Chapter 111 – 115 An Understated Dominance
Looking at Natasha’s closed eyes and puckered lips, she exuded a seductive aura that left Dustin stunned.
“What’s wrong with your mouth? Does it hurt or something?” Dustin was oblivious.
“What are you on about? I’m letting you kiss me.” Natasha explained with frustration.
“Huh?” Dustin’s eyes twitched in disbelief as he gasped audibly.
“This can’t be a good thing, can it?” He thought to himself.
“Fine, if you don’t want it so badly, then this will be the last time you’ll ever get it,” Natasha teased playfully.
“You idiot! If you don’t grab this opportunity now, when would you ever get another chance like this!” The one- eyed old man peeping from the second floor hollered. He sighed deeply, shaking his head in disbelief at Dustin.
“You’d better shut it!” Dustin turned around and shouted back, his eyes shooting daggers.
However, when he turned his head back again, his attention was drawn to Natasha’s flawless complexion and cherry–red lips, making him suddenly realize what he might be missing out on.
“Anyways, I’m done teasing you. Let’s get down to business,” Natasha interrupted his line of thought and continued. “Recently, Edwin headhunted the bulk of the main workforce behind Harmon Pharmaceuticals, so now we’re currently looking for leaders to reorganize the team. Given your exceptional medical skills, how about working for me as an honorary chief physician?”
“I don’t think I’m a good fit for the job,” Dustin grumbled.
He was great when it came to healing and saving lives, but leadership was not his strong suit, and he had absolutely zero experience in that aspect.
“To be honest, you don’t need to do anything for the job. You just need to help me keep an eye on things once in a while. But if you ever decide that it’s not for you, then you just need to hold on to that title until I find another good fit for the position.”
Sensing his skepticism, Natasha put on a pitiful look for him again. “If you don’t help me out here, I’m afraid the only thing I can do at this point is to just sit and watch as Edwin obliterates Harmon Pharmaceuticals into dust.”
Feeling defeated and unsure of how to refuse her, he finally relented. “Fine…I suppose I can try.”
“I just knew that you’d help me! Let’s go! Come to my place first, then I can walk you through your duties and responsibilities!” Natasha exclaimed, immediately all eyes and smiles. With that, she grabbed him and ushered him into her car.
Half an hour later over at Java Joys, Ruth sat at a table with her mother, Jessica. The two of them were busy entertaining a few guests. One of them was a well–dressed, handsome young man, while the other was an old man who had a lab coat on.
The young man spoke first, cutting straight to the point. “I won’t mince words this time, Ms. Ballard. The reason I’m here today is that I’m Investigating the traitor. On a related note, I’m also here to assist my cousin in taking down Swinton’s pharmaceutical market as soon as possible, mainly to pave the way for future developments in my family.”
“Natasha can definitely rest well with you helping around, Quentin. But you know how bad that temper of hers can get. She doesn’t like anyone meddling in her affairs, after all,” Jessica replied with a small grin.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing else I can do, not when this is the outcome of my family’s deliberations. As long as my cousin does not do anything that conflicts with the family’s interests, I will do the same for any of the decisions she makes,” Quentin said as he sipped his tea.
“Hmph, the way I see it, you’re obviously just here to spy on my sister!” Ruth, with a scowl on her face, muttered under her breath.
With her sister’s engagement with Tyler Grant coming up, the heads of the family wanted to take every precaution to make sure nothing happened, which was why they sent a spy over to keep watch on her at all times.
“Oh, and another thing, are the rumors about Edwin Hummer poaching the bulk of the workforce of the company and stealing Eternumax’s research documents true?” Quentin brought up the subject out of nowhere.
“Such rumors did surface, but I firmly believe that Natasha has the capacity to resolve everything well.“.
Jessica’s expression was unwavering.
