Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Late that night, in the Internal Medicine ward of the London Hospital, Miss Louisa lay on a bed, still unconscious. A doctor and two night nurses were examining her. It wasn’t convenient for the men to be present for that scene, so Duan FeiZhou gathered outside the ward together with Al and Mr. Lynn.
After Miss Louisa fell into a coma, Mr. Lynn took her to the hospital as soon as possible. As soon as the doctor saw the bright red lines on her arm, he told them she needed to be hospitalized immediately.
Mr. and Mrs. Lynn heard the word ‘hospitalized’ and were scared to death. Perhaps influenced by Al’s words, ‘My father died of this disease,’ they thought Louisa was hopeless.
Mrs. Lynn covered her face with her handkerchief, as she sobbed and wailed, “My poor daughter. How could she be so miserable?”
Mr. Lynn, on the other hand, recited all the prayers and hymns he knew. Unfortunately, no matter how many times he prayed, Louisa did not wake up.
In the end, it was Duan FeiZhou who took the initiative and hospitalized Louisa, then sent Al and Lynn’s maid to pack and buy some personal items needed for the hospital. When they returned with towels, basins, a change of clothes and other things, the Lynn’s had only just calmed down.
“I don’t understand. I telegraphed with her aunt the day before Louisa came home,” Mrs. Lynn said with tears on her face. “She said Louisa was healthy, the fresh air in the countryside was good for her constitution, and she slept well at night and during the day. But why, as soon as she came back…Just…”
She let out a loud howl, and threw herself on her husband’s shoulder. She was unable to speak anymore, and only sobbed.
Al’s expression was grave. “Etheric disease is like that. There’s no warning before it happens. I remember the day my dad got sick. He was fine when he left in the morning, said he was going to visit a client, and promised to bring me my favorite toast when he got back…”
The teenager’s eyes dimmed, and his blue eyes filled with tears. Even though his father had passed away a while ago, he couldn’t help but shed tears when he remembered the situation.
“…But when he came back in the afternoon, he had those kinds of symptoms. His body temperature was frighteningly high, and his veins turned red all through, as if there was lava flowing through him.” The teenager shuddered. “My mother also immediately took him to the hospital. He was in the hospital for a long time, took a lot of medicine, a lot of injections, but he never got better. Then our family didn’t even have the money for his hospitalization, so my mother had to borrow money from all over the place, and in the end she couldn’t even borrow money, so she had to take my father home…”
Al bit his lip, and stared at the ground motionlessly.
Duan FeiZhou patted the teenager’s shoulder, hoping to comfort him. The teenager’s eyes were red, but he held back his tears.
At that time Al’s mother also borrowed money from Mrs. Lynn, and later had to part with her pearl necklace to cover the debt because she really couldn’t pay it back. However, she did not know that the necklace had been tampered with by Smith, an occult practitioner who knew it would, at some point, strangle the person wearing the necklace. Smith wanted to use the necklace to harm Al’s mother, but by mistake, Louisa was harmed. Fortunately, Duan FeiZhou was present and saved her.
Duan FeiZhou couldn’t help but wonder if this was his fault. Was it a thoughtless act on his part that led to the subsequent chain of results? Like a butterfly flapping its wings, which resulted in a storm?
Or was it that no matter what he did at the time, Louisa’s illness was an irrevocable fact? Even if Louisa had stayed in London, would she still have gotten so sick?
The doctor finished his examination of Louisa, took the nurse out of the room and gently closed the door.
“The patient’s family?” He scanned the large group of people outside.
Mr. and Mrs. Lynn hurried to greet them.
“We’re the child’s parents.” Mr. Lynn’s face was full of grief. “How is she?”
“She needs to be hospitalized,” The doctor said calmly. “We’ll give her some medication, and see how it works.”
Mrs. Lynn asked, “As long as those drugs work for Etheric disease, you can use them. We can afford it!”
