Ganghyuk felt terrible right now as they did not have any good soap. He cleaned himself tens of times, but it seemed he still had some of it left on him.
'Oh my God!' Ganghyuk smelled his hands and then shook his head.
The man who caused the incident was kneeling in the corner. Ganghyuk did not say anything, but he felt the former deserved some punishment.
Looking at Ganghyuk's frowning face, it seemed the man had to put his forehead, palms, knees, and toes to the ground, like a Buddhist way of asking for forgiveness.
However, it was impossible because the room was very small.
"Then, are you good?"
"Yes? Yes. No, sir. I am sorry, sir."
Ganghyuk looked at him and then saw his bare legs. He could not help taking his pants away from him. The man had persisted that he would wash and reuse the pants, but the former took them away from him and burned them nevertheless.
"Now, you can have bowel movements here. Use this." Ganghyuk said as he gave them a basin. It was quite a luxurious one because that was Ganghyuk's own, not one for dungs actually.
It was a shame to give it away, but he could not help it. He did not want to deal with stools again.
The man nodded. Although, he did not feel like going to the toilet again because he had already finished his business earlier on.
"Do it here? No, there are women here as well."
Other people who might have wanted to go to toilet later on were full of complaints. But, Ganghyuk had no intention to negotiate with them. Considering human rights, he should not be doing this. But, he could not allow them to go outside and spread viruses everywhere.
"You must do it here. Some time later, more people will come and they will help you."
"Yes, I sent an errand to the governor. He will send some soldiers."
"Governor? Oh my goodness!"
Hearing about the governor, the people who were complaining or about to protest gave up the though completely. They had realized Ganghyuk's status: he was clearly not a simple nobleman, as he could communicate with the governor.
They felt that they had no option but to follow his order, even when it seemed unreasonable and unfair.
Only antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications were left for the less serious patients. The Seonbanghwalmyeongeum which contained expensive ingredients was already finished. They were short of even Yanggyeoksan at this point.
But, he had to admit that the Seonbanghwalmyeongeum was more effective than he had imagined.
'Some patients in the warehouse have gotten better. Even the pus blisters have subsided.'
It was too fast for cowpox vaccine to be causing the effects. It was a shame though that they could not make more of Seonbanghwalmyeongeum.
'I hope Makbong does his job.'
Even though he was slow, he was a member of a performance group. He must be walking without a pause, and might have arrived there already.
The red sun was rising.
As Ganghyuk had thought, Makbong had hurried on his way without taking a rest. As a result, he arrived at Ganghyuk's house early morning.
"Tell me who you are." Seungmun asked with a sleepy-eyed face. If he were not on an errand from Ganghyuk, Seungmun would not have met him at all.
The look of Makbong was really strange. As Ganghyuk had told him, he was wearing gloves, a mask, and an operation cap.
"I am called Makbong, sir."
"Yes, I am serving Master Ganghyuk."
"Yes, he is the man." Okseok confirmed it from the side. He had seen Makbong going around with Ganghyuk a few times. It was only then that Seungmun found his face to be familiar as well.
"Then, why are you here so early in the morning?"
"Eh Sir, master Ganghyuk had smallpox"
Makbong had not encountered a high-ranking nobleman like Seungmun ever, so he was sweating profusely. He had practiced what he would say all the way to the house, but he forgot it all and used some incoherent words, which went in a totally different direction.
Seungmun rushed down to the yard without even wearing shoes, "What? Smallpox? Ganghyuk caught it?
"No, no Sir, master had something like immune."
"What are you saying?"
"He told me that we have it when we get pus from cow."
"What pus?" Seungmun stared at Makbong. Although the latter did not look like a bad guy, he was certainly a fool.
So, he gave up on finding about the facts from him.
"Why did he send you here?"
When Seungmun asked this question, Makbong thought of the note. He took out the paper while wearing the mask.
Ganghyuk had written the letter while taking care for it not to get contaminated.
"He asked for the herbs and people written in this letter."
"Herbs and people?"
Makbong mentioned smallpox often, so Seungmun felt that there must be something serious for sure.
"Do you mean there is a smallpox outbroke in the place where Ganghyuk is staying?"
"Yes, yes. That is what I wanted to tell you."
Seungmun was aware that Ganghyuk had gone to the mouth of Mt. Gwanggyo. It was not far from his place, so it meant smallpox could spread to here as well. Thinking of this, his face complexion became dark.
"It is a major thing indeed. Okseok, I need to go out."
"I will go to the governor. We may need help from government office."
Although Seungmun had many servants, the governor could mobilize more people at once, not to mention of the volume of herbs that they retained.
Seungmun had licorice and deer antlers that he received as present. While Seungmun prepared, Makbong did his work.
"Oooops! It is cold!"
Makbong washed his body in a corner of the kitchen. He was proud of his lice in his hair and body. Therefore, he felt shame when he saw the dirty water flowing from his body. He even felt that he had lost some of his lifespan.
