Episode 4 – Glaucoma and Court Painter Dale (Part 3)
Falma listened to Baron Dale’s story and visited the San Flueve Imperial Capital Parish’s Head Priest.
The Head Priest raised his spirits so much because of Falma’s visit, welcoming him with great vigor. It is said that the sanctuary would get strengthened when Falma would visit the temple.
「Thank you for coming. What could we help you with?」
「I want to ask for advice from the Head Priest」
「Advice from this lowly one! Ahh, how honored I am!」
The Head Priest and the other Priests started their prayer of thanks, so Falma decided to get to the point quickly.
「The Baron told me that he could see human parts appearing and disappearing, severed heads floating in the air, and the space distorting. Are there evil spirits who do bad things like that? I did not see a dark shadow from the Baron himself though……」
「Please excuse me for saying this, but evil spirits are not like that」
The Head Priest Solomon sharply denied.
「Normal evil spirits would get erased by the Medicine God-sama’s sanctuary and any divine arts user would be able to see notorious great evil spirits with their eyes」
「That means, it’s not an evil spirit?」
「That should be the case」
(Then, what is happening? It shouldn’t be brain disease too. Is it just the Baron’s imaginations? Is he seeing hallucinations from being too tired?)
「Ah, I see. It’s eye disease」
Falma who returned to his pharmacy dropped a fist to his palm in realization. Lotte reacted to the words disease of the eye.
「But, do those things happen with the disease of the eyes?」
「The human brain unconsciously supplements the parts that are not visible. You want to do an experiment?」
「What are we going to do? I, is my eyes sick?」
「Lotte’s aren’t, but anyone could try and experience it」
Falma placed his apothecary badge and Lotte’s court painter badge side by side on a patterned handkerchief and spread that handkerchief towards Lotte.
「Close one of your eyes and look at Lotte’s badge without moving your eye. I’ll make the handkerchief slowly move closer to Lotte. My badge would disappear」
「Falma-sama’s badge disappeared!」
「That’s what’s called as “blind spot”. And, the place where the badge was, what happened to it now?」
「There’s the handkerchief’s pattern! Why?!」
「That phenomenon. Lotte thought that there’s something wrong with the part she can’t see, so the “hole” where the badge should be was supplemented by the pattern around it」
「Waa〜?! I didn’t do something like that!」
「It’s something that you do unconsciously after all. Normally, as long as you can see with both eyes, your eyes would supplement each other creating a complete image」
Lotte swallowed her breath. It looks like she noticed.
「Probably, Baron Dale is doing the same thing inside his head. It’s just, the loss of his vision is too big, so there is a discrepancy in his recognition」
「Can you tell the Baron to come tomorrow to the pharmacy? It’s better to heal it quickly」
「He’s not possessed by an evil spirit but sick huh」
「That’s right. Well, it’s still a mere conjecture at the moment」
「Will the Baron come?」
Lotte felt worried. She thought that the Baron might feel displeased being told by a lass to come because he’s sick, and furthermore, she thought that it might be impolite.
「I’ll write a letter」
The next day, Lotte timidly gave the Falma’s letter to Baron Dale.
He opened the letter and saw a lattice pattern drawn.
「What is this?」
“If this pattern looks distorted or if there is a part missing, please come to the Different World Pharmacy.”
Such annotations were written as well.
Despite making a face of displeasure, Baron Dale still came to the pharmacy at that day.
「What do you know?! Does the pharmacy diagnose patients possessed by evil spirits these days? It’s better if to go to the temple」
「Well, please calm down. It’s a check-up including that」
While Baron Dale was complaining, Falma activated his diagnosis eye facing him. And then, the Baron’s eyes were lit with red light although they were minuscule. It looks like the lights were too small that Falma missed them before.
Falma narrows it down to a few disease names.
「”Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG)”」
It hit. It’s an eye disease, with the intraocular pressure rising and creates optic nerve damage. On Earth, it is the second greatest cause of blindness.
「Baron, this is a disease called Glaucoma」
「What did you say? I’ve never heard about that」
「I named it right now after all」
Falma used the tools and magnification device that he prepared beforehand and conducted a fundoscopy and perimetry test.
「You can see with half of your left vision. Your right has a huge defect. If it was left alone, in the worst case, you would turn blind」
Falma showed him the result of the perimetry test.
