted to break out of the body to escape the magic potion, but they crumbled into pieces starting from the tip down.
I cast recovery magic on the man and forcefully made him ingest an anesthetic.
Supported by [Magic Hand] to ensure breathing. Through Eye magic sure is handy.
"The pain went away--"
The man fell into slumber due to the anesthetic.
It took 30 minutes for the complete removal, but he did make a complete recovery afterward.
Next time, we gotta use anesthetic and stamina restoratives together with the magic potion.
I'd have liked to make a proper observation while administering other patients, but this is a race against time.
Even now many patients are going into coma.
No one would stand up for a while likely due to the man's scream earlier, but once a physical worker-looking man volunteered and demonstrated the medicine effectiveness, things went smoothly.
The treatment continued on day and night, and more and more patients would come after hearing rumors.
At the same time, I had Noromos town guards to inform the people not to eat animal meat, the disease vector.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
Once the influx of new patients calmed down, a messenger from the royal capital finally dropped by.
"Doctor Hippocrates, his majesty the king has recognized your achievements, and you are hereby appointed as the royal family's personal doctor."
"Please relay to them that I respectfully decline."
I'm good with not taking such a bothersome sounding job.
"How dare you refuse his majesty's goodwill!"
The messenger flew into a rage like a nobleman would, but we have more pressing matters to attend to.
"The treatment procedure is listed here. Gather all the doctors and priests to systemically make it known. Also, we're running short of anesthetic, you should mobilize the kingdom's apothecaries and alchemists to produce more supply."
I ignored the messenger and talked to a capable-looking aide.
I have sent the cure and prescription to the royal capital already, but they're moving so slow.
"You're the only one who can save the populace. It's your time to shine as a hero."
Arisa showed up out of nowhere and whispered that to the aide.
"Understood. I shall set about to directly appeal to his majesty right away."
"What are you talking--."
The aide took the document from my hand, and persuaded the messenger back to the capital full of motivation.
Arisa put her index finger on her lips and threw an awkward wink.
She probably used the lost mind magic with her skill to change that aide's mind.
"What do we do now?"
"Let's leave this place to the doctor and go after the origin of this disease."
I left with the girls after entrusting the place to the doctor.
Our guide is the first man who took the magic potion and his son.
"'Round half a year ago, a whole lot of wild animals came down the mountain."
Gofe, the meat-loving boy spoke.
Him and the members of his village were the few surviving initial victims.
I'm guessing that they probably ate a weak specimen of the hyphae and built up antibody.
We're heading for their village.
Map Search showed that around two mountains away from the village, the hyphae are gathering in abundance.
It must have caused an outbreak through the wild animals it leeched on.
"And here is your village huh."
"Yep. Everybody's gone to Noromos town though, so it's deserted."
I asked Gofe-kun's father about all kinds of things, like the type of animals and where were the unusual phenomenon happened.
"You guys wait here. I'll go take a quick look at the forest."
"I'll be yer' guide. I'm a hunter by trade. Gotta make m'self useful."
"Nah, no need."
"Yes. We will go with--."
Sorry Liza, but it's really dangerous beyond this point, so I'm going on ahead by myself.
"I'm just checking things up from the sky with Flying Boots. You girls, please keep them safe."
Liza affirmed while subduing her chagrin.
I put on Flying Boots and flew high into the sky.
"Please leave the sniping to me."
"Time to exterminate filth!"
Behind me, Mia, Lulu and Arisa followed carried by Sylph.
"Uwaah! What in the world is that!"
"The entire mountain is pure white."
Arisa was shocked, Mia frowned, and Lulu concisely put the scene before us into words.
With the mountain valley as the epicenter, the whole mountain has been dyed white by the hyphae outbreak.
"It's like it's been gouged out. Did a meteorite fall on it or something?"
"There is a big depression formed along the slope."
"Looks like a crater. Wait, did a meteorite really fall here--."
--Satou! We did it.
I had a flashback of the word Keze-san spoke to me.
When was it, when did they shoot down the hundreds Evil Jellyfish targeting the World Trees with Vulgtumm Eyes again.
How come a magic potion used to treat sap contaminated by Evil Jellyfish work on the hyphae.
