Aoi turned and walked effortlessly through the people surrounding the sick man. She swam through the crowd like a stream of water. No one seemed to notice as she glided past them. However, the careful eyes of Jane Melonscone were following Aoi’s every action and expression.
Aoi arrived at the table and grabbed a glass of water. She pulled a bottle out from her pocket and poured a small bit of its contents into the glass. The water turned green as the substance mixed with the fluid. Everyone stared as she caught their attention with a single line.
“This will cure him.” Aoi quickly pulled the man’s head back between coughs and poured the green water down his throat. The man swallowed the liquid before he could think to object. Aoi put the glass back on the table, turned, and walked back towards the table.
“Excuse me while I go wash up,” Aoi said. She excused herself and walked towards the lavatory. The entire room went silent as Aoi walked off. Not a sound was heard, not even a cough. Eason was dazed as he watched Aoi walk off. When she disappeared from sight, he awoke. He quickly stood and rushed over to the sick man. The man’s eyes were clear and white, his coughing had stopped, his fingers were fat and fine, and his lips were perfectly pink. He was smiling as he wiped blood away from his mouth. Eason was almost too startled to talk. He managed to get out a few words.
“How do you feel?” Eason asked.
“Perfect. No, better than perfect, hungry. I really want a steak now,” replied the man happily. Not even two minutes ago had he been on the brink of death. Eason went back to his chair, dumbfounded. By the time Aoi returned, everyone had gone back to their seats and settled down. She calmly walked back to her seat, though no one paid her any attention. Apparently, Aoi had been too quick to make an impression on anyone, and the room in general was simply happy that the man had been cured. Aoi sat at the table and then took a drink of water. She didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the night.
“Miss Aoi, that was incredible. Are you a doctor?” Eason asked.
“Well, I am from the water kingdom, after all,” Aoi replied shyly. The water kingdom was known for having some of the best medical expertise in the world. Eason smiled again in recognition of his colleague, and didn’t ask more. However, he did make a note to himself to consult with Aoi in the future, assuming that he would be allowed to meet with her.
“So, you are a doctor, after all.” Jane said quietly.
“Madam, did you say something?” Duke Tourney asked. Aoi didn’t catch what Jane had said either. Eason heard, but didn’t pay any attention to its meaning.
“Oh nothing, just commenting on the crab to myself. It was good, but I don’t think I’m interested in your fishing spot after all,” Jane said.
“Well, although I’d be willing to sell it, I’m quite glad that I’ll be able to keep that land,” Duke Tourney said while laughing. At that, Jane and he went into another random conversation that Aoi found herself becoming strangely immersed in.
The night ended, and the four of them eventually parted ways outside the restaurant’s entrance. A carriage had been prepared for Aoi to be taken back to the castle. Eason helped her up the step and into the carriage.
“Goodnight Miss,” Eason said. “It was a pleasure. Well, enough of it was. I do hope you’ll send for me sometime. A man of my status cannot meet with someone so close to the king so easily. I suppose I must thank Madam for arranging this odd encounter. Secretly, never to her face.” Eason bowed once.
“Isn’t your carriage here?” Aoi asked.
“No, I prefer to walk. I’m still young, this cane is for show and status,” Eason said with a smile. He waved, and then walked off. Aoi couldn’t help but smile as she thought of Eason’s age. At over one-hundred, he was several times older than her, and at an age she would probably never reach. Though Aoi was young and a citizen of Ens, she was only human, and Eason would probably outlive her. She hoped that she would have a chance to meet Eason again.
As Aoi’s carriage left, Jane and Duke Tourney said their goodbyes to each other. The duke took his leave first, at Jane’s insistence. She was the host, she reasoned, therefore she had to be the last to leave. The duke acknowledged Jane’s decree, and sped off towards his estate. Jane waved until he was out of sight.
Jane looked around to see if anyone could see her. The night was well along, and no one was traversing the street in front of the restaurant. Jane walked to the side of the restaurant, an alleyway. Inside there was a figure standing in the darkness.
“You’re there? Excellent.” Jane said.
“The other portion?” the person said dryly.
“It’s all here.” Jane reached into her large dress and pulled out a large bag that jingled with the sound of money. It was just large enough to be hidden inside the dress.
“Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to cheat me. Of course, I won’t cheat you either. Not that I could, if I wish to live. Thank you, Madam. Though it was tougher than I was expecting. My wife, it’s going to be a while before she gets over this.” The person took the bag of money from Jane. He opened it quickly, saw that everything was in order, and then walked out into the light. It was the man that had been sick. “Though, I could have died there. Did you really know that I’d be saved like that? You have a cure, right?”
“It was a gamble. And you profited. I profited just as much, probably. So many plans to make now. And yes, I have a separate cure. I would have provided it, somehow, before you passed that point of no return, but there was still quite a while to go, even if it would be painful.” Jane reached into another pocket and pulled out a small bottle. She showed it to the man, and then put it back into her pocket.
“So, do you mind telling me what that whole fiasco was for? This sudden shift in lifestyle is more than fantastic for me. I suppose it’s probably no more than pennies in your coffers though,” he said, secretly hoping that Jane would reveal some precious piece of knowledge he would be able to profit from.
“That is a secret. Ah, now I know. Anyways, you’ve been instrumental towards the future of my family. That’s a secret you will take to the grave, no matter what. So, you should enjoy your time, with less questions. Correct?”
The man nodded vigorously, bowed, and then walked back into the darkness. Jane left the alley, found her carriage, and rode off. She sat contemplating things in the silence of the night.
“A doctor, after all. But, I don’t have time to be sad. I’ll have to use it won’t I? How much time do I have? Not much, I think. Your hair just lost its color, after all.”