Jon listens quietly as Dr. Chen opines about the Way, an occasional nod punctuating his silence. The more experienced doctor was certainly right that there were different manners of following the true path. And just because Jon's initial steps went in one direction, doesn't mean that his later ones can't go in another. He would pay heed to the wisdom of his colleague.
When they arrive in the new room in the ICU, Jon narrows his eyes and carefully assesses the patient, both with his outer and inner sight. What he sees startles him. Dr. Chen was right; this was a difficult case. As Jon hears more about the poor man's predicament, his interest in definitely piqued. A mysterious illness and an unresponsive patient. It was a page out of one of the medical dramas that were so popular on television these days. But more importantly, it was a poor man suffering from an inexplicable ailment.
Jon nods once more and gives the strung-out addict a quick examination, checking his pulse at neck, wrist, and ankles, listening to his heart and lungs, and tapping on his abdomen. In doing so, the resident makes a careful medical assessment of the patient's physical status, while at the same time neatly checking the flow of mystical energy at key focal points in the man's body.
"You were right to ask my opinion," he says at last, drawing his hands away from the patient. "This man has a supernatural aura, though one that's almost hopelessly tangled. Almost." His eyes show a determination not to give up on this patient. "I've never seen anything quite like it. His aura seems to be in flux, fighting itself rather than flowing harmoniously. Most curious and most disturbing."
"What's more, though he's clearly partaken of many drugs in the past, he's not currently under the influence of anything beyond the few medications I see on his chart; I suspect that the toxicology report has revealed that much already. But my investigations also can't identify any root cause for his physical symptoms. Nothing. They plague him, clearly enough, but I can't pin down a reason why. I have to wonder if he's suffering from some kind of magical malady, rather than a physical one."
"The one person who could tell us more about what brought on this condition," Jon observes with a grand gesture at the addict, "is the patient himself. Unfortunately, he's insensate right now, and not likely to directly answer our questions. Thankfully we have more indirect methods of questioning at our disposal. Give me some cover in case a nurse walks in and I'll see if I can find the answers we need in his memory, or perhaps his Dreams."
Then, taking several centering breaths, Jon positions himself next to the patient. One hand grasps the man's needle-marked wrist, while the other is placed gently on the dry skin of his forehead. On the ring finger of the hand placed on the patient's head rests the dragon ring that was a gift from Jon's grandmother all those years ago. Formed in the shape of a dragon's head with two small sapphires for eyes, it often serves as a focus for Jon's use of Life magic. And though this was an attempt to use Mind magic, not Life, Jon relishes the comfort it brings him.
Now, his preparations complete, the resident would, to all outside appearances, be just a doctor taking the patient's pulse while checking his temperature. But this positioning would also give Jon physical contact at two key bodily focal points, which would make the Mind magic much easier to accomplish.
Finally, with nothing more to delay him, Jon dives into the patient's mind, seeking memories of whatever caused this terrible condition.