It’s too bitter.
It was painfully bitter.
‘I’ve never tasted something so bitter in my life.’
Her tongue ached.
“Are you all right, wife?”
Caville, who woke up on the way, was helping Elody plucking the grass as he did every time he came out into the field.
He was about to cry when Elody started screaming. He was afraid something bad might happen to her.
“Huuk! Blargh!” Elody choked.
Then, she reassured Caville but continued to complain about the lingering taste.
‘Will I lose my sense of taste?’
Amidst her worries, Anna grinned and said, “I used to have the same reaction as you, madame. But now, I’ve adjusted to the bitterness. It’s because I’ve eaten the Spirit Grass since I was very young.”
“Oh, but why don’t people use this? It’d be convenient to use it as a medicinal herb.”
“Well… the effects are too weak and it doesn’t work very well. My grandparents also said that it’s better to go to the clinic.”
“Of course, medicines from doctors are rather expensive. Most people don’t know how to make medicine and the rate of literate people in this country is too low….”
The flavor was too pungent, the bitter undertone would persist even if the grass was dried and boiled into an herbal tea.
“Why is the name Spirit Grass?”
“No one knows the exact name, but that’s what my grandfather called it. Even poor people like us could get medicines from nature, so he thought of them as a gift from the spirits.…”
“It’s too bitter for that though. ‘The Devil’s Grass’ would have been a more appropriate name,” responded Elody, who was about to cry because of the bitter taste in her mouth.
Anna smiled and said, “Madame, are you really going to make magic pills?”
Anna stared at Elody in a state of wonder.
Only rare individuals have the potential to become mages. Someone gifted with a keen intellect and unwavering discipline may walk the path of the mage and those who succeed will be greatly worshipped.
In the distant past, a legendary mage passed on his magic powers through his descendants and countless of his disciples recorded them in ancient languages.
But books in ancient languages were mostly monopolized by the temples and designated as forbidden books.
It was also quite difficult to decipher ancient languages as some only knew part of the language.
However, Elody was a cunning villain in the novel, so she was naturally fluent in ancient languages and talented in magic as well.
For the first time in her life, she thanked the author for the villainess setup.
“First of all, I’m going to do some research on Spirit Grass. Anna, can you tell me how to differentiate them?”
“Yes, of course, madame, but….”
Anna taught Elody how to distinguish the spirit grass from the weeds. Unfortunately, the method couldn’t fully guarantee the authenticity of the plants.
The next day, Elody took Caville, Anna, and Marie to harvest more Spirit Grass. As their research around the Spirit Grass progressed, the construction of the greenhouse and the laboratory was finally completed after a week. Since then, Elody has been spending her time researching inside the lab.
“Madame, what do you think of the lab?”
“It’s perfect. You’ve done an amazing job, Norman.”
“Thank you, I’m glad to hear that. Shall I tell the maids to bring the food here instead?”
“Yes please, I’d appreciate that.”
“Alright, I’ll bring it over right away, your grace,” Norman said as he gave a benevolent smile.
A considerable amount of money was spent into the construction, still, he poured his heart and soul into decorating the lab and it turned out perfect. He couldn’t be more glad to see the results.
“Caville, I’ll be making medicine from now on.”
“Medicine? What’s that?”
“It’s something that will help you later.”
She had hoped to provide medicine that will be able to cure numerous diseases and injuries on the battlefield. She wanted to help him in any way possible.
“Madame! We’ve planted all the herbs as you’ve mentioned,” said Anna.
“Alright, thank you for your hard work.”
“It is my pleasure, your grace.”
Marie and Anna looked around the lab, smiling at the beautiful interior.
‘Indeed, Norman did a great job.’
“The greenhouse is remarkable, madame! I can’t wait to plant more herbs and flowers here!”
“I’d like that. But do take care of your health, Anna. You tend to overwork yourself.”
“Thank you, but you needn’t worry, madame! I’m perfectly fine!”
Anna had an incomparably bright face, she had learnt how to care for a garden since she was young and she loved it still. The neatly raised beds of herbs and perfect paths of pea shingles in-between, marked with varnished cedar planks, were all her. Seeing her capability in managing the greenhouse, Elody decided to leave everything in her hands.
“Caville, I’m going to do some medical research, so you should study your writing.”
Hearing her stern tone, Caville answered, “…yes, wife.” while nodding solemnly.
Marie and Anna giggled at the sight and quietly left the lab.
“Even if the book isn’t interesting, you have to read it, Caville. You have to put up with it if you want to become a great adult.”
Caville was sitting next to her while reading a book. He no longer read fairy tales. His literary skill had advanced to a much higher level, so Elody started giving him more complicated books.
The topic of the book that he read was about military law. Since Caville was young, Elody taught and told him to study as much as he can. She wanted him to simply progress and develop towards an improved state of knowledge. So that it might help him later on the battlefield.