“Eternumax is the fruit of the Harmon’s research for many years now, which could have been used as a trump card to dominate the pharmaceutical market in Swinton, but now that this incident has occurred, the guys over at HQ are furious, which is why they had to send an expert over.” Quentin explained before stretching out a hand to introduce the white–haired old man sitting next to him.
“This man here is Mr. Wangley. His medical research skills are second to none. So, from now on, he will become the next chief physician for Harmon Pharmaceuticals.”
But the moment Quentin finished his sentence, a cold voice suddenly boomed from outside the cafe.
“I’ve already found the right guy for the job, Quentin. So no need to bother Mr. Wangley or whatever his name is anymore!” Natasha exclaimed with Dustin, arm in arm, as the two of them stepped through the front doors boldly.
“What!” Quentin gasped with a frown. His expression darkened as he witnessed the lovey–dovey display between the two of them.
Before this, he’d caught wind of Natasha securing herself a boy toy, but he didn’t expect the rumors to be true.
If the Grant family heard about this, then the marriage between the two families would obviously be greatly affected.
“Why’d you bring him here for, Natasha?” Jessica frowned as she probed.
Natasha replied calmly. “This is my turf, I can bring over whoever I like. Anyways, I’ve already found a good fit for the position of chief physician, and it’s Mr. Dustin!”
“What?!” Everyone exclaimed in shock when she announced that.
“You’ve got to be kidding me, Natasha! Is he even qualified to serve as chief physician for the Harmons?”
Jessica voiced her displeasure.
“Dustin’s medical skills are top of the line, and he knows the ins and outs of medicine. I believe he won’t face any problems while serving as chief!” Natasha assured Jessica.
“W–what kind of nonsense are you talking about?!” Jessica hollered, obviously agitated by her response.
Ruth interrupted and clamored to her feet to de–escalate the situation. “Calm down, there’s no need to make a fuss. Let’s just sit down and talk it out. Dustin, let me introduce you to everyone. This is my mom, I believe you’ve met her before. And this man here is my cousin, Quentin Harmon.”
“A pleasure to meet the both of you,” Dustin responded politely with a few nods, with no hint of being condescending at all.
“So you’re the pretty boy who keeps clinging on to Natasha like a leech?” Quentin sneered after looking Dustin up and down. His gaze was full of disdain toward him. It was as if he was looking at ants crawling beneath his feet.
Quentin’s holler–than–thou attitude caused Dustin to raise an eyebrow, but he quickly returned to his normal resting face.
“Didn’t I ask a question? Why aren’t you saying anything?” Quentin taunted and lifted his chin as if to Intimidate Dustin.
“I’m afraid I didn’t quite catch that, Mr. Harmon,” Dustin replied in the calmest manner he could muster.
“You sure you didn’t catch that, or are you trying to play dumb with me right now?” Quentin egged him on before letting out a sharp sigh. “Fine, I’ll reword my question then. Did you kill Tilda Snider?”
“I did, but-” Before Dustin could explain himself, he was interrupted by Quentin’s booming voice, “Great! Since you’ve already admitted to the crime, that makes my job a whole lot easier now. I’ll see to it that Tilda, one of the pillars in the Harmon household, doesn’t die in vain!” he proclaimed.
Immediately after that, he brought out an urn and slammed it on the table. “Now, I want you to look at her ashes and bow your fucking head down as an apology to her!”
“What?” Dustin frowned in confusion.
Quentin had shown his disdain before this, but now, it was obvious that he was planning to outright humiliate him in front of everyone.
“Do you have a few screws loose or something? Are you sure that the Tilda Snider you’re referring to is the same one who betrayed the Harmons and also plotted to assassinate Ms. Harmon here? Are you saying that I should’ve spared her?” Dustin questioned.
“Who are you to decide if she gets killed or not! Even if she’s a traitor, she still belongs to the Harmons. Her mess should be ours to clean up, not yours! Shouldn’t you choose your targets properly before disposing of them? Who are you to meddle in the Harmons” family business anyways?!” Quentin barked out.
