Chapter 2:

Volume 1, Chapter 2: Dr. Rhea Nightingale's Therapy

Parable of the Renegades [BETA Version]

Hi! Jio Kurenai here!Bookmark here

Feel free to leave a comment below whether you got a random question, or if you have any constructive criticism to help me improve! A "Like" would definitely be appreciated too!Bookmark here

Knowing that I have readers can make the sun shine for me on a rainy day! With that being said, I hope you enjoy the chapter! Have a great day! ;D Bookmark here

SPECIAL NOTE: Rhea's name is spelled as "Rea" in the later chapters. This is because the first 6 chapters of this novel are from the final version, which had edits and revisions, while the rest are still from the old beta version.
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“So, I’m really sorry for lashing out on you like that,” Lucas apologized as he placed a plaster bandage on Davis’ forehead. “I mean, I just came back from a really long and exhausting Battle Royale over at the Underground Arena, and you know, lack of sleep can turn even the nicest guy cranky. Then you had to pull the trigger when you knocked me into the sand. I literally bit the dust on that one!”Bookmark here

After calming down from an outburst in which he bludgeoned the face of his friend, Davis, Lucas was ordered by the clinic’s owner, Dr. Rhea Nightingale, to patch his friend’s face. The treatment was free since Lucas was responsible for the damage, even though it was all done on impulse.Bookmark here

A few cuts and bruises on the forehead and cheeks, as well as a bloody nose from the impacts to the wall, made the most of Davis’ face. Thankfully, none of his teeth were broken. That was great since no one in the room had any knowledge of dentistry.Bookmark here

“Haha, it’s cool, dude.” Davis grinned and laughed off his pain. “These scratches heal in no time.”Bookmark here

Lucas grinned back. “Scratches, you say?”Bookmark here

Davis scratched the back of his head and chuckled. “Now that I think about it, I realized I was way over my head with the easy money I would’ve made. You can never have too much of that.”Bookmark here

After catching what turned out to be a phony patient and his accomplice in the act, Davis was forced to clear the air. He was spending the Sunday morning walking near the beach for that nautical feel when a fellow student from Cameron’s Feint High School asked for his help. In exchange for $50, the two would stage a drowning victim incident for the phony patient to get a free kiss via mouth-to-mouth respiration from that beautiful ice queen of a doctor.

Apparently, Rhea was also the beach’s unofficial lifeguard, which explained the swimsuit she always wore underneath her lab gown.

The flaw in that plan was it focused too much on making the phony patient appear like a drowned victim and less on making Davis look like he barely saved him from what would have been his watery demise.Bookmark here

With the plan now busted, Davis had no choice but to return his accomplice’s compensation of $50 while the phony patient was let off with a warning.Bookmark here

“Alright, I’m done.”Bookmark here

With the last bandage applied, Davis’ face was practically covered in them. Forget putting on several bandages, his face could have been wrapped like a mummy, and it would’ve hardly made a difference.Bookmark here

“I’m honestly a bit surprised you would forgive him so quickly even if you two are friends,” Rhea said, sitting behind a simple rectangular desk while fidgeting with a glazed ceramic cup filled with tea. Two more cups meant for Lucas and Davis were placed on the opposite side of the desk. They were also given a pair of stools to sit on.Bookmark here

“It’s because we’re friends,” Lucas said, taking a seat before taking a sip of his tea.Bookmark here

“Best friends!” Davis threw in, taking the seat next to him. Bookmark here

“You know you’re best friends when you can go at each other’s throats...” Lucas started.Bookmark here

“...and still hang out later as if nothing happened.” Davis finished.Bookmark here

The two of them placed an arm around each other’s shoulder as they said this.Bookmark here

“Oh...?” Rhea raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Times sure have changed.”Bookmark here

After taking his first sip of hot tea, Davis winced a bit from its taste. It was so bitter he couldn’t imagine himself drinking it all in one go.Bookmark here

“By the way, this tea... what is it?” He asked the doctor.Bookmark here

“The three of us are not drinking the same kind,” Rhea replied and took a casual sip. “I have a collection of herbal teas that helps with all sorts of symptoms. Just so you know, this is not my solution for my patients. I only provide it to stimulate some relief.”Bookmark here

She focused on the one to her left.Bookmark here

“For you, Davis, that’s your name, right?”Bookmark here

He nodded.Bookmark here

“What you have is Rosemary. Its flavor is powerful, so I can more or less understand how you feel. Normally it’s meant to be used for headaches, but with what you just went through, this is the best I have to offer. Go put some ice on your head later when you get home.”Bookmark here

“Sure,” Davis agreed. “What kind of tea are you drinking?”Bookmark here

“Milk Tea,” Rhea answered, drawing a trace of a smile. “Unlike you two, I have no problems.” Bookmark here

She continued to drink her tea at a luxurious rate, while the two boys in front of her grimaced and took short breaks after every sip.Bookmark here

