He awoke into a world of pain. He felt as if his blood had been replaced with hot acid, and the skin of his hand felt as if it had been burnt off. Fighting against his own partially paralyzed muscles, he forced his eyes open.
He was in a barn, though he did not remember how he had gotten there. It seemed to be night. What had happened? Gingerly, he sat upright and looked around.
"You're alive," observed a man seated in a chair nearby. "There aren't many who can boast that after receiving a handful of undiluted dragon's venom."
"Lucky me," Seymour rasped, feeling as though his throat was full of gravel. He himself was not sure whether or not that comment was sarcastic. Slowly, his memory was beginning to come back to him, and he was able to recall his circumstances. "You're a doctor, aren't you?"
"Please, I need something to ease the pain."
The doctor knelt down next to him and touched the Aechyed's forehead with the back of his hand. "It should diminish when your fever breaks. I have nothing that can help without endangering you, but I can bring you some water."
Seymour nodded and lay back down. The doctor left.
It was all quite obvious now. He did not know how he had missed it. Mr. Roberts had entered a hog into the competition, found out that Ms. Ambers had done the same, and had known that his pig had no chance against Apples. In desperation, perhaps because he needed the prize money, he had set out to poison Apples. However, the vial of the dragon's venom had leaked upon his skin, and it took affect as he was leaning over the fence of Apples pen, and he had fallen dead inside. Apples had begun to eat him when Ms. Ambers had happened upon the scene, and suspecting what had happened, she removed the body from Apples' reach before the hog consumed enough of the poison to be put at risk. Then, not knowing what else to do with the corpse, she had dragged it to MacAskell's barnyard and buried it.
Seymour smiled ironically at the ceiling. He needn't have ever involved himself.