Megan Enraged - Book 2 of Wizard - a Love Story
Chapter 7: Picking up the Pieces
Copyright© 2013 by Misguided Child
The birds disappeared into the trees, leaving three dead doves and scattered hawk feathers. Lian was down on one knee and Pappy was squatting beside her with one hand on her shoulder. She groaned as she panted.
"Are you okay?" Pappy asked anxiously. She was his responsibility. Laoshin had given him that responsibility and he didn't want to disappoint her. In the back of his mind, he wondered about his concern for Laoshin's regard at a time like this.
Lian shook her head and gingerly touched her head. "I think he ... he burned me. Inside ... I think ... he ... burned me inside," she said in a halting, slurring voice. She swayed on her knees and Pappy steadied her.
Sean tentatively reached with his mind to see what was wrong with her. He was puzzled because he couldn't see any blood. What he found horrified him. To his mind, it looked like her skull had been cooked. The brain itself looked intact but there was still damage. It seemed to be nearly dry on the surface.
"Put me down, Poppa," Sean said urgently. He stepped to Lian and placed a hand on her head after Seth set him on the ground. Looking around, Sean asked, "Would you three shield me from the lobby? I don't want anyone to be able to see us if I start spilling extra energy." He was referring to the glow that surrounded him when he drew too much energy.
Sean reached out to the nearby fountain for energy. It was the same fountain Lian had used for the arrows of water Sean thought absently as he slowly increased the draw of energy. He decided to focus on the brain first and work his way out. "Lian, breathe deeply. Pappy, keep coaching her to breathe deeply. She needs to oxygenate her blood as much as possible," Sean ordered.
Tendrils of power that consisted of love and the urgent need to revitalize were gently brushed over the outer layers of Lian's brain. Sean became blind to everything around himself. He lost himself in his task. He noticed how the cells that responded immediately started pulling moisture from Lian's body. The recovering cells became bloated with water and energy and started spilling some of the power into adjoining cells. Brain cells that hadn't responded at the first influx of energy began to sluggishly react. That kernel of life that drives every cell in a living human body had been faintly flickering in Lian's surface brain cells. They slowly stabilized and grew brighter.
Sean worked his way out from her brain to the skull, and grimaced at what he found. The bone of the skull seemed to be cooked. Only a glimmer of life remained in the thin layer of marrow at the center of the skull bone. Sean gently encouraged that ember of life like a man desperately trying to coax a single spark into a fire in the freezing cold. He fed life into the marrow in minute amounts and gently brushed tendrils of energy and love through the tiny blood vessels and arteries feeding the surface of the brain and the skull. Existing veins strengthened and fattened as over oxygenated blood flooded Lian's head. Sean saw new arteries and vessels grow with the presence of the energy and blood. Sean knew he was feeding her too much power. He didn't, couldn't reduce the trickle of life force he was pouring into her. He was afraid to reduce the level of energy that he was providing the Asian woman's skull. He knew she would die if he didn't do something quick. He didn't have time to worry about what the side effects might be. In this case, he felt that more was better.
The faint glow of life in the bone of Lian's skull flickered again and again, and Sean was beginning to feel desperate. Finally, thankfully, the flicker of life in the marrow became steady and started to strengthen. Sean breathed a sigh of relief before continuing out to the scalp. To his mind's eye, Lian's scalp looked completely cooked. He fed energy into the scalp and slowly repaired the damage of the burn that covered her entire skull.
At last, Sean stopped and slumped back against Seth. He had fixed all that he was capable of fixing. Sean was panting and sweating with the effort of what he had just done. He did a quick 'systems check' ... what his Aunt Susan called the internal evaluation ... to make sure everything was working. He noted the extra vessels and arteries in the back of his own brain, and the accompanying headache. He looked at Lian and he couldn't stop his tears.
"I'm sorry, Lian," Sean cried softly. "The hair follicles were completely cooked. I couldn't save them."
Lian was still kneeling beside Sean. She shook her head and blinked her eyes to clear her mind. A lock of black hair fluttered to the ground. She stared at it for a moment before tentatively touching it. After a moment, she brushed her fingers across her head. Her hand came away with more hair. Lian looked at her hair in shock for a moment before looking at the crying boy. She wiped her hand across her scalp and all the hair in the path of her hand came away as easily as wiping water from bare skin.
Lian examined herself internally in a manner very similar to Sean's 'systems check'. She noted the repaired cells in her brain and skull. They were easily identified because they were more vibrant, more alive and dynamic, than her other cells. She noted the additional vessels feeding the entire outer layer of her brain in awe. "What has he done to me," she wondered to herself. "How will this affect me and the power I have used all my life? There is no doubt that the boy has saved me from a very long and painful death, but will the cost be? There is always a cost," she thought with resignation. She steeled herself against the possibility that she was no more than a normal human now. She still couldn't believe that she was still alive. She knew that she shouldn't be. Lian had accepted death in the battle and expected to die after she saw how easily the Brujo handled Sean's and her own attacks. She said a silent prayer of thanks.
Lain looked at Sean standing beside her. He was crying as if his heart was broken. She had an epiphany at that moment that was nearly as powerful as the acceptance of her death in the battle they had just fought. Sean was a disturbingly powerful Mage, but he was also a baby. He could sound and act like the fiercest battle leader, successfully, but he was still a baby. He could have insights into new ways to use his God given powers that were unlike anything in recorded history, but he was still a baby. She straightened her shoulders and took a deep breath.
The Asian Mage, hopefully, still a Mage, carefully wiped at the rest of her hair until she was holding all of it in her hands. Until she was bald. Looking around she saw Laoshin looking at her in shock. The other Wizards were there also. They seemed to be in shock too. She thrust the double handful of hair at her Second, and best friend of many years.
"Keep this until I decide what to do with it," Lian ordered sternly. Laoshin nodded and took it.
Still on her knees, Lian moved to Sean and embraced the crying baby as tenderly as any mother would comfort their child. "It's okay, Sean," Lian murmured to him. "It's okay," she murmured over and over again.
Sean finally got enough control of himself to say, "I'm s ... s ... so sorry. If I had k ... k ... killed him quicker, I might have saved your ha ... h ... hair." He hiccupped.
The other Wizards looked at the splattered flesh that seemed to cover the side of the hotel and the surrounding vegetation. Then they looked at each other. They edged slightly farther away from the boy.
Dabir noticed something glittering about halfway to the to the clear space that marked where the Brujo had been standing. He walked over and picked it up. His eyes widened. He was looking at a gold tooth with a diamond in the shape of a skull embedded in the center. His breath caught. "Shamash," he murmured in a mixture of horror and wonder.
"It's okay, Sean," Lian said softly. "You did the best you could, just like we all do." She rocked the baby in her arms gently as she spoke to him.
"Bu ... b ... but I should have been able to stop him," Sean blubbered. "Your ha ... hair was so pretty. I'm so sorry I couldn't save it. I tried to h ... h ... heal the follicles but I couldn't. They were already d ... d ... dead and I couldn't bring them back like I did to the morrow in your skull bone."
"It's okay though," Lian gently said again as she rocked him. "One thing I've learned in the last one hundred seventy-six years, is that we can't always be as successful as we wish to be. To survive, we must accept defeats as well as victories. Sometime, we only get partial victories to be thankful for."
"But, your hair," Sean sniffled.