“Oh, yes. I made you divulge a private matter. My apologies,” Emma hurriedly said.
“No, no,” Layna shook her head and smiled. “Besides, everyone is perplexed as well when they hear about my educational background.”
At that moment, there was something gnawing at Emma’s mind, so she abruptly asked, “By the way, did Lord Limon write your employee contract himself?”
“No. He is currently sick, so I did it through Chairman Collin, who was introduced by Countess Karina.”
Emma tried her best to manage her expression after hearing this reply from Layna. Was this as she had guessed? Layna was perhaps one of Countess Karina’s personnels. Suspicion arose in Emma’s mind about Karina’s motive to forge a contract with the Royal Academy’s pharmacist, but she smiled politely, withholding her true thoughts.
“You have a lot of herbs. It’s like my old pharmacy,” Emma commented, scanningt he surroundings.
The name tags of the herbs packed in the drawers from the floor to ceiling were meticulously organized, and on one side of the shelf was a pile of herbs ready for preparation. Among them, Emma’s eyes were fixated on an opaque locked drawer.This security device means that it was a rare or expensive drug. Perhaps because of that, there were simple letters like a secret passcode on the nametag. This was so that when a thief or an outsider came, they couldn’t distinguish what kind of herb it was. Nevertheless, for anyone who dealt with medicine regularly it was easy to notice.
Emma, who quickly studied the series of abbreviations, figured out what kind of medicine it was.
“Have you ever done business with our pharmacy? I thought it would be hard to get enough to fill these drawers,” she continued.
Sumerville’s Herman Pharmacy had become famous because of its countless secret preparations and excellent purification skills. Since Emma’s father had monopolized almost every preparation, secretion and purification technique, the pharmacy had no choice but to close with his passing. But Emma had always sat next to her father, who worked in secret. But between one’s own flesh and blood, there were no secrets.
“That I am not sure about,” Layna answered, “these are medicinal herbs that have been around for a long time. So, when I took my position, there was no ledger.”
Emma pondered the timeline. Layna had taken over two years ago, so there was only one year and a half left on her contract.
“Your late father was famous for his purification methods at his pharmacy. Of course, despite being a regional pharmacy, he was often praised for being the best in the Kingdom of Berken. I believe that must be why I… took this position without realizing it.”
“It could happen,” Emma nodded understandably. “The pride of the royal academy cannot be stopped. Judging from your expression, you two must have been close. Is that right?”
“In fact, I miss him dearly…”
From then on, Emma chatted with Layna about less pressing matters. Layna was casual and soft with Emma since she was the daughter of an alumnus. Emma felt comfortable for the first time in a long time, almost the same way an aunt treated her niece.
After a long chat, Emma asked if she could buy herbs that were available in the pharmacy. After checking her inventory, Layna said it was no problem and handed Emma the herbs she wanted, and then she promised to get the herbs that were not in the pharmacy herself as soon as possible.
“Well, you can’t use these as is,” Layna nodded.
Emma quickly replied, “I’m going to ask permission from the secretary to use the alchemy lab.”
“Oh, if you do, then there is no need for me to let you borrow my facilities.”
“Right. By the way, Layna, don’t you use a separate alchemy lab? I was wondering if it would be a problem if I use it for too long.”
“No. I don’t use it at all. This pharmacy is well-equipped.”
“I see. Well, I’ll see you next time. Thank you so much for your hospitality.”
“Okay. I will keep in touch once I have the herbs.”
Laute had no choice but to make the payment for the herbs, and as soon as they left through the door, he urged Emma to pay him back. “My salary as a secretary is very low. You must repay me, madam,” he said.
“Of course! I understand,” she replied.
After making the promise to him, Emma took the herbs and headed toward the alchemy lab.
She placed the pile of herbs on a spacious workbench, lit a lamp and took out a clean flask, distiller, reagent, cylinder, distributor, and presser. Then she began to extract the raw materials skillfully.
As Laute was observing, he asked, “You boil them as is, madam?”
“Yes. Mix the ingredients and double-heat them separately,” Emma answered without taking her yes off the process.
Laute excitedly watched the beginning stage of the process, but when the boring repetitiveness continued, he dragged himself over to a chair by the closet and sat down, yawning. After two hours of hard work, the extraction work which had required high precision and concentration was completed.
‘Finally done,’ Emma thought with satisfaction.
Emma mixed the finished extracts to a set ratio, put the mixture in glass bottles, and shook them well. The dark green liquid sloshing inside the smooth bottles looked strange and mysterious.
“This is it,” she announced.
“Oh!” Laute eprked up, “it’s already complete?” He yawned and scratched his head, eyes half-opened. “Most curious… the color I mean. How does it taste, madam?”
“Do you want a sip?”
Laute moved his head back in disgust when she mischievously offered him a taste. “No. I am fine, madam. I am just curious about the taste.”