She awoke in her bed. That’s weird, she thought, I don’t remember changing into this.
Ella felt heavy, sick, and very weak, and remembered sometimes that really, she was prone to taking long naps but never had she felt such sharp pain in her lower stomach. That was never a symptom of when she… huh?
She couldn’t quite remember what she did to deserve long naps. In fact, she didn’t really remember anything other than she woke up in her own bed but didn’t in fact go to sleep. The sheets smelled antiseptic. That made her want to get up.
She leaned on the side of the bed, with her body like lead, but instead didn’t find the power to stand upright and sunk to the floor instead, feet up, and had to taste the floor.
“Help me!” she cried.
Then, a lanky looking girl walked up, tray in hand. The sweet smells of food turned her head, but the girl panicked instead after seeing her on the floor and helped her up. She was dressed comfortably, as if it were home as well, “Are you awake now, Ella? Take it easy, still.”
She ate carefully, trying not the spill any food on the nice room she was in. She never thought she would ever stay in a fancy room like it, but she said nothing.
“I guess you’re still drowsy. I guess now I need to find a way for you to call me when you need me,” She seemed nice, but it was very easy, perhaps because she seemed like a genuine person, that she was acting cool and coy, but really she was really happy. Her eyes were moist, but her voice was steady.
“Wait,” and then, she told her that she couldn’t remember a thing.
“So, my name is Eleanor and you’re Sally?”
“Yes, you were released from the yesterday and you were fine and chatting with everyone. We let you go because you were tired, and I brought some food because you hadn’t eaten,” Sally wracked her brain, “Hmm, I don’t know what’s wrong with your memory. At the very least, you should be able to walk.”
“About that, why can’t I use my legs?”
“That’s something I don’t know,” Sally looked down, “I guess, I never bothered to get to know you that well. Huh, try using your magic to move your legs. Maybe you haven’t forgotten that.”
“I remember me being a magician, and I remember my magic, but not that.”
“The metaphor you used to explain to me is that it was like moving puppet strings, but I guess that can wait. How about you stay here and I’m going to look up exactly what’s wrong with you.”
Ella didn’t want to be left alone, but she knew that she was someone who could’ve been trusted. The smallest details were returning, the knowledge she had, but not the secrets of her personality or of her life.
After she was gone and she had slurped the last of her meal, Ella sat upright on her bed and rolled up her clothing. Her legs were scarred and useless and guessed from the location of her pain and of some bloody bandages that was not the reason she was in the hospital. Instead, her injuries looked like a gunshot wound, but not quite. She was not sure why’d she knew that either.
Sally came in with more food a few hours later, wearing an apron, but that time felt like an eternity in solitude. She gladly gave up the food, took a bite, and continued to explain.
“It seems that you’re in a fugue state. You’ll be better soon, but let me tell you, it was hard to explain why I was so nervous without letting anyone know. I didn’t want them to worry as Nick…”
“About me, please,” but of course afterwards she wanted to know about the others.
So Sally told her everything she knew about Ella to her, “To be precise, I’m almost certified to take care of you as you remember, but I don’t know whether I should tell you everything. There’s no literature that recommends any single treatment.”
Sally was not trained well in these kinds of subjects but acted cautiously because she could at least deduce that amnesia could be a painful thing, and instead fed Ella knowledge about her place in the world, leaving out the fine details of her relationships, which to be honest, Sally did not know very well. She had to correct Ella almost every time she remembered something because they were false memories and grew worried when after hours of talking there was no headway.
“I could you tell everything right now, but I don’t think it’s time for everything, nor do I know that’s the right thing to do.”
“Well, could you at least tell me where I am exactly?” Ella said meekly.
“Ah, how could I forget. This is our little hideout in the center of the city.”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
“Actually, I’ve being trying to act cheerful, but it hurts me to see you like this. The words won’t come out of my mouth. I want to believe that you can remember, but something’s stopping me from talking. You’re a Knight, Eleanor, special forces. This is our station. I think I’ll bring in Luna instead to talk to you.”
“Sally, I didn’t know. I’m sorry. You’ve been taking care of me too since I got home. You should rest.”
She went, and once again Ella was lonely. She could hear her talking to someone else in another room, and in fact while she couldn’t make out the words that many people were worried about her. She tried to remember the people she talked to yesterday, but she could not, though with some practice she could bend her legs.
Ella wanted nothing more than the ability to walk again, so she could throw the covers off and see her world first hand. She was confident that everything would be well and found it strange that Sally had never told her the exact cause for her injury, though it hurt less and less.
Instead, that evening, she the exercises Sally had told her about. She had been in a coma, Sally said but it was miraculous that it wasn’t very long, but also unfortunate that she couldn’t remember doing the same exercises the day before. Eventually though, she gave up on her pride and forgot about her condition or her magic and decided the lean herself onto the wheelchair.
She was at the door, but the noisy electric motor drew the attention of a sad-looking umbra girl, who without saying a word walked in, grabbed Ella and pushed her gently to her own room, stuck a cup of too-hot tea into her hand and wept a little to herself.
“I’m so glad you’re okay Ella. Sally told me everything. Of course, that means you have to go back to the doctor,” she said with a half open grin, “But is it true? Have you lost your memories?”
Ella nodded, and Luna said, “Do you remember how you got hurt? That’s not something you should have done yourself. If anything, it should have been me. I could have walked away from the same thing, I think. But I must admit that you were really cool, and you’re recovering really well.”
“No, I don’t remember.”
