Staring straight at the three unwelcome visitors, the elderly lady snorted out in annoyance.
“Lady Seraphim, I’m Lou Frie, and the First Elder from the Frie Clan sent me to deliver this letter to you.”
Instead of beating about the bush, the Instructor decided to get straight into the matter at hand. From the stories he had heard, the lady standing in front of him was not one to tolerate excessive flattery and unnecessary words. Hence, he immediately took out a yellow envelope which was sealed with a wax seal, bearing the mark of the First Elder.
“Lou Frie? Where have I heard that name before?”
The wrinkles on her forehead began to show as she tried to recall the name presented to her.
“Lady Seraphim, we had met before, when you came to Frie Mountain many moons ago. When you were tutoring the Clan Master, I was but a small apprentice, following my master around.”
“Right! Right! We’ve met before! How’s my beloved protege? Is she doing well?”
After identifying that the intruders weren’t hostile, the old woman put down her guard and flashed an amiable smile.
“The Clan Master is doing very well, Lady Seraphim.”
“Hoho, it’s been a while since I saw her. Maybe I should visit the mountain soon…”
Hearing the lady’s words, the Instructor’s back became drenched in sweat. He remembered the last time the two met, it did not end well for the highest authority in the clan. Fearing that if the Clan Master got wind that he accidentally caused Lady Seph to visit her, the Instructor attempted to dissuade the old woman.
“Although I’m sure the Clan Master would be thrilled to welcome Lady Seraphim, she is bombarded with clan matters to deal with. Hence, she might not be able to entertain the Lady.”
“Hmph, should I ever grace the mountain, Enfen should be jumping with joy. What bullshit clan matters can trump serving, *cough* *cough* I mean playing host to her old mentor?”
Lady Seraphim shot a cold glare at the Instructor.
“Of course! I’m sure the Clan Master would be delighted to play host to your esteemed self!”
After being the recipient of the gaze that was as cold as the artics, the Instructor gave up on dissuading the old woman and decided to sacrifice the leading authority of the clan he served.
“Well, enough of that. Hand that letter over… For Edward to contact me via a proxy… If he wanted something, he should have personally come and beg for it…”
Snatching the letter from the Instructor’s outreached hands, the old woman used her long, sharpened fingernails to break the seal on the envelope. Pulling out the piece of papyrus paper, the lady started to read through its contents nonchalantly.
Squinting her eyes to take a better look, her initial expression was peaceful, looking like a typical person reading the daily newspaper. After a few moments, her lips began to arch downwards as she completed the first paragraph. Slowly, her facial expression began to change. From a peaceful, affable smile, to an annoyed frown, until finally…
“THAT BASTARD EDWARD!!! WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS?!?!?!?!?!”
Lady Seraphim’s oval face began turning vermillion as her eyebrows pulled down together. Baring her fangs, her silky hair began to rise as a suffocating spiritual pressure filled the room. Shin and Junius used their hands to hold their chests as the air surrounding them began to thin, making it hard to breathe. The invisible pressure didn’t care about those two suffering children though. As the woman became more irate, the pressure started to mount.
Only when the Instructor placed his hands on the two orphans, who were in anguish, did the pressure straining them lessen.
“Please calm yourself, Lady Seraphim.”
Unable to stop her outburst, the Instructor only hoped that the enraged woman would come to her senses.
“Damn it!!! Edward, you conniving old fox. Bringing up things of yesteryears… Fine then! Don’t let me catch you outside! I swear, if I don’t rip you to shreds with my own two hands, my name isn’t Seraphim!”
Noticing that her actions had caused harm to two innocent bystanders, the woman stopped releasing her mana, making the pressure in the clinic disappear entirely.
“Bingbing! Come here!”
As the old woman said that, the cute gerbil, sitting on Shin’s lap, stood upright and bent its legs. With a huge leap, the creature left the black-haired youth behind and headed straight to the blonde lady gesturing for it. Landing on Lady Seraphim’s shoulders, the gerbil gave the old woman a lick on her cheeks, before using its round, black eyes to stare at Shin.
