Himmel Empire. Chilyoja Waypoint. Yakkyoku Clinic.
It was a peaceful afternoon in the Western Ward. Radiant birds sang their mellifluous tunes as they sat perched high up in the trees. Since there were little houses and shops in the area, the number of residents walking around were minimal. Ever since the rumours that the Watkin murderer had long left town started to spread, the inhabitants of the waypoint begun to loosen up a little.
Nervous parents were now more assured to bring their bored children out to play in the local playground and store owners were more willing to operate after sundown. Gradually, the waypoint had started to return to its former state. Of course, there was still a certain tension in the air, but it was much more reserved compared to a week ago.
Even the barren Western and Eastern wards that had little residents already started to see their streets become more populated. Especially on such a beautiful day, where the sun was gently warming the area and the perfect spring breeze that would melt just about anyone. Many of the residents left their abode in search of the ideal recreational activities to celebrate such a glorious day.
But for a certain black-haired boy, this day was closer to hell than heaven…
“Hey! You can’t remember just that bit of words? I just taught you that yesterday!”
A blonde, well-fitted elderly woman raised her voice at a poor boy who was vigorously writing down notes on a yellow piece of parchment. Her crystal-clear blue eyes flickered in an annoyed light, resembling a ravaging ocean that was determined to capsize any ships that were on it. Raising her long salient nails, she made a tiger claw and grabbed the scalp of the little boy.
“ARGHHH!!! It hurts! It hurts! Damn it, grandma! No matter how much to pull my hair, I won’t remember it quicker!”
Shin protested vehemently. The first few days, the young boy was cautious with his words when dealing with the terror that was Lady Seph. But after days of mistreatment, he was unable to keep up his pretences and reverted back to his old self. He used to call the old woman’s name with a tinge of awe and respect, but now he just referred to her as grandma.
“Who are you calling your grandma?! Call me Lady Seph!”
“Damn it! Then stop being a naggy grandma!”
“What did you say?!?!”
Lady Seph’s faced turned crimson red as the blood rushed to her head. After many days of interacting with Shin, she had a sudden spike of throbbing headaches. Both the black-haired boy and she were both eccentric people. Hence, when the two collided, it was like oil and water.
“Hmph! That’s it, prepare to suffer, boy!”
Clenching her fists, Lady Seph started to circulate the mana in her body. The next instant, a resplendent, blinding golden light shone from the depths of her soul as a sacrosanct phantom woman appeared behind the elderly woman. The phantom had a pair of rich golden wings that represented the heavens themselves. Enrobed with a pristine white peplos, the feminine figure seemed to be untainted by the material world, as if she existed in her own dimension.
As Shin was trembling at the scene that he had experienced many times over the past few days, Lady Seph gingerly lifted her shut eyelids. Similarly, the goddess-like phantom opened her eyes at the same time. Pointing her index finger at Shin, the blonde woman murmured a few words like a halcyon chant. A torrent of pure, holy power surged mercilessly at the black-haired boy once she finished her words.
Once the light made contact with Shin, he felt all his pores tighten instantaneously as an invasive spiritual energy ran amok in his body. Waves upon waves of electricity pressed on his nervous system as the boy helplessly fell onto the floor and flopped around like a fish out of water. As he felt himself losing control of his body, Shin also saw tears and snot flow out from his eyes and nose.
The punishment only lasted five seconds, but to Shin, it felt like an eternity. What Lady Seph had performed on Shin was one of her offensive spiritual abilities that was cultivated by her Spirit, the Iofiel Angel. Being part of the rarest elemental types, Light, the Iofiel Angel was one of the least seen Spirits in the world.
There are only five humans alive who awakened the Iofiel Angel, and due to its rarity, Spirit Users possessing them were highly coveted. Specialising in the healing arts, having a healer with the Iofiel Angel was one of the most significant military assets a commander could dream to have. And as demonstrated by Lady Seph, although it was primarily a healing Spirit, it can also pose a dangerous threat in combat.
“Serves you right little boy…”
Cutting off the mana supply, the gorgeous phantom, which stood behind Lady Seph, begun to fade into nothingness.
