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A note from Selkie

https://www.patreon.com/posts/48122499

 

I goofed. I posted the Patreon chapter a day early, and because of [REDACTED], I'm also going to post this early. There will be a skipped chapter next Monday or Wednesday ish.

The classic problem occurred – I had no idea where Markus was. However, he had to be something of a feature, and the courier station was always ridiculously well-marked. Most towns had three to five, on the sheer basis of inter-town communication being made easier that way – nobody would walk halfway across town to get a message delivered when they could simply walk to the destination to do so.

The capital had a bunch more, by sheer virtue of how large it was. I wandered around, enjoying the sights – I was in no rush – until I saw a sign indicating a courier station. I poked my head in, waiting in a short line until it was my turn at the counter.

“Hi! Delivering a letter? Dictation, or do you have it ready?” The man behind the booth asked with brisk efficiency.

“Hoping for directions actually! Looking for Healer Markus and his clinic.”

“One moment.” The man said, standing up and walking back. I heard some muttering and the clattering of scrolls – probably trying to look up where he was.

Fortunately, there was more than one counter, and I wasn’t holding the line up.

“Right – which Healer Markus?” The [Clerk] asked me after some time.

I blinked. Wow. There was more than one?

“Markus the Pyronox?” I said, with a question. “Has a bunch of apprentices? Well, he did last I knew him.”

“Yeah, got it.” The [Clerk] said. “You’ll want to go down fisherman’s street, then make a turn at cobblers…”

He proceeded to give me the directions, and I left him a small tip. Least I could do for taking up his time, and they all needed to eat as well. Nice of them to not charge for information, even though it took time.

Then again, he was probably paid by the couriers directly, regardless of how much they made. Oh well.

I made my way through the city, only for [Bullet Time] to activate on a particularly crowded stretch.

I looked down – in slow motion, [Bullet Time] didn’t help speed me up, just gave me more time to think – and saw a short, tiny thumb-knife heading for my pouch strings.

I was in love with [Bullet Time]. I had time to think! Although I could see the knife still moving at a steady pace towards my pouch. Clearly the world kept moving around me, and if someone was fast enough, [Bullet Time] wouldn’t save me. Like against Night.

Hmmmmm. I looked over, to see a short, fierce-looking girl at the other end of the knife, face screwed up in concentration.

Blasted high-level [Healer] tag making me look tasty.

[Veil] it is! I threw a careful one up, just around my pouch, right at the tip of the knife. I started to move my hand, and time resumed as normal.

She was faster than I was – no great accomplishment – but the combination of the surprise [Veil] stopping and deflecting her attempt, moving her hand in strange ways, along with my pre-emptive movement, allowed me to slap her hand shortly after my perception turned to normal.

She looked startled, but to the [Thief]’s credit, just vanished into the crowd.

Blah.

Strange though. [Bullet Time] had nothing about thieves trying to steal my stuff.

Then again, my Sentinel badge was in my pouch, and Night would murder me if it got stolen.

Bonus though! It only activated when there was trouble – not when anyone eyed me up.

Ah well. We were all trying to live, and while I wasn’t a charity, nor was I going to let my stuff get stolen, it wasn’t like I was so mad as to try and chase her down. I’d gotten a long, hard look at what life was like near rock-bottom when I tried to run away, and I wasn’t about to forget it, not even in my new, privileged position.

Such was life.

I found my way to Markus’s clinic, still mulling over life and society and the like.

I entered, to see what I thought was more or less a standard clinic layout for Pallos, with what was clearly Markus’s personal touch of Pyronox flames in little holders, dark light flickering over the place.

I looked around. This place looked more like a villain’s lair than a medical clinic, but hey, there was no accounting for taste. The number of people hanging out in the lobby attested to the fact that Markus was doing well, and the flames probably indicated that Markus was indeed around.

“Hello, can we help you?” The man at the counter asked.

“Hey! I’m hoping I can chat with Markus at some point.”

The dude frowned. Oh boy. What now?

“Generally, we ask that patients see an apprentice first, with Markus providing the final touch. Can I ask what your problem is, or would you prefer to discuss it with an apprentice privately?”

That… was surprisingly reasonable. Everyone probably came in, wanting the head honcho himself to look after them, which would overload Markus and screw the apprentices out of experience.

“Oh, I’m just here for a social call.” I said. “I helped Markus in Perinthus, and wanted to swing by.”

