Book 3: Aldrich’s Keep || Chapter 40: Teardrops In The Rain (4)

‘Goddamnit, his condition is far worse than I thought!’

Just by observing the exterior of Ronlen’s body, Shin was unable to tell the full extent of the soldier’s injuries. However, after a few minutes of examining his insides, Shin realised how grim the man’s condition was. Organs that controlled the entirety of his system had all malfunctioned with his lungs and intestines severely damaged. The plump beating heart of the fallen warrior had taken a significant hit with several of his arteries disconnected, and a majority of his muscles had been torn. The bones holding his abdomen together had nearly entirely been shattered and his Ronlen’s skin, which used to have a healthy tan, was now either burnt or sliced open. It was a miracle that the man still could breathe.

“Damn it!”

Meticulously handling his Healing Water, Shin attempted to fix the most critical parts of his body first. Yet, deep down, a particular fear was building up in his chest. If he had been handed Ronlen just an hour prior, Shin would have lacked the confidence to effectively heal the downed warrior, however, after five successful treatments, the novice healer decided that it was worth a shot.

“Heal!”

A radiant golden light shone from the depths of the fluid the moment it touched Ronlen’s mangled body as Shin desperately supplied mana to it.

“ARRGGHHHH!!!”

Groaning out in agony, Ronlen strongly clasped the white linen sheets, digging his nails deep inside. In fact, his grip was so powerful that it tore through the blankets and cut straight into his sweaty palms. At his current state, the soldier was extremely sensitive to all kinds of external pressure and being exposed to the pure Healing Water proved to be too much for the Ronlen to handle.

“Quick! Someone get something for him to bite on!”

Shin cried out frantically. He was afraid that if the soldier carried on his violent reaction, Ronlen might accidentally chomp on his tongue.

“On it!”

One of the nurses that happened to be nearby, took a rolled up wet cloth and immediately inserted it into the man’s mouth. With his mouth muted, the moans of pain ceased, but Ronlen’s body convulsed drastically as if he were being possessed by a ghost. Beads of perspiration came pouring out from all his pores like an endless waterfall, drenching the bed that he lay on. His face turned beet red as his breathing grew more frantic.

“Heal! Heal! HEAL!”

Shin, who was already low on mana, supplied every single ounce of spiritual energy that he had left in his tank, and to his surprise, his increased output did show some minor results. The destroyed organs started to see some semblance of life as the golden light from his Healing Water gently caressed them and the burns on Ronlen’s skin began to turn back to its original colour.

‘I might be able to do this!’

After that few short minutes after he commenced his treatment, things were starting to look better for the critically wounded soldier. Wounds began closing, damaged parts started to move. Overall, the life-threatening injuries had shown signs of improving.

“Wow…”

Ariel’s eyes glistened in amazement as she saw her childhood friend pull out another miracle yet again. Among all of his patients thus far, it was no question that Ronlen’s condition was the worst, but nothing seemed to be too hard for the young healer. Using all of his knowledge that had been firmly crystalised in the depths of his mind, Shin carefully picked the best way to heal his patient.

The ability ‘Heal’ is unique among all other spiritual abilities in which the cultivation level didn’t add to how potent the skill would be. Depending on the insight of the healer, the effectiveness of the ability would change. For instance, a Rank 80 Spirit Venerate that had just learned ‘Heal’ would not be able to hold a candle to a Rank 40 Spirit Spectre that had years of experience and had read thousands of medical books, teaching him all the ways to treat a patient.

The only limitation that Shin had was his mana thus limiting the number of times he could use that ability. However, if he was based solely on how well-versed he was in using ‘Heal,’ although he wasn’t as good as the other healers in the Keep, it was just by a slight margin.

“Damn it! HEAL!”

While Ariel was star-struck, Shin didn’t share the same sentiment. He knew that what he was doing wasn’t anywhere near enough to effectively treat Ronlen. Pushing himself even further past his limit, Shin threw all caution in the wind and supplied all the remaining mana that he had left, running the high risk of overexertion.

