Shin could hardly believe his ears after hearing Lady Seph. He had come here with the mindset that he was going to be trained in the ways of a healer, but as it turns out, the woman only saw him as a helpful errand boy that could do her chores.
“Come, demonstrate your spiritual ability then.”
Lady Seph didn’t care about Shin’s befuddlement and suggested that he use his spiritual ability.
Helpless, Shin begrudgingly accepted her words. Circulating his mana, the boy amplified the amount of spiritual energy given to The Sovereign Koi in his hands. The cerulean fish circled around Shin’s fingers in joy as a small ball of water, the size of a melon, started to form above it. And after a few seconds, when the ball is at its peak size, Shin directed his ability into the cubicle.
Letting go of his ability, the ball of water lost its form, allowing the fluids it formed to fall into the latrine. Now that Shin was a Rank 2 Spirit Practitioner, he was able to use the ability much more fluently. Thinking that he had impressed the elderly woman, Shin looked back in anticipation.
But instead of being dazzled by his ability, Lady Seph wore a visible frown. Even Bingbing in her arms couldn’t put on a happy face.
Lady Seph disappointedly claimed. When she heard of Shin’s ability, she had expected something much more.
Feeling that something wasn’t right, Shin meekly answered back in a soft tone. He sensed that the woman’s current state looked like a dormant volcano that was preparing itself for a gigantic eruption.
“DON’T KID ME, BOY!!!”
The blonde old woman bellowed out.
“Hey, did your teachers teach you nothing?! Why would you utilise your Spirit that way?! Oh god damn it, and you’re already Rank 2??? How’s that possible?!?!”
Shin could only remain silent at Lady Seph’s outburst. Afraid that anything he said might further piss her off.
“Ha… Looking at your ignorant face makes me sick… Whatever, since you can’t even clean right… Wait here for a while, let me get something…”
Leaving Shin with those words, Lady Seph returned to the clinic. Bingbing, the little white gerbil, didn’t follow her as it jumped out of her bosom and sat next to the dejected boy. As if trying to console him, Bingbing nudged its head on Shin’s lap.
‘What is this gerbil? It doesn’t seem to be an average animal…’
Ever since he first entered the clinic, Shin had wondered why such an adorable creature was living with Lady Seph. Now that it was showing signs of intelligence, Shin was utterly amazed. But his curiosity had to be put on hold as his new teacher exited the building and headed in his direction. In her hands, a small transparent glass beaker, with several markings on its side.
Placing the beaker in front of the young boy, Lady Seph began speaking.
“Shin, fill this cup up to the brim.”
Giving Shin a cold glare, Lady Seph ordered him to fill the beaker with his spiritual ability.
Congregating his mana once more, Shin summoned a ball of water and willed it over the beaker. Releasing its form, the boy dropped the water in the ball as it spilt all over the place. Although some of the residue water made it into the cup, most of it was lost as it hit the grassy floor.
Adamant to continue, Shin gathered his mana again. However, Lady Seph raised her hand up and stopped the boy.
“That’s enough. Do you see your problem?”
“I knew it. Let me ask you, Shin. What do you think your first spiritual ability is?”
The black-haired boy was stunned at the obvious question. He had explained to the woman before and yet she was asking him the same question again. Unsure of what to do, he replied in the same manner as before.
“To create water and manipulate it.”
“Exactly, so why are you shaping the water into a ball every single time?”
Hearing her logic, Shin became tongue-tied. Even he didn’t understand why he utilised his ability that way. No one had taught him to do that nor did he see anyone with the ability to do so. Hence, when Lady Seph posed that question to him, he had no rebuttals.
“It looks like you don’t know why… You know what I think? I think that forming it into a water ball is the simplest method available to you. Thus, you have started with it and stuck to it.”
Lady Seph theorised on Shin’s ability.
“Your ability is a strong one. Utilising it the way you did will only serve to waste its potential. Now, I want you to try forming a string of water. This time, don’t form a water ball. Just use your mana and imagine yourself hand-moulding that string.”
Pouring out the remaining water in the beaker, Lady Seph encouraged Shin to continue with his demonstration.
“Okay, I’ll try…”
Once again, Shin gathered his mana and attempted to follow Lady Seph’s instructions. Instead of imagining a ball of water, he formed a picture of a string in his sub-consciousness. The cerulean Koi moved its fins rapidly, as if in a hysteria of what was to come.
‘I have formed the image… Time to summon it into reality.’
Following the steps he had mapped out when forming the water ball, Shin supplied additional mana into his Spirit.
The next moment, a serpentine jet of water flew out from the palms of his juvenile hands and headed straight for the empty beaker, lying stationary on the floor.
