89 The Fair-haired Stranger Pt.2

    "Are you the medic?"

    Namjoon tried his best not to reveal his astonishment at seeing the band of men before him. "Y-yes" he stuttered, his eyes scrutinising their appearance.

    "Good," the fair-haired stranger said in relief. He turned to his companions and spoke hurriedly in a foreign tongue, earning an eyebrow raise from Namjoon. In a few moments, his companions came forward with a man mounted between them.

    The blond gentleman addressed Namjoon again, "My friend is gravely ill and needs help." He pointed to the red-haired gentleman, who was groaning in pain. "Please, help him."

    Namjoon swiftly nodded and gestured for the men to follow him to the sick bay of the sanatorium. My questions can come later, he thought. And there was no doubt that there were many questions flooding his mind presently.

    As the tall, pale-faced men hoisted their indisposed companion on top of one of the free beds, Namjoon took that moment to absorb their appearance. The strangers towered above him like pillars, their staunch frames like an imposing structure compared to Namjoon's lean but toned body. Everything about them made the hairs on Namjoon's arms stand erect. The very beings that he detested were right in front of him yet, he was the one helping them. With a cautious gaze, he inspected their ill companion and took note of his features.

    Despite his ghastly complexion, the man was undoubtedly young. From the blink of an eye, Namjoon registered his fiery locks that were the shade of copper which matched his thick, straight brows that fringed his emerald-like eyes. Namjoon was about to inspect him further when suddenly, the man groaned in pain before rolling to his side and spilling the contents of his stomach on the sheets underneath him.

    Immediately, the two men backed away, in fear of spoiling their shoes. Only the fair-haired gentleman approached the red-head with concern dripping from his voice. "Brahms!" he shouted. "Hang in there! Help is nearby!" He turned to Namjoon with a pleading look before backing away to allow him space.

    With a sharp intake of breath, Namjoon fought back his prejudices as he tried to focus on the task at hand. Forget what they are, Namjoon reminded himself. Remember what she told you... A fleeting image of a beautiful woman with long, ebony hair flashed in his mind and he exhaled. Remember what you promised her.

    "Yujin!" Namjoon shouted. "Yujin, come quickly!"

    Within seconds, the scruffy lad appeared at the doorway.

    "Fetch me clean water from the well" he ordered. "Quickly, boy!"

    Yujin nodded and scuttled off as fast as he could.

    "What is wrong with him?" the fair-haired man enquired anxiously. "Do you know what it is?"

    Namjoon worked fastidiously as he replied, "I am not so sure yet." He looked up briefly. "But I will try my best to save him." He turned to his array of primitive surgical instruments and tried to gauge which of them he needed. Despite the time he invested in studying medicine, Namjoon was still lacking in experience: he was still a physician-in-training. And because of his limited knowledge, he couldn't pinpoint what it was that the stranger was suffering from.

    Oh, how he wished she was there. She would know what to do.

    "Master Namjoon?"

    At the sound of a feminine voice, Namjoon looked up and found Gyuri at the doorway.

    "I thought you might need some help" she explained when she saw his questioning gaze. "I saw Yujin just now and he said-"

    "Come here and search through those documents over there" he interrupted. Gyuri blinked in surprise but Namjoon's voice only grew urgent as he spoke again, "Hurry!"

    Without a moment to lose, Gyuri scrambled to the pile of documents and started rummaging through them. "What am I looking for?"

    "A medical journal on diseases, digestive disorders, long-term illnesses..." Namjoon's voice trailed off. "You remember the journal I asked you to read before, correct?"

    Gyuri nodded fervently. Ever since she had recovered from being hit by an arrow, Namjoon had been teaching her how to read. But while she would have preferred reading young adult novels like 'Clockwork Angel' and 'The Enemy', Namjoon's library only had medical journals. And because of that, Gyuri had become quite fluent in recognising some of the most obscure medical jargon in existence.

    "What is wrong with him?" the fair-haired stranger asked again. "Will he be okay?"

    Namjoon glanced at the stranger and pursed his lips.

    "What is taking so long?" the muscly gentleman asked, his voice gruff and low. "Are they going to help him?"

    "Can we even trust them?" the leaner of the trio hissed. He eyed Namjoon suspiciously. "What if he has no idea? What if-?"

    The red-head retched again causing everyone in the room to dart their eyes in his direction.

    The brawniest addressed the blondie, "Ask him what is going on."

    "Why is he not doing anything?" the leaner of the pair complained. "What is he waiting for?"

    Suddenly, the agitated pair started arguing with the blondie, their voices growing increasingly loud as they fired question after question at him.

