< — Damian — > (4)
Anna returned from her outing with her hands full of books tied up in a string. These days, she had been working on finding a cure for the Duchess.
She had combed through the bookstore and collected all the books related to medicinal herbs and she had asked the owner of the bookstore to contact her whenever a related book came in.
As Anna walked through the castle gates and entered the castle, she saw Dorothy, a middle-aged woman that she was usually close to, some distance away. She wanted to raise her voice and greet Dorothy but because Dorothy was holding onto a man and fussing over him subserviently, Anna simply watched blankly.
‘From his attire, he doesn’t seem like someone in a high position…’
When they separated, Anna approached Dorothy.
“Who was that? I think I’m just seeing them for the first time.”
“The first time? Well, he is indeed someone full of wanderlust. That person is the Duke’s doctor.”
“The Duke’s doctor? Why have I never seen such a person?”
“You haven’t stayed long in the castle. We didn’t hear any news from him for a few years then he returned, stayed for a few days and left again. This time, he’s stayed for almost two or three months. I don’t know when he’ll be leaving again.”
“Is it okay for a doctor to just leave like that?”
“Because our Duke is so strong, he doesn’t really need a doctor. We often joke that the most idle person here is the Duke’s doctor. But there is no one here that doubts his ability after all, our youngest had almost died but lived thanks to him.”
Even though Anna was talking to Dorothy, she kept glancing in the direction that Philip had disappeared.
The next day, Anna went to find Philip at his residence. It was wooden house nestled at the corner of the outer walls. There was thick tree near the house, making it seem even more remote.
A primary physician should be able to arrive as early as possible if there was an emergency, which was why Anna stayed inside the castle. Although it was said that he was the Duke’s primary doctor, he always left his position to go on vacations, never looked for the Duke, and his residence was far away.
Somehow, there seemed to be an inside story to all of it. Just in time, Anna finally found Philip sitting on a chair in the backyard.
“Hello, Sir Philip. I am Anna, the Duchess’ doctor. I heard that the Duke’s doctor was around so I came meet you and at the same time, give my greetings.”
The old man with a somewhat odd air around him watched Anna slowly, as though he were searching her face, then he displayed a good natured smile.
“Nice to meet you. You can just call me Philip.”
“For me too, just call me Anna.”
“You’re a precious guest, come in. I will bring out some tea.”
Philip’s friendly response caused Anna’s heart that was little nervous to relax and she followed him inside the house.
They drank tea, exchanged a few meaningless pleasantries and after a few words, the conversation became increasingly more about topics related to medicine. Because they were both doctors, it was a common topic that they could talk about for even a whole day. During the conversation they had, Anna admired two things.
Philip’s polite and elegant attitude and his medical knowledge. It was an occasion where the occupation of a doctor and the status of a noble Baron merged flawlessly.
Although, as a doctor, Anna’s interest was more focused on Philip’s medical knowledge.
‘This person is skilled.’
Anna couldn’t keep up with Philip’s intelligence. Doctors usually have a unique treatment method that only themselves know about, or have some understanding concerning diseases but when Philip spoke, there was nothing he didn’t know. Or rather, he would even suggest an easier treatment method.
‘If it’s him… he might know about Her Grace’s symptoms.’
From the start, Anna’s original purpose was to seek advice regarding the Duchess’ symptoms. However, unlike the general sicknesses, the Madam’s symptoms were a personal secret. It continuously bothered her conscience as a doctor because a patient’s secret must strictly be protected. Even if they were doctors that worked in the same place, she couldn’t readily talk about the symptoms.
Even if Anna looked at another patient, she was still the primary doctor of the Duchess. It wasn’t something that she could just close her eyes and deny.
Anna eventually decided on simply studying as much books as she could, then she departed from Philip’s residence.
As Anna was returning from meeting Philip, she was summoned by Jerome.
“I called you because I have something to say. It seems you met Sir Philip today.” (Jerome)
“I…Are you monitoring me?” (Anna)
“Ah, don’t misunderstand. The one under surveillance isn’t you, Anna but Sir Philip.”
In the past, the Duke had appeared quite displeased when he heard of Sir Philip living within the castle. It was very rare for his master to reveal his feelings.
Jerome didn’t know the details but he could tell that there was something more to it so he placed more eyes around Philip to watch him closely. Jerome’s tight surveillance started some time ago, from the moment Philip arrived at the city of Roam. But Jerome did not know that there was another set of eyes monitoring Philip.
They were hidden guards at Damian’s side and one of their missions was to block Philip from approaching Damian. Because Damian had returned to Roam, Philip was now under double monitoring.
“I’m not saying that you cannot meet him. You also don’t have to tell me what you have talked about. But you cannot allow Sir Philip meet Her Grace or mention anything about him to her. I have been instructed to not allow Her Grace to learn of Sir Philip’s existence.” (Jerome)
Anna wanted to ask why. There was many things about this that she couldn’t understand but Anna was just a doctor. If the ones above say so, she had to follow.
“If you don’t mind us meeting then…Sir Philip is a competent doctor. Is it okay for me to ask for advice on a cure for Her Grace?”
Jerome thought about it for a moment.
“If it’s just that, then it’s fine. But, Her Grace can only know it as your treatment.”
Because being under surveillance from her superiors was an extremely uncomfortable thought, Anna did not go to find Philip for a few days. But when it occurred to her that Philip might go on another trip and they would only be able to meet in the distant future, she grew nervous. Eventually, she went back to see Philip.
Philip looked happy to have a guest and his expression was very kind. All the way here, Anna had been full of anxiety.
What kind of person was he that he had to be monitored? Did he commit a great evil?
She was nervous and worried that she might be dragged into this pointlessly but in the face of Philip’s hospitality, she felt unnecessarily guilty.
‘If he did something evil, then surely he wouldn’t just be under surveillance. Sir. Philip is a doctor but he’s also a baron, so it’s probably some kind of political issue.’
And so, afterwards, Anna steadily visited Philip. A doctor’s knowledge was practically their property so Anna grew to sincerely respect the Philip that taught her freely.
As for Philip, since he was always alone, having a friend that he could have a conversation with made his life much more enjoyable.
He folded his thoughts of leaving soon and spent his time conversing with Anna or sometimes going outside the castle with her and offering their medical services to the poor.
The relationship between the two was very similar to one between a master and his disciple.