Scrubbing the plates with an old cloth, Linnea recited the herbs that could be used for stomach-aches.

"Heartburn is treated with slippery elm, but not ginger and peppermint, which can make things worse. Peppermint, ginger, fennel and chamomile are used for general digestion and relieving gas and constipation. Diarrhea is treated with dissolved crushed coriander seed in hot water before meals..."

"Hey Linnea," Tino called, waving his hand in front of his sister's face. Linnea jumped and dropped the plate into the sink. 

"Muttering about how to solve other's gas problems?" he teased. Linnea sighed and rolled her eyes, placing the plate and cloth in their proper places. 

"You can be so immature sometimes, Tino."

"What? I would expect Bjoren to test you on methods to bind wounds or something. Isn't that what healers do?"

"That's what everyone should know how to do, dummy. It's not like anyone will arrive to us after a fifteen minute excursion to the middle of town for their wounds to be bound. They would have bled to death by then."

"So you don't know how?"

"Of course I know how!" Linnea huffed, crossing her arms, "Now if you would excuse me, I'll be heading off to my training placement."

"Aw, so soon, Linnea? I wanted to tell you about your new fellow apprentice."

Linnea paused, and Tino grinned and cheered, "Finally, my work-obsessed sister wants to listen to something I have to say!"

She sighed and sat down on one of the dining chairs, fingers rubbing into her temples. 

"Alright. What about him? I really have to get going soon."

"Oh, you knew he was a guy? Did you know that he's Berwald and Matthias' cousin?"

"What? Really? Shouldn't he be in the army then?"

"Dunno. You'd think a guy from a well-known family would be recruited. But then again, Matthias got away from it."

"Pfft. Because he goofed everything up. On purpose. I don't even understand how that guy got away with it."

"Well this guy isn't anything like Matthias. I was standing there, minding my own business when he came into Berwald's house, and when I asked him if I do anything for him, he tripped me! Who does that to people? Why are you looking at me like that?"

"What did you say to him?"

"Oh, just something like... 'may I help you, m'lady?' or whatever..."

Linnea broke down in laughter, clutching at her stomach and bent over onto the dining table, trying to catch a breath. Tino flushed and complained,

"He was wearing a hooded cape, I couldn't see him well! Who wears those when it's bright and sunny outside anyway? Plus, he looks feminine enough to be a girl anyway."

"I-it doesn't change the fact that you called him a g-girl! And next time, try to be more stable on your own t-two feet. It's kind of hard to trip you if you're not even walking in the first place."

Linnea wiped away her tears, chuckling at Tino's offended face and headed toward the door, leaving with a light wave. Tino smiled to himself when he heard the door click shut. He had finally succeeded in making his ever-working sister lighten up.

Clutching her notebook in her hand, Linnea recited the last list of herbs while she stepped into the village square, accidentally bumping into someone. Looking up, she realised there was a crowd of girls surrounding the healer's shop. Linnea paused for a second, wracking her brain for what might have brought so many people to the healer's all at once. Spotting Helsa, Linnea pushed and pried her way through the small crowd, and tapped the girl on the shoulder. Helsa turned around with a bright smile and Linnea felt slightly better.

"Hey Linnea, you're finally here!"

"Hi Helsa. Do you mind telling me what exactly is going on here?"

"Oh, remember how I told you that one of the newcomers was a really gorgeous guy? He's more gorgeous than anyone ever expected! He's just a beauty to look at!"

"Is that seriously why everyone is here?"

"Not everyone. Sonja's home pouting about unfaithful wives or something. Come! You have got to see him!"

"Er, Helsa, I just need to get to Bjoren... I'm supposed to be evaluated today."

Helsa shot her a look of pity, confusing Linnea, but she brushed it off and waved goodbye before making her way through the last few girls in the crowd and into the store. At the tinkling sound of the door, she saw her mentor come around the corner into the reception area. The short, gruff man lit up with a smile at the sight of his apprentice.

"Ah, Linnea! There you are. I suppose you want to meet the new apprentice before we 
get started today? He's a wonderful healer, I'm sure you'll like him, if the crowd of girls outside the store window is any indication."

Linnea chuckled nervously, "I suppose so? Is he setting up the potion and medicine display?"

"Oh, no. He's making a sleeping potion for children."

"What?! In the sun room? I thought that potion wasn't supposed to be exposed to too much light!"

"Haha, I knew you would catch onto that, Linnea. The boy's a magician as well! He can protect the potion while entertaining our customers!"

At this point, Linnea just wanted to sigh. She wasn't sure if she was jealous that the new apprentice was allowed to make a delicate potion that she wasn't allowed to learn yet, or if she was exasperated at her mentor for thinking of their patients as customers. 

"Well then, I'll call him in, he should be almost done by now. We don't want all the girls to be jealous seeing you in there with him, now do we?" Bjoren winked at her and left the room. Linnea sat down in the receptionist's chair and tapped on her notebook with annoyance. She wasn't quite sure if she liked this newcomer.

The End

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