「What?! Can it be healed? Is there a cure for it? I’ll pay you anything」
Baron Dale was frightened. If he were blinded, not to mention quitting his job, there would also be difficulties in his daily life. Falma slowly shook his head.
「Unfortunately, there is no way to improve its condition right now」
Falma honestly answered that he could not cure it. It also shows red in his Diagnosis Eye.
Optical nerves that had once died cannot recover. Although there is a possibility if iPS cells were used, there is no experimental environment and ophthalmologist in this world so it is impossible. Early detection would be the key.
「I am going to live in the darkness from now on……? Ahh, what punishment is this……」
The Baron showed a face of despair, as if he was thrown into the bottom of the abyss.
「However, if you use medicine, we can stop its progress」
「Is that true?!」
Falma prescribed eye drops that could stop the progress of glaucoma and lower the intraocular pressure of his eye. Falma explained that although it can prevent blindness, the effect of the medicine is unknown unless the treatment was started.
「Let’s take care of your remaining vision」
「Thank you. I plan on spending the rest of my life quietly in the countryside」
「Please make sure to come and get your medicine」
「Yes, I know」
Baron Dale showed his gratitude, bowing to Falma while holding his medicine bag. Seeing his back that looked thinner, Falma called out to him.
「Uhm, excuse me. Baron. Can you continue drawing the world without retiring? After all, you are not possessed by evil spirits」
「I cannot see the world as it is? How can I continue paint portraits?」
He had already given up, thinking that his life as an artist has ended. Everything that comes out of his mouth was mixed with a sigh.
「How about drawing the transfigured world, instead of portraits?」
Falma had an idea and suggested it to him.
「How about making a canvas out of the new world that you obtained?」
Comforted by Falma, the Baron gained an urge to create art.
「……I don’t have the confidence, but……I should try while I can still see. I don’t want to regret」
In short, Falma thought that even if his paintings would not be portraits, it would still have value as modern art.
The completed creation of Baron Dale was presented to the Empress.
However, the Baron himself did not think that there would be a value in that painting. Even so, he created it with all of the passion of his soul, using everything that he has to express it. As a result, he presented to the Empress something that could be called the culmination of the life of a painter.
The Baron respectfully bowed, waiting for the Empress’s words, trembling in fear that she would disparage his work as rubbish.
The Empress who faced the artwork wordlessly viewed it for a while. And lastly, she groaned once.
It was a comment that one cannot distinguish whether its a praise or criticism.
「I cannot understand this picture, but my heart is shaken. It feels as if I have seen it somewhere, but yet, it feels like a new worldview. It is not bad. No, instead, it might be good」
The Empress’s eyes were planted on the artwork.
What she could see there is a painting that has an impact, as if reality suddenly connected with fantasy, objects that are impossible in reality combined, a new kind of art, one that could be called as Dépaysement on Earth.
After that, Baron Dale who had retired as a Court Portrait Painter was hired continuously as a Court Painter. He continued to create artworks about fantasies showing a different, dream-like world in his canvas, while receiving the warm welcome of the court itself. Sometimes, it was distorted space; sometimes, it was deformed human bodies. It was an extraneous art that breaks common sense, combining different kinds of concepts.
Its innovative expression method possessed a strange attraction, it swept the national salon, and became The Movement. His personal exhibition was a great success with customers coming every day to see it. There was also the ceramics and handicrafts designed by Lotte and created by craftsmen displayed in his personal exhibition, which likewise, received a similar popularity.
「I am really indebted to Falma-dono. All of this success is thanks to you. I hope you would accept this」
A huge oil painting that has a tremendous amount of price value was delivered to the House of Médicis along with that letter. When the cloth cover was taken off, what appeared was a fantasy painting that seemed to reflect somebody’s dream world. It was a masterpiece.
「T-Thank you very much. Father will be delighted as well」
Its size was huge, so it could only be displayed in the entrance hall.
「U〜n, like this……?」
(This style of painting, I think I’ve seen it before. Something like Madrid or Dali)
While looking at the Baron Dale’s artwork displayed in the House of Médicis’s entrance hall that was too surreal and even grotesque for some, Falma thought that Baron Dale might have become the one who created the surrealism movement in this world.
It was said that from then on, it was so unique that Lotte and Blanche stopped walking in front of the painting in the entrance hall in the middle of the night.