'But, he ordered me to do this, so I should follow.'
He said that if he did not do it, it could bring a disaster to Suwon.
"He told me to burn the clothes."
Thus, Makgbong burnt the clothes and gloves in the furnace, and then changed into clothes that Ganghyuk gave him. They were Dolseok's clothes, and they fit him well.
"Where is he?" Seungmun was already dressed up, and was looking for Makbong. Makbong had to run to him with wet hair.
"What did you do?"
"Master Ganghyuk told me to wash my body right after meeting you."
He remembered that Ganghyuk bathed nearly everyday, and even implicitly asked Seungmun to do the same.
"I see. Let's go. Hurry up."
With Sungmun's remark, a group of servants followed. Okseok guided the way by taking a horse by the reins.
Seungmun told the rest of servants after getting onto the horse, "Go to Ganghyuk with licorice and rice."
It was still very dark, and the curfew was not lifted yet. Seungmun looked at Makbong, who was dripping right now.
'Then, how could he come here?'
Nobody could have imagined that his vulgar work to satisfy widows could save many lives one day.
Seungmun tilted his head, but he drove his horse without asking any questions. He was a nobleman, so did not feel like asking servants too many questions.
It was a big group, so a patrol came to them.
Seungmun drove his horse without stopping, but they could see his face in the moonlight.
"Yes I need to go to the governor because of an emergency. Guide me."
As the patrol escorted his group, it turned to be quite a scene. Makbong had a strange feeling while moving with the group. He used to evade patrol, but was being escorted by them right now.
"We are here, sir."
"Ok, let him know that I am here."
He could not enter without notice, because it was too early. Fortunately, Kim Yungil was a very polite man to his seniors, and came out quickly to meet him.
"Sir, what brought you here in the early morning?"
"How are you?"
"I am good, sir."
Actually, Seungmun had woken him up from his sound sleep.
"I think you know that Ganghyuk went to the mouth of Mt. Gwanggyo, right."
He had sent a servant to get Viagra a few days ago. It seemed nothing special back then.
"Smallpox has arrived at the village there. He has sent a person to get some help."
"What? Smallpox?" He shouted with startled eyes. His reaction was even stronger than Seungmun's. It had happened in his jurisdiction, so he had to report it to the superiors.
"Yes. It must be correct because Ganghyuk diagnosed it himself."
"It is a big thing. I will go now."
"He said he would need these herbs."
"I will let the servants prepare them."
He wore an official uniform and rode a horse. He did not take a sedan chair this time, as he knew it was an urgent situation.
He went straight to Mt. Gwanggyo with Seungmun.
Following the horses were shamans and a cow to be sacrificed for the ritual. Some of fellows from Aeogae performance group were mixed in the group as well.
Seungmun shook his head as he did not like the composition of the group.
"Do you want to take them to the place?"
"What should we do? We need to console God Smallpox."
"Do you think it will work?"
"It will pacify the people at least."
With the disaster called smallpox, there were not many things that they could do. But, the government had to do something for them.
"You are right. I did not think of that."
"I thought of it as a duty being a government official."
With that, Seungmun and the governor hurried on their way.
Dang, dang, dang!
At that time, the bell rang to announce that the curfew had been lifted.
"Here That is the village." Makbong pointed at the place discharging smoke.
"It is not really small." The governor murmured with a dark face.
It seemed to have more than 200 households. Considering the neighborhood, the affected area could cover around 1,000 households.
"We need to hurry."
Makbong had great strength; they could not believe that he had walked all night. When he accelerated, everybody followed him briskly.
As the group was quite big, the movement almost trembled the earth.
Du du du!
Ganghyuk felt the vibration. Most of the people were lain on the floor, so they all felt it.
"Is it an earthquake?" Ganghyuk got up with puzzled eyes.
Yeoni shook her head, "No, sir. There come the soldiers."
At first, he thought he had overslept. But, it was not the case. It was still early in the morning.
'I must finish injecting as I am already awake.'
Ganghyuk opened the bag while rubbing his sleepy eyes. The syringes inside were renewed, as he expected.
He looked at the ox that they brought the day before and found that it had discharged pus again.
As he was taking the pus from the ox, Heo Jun came to him, "Can I help you with anything?"
His face was desperate, as if he would cry if rejected. He reminded Ganghyuk of the pediatrics professor in Chungmu Hospital.
'He wants to see a patient so badly.' Ganghyuk wondered for a while. 'It has not been a day full since he got the shot.'
But, he had the shot anyway, and he was a very strong and healthy man. Furthermore, he wore a mask and cap.
"Okay. But, do not touch them with your bare hands.'
"Thank you. What can I do?"
"Let's inject it to less serious patients. And then"
As he was about to continue, the door was opened suddenly, and the governor and Seungmun came in riding on their horse.s
They had brought the soldiers and herbs that Ganghyuk had been waiting for desperately.