“I think it is better that way. At least, that’s what Nicholas said. Well, you only need to remember you’re like a sister to me, and not like a sister-in-arms like the Baronet. I’m sorry, because while you don’t remember, I’ve been nothing but ungrateful to you, and I told myself I would never act impetuous again with you, but now, I don’t want things to change anymore, and so I can’t keep that promise,” Luna’s mercurial form bulged out of her eye sockets, dripping onto her face, but remembering a bit more, Ella was certain that wasn’t normal about her, or most any umbra for that matter.”
“But I think it is time for me to see this Nicholas person. I’m ready if you can wave him.”
“Erm, while I know you’re ready I don’t think he is. He thinks the whole mess is his own fault but it was both partly your choice to jump into danger, and then there had to be some circumstances we don’t understand,” Luna said, but then added, a little less depressively, “Oh well, I can try to call him.”
Ella had realized that Luna had somehow misunderstood Sally’s instructions of not shocking her, so instead she was shocked when a regally dressed boy waked in.
Ella had remembered who exactly ruled Lodestone and he was a dead ringer for a younger version of the King, the King, she had some personal connection somewhere, but now he was here, all ears, but he also possessed sad and tired eyes. But why? Why was she sad when she remembered the King?
“Excuse, but could you tell me, where am I?” she repeated, not knowing how to great the meek young person.
“This is our home. Listen, I’ve tried contacting your father but I couldn’t find him. I’m sorry,” he said sorry like he meant it.
“Father. Oh, I thought you were my family,”
“We are your family,” he almost yelled, yet his voice was tender and hurt more than angry “I mean, I’m trying to stoke your memory as slowly as possible.”
“Well, what was the relation between you and me? Who are you? What relation am I to the King?” Ella said, but she did not believe herself to be a princess or anything like that, but something more tragic, she felt.
“I’m no one, but you saved me, I am the King now.”
“No, the King was some gentleman, wait, why do I remember that?”
“I talked to Sally and she said something like knowledge beyond just your personality would be preserved, and I guess the overlap, being the ruler and all that, would do your memories good,” He said slowly, eagerly, but also hesitant, “Do you remember that you were sent to the orphanage here and taken care of by my father?”
“… Yes, now Your Highness.”
“No, while it is true that you were his servant and my bodyguard, we were not in so distant,” but when Nick spoke, Ella felt hurt.
“Oh, sorry. That was too fast,” and then he fell into the same darkness that afflicted him when he walked in.
“No, wait, I did call you Your Highness.”
“I see you’re remembering things, Ella. We were not afraid that you wouldn’t get well, but that you would be overwhelmed and you’re doing fine,”
“Everyone says that, and I remembered that, but I had to deduce so because usually the non-heirs lead knights, but there was another.”
“And I’ll tell you later why I am the King now rather than just your captain and that’ll wait till later. Get changed, Ella, since it’s almost afternoon and I guess Luna or Sally can help- “
“No! Why does everyone dismiss me? It seems that the King passing isn’t the only reason I’d be disturbed.”
Nicholas brightened up, yes, like the light Ella remembered and like her memory, and had always associated him with that light. They were not servant and master, but even if Ella’s loyalty had started as just a reciprocity, there was that light that she admired in the young prince. But now it was as if he couldn’t decide whether to be happy talking to her, a little recovered, or to be reticent, maybe not out of Sally’s orders, but out of some burning form of tribute.
“There was a duel between me and Neil. Something possessed him even though I won, and he waited, waited until we took off our armor, but he had the lance in his hand, and shot at me to kill. Do you want to hear what’s next? You could walk out and find some other job, if not as a regular knight.”
“If you’re talking about Lawrence I remember, and that’s why you need me here. No one else can use any magic let alone my rare healing magic. I also remember Stein, and that I helped get him on his toes sooner.”
“And so, you jumped in the way, pushing me to the floor and eating the lance! But I had overreacted too and hit him straight in the head right before you could save me…” Nicholas showed her a bruise on his arm where he had landed.
He half-bellowed, “And now since I am King, I can’t have any more people get hurt fighting on my behalf. Did you ever want to become a knight? I didn’t know my father well, but I’m sure he would never force you to help me out of a bad joke of a sense of obligation.”
And while she was surprised that such a little person could suddenly sound big (though sometimes Luna was like that too), she said, “Yes, of course. I know that while people were nothing but cruel to me and my father, I wanted to spread the kindness I got, and that you need someone who was as calm-headed as me, is, to be your assistant now that you have even more duties. In fact, you’d have to fire me to get rid of me now.”
He smiled, “Okay, Ella. I know your body probably feels like spaghetti, but can you do me a favor?”
“Yes, anything, Nick,” she struggled to say his name.
“I need you to be my regent for a while.”
And at the meantime, Luna talked to Tom, who voted to restart patrols the next night, without Eleanor, of course, “Baronet, you’re up pretty late.”
“I suppose, I wanted to see Eleanor, and I guess that’s why you’re up too.”
It was always awkward for Ella to talk to Tom, since while Sally felt noble and she was also Baronet, and he felt kind of aimless, but she tried her best and was always scared to stop being polite, “Why didn’t talk to her while we were all taking turns. I’m sure she didn’t need the sleep, and she would have appreciated the food.”
“No, I think I’ll let her think Sally made it. Anyway, did you show her the fruits of your training?”
“Well, if anything, you Baronet, have improved more than me. Ah, I guess you would have known her better like Sally if only you were also a gi- Forget it, I think you need to sleep now.”
“Before that, could you tell me exactly what’s the history between you two?”
“I really don’t want to keep you right now, but since you asked, we were both sisters at the foster home set up in the capital by the late King. Sadly, we both eventually became wards of the state,” to herself she added, or maybe we we’re destined to.
She was interrupted, by a still wobbly Ella and a now practically dressed Nick, as he announced that instead of a patrol, that night anyone who wanted to could go on a trip to Susanoo.