Having declared my own thoughts to Miss Mei and Marcus, we made our way to the hospital that held the patients. During the walk, Miss Mei asked me to explain a few things for better confirmation. So, I gave her a quick summary of the relationship of Souls to everything else.
She was quick on the uptake of the knowledge and I knew she would make good use of it in the future, somehow as she was quite smart. Is what I got from her currently. ` There just is no way someone can climb to such a degree of Power on pure luck. Luck may give one the opportunity but without an excellent base to hold you when things get rough one is bound to topple like a house made of cards, eventually. `
But all that was for the future, as my goal shifted from right now. ` If Miss Mei is right, and this is of malicious origin, then I can only think of it as a response to my presence. The timing doesn’t quite align but it should be true. `
“ Mr. Mir, many of your theories have been thought of before so they are not unknown, but among those, one stands out. ” Spoke Miss Mei and brought me out of my thoughts. “ Everybody knows the Souls are the basic building block for the Divine, and there have been proposals on how to get rid of them. One of those is to cull the population, although it sounds cruel it is a viable method. The problem with it, is that even if the population is culled, the Divines still receive those much needed Souls to endure till the population recovers. So, my question is. Considering what you have said, how do you plan on going around that problem? ”
As we walked towards the hospital that I could already see, I gave her my thoughts. “ I have thought about that part for some time and came to a few conclusions. To topple a high tower, there is no better way than to get rid of its base, as after that one just has to observe it all collapse down on its own. Since the base here is a Soul, all one needs to do is direct the flow of Souls. But since that flow is so important to them it’s bound to be guarded, so that changes the priorities for me. ” I explained to her. “ I can’t nor do I currently have a way of fiddling with the flow of Souls. Nor do I want to so that is out but I can fiddle with the Souls before they depart. My idea was that using my Power I can make a pit stop for them before they truly are going with the flow but that is a goal for the future and cant help us now. ”
Reaching the backside of the hospital, Miss Mei brought us inside. Once we reached the quarantine zone, we could see doctors and nurses rushing everywhere in hazmat suits. So when we arrived we were novelty to them, as if we cared not if we caught or spread the disease . Yet when they noticed Miss Mei with us, they ignored us. Seeing that it was easy to recognize the amount of authority the Miss had.
Motioning for us to follow, she went directly into the quarantine zone. Me and Marcus looked at each other for a second but followed. Once inside, we saw rows of beds with medical equipment, but the most noticeable one was an apparatus that was used to help the patients to breathe. Seeing everything, I ignored the gazes and went to the nearest patient. An old man, probably around 60. Taking a look at him first and then back at the other patients, I noticed immediately a commonality.
“ Miss Mei. ” I addressed her. “ You said the lungs are the primary target of the disease? ” When she nodded I voiced my thoughts, while Marcus only stared at everything. His set of Powers was useless in this endeavour, so he could only watch. “ Does the healthiness of a person’s lungs affect how long one can endure this disease? ”
“ Yes, they do. At least as I have seen so far. ” She replied.
“ Well, now at least I can declare one positive thing if this disease reaches global standards. ” I said.
“ And that would be? ” Asked Marcus.
“ There will be much fewer smokers in the world. ” I explained. “ When I was a kid, I hated adults who smoked. All that smell and walking into a room full of smoking adults was the worst. ”
Not hearing any comments from them, I coughed for a second and spoke out my true thoughts. “ What I truly meant to say is, ignore me for a second as I will focus on the patient for a second. ”
Placing my hand on the chest of the unconscious old man, I poured Auril into his entire body. “ Oh, wow, this is interesting. ”
“ What is it now? ” Asked Marcus again, while Miss Mei just watched me.
“ Umm , give me a second. ” That said, I poured a bit more Auril inside and used it to imprint what I observed. Once it was done, I moved it upwards, out of the body of the old man and like a holo his body appeared above him.
“ That’s the old man. ” With intrigue Miss Mei commented.
“ Yes, but here is the best part. ” Immediately I shifted the image a bit and his insides appeared. Slowly I showed them the organs in the details I perceived, but when I focused on the lungs it showed something unexpected, or better said their lack of said organ. The breathing organ that was so vital to almost all land breathing beings was barely visible.
“ The lungs are missing? Are you blocked from perceiving them? ” Marcus asked.
“ Yes, It’s weak, but the disease is blocking me from doing a general scan on it. ” I replied. “ Miss Mei, have you extracted a sample of the disease? ”
“ Yes, it was the first thing among many that was done, although mortal tools were used for it. When I tried with True Qi it just ate it and multiplied. ” She replied.
