There was already a physician on the estate. Roman explained to me that he never went anywhere without one before I had been healed, as his disease often made him prone to various maladies. Not to mention that sometimes, in his attempts to keep moving (for to stop moving would only allow the overgrowing bones to debilitate him more), snapping the finer strands of bones sometimes fractured his primary bones, the ones he actually needed. It was all mildly fascinating to me, and he probably sensed that, which is why he even went into such detail at all.
“I’ve talked to Priest Miurian about your magic,” he told me in the carriage. “And he informed me you had the magical capacity of nothing less than a Saintess. Thus, if the king or others were to discover this, even the name of Dustave wouldn’t be able to keep you in my possession. But, never fear, I’ve thought of a way around this, and it is to be called on as the ducal physician rather than just solely a healer. That way we can report that you only have moderate talent while you disguise as much of your healing as you can as simple medicine.”
I’d be working as an apprentice under the physician currently at the estate until he decided I was ready to work as a doctor. This would give me the added skill of being able to heal others without using my magic at all, if necessary.
It was so in line to what I had previously planned on being, albeit for children, that I was quite happy with this development. This fellow was proving he had a brain behind that pretty face, which was always the new sexy–which I shut down as soon as I thought it. No way in hell was I going to be a Duchess. Wasn’t being a noble all about politics and conspiracy and socializing? Or eating too much meat and dying of colon rupture? That had to be the farthest thing from my little cottage in the middle of nowhere.
Hiss. People. Colon rupture.
Then Roman had to mention my pay and that started me fussing. Because, good crap, he was already giving me a room, board, and training and educating my ‘son,’ what the hell was left to pay for?
“You’re forgetting that your abilities come only once every few hundred years,” he said.
I gave him the stink eye for that. Didn’t he say he wasn’t going to pay me for anything I did under god’s orders? It was like getting paid for someone else’s work.
“No it’s not. Just accept the damn money,” said Gus, who hadn’t spoken the whole time and only chose to squeeze in now, and with the tone of a weary parent to a child having a tantrum.
I did some huffing and nose wrinkling, mostly offended by his high and mighty attitude (you’re just a KID!!! I’m the adult!), but reluctantly accepted the phenomenal pay which was three times the amount of what I had been earning as a tavern waitress.
“Do not use it to buy food,” said Gus, leaving out the ‘for me’ at the end.
“I’ll spend it however I please.” So shut up, you unfilial son, I add silently.
I’m not your son, came from somewhere at my elbow.
Damn it, when had he gotten his hand on me? I shook off his fingertips peeking and speaking into my mind and ignored Gus’s pout.
All that aside, I did enjoy the ride. Fancy pants carriages for the win. Car rides could go suck it. ‘Twas super comfy, yo.
At the mansion, my next culture shock came in the form of the room Roman had prepared for me.
“This is not a doctor’s room.”
It was a freaking princess room. Four poster bed with lavish curtains, covered in tassel trim and embroidery, and probably big enough to sleep an entire family, which could then be cooked one at a time in the over-sized fireplace. Everything was marble, squishy art-happy rugs, big windows, fancy expensive furniture and bookshelves–hell, it wasn’t a bedroom, it was a full on apartment! Minus a kitchen. All topped with a sky-high ceiling. Okay, just a really high ceiling, but after living the past six or so months being able to touch the ceiling if I raised my hand up, it was sky high.
The bathroom might have been tame if it didn’t have the legendary plumbing magic that Nehcor had whispered to me about–including a toilet! An actual toilet! Not a chamber pot or an outhouse or a hole in the ground!
“The faucets take three high level enchanters to accomplish it,” said Roman, seemingly entertained by Gus and I’s slack jaws. “A water, fire, and earth wizard. It gives hot or cold water on demand.”
And the tub could fit a whole stinking family too, good god.
“Gus and I get to stay here?” I somehow got out.
“Oh, this is just for you. Gus has a room besides this one. It’s suppose to be a servant’s quarter for a personal maid or footman, but I’ve done it up a bit for him. When Spring comes I’ll set him up in the bunker with the rest of the trainees to make it easier on him and so the boys don’t gossip too much about him. Though I figured you’d want him nearby.”
Yes. Roman had been very thoughtful and very right. If Gus had had his own big ass apartment, I’d probably end up sleeping in his room at some point instead. Man, I was pathetic.
Gus, however, was frowning.
“I’m not her son,” he said. “It’s inappropriate to have me in a room attached to hers.”
That threw Roman off. While I watched the nobleman rush to figure out what to say to that, I covered my heating face and groaned.
“Damascus,” I said. “Can you please think before you speak?”
The kid had the audacity to frown at me.
“Don’t what me and don’t make me explain. The room’s wonderful, Roman.”
Roman frowned uncertainly. “I can still set something else up.”
“No, if he keeps complaining, he can just go to the barracks early.”
Gus scowled, but didn’t respond to that, probably because he knew he’d lose face if he complained.
Yes, I may suffer for it, and he may too, but brother damn it if I didn’t need to give this bratty teenager more tough love. I was here for him, not for my comfort.
I was still so embarrassed after the tour that I took the first excuse to kick Gus away to bed. Roman was all too happy to give me an excuse for some adult time by offering me some tea, even telling a maid to send up some sandwiches to Gus just in case the light dinner hadn’t been enough. It soothed my mama nerves greatly, which seemed to believe Gus needed as many meals as a hobbit.
Roman was even tactful enough to quell his chattiness for the first little while as I hugged the teacup to my face and sipped in silence. We weren’t in the green reception room he had taken me to last time, but in his office, which somehow managed to hole even more comfortable couches. For being an office, the massive desk took up only a small percentage of it. Most was taken up by the sitting area in front of the fireplace and bookshelves, which I planned on sniffing at some point. It had been too long between me and books.