Chapter 22:

Chapter 19. Ethical Issues.

Another Story [Hiatus]

A ritual is a broad explanation of the practices of each strand. These practices consist of the caster of the ritual tapping into another person's strand or strands. The strands one taps into can then be turned over to the caster's advantage. There are a lot of different rituals one can do. How this differs from incantation is that rituals take a long time to cast, and it does not necessarily require an incantation to execute. An example is when we got our badges colored. That was a ritual everyone can do. Although there are also rituals where only a certain manipulator will do, just like magic circuitry. Bookmark here

The ritual Andri and I are about to execute can be done by everyone. Although creating the medicine requires the blood of both Fiaran and Yttrancian manipulators. This is because the medicine taps into both strands. On top of that, it also requires certain ingredients. I do not know for sure what ingredients Andri put in the medicine, but I trust that he knows what he is doing. I also feel somewhat responsible, because sometimes he would tell me to stir the concoction. In the end, we were sweaty from stirring.

"Are you ready, Aura?," Andri asks me as he hands me a small needle to prick my finger with.

"Yes," I reply. I am quite nervous about this; I never drew blood on myself for things like this. I take the needle from his hand and start to aim it at my left-hand index finger. I quickly thrust the needle into my finger. It doesn't hurt but it sure scares me a little. Blood is now leaking from my finger.

"Drop it in," Andri points out as he is stirring the cauldron for the medicine. It seems that he already put his share of blood. I place my hand on top of the cauldron and let the blood drop on its own into the mixture. As the drop of my blood drops and mixes itself in the concoction, Andri starts to chant a Fiaran incantation I do not fully understand with the exception of one word, "Uhnf Hyaou Onhayi Ori Myu Yttrancia". Each strand has its own language ーanother reason why the school encourages self-taught education. "I just cast an incantation that would tap into the Yttrancian strand and increase the mental defense of the one who drinks the potion," he finally explains. "We're almost done."

"Can you explain again what this potion does?," I ask. I didn't fully pay attention to his explanation earlier as I was pretty much gawking at the incredible room we are in.

"Oh, okay," he says, probably sensing my slow-wittedness. "Well, this potion increases the mental defense of the user. It also lessens the fatigue caused by the Yttrancian incantation. As you probably know, that mental defense incantation has the side-effect of fatigue." I did not know that, as I never used it.

"Oh, yes," I say. It is a formidable potion indeed. Quite incredible for someone my age to already be making such concoctions. "How do you know it works?"

"Well, that's the fun part," he says with a smile on his face, looking at me. "You gotta hit me with your mental attacks."

"What!" I say, not believing what I just heard.

"You gotta hit me-" he starts to explain.

"No, no, no," I say, confused. "I mean, yes I understand! But are you sure?," I feel great concern about the ethical problem that just arose. Isn't this basically making ourselves test-subjects? What if he dies when something goes wrong? I cannot possibly take responsibility.

"Come on! I do this with mother all the time," he says, trying to reassure me. It doesn't quite help, though.

A voice suddenly speaks behind me through the shelves, "I can take responsibility," Soolia says. She came out of nowhere with May by her side. "It's true that we do it all the time."

I cannot believe it, I guess there is no such thing as ethical guidelines for clinical trials in this world. . .

"It's alright, Aura," May also tries to reassure. "We're here, anyway."

I give in, "Alright"

A few moments pass as I stand there confused about what is going to happen. I am afraid of hurting a friend ーif you can call it that or possibly killing him accidentally. With that in mind, I also have to use an incantation that's strong enough to say that the medicine actually works. "What are you waiting for?," Andri says, who has already taken a sip of the potion without me noticing it. "This potion doesn't last forever, you know."

"Okay," I say, still nervous. The thoughts in my mind seem to hover endlessly as I try not to imagine killing a person. My body also starts to shake and the pace of time seems to slow down. I swallow all these feelings back inside and try to focus on actually finishing the potion. Bookmark here

This is the first time I will be inflicting a mental attack on someone. "Baer Kur Nae La Kelamie Pada," I chant, trying my best not to mess it up this time. I imagine the flow of Yttrancia dangling around Andri, his breathing, his posture, his movement ーall of this while trying to keep myself from going into panic mode again. I visualize a wave of water rocking his Yttrancian flow back and forth. An ocean wave that is bigger than any wave I have ever seen. A tsunami, in fact, that will rock his whole body away from this world to another. The tsunami keeps swelling to a size that I hope to never see in the flesh, as it seems to be taller than one of those skyscrapers I’ve seen in my previous life. It also seems to produce a deafening roar in my mind as it crashes down on Andri when I release it. My heart almost stops as this happens.Bookmark here

Heart pounding, slowly opening my eyes, I try to look at his face to see if anything happened, any reaction whatsoever. None. It didn't work. This is the second time I tried doing an offensive attack and it didn't work, even though I truly gave it my all. My eyes start to well up, feeling deeply disappointed, with a mixture of relief.

"It worked!," Andri shouts and jumps in joy. "It actually worked!"

"No, no! You don't understand! My incant-" I try to explain while gathering myself.

"It worked, Aura. The potion did." May repeats after Andri. "Your incantation also did," She says while smiling at me, full of pride.

"Huh?," I don't understand. My incantation worked? "How?"