“ Oh, now that you’ve mentioned it. For quite some time I have been intrigued as to the difference you guys have with Qi and True Qi. ” I asked her in return. “ If Qi is Life Essence, then what would the True Qi be? ” Reaching out with a hand I spoke my intent. “ Can you send a bit of your Power to me so I could examine it? Please? ”
Hearing my request, there was no reply, but when she noticed the nod from Marcus, she obliged and gave me a sample. She made a tiny ball of her Power and placed it upon my outstretched hand. Using my Auril I touched and observed it to the best that I could. Immediately I noticed what she meant as it was much more conductive to my Power than Mana but at the same time there was a resistance to it that was not there due to the influence of the originator. That resistance fell similar to Mana but weaker.
` Fascinating. This should be a hybrid type of Power of Life Essence and Mana combined into one, probably. If I am right, then in exchange of pure potency of mana they acquire the ability to influence the Universe with thought and understanding. Anyway, I can ponder on it more later. `
Enveloping that bit of True Qi, I send it into the old man’s body and to the lungs. Once it was there, I released my hold on it and let it interact with the disease. Seconds later, the True Qi was unraveled and consumed.
` Before I examine it deeper, let’s see if it can eat my Auril. ` Next I separated a bit of Auril and shoved it inside. Second later I saw the disease engulf my Auril, but it failed to eat it. More seconds passed, and nothing changed. ` Hmm, how about this? ` As I could feel my Auril even if the disease engulfed it, I knew they could not eat it, but as I relinquished my hold on it, that changed. The weaker my hold was, the more it ate but compared to the True Qi it was slower by quite a lot.
Turning my attention from it, I spoke about my findings. “ You were right Miss Mei. Although my Power is based on Life Essence, or Qi as you call it, it was still eaten, albeit slower. Which concludes that this disease was specifically made against your people. ”
“ Or you? ” Commented Marcus. “ Could it be that it was made with someone like you in mind? ”
“ Could be, but I doubt it. ” I replied. “ If what I am thinking is right then, even if this disease spreads to the entire World at most there will be a large amount of old people dying, since the disease is quite weak if it does not eat up enough Life Essence or True Qi in this case. ”
“ Miss Mei, you’re the expert here. What do you reckon its life cycle to be? From infection to death? ” I asked her.
“ Umm, just like you said, with no foreign Qi used as fuel, it’s quite weak. So far from what I have seen is that the majority of affected are older people, or people with health problems. ” She replied. “ If what I have seen so far stays constant, then depending on the health of the patient, it goes from somewhere of one week to more. As I can’t tell you right now without more data but the healthier they are the longer they can sustain it and the chances of their bodies adapting to the disease will grow more. ” Stopping there for a second, she gathered her thoughts. “ That being said, the problem will be keeping people alive long enough. If it truly was meant to spread to the World, it will happen one way or the other and I can already imagine it. The genuine problem won’t be the disease but the numbers affected as the health system around the World are not designed for such huge scales. Countries will have to declare a national crisis if they want to keep a significant portion of the older population. ”
“ Right, so Mir, you going to do your thing or not? ” Interrupted Marcus. He pointed at the image I still had over the old man and the lungs which were not visible there. Giving a glance at him and the surrounding people that were watching us, I did what I wanted to do from the start. ` Too bad for the people I made the projection only visible to Marcus and Miss Mei. Let’s focus on this. `
Focusing on a small part of the right lung, I used a part of my Power that I had never used before on a living patient. My intention was to override the old man’s lungs along with the disease with my Auril and make them my own, similar to how I could do with objects. ` If done correctly, there shouldn’t be a problem, but one never knows. `
Concentrating for a bit, I initiated the process and considering my Will and the disease inside the lungs; it was a straightforward process. ` Much easier compared to overriding the Will of the Universe. `
On the projection above, one could see how the right lung slowly appeared, as if being scanned by a laser. From the right lung it went to the left and soon a complete image of them appeared.
Miss Mei came right upon the projection to observe it and she had a look of fascination on her face. Once it was done, I removed everything else but the lungs. Of course, for insurance I had instructed the lungs to function properly for now. With my intent I zoomed in on the various parts of the lungs and soon I found the culprit with Miss Mei’s help.
“ There. That’s the virus. ” She pointed with a finger. Looking at what she meant, I zoomed on the particular culprit.
“ Virus? ” Markus asked with confusion. “ Mei, didn’t you say it was a disease? ”
“ Oh, I didn’t know you know the difference between them. Last I know you were focused on a different topic? ” With a smugness in her voice, Miss Mei teased.
“ Cough, I know at least the basics. Anyway, since that is the culprit, what will you do with it now, Mir? ” He asked me. I considered a few topics when Miss Mei spoke.
“ Mr. Mir? ” She called for me but maybe out of unconscious thought I replied, unlike what she thought I would. “ Oh, please call me Mir. There is no need for Mr, as Mir is a nickname and nothing else. Feels weird being called like that. ”
“ Oh, now that I think about it, I signed up for your club without even knowing your actual name. ” Marcus suddenly commented on the side.