    Namjoon, unable to concentrate with the all the noise, raised his voice angrily, "Please! Enough!"

    Everyone in the room jumped.

    "I cannot concentrate with all of you shouting!" he reprimanded. With his eyes focused on the blondie, he spoke, "If you want to help your friend, I must insist that you ask them to wait outside."

    The fair-haired gentleman looked hesitant to comply.

    Namjoon added sternly, "There are too many people here and I cannot concentrate."

    At the sound of the red-head groaning, the blondie eventually conceded. He gave a brief nod before relaying the message to his companions, who exhibited the same reluctance. However, after much persuasion, the trio eventually started to leave.

    "We will wait outside" the fair-haired man stated calmly, but his odd-coloured eyes were anything but composed.

    As he started to depart, Namjoon called out to him, "Wait."

    The fair-haired man halted.

    "Not you. I need you here to help me diagnose the issue."

    He turned to his companions and with a brief nod, the duo left the room without him.

    "Master Namjoon?"

    Namjoon turned to his side and saw that Gyuri had located the journal.

    "Excellent" he murmured. He turned to the blond gentleman and proceeded with his usual routine. "Can you tell me what happened?"

    "Brahms" he spoke while gesturing to the red-haired man, "fell ill not so long ago. I do not know how but suddenly, he just started vomiting and has not stopped doing so since."

    Namjoon nodded as he made note of the symptom.

    "We were travelling from Isariyah while following the Galsaek river by horseback. Unfortunately," he lowered his voice, "we fell victim to thieves on the way and we lost most of our provisions including our own medical supplies. We were fortunate enough to make it to Benkei."

    "And what has your friend consumed in the last twenty-four hours?" Namjoon enquired while still making notes.

    "Because most of our supplies were stolen, we have had to forage from the land."

    "So, you have been hunting?"

    "Somewhat" he answered bluntly. "However, we fish most of the time."

    At this, Namjoon looked up at him. "Fishing?"


    "At the Galsaek river?"

    The blondie nodded.

    "You do realise," Namjoon pointed out, "that the fish from Galsaek river is inedible?"

    The fair-haired man blinked. "...What?"

    Namjoon was about to elaborate when he heard grunting from the doorway. "I have- I have the water you asked for!" he heard Yujin screech. In acknowledgement, Namjoon nodded before instructing Gyuri, "Can you mix salt and sugar together and dilute it into the clean water?" He pointed to the clay pots on the far side of the room. "I need you to boil the water over the fire while stirring the salt and sugar together."

    "Okay" Gyuri answered as she got on with her task.

    Upon seeing Namjoon give orders, the fair-haired man questioned, "Why is the fish from the Galsaek river inedible?"

    "To put it simply, the river is polluted" Namjoon explained. "Most of the underdeveloped settlements near the Galsaek river use it as a means of disposing their waste." He gaped at him solemnly. "High dosages of this unclean water may have led him to catch the plague."

    The fair-haired man's odd-coloured eyes widened with fear.

    "But not to worry" Namjoon reassured him. "It is not the first time I have encountered this illness."

    The blondie was about to respond when Gyuri cut in. "Master Namjoon" she beckoned for him, "the water is ready."

    The fair-haired gentleman watched as Namjoon strode over to Brahms to help him sit up. Gyuri followed suit with a porcelain bowl filled with a sweet and salty concoction.

    "What are you going to do?" he anxiously queried. Seeing Brahms sweating and writhing in pain made him nervous.

    "Your friend is seriously dehydrated" Namjoon pointed out while Gyuri tried to make him drink. "This brew shall help ease the symptoms."

    Brahms spluttered as he drank, his features contorted in pain. He opened his eyes, revealing a hazy look, while uttering in a delirious manner, "Unhand me, you savage. Do not dare touch me!"

    Namjoon ignored his ramblings as he restrained him. And following his lead, Gyuri did the same although she couldn't help being fascinated by the peculiar situation she was in. I wasn't imagining it, she spoke internally. I really can understand them. But she could only revel at this newfound revelation temporarily for she was soon greeted by more unanswered questions. If the Waekugin are speaking in English, then was I speaking in Saimese all this time?

    Gyuri furrowed her brow as she pondered over this while tending to Brahms simultaneously. It baffled her that she was able to speak in Saimese, if she was speaking it, for she had never learned the language. All this time, she had believed that she was communicating in English. Could the time-slip have somehow made her into a polyglot?

    It seems that there is more to this time-slip that I need to figure out, she thought.

    "That is enough, Gyuri." The sound of Namjoon's voice brought her back to her senses. Gyuri stopped and watched as Brahms calmed down, falling into a deep slumber in Namjoon's arms.
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