“Boy with the Sovereign Koi, I assume that’s you right?”
Lady Seraphim called out to Shin, giving him an annoyed look.
“What is your first spiritual ability?”
“I said, what’s your first spiritual ability. In the combination of being inept, are you also deaf?”
The old woman, with a vicious tongue, scolded Shin just a few minutes after they met.
“I-I’m sorry! I can create water and manipulate it…”
Shin was still slightly shaken by Lady Seraphim’s earlier outburst and was unable to properly articulate his words.
“Hmmmm… Creating water and manipulating it… That’s rather powerful for a first spiritual ability. I assume that you underwent the baptism of a natural phenomenon?”
“Ohhoho… That ability seems rather exploitable *cough* *cough* I mean convenient. Fine! Rejoice, you can be my attendant. In return, I will provide you with proper tutelage and protection. Oh, keep in mind, you are just an attendant, not a student. So don’t call me master.”
“Huh? What’s going on?”
Shin looked around in befuddlement. He started the day by organising his room, followed by Marshall offering to buy them lunch. However, the Instructor told them they needed to stop at Yakkyoku Clinic, their current location. In the clinic, they met a peculiar old woman that nearly used her spiritual pressure to suffocate him and now, she was claiming that he had to become her attendant.
The entire day’s events moved by too fast, and he was unable to come to terms with the current reality.
“Hmmm? You didn’t know? Seems like everyone in that washed-up clan is rather useless huh? You. My. Attendant. Was that clear enough?”
Irritated by his blur and clueless face, Lady Seraphim began to mock the black-haired boy.
“What? I’m sorry, but I don’t know what senior does. I don’t know how I could assist you…”
Shin asked the old woman.
“Oh god… Can’t you see the sign outside the door? As an owner of a clinic, I’m naturally a healer. In fact, one of the very best if I may say so myself!”
Placing her fist on her chest, the old woman indulged in a little self-praising.
“Senior is a healer?”
“Of course! What you don’t believe me? Wow, kids these days… Fine, you! Boy in the wheelchair! Stand up, it’s depressing!”
Junius, who was surprised to be called out by the old woman, pointed to himself as he said:
“I’m sorry, senior… I was diagnosed to stay in the wheelchair for a month. If I stand up now, my legs will give way within minutes.”
“I know that you most probably sustained a heavy injured to your chest around a fortnight causing a massive loss of blood. The reason why you have wobbly legs is due to the lack of blood replenishment causing your muscles to fail if you overly strain them.”
After taking a cursory look, the old lady could accurately deduce why Junius was stuck on the wheelchair.
“T-that’s right! So I can’t…”
“And like I said… [Stand up!]”
An ethereal voice, sounding remarkably similar to the old lady’s, reverberated through the clinic. As if heaven’s door was opened, a radiant golden light shot out of Lady Seraphim’s hands and landed square on Junius’ body. The aura that was emitted was identical to the earlier pressure that suffocated the two orphans, but instead of feeling stifled, Junius felt a warm, serene power envelop his consciousness.
Closing his eyes, Junius surrendered his body to the heavenly light without even knowing it. That cosy feeling made Junius want to melt. The next instant, an exquisite figure, with flawless proportions, appeared inside of the youth’s mind and raised her heavenly harp to play a melodious tune. The song was only audible to Junius.
With every note, Junius could feel a mysterious power energising him. Bit by bit, the power strengthened his body, and when the heavenly aria came to a halt, Junius awoke from his spiritual stupor.
“Stand up boy.”
Only Lady Seraphim and Junius knew what had happened in that few short seconds. Shin and the Instructor wore a blank face, unsure of what to feel.
Junius looked down at his legs and jumped out of his wheelchair. His legs were filled with vigour as he hopped in place. Feeling more energy than he ever felt before, Junius kicked the air a few times before calming himself down. The injury that plagued him since that fateful incident has been fully healed.
And all it took was Lady Seraphim’s two words.