Sister Nuan’s newly relaxed air makes me curious about her plans. Her next words spell it out for me.
“Sigh. I can’t believe that old coot made me wait just to see you lecture a few people from the clans. Such a waste of time. Anyway… I know about your deal with the Head Librarian, as he gave me the rundown when I came to check-in and he dragged me away.”
“Choosing to get the jade slip from the Unsecured Hall is a bold choice, but with your abilities, I think you have a chance of making it work. Of course, I’ll be here to make sure things go well.”
She pauses, her face tightening up a bit.
“W-we’ll discuss your abilities and how you plan to handle it after this, though.”
… she seems wary. She probably already knows what will happen when I try to get the information. I suppose she has another way for it to happen.
I give a nod and what I hope is a reassuring smile at her words.
“Thanks Sister Nuan… having you here is going to make all of this easier. I know you’ve been running around a lot to support me and my actions haven’t been making that easier.”
The back of my neck itches with my thoughts, making me instinctively rub it.
“… sorry about that.”
I feel a rush of blood to my cheeks as a blindingly happy smile crosses her face. An easy reminder of how pretty she really is.
“Hehe, you don’t need to worry about that, my dear… James. Ahem. How could I sit around with my first disciple, doing all this work to get stronger?”
She unmistakably called me, ‘my dear’.
Like the cultivator she is, she recovered instantly after her words. But the rapid transformation of her smug, happy face turning into a serious one told me everything I needed to know.
I’m never going to doubt you again, my scan. You really led me to a precious person. Even if the way you make me do things was suspicious as hell sometimes.
A knock at the door breaks us out of our mood, with Sister Nuan motioning me to sit in the meditation spot as she moves towards it.
As soon as I get positioned there, she opens it, revealing another older man, covered in expensive looking blueish green robes. Sister Nuan bows her head to him, with me following.
“Master Shao Heng. Thank you for coming to meet us here and allowing us these accommodations, despite how busy you are as the Assistant Head of the Fortress.”
Sister Nuan deftly informs me of his position while paying respects to him. Giving me an sign of how to act around him.
But he says nothing in response to her greeting. Only narrowing his eyes at me with pursed lips.
Considering the respect and, sometimes fear, that Sister Nuan has gotten from others, this is quite a surprise to me. It also speaks to his position that he can afford to step on her ‘face’ like this.
If I’m not wrong, he is also an elder, albeit one that operates under the Fortress of Healing as their base.
Considering this, it must have been a slap to their face that a healer, with my level of ability, didn’t even consider them for a discipleship. Adding to that, they were just ordered by the Patriarch to allow me to freely heal everyone in their area.
But if this guy is one of their leaders, then I can see why my scan didn’t consider it an option.
After a few more awkward seconds, he speaks.
“… The Patriarch has instructed Master Xing Jianhong and I to accommodate you, so that you can heal the entire hospital.”
He practically hissed out the last part of his sentence. I swallow a bit, thinking about what to say, and his eyes shoot over to me. Freezing me in place.
Yep. This isn’t a person to mess with. And he is NOT happy.
For her part, Sister Nuan has kept her face neutral. Showing that she is far better than I am at hiding her emotions and thoughts.
This Master Shao Heng continues, seeing that I didn’t dare to say something else. Directing his words in my direction.
“While at this hospital, you will call us by our titles. Here, I am Master Flowing Waters, while Master Xing Jianhong is to be called Master Tepid Cloud.”
For the first time in this conversation, I can see Sister Nuan show anger at this. And with good reason.
Usually, people in the sect, even if they are far above in status, give their names instead of the title. The only exception would be for sect servants, and even then, they wouldn’t worry about it in this one.
He’s essentially telling me he views me as below a sect servant.
Her eyes move over to me, apologizing for the disrespect I’m being shown. Even with her status, it doesn’t compare with his. Which makes sense, as healers, especially successful ones, make enormous amounts of contacts.
They are above alchemists in status, who already hold a high status in cultivator society. Considering they hold both skills in alchemy and specializing in healing methods.
Even with both him and Sister Nuan being elders, he is still of a higher status because of that.
We’ll need to at least stay on somewhat good terms with them.
“Master Flowing Waters, I apologize for the sudden request and we appreciate your accommodations. Considering your vast experience and that I am still new to the art of healing, do you have any wisdom to impart for healing these people?”
Flattery, the first step.
But he still looks irritated. In fact, I don’t see any change on his face. That he isn’t saying anything or acknowledging my words makes me wonder if I spoke loud enough.
I did. He’s just ignoring it.
I definitely followed the prompts from the scan. So, what went wrong?
… unless there was no way to change his mind in this conversation. Which would mean this would be the ‘best’ response I could hope for. Outside things that I wouldn’t be willing to do, of course, like pledging my life to the Fortress. Which I’m definitely not doing.
He turns away, partially walking out the door and motioning to someone outside of it. Though, it is more of a crowd than an individual, as a large number of people in blue uniforms come in. Based on my knowledge of the Fortress, each of them should be healers of varying skill levels and ranks.
And each of them is gazing at me as they flow in. Some have angry glares, while other are curious. Wondering about the individual that caused their boss to gather them here.
The final person to come in had to be brought in… on a stretcher.
Black ooze pours out of their body constantly, making them appear as if they are a blob of slime. A tube extends out of their mouth, which is pumped by something, pulling even more slime out and putting air in place of it.
They placed the person in front of me on the medical table. Two healers remain by their side, treating them as they wait for Master Flowing Waters' words.
He turns to me.
“You asked me what wisdom I have to give to a new healer like yourself. So, here is my recommendation.”
A hand is raised at the person before me.
“If you cannot heal this person correctly, then you should give up your request and allow us to get back to work. As you will not be able to heal everyone in this place otherwise.
“And if you cannot identify whether you can, understand your current limits and give up. If you do that, I would be willing to teach you more and we can progress from there.”
Ah. I see now. My words had an effect. It just made it so that he is giving me an ‘opportunity’ to back out. Allowing him to be seen as gracious.
I must choose my words carefully from now on. Especially since I’m surrounded by his subordinates. Making him look bad and slapping his face would serve no purpose other than making another enemy.
A glance at Sister Nuan shows her watching me for my response. This situation might have piqued her curiosity as well, about what I will do.
I ready myself to speak.