Moving at a slow speed, Shin desperately tried to control the string of water, but unfortunately for him, his creation had no intentions of listening to him. As if it were an untamed beast, the jet of water blasted the edge of the beaker, toppling it in the process.
Expecting to be reprimanded, Shin slowly peeked up at Lady Seph. Oddly enough, the woman still remained a calm and composed posture as she viewed Shin’s failure.
Saying a single word, the elderly woman ordered Shin to try one more time.
Thankful that the woman had not exploded just yet, Shin repeated the process once more. The second time he tried, as expected, was a total failure. He was not able to control the string of water, and it missed the beaker entirely. The third time he tried, the beaker of water toppled once again. Shin was even expecting the glass cup to break, but fortunately, it was quite resilient. The fourth time, the managed to fill the beaker with a little water, but in the end, he was not able to fully control his mana, causing the string of water to tremble, leading to an uneven filling.
The fifth time…
The sixth time…
The seventh time…
Shin kept trying as Lady Seph remained at his side to supervise him. It was strange for the owner of the clinic to not be tending to patients in the middle of the day, but for her, it was the norm. Guiding Shin was basically killing time for her.
After the fifteenth time, Shin was nearly out of mana. Using that much of his ability when he was just Rank 2 really took a toll on his body. Forcing himself onto his knees, Shin took a short rest after the strenuous activity. His palms had turned frosty as he perspired cold sweat. He felt his entire face reddening due to the strain that he was under. If he were to use his ability once more, he would most definitely collapse due to mana depletion.
But his efforts weren’t fruitless. After fifteen tries, he had managed to completely fill the beaker to the brim in one go with his spiritual ability. A satisfied smile crept up his face as he realised his accomplishment.
And he was not the only one that was amazed.
‘To think he could improve this much in one day, after some simple instructions… As expected of a Spirit User who awakened The Sovereign Koi…’
On the surface, Lady Seph looked emotionless, but in her mind, she was satisfied with Shin’s improvement. Since Shin was being attached to her, she naturally wanted to know everything about this little boy. Hence, the previous afternoon, after she sent Shin, Junius and the Instructor back, Lady Seph paid a special visit to Frie Mountain. At her cultivation level, flying to and fro Chilyoja Waypoint and Frie Mountain was as easy as walking down a park.
And as anticipated, the entire Frie Clan was turned into turmoil from her arrival. Siren bells ringed, and guard dogs barked as she flew high up above the mountain and savagely called out for the First Elder. As the clan was hiding in seclusion, everyone thought that there was an enemy attack and nearly shot the woman down. Fortunately, the Clan Master recognised the voice of the person that taught her for a few years and hastily defused the situation.
Flying up to meet her, she invited the illustrious healer into her abode and offered her the best tea that the clan could provide. At the same time, she ordered her subordinates to drag the First Elder to the room where Lady Seph was resting. After some ‘talking,’ the Clan Master ran out of the room with tears in her eyes, swapping places with the indignant First Elder.
To blow off some steam, Lady Seph gave the elderly man a stern reprimand. Years of hatred that had been held in check blew open as she faced the High Elder, who was putting on his best puppy eyes imitation.
Calming down a little, she enquired every single detail about Shin. And the First Elder held nothing back. From the day he was brought back to the clan, his exceptional battle acumen, his slothful yet efficient attitude. And even…
Thinking back to the conversation she had with the First Elder, Lady Seph sighed despondently. She should have expected this kind of talent from Shin. In fact, she was tempted to immediately accept him as a disciple, given his history. But right now, training him to become a Spirit Apostle was paramount.
“Not bad kid, you have a little talent.”
Praising Shin for the first time, Lady Seph gave a wry smile.
“But don’t get cocky! I want you to perfect this technique first before I teach you anything else. For now, every afternoon of your time will be spent with me. So if you don’t want to spend the rest of your days filling beakers, you had best improve!”
Warning Shin, the elderly woman walked back into the clinic, gesturing for him to follow.
“Since you are out of mana, you can try again once you replenish your spiritual energy. I’ll leave that cup here in the backyard for your training. For now, follow me. I’ll show you what your next assignments are.”
Bingbing happily nibbled on the sleeves of Shin’s robes and pulled him over to the clinic. Evidently, the creature didn’t like the outside that much.
Catching his breath, Shin got onto his feet. Feeling a little thirsty, he desperately searched for a source of water. And then it hit onto him, what he was doing the entire time was to pour himself a glass of water. Displaying a self-mocking smile, Shin lifted the beaker from the ground and gulped down the contents of the cup.
Tasting the water that he created, Shin tasted a candy flavour from the fluid. Unlike pure water, it seemed like it was the perfect rejuvenating drink. Emptying the beaker, Shin carefully planted it on a nearby stone table before rushing back inside the clinic.