Dustin merely let out an exasperated chuckle after hearing his bullshit speech.
Not only did he not receive any thanks for helping the Harmons dispose of their traitors, but now he was even about to get punished for it?
What an eye–opening way to show one’s gratitude!
“Enough talk. As long as you bow down to Tilda to make amends for my cousin’s sake, I’ll consider letting you off the hook,” Quentin ordered in an overbearing manner.
After all, he was but a tiny ant to him, he could step on it as much as he wanted.
“What if I refuse?” Dustin shrugged indifferently.
“What if you refuse? Then I’ll make sure to break your fucking legs!” Quentin sneered.
“I’d like to see you try,” Dustin replied as he narrowed his eyes. He had a wicked glint in his eyes.
“Tsk! Now you’re just asking for it!” Quentin exploded in rage and slammed his fists on the table and the sound of a teacup shattering beneath his feet could be heard.
“Quentin Harmon! If you dare so much as to touch even a single hair on Dustin, I’ll be the one to break your legs instead!” Natasha screamed in fury as she marched toward them.
Natasha’s sudden outburst of anger caused Quentin to furrow his brows. “Are you seriously going to turn on me just to protect this boy toy of yours?”
One reason he wanted to humiliate Dustin so much was that he hated his guts, while the other was because he wanted to gauge Natasha’s reaction to the situation.
“Dustin saved my life, so if you dare so much as lay a finger on him, don’t blame me if I flip out on you!” Natasha warned Quentin sternly.
If not for the fact that he was her cousin, she would have slapped the shit out of him already.
“Is that so!” Quentin snorted as his expression twisted into a scowl.
“While I can put Tilda Snider’s case aside for now, I’m still very opposed to the fact that you plan to elect him as the chief physician when he doesn’t even have the right qualifications for the job!” Quentin argued back.
Since this was one way of securing power in the company, it was obvious that he wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip away so easily. 1
“Whether he’s qualified or not, it’s not up to you to decide, but me!” Natasha growled with authority.
“Everything you own now was given to you by the family, so if you insist on getting in the way of the family’s interests, you’re not allowed to blame me if I report you to the board when the time comes!” Quentin threatened.
“Do whatever you want,” Natasha spat. She wasn’t afraid of him in the slightest.
“Wait!” Jessica suddenly spoke up.
“Eternumax’s research document leak isn’t a trivial matter, so the next chief physician must be capable enough to mitigate this. I feel Dustin’s still too young for this, so that would make Mr. Wangley the most suitable candidate, no?” She refused to let a naive child like himself hold such a key position in Harmon Pharmaceuticals.
“Dustin’s medical skills are superb, so I doubt if he’d lose to some dusty old man,” Natasha justified confidently.
“Fine, since you keep insisting that he has great medical skills, then I propose that he beat Mr. Wangley in a medical showdown. Then, we shall see who’s the best among them,” Quentin suggested, stoking the flames.
Natasha couldn’t help but furrow her brows as he finished his sentence. Suddenly, she realized that she might have fallen into his trap.
“How are we supposed to compete then?” Dustin suddenly spoke up.
Although he wasn’t too interested in becoming chief, Quentin’s arrogance had rubbed him the wrong way, so he decided to roll along with his plan just to prove him wrong.
“Competing between medical prowess is just too boring, don’t you think, younguns? Why don’t we play with poison instead?” Mr. Wangley changed the topic out of the blue.
“Sure, how do you plan to do that?” Dustin remained poker faced.
“Hehe… It’s simple actually. Each of us will concoct a bottle of poison on the spot and exchange it with one another to ingest. Whoever manages to come up with an antidote to save themselves first will be declared the winner. Sound good?” Mr. Wangley proposed.
“Wait a minute! But what if you can’t cure yourself from the poison?” Ruth quickly asked.
