Book 5: The Capital || Chapter 48: Elrin Zedcris (3)
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“Shin! Look at all of these items!” Emma’s excited cry rung in the ears of the wheelchair-bound youth who was being pushed around by her twin sister. 

Soon after Shin made his peace with Kanari, Elrin rushed in together with Shizen and Isadore with a chic metallic wheelchair, that was present to ferry overly sick patients around the ward. Although he protested heavily about getting onto the vehicle, after watching Emma plead him with the teary eyes that she had mastered throughout her life, Shin relented and allowed himself to play the role of a disabled person for the day.

Exploring the twenty-storey tall building, Shin was absolutely gobsmacked by the number of facilities and precious items that the architecture contained. Firstly, they had a modern ward, fully equipped with some of the best tools that a healer needed to rehabilitate a patient back to the pink of health. Next, numerous shops sold precious gems, gorgeous dresses that were fastidiously sewn together and even a smithy that forged spiritual tools up to the unique grade. Finally, there were multiple cultivation chambers and valuable materials that aided in a Spirit User’s cultivation path.

“Yeah… Miss Elrin? Why are there so many items like this here?” Shin was baffled. The Eastern region of the Capital primarily contained of educational institutions and yet, the Zedcris Conglomerate had actually invested this many resources into this remote building.

“My father’s business has shops all over the Capital, and often times, moving resources and manpower could be a chore since the centre is so far away from remote locations like this one. So my father decided to build five buildings in each of the regions. That way, we would have easy access to all parts of the Capital.” Elrin explained in a monotone voice. “Furthermore, the resources here pale in comparison to those that we have in our headquarters, so I don’t see the issue of having them here?”

‘Ah… A rich person’s view is completely different from ours…’ When Shin first came to the Capital, he knew that some of the wealthiest individuals in the world resided in this famed location. However, now that he was exposed to Elrin’s worldview, the young teen was once again reminded of the huge disparity that existed between the rich and the poor. ‘Ah, since I’m here…’

“Miss Elrin, may I be so bold as to ask for a favour?”

“Please, just call me Elrin! What do you need?” The white-haired girl beamed delightfully when she heard that Shin needed something from her. To bring Shin closer and closer to her side, she needed to show that she was willing to provide sufficient backing to the talented youth.

“I need to craft some spiritual tools… Is it possible to commission some of your blacksmiths to do the job? I can provide the gold upfront if need be.”

“You want to make spiritual tools? Hmmm, what kind are you looking for?”

“Just some elementary-grade acupuncture needles…” Shin explained succinctly.

Ever since he took Professor Quinn’s class, the young teen had formulated numerous plans to use spiritual tools in his battles. From the start of his life, Shin had never been adept at using deadly weapons such as swords or bows. The only artefacts that he was accustomed to using were the acupuncture needles that he used in some of his early treatments. As an intermediate healer that had delved deep into the healing arts, Shin had a precise knowledge about all of the body’s weak points and which positions would do the most damage to a Spirit User. Furthermore, he had heard stories where Immortal Hippocrates himself, was able to take down armies with his acupuncture needles in his hands. If Shin could train the same way, it would be a potent weapon to add to his growing arsenal.

“Haha, that’s easy! Don’t worry, I’ll help you get some! Are there any size requirements?”

“Something along the lines of this.” While being pushed around the ward, Shin had picked up a set of needles that best resembled the set that he was accustomed to. “It should be made of a material that isn’t easily contaminated as well.”

“Alright! I’ll get someone to do that! Let’s make it expert-grade while we’re at it!”

“No! I don’t need it to be that high of a grade! It’s just for academic purposes only!”

“Hehe, don’t sweat about it! Our smiths don’t even take commissions to craft elementary-grade spiritual tools anyway. If I told them to craft such a low grade, they would think that I was insulting their expertise!”

“But… I might not have enough gold to pay for an expert-grade…” Shin frowned as he weakly replied. 

A large portion of his money had been spent on Mychael’s lessons, and the average price of an expert-grade spiritual tool was at least ten gold per item, something that Shin could never afford. Furthermore, he was ordering a custom made a set which goes for a much more exorbitant price. If he really went ahead with the order, he would be paying at the very least, twenty gold ingots!

“Don’t worry about the price! I will cover all of it!”

“How could I do that?!”

“Haha, the last thing that you need to worry about with me is money, Shin! So don’t worry about it! Just think of it as a token of friendship from me to you!”

“I can’t possibly accept such an expensive token!”

“Just give it up, Shin…” Kanari sighed deeply as she tapped on the boy’s shoulders. “To Elrin, a few gold ingots is nothing but a drop in the ocean of her wealth. Uncle Terlus pampers her heavily, and she could really spend money as if it were water.”

“Hey! That’s rude of you! I’m quite frugal okay?”

Rolling her eyes at Elrin’s blatant lie, Kanari continued. “So just accept her grace. It really is nothing to her.”

“I… No, I can’t accept such a generous gift. When the commission is over, please send me the invoice, Miss Elrin! I promise I would reimburse you, no matter how long it takes.”

“Hoh… So you’re actually quite the serious guy…” Elrin flashed an inquisitive gaze at the young teen. Bit by bit, she was learning more about Shin. Naturally, once her investigation team returns with all the information of the young genius, she would make her move to bring Shin onto her team. However, for now, she would humour the young black-haired boy in whatever methods that she could. “Fine, I’ll do just that. Come, let’s explore more of the facility shall we?”

