Himmel Empire. Chilyoja Waypoint. Yakkyoku Clinic
The night turned into day, and the blazing hot sun was high up in the sky, bathing the landscape in its glorious glow. Like the day before, the residents of the town woke up early and went about their daily business. Shouts from merchants calling customers into their store bellowed through the boisterous streets. However, in one secluded corner of the bustling town, one storehouse remained relatively peaceful.
With aged vines sticking out of its walls, the building looked like an abandoned house that was deserted for an extended period of time. If not for the dim light that was visible through the cracks in the windows, one might assume that there were no inhabitants.
And right outside of the desolated building, a young black-haired boy stood rooted to the entrance. Wearing a reluctant frown, Shin questioned whether he should enter the clinic. Every time he urged himself to take a step, the sight of his Instructor sprawled out on the floor resurfaced from the depths of his mind. He feared that the instant he entered, he would suffer the same fate.
‘Calm down…It’s alright…’
Taking deep breaths, Shin propelled himself further down the walkway and pushed open the main door. Peeking in, he marvelled at the outstanding contrast between the exterior and interior. On the outside, Yakkyoku Clinic looked like an inhabitable place for anyone to live. However, the inside was a different story. The walls were as clean as can be and even the floorboards, which should have been aged, seemed to contain not even a speck of dust.
Slowly walking inside, Shin walked down the empty hallway. It was strange for a clinic to not have patients in the middle of the day, but the boy didn’t focus his mind on that fact. With heavy steps, he reached the lone frosted glass door that stood before him and the owner of the clinic.
“*Knock* *Knock.* Hello? Lady Seph? This is Shin…”
Giving two gentle knocks, Shin called out for Lady Seph.
“Hmmm? Ah! Right! Come in! The door is unlocked.”
An adenoidal voice sounded through the frosted glass door. Gulping down a mouthful of saliva, Shin pushed open the door revealing the contents of the room. The first thing that Shin saw was a luxurious wooden desk, with a few snug couches surrounding it. Behind the counter, a willowy old woman, displayed her wrinkles as she was busy writing down something on a piece of paper.
Sitting next to her on the desk, a white gerbil, turned its head and used it adorable immense black eyes to greet the newcomer. Shaking its tail, the creature was visibly excited that Shin had arrived.
‘Why is there a gerbil in this clinic?’
Shin could not connect the dots on how a gerbil can possibly assist in the healing process other than being a lovable mascot. However, he quickly diverted his attention to the Spirit Emperor that was busy doing her own work.
“Ermmm, Lady Seph?”
Since he entered the room, the blonde elderly woman had not once placed her attention on the youth. In fact, she wasn’t even paying attention to her surroundings, primarily focusing on her task at hand.
“You, sit down. I’ll tend to you later…”
Evidently, the woman had no intentions of talking to Shin at this moment. Without even glancing at his direction, Lady Seph ordered Shin to take a seat.
Although she was rude to the boy, personally Shin didn’t mind. After all, if she wanted to, she could paralyse him in an instant without him having the chance to retaliate. Find a comfortable position, Shin rested his bottom and sat nervously, waiting for the blue-eyed woman to call out for him.
As he moved to a nearby couch, the gerbil, coated in a snowy white fur, leapt up from its position and found refuge on Shin’s lap, much to the boy’s surprise. Curling itself into a furball, the animal shut its dreary eyes and dozed off into sleepy land.
‘Why does this thing like me so much?’
Back when he was making his breakthrough into Rank 2, the gerbil had also assumed the exact same position. It was as if it was born to rest on his lap. Initially, Shin was tempted to move the creature, but its luscious and velvety fur wasn’t uncomfortable to the boy. Stroking the gerbil, its tail straightened up as it began purring in delight.
Intrigued by the gerbil’s reactions, Shin touched the ears of the animal to see what other response it could give. And the animal didn’t disappoint. Lying on its belly, curling into a disc and straightening its hands to the heavens, were some of the few reactions it gave to Shin. A smile, strangely reminiscent of the one Ines gave Shin, crept up the black-haired boy’s face as he went for his next move.
“It seems like you are enjoying yourself.”
But his enjoyment didn’t last long. Lady Seph called out the boy in a cold voice.
Shin jolted in surprise. Looking up, he saw Lady Seph’s bright blue eyes staring at him. Her lush blonde hair flowed down to her waist, entirely unlike her appearance the day before, where strands were sticking out. Still donned in her white coat, Lady Seph placed her hands into the pockets of her robe as she stood up from her recliner.
“Summon your Spirit.”
Lady Seph ordered the black-haired boy to bring out The Sovereign Koi.
Closing his eyes, Shin mentally chanted the celestial water mantra as mana started to gather. A cerulean light illuminated the room as a fish-like figure began to form in between his cupped hands. The snowy white gerbil hopped around in excitement, eyeing the Spirit that was being formed.
The next instant, a burst of light shot out from his body as The Sovereign Koi made its appearance. Unlike its regal name, the Spirit looked naive and out of sorts. Moving its fins around in a frenzy, the cerulean Koi seemed to be unhappy about being summoned.
“I assume that the Frie Clan had given you the Celestial Water Mantra, am I right?”
“That’s good, so I won’t have to guide you for cultivation. The Sovereign Koi’s greatest strength is that it cultivates rather quickly with that cultivation technique.”
Lady Seph explained nonchalantly.
“Edward expects me to teach you the way of the healer, but as you expect, I don’t randomly teach anyone. So don’t get your hopes up.”
“What I will give you though, is a chance to become my disciple. After all, I can’t ignore that old bastard after he sent me that letter. From now, till you become Rank 9, I will be testing your abilities. When you are going to break through to the Spirit Apostle realm, I will then decide whether you are qualified to become my disciple. Do you have a problem with that?”
“… None at all, Lady Seph…”
After being speechless for a few seconds, Shin pondered over the matter and decided that it was best to follow the elderly woman’s directions.
“That’s good. If I remember correctly, your first spiritual ability is to create water and manipulate it am I right?”
“And how many times can you use that ability?”
“It should be about twenty times.”
“Excellent, follow me. Bingbing, here!”
Reaching her hands down, Lady Seph grabbed the gerbil which was desperately holding itself back from jumping to Shin. Making an adorable sound of protest, the creature reluctantly let the woman seize it and nestled itself in her arms.
Once she secured Bingbing, Lady Seph walked out the back door leading to the backyard. As expected the patio was filled to the brim with weeds and uncut grass. And at the back corner of the lawn, there was a small cubicle. Standing isolated, the compartment seemed to be somewhat out of place in the grassy unmown yard.
With the snowy white gerbil in her arms, Lady Seph walked down the sole stone pavement that led to cubicle, with Shin following curiously behind. Once they reached the booth, the elderly lady raised her feet up and gently nudged the door open.
Peering inside, Shin saw a stone latrine unblemished by any faeces or urination that might have soiled its pretty surface.
“For now, your workplace will be in this room!”
Lady Seph exclaimed as she stroked Bingbing’s fur.
Shin tried his best to comprehend the elderly woman’s words but after his mind drew blank after several times.
“Take this chance to clean *cough* *cough* train your mana replenishment and spirit control. Using your spiritual ability, I want you to find any specks of dirt and remove them from this cubicle.”
Wearing a triumphant smile, Lady Seph told Shin of his true purpose at this clinic.
Turns out, he was just a cleaner.