“Well, if you fail, then I guess you can either get lucky and survive being a cripple or die a violent death instead!” Mr. Wangley guffawed, his eyes gleamed with excitement as he said that.
“No way! Who the hell goes so far for a duel? What if something goes wrong?” Ruth exclaimed in shock.
One wrong step, and one could easily get killed!
“Since we’re going to compete with one another anyways, why don’t we raise the stakes a little? So, up for the challenge, young man?” Mr. Wangley nudged amusedly.
“Don’t fall for his tricks, Dustin! He’s obviously doing this just to back you into a corner,” Natasha warned in a low whisper.
She now suspected that Mr. Wangley wasn’t a physician at all but a master of poison!
Unlike physicians, who cure diseases and save lives, polson masters do research on the complete opposite spectrum of medicine.
For them, they specialized in witchcraft, voodoo, and poison. They had ruthless tactics and strange tricks up their sleeves.
If they settled on a competition to battle out their medical skills, then Dustin would stand a pretty good chance of winning.
But if they opted to go with a poison–concocting competition with a master of poison instead, then it was like they were begging to be killed!
“I’m giving you one more chance to back out of this, Mr. Boy Toy. If you admit defeat now, you’ll be giving up your title of chief physician and I’ll still need you to bow down and apologize to Tilda Snider’s ashes!” Quentin spat.
Who was this pale–skinned wimp who was bold enough to pick a fight with the great Mr. Wangley anyway?
“Aren’t we just dabbling with some poison? Fine, It’s on,” Dustin proclaimed. He was not the least bit afraid.
“Ha, you asked for it!” Quentin let out a maniacal laugh as he gazed at the soon–to–be–dead man in front of him.
To think he had the gall to compete with a polson master at making polson. He certainly had a death wish!
“Are you out of your mind. Dustin? You could diel” Ruth said anxiously.
“It’s not like they have any rivalry between them either, so why does he Insist on putting his life on the line like this?” She thought to herself.
“I know full well what I’m doing.” Dustin answered nonchalantly.
“Dustin, are you sure you want to do this?” Natasha frowned.
He could see the slight worry in those beautiful eyes of hers.
She was aware that Quentin was deliberately making things difficult for him, but it wasn’t like she could outright stop him either.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. You should be worried about them instead.” Dustin grinned.
In fact, he was not only proficient in medicine but very much a specialist in voodoo magic and poison as well.
“Less talk, more poison–making. Mr. Boy Toy!” Quentin urged hurriedly, afraid that he’d chicken out and go back on his word.
“Wait!” Dustin voiced out and raised his hands all of a sudden.
“I’m all for making poisons, but my only condition is that I need you to be involved in this as well.”
“What are you talking about?” Quentin asked in shock, feeling a little uneasy.
“Didn’t you say that you wanted this to be exciting? Later when we’re done, why don’t you and I test it with our bodies, then leave our lives at the mercy of the Lord?” Dustin suggested coolly.
“Cut the crap!” Quentin hollered, and his expression immediately changed. “How are you compare your peasant life with mine? Why don’t you look at yourself in the mirror for once?“
“Admitting defeat so quickly? If you don’t have the balls to take up this challenge, then kneel down in front of me and admit defeat right now. Oh, and I’ll need an apology too, then I can pretend none of this ever happened in the first place.” Dustin taunted.
“You-” Quentin stumbled over his words as a burst of anger overtook him in an instant.
Would he even have any face left after this if he backed down now?
Then again, he was the one with the money and status, so it wasn’t like he stood to gain anything from putting his life on the line with a filthy peasant like him.
I won’t “Rest assured, Mr. Harmon. With my skills, I’ll make sure that any kind of poison this punk conjures up even hurt you in the slightest,” Mr. Wangley announced with conviction.
If he were to scan the entirety of South City, he was confident that the only person who was able to top him was Dr. Linden Watkins when it came to making poisons.
“Are you sure about that?” Quentin probed, his brows furrowed slightly.