“Well…” He started to say, but got interrupted.

“Elaine!” Herodotos exclaimed, having just entered to grab his newest patient. “Elaine, is that you?”

“Yup! In the flesh!” I said, drawing myself up to my full, short height.

“Hang on, lemme grab Markus real fast!” Herodotos said, vanishing into the back.

“Wait! Your patient!” The poor dude at the counter called out after him.

I shrugged at him.

“Sorry! Didn’t mean to make it hard.”

Markus popped in a moment later.

“Ranger Elaine! It is you! Come, come, let’s talk!”

He hesitated a moment, looking at the lobby, most of the patients staring at him.

“Mind a quick healing session so we can talk?”

I grinned at him.

“Not at all. Race to see who can heal more people?”

Markus said nothing, a massive burst of Pyronox coming out from him, engulfing everyone in the room.

“Sure. I win.”

I blinked. Ok, wow. Yeah. I suppose that was an option if you wanted to close down for the day.

“Mind if I do a restoration at the door?” I said, as the people in the lobby blinked, processing what had happened. Man, they’d get mad next time they showed up and needed to wait.

“Not at all! People don’t usually come to me with a problem like that.”

Softer, to me. “I’d appreciate if you didn’t charge.”

Why would – ah. It’d look a lot like I was poaching his work if I charged, and it’d be frankly rude.

“Not at all!”

I got to the door – a few people had left already – and quickly topped up everyone as they headed out. On all but one person, I used so little mana I didn’t even notice it. One person required a hefty dose, and looked revitalized.

We got back to what I could only describe as the villain’s lair, the final boss’s location. A large, long room, steadily ramping up and in, towards a massive chair-throne-monstrosity, red drapes intermixed with pillars of Pyronox, reaching from floor to ceiling.

I eyed it doubtfully, half-expecting music to start playing.

“Love what you’ve done with the place.” I said, as neutrally as I could.

“Isn’t it great!” Markus said, pleased to show off. “It took me ages to get it all right, but now! Nobody will forget Markus’s Miracles!”

Unforgettable was one word for it, yeah.

A lightbulb went off.

Moonlight. Being hit by the moon.

However, if I had a bunch of mirrors or good gemstones or something, I could make moonlight bounce around wildly in a room, hitting everyone present. I could then perform mass heals, because everyone was being hit by moonlight.

I mentally filed the idea away for another day. It’d be good to remember if I was ever building a more permanent clinic, or getting a spot not in the market. Should probably start thinking about a permanent clinic, thinking about it. Why not?

Markus gathered his apprentices together – a lot more than he had in Perinthus, maybe he’d gotten more or not brought them all the first time - and sat on his throne, the king surveying his domain, black and red together.

I had to admit, it left an impression.

“Everyone, this is Ranger Elaine, the author of the Medical Manuscripts that I’ve had you all read. Her knowledge of medicine, I must admit, is unparalleled. Also the – literally – unsung hero of Perinthus, managing to solve the root cause of the plagues there. She’s swung by to chat a bit – hopefully about medicine! If you have any questions, this is a good time to ask her.”

I swelled up at his compliments.

“Thanks! Happy to, one small correction though. I’m no longer Ranger Elaine.”

“Oh, sorry to hear that.” Markus said, seeming genuine. “If you’re looking for a place to work, I’m sure we can work something out.”

“It’s Sentinel Dawn now.” I said, crazy grin cracking my face. Man, this was never going to get old.

You could’ve heard a pin drop – even the Pyronox flames just stopped for a moment as Markus processed what I’d just said.

“I’d heard some rumors, but – wow, congratulations, just wow!” Markus said.

“What’s your element?” One of the apprentices said, unable to restrain himself anymore.

“Celestial!” I said, happy to tell him.

“Did you also take the [Oath]?”

“I made it!”

“What are your stats like?” A third apprentice asked.

“That’s rude, don’t ask her that.” Markus reprimanded him.

I shrugged.

“I don’t mind. Just don’t ask me if I’m single or for a date or anything like that. That’s rude. I have over 50,000 in magic power and control when I’m healing.”

Dead silence again. Markus cradled his face in his hands.

“Please don’t steal my apprentices from me.”

I laughed at him, patting him on the back. “No intention of doing so!”

“I have a question from your Medical Manuscript. In scroll 5…” One of the apprentices had a detailed question, which I did my best to answer.

And another.

And another.

