The older man’s voice rings out among the now silent crowd.
Other people step away to reveal a brown-haired, middle-aged man, who I suspect is a mid-Foundation Establishment realm cultivator. Potentially, an elder of a local clan. Meaning that he has a reputation and some influence to speak.
Instead of looking at me, he turns to the man at the door. Speaking much more respectfully than his previous outburst.
“I’m sorry for questioning you, but are you sure you haven’t made a mistake, Junior Bai? This kid has clearly barely touched the world of cultivation, let alone have the decades of experience needed to heal all of us.”
The man at the door, Junior Bai, simply shakes his head and turns toward me, causing the Senior’s eyes to land on the token in my hand. The one that displays my rank as a core disciple of Sister Nuan.
He takes a sudden inward breath before changing his tone toward me and giving an apologetic bow towards me.
“… I deeply apologize for my harsh words, Young Master. I did not see that you were the core disciple of Elder Song.”
There are a few approaches I could take here. But I’ll use one that isn’t too harsh, considering the circumstances.
“There’s no need to apologize, Senior. If I were to be treated, I too would be shocked to hear that a man of my age would be treating a group this large and with such varied conditions.”
I can see his head rise to peer up at me. My intense stare into his causes him to freeze.
“…However, I will admit that it is frustrating to have my ability questioned in such way. Especially when I was asked by the Patriarch himself to come heal the people here.”
I fall silent, letting my words ring through the minds of those here.
Things go quiet, as I still say nothing.
Even this elder before me trembles a little in place. I can see his hand shaking, as others around him whispering pitying statements.
Any words spoken against me now is questioning the actions of the Patriarch.
If the Patriarch is going to advertise my presence here, then I will use him as well to establish credibility. This risky action will soon prove beneficial for both of us. And if his request to have me do this led to them getting healed, then he will share an increase in reputation, as well.
I do find it strange that I haven’t heard from Sister Nuan yet. I was hoping to check with her after the library, but she doesn’t seem to be anywhere close to me.
But I should resolve this situation first.
I release a loud breath to break the silence.
“I understand your hesitation. If you can check in with the honorable senior to my left, then I will heal you here to assuage your concerns.”
At this, he bowed his head lower and lower and the shaking of his hand ceased. Something that might not just be out of nervousness, but anger. His eyes twitched toward me with a look I can’t recognize, giving me a few shivers. My actions undeniably caused a loss of face for him.
But not long after my words, all I see is him sprinting towards the senior at the door, dashing over to start the process.
I guess it wasn’t a look of anger, but of determination. I’ll stay cautious.
“Junior Bai, I humbly request for you to check my condition.”
The elder who just bowed to me is giving a respectful look towards the doorman, despite him being of technically lower status. With just a nod and an outstretched hand, the wave of spirit sense from him washes over the elder’s body.
“Damaged meridians and a poisoned constitution.”
The elder is nods as if he already knew, and turns toward me. I say little and reach my hands out toward him.
“Before I start, do you give me permission to heal you?”
The confused look, before he gives a second nod.
I promptly get to work. Light shines from my hands as I work my qi through his older, but fit, body. It only takes a bit to verify what Senior Bai had stated.
This guy doesn’t have too many issues. Just the severe damage to meridians and old poison issues. Obviously, those are normally major issues, but they won’t have to do with refilling qi in the person. This is something that I can handle here, openly.
Since I won’t be going further than just healing their big issues, I will not be too concerned about changing his opinion of me.
It only takes a minute for me to finish healing him, since I’m not going in depth. All while I’ve been healing him, the Elder’s mouth gapes open.
Once I finish, he sucks in a huge breath before giving an exceedingly deep bow. Wholly subservient, to my surprise.
“… I must truly apologize for my ignorance. My eyes could not see Mt. Tai. Your skill is indisputable.”
He doesn’t say much in his apology, but his posture towards me is completely different.
“To make up for my grievous error, please stop by my family’s estate in the inner city. We would love to prepare a number of gifts to thank you and discuss what we can do to assist such a proficient healer.”
Ah. Currying favor. The next step.
Before I can answer his double-sided offer, I hear a familiar voice.
“There will be no need, Senior. My disciple and I endeavor to bring honor to the sect in all we do. Isn’t that right, James?”
Floating down from behind their group is my favorite elder and master, Sister Nuan. At her appearance, I can see the senior in front of me flinch. He briskly nods before stepping back into the group.
… why did she chase him off? I’ll have to ask later.
And is that a vein popping on her head? Could she be irritated?
I answer quickly while bowing to her presence. The other seniors and elders around bow their head to her, as well.
“Of course, Master Song. As always, I’m glad to see you.”
I can see her eye twitch at me using her title. Though, I’m simply trying to respect her position in front of others.
Saying nothing else, she confidently brushes past everyone and heads directly in. Only stopping to turn to me. A sign to follow, which I soon do.
As we move inside, I can hear the people behind us badgering the door guard to come in.
Just as I look at her to speak, she shakes her head.
… ah. That is subtle.
Like a soft breeze, I can feel it. The eyes of someone watching the area with their spirit sense.
While I’ve had my scan out for anyone watching me, I assumed that someone would constantly observe general and important areas like this.
But even though it isn’t focusing on me, my assumption appears to be incorrect.
That it would be safe to speak.
Sister Nuan leads us past the main entrance area, nodding to this world’s equivalent to a receptionist, before leading us to a lengthy hallway.
Tap tap tap.
Step step step.
The sound of our footsteps echoes through the desolate halls. A far cry from the louder areas we just came from. And despite the lack of spacial changes, like what I found in the library, this part of the hospital feels like another world.
A dangerous feeling creeps into my heart.
But just as it begins, Sister Nuan stops in front of a closed door. One marked with only a circle, as an identifier. Opening it, she indicates for me to come in with her.
My scan is up and ready.
What is revealed… is a simple cultivation room.
Just a room with a higher amount of ambient qi and a spot in the middle to meditate. However, a small medical table is positioned in front of the meditation spot, setting it apart from typical cultivation rooms.
Another notable feature of this room is the privacy provision. One that blocks out that widespread spirit sense that was spying on us.
I hear the door close behind us, with Sister Nuan being the culprit.
When she turns to me, her face is scrunched up, squinting at me. I can’t figure out what she’s thinking.
Soon that doesn’t matter, because of her next words.
“Finally. Now we can talk.”