“Of course! Just take the bet, Mr. Harmon, and I’ll make sure to keep you safe from harm,” Mr. Wangley declared confidently.
“Sounds good to me!” Quentin shouted and slapped his hands on the table before getting up to his feet. “If it’s my life on the line you want, Mr. Boy Toy, then it’s what you’ll get! I’ll make sure to accompany you to your last dying breath!”
After reaching an agreement on both sides, the atmosphere instantly became tense.
Dustin and Mr. Wangley had their subordinates purchase some medicine for them.
The plan was that the two of them would concoct poisons on the spot and down them together at the same time.
As for who would win, that would have to depend on their respective skills.
“Do you think Dustin’s going to make it, Sis? What if he gets poisoned to death instead?” Ruth voiced out anxiously.
“Well, since he agreed to it in the first place, I suppose this means he’s confident that he can win. Have some faith in the guy.” Natasha assured with a straight face. Although she looked calm on the outside, she felt uneasy on the inside.
If it were possible, she’d rather Dustin straight–up admit defeat.
“You can say that, but Dustin’s only proficient in medicine. Surely he can’t beat Mr. Wangley in terms of his experience in the field of poison research,” Ruth murmured while shaking her head.
There were many subfields in the field of medicine, with each subfield being vastly different from one to the other.
So, how can an amateur compete with a professional?
Compared to the two sisters‘ worries, Jessica felt secondhand embarrassment for Dustin as she sat at the side.
She wasn’t sure if she should label Dustin as arrogant or stupid to agree to compete with a master of poison at making poisons.
Then again, she was still amused that things managed to get to this point.
If Dustin loses, he’ll either be dead or crippled, which would mean that she wouldn’t need to expend so much energy thinking about her daughter’s marriage anymore.
“I would advise you to drop out of the competition while you can, Mr. Boy Toy; else, when the poison kicks in your system, you might not even get the chance to regret your decision anymore!” Quentin pressed.
“To be frank, I have to commend you for your bravery as well. To think that you’re willing to put your life in someone else’s hands. I don’t suppose you ever thought that if ever the old man loses, the one who might kick the bucket is you?” Dustin pointed out flatly.
“Ridiculous! Mr. Wangley has been researching poisons for many years now, so how could he possibly lose? You’ll see how great he is later!” Quentin gave a bark of laughter.
Dustin merely let out a short chuckle and said nothing more in response.
A few moments later, the subordinates the two of them sent to purchase medicine for them entered through the front doors hurriedly.
Immediately after retrieving the goods, Mr. Wangley started concocting his polson at lightning speed. His movements were so fast that it was enough to make one’s head spin.
In the meantime, Dustin took his time with it and did everything at his own pace.
After a long while, Mr. Wangley had finished concocting his polson, which appeared to be a bottle of viscous, black liquid. One could even smell a faint scent of dead fish watting out of it.
“I’m done with my poisons, Mr. Boy Toy. Dare to put it down the hatch?” Quentin taunted as he placed the bottle on the table and provocatively glared at him.
Anyone with a discerning eye could definitely see that the black potion in front of them was highly poisonous.
This meant that anyone who ingested it would surely be in danger!
“What say we just forget about this whole thing. Dustin? It’s obvious that anyone who drinks this will surely die!” Ruth pleaded, clearly upset.
Natasha, who was standing beside her, also couldn’t help but ball up her fists.
“It’s just polson. There’s nothing to worry about.” Dustin grinned before picking up the bottle and downing the entire thing in one swig.
His swift but confident motion caused Quentin to freeze.
“Was this punk actually not afraid of death?” He thought to himself.
“How are you feeling?” Natasha hurriedly probed.
“Well, my mouth feels bitter from the aftertaste, but all in all, the taste is fine.” Dustin evaluated.
Natasha was speechless at his reply. The corners of her mouth started twitching.
“Did you think that I was asking you about the taste?” She thought to herself incredulously.
