Chapter Thirty-Three: Rosa Wants to Protect the Hallowed Ground (I)
All for the sake of moe.
Her hair was swirling in the wind as she threw off her heels and curled the hem of her thick dress as she ran madly.
Rosa was concerned about what would happen if she couldn’t locate Ladu, but fortunately, she could do so quickly.
However, it would be much more appropriate to say in this scenario, unfortunately.
That was because Rosa sensed the unsettling heaviness in the air as soon as she reached the bottom of the hill.
Inside the houses with unusual tiling, beastly howls could be heard here and there.
The men, who had most likely been working in the fields earlier, were now vomiting at the side of the road.
Some experienced uncontrollable bleeding, while others couldn’t stop clawing their necks.
To think it would result in such terrible symptoms…
Rosa would usually be head over heels for the folk costumes and the men swooning over one another, but even Rosa’s fantasies had no chance to surface this time.
This went to show just how unprecedented this crisis was.
Rosa’s face was pallid with worry as she moved towards the men but halted when she noticed they were crawling toward a location.
A large building stood at the end of this road, on a patch of open land.
It was just around two stories high, and it had a narrow tower in the middle with a flag on it.
If one looked carefully, one would notice that the entire wall was adorned with reliefs resembling the icons Rosa had previously seen.
People in pain continued to flood near the building’s entrance, reaching out as though asking for help.
Is that a place of worship or perhaps a mausoleum? Maybe it’s a religious institution that acts as a spiritual facility for the people of Apt.
Rosa ran to the building, assuring the people huddled in the streets that she would return to treat them later.
Ladu was the son of a chieftain renowned for his outstanding medical abilities.
Rosa dashed into the building to see if Ladu was guiding the people in the same way that the healers in Berg had done by functioning as priests.
As she walked in, her suspicions were confirmed.
Ladu was dressed in a long white robe, a white mouth mask, and an angular cap, all of which were apparently for medical purposes.
He resembled a priest performing a rite.
Several men, including Ladu, tended to the patients in the back of the facility, behind the rows of beds.
Rosa suspected the other men were also physicians and members of Ladu’s family.
When Ladu heard Rosa’s voice, he looked up from his hunched position beside a patient.
The movement, however, was choppy and slow.
“Rosa… You came?”
Ladu said as he took the patient’s hand in his and injected a drug into it.
Rosa tied up her hair, tore off the hem of her dress, which made it difficult to move, and used it to clean the mud off her feet, then scooped up the liquid placed near the entrance, imitating the other patients.
Even in Berg, where medical technology was less advanced, people still understood the need for disinfection.
Rosa made her way to Ladu by walking between the many occupied beds.
Rosa was taken aback by the sight of so many sick people gathered in one location, as it was customary for healers to visit patients’ homes in Berg.
“There are so many people…”
“This is, after all, a hospital. It’s similar to the help centers in Berg. In Apt, though, everyone who is unwell is allowed here, even if they are not children or impoverished. One of my family’s responsibilities is to treat them.”
Ladu explained without looking at Rosa.
Some would interpret it as if he didn’t have time to deal with Rosa right now, but Ladu was also in horrible shape.
“Sir Ladu, you, yourself, are also…”
“I’m sorry, but I’m unable to deal with you or my ribs at this time.”
It was clear from what Ladu said that Kamil had injured his ribs during their exchange.
And not only that, but Ladu was also suffering from the disease.
He appeared calm, but Rosa observed that his breath was rough and that he was sweating under his mask.
Ladu shifted only his gaze towards Rosa and said,
“Leave. For your sake, as well as ours.”
Rosa was taken aback when she stared into Ladu’s amber, conflicted eyes.
Ladu appeared to be both anxious and frustrated.
He was terrified that Rosa might succumb to the desire, but at the same time, he couldn’t suppress his rage toward Berg.
Berg’s magic could entirely demolish the Apts’ village in minutes, bringing their hard-earned medical knowledge to waste.
He couldn’t suppress his wrath at the Berg residents who would choose such measures for selfish reasons.
“Sir Ladu. Is there a link between bone regeneration and immune system function?”
Rosa inquired, her fists clenched, her mind made up.
“Previously, Sir Kamil stated that overhealing can result in disease-like symptoms. To put it another way, that’s the same as the immune system assault shown in that one icon, right? So I wondered if healing your ribs would make the assault worse and if there was any correlation.”