“H-ha… H-ha… Damn it, why am I always surrounded by inhumane people…”
Panting heavily, Shin got up from the cold floor as he sat down in place, attempting to regain his senses. The ability that Lady Seph performed on the poor boy was a paralysing effect that made the user experience a tremendous amount of pain in that short period of time that it was utilised. But astonishingly, there were no side-effects to that ability.
Perhaps it was due to Lady Seph not wanting to truly harm the boy, other than that dreadful pain that seemed to last for aeons when it was used, Shin would walk out relatively unharmed. In fact, he would always feel a surplus of spiritual energy in his body after the deed that could aid in his cultivation.
“So boy, of the stack of papers I’ve handed you. How much have you really remembered?”
After calming down, Lady Seph picked up a teapot and poured herself a cup of Oolong tea that Shin brewed himself. In the past few days, Shin had learned how to control his first spiritual ability, read up on the fundamentals of the human body and was taught how to clean the building and brew tea by Lady Seph.
Although the boy himself felt nothing about his progress, the elderly woman that taught him was utterly dumbfounded. For a ten-year-old to be able to absorb so much knowledge in such a short period of time was unheard of. Eager to see how much she could push Shin, Lady Seph kept feeding books to the unfortunate child.
Initially, when they first started, Shin was reading the most introductory material about medicine there was. However, by her original estimates, Lady Seph had expected Shin to completely master the subject matter in about a month. But Shin surprised her by proficiently memorising all the papers in three days. She then proceeded to increase the difficulty level bit by bit.
But every time she raised the bar, it seemed that Shin could effortlessly leap over it without breaking a sweat. Adamant to find his tipping point, she handed him a paper that was essential to study for an apprentice healer to get their license from the healer’s association. And that was what Shin was currently studying. It was a document that was easy for someone of her level, but to a ten-year-old boy, it should be the equivalent of a foreign language.
“I think I should be halfway there… There are too many words that I don’t understand. Like what the hell is Epistaxis?”
Flipping to a page where he got stuck at the night prior, Shin pointed to an unfamiliar word.
“That basically means bleeding from the nostrils.”
Lady Seph sharply explained.
“What the hell? Why can’t they just say nosebleed? Is there a need to be so complex?”
Rubbing the back of his head, Shin wrote down a footnote next to the complicated word to help him remember the term.
“If you want to officially become my apprentice, the least you can do is memorise all those terms…”
“There are too many words! The human anatomy is too crazy. Adding up all the plant names to brew herbs and the huge number of illnesses, there are way too many words!”
“To become a healer, you will need to know all of that. Or do you want to disappoint that First Elder of yours?”
Shin wanted to retort but swiftly decided against it. Going against the looney old woman once was enough for today. If he intentionally made Lady Seph summon the Iofiel Angel again, it would look like he enjoyed to be tortured.
“Alright, I think that’s enough studying for today…”
Shin suddenly became elated at the old woman’s sudden change in words. Currently, the sun was still up high in the sky. Usually, Lady Seph would force him to study until the moon drifted into the sky.
“Yeah, it looks like we have some guests after all…”
Lifting up her head slightly, Lady Seph directed Shin’s attention to the door at the entrance, down the lonely hallway. At that moment, two silhouettes could be seen approaching the gate.
“*Knock* *Knock*, is anyone in?”
An aged, croaky voice resounded through the hallways. Shin’s ears twitched as he seemed to be able to recognise the voice.
“Hmmm, they should be in…”
“Let me try, grandpa! Hello!~ Is anyone in?”
This time, a juvenile nasal voice called out from outside the clinic.
“It can’t be…”
Shin’s earlier euphoria had quickly turned sour as he heard the younger voice. If there was someone’s voice which he could recognise even if it were muffled, it would be hers.
“Oh, it’s open!”
The doorknob quickly turned as the young girl realised that the entrance was unlocked. Squinting their eyes as the bright sunlight from outside shone into the dim clinic, Shin and Lady Seph both made out the two unexpected visitors.