The doctor heard the words, ‘Etheric disease’ and frowned in displeasure. “Madam, please don’t use such unprofessional words as ‘Etheric disease’,” He said in a sagacious tone, “At present, the medical profession does not recognize the name of ‘Etheric Disease’ at all. The disease that your child is suffering from is, in the opinion of our professionals, a new type of disease. It is produced from within the body, just like cancer. It has nothing to do with Etheric crystals or anything. Calling this disease ‘Etheric Disease’ would cause a huge misunderstanding.”
“But…” Mrs. Lynn glanced at Al, not knowing who to believe.
The doctor was righteous. “Madam, in the old days when medicine was not yet advanced, didn’t people also think that diseases like cholera and dysentery were spread through miasma? Later, when medicine was developed, people realized that it was caused by germs. If there are still people who hold the ‘miasma theory’, are they not a laughing stock? By the same token, since there is no evidence that this new disease is caused by the crystallization of the Ether, how can it be called an Etheric disease? The Committee for Scientific Progress and numerous experts and scholars have unanimously argued that the Etheric crystals are crystals of pure energy, so how can they spread disease?”
Mrs. Lynn was dumbfounded by the doctor’s words, and could only nod her head in agreement.
Duan FeiZhou, however, was not convinced. The Committee for Scientific Progress? In his eyes, that organization had no credibility at all. Secretary Carter was also a member of that organization, and he could be the one behind the Perlilla Manor incident. Now, Duan FeiZhou didn’t believe a word of what the Council for Scientific Progress was saying.
Al glared at the doctor. He looked like he wanted to argue with him, but Duan FeiZhou squeezed the teenager’s shoulder and shook his head, to tell him not to be impatient.
The teenager clenched his fist, hummed, then twisted his face away and didn’t speak.
“Well, you should not disturb the patient’s rest.” The doctor waved his hand to indicate that they should depart. “You can leave one person behind to take care of things. Everyone else should go back. Gathering here also affects other patients.”
He glanced back at the ward. Duan FeiZhou counted a total of six beds. Only one was empty. The other five had their curtains drawn around them, to leave some privacy for the patients. In other words, there were four other patients besides Louisa.
Mrs. Lynn looked reluctantly at the room, she wanted to stay with her daughter, but Mr. Lynn put his arm around her shoulders. “We’ll go home and come back tomorrow for another shift during the day. What if you get tired?”
Mrs. Lynn was in tears. “Then I might as well die with Louisa…”
“Don’t be silly! Louisa will be fine! Didn’t you hear the doctor say that it’s not ‘Etheric Disease’? The doctor must have a cure…”
Al interrupted Mr. Lynn, “That’s what the doctor said when my father was in the hospital. But what happened?” He seemed to sense that it was rude to contradict a gentleman, and added, “I’m not accusing you, Sir. But I don’t think you should take the doctor’s words at face value. After all, I have seen with my own eyes what it is like to have an Etheric disease…”
Mr. Lynn’s lips turned white, “Do you mean that Louisa is hopeless?”
“The way Miss Louisa is now, it shouldn’t be too serious.” Al took a look at the ward. “For those who are seriously ill, not only the whole body is red, but they will also talk nonsense. It’s only at that point that the disease is terminal and completely hopeless.”
Mrs. Lynn’s body swayed. It was only thanks to the support of her husband that she didn’t collapse.
At this moment, the ward suddenly sounded a mournful wail. Everyone couldn’t help but cover their ears. The sound was like fingernails scraping a blackboard. How could human vocal cords make such a horrible sound?
The doctor who had just left heard the wailing and hurried back. There was a buzz of talk from the other wards, and the other patients were awakened by the sounds.
Duan FeiZhou first thought it was Louisa who was wailing, but the doctor pulled back the curtain of another bed, and Duan FeiZhou caught a quick glimpse of a middle-aged woman lying in the bed.
The woman’s symptoms were even more serious than Louisa’s, not only the veins on her body, even the capillaries turned bright red, the whole person seemed to be covered by a red net. She was struggling and writhing on the bed, as she screamed incessantly. Her hands scrabbled in the air, and almost poked the doctor in the eye several times.
“Hold her down!” The doctor ordered.
Two nurses grabbed the female patient’s hands left and right, pulled belts from under the bed, and tied her firmly.