“Ultimately, it should be connected in some way… But what does that have to do with any of this?”
“So it’s connected. Still, that doesn’t mean that it will immediately show its effects, right? In that case…”
Rosa pressed her hands against Ladu’s upper abdomen, having interpreted his remarks forcefully.
Suddenly a warm light filled the area.
Ladu hurriedly backed away, but as he did so, he noticed that the pain in his ribs had vanished and showed a surprised expression.
“I’m a healer as well. That’s why Sir Kamil’s magic won’t work on me. That aside, how do you feel, Sir Ladu? Are your ribs fine?”
“Amazing. The fever and nausea are still present, but I am not in pain… Did you manage to eliminate merely the pain in my nervous system?”
Ladu grumbled in Apt while looking astonished at Rosa.
“I never knew healing could be used so finely. The healers I saw at the palace were all far cruder. They seemed to heal by increasing the regenerative power of the entire body.”
“That is indeed the case with people with a large amount of magic power. But I specialize in precision and honing the quality of my magical power.”
Ladu nodded in agreement, but what he didn’t comprehend was that Rosa’s remarkable precision was due to sheer luck.
Precision was inextricably linked to one’s idea of control, or, to put it another way, it was heavily impacted by imagination.
In other words, because of her constant training in the form of her delusions, Rosa could well be considered one of the best at handling her magical power.
Rosa was not aware of it, but the fact that she could make things rot without chanting was due to her ability to construct many images in her head without needing to recite them.
One of the healers working behind Rosa and Ladu let out a low sigh and collapsed to the ground at that very moment.
“Hey! I don’t need more patients!”
Ladu shouted angrily but still extended his hand to help the man.
Ladu didn’t get along with his siblings after being chosen as a prisoner.
Nonetheless, he couldn’t help but help a patient in distress. It was almost instinctive. Such was the contract that the Apts had made with their gods.
The villagers, his siblings, and even Ladu himself had reached their breaking point.
As a result, Ladu made up his mind and turned to Rosa.
“Rosa… Will you lend me your power? Even though I was once sold off, I am still a descendant of the Aptus clan. I cannot afford to let my people die.”
Ladu spoke with honesty, his tone lacking in sarcasm or aloofness.
He was taken aback, though, when he noticed Rosa pinching the bridge of her nose.
“Is there something wrong, Rosa?”
“It… It’s nothing.”
Rosa fought a nosebleed induced by Ladu’s sudden earnestness, contradicting his sardonic S personality.
Urgh… I instinctively replaced ‘my people’ with ‘Bernando’ just now… He gives off protector-type vibes! The protector-type is good; I support it! No, no, no! Rosa, now is not the time for this!
Rosa shoved her creeping thoughts aside and fixed her gaze on Ladu.
“Of course, I will. Please allow me to help the people of Apt. I won’t let Moe Ap… the Apt village be destroyed at any cost!”
Even though he had presented the idea, Ladu gasped slightly when Rosa told him she would take care of it.
I can’t believe her…
Ladu thought, praising Rosa inwardly.
Her passion overflowed from her dignified purple eyes, despite her being a little girl younger than himself.
To think that such a girl was born in that kingdom.
Ladu didn’t believe in Berg’s god.
The white angel statues in the kingdom’s churches and the icons of their saints with their kind smiles had never moved him.
After all, beneath that lovely porcelain skin ran cold blue blood that only supported humiliation and exploitation of others.
The gorgeous smiles were essentially harsh smiles expressing contempt for heresy.
They were addicted to supernatural powers that defied reason and refused to listen to the weak preaching the truth.
However, Rosa was different.
She was intrigued by the Apt language, recognized the truth behind their icons, protected them, and was now prepared to offer her magical abilities for the Apt’s sake, who were seen to be nothing more than heretics.
Ladu sat Rosa down next to him, his heart racing.
He felt a warmth in his arm, which he’d used to bring Rosa near. A warmth that wasn’t the same as the heat caused by the disease.
“I am not familiar with magic power. Tell me, what should I do so that you can use your powers?”
“I’d like to know the symptoms, their causes, and, if possible, a detailed description of the immune system. I need as much information as possible. That way, I might be able to figure out how to help you.”
Ladu nodded and immediately began explaining.