Chapter 23 - No ulterior motives

Translation: Thrax

Editing: Tohru

TN: Hey everyone, the new chapter is here, but first I’d like to introduce our new proof reader / editor Tohru.

EN: - Hi! I’m Tohru! I’m also an amateur, but I wanted to help with proofreading. Since this is something new for both of us, I appreciate your patience as Thrax and I get a good process going (last week’s was more of a quick test run than actual editing). Also, please send Thrax a hug or equivalent. Medical translators get paid big bucks for a reason!-

Thrax: Me again, just wanted to note a small change to the translator notes for the sake of clarity, from now on you will have the TN – translator notes, and EN – editor notes. Now on to the chapter!

We are now 12 years old.

The production of medical alcohol is on track. It seems that we will even be able to export a bit of it to foreign countries. However, since our priority is to have enough for our domestic consumption, the amount we will be able to export won’t be that large.

Since we are using only scrap produce in its manufacturing, we can’t exactly mass produce it, and growing crops specifically for medical alcohol would just be putting the cart before the horse.

Be that as it may, thanks to that, our names became well known among the medical world. Well, since I’m the prince everyone knew my name even before that, but now I’m also known for our achievements in the field of medicine.

Due to that, we could go in and out of the national academy’s institute whenever we wanted and meet with researchers from the medical field to our hearts content.

The institute is the most prestigious department of the academy. The academy would be an equivalent to a university in foreign nations. You would be hard pressed to find a better institution to study science, medicine, philosophy, and other subjects anywhere in the entire country.

“Welcome! I’m glad you came! Thank you very much for taking an interest in a research obsessed weirdo, such as myself.”

“I have read your thesis, and I have to say I have taken a great interest in it. I wanted to hear more about it, no matter what. Thank you for making time for me.”

Today I am visiting the laboratory of a young researcher named Spruce.

“…… However, uhm Prince…Your Highness…Crown Prince? You needn’t have come to the laboratory yourself. I would have come to the castle if you had just summoned me.”

“You can call me Shin, or if you dislike dropping honorifics you can call me Shin-kun.[TN-1] I didn’t want to get in the way of the work done in the lab by summoning you. I also thought it would be easier for us to talk like this.”

“…That’s a bit… I’ll go with Lord Shin then. Leaving that aside, I can see that the future crown princess came with you as well.”[TN-2]

“Serea is very interested in medical research. She is working together with me on improving the state of hospitals. Please consider her someone who knows as much about this subject as me, or even more.”

“Hello, my name is Serea. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

Serea then joins me in bowing our heads. [TN-3]

“I've heard about your exploits. You worked on improving the level of hygiene by using medical alcohol at the behest of the hospitals. And thanks to the national policy of mass-producing alcohol, boiling is no longer our only option for sterilisation. It has also been a great help for my research. I’m sincerely grateful.”

So, our efforts were helpful with things like this as well. That really makes me happy.

“…… I was wondering. Do the two of you believe that alcohol can help in preventing illnesses; and if you believe in the existence of tiny organisms that we can’t even see?”

Spruce asked us in a whisper.

“We do.”

“I knew it! It's so hard to get people to accept my theories! I can't tell you how many setbacks I’ve had because no one was interested in them!”

He ecstatically grabbed and shook my hands.

“I have something to show you! Look at this!”

He proceeded to show us a flask with a long, bent neck.

“If you were to leave soup stock in contact with the air, it would eventually spoil. But if you were to trap it in a flask, such as this, and make sure nothing from the outside can enter, it will be very hard to spoil. In fact, it’s almost impossible. Even mould won’t grow like this. You are aware that mould is a type of plant, right?”[TN-4]

“Yes, I am.”

“All of these organisms don’t pop out of thin air. They come from somewhere else and then multiply. I also suspect that they are the cause of most diseases.”

“That's why we thought alcohol is so effective for cleaning. We believe that wiping things off with alcohol, or spraying them with it, kills these microorganisms.”

“Wonderful! That’s exactly right! In my research I have confirmed that alcohol kills off these microorganisms (or in this specific case, fungi) and also helps in preventing further outbreaks! That’s what I meant by sterilisationbefore. To think that The Prince himself would be of the same opinion as me! I am overjoyed!”

Spruce seems very excited.