“Now for Lucas,” Rhea continued. “I brewed him some peppermint. He’s been busy fighting since yesterday, so I figured he would be nauseous in addition to needing treatment for his injuries. Thanks for your hard work today, by the way.”Bookmark here

“Only because you sell your services for cheap and never tell me why,” Lucas grumbled before taking another reluctant sip.Bookmark here

“You two seem pretty close,” Davis noticed.Bookmark here

It was not that hard for him to see. From how they interacted so informally with each other, to the way Rhea would just let Lucas whisper in her ear. This was not something that simple acquaintances would do.Bookmark here

“Yes,” Rhea acknowledged. “I’ve been together with Lucas since he was four.”Bookmark here

“Eh!?”Bookmark here

Davis’ eyes shifted rapidly, darting between his shy-looking best friend and the attractive doctor who kept that cool and stoic expression immortalized on her face. The tension in his thoughts continued to rise.Bookmark here

“For someone like you to be a doctor, you gotta be older, but now that I look at it, you don’t look that much older than us! Lucas, could it be?” Davis whipped his head in Lucas’ direction with an accusing look in his eyes. “Could this doctor be your special childhood fri--!?”Bookmark here

“I’m his mom,” Rhea nonchalantly revealed, cutting Davis off and nearly making him fall off his stool.Bookmark here

“Wha!?” Considering his earlier assumptions, Davis couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “H-his mom!? N-no way! You look so young!”Bookmark here

“Oh, you...” Rhea lightened a little but still looked mostly aloof. “I’m already close to becoming forty.” She then cast an icy glare at Lucas. “But Lucas here refuses to call me his mother.”Bookmark here

More wild fantasies on how Lucas saw the doctor rampaged within Davis’ brain. “S-so does that mean you like to pretend that she’s your...YOUR--”Bookmark here

“I’m adopted,” Lucas interrupted, not wanting to know the next word. It was best to shut down his friend’s assumption. Who knows what Davis wanted to say?Bookmark here

“Oh...Okay.”Bookmark here

And that’s that.Bookmark here

Lucas scowled. “Seriously bro, stop trying to treat life like we’re in some manga or anime.”Bookmark here

“Well, you seem better,” Rhea placed her cup down after drinking the rest of her tea. “Lucas, I believe it’s obvious to know why you’re here. Your run in the Underground Arena has gotten you twisted up in a knot, yes?”Bookmark here

“Pretty much.” Lucas got himself seated on the exam table before Rhea examined his injuries.Bookmark here

Starting from the top, it was clear to the doctor that Lucas’ spine wasn’t perfectly aligned. His head was tilted slightly to the left, and his current posture made him appear to slouch forward. Although his arms weren’t broken or anything close to that, their joints were stiff and needed to be loosened up. Finally, his left leg appeared to be slightly shorter than his right. This comparison was not apparent unless both legs had bent their knees next to each other while being carefully studied.Bookmark here

Having finished her observation, Rhea began her treatment on Lucas’ arms by firmly gripping one of his hands before shaking it with a little force, making the arm move in a wave pattern. This was done to make it relax. She then gave a quick tug on each of his fingers. Some made popping sounds while a few did not. Every time a pop sound occurred, Lucas twitched a little. Of course, his other arm received the same treatment.Bookmark here

Moving on to the legs, Rhea had Lucas lie slightly twisted on his side before giving his left shoulder and hip a quick but forceful push. It elicited a soothing crack sound. Rhea then compared the left leg’s length with the right again and was satisfied to know that they were even this time. A slight hip adjustment was the solution.Bookmark here

“Davis, I’d appreciate it if you could lend me a bit of your assistance,” Rhea turned her attention to the one watching her perform her job with mild interest.Bookmark here

“Uh, sure. What is it?” His back straightened as he raised his head.Bookmark here

“There’s a blue rubber mat over there.” Rhea pointed to a corner where a closet was situated. “Please set it up over here.”Bookmark here

Davis did as he was told and laid a blue rubber mat, which was approximately 5x5 feet in diameter, flat on the floor.

Then Rhea placed a hand on Lucas’ shoulder. Just like that, he shook from what appeared to be a sadistic killing intent emanating from his adoptive mother.Bookmark here

Oh no...Bookmark here

Lucas knew what was about to happen, but his exhausted state made him slow to realize it until it was too late.Bookmark here

He found himself in for a slight fall as Rhea threw him off the exam table. To her expectation, Lucas managed to minimize the impact and pain with a timely roll when he landed on the rubber mat. Now flat on his stomach, the current state of his spine made it painful and nearly impossible for Lucas to look behind him as Rhea sat on his lower back, pinning him to the floor. Her hands clasped around his chin. She pulled him back as she leaned forward, close enough to whisper in his ear, while he tried to pry her hands off.Bookmark here

Davis could only stare with widened eyes. From his point of view, it looked like Lucas and Rhea were engaged in a Pro-Wrestling match, and the hold she put him in looked a lot like the “Camel Clutch.” The look on Rhea’s face hardly changed at all. Her stoic expression remained the same.Bookmark here

