Book 3: Aldrich’s Keep || Chapter 7: Learning the New Spiritual Ability (1)

“‘Heal’ is the most essential skill that is required for a healer. No matter what path you take in the future, you can’t be considered a healer if you don’t have this spiritual skill in your arsenal…”

Introducing the ability that was famed far and wide, Lady Seph closed her eyes mid-sentence. All of a sudden, Shin felt the air thin, and the ground shake as the spiritual energy in the cramped office became denser and denser. As if the gates of heaven were pried open, a ray of hallowed light emerged from the depths of the elderly woman’s soul, enveloping the entire room with its divine touch.

When the light was at its brightest, a phantom of a pure and reverent maiden appeared behind Lady Seph. Donned in a pearly white peplos, the Iofiel Angel descended into the material realm, bringing with it a golden harp and a melodious song. Spreading its luminescent wings wide, the ethereal phantom released a surge of mana that made the black-haired boy sitting in front of it gasping for air.

Moving her hands to a nearby drawer, Lady Seph reached for her toolbox. As a healer, she had to have an array of medical utensils around so that she could effectively treat her patients. Picking out a razor-sharp scalpel, the elderly woman placed the ice-cold blade on her left hand and in one swift motion, sliced down as if she were cutting a piece of butter.

“Master!”

Shin’s jaw dropped as his eyes nearly bulged out from its sockets. Fresh, crimson blood oozed out from the deep wound uncontrollably like a dam that had been breached. Abruptly standing up, the black-haired boy worriedly gaped at the elderly woman who had performed a manoeuvre of self-harm. He was unable to comprehend Lady Seph’s actions. Just as he was about to open his mouth, the blonde woman dropped the scalpel and raised her hand to silence the boy.

“I’m alright… Watch closely, Shin.”

The Iofiel Angel behind of Lady Seph moved. Pointing its delicate index finger at the elderly woman’s injury, the Angel shot a resplendent golden ray that engulfed the open wound. Noticing how collected his Master was, Shin, heaved a sigh of relief and gave a self-deprecating smile. What was he so worried about? The person in front of him was one of the greatest healers of all time.

As if by magic, the opened wound slowly closed itself and the old woman’s exposed flesh disappeared out of the view of Shin as if it didn’t exist in the first place. The black-haired boy had seen this occurrence happen multiple times before, but every single time, he would be gobsmacked by how effortless it was for his Master to mend an injury.

“This is my interpretation of ‘Heal,’ which utilises the full potential of my Spirit. My Iofiel Angel can be considered one of the highest authorities in the light element. Shin, can you name all the known elements of Spirits?”

Once the cut was fully healed, Lady Seph took a dry cloth from the nearby rack and doused it with medicinal alcohol. Rubbing the area where her wound used to be, the elderly woman released her mana as the phantom behind her gradually faded into nothingness.

“Ermmm… There are the five main elements. Fire, Water, Wind, Earth and Lightning. Following that, the three omnipresent elements. Light, Darkness and Mind.”

“You forgot the elements of Space and Time.”

“Oh right!”

Since the elements of Space and Time had always been obscure, they slipped the young youth’s mind. After all, there were only five recorded instances of a Spirit User awakening a Spirit with the elements of Space or Time.

“As I mentioned before, when learning spiritual abilities, there is an important aspect that every Spirit User must bear in mind. And that is the issue of compatibility. Although in theory, every single Spirit should be able to learn ‘Heal,’ there are some elements that are more suited for it and some elements that are not. For instance, Fire is too destructive, Wind is too sharp, Earth is too rigid and Lightning… Well, let’s not go there.”

Wearing a bitter smile, Lady Seph avoided the topic of healers who had awakened a Lightning Spirit, and Shin could roughly guess why. Lightning has historically been the most savage element with their Spirit Users famed for ravaging everything in their path. Imaging a healer who possessed the lightning element was like being told that a lion that only feasted on grass existed.

“Of the omnipresent elements, darkness is more suited for the most abominable and repugnant of acts so there’s no way they could ever learn a craft as delicate as healing.”

When Lady Seph mentioned the Spirit Users who had awakened the darkness elements, a muddied fury could be seen rising up from the depths of her blue eyes. As someone who possessed one of the leading Spirits in the light element, Lady Seph seemed to have an unkind disposition to the opposite element.

“Finally, the Mind element. Spirit Users that awaken the Mind element usually lean more to their own domain of spiritual abilities. For instance, Spirit Immortal Dream, who ascended more than five centuries ago, was able to mesmerise and alter a person’s subconscious without him even realising. Most of their abilities deal with a living being’s consciousness, and they do not affect the material world. Thus, there are basically zero Mind element healers.”

Feeling thirsty, Lady Seph gently picked up the pearly white ceramic teacup that was sitting comfortably on her desk.

“Ideally, the Time element is the best-suited element for a healer. If someone could reverse time and fully recover a patient, wouldn’t that be the best? However, meeting a Spirit User who has Space or Time element is harder than finding a needle in a haystack.”

“So that leaves the Water and Light element. Due to their gentle nature, the majority of healers possess either one of those two elements. In fact, if you enter the Healer’s Association, there even are two separate factions for each element.”