“Bacteria can also be isolated and cultured. When the bacteria are left on a petri dish lined with a starch nursery mixed with sugar water, they multiply like this and form colonies on the petri dish, making them visible for observation. That's what I've been working on lately.”

“That’s amazing……”

There are a lot of red, yellow, green, orange, and various other colours of something dirty growing on the petri dish. They look like mould.

“I thought to myself, ‘This must be one of the causes for diseases!’ So, I gathered the blood, puss, and phlegm of sick people. Then, I managed to separate and cultivate some of them.”

 That's quite an achievement. He had single-handedly discovered exactly what Serea had talked about before.

“The same bacteria can be cultured from people with the same disease. This leads to the conclusion that the source of the illness is the bacteria. There are diseases that are transmitted by invisible microorganisms (the bacteria), by means of direct physical contact, ingestion, or inhalation. I am not saying that all diseases are caused by bacteria, but that most of them are. That is what I believe.”

“You mean to say, you know why diseases are transmitted from one person to another?”

“I do have the ability to demonstrate this using the cultures of bacteria I have grown, but (as expected) infecting someone with an illness and using them as a guinea pig isn’t something I can do. Also, there are good and bad bacteria and fungi. For instance, the thing that can convert grape juice into wine is also a type of fungus. It creates alcohol through fermentation, and we call it ‘yeast’.”

I think people in the brewing industry know that empirically. That's why we use it to make alcohol. The method of producing medical alcohol that we recommended is exactly the same as that of making spirits.

After explaining all that, Spruce then became dejected.

“……So, I managed to understand that much. However, even if I know, I’m at a loss as to how to prevent diseases and what to use to treat illnesses once they come about. If only I were able to make some achievements! Then this research could move forward and not just be ridiculed……”

That is a shame... But finding people like this, and providing financial support to advance their research, is also part of our job as royalty.

“Um, do you know what ‘immunity’ is?”

Here comes Serea’s knowledge from her past life!

“Of course. There are many diseases such as measles and smallpox that, once you get them and are cured, you will never get them again. When you are cured of such infectious diseases, we say, 'You are immune, so you are safe now’.”

“The human body has the ability to remember such diseases, and when the germs that cause a disease enter the body again, it kills them. Thus, you don't get the disease anymore.”

“You think so too! The bacteria causing the disease cannot be cultured from the bodies of those who have recovered from illness. The bacteria that caused the illness have disappeared! It doesn't mean that immunity can be formed because the bacteria can be in the body without any problems, it means that the bacteria have completely disappeared from the body! I also thought that might be the case!”

Spruce looks pleased.

“Last winter, we had an outbreak of diphtheria at the orphanage. Quick isolation and alcohol sanitation prevented the spread of the infection. Miraculously, even though some children became severely ill, there were no fatalities.”

“Yes, I am aware. It was a hot topic of conversation among the medical community. The hospital staff did a great job. Isolation proved to be effective in preventing the spread of infection for the first time. I think it was a groundbreaking response.”

In reality, it was due to Serea's quick instructions. Those who provided care wore masks and did various things such as sanitising their hands.

“Diphtheria is a disease caused by the diphtheria bacteria. At the orphanage, we could only wait for natural recovery, but I have heard that blood serum can be used as a medicine for the treatment of diphtheria.” (Serea)

“Blood serum is it……” (Spruce)

“What is blood serum?”

When I asked that question, Spruce started explaining.

“If you put blood in a test tube and let it settle, the red part of the blood will separate, and a yellowish clear serum will form. That's what we are talking about.”

Said Spruce, while nodding his head to himself.

“Serum as medicine... What does that mean? Is it related to being able to build immunity? Is it using the blood of someone who has developed immunity? Immunity resides in blood...? That would be amazing! I'm starting to think it's possible!”

Spruce was delighted to receive many research hints. [EN-1]

“I would like to have the royal family provide support for that research through the academy. We can discuss the finer points later. For now, I would like to give you this gift. Please take it.”

As I said that, I gave him a wooden box I brought along.

“This……What is it?”

“It's a microscope. It was recently invented by an optician. I would like you to make good use of it.”

In our country, we have lenses used for glasses. We also have telescopes that combine these lenses to see things at a distance. However, according to Serea, there are also microscopes to see small things used in hospitals and science labs in schools. I asked a craftsman if he could make such a microscope, and he actually did. The concept of placing a sample on a glass plate, shining light through it with a mirror from below, and observing it through a transparent lens is a brilliant idea. They are now developing multiple prototypes.

