Himmel Empire. Chilyoja Waypoint. Yakkyoku Clinic.
A year and a half had passed since the famed clinic had been destroyed by the Black Mask attack. Due to the sudden revelation that Lady Seph was permanently residing in the area, hordes of pilgrims flocked the unsuspecting town in the west of the empire, hoping to gain even a little glimpse of the illustrious healer. From wealthy merchants with irreversible illnesses to generals who had wished to heal a long time wound, the list of customers that wanted to visit Lady Seph was endless.
Realising the business opportunity, Mayor Nadeo spent no expense at rebuilding the once torn down building, bringing in some of the best craftsmen in the country. Not only that, he had personally put in some of his savings to help hire additional manpower to help run the building. Guards and clerks were necessary for the clinic’s daily functions. Thus, Mayor Nadeo handpicked the best people that he could find. In return, the commerce being generated by foreign visitors helped to pay back the funds that he had invested into rebuilding Yakkyoku Clinic.
Thanks to the fact that Lady Seph had revealed her location, Yakkyoku Clinic had almost overnight turned into a household name. Lured by the allure of tutoring under one of the greatest healers alive, many of the empire’s most influential healers sent their children to apprentice under Lady Seph. Naturally, many were turned away at the door, but the more promising ones gained a position as one of the infamous healer’s slave army.
Standing at over twenty metres tall, Yakkyoku Clinic was now the busiest healing centre in the waypoint. Since Lady Seph had no interest in personally treating the plebians that plagued gathered here just for a mere peek of her, the clinic housed many healers that Mayor Nadeo personally commissioned. Although they were nowhere near Lady Seph’s standard, they all possessed advanced healing licenses that were over ten times harder to obtain as compared to a regular one.
But that didn’t matter to the various pilgrims that travelled from far and wide. They might be unable to see the most famous healer alive, but they had a chance to see the next best thing. Now fourteen and a half years old, whenever Lady Seph’s name was mentioned, a specific black-haired teenager would often be thrown into the mix. Whispers that Lady Seph had gained an immensely talented disciple had spread as fast as wildfire. Not only did he manage to impress Lady Seph, who was notorious for not accepting any disciples into her tutelage, but he was also the youngest healer in history. For aristocrats and any other pilgrims, such a figure was someone worth befriending.
Frequently treating patients for less than the stipulated price, Shin had gained some sort of fandom in the entire town. Reaching heights in fame that not even Junius could in his peak as Constable Mascot, the young teen had turned into a celebrity. His beautiful cerulean healing light was known by everyone who patronised Yakkyoku Clinic, and his quick and fast results impressed even the harshest critics.
“Hey, can I get Healer Shin as my physician? I wish to meet him once in my life!” Slamming her hand down on the extravagant marbled counter that stretched for over five metres, a walk-in visitor exclaimed out to the receptionist.
“I’m sorry, but the healer that treats you is based on chance. If your queue number is called, you walk into the designated room, and the healer inside will treat you. Worry not, all of our healers are extremely qualified for their role.” Calmly explaining to the hurried woman, the receptionist tried her best to put on her customer-friendly smile. It was not the first time a patient had demanded that they are treated by either Lady Seph or Shin.
To combat that problem, the manager of Yakkyoku Clinic was forced to put in place a system that was used by the more established clinics. Firstly, a patient would be examined by an accredited examiner. The examiner would study their symptoms and classify them into three different categories based on the severity of their conditions. For patients with level one severity, such as the common cold or simple swellings, they would be seen by healers working on the first floor. If the patient has something more severe, like a grave cut or if they were coughing out blood, they would be seen by physicians on the second floor.
Finally, if the patient had a life-threatening injury or an incurable illness, they would be sent to the third floor, where they would have a chance to encounter Lady Seph. Once classified, their queue numbers would be called by the healer who had their booth freed up. Therefore, for a patient to meet a particular healer that they liked, it was entirely up to the heavens to decide if they had the luck.
Being a healer for less than two years, Shin naturally only could treat a patient on level one. However, that turned out to be a bad thing for the clinic once that fact was revealed. Swarms of ‘patients’ showed up, hoping to meet the youngest healer in history in person, even though they might not have anything wrong with their bodies. Thankfully, the examiner turned down every single person that came here with the improper purpose in mind. Otherwise, the floor of the now opulent clinic would be endlessly packed with people.
“NO!!! I want to see Healer Shin! He is the only one that can treat me!” Resorting to mindless quibbles to get what she wanted, the woman protested the receptionist’s reasonable words.
“Hah… Why do you do this to yourself? Security!!!” Fed-up by the woman’s actions, the receptionist shouted out in an authoritarian tone. As if it were routine, three muscular men with broad shoulders that would make any body-builder weep, appeared inside the clinic and proceeded to drag the troublemaker out.