“ Ah, you’re right. Don’t worry, once we are out of here, I will tell you and Miss Mei if she accepts my offer. ” I declared and changed the topic. “ Anyway, what did you want to ask me, Miss Mei? ”
“ This projection of yours, is it in real-time? ” When I nodded, came another question. “ Can you show me the life cycle of the virus with it? ”
Considering it for a second, I reply. “ Theoretically, yes. But there is a problem. ” When she wanted to ask why not I gave an answer. “ The problem is the way I am able to show you this projection. Right now I have overridden the lungs of this old man with my Power. What that means is that his lungs now belong to me. ”
“ Belong? ”
“ Belong? ”
I could see confusion and intrigue on both of them. I nodded and explained. “ My Power works differently than both of yours. I can’t manipulate or commune with Reality like you two. With Knowledge, Power and Will I can do almost anything but I won’t get the help of Reality as that process happens. “
Stopping for a second, I consider my next words. “ From what I have felt of your Power Miss Mei, you express your personal understanding to the Universe and if you apply energy to enact a change, the Universe complies and helps along. The understanding doesn’t need to be detailed but with more details it is more cost efficient. Marcus, on the other hand, directly uses Mana and there is no cost efficiency involved, but the better he understands how to enact the change the greater the scale. Both have their good and bad sides I am sure you guys all know well about. I, on the other hand, receive no help and neither can I directly manipulate it. What I do is I push out my own Will through my Power like an overlay over Reality and enact the change. The good thing is I can do unimaginable stuff, the bad thing is that Reality ignores me on the microscale and resists on the macroscale. ”
Stopping there, I saw them think about it for a bit, but again Miss Mei spoke first. “ I am sure you have more to talk about but let’s go back to the main topic. ”
Acknowledging that I went off track, I focused again.. “ Right, but before I do that, a thought came to me as I explained all this so I must say one last thing. Life Essence or Qi fuels one’s state of Existence and Mana is that individual’s way to affect one’s Reality. Marcus and I are the extremes of both sides of a coin. He is for Mana and I am for Life Essence. He manipulates Reality and I express my Reality. My current theory is that every Power that exists is a blend of those two and the ratios of their makeup defines them. With that being the case, Miss Mei, what do you think Cultivators are? ”
Blinking her beautiful eyelashes a few times, she nailed my interpretation. “ The perfect blend of both? ”
“ Yes. ” I confirmed for her. “ You can tap into both powers even if you can’t reach the extremes of both. It is for that reason that I need a Cultivator for my project, and since Marcus favors you, I want to extend that favor to you. I only hope that you consider it seriously instead of just blatantly refusing it. ”
“ Very well. I will do that. ” Replied the Miss with a stern voice to back it up, but then added. “ Let us get back to the main topic again. ”
Nodding, I went on. “ Since this revelation earlier I can define it better too, so listen well. Being on the extreme side of a state of Existence, I have the ability to override the Will of another Reality. If I try it with the Universe in which we live it will resist me, but that is all that will happen on the microscale of things. On the macroscale it should actively fight back. Now since our patient is not a Universe but a helpless, unconscious old man, he can’t resist and even if he were not let’s mention the fact that he can’t use any Power to express himself to even try to defend against me. ” Stopping for a second, I give them my opinion. “ That being said, his lungs now belong to me and even if I did nothing and ordered them to work as they should, that won’t change as he simply won’t be able to get rid of my influence. Now for the real problem. While I am in control of his lungs, it’s easy for me to give the order for the lungs to work properly. As I have no idea how the virus should behave, I can only blindly tell it what it should do and hope it actually does what it’s supposed to do. ”
“ Phu, that was a lot of explaining. ” I said and glanced at Marcus. “ Marcus, I think you enjoy these moments too. When revelations come to you at the strangest of times. Don’t you? ”
“ Hmph, of course I do. I have recorded every such moment in my personal diary to always be able to read and remember those moments. ” Was his reply. “ Say, before this moment, you only had a vague idea about it. As you would have mentioned it to me, right? ”
“ Sort off. I always had this notion of trying to sort my Power and its relations to everything but no matter how I tried, all my ideas were vague at best. ” I replied but just when another thought popped to me Miss Mei interrupted us.
“ Boys, please, let’s leave all that for later. ” Turning to her I saw a slight twitch of an eyebrow. “ Mir, from what I understood, you think that even if I use my Knowledge and direct you on viruses and their behavior, all that would do is to simulate the behavior of this one and it should not reflect the behavior of the.. wild version. Is that correct? ”
Nodding, Miss Mei spoke again. “ That is good enough for me. I hope you don’t mind staying for a bit and helping me? ” She asked, and I shook my head in denial.
“ I don’t mind. ”
“ Good, let’s do this. ”