Spruce was thrilled.

This will allow him to discover various new bacteria. I hope this will lead to huge advancements in medical science.

On the way home, I talked to Serea about what happened earlier.

"You really know everything! I've never heard of immunity before."

"Actually, the reason I was hospitalised was because of a type of immune deficiency disease. The doctor explained it to me and my parents very well. There were also many children's books in the hospital for patients, and since it was a hospital, there were many books written by doctors. I read them all; including the biographies of Hideyo Noguchi and Shibasaburo Kitasato. That’s how I learned about it."

"Did you read about diphtheria there, too?"

"I remembered an anime set in a northern country where an outbreak of diphtheria happened. Because of a heavy blizzard, medicine couldn’t be delivered normally. So, a sled dog team delivered it, running over a thousand kilometres. It was based on a true story. I remembered that the cure at that time was blood serum.” [EN-2]

What’s an anime?

......Anyway, this is all quite extraordinary knowledge. Despite being only twelve years old, Serea may already have the highest medical knowledge in the country.

However, she only has experience as a patient and is not a doctor herself. Also, her memories are only until the age of ten. So, it would be better for her to only continue giving "hints" and leave the specialised medical research to professional researchers, like Spruce.

“And with this, we might have lowered the number of ‘capture targets’ by one!” [EN-3]

That’s right! Spruce is one of the heroines capture targets! [EN-4]

According to Serea's handmade strategy book, Spruce (a researcher at the academy) was kicked out because his research was not well accepted. So he became a biology teacher at Flora Academy.

There, he met the heroine who told him, ‘Your talent will surely be recognized someday. Please don't lose hope and continue your research.’ The heroine encourages him, and they fall in love and get married.

It is a forbidden love between a student and a teacher. I didn't mention it until now, but Spruce is quite a handsome man. He is cool, but he’s a bit of a weirdo.

Of course, later on, Spruce publishes one groundbreaking medical study after another. He became the best doctor in the country, and one of the top in the entire world. He also had the support of his wife, the heroine, as a bonus.

If we intervene and support Spruce to produce research results, he won't be expelled from the academy and won't become a teacher at Flora Academy. Therefore, he won't meet the heroine.

“Somehow it feels like we are doing something unfair to him……” (Serea)

“No, don’t look at it like that. When it comes to someone that talented, it's much better for them to contribute to the development of our country's medicine, rather than being all lovey-dovey with the heroine. I’m not doing this to get in the way of someone’s romance, you know? I don't have any ulterior motives.” (Shin)

I’m telling you, I honestly don’t.

[TN-1] I try to drop honorifics as much as possible from the translation and make it sound natural, but sometimes I feel I can’t remove it without slightly changing the meaning of the story so I leave them in those cases. If you think I should outright remove them in all cases please tell me.

[TN-2] If only you knew they were already married……

[TN-3] I don’t want to spam translator notes everywhere but I just had to comment. Isn’t this kind of a breach of etiquette on the side of Shin? A crown prince shouldn’t be someone who bows his head to a random researcher, no matter how much he respects his work.

[TN-4] Well, its not really a plant…

Tohru: To be fair, they didn’t give fungi its own kingdom until 1970ish, iirc (and I just realized, I don’t know if the whole world is/was using the same classification methods, though I do believe the “western world”™ was trying to keep it consistent). If we’re going off of their time period simile, it would still be in the plant kingdom.

[EN-1] I don’t care that he got a hint here. This guy is a legit genius. It took a whole team of people with support to figure serology out, and they already knew about bacteria and other concepts. This guy had to discover bacteria (with pushback/discrimination) himself and is still missing other necessary concepts and still figured it out from just that hint. Dude’s next level.

[EN-2] Gotta be Balto. I remember it as a good movie. Just a reminder that ‘based on a true story’ isn’t the same as ‘accurate portrayal’ if anybody decides to go watch it. Though the talking dogs SHOULD give that away…

[EN-3] Shouldn’t it be down by two, Shin? Are you still counting YOURSELF OPEN, SHIN!?

[EN-4] :O …Alright. The author got me on that twist. In hindsight, his specs “make sense” now.

Thrax: He got me too, honestly didn’t expect that.

If you want to contact me or just chat, you can join the Thrax translations discord: Here