The Sovereign Koi stopped moving its scaly body and peered straight at the black-haired young teen. Being Shin’s Spirit, it could clearly feel the intense feelings that the youth was hiding in the recesses of his mind. Torn between letting the boy act out on his emotions to save his patient and ensuring its master’s safety, The Sovereign Koi was caught in a dilemma.

‘Please… Let me save him!!!’

Mentally screaming out, Shin let out a despairing plea. Perhaps it was a combination of Ronlen being his first patient in the Keep and his reputation as Lady Seph’s disciple, Shin desperately didn’t want to fail in the warrior’s treatment.

“…”

For a few seconds, the adorable cerulean Koi just stood there, staring intensely at its master. However, as if finally making up its mind, The Sovereign Koi re-entered the teenager’s body careful not to disturb the concentration of its master. Since everyone was either focused on Shin or the dying patient, no one noticed that the floating Spirit had disappeared.

In the depths of Shin’s spiritual body, The Sovereign Koi returned to its territory, the vast lake that the black-haired boy had created. At the centre of the massive water body, two crystal obsidian obelisks remained levitating atop the surface of the lake and oddly, the original splendour that it once had started to dim as mana kept flowing out of Shin’s body like an opened tap. Taking one good look at the two obelisks, The Sovereign Koi seemed to sigh as it dived straight into the lake that it called home.

Like any deep natural basin of water, there was darkness all around, causing any human to lose sight of their bearings. However, for the adorable cerulean Koi, it was literally swimming about in its own domain. Shining in a radiant light, the fish seemed to become a beacon at the bottom of a murky ocean, causing all sorts of life to congregate around it. One by one, all the living things inside of the lake slowly appeared and stayed below the level in which The Sovereign Koi was swimming at as if paying their respects to their monarch.

Fishes, crustaceans and even plant life all gathered around the seemingly harmless little Koi. Some as small as termites, others more prominent than the largest buildings of the Himmel Empire. All of them shared one thing in common, the reverence that they had for The Sovereign Koi.

There was no need for sounds or words. Once they assembled, they knew what they had to do. Balls of beautiful light moved out from all the life forms bodies and bubbled up to the surface, giving the boy outside a little boost in mana. Although it was slight, it was enough for Shin to complete his healing process.

Shin’s hands began to tremble as the increased mana flowed through his body and into the Healing Water that was directly in contact with Ronlen. At that point, many eyes were gazing at the youth, including the other nurses and healers in the medical bay. Shin’s powerful surge of mana had caused such a strong disturbance that even healers who were focusing on their treatments had no choice but to see what was going on.

The radiant golden light that shone from the Healing Water that Shin had created illuminated the entire tent, blinding those who were closer to the boy. Even Ariel, who had a high tolerance to bright lights due to her affinity with fire, was forced to look away.

‘I can do it!’

Caught in his own mental stupor, Shin was oblivious to the commotion that was being generated by him or how much mana he was spending. His mind was too focused on healing Ronlen that he didn’t even realise that he had received a mysterious mana boost.

“Shin! Stop it!”

However, at that moment, a descending hand grabbed Shin by the wrists and forcefully cut the flow of mana from his body to the Healing Water. With no spiritual energy, the orb of Healing Water couldn’t retain its form and splashed violently onto the floor, drenching the clothes of all who were near it.

“W-What…”

Still remaining in a daze, Shin wasn’t able to comprehend what had happened. His eyes wandered around until he saw a firm white hand, tightly grasping his wrist. Looking up, his vision was covered by a hazel-brown colour that resembled the ripe chestnuts that he had frequently consumed.

“Senior Escred?”

“Yes, that’s me!”

“Senior Escred! What are you doing?! I’m in the middle of treating my patient! Quick, let go of me so that I can resume my…”

“THAT’S ENOUGH SHIN!!!”