“You don’t have to put up a front if it’s too much for you to bear, young man. You just need to bow down to Mr. Harmon and admit your mistakes if you want me to save you,” Mr. Wangley said amusedly.
“Your ‘poison” is mildly toxic at best,” Dustin replied while smacking his lips a few times.
“If I’m not mistaken, what you just conjured up is the Devil’s Elixir, right? It’s a good poison of choice, but it’s a shame you used the wrong ingredients for it. What you should’ve used was aconite instead of epiphyllum. Although both of their medical properties are similar, there are still a few minor differences between them. This is one determining factor of what makes a poison so potent,” he explained.
“Huh? How did you know? Did you peek at me while I was concocting the mix just now?” Mr. Wangley gasped as his expression warped into pure shock.
He was absolutely correct in deducing that the poison he made was the Devil’s Elixir, and that he had added epiphyllum as one of the ingredients.
“Was it even necessary to peek? I could tell the moment I smelled it in the air.” Dustin retorted.
“You used a total of five ingredients, namely strychnine, Zeus‘ Vine, oranges, phyllanthus, and a sliver of Devil’s grass. It’s such a shame that you were this close to making the perfect poison though.”
The moment Dustin finished speaking, Mr. Wangley couldn’t help but break out in a shudder.
To think that this punk could list out every single one of the ingredients he’d used to make his poison.
He’d be fine if he had just told him that he peeked, but it was terrifying to think that he could deduce everything just by smell alone!
Even he felt that it would take him light years to even get to this level!
“What the hell happened, Mr. Wangley? A few minutes have already passed, and yet he hasn’t reacted at all” Quentin thought to himself with some unease.
“Rest assured, Mr. Harmon. Anyone can tell that he’s just putting on a bold front right now. Without an antidote, I can guarantee you that he’ll kick the bucket in no time flat!” Mr. Wangley hollered with confidence after reeling from his shock.
Even if Dustin found a way to make a cure, it would still be impossible to completely get rid of the poison from his system.
And that was because Mr. Wangley had added something extra inside.
“Now that’s music to my ears.” Quentin secretly sighed in relief.
“I’m also done making my poison,” Dustin declared as he presented a bottle with a yellow–colored liquid inside.
A lot of steam emanated from the foul–smelling, hot liquid. It looked absolutely disgusting.
“W–what the fuck is that? It reeks!” Quentin sneered. He immediately covered his scrunched–up nose with his hands.
“While it might stink a bit, I promise you it tastes pretty good. Feel free to give it a go,” Dustin said casually as he pushed the bottle toward them.
“You can’t possibly be thinking of chickening out now, right, oh great Quentin Harmon?” Natasha pressed.
Quentin remained silent but turned to look at Mr. Wangley standing beside him, clearly hesitating.
“Relax, Mr. Harmon. I saw every ingredient this kid used clearly, so even if you ingest the poison, I can whip out an antidote for you in under three minutes!” Mr. Wangley assured confidently.
*Sounds great. Here we go!” Quentin exclaimed with his newfound courage. He then proceeded to pick up the bottle, pinch his nose, and down the whole bottle.
“Eugh!” Quentin gagged just as he downed the poison. It felt like it was about to come back out again.
Not only did it reek, but it also tasted bitter, rancid, and disgusting all at the same time.
It felt as if he had just eaten a pile of shit. It was an extremely unpleasant experience.
“Uh uh, it won’t count if you spit it out!” Dustin reminded.
“You-“Quentin gritted his teeth. He had no other choice but to swallow everything back down with a flushed face.
It’d be a waste to spit everything out after all that effort of drinking it in the first place.
“What exactly did you add inside? How come it stinks so much?” There was a “lingering‘ taste in his mouth and teeth that refused to go away.
“Oh, nothing much. Just some golden juice,” Dustin said flatly.
The moment he revealed it, Mr. Wangley’s face contorted with shock.
