The horse whined as it obeyed the driver's commands, propelling the red carriage towards the Palace. While inside the Carriage, Two individuals sat facing each other.
The ball was today and Han had put on a bejeweled blue suit to avoid any potential embarrassment in front of future patients. Being a plus one, he hadn't brought any gifts, but he had brought his strong-willed heart. Despite this, anxiety made his hands tremble. He attempted to calm himself down by remembering Sophie's words but instead grew frustrated, clicking his tongue in annoyance.
“I want you to meet my friends they would be interested in your cases since they're alchemists as well. Also, we can discuss the patients I plan to hand over to you”, said Rasial trying to change the tense atmosphere.
“I didn’t think you would consider this. Would the patients be all right switching since I’m a Physician?”, Han asked worriedly.
“Which is why I’ll introduce your accomplishments to them and I’m sure they will want to switch over then”, said Rasial confidently as if he had everything planned out.
Han leaned against the wall, feeling uncertain. "I hope so," he replied softly. He didn't think he had much to worry about on the quest since Rasial was extremely talkative and likely to do most of the work. However, Han still had to find the clues, which would be the most challenging part.
"Excuse me, Sir Rasial," Han asked curiously. "Could you tell me a bit about the guests invited to the ball?" He hoped that knowing the latest gossip might help him uncover the five clues he needed.
"Oh, a question! Let me think... The Physician Family, Alchemists, Herbalists, Dukes, Marquesses, Counts, Viscounts, Barons, their children, a handful of magicians, and warriors were all invited. That's all I can remember off the top of my head," answered Rasial.
Han was shocked by the number of people attending the ball. He couldn't believe he was going to such a crowded event; this was far beyond his usual comfort zone. The only reason he was pushing himself to go was because of the quest.
Rasial bombarded Han with a barrage of questions about the Clinic related to the cost and efficacy of the tetanus medication. Despite the exorbitant price, Rasial remained composed and understood the reasoning behind the Clinic's pricing. As they discussed the Clinic further, an hour went by. Han's worries also melted away as he readied himself for the impending event.
The carriage, embellished in lustrous red, glided to a halt at a magnificent edifice. It was one of several carriages that had congregated at the Palace, with guests making their way into the entrance ahead of them.
Rasial and Han alighted from the carriage and approached the castle's entrance. Han was spellbound by the majestic and refined architecture of the Palace, which gleamed like a dream. The guests nearby were attired in resplendent ballgowns and tuxedos, an indication of the grandeur of the occasion.
Han regretted not having a camera to capture the Palace's magnificence. As they were unaccompanied by any aides or bodyguards, they presented their invitation cards to the royal guard for admission. The guards were taken aback by their names and allowed them to pass without any queries.
As Han and Rasial made their way into the Palace's Ballroom, Han noticed that Rasial seemed uneasy. Curious, Han asked why, but Rasial simply shrugged and avoided eye contact. Although Han suspected something suspicious, he decided not to press the issue.
After a few moments, they arrived at the entrance of the Ballroom. A guard stood at the door, holding a spear in his hand. The guard asked for their names and titles, to which Rasial quickly replied with their respective professions. The guard nodded and announced their arrival: "Alchemist Rasial and Physician Han are entering!"
As they received the signal, Rasial and Han made their way into the Ballroom. The duo descended the staircase and were immediately greeted by the magnificent sight of the intricately decorated Ballroom. A few curious onlookers stole glances at them as they made their way inside.
Han, feeling a bit uneasy, kept his gaze fixed on the floor and avoided any eye contact. Rasial, on the other hand, led the way toward his alchemist friends. Han hoped that he could engage them in conversation, which would be a completion of a milestone. Then he could separate from Rasial and discreetly search for clues on his own.
"We've arrived," exclaimed Rasial happily, gesturing towards a pair sitting in the corner. "They've been my friends since the Academy," Rasial explained. "They aren't big fans of events like this either."
Han and Rasial walked over to the corner where two individuals were seated. One of the men had light brown hair and freckles, completely engrossed in a book. The other man stood pridefully in his casual attire. As they greeted each other, all four of them sat down on the nearby sofas.
Rasial kindly suggested, "Why don't you guys get to know each other while I go grab some drinks?" and headed towards the drink table. The freckles said putting his book aside, “My name’s Lynx, the son of a Viscount, and the other one here is Kace, son of a Baron”. All three of them nodded toward each other in reply.
“What do you do? If you know Rasial then you can't be normal. His talent detector always ceases to amaze me. So, what did he see in you, How did you meet?”, said Kace bombarding him with questions. He knew his Genius Alchemist friend would never associate himself with someone who wasn’t gifted at something.
Han was a little happy internally the way both of them talked to him put him at ease. He relaxed and smiling he said, “I’m a Physician and I opened a Clinic in the death forest. Your friend Rasial comes to visit me there often”.
"You must be the physician that Rasial spoke so highly of," Lynx commented while giving Han a look-over. Noticing Han's confusion, Lynx proceeded to explain just how much Rasial admires Han's talents.
Han blushed at the continuous praise. "I'm curious, what's it like being an alchemist?" he asked.
Lynx let out a stressed sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I don't want to talk about it," he replied.
Kace and Han both chuckled at Lynx's reaction.
With his hands full of drinks, Rasial couldn't help but smile at the sudden burst of laughter emanating from the table. His heart swelled with pride as he watched the young boy effortlessly blend in with his friends. It was a heartwarming sight that filled him with joy and contentment.