Now that I had finally gotten the ability to wander around in this institution that I had found myself in, it was massive! Of course, my journey was tightly controlled by the woman pushing me so I couldn’t wander anywhere but still, it seemed never-ending. The corridors were long and seemed to have doors at ever end, never showing where they stopped, and there were countless intersections that I had lost count.
It was probably bigger than the palace.
How rich must this kingdom be? The palace had a veritably rich history and stood for centuries; the city only exists because people settled down within the large walls protecting the palace. For such a building to rival the house of the royal family without seeming to have any actual royals in it… It’s just unprecedented.
My marvelling gaze took in every sight that I could see; there seemed to be dozens of the blue-tunic individuals walking to and fro in frenzied and purposeful states, as well as a smaller number of people in a green tunic. Did the colours dictate the hierarchy? Not to mention, there were clearly many other people, generally sitting down on chairs and talking to the tunics.
Presumably, the uniforms the people wore indicated they were all physicians of some kind while the colour dictated the seniority of their position. Therefore, all those not wearing a uniform must be the patients of the physicians. If so… That’s incredible. A practised physician is a rare and expensive thing and even the palace only chose to keep one court physician; to have a whole building full of them and attending to some many people at once, where did they even get the money?
My eyes, glazed over in shock, remained that way until I was brought directly in front of two double doors with a warning on them. Unfortunately, the woman apparently disregarded the warning as she pushed me right on it without giving me a chance to even form a modicum of trepidation.
Inside the room was a large, grey, torus-shaped thing with a table attached through the middle. The room, otherwise, was fairly devoid of people. On one wall was a door adjacent to a long, clear window and, as soon as I was parked against a wall and the brakes engaged, the woman wandered on through that door.
Not long after she disappeared, however, a man walked out wearing a long, dazzling white coat (how does he keep it so clean?) with glass lens framed in some type of metal sitting on his face. His hair was short, neatly cut, and of a pleasant, light-brown colour. So far, I’ve seen no one else with the same hair colour as me and my supposed mother.
“You’re here. How are you? If you’re feeling tired or fatigued, we don’t have to go through with this.” Without even an introduction, he began to bombard me with questions. The assault was so sudden I had no time to digest or contemplate how to answer and so, the quick, sincere shake of my head was the only response I could utter, whether I wanted to or not.
“Good, good. Well, I’m sure you’re familiar with what we’ll do; once you get settled down on the table and the IV line is inserted, it’ll just be an hour and a half or so and then you’re free to go back to your room.
“The IV will be harmless; a little bit of a radioactive substance will enter your system but you won’t feel anything and it’ll be gone by the end of the day. All good?”
I nodded my head--I had a feeling that I had no other option. It’s not like I knew what he was talking about, anyway.
True to his words, with my assent, I was pushed to the bed and--after accepting the offer of help from the same woman--was able to lie down in a fairly comfortable position. Thankfully, the table was more like a bed, consisting of padded fabric to reduce discomfort and aches.
This ‘IV line’ that kept being mentioned seemed rather similar to a leech; a tube with a needle-like point was stuck into my thigh--a small prick which, after the initial insertion, I couldn’t feel at all--and was then stuck to my thigh with these weird, white strips of something. It was a bit like paper but stickier.
Even though something had been poked into me and I was told something was now entering my body, just like the man said, I couldn’t feel a thing. If not for being told to remain as still and stationary as I can, this wouldn’t be too bad of an experience.
This, while unusual and foreign, I could at least understand. I had very little knowledge in medicine but even the lamest prince would be aware of how leeches were used to cure diseases after talking to the court physician once or twice.
What was utterly baffling and, honestly, quite scary was what happened next.
The whole series of events played out easily and I wasn’t engaged in it all--everyone talked like they all knew what each other meant and I just got lost in the dynamic of that. Once asked if I would like to listen to music, I reflexly nodded my head in affirmation; minstrels and troubadours were rare and often travelled the lands so being able to hear their ear-catching and emotionally stimulating tunes was not something I would normally turn down.
However, this time, there were no minstrels or troubadours; there wasn’t even a single instrument in sight. I don’t know how but finally, I had seen the presence of the system in this land. At the will of the man who explained it all to me, the flitting, echoing, beautiful sounds began to resound around the room. The noises were alien, the rhythms strange and the overall feeling secular, but it was identifiably music.
Not once did I expect any of these people of having a System Specialisation, especially not one that’s entirely disconnected from their profession.
For what they said was the next hour or so, this strange, melodic sounds bounced around the room, ever-changing and never repeating. I quickly lost myself to the vibrations, subsuming myself in this all-consuming atmosphere I had found myself in.
Only once the sounds were gradually growing quieter and quieter did I exit my audio-induced reverie.
It was apparently time for the scan to commence.
It was actually quite boring; all I saw was the back of the torus while only the lower half of my body was enveloped inside it, like a long hug but just not as constricting.
What was not boring, however, was the exposure to the system I got again. No one else was in the room with me but yet, the table I was lying on kept moving.
At first, I grasped the side of the table, to steady both myself physical and my rapidly-beating heart. Once I assured my stability, my eyes darted around the room, instinctually looking for anyone who would prove a threat to my security. But, as I said, it was empty. Either they were invisible, hiding, or I was safe.
When the only thing that actually happened was just the table moving, I finally relaxed physically, but my mind was only beginning to stir in excitement. How was this possible?
Most System Specialisations could only affect the body of the possessor of the system, like enhanced strength or dexterity. Very rarely did you find those who could exert their System Specialisations outside of themselves--such scions of talent were revered as mages and a kingdom needed at least one of them to ensure their own sovereignty.
This table, however, wasn’t like any System Specialisation I knew about. A famous architect of the Arden Kingdom wasn’t famous for his innovative designs or ingenious constructions but rather for the application of his System Specialisation; he had the ability to ensure something’s motion remained unchanged within a certain distance given he had touched it. For instance, if a large stone needed to be lifted up onto a wall, all he would need to do is touch the stone and then effortless throw it upwards.
Experiencing this table move without any person handling it, that’s where my mind went to. Perhaps, someone could move something without even touching it? If so, it’d be a System Specialisation of unprecedented strength and potential. To use it on just someone like me, this nation I was mean must’ve been a knight compared to my peasant kingdom.
In awe of such versatility, I could only bittersweetly laugh at both of my System Specialisations; they were so pathetic and pitiful in comparison.
For this to be what they called a scan, as well, that could only mean more people and more System Specialisations were involved. Honestly, racking my brain through the whole ordeal, I had to stop somewhere. Imagining the vast expanse of possibilities regarding the system, it felt better to just lie down and empty my mind momentarily.
Unfortunately, this peace didn’t last forever for the scan didn’t last forever. Eventually, I was informed the whole thing was over and the same, brown-haired man from earlier informed me that the results should be ready in a day or two.
After that, I was led back to my room and laid to rest, apparently having to wait for another excruciating two more days.
Well, at least I was alive. Mostly.