“Give her a sedative!” The doctor ordered again.
A nurse rushed to fetch the drug.
The Lynns hugged each other nervously, while Al hugged Duan FeiZhou’s waist in fear and anxiety. Duan FeiZhou’s own heart was pounding. He had never seen such a powerful seizure that was worse than epilepsy. The female patient’s screaming stopped without warning. Her eyes snapped open. Those blood-filled eyes had turned completely red, and even the iris could not be seen.
“… He was betrayed by his own apostle and killed by his own compatriots.” The female patient said in an ethereal voice. “…He was torn in pieces, and fell from the highest part of the sky all the way to the deepest part of the earth.”
What was she saying? A poetry recitation?
Duan FeiZhou felt it as Al’s arms tightened around him. The teenager stared in horror, as if he was witnessing the end of the world happening before his eyes.
The female patient continued, “…He cursed the betrayers so that they would never feel His Grace for all eternity.”
The nurse returned with a cart full of medicines and medical equipment. The doctor picked out the sedative from it and drew it into the syringe, while the nurse disinfected the female patient’s arm with rubbing alcohol.
The female patient looked at the syringe and inexplicably gave a reassuring smile, “…But there are still people who are expecting His Return.”
After saying these words, she tilted her head and didn’t move. The smile was frozen on her face, like an eternal and eerie mask.
The doctor put the syringe back on the trolley, felt the woman’s pulse, and took out his pocket watch to check the time.
“Tuesday, May 16th at 00:14 am.” He reported the time of the female patient’s death in a tone so calm as to be almost cold.
As he walked out of the hospital room, Duan FeiZhou’s legs went weak. He didn’t even know how he managed to walk down the stairs. The horrific appearance of the female patient before she died kept haunting him as if it were a lingering nightmare. True, Duan FeiZhou had seen many more horrific images than the woman’s seizure – he was an unlicensed black doctor who even amputated people’s limbs without changing his expression. However, when he thought back to the female patient’s appearance, he felt a nameless chill come over him.
It wasn’t fear of disease, but fear of the unknown.
“Al,” Duan FeiZhou called his servant’s name. “You said that the symptom of the late stage of people suffering from Etheric disease is gibberish. The lady who just passed away…she also said a lot of strange things. Do you mean the way she acted before she died?”
The teenager nodded slowly. “My father was like that before he died.” He choked for a moment. “We didn’t understand his words at all, it was like he was reciting a poem. After that, he died.”
Mrs. Lynn began to shed tears again.
“My poor daughter. How could this happen…?” Mrs. Lynn’s handkerchief was already soaked through.
Mr. Lynn had been confident in the doctor, but now he was also a skeptic. Witnessing the death of an Etheric patient had greatly shaken his worldview.
“What if the doctor can’t cure Louisa?” he muttered. “If they could have cured that lady, she wouldn’t have died!”
Mrs. Lynn grabbed Al as if she saw the teenager as a lifesaver. “Son, you know more about Etheric diseases than we do. Is Louisa really hopeless? As long as there is a glimmer of hope, we want to try! What doctors did your father see? What medicines did he take? We aren’t afraid to spend money, as long as it works. Even if it is a mountain of gold, we are willing to pay…”
“Madam, if I had known, my father wouldn’t have died.” Al said mournfully. He turned to Duan FeiZhou and threw him a pleading look, as if asking ‘You as the great occult practitioner, the omnipotent Master of the Trading House, even you can’t do anything?’
Oh dear, this sounds horrific.
Instead of covering up things, the Scientific Progress lot and medical researchers should be investigating fully, before ruling out any cause.
Smacks of putting their pockets first.
The dying woman’s words sound biblical; was she referring to the Devil?
Thanks for translating and editing.
This reminds me of hospitals 40 years ago. Doctors were treated as gods and acted accordingly. They threw patient charts at nursing staff, screamed when they felt like it, belittled staff. Not everyone, of course, but too many acted as children.
If the dying woman’s words are true, whose return are they waiting for??
Unknown diseases are the scariest! Hope Louisa doesn’t reach this last stage.
Thank you for the chapter!