Sem and the others split further into two groups.
If they took too long, it would get dark and it would be impossible to investigate.
Also, the places where they put dead bodies and where they buried them were not too far from Nargava’s clinic. Surely, it would be inconvenient if they were.
Sem went to talk to Nargava by himself, while Tianna and Bond headed towards where the dead bodies were kept. Sem prayed for nothing bad to happen to them, but they told him it just made them feel even more like something would happen.
Sem reached Nargava’s clinic. Unlike Bedroom’s other floors, this one felt clean. There was no graffiti or trash and filth on the floor.
They couldn’t make the building itself clean, but it did feel like a proper clinic.
“A patient… Doesn’t look like it.”
Nargava noticed Sem and seemed not too pleased about it.
“Do I have to be a patient?”
“I’m just using this room, it’s not mine or anything. Just don’t get in the way of my work.”
He did not seem to welcome Sem or want to kick him out.
Nargava seemed completely indifferent.
“Still… It seems this place is thriving.”
Sem whispered while looking around.
People waiting to be treated were sitting on the floor, and the ones that were treated lied down on it. It felt even more like a field hospital.”
“Is that sarcasm?”
“Excuse me, I didn’t mean it that way…”
“I get it. One can’t help but be cynical in a place like this.”
“So this is the treatment room… It’s a lot calmer than the rest of Bedroom.”
“Are you going to treat everyone?”
“I can’t really call it treatment. There’s only so much magic and medicinal herbs can do.”
“I’ll help. I can deal with minor external wounds.”
Said Sem while rolling up his sleeves, and the patients looked surprised.
Having two doctors around was completely unprecedented.
“…Why are you here?”
“Yellow Devil Disease.”
Said Sem while beginning to cast healing magic.
The patient let out a happy voice as he saw the wound close.
“Are you the doctor’s assistant? Thanks.”
“A sword cut… It’s not too deep so it can be closed with magic, but it won’t bring back the blood you lost. Make sure you get plenty of nutrients.”
“If I could do that then I wouldn’t have any problems in the first place.”
Said the man while laughing, followed by laughter from the patients waiting for treatment.
Sem felt like pushing the issue any further would be pointless, and only sighed.
“It’s hard to tell when someone has it. I can only tell when the patient’s symptoms are at their peak or dying down. I only have about a… Sixty percent chance of detecting it while it’s incubating and before the symptoms get worse, like with Hale.”
“Sixty percent means you’re pretty good.”
“Not as much as you. Do you have any tricks you can tell me?”
“I told you, it’s all down to experience.”
“If it could be explained with words it wouldn’t be a problem.”
“And it would be better for the patients that would be here.”
“…Are you going to keep treating people forever?”
“Until I can put it into words.”
“How to treat Yellow Devil Disease and how to detect it before it becomes severe. I want to take my experience and intuition and put it into a skill anyone can replicate.”
Those words were full of hope.
Yellow Devil Disease did not mean certain death, but it would cause many casualties if there was an outbreak somewhere with a lot of fragile people. What Nargava was saying would certainly prevent a lot of deaths.
But as Nargava mumbled this, his expression was full of fatigue. He even looked like an old man.
“That’s splendid, but why are you so hung up on Yellow Devil disease?”
“That story’s boring.”
Nargava let out a small sigh, and started talking slowly.
“…I was a high ranking priest in the Lowell temple in the capital.”
“High ranking priest!?”
High ranking priests were a step above where Sem ranked as a priest. Sem was in the Medlar temple, and Nargava in the Lowell temple, but the remaining two sects also had high, middle, and lower ranking priests.
But the Lowell temple in the capital had a lot of power, and was not outmatched by even important nobles. There was a world of difference between Nargava and some mid ranking priest from a remote region.
“My daughter died. From Yellow Devil Disease.”
Sem had nothing to say.
Yellow Devil Disease was mostly a sexually transmitted disease.
For a child to catch it, the most likely scenario was that she was sexually assaulted.
“She was intelligent and full of wisdom… But she was very mischievous, and wouldn’t stop playing around no matter how old she got, so I was harsh on her… But one day, she ran away from home.”
Sem stayed silent. He was imagining what horrible thing may have happened next, but Nargava cleared his throat.
“Don’t let that awful imagination run wild. She wasn’t kidnapped and raped or anything, she just happened to find someone injured, and touched their blood while treating them.”
“…Well, I don’t blame you for thinking that. People around us treated it as a disgrace.”
Nargava spoke quietly but his fist was clenched tight.
Sem felt inexpressible rage coming from him.
“I… Threw so much money around trying to clear away my daughter’s scandal, but it was all for nothing. I was seen as a father that couldn’t protect his daughter, betrayed by merchants that thought it was convenient for them, and ousted by priests that saw it as a good opportunity… In the end, I was excommunicated and left with nothing more to protect. I felt there was no reason to prolong my life, but…”
He had one regret. Nargava said, almost too quietly to be heard.
“…And so you started looking for the cure for Yellow Devil Disease.”
“Well, that’s not all.”
“I’m impressed. It really makes me see my own immaturity”
“I don’t need your compliments.”
“I’m serious… My immaturity is what led to my excommunication.”
“Did you break the precepts?”
“I didn’t… Not that you’d believe me.”
“Everyone that breaks the precepts says they didn’t, without fail.”
Sem continued talking, with a bitter smile on his face.
In the meantime, he never stopped treating people, who kept quiet and didn’t interrupt the conversation.
“An underage girl accused me of raping her. I wish it was just some sort of prank, but my colleagues that were jealous of me used it to get me arrested, and before I knew what was happening, people were treating me like a scoundrel. I was thrown in jail, and excommunicated.”
“I stopped caring about precepts after that, and went to brothels in inn towns and started making my living as an adventurer. Basically doing whatever I want.”
“Nice going mister priest.”
“Do you want me to introduce you to a nice girl?”
“Don’t worry about that, I already have a girl I visit all the time.”
The patients laughed loudly, but Sem took it with a cool smile.
“Do you resent them?”
“Oh? You believe me?”
“I don’t know if it’s true or not, but that doesn’t mean someone’s going to be alright with the people that cornered them.”
“That’s true. I do. When I see a girl about the same size, it feels like my heart is being torn apart. Even I don’t know what would happen if the actual girl was in front of me.”
“I get it.”
Nargava’s voice was not as dry and unconcerned as usual.
This must’ve been new to the patients as well, as a slightly awkward silence filled the room. Nargava cleared his throat to break this silence.
“…Anyway, don’t you have something you want to ask? You’re from Survivors or something right?”
“Oh, you know?”
“News from the adventurer guild reaches here too. I know you’re looking for that Stepping man, but I’m not going to be of any help. I don’t know anything about him either.”
“…I see. That’s too bad.”
Said Sem, and he focused on the remaining patients.
After treating ten more, he said.
Nargava seemed surprised.
“Are you going home?”
“Oh, should I have helped more?”
“It’s not like you’re being detained here or anything… Well, thanks.”
“You don’t need to thank me, I didn’t do that much.”
Said Sem as he made his way towards the exit.
“…Can I ask one more question?”
“Do you like kids?”
Nargava closed his eyes and sighed with grief.
“…I loved my daughter.”