Even Jessica, who had been sitting at the side all this while, raised an eyebrow upon hearing that.
““Golden juice“? What the fuck is that?” Quentin probed, feeling uneasy.
““Golden juice“, or “golden liquid‘ or ‘fecal fluid‘, it basically just means “human excrement” in layman’s terms,” Dustin explained with a small grin.
“What? Human excrement?”
As soon as Quentin heard this, he immediately started dry heaving next to Dustin.
But since the poison was already in his stomach, he couldn’t spit it out even if he wanted to, his face flushed red instead.
Before this, the phrase ‘eat shit‘ had only been a suggestion, but he couldn’t believe that it had actually happened to him.
“I didn’t expect Dustin to be so heartless by forcing our cousin to eat shit. How is he going to eat anything else from now on?” Ruth commented as she covered her nose with her hands. She then started to move away from them with a look of disgust.
“For all the shit he spews out from his mouth, I think this is a most fitting punishment.” Natasha couldn’t help but add fuel to the fire too.
“How dare you trick me, you little bastard!” Quentin roared as he raised his head. His expression darkened and his gaze was murderous.
He had never been humiliated this badly in all his life.
“Since we were tasked with making poison, I had the freedom to choose my own recipe, so I was allowed to add any ingredient I saw fit inside, no?” Dustin stated matter–of–factly.
“Good, good! You’ve got some nerve, don’t you?” Quentin shouted, his face contorted with anger.
“I can’t wait to see you begging at my feet later once the poison kicks into your system!”
“We’ll certainly see who will be the one who gets down on their knees later. Now, you’d better ask the people around you whether they can cure the poison I made or not.” Dustin grinned.
“Give me the antidote now, Mr. Wangley!” Quentin urged.
He certainly didn’t want his high–class body to suffer any more damage.
“Calm down, Mr. Harmon. Let me take a look at you first,” Mr. Wangley picked up the bottle with the rest of the poison and brought it close to his nose to smell it.
Then, he dipped his finger into the remaining liquid and placed a drop on the tip of his tongue to taste it.
“Here I was beginning to think it was some kind of potent poison. Who would’ve guessed that it was Venenum Insectum all along?” Mr. Wangley chuckled. It seemed he had found his answer.
“Venenum Insectum‘? What’s that?” Quentin asked.
“Venenum Insectum‘ is a poison that’s made from seven types of venomous organisms. They’re first ground into a fine powder, then mixed together. If I’m not mistaken, the organisms in question are snakes, scorpions, toads, centipedes, spiders, poisonous bees, and fire ants,” Mr. Wangley explained with confidence.
“Are you for real? You got all that from tasting one small droplet?” Ruth asked incredulously.
If he had the skills to figure out Dustin’s recipe like that, that would mean that he was pretty much an expert as well.
“As expected of a poison master, you clearly are an expert in your field,” Dustin remarked with a smile.
He had to admit that Mr. Wangley was indeed talented, but it was a shame that he was so close yet so far once again, mistaking his concoction for Venenum Insectum instead of Venenum Insectim. The golden juice was merely added in for extra flavor.
“Will you stop spewing nonsense to yourself already, Mr. Wangley? Hurry up and make me an antidote. My stomach is starting to hurt again.” Quentin whined as he clutched his abdomen with a strained look.
His stomach had begun to churn again two minutes later.
“Wait for me while I whip up an antidote for you, Mr. Harmon.” Mr. Wangley swiftly started preparing an antidote with the ingredients that remained.
“H–Hurry up! It’s getting more and more painful by the second!” Quentin howled in pain.
The longer time went on, he felt as if there was a knife inside his abdomen that kept stabbing his insides. He started to break out in a cold sweat.
In the meantime, Dustin looked absolutely fine and showed no abnormal symptoms, so much so that he managed to sip his tea leisurely.
“H–how are you not affected?” Quentin stuttered, visibly taken aback.