For the first time ever, Escred raised his voice at Shin.

“You’ve… Done enough… In the first place, his injuries were too egregious…”

“No, I can still continue! Please let go of my hand, I can still continue!”

“Shin, it’s not your fault… It really isn’t… He can’t make it anymore… If you continue down this road, not only would this soldier here die, the world would lose a genius healer…”

Still firmly gripping on Shin’s hands, Escred refused to allow Shin to continue on with his treatment. After the sensing the peculiar spiritual energy, Escred had left his station to check on the black-haired youth who was trying so desperately to save his patient. Having more experience under his belt, Escred could tell in a few looks if a wounded soldier had passed the threshold of being saved. And unfortunately, Ronlen already had his two feet laid firmly in his grave. However, Shin had only practised the art of healing for less than three years and had just learnt ‘Heal’ a few weeks back. He lacked the practical experience and insight to tell when a patient was a goner and believed that all who were wounded, could be saved.

“Shin…”

Although she was entirely clueless about the art of healing, when Ariel saw the sorry state that Shin was in, she knew that if he continued on trying to heal Ronlen, there would only be demerits to Shin’s body. Taking hold of his other wrist, she shook her head gently.

“DAMN IT!!!”

In a fit of rage, Shin got onto his feet and stormed out of the medical tent, leaving the dying Ronlen behind. At that point, Ronlen had long lost consciousness, and although he was still breathing, it wouldn’t take long for his nostrils to stop moving. Taking one last look at the fallen warrior, Ariel’s eyes trembled as her mouth began to dry. A million thoughts raced across her mind, but one stood out the most. She had to go chase Shin.

“Shin!”

Bolting out of the medical tent in the same manner as the black-haired youth before her, Ariel tried her best to catch up with her childhood friend, and thankfully, she didn’t have to run for long. Shin had fallen to his knees as he stared helplessly at the empty sky.

“Shin…”

“Ariel, I’ve failed…”

Wearing a self-deprecating frown, the young boy looked as if the world had ended and no one could really blame him. For the first time, he had failed to treat a patient, and Ronlen’s death was inevitable now.

“No, you haven’t… Even Escred said that there was nothing that could have been done…”

“Isn’t it funny? Senior Ronlen was my first patient ever… To think that I would be his last doctor…”

Before he treated Ronlen, the only experience he had in healing was treating injured animals and minor wounds on himself and his Master. Thus, when he treated Ronlen for the first time, Shin was genuinely elated. He had proven his skills by successfully healing someone else.

“It’s not your fault…”

“I was too complacent… If I had admitted that I was lacking, perhaps another healer could have taken my place.”

“It’s not your fault…”

“My flaws, my incompetence… They claimed a life today Ariel…”

“It’s not your fault…”

Gently soothing the young boy, the scarlet-haired girl approached Shin and brought his head to her bosom. Stroking the silky hair of his, Ariel did her best to calm him down. Currently, Shin was in a weakened state, both mentally and physically. It was at this time that he needed the compassion of another human being most. At that moment, billions of brilliant golden raindrops trickled down from the heavens above while the sound of warriors clashing their weapons with beasts resonated through the crumbling Keep walls.

“Master… If it were Master, she would have been sure to heal Senior Ronlen…”

Remembering how mystical Lady Seph’s abilities were, Shin was sure that the woman that he spent so much time with would be able to heal Ronlen even to the point of perfection.

“It’s not your fault! It’s not your fault! IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!!!”

“Ariel…”

“You did your best… And that’s enough…”

“Is it really?”

“Yes, it is…”

Desperately embracing the petite body of Ariel’s, Shin bit down hard on his lip as he felt himself choking up. His temperature seemed to have dropped as a chilling cold enveloped his spine, causing slight shivers all around his body. Feeling her clothes getting slightly wet, a bitter smile crept up Ariel’s face as she continued her gentle embrace. In these darkest of hours, all that remained were the teardrops in the rain.

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