“Is that the fourth person this week?” Thinking out loud to herself, the receptionist sighed as she saw the woman kicking the air and flailing her arms as the guards yanked her out of the clinic. There were many people like her, adamant to meet with either Shin or Lady Seph. Unfortunately for them, neither of them had any interest in meeting them. It didn’t matter what background you came from. Even if they were a Duke of the Empire, Lady Seph had no qualms about throwing a nuisance out of her abode.
“What was that sound?” Inside one of the treatment booths, an elderly man turned his head to the door as the commotion caused by the troublemaker reached his ears.
“Just ignore that. It’s probably nothing much.” At his side, a youthful voice called out to him and reassured him of the situation.
Sitting down in his formal healer’s robe that lacked even the slightest of creases, Shin warmly smiled. His luscious black hair had now grown to cover his ears, and the tip at his back had reached his silky nape. Hitting puberty, the boy’s voice had become deeper, making him sound a little more mature than he once was. Oddly enough, even though puberty hit, Shin lacked the oily face that was vulnerable to acne, and his appearance remained as prim as it used to be, much to Ariel’s annoyance. His azure eyes glistened in an intelligent light that seemed to peer through everything he saw, giving Shin a tinge of maturity that was uncommon for a boy his age.
“Senior, after your treatment, you should be able to breathe a little better. Come, take a deep breath in.” Gently instructing his patient to breathe, Shin attentively watched as the elderly man’s chest inflated like a balloon.
“Good! You should be alright now! However, just in case I prescribed some medicinal herbs for you. After exiting, you should be able to see a pharmacy to the right. Show them this slip, and they will give you your medicine.” Finishing his treatment, Shin handed the old man a piece of yellow parchment.
“Thank you! Thank you!” Elated that his breathing problems had been resolved, the elderly man wore a bright smile. Once the patient had left the room, Shin exhaled deeply.
“Arghhh… I’m spent! Time to go back and rest…” A healer working at Yakkyoku Clinic typically spent six hours in the treatment booth per shift. However, since Shin had a much smaller mana pool as compared to the others, he was only required to serve three hours per day. Today, however, he had spent over four hours, completely depleting the limited mana that rested in his spiritual body.
Tidying up the treatment booth for the next healer, Shin rubbed the temples of his forehead as he retreated back up the building. Yakkyoku Clinic had five floors. The first three were for treatment and everyday use. Anyone from the public with an appointment had access to the three stories. However, the final two floors were exclusively for Lady Seph and her precious disciple. Since that day where he talked down the Instructor, Shin had not once returned to the Mushinkei and opted to live here in the newly built Yakkyoku Clinic. Although time had healed some of their relations, Shin still couldn’t forgive the Frie Clan for abandoning Junius.
There were many times where Riko and Ariel personally visited to convince Shin to return to the clan, but after the hundredth time, they realised that any additional efforts would be fruitless and they stopped trying altogether. Speaking of Junius, while the Frie Clan stopped searching, Shin never rested.
Regularly sending out missing person posters to other towns and bringing Bingbing along to join his search party, Shin attempted everything that he could to find clues of the viridian-haired youth. Unfortunately, even after all this time, no new information had surfaced. However, Shin remained hopeful.
Many of the orphans endorsed his endeavours, especially Lily. Being Junius’ lover, Lily was distraught when she first heard the news. Desperate to leave Frie Mountain to join Shin’s search party, she was granted permission by the First Elder. Also, other members of the orphan division were also allowed to leave the mountain for a select few days, just so that they could attempt to find Junius.
“Hah… Junius, stop hiding already. We need you to come back.” Shin was well-aware of the ticking time bomb that hovered above his head.
In half a year’s time, Lady Seph would be sending him towards the Capital so that he could enrol in the Imperial Military Academy. By then, Shin would lack the means to find Junius and could only pray to the Immortals above for his safe return. After all, he would be thousands of kilometres away.
“Master Shin! There you are!” While the black-haired youth was lost for thought, a hurried voice echoed through the corridors that he was walking in.
“Hmmm?” Turning his head around, Shin saw a young teenage boy, who was just a little bit older than him, running in his direction. It was odd for someone who was in every way, Shin’s senior, to address him as Master, but as a member of Lady Seph’s personal slav… attendants, they insisted on calling Shin that way.
“Her Holiness is calling out for you!!!”
“I don’t know, Master Shin… Please hurry, she said she wanted to see you immediately.” Shaking his head, the teenager prompted Shin to make haste to his Master’s location.
“Alright then. She’s in her study right?”
“Okay then. I’ll go immediately.”