Dustin had drunk the poison first, so why was it that he seemed like he wasn’t affected by it in the slightest?
“I’ve already gotten rid of the poison in my system. So, how could I still be affected?”
“You’ve already concocted an antidote? But how? You didn’t do anything!” Quentin spat in disbelief.
“That’s not for you to worry about. Why don’t you focus on your case first? Like what you’re going to do if the person standing next to you can’t cure the poison,” Dustin suggested with mock concern.
“The poison I conjured up was a rough one, by the way. It’ll induce searing pain first, and if you fail to obtain the antidote within three hours, then it’ll tear through your guts and intestines and cause you to die a horrible death!”
“What!” Quentin gasped and panicked.
His stomach was already hurting badly before this, but after receiving a scare from Dustin, it seemed to hurt even more.
“I’ve got the antidote for you, Mr. Harthon!” Mr. Wangley announced as he brought a vial of white liquid over to him in the nick of time.
Without any hesitation, Quentin downed the whole thing in one gulp..
As soon as the antidote landed in his stomach, he immediately felt better.
However, after enduring the pain for a few seconds, he vomited all the white liquid out of his system.
“What are you doing, Mr. Harmon? You just threw up the antidote!” Mr. Wangley exclaimed in surprise.
“I–I couldn’t help it. I really couldn’t hold it in!” Quentin whined helplessly.
“You could even stomach eating shit, so why can’t you do the same for the antidote?” Mr. Wangley scolded, flabbergasted.
“Cut the crap! Hurry up and prepare another dose, I’ll make sure to hold it in this time round,” Quentin shouted as his face twitched.
Mr. Wangley had no choice but to do as he was told.
Soon, he’d finished whipping up another dose, and Quentin wasted no time ingesting it.
This time, he managed to hold it in.
“My stomach still hurts like hell, Mr. Wangley. Why haven’t the effects kicked in yet?” Quentin complained with a strained look on his face.
“It can’t be, the main ingredients to make an antidote for Venenum Insectum are forsythia, lotus root, and white creepers. Then, it just needs to be supplemented with a few herbs and heated up, to be able to detoxify the poison. Perhaps the effects of the antidote haven’t kicked in yet, so I’ll need you to wait a little while longer,” Mr. Wangley comforted.
Quentin nodded and forced himself to endure the severe pain for a few more minutes. His face even started contorting to reflect the indescribable pain he was feeling as time went on.
“Mr. Wangley! I don’t think this was the right antidote! Not only did it do nothing to ease the pain, but it also hurts even more now!” Quentin shouted through gritted teeth and continued to be drenched in sweat.
“How could this be?” Mr. Wangley stepped forward to check Quentin’s pulse.
“D–don’t tell me this isn’t Venenum Insectum?” Mr. Wangley exclaimed.
“Huh? Then what about the antidote that you gave me just now?” Quentin roared in anger.
“What else did you put in your poison, you bastard? I clearly saw you add venomous creepy crawlies inside!” Mr. Wangley turned around and questioned.
“The kind of ingredients I used isn’t the main focus here. The real question should be whether you can get rid of the poison or not,” Dustin said indifferently.
“You played dirty, didn’t you? So be it! Even if this ends up in a tie, as long as you hand me the antidote. I’ll give you the antidote for the Devil’s Elixir!” Mr. Wangley proposed as he made the decision to be the bigger person.
If he’d concocted the poison using a different recipe, then he would need to take the time to analyze it properly. But now that Quentin was writhing in pain, he didn’t have the luxury to take his time.
It would be bad for him too if his source of income were to disappear just like that.
“You want the antidote, don’t you? Fine.” A cocky grin spread on Dustin’s face.
“According to what you said to me earlier, I want the same back from you. I want you to kneel down before me and admit defeat. After that, I’ll give you the antidote.”
The second he finished his sentence, Quentin and Mr. Wangley’s expressions changed.