"So true. The dome of hyphae on the center of that crater is really shaped like a jellyfish."
Arisa pointed at the crater.
It does indeed resemble a jellyfish--an Evil Jellyfish targeting World Trees.
"Now that you mention it, there's nothing inside. Wonder if it's just the outside?"
There is a black carbonized-like lump inside the jellyfish crater, visible between gaps.
According to AR reading it's called Evil Jellyfish Life Core. Must come from that thing judging the name.
"Doesn't it look like it's regenerating?"
A great number of animal bones are laying around the jellyfish shape.
This is just a guess--but it might have latched on wild animals, parasitizing them to use them as a seedbed to recreate the body it lost from entering the atmosphere.
"What to do, master?"
"Let's burn it down."
"It's gonna get spread out instead if you don't burn it well."
"It'll be fine."
I took my secret weapon out of Storage.
These hyphae seem to have an acute sense of smell, they've already gathered right below us. At tremendous speed.
I controlled wind magic to scatter the curry smell over the surrounding mountains.
"Uwaah, they all got here"
"I wonder if that white thing likes curry?"
I find it weird too.
"Sure is a lot of them."
Wild animals are running here from outside the white area.
They are too victims. I loathe to burn them down along with the jellyfish.
Using a sling fashioned from simple cloth and Throwing skill, I threw sap contamination magic potion at the wild animals, saving them from the disease. I threw diluted magic potion at the dying-looking individuals.
Arisa and Lulu grabbed my arms, and we all moved up the altitude through Sylph.
Looking below, the hyphae had formed into a tentacle as it attempted to catch us.
Lulu shot down the hyphae with her magic gun while Arisa mowed them down with fire magic.
"Geez, keep it together now."
"My bad, my bad."
I apologized to the girls and contacted Liza.
『Liza, I'm going to burn down the disease origin. You may see flames burning beyond the mountain, it's safe, don't worry.』
『Affirmative. Best of luck, master.』
Once the hyphae had gathered enough I burned them all down along with the mountain with mid level offensive magic [Fire Storm].
"Uhyaaa, that firepower's even more brutal than Guildmaster's~."
"Master, you're amazing!"
The heat was strong enough to almost scald us, so I stopped it with wind magic.
I looked for the hyphae survivors with Map Search and diligently went around burning them down with Petit Fire.
Thanks to this effort, I managed to eradicate the cause of the strange disease in Norooku Kingdom by the end of the day.
I leave reporting to the town to Gofe boy and his father, as we went around secretly curing the remaining patients in the satellite cities, as well as retrieving the contaminated food--mostly dried jerky--ending the disease for good.
At the last temporary hospital we visited, the doctor and priest there thanked us in tears, and the patients and their family members treated us like saviors.
The governor of Noromos town held a feast to celebrate the occasion with food aplenty, the whole town was wrapped in festive merrymaking.
"There's not a lot of meat-san, but everything tastes super good nodesu."
As the disease vector turned out to be animal meat, people got rid of all meat even unrelated ones before I could stop them.
"Master, we've been gifted cheese."
"So, they say the cheese here is famous even in Saga Empire."
Well that just makes me curious.
Might as well pop open some good old wine.
That day, I ended up joining shoulders to shoulders with the patients as they drank in tears and found myself wasted the next day, but thanks to a hot bath Liza and the townspeople prepared, I freshened up.
Thus the shooting star incident came to a close.
"Satou-dono! Doctor Hippocrates really went and did it noja!"
Princess Mitia received a message from her kingdom thanking her for recommending Doctor Hippocrates along with a letter of commendation and a medal for Doctor Hippocrates. The girls didn't get theirs, so I plan to handcraft some myself and give those to them.
As for the reconstruction effort in Norooku Kingdom ravaged by the epidemic, Echigoya Firm which was established without much fuss there would help with it, things should go well.
Naturally, I also talked about the matter happening on the ground with Keze-san the impetus of this all, and made her promise to completely destroy any jellyfish that fell down the ground.
As for compensation to Norooku Kingdom, it'll be talked about between the people of interest, nothing to do with me.
"Awright, and now to the good latter half! We're gonna finish off the Floor Master there!"
Pushed by Arisa's energetic voice, we set out toward Selbira Dungeons once again today.