Although Elrin said so, she had no intentions of letting Shin anywhere near a receipt. Based on her cursory understanding of the youth, there was no way that he would allow a debt to remain unsettled. The longer Elrin dragged out the issue, the more leverage she would have when the time came to formally invite him into the Zedcris organisation.

“Hey, Shin! They sell this delicious beverage here!” Shizen ran over with a wooden mug of black carbonated liquid. His mouth was covered with foam, and the childlike innocence of the Freak shone through his usually aloof facade. “It’s almost as good as your taste!”

“!!!” At Shizen’s words, all of the girls snapped their heads towards Shin, who was nervously sweating in his wheelchair.

“It’s a misunderstanding! He just means that…”

“Ahhh, speaking of which, I’m out! Shin! Please pour me a refill!” Taking out the specially prepared gourd that Shin had prepared for him, Shizen asked Shin for more water, even though the boy didn’t have a single inkling of a bottle with him. Naturally, this deepened the misunderstandings of the confused onlookers.

“Shin, you…” Ella raised her hands off the bars of Shin’s wheelchair in disgust and took one step back.

“Shin, I didn’t know that your relationship with Shizen had reached that far…” Emma sobbed fake tears as she fell onto the floor.

“So it’s like that… No wonder he could look me in the eye.” Kanari muttered under her breath. Initially, she was puzzled as to how a boy of her age could talk to her as equals instead of getting all jittery and awkward. However, with the new evidence, she finally understood why.

“You guys are seriously misunderstanding something?!”

“Shin! Quickly! I want more!”

“Shut it! You’re making things worse!”

“Hahaha, looks like it’s going to get more lively in the future!” Elrin let out a jubilant smile as she stepped back and allowed the carnage to play out by itself.

~~~

News of Shin’s match with Danroy ending in a draw spread like a plague throughout the campus, and the tale of the powerful undying body of Shin’s struck fear into the minds of the boys that wanted to challenge him. And it came as no surprise who was the one that spread the news. A joint effort by Isadore and Elrin, the two leaders of the greatest freshmen information networks. 

Soon, the letters of challenge ceased to come Shin’s way, and the boy could continue on with his own daily routines. However, now that he had formed new friends, Shin’s after class activities had taken a one hundred and eighty degree turn from his usual routine of sitting alone and cultivating. Every afternoon, there would be at least one person accompanying him during his studies. Especially after many from his group found out what an academic whiz he was.

Shizen, who was a dunce at anything theoretical, would pester Shin daily to help teach him his homework. Even Isadore and Kanari, who were in the top percentage of students who could score well, could only marvel at Shin’s superior knowledge. Surprisingly, Elrin wasn’t that proficient at studying as well. Well, even without supervision, she could score in the upper bracket of the cohort, but to ace each test was every student’s goal. Thus, she had somehow phased into Shin’s group as well.

To Shin’s surprise, the expert-grade acupuncture needles were delivered to his doorstep within three days since he first asked for it, showing how efficient the Zedcris Conglomerate was. As expected, Elrin refused to produce an invoice for the young teen, causing him to feel restless for accepting such a generous gift. Taking out all of the remaining money he had, Shin offered to pay just a little for the expensive spiritual tools, but even that was adamantly refused by Elrin.

Unable to convince the white-haired girl to accept his money, the only thing that Shin could do was thank Elrin and promise her that he would repay her one day. 

While his weekdays had brightened up exponentially, Shin’s weekends were a trip back to hell as he attended the special lessons that Mychael and Madam Warulee had prepared for him. Spending over ten hours a day training in the pristine lake just a few kilometres outside of the academy, Shin would be practising his martial skills while getting accustomed to his environment. In just a few days since he first started his training, the boy had already mastered the art of swimming, something that had eluded him all this time. He could also hold his breath for much longer when he first started. Now, he was already onto the next step, strengthening his body using the environment as a factor.

“Hey… Mychael. Has he always been this way?” Carefully observing Shin, who was meditating in the middle of the lake with his eyes closed, Madam Warulee wore an incredulous expression and questioned the tanned scoundrel that had experience with teaching the young boy.

“Yeah… Amazing isn’t it? All you need to do is to teach him the right way once, and he’ll figure out the rest himself. There’s no need for extra guidance.”

“What an absurd comprehension ability! Honestly, he’s wasted on the combat course!” Bellowing out in anger, Madam Warulee protested the young teen’s academic path. If he was in the auxiliary course, there was no doubt in her mind that Shin could master everything that her curriculum has to offer.

“Take it up to him… It’s not like I forced him into my class.”

“You think I haven’t tried?! That boy is just so determined to stay in the combat course! Urgh, what a headache…” Madam Warulee had enticed him with multiple benefits in hopes to bring Shin over to her course. However, whenever that was being brought up, the young boy would simply brush it off and continue on with his cultivation. “Whatever… Let’s just see how far he can go. What do you think? What kind of Spiritual Body Enhancement would he create?”

“Not sure. At this point, I think he knows more about Spiritual Body Enhancements than me. How the hell he read up all those books in less than a week is beyond me.” With access to the restricted area of the library, Shin had extensively studied the literature about condensing a Spirit Core and the variations of Spiritual Body Enhancements, in preparation for his inevitable ascension. 

“We’ll see…”

~~~
PS: For those who don’t remember the currency system, twenty gold ingots would be about $200,000 in real life. Oh, and the drink that Shizen has is the Terre Continent’s version of my favourite drink. Diet Coke!!!

Also, I would be releasing the artwork I have on Lady Seph, Ariel and Shin on the coming days on Patreon, so patrons, please check your feed daily!

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