It was about three months ago that the worst epidemic ever began.
The first deceased was a retired veteran of Aral, the southernmost territory of the Kingdom.
Seeing him die with his whole body turned black, the villagers murmured that he was being punished for throwing away his young wife.
Until the number of deaths with the same symptoms increased to ten within a week.
Everyone thought the curse spreaded throughout the village.
Or some said that the lord was punished by Heaven for lacking virtue.
The terrified lord tried to keep his mouth shut rather than solve the root cause.
He thought that if this spread, he would lose the public sentiment as the territorial lord and the trust as a vassal.
Soon the disaster began.
Travelers and merchants, unaware of the outbreak of the epidemic, visited the Aral estate, and black deaths spread to other regions through them.
It instantly became a disaster that swept across the South.
The worst epidemic ever hit the rich and the poor.
All were fair in the face of death, whether commoner or nobleman.
It was a disease in which the patient’s whole body turned black and soon died after suffering from a high fever.
In the face of fear that this may lead to a shortage of land to bury the body, doctors accidentally learned that chewing thorny herbs could cure the disease.
“I found a cure for the Black Death!”
“Now we’re alive!”
Thorny herbs were common and inexpensive herbs like weeds.
It must be a blessing in disguise that the cure for a catastrophic epidemic was a common commodity.
But the relief didn’t last long.
It was such a common plant, but there was no supply.
Even when they searched the whole area, they couldn’t find a sprout of thorny herbs.
Several merchants had tracked the purchases in the past few months, and found that nearly all of them were headed to Winterfell’s.
“What kind of lunatic buys trash for money?!”
“She’s not crazy, she’s nuts! That Marquess of Winterfell!”
“Come to think of it, they made a lot of money for the herbal tea business.”
“Herb tea business with thorny herbs? Is she mad for real?”
It was an unbelievable fact, but the reality that almost all of the key treatments for the Black Death were in one family’s grasp had not changed.
To cure the disease, they had to purchase the thorny herb from the Winterfell.
Seeing the success of the business that everyone said would fail, merchants had to reflect on the famous words once again.
There was nothing that could beat luck.
“That’s why there’s a saying that lucky ones are meant to be lucky no matter what..”
“Damn it! It’s not fair!”
In any case, it remained as a case of a fool trying to do something stupid and accidentally hit the jackpot.
* * *
“That goes here, here!”
“Be careful! It costs more than your life!”
“Oh, it’s going to fall!”
The Marquis Winterfell’s military training ground was crowded with merchants and servants.
Knights who usually had to train in the training ground were pushed to the corner.
But no one was arguing over it.
The knights looked up at the high-stacked boxes and opened their mouths.
“So that one box each costs t-ten gold? Then how much is all of this?”
“How much was it before?”
“I don’t know because I’ve never eaten thorny herbs.”
“No, was that a real herb? I thought it was just weed.”
“What in the world is happening…”
Then, a young man working for the merchants shouted in a high voice.
“Give me a break, gentlemen! You’re in the way of my work!”
Normally, there would have been at least one person who would scold the young handyman’s disrespectful manner, but not now.
It was not the knights that mattered now.
What mattered now how to distribute those herbs to the whole kingdom in bulk as soon as possible.
The knights went further into the corner and settled down.
It was a very humiliating situation, but the rudeness of a young handyman had long been forgotten in their head.
Their faces were rather filled with joy and excitement that they finally could escape the long financial difficulties.
The expressions of the servants lifting heavy boxes were the same.
How long has it been since they saw this scene full of life?
Gordon, the butler who was looking at the scene through the window, wiped away tears of emotion.
“Thank you, dear heaven!”
While Gordon was thanking all the Gods he could think of, he soon realized that there was one person to whom he really had to convey his gratitude to.
The lady who bought thorny herbs despite everyone’s dissuasion.
His eyes turned to one side of the office.
Madam and Wayne, the most respected merchant of the Northern Merchants Union, were talking about something.
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