"I felt the wave of Yttrancian flow from you," May points at me, "to him," pointing to Andri.

"That's true, it was actually extremely strong!," Andri also vouches for my efforts. “I shudder to think what would have happened without the potion,” he says, with an impressed look in his eyes.Bookmark here

May comes closer to me and pats my shoulder, "Good job," she says. "You did it. . ."

I sigh in relief that my incantation actually worked, but also that the potion worked. I am actually capable of chanting such an incantation. What did I lack before ? I do not quite understand why it worked now and it didn't work then. What if all worked just fine back with Olen? Would Olen not have been hurt? I am starting to overthink about this topic. It's excruciating to stop myself from doing so, but sometimes I cannot help it.

"Now that we know it works, why don't we bottle them all up together?," Soolia tries to gather everyone as Andri and May were acting as if something great just happened. "Bottling is also part of the trade you know?"

"Okay, mom," Andri replies. He takes his leave to another set of shelves in a corner. He takes a box making a clinking sound, like glasses hitting each other, from the shelf. He puts the box full of empty vials on the table where the cauldron is placed. " You get a funnel there," he points at the set of funnels at the corner of the table. "And take a small scoop of the potion from the cauldron and put it in each of the vials. Make sure to not spill any, though."

Soolia seems to agree as well, "be careful," she warns. "Especially you, May."

May seems to pout because of her warning. We then continue to bottle every drop of the potion we just made. In the middle of the process, we have to take another box of vials from the shelf as we run out of the vials . All in all, we bottle around one-hundred or so vials of the potion from the cauldron. A good amount. I hope it will sell well, I had to shed my blood, sweat, and tears for it, after all.

"How much do you think this will sell for?," May asks Soolia.

"I am not sure, myself. Andri bought all the ingredients himself," she replies.

"Well, similar potions go for thirty silver Diryani a pot at the market. So why not thirty silver?," Andri finally suggests.

I stand astonished at the price of one vial. We have around one hundred of those. I start to calculate the price if they sold everything. Anyway, how much money did he spend on it?

As if reading my mind, "how much did you spend on it?," May asks.

"For everything?," Andri asks. I nod in May's place. "Around fifty Diryani or so."

"What! Fifty?!," I say in astonishment at such a profit.

"Normally, blood is very expensive. Good blood, that is. But I really am grateful that you were able to do it for me in exchange for a favor. I wonder what that is," he looks at me with a friendly gaze. I didn't know that my blood or something similar would be expensive. How do I know that my blood is good, anyway?

"Well, I would need your blood as well," I say honestly. Greatly trusting that his blood is also of good quality. "But not now."

"Of course!," Andri seems to be glad to return the favor. "Just tell me whenever."

May and I finally take our leave from the place not even noticing that it is already almost dinner time. Soolia and Andri both invite us over for dinner, but we are reluctant to accept their invitation. Soolia then gives me a few potions knowing that I will be going on a mission soon. She gives me six potions, with two potions from the ones we just made, another two for healing wounds, and finally two for pain killers. A handy set when going out on a mission.

As May and I walk through the streets, we stop by at some places where we can also buy some items for the mission. May buys herself some pouches for safekeeping of items. She also buys me a water bag from the same store. We then go to a weapons shop where we encountered a friendly blacksmith who owns the store. He shows us his collection of different weapons and tries to make us choose from a set of knives May points at. Bookmark here

"This is what I have so far, they are all made from good quality steel composite," the blacksmith informs May, who seems to be looking at each knife very carefully. One has a wooden hilt and a dark steel blade, another has a painted hilt in white with a thin blade, though May's eyes were attracted to a particular knife.
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"How much is this?," she holds the weapon in her grasp and starts to inspect it more carefully.

The vendor tells her the price in a discrete manner. I do not hear what he tells her but May seems to be pleased with the price.

She then later pays for the knife as I wait outside the shop. The knife is very beautiful and well made, with elaborate etching and a furnished wooden handle. Bookmark here

At first, it got the impression that May was buying the weapon for herself, but she actually gives it to me afterwards. She tells me that I should keep the knife. I accept her gift and thank her properly. I wasn’t able to hear how much she paid for the knife, but I bet it did not come cheap. Bookmark here

Before going home, we stop by a butcher and a grocer to buy some food for dinner. May wants to make beef stew because she says it has always been my favorite. She isn't wrong. Beef stew has always been my favorite, even during my past life. I remember that when I was little, I noticed that May cooked the very same stewーor similar tasting stew as my mother did in my previous life. This makes me wonder if we are all actually in one universe or in a different parallel universe. If it isn't the latter then I would want to look through a microscope and check if my mother is alright, over on Earth. I wonder how my little sisters are doing, as well. Do they have husbands already? Do they have children? I wonder if they are alright, knowing that their big sis is gone.

Once we arrive home, we are greeted by the dark hallway of the place. May then starts to light up all the candles as we make our way to the kitchen. I quickly take over lighting up the place as she starts preparing dinner.

After lighting up the place and setting up the table in the library, I help her with cutting up all the vegetables and meat for the stew. A delicious concoction, this one, with no dangers involved. We talk in a friendly manner, which feels very nostalgic to me. This is how we always spend our days together, even back in Orma. I can't wait to come back here again once the mission is over.Bookmark here

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