“Call me ‘mom,’ Lucas,” she whispered and pulled him backward.Bookmark here

Lucas struggled to escape. “Never.”Bookmark here

Rhea positioned her hands around Lucas’ head, one on the chin and the other at the back of his head. Bookmark here

The sound of his neck cracking from a quick twist covered the vicinity of the room. Just like the adjustment done to his hip, it was soothing to the ears.Bookmark here

“My gosh! You just broke his neck!” Davis jolted up and exclaimed.Bookmark here

“What? No, of course not,” Rhea denied. “I only adjusted his neck. It should be back to the right alignment now.”Bookmark here

Both of Lucas’ arms went limp as they stopped what they were doing and fell flat to the ground.Bookmark here

“Um, are you sure you didn’t break his neck?” Davis stated his concern.Bookmark here

“He’s fine. I know how to hold back.” Rhea assured him.Bookmark here

“Yeah, that’s not reassuring.” Bookmark here

“He’s fine. See?”Bookmark here

Rhea piled her hands on Lucas’ upper back then pushed it down with sudden force.Bookmark here

*CRACK!*Bookmark here

Some air was forced out of Lucas’ lungs and escaped his mouth, but he was also forced awake.Bookmark here

“So, I guess this means you’re a chiropractor?” Davis asked, relieved that his friend was alright.Bookmark here

“I also specialize in herbal medicine, but yes, there’s that too,” Rhea said.Bookmark here

“For chiropractic adjustments, this seems kind of... extreme.”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. Lucas can take a little roughhousing.” Rhea focused more of her light weight on Lucas’ lower back, preventing his attempts to escape her clutches.Bookmark here

“I just came from a beatdo-mmphhff!” Lucas tried to speak, but Rhea smothered a hand over his mouth before he could finish his sentence.Bookmark here

“Call me ‘mom,’ Lucas.” She requested again as she momentarily uncovered his mouth for an answer.Bookmark here

“Like I’ll say that when someone like Davis is watching!” Lucas whispered, annoyed.Bookmark here

“It’s because he’s your best friend that we can treat him like a member of the family.”Bookmark here

“Still not gonna do it.” He continued to protest.Bookmark here

Rhea leaned closer and whispered, “But you still love me, right?” Bookmark here

“...Yes,” he admitted with a sigh. “Despite all your doting.”Bookmark here

Rhea turned her attention to Davis once more. “Like I just said. Besides, it’s a fun kind of punishment when your son--”

“Adopted son!” Lucas interrupted.

“--gets adamant in refusing a simple request,” Rhea said, silencing Lucas with another hand smother to his mouth. “Now then, where were we?”Bookmark here

More cracking noises came and blared as Rhea proceeded to make more chiropractic adjustments on her adopted son. Davis’ thoughts continued to go wild, listening to all the twisting, pulling, and manipulating of various joints that lead to reluctant moans of tension release from Lucas.Bookmark here

The way Rhea kept shifting herself around Lucas, made her lab gown come into contact with her figure at a constant rate, its transparency showing off her navy-blue one-piece swimsuit and moist porcelain skin underneath. It was almost like she wasn’t wearing that lab gown at all.Bookmark here

The sight in front of him inspired the following phrase to echo through Davis’ mind:Bookmark here

I gotta get injured... I gotta get injured... I gotta get injured... I gotta get injured...Bookmark here

The symphony of cracks eventually came to an end. Lucas felt close to being rejuvenated, but he was still left with some mildly annoying side effects from his adoptive mother’s playful roughhousing.

✦✧✦Bookmark here

The sun had moved to the middle of the sky, indicating that the afternoon had arrived. Davis left the clinic shortly before that time to continue the rest of the day at his own pace. He invited Lucas to join him, but his weary friend was dead-set on letting himself get lazy for the rest of the day. The two of them were still high school students, and tomorrow was going to be Monday.Bookmark here

The clinic had one room for general treatment, which was where the recent events took place. Another door led to a room designed for therapy. It looked like a spa, also consisting of a single white room, but walls of curtains separated sections of it to allow for different purposes. The scent that wafted in this room smelled of green bamboo thanks to an air purifier giving off a relaxing aroma.Bookmark here

Wearing only a towel around his waist, Lucas got himself comfortable in the section that contained a Jacuzzi. The water’s temperature was set to hot, making it simulate a hot spring. He also dyed the water a translucent purple thanks to applying some lavender from Rhea’s massive herb collection.Bookmark here

As the hot, healing water entered every microscopic pore of his body, Lucas relished the slow fade of his pain. All that fatigue from twenty-seven hours of fighting was soon to be gone.Bookmark here

When he wanted a break from the heat, he took a few seconds to get out of the tub and looked straight into the room’s mirror. He lifted the wavy hair bangs that had been shielding his eyes from everyone’s view the entire time.Bookmark here

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“They’re back to looking normal again.” Lucas noticed that his eyes now matched the chocolate-brown color of his hair.Bookmark here

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