And – I was interrupted by one of the apprentices jumping up.

“By the gods! I just leveled!”

I shot him finger guns. Not that anyone knew what those were.

Markus still had like 30 levels on me, but my knowledge was different.

“Yeeeaaaahhhh! Good job! Next question! Let’s see who levels next!”

Three more levels. After hours of Q&A, I eventually stretched.

[*Ding!* Congratulations! [Oath of Elaine to Lyra] has reached level 205!]

 

“I gotta get going. Markus, do you know where Caecilius is? Or Ponticus? Or anyone else from Perinthus? I seem to remember Caecilius having an apprentice, and I figure I should bother him, along with some of the other people from Perinthus.”

Markus had a slightly awkward look on his face.

“He’s in Deva right now. Left a week ago. Something about a small coughing plague, nothing serious.”

“Oh? Why aren’t you there?” I asked.

“Bad business. It sounds like it’s really mild – barely qualifies as a plague. Perinthus almost wrecked me, and Deva’s tiny, as towns go – only like 5,000, maybe 10,000 people. Caecilius can probably clear it up in a week or two, as long as it’s not some disaster like Perinthus was. No sense in all that travel time and expense for basically no pay. Nah, I’m staying here for now.”

I lasered in on what he said. Deva. Small town.

Travel time.

This sounded perfect.

Perfect for getting out of that damn social event a week from now.

“Thanks Markus!” I said, waving to him as I bounded out. “See you in a few weeks!”

“Wa-“ Markus started to say, but I wasn’t listening. I was off like a shot.

Dusk was falling as I hustled back to Ranger HQ, grabbing dinner on the way from a vendor.

I should probably get my pay to my suite. Get a little vault there or something.

I was basically done for the day – I shot off too quickly in hindsight, wanting to find Night and ask him about Deva, but ah well, he was off, doing mysterious vampire-Sentinel stuff.

I got changed into nightclothes – I had blasted nightclothes now, I didn’t have to sleep in the same outfit – and laid down to rest, doing nothing but stare at the ceiling.

Deva.

 

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 18]

[Mana: 50570/50570]

[Mana Regen: 44696 (+3373.92)]

Stats

[Free Stats: 20]

[Strength: 236]

[Dexterity: 203]

[Vitality: 560]

[Speed: 480]

[Mana: 5057]

[Mana Regeneration: 5112 (+1441.584)]

[Magic Power: 4650 (+47662.5)]

[Magic Control: 4654 (+47703.5)]

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 241]]

[Celestial Affinity: 241]

[Warmth of the sun: 198]

[Medicine: 204]

[Center of the Galaxy: 235]

[Phases of the Moon: 241]

[Moonlight: 241]

[Veil of the Aurora: 212]

[Vastness of the Stars: 139]

[Class 2: [Ranger-Mage - Radiance: Lv 180]]

[Radiance Affinity: 180]

[Radiance Resistance: 180]

[Radiance Conjuration: 180]

[Radiance Manipulation: 180]

[Sun-Kissed: 141]

[Blaze: 180]

[Talaria: 161]

[Nova: 180]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Identify: 136]

[Recollection of a Distant Life: 159]

[Pretty: 135]

[Bullet Time: 189]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 205]

[Sentinel's Superiority: 195]

[: ]

[Learning: 241]



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A note from Selkie

Social arrangement, or mission, social arrangement, or mission... hmmm...


If you could give me an advanced review, that'd be great. They're weighted more heavily than anything else, and I've been looking carefully at trending - it's clear that the rating the novel has is super important. Hence, advanced reviews help me go up in the trending list. They help more people see it, which gets more people rating and following it, which has a synergistic effect that hopefully turns into a runaway effect, which gets enough people interested that I get to do this full-time. Seriously, it matters, and it helps.

BTDEM is bog standard in many ways. However, I'm willing to do things that turn some readers off - and so far, more of my reviews have been from people that I make mad more than people who are happy. Just how the internet works. I'm hoping some of you that are enjoying things are willing to leave reviews or advanced reviews. They matter. You matter.

Help keep BTDEM going - it's as simple as rating, as easy as reviewing.

Or you can help pay my rent, which is a MUCH more direct way of keeping things going! Sign up for Patreon! Buy a book!

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Now, if you'd like to help me pay my rent, you can! With 10 advanced chapters, bonus chapters, bonus worldbuilding content, discord roles, and more!

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