Listening in on his Master’s words, Shin thought of the famed organisation that he had heard of multiple times. To be recognised as a healer, one had to get their licence from the Healer’s Association. The young teen had heard many rumours, damaging rumours if one may add, of the massive institution from his illustrious Master. Whenever the topic of the Healer’s Association got brought up, Lady Seph’s eyes would roll in derision and words not suited for children would come spewing out from her venomous tongue.

“Thankfully, you have awakened a water elemental Spirit. One of the strongest in fact. So, as my student, I fully expect you to grasp the inner workings of the spiritual ability.”

As she said that, Lady Seph got out from her chair and retreated deep into the clinic. Yakkyoku Clinic was divided into four main sections. The hallway where patients would enter and await their turn. The treatment room, the place where the miraculous healer would work her magic and repair her patients. Lady Seph’s office, where the blonde elderly woman did all of her research and miscellaneous duties and finally, the library, where she kept all of her medical journals and other books.

Although Shin had been under her tutelage for nearly three years, Lady Seph only allowed the boy to enter the enclosed room six times. Opening the door, Shin was greeted by the earthy scent of papyrus as dust clouds started to gush out from the library. Curious about what his Master was doing, Shin peered into the room, hoping to catch a glimpse of the forbidden place. However, before he could wholly scan the area, like a ghost, Lady Seph appeared right in front of him.

In her hands, there was a golden stone tablet that was brimming with a consecrated aura. Seemingly taken from the pillars of heaven itself, the tablet gave the young black-haired boy a sense of inferiority, as if he did not deserve to bask in its splendour. It was uncommon for inanimate objects to possess mana, yet for some reason, this stone tablet had one of the purest and most potent forms of spiritual energy that Shin had ever experienced. Suddenly, he realised where he had felt this mana before.

“This is…”

Looking in between the golden stone tablet and his Master, Shin saw a connection between the two.

“There are two ways that a Spirit User who had reached the peak of their realm could learn a new spiritual ability. The first way is to comprehend it themselves. The most traditional and complex way. Spirit User from ancient times all used this method. In fact, there are many Spirit Users nowadays who think that it is better for them to make their own spiritual abilities. That’s why there have always been stories of Spirit Users being stuck at a bottleneck at Rank 9, Rank 19 and so on…”

Putting on a sardonic smile, Lady Seph took a deep breath.

“The second method is to obtain a hereditary opuscule. When someone reaches the realm of a Rank 20 Spirit Core, they gain the skill to engrave their skills into words. For example, I’d reckon the way Junius learnt the Elemental Ring from the boy you call the Instructor was through a hereditary opuscule.”

With one hand, Lady Seph nonchalantly handed over the golden stone tablet into the hands of the youth. Shin, on the other hand, was able to deduce the importance of the object and received it carefully with both hands. His arms shaking, Shin glanced down at the tablet only to see an array of cryptic runes that were extremely faint. Perhaps it was due to the bright background, only by squinting could the boy make out the shapes of the runes.

“The quality of the hereditary opuscule is of utmost importance too. For instance, ‘Heal’ recorded down by a Rank 20 Spirit Core cultivator can’t compare to ‘Heal’ penned down by a seasoned Rank 70 Spirit Emperor. The difference is ability is too far apart. After all, a Spirit Emperor has way more experience as compared to a mere Spirit Core cultivator.”

After hearing her words, Shin was sure of that the object that he was currently cradling like a baby was a hereditary opuscule that was engraved by his Master herself. The mana between the two was so similar that it was chilling. Shin felt as if two Lady Sephs were standing next to him.

“To learn ‘Heal,’ other than having the right elements, there is actually another prerequisite… And that is to have a profound understanding of the human anatomy and medicine in general. Many apprentice healers train for years, perhaps decades before they even get a chance to learn the famed ability.”

As she mentioned how long it took for others to even learn ‘Heal,’ a proud parently smile appeared on the elderly woman’s face.

“However, you have already reached that prerequisite…”

“Huh?”

Unsure about what his Master was talking about, the young boy cocked his head to one side while staring at the relaxed wrinkles of the elderly woman’s face.

“The amount of knowledge you have on the human body is sufficient for you to learn ‘Heal’ ten times over. Many apprentice healers learn ‘Heal’ when they break through at Rank 20 or 30 because of how difficult it is. Yet, you can already learn it when you are entering the Spirit Apostle realm! Hahaha, if the old bastards of the Healer’s Association can see this day, they would probably be vomiting blood by now! Who says I can’t raise a disciple?! My disciple will now become the youngest ever physician to learn ‘Heal!!!’ HAHAHAHAHA!!!!”

Evidently, there was some bad blood between Lady Seph and those people who she called ‘old bastards.’ Whenever Shin hears his Master talk about them, she would turn into a different person altogether. Like a crazed lunatic that escaped from an asylum, the elderly woman gave a maniacal laugh as she raised her head towards the heavens.

“*Ahem!* Sorry bout that… I lost myself there…”

Realising that she was still in the middle of explaining how to learn ‘Heal,’ Lady Seph composed herself and pointed to the golden stone tablet in Shin’s hands.

“Shin, pour your mana into that heredity opuscule over there. From there, the process of learning the spiritual ability will commence.”

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