* * *
Sirka, the owner of Rhondia, sent a letter saying he would visit the mansion on the day he leaves the territory.
“Treat them with the utmost respect. He’s the owner of the famous merchant guild. It’ll be helpful if I could become acquainted with them,” said Elody.
Norman nodded in response. Sirka was the first guest to visit the mansion ever since Caville became the duke of the estate. So Norman gathered the head maid, Julia, and the head chef, Bill to start a meeting and discuss the preparations.
* * *
A few days before the promised day, Elody finally succeeded in developing the medicine.
She finally made it after pulling an all-nighter for a few days.
Despite the inconvenience, Caville remained calm the whole time. He didn’t whine and Elody was grateful for that.
“I’m finally done!”
Elody was proud of her achievement. However, her growth was halted due to the lack of rest.
“Goodbye to my height….”
Even so, the result was so successful that she was fine with giving up 5cm of her height.
It is not easy to make magic pills as they are created from mana. The appropriate amount of mana must be inserted into the pills and the materials should also be added through mana. Elody was only able to succeed after two failures.
Her first attempt failed miserably as she made a liquid potion instead of actual tablets.
Initially, Elody was in such a rush that she had no choice but to be the guinea pig in her own experiment. This led to her having several burn marks on her body. She forcefully hurt herself and used the medicine to check its effectiveness.
Elody realized that the Spirit Grass had little to no effect. However, the use of mana was able to maximize its therapeutic success.
Unfortunately, the bitterness remained the same.
Elody couldn’t tell if the medicine worked or if it was the bitterness that made her forget the pain from her wounds.
‘It feels like the pain is shifting from my body to my tongue, is this…?”
Elody tried various methods to remove the taste. One of them was to use the same technique of removing bitterness from a radish. First, she soaked it in water. Then, she sprinkled it with salt and sugar.
The effect remained the same and the bitterness decreased a little, but something was still lacking.
It was the form of the medicine.
‘Pills would’ve been much better than potions.’
Conventional solid, oral dosage forms offer the advantages of greater dosing accuracy, improved transportability, and lower cost compared to liquids. Therefore, they are more simple and convenient to use. Moreover, medicines were generally liquid preparations, so pills would’ve been considered as an innovation.
After that, Elody was immersed in the experiment again and overcame her second failure. As a result of the continuous injection of mana, the bitterness was further abbreviated.
In the end, she was able to make the perfect pill.
“It’s finally completed!”
Elody wanted to test the medicine on other people, so she decided to visit the maids while bringing Caville along.
“Excuse me, is anyone here suffering from stomachache?” she asked while holding Caville’s hand.
In response to her question, all the maids shook their heads. All except for Tessie, who had recently complained of menstrual pain.
Hence, Elody gave the medicine to Tessie, and then she went on to the knight’s training grounds with Caville to find more tests subjects.
Once she arrived, she immediately approached Brien and said, “Sir Vedos, are you hurt somewhere?”
“…Pardon?” He asked with a wistful face.
“Would you mind if I injure you a little?”
“Huh? I’d rather not…” He quivered, his eyes widen in fear.
“Then, have any of the knights or soldiers complained about their injuries?”
“Well…” he replied, “there’s a lot of injured soldiers resting in the barracks.”
“Please take me to them.”
“Alright, madame,” Brien said as he proceeded to guide Elody and Caville to the barracks.
Afterward, She opened the door, expecting the knights’ greeting smile, but none comes. A heavy silence settled over them, thicker than the uneasy tension in the atmosphere. Turns out, their impression of the duchess was not very good. They saw her as a very strict lady who nags a lot.
Then, they recalled their first meeting…
The barracks wasn’t just a mess, it was a disaster zone. It looked like a drunken cyclone had erupted the weaponry across the floor and there was an overwhelming stench in the room.
Elody’s nose wrinkled in disgust, “What is this smell? Get rid of this horrible mess!”
The knights were much bigger than her, but she was not afraid to scold them.
“And you! Why aren’t you sharpening your blade?”
“…I apologize. I’ll get right to it, your grace.”
Some shifted uncomfortably in their seats and others grasped their sweaty, nervous hands. Elody had no knowledge regarding swordsmanship, but every time she visited them, she would not hesitate to nag around and scolded them to the core. Of course, they couldn’t help but feel anxious at seeing her presence.
“Is anyone hurt?”
Today, however, it seemed that she had come for another purpose.
A knight, who was taking a rest, raised her hand upon hearing Elody’s question.
Her name was Solar, she was a young knight who boasted outstanding swordsmanship skills.
Even though she was a teenager, she has been acknowledged by Brien Vedos as one of the best knights in the order.
Unlike the others though, Solar was not uncomfortable with Elody. Instead, Elody was the one who seemed ill at ease whenever she spoke to her.
As Elody approached Solar, the knight complimented her saying, “I am mesmerized by your beauty yet again, your grace.”
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