Sagitta and Omri had called out to Athos after successfully closing his injury several hours ago, Athos' eyes opened but he was unresponsive and would only blink blankly. Sagitta had deduced that Athos' consciousness was still unstable and both of them kept watch nearby as they wait for Athos to truly wake up.
"His blood loss was severe… Mother, do you think the prince will regain his consciousness soon? It's been more than eight hours… Patients normally wake up briefly a few hours after… but the prince..."
Omri's eyes were bleak, his hair had been messed up as he constantly scratched his scalp due to anxiety.
"Frankly speaking, I'm unsure, the little prince also suffered from mana exhaustion when he was wounded. My Ward would have suppressed the deterioration of physical injuries once activated. But when I saw his abdomen, and the damned enchantment on it…"
Sagitta's brows slanted and her eyes expressed concern as he glanced at Omri.
"Was it the man with the red cloak?"
Omri nodded in silence, his brows furrowed and his mouth quivered, a bitter scowl was etched on his face.
"He… was also the one who did this to my neck. Mother, he wanted me to join Seditio." Omri massaged his bandaged up neck, it was still a little sore even after applying a multitude of healing spells and enchantments on it.
Sagitta was taken aback, her face flushed red with rage and her fists clenched in anger, her thoughts were filled with murderous intent. 'After taking away my husband, they dare do this to my son? Those pompous bastards… I'll never forgive them.'
Hearing a weak moan coming from Athos, Omri and Sagitta snapped back to their senses. They hurriedly approach Athos' bedside to check on his condition.
It took a while before Athos' finally regained vision in his eyes. When he initially opened it, all he saw was darkness and his sense of hearing was faint.
Athos' eyes started to wander around, he can now see but the images were too blurry, his head felt a little light and his body ached and felt heavy. Athos then noticed two familiar individuals on his peripheral vision.
The stab wound was still fresh, Athos had difficulty speaking, as his abdomen was sore and it felt like someone had gutted out his bowels and sucked out air from his diaphragm. Thankfully, the blessing of Fated Protection was proactive in hastening the healing of his injuries and restoring his damaged organs. The bleeding had stopped but due to the blood loss, Athos was pale and lethargic..
"Little prince, don't try to talk yet! Your wound is still sensitive, please stay put."
Sagitta extended her right hand out and caressed Athos' forehead gently. "I'll open a link for telepathy, so please, bear with it until your wound gets better."
Sagitta's hand glow golden for a brief moment, Athos felt a current of mana pass through his head. It was soothing and it warmed him up. His shirt had been removed to treat his injury, exposing his bare torso to the cold air in the room. Athos' body shivered and Sagitta noticed it as goosebumps started to appear on Athos' skin.
"Omri, I'll grab some blankets upstairs, please watch over the prince for the meantime." Sagitta stood up and activated a mana field around the room. "That should keep both of you warm. I'll go look for spare clothes too."
Sagitta then went out of the room with haste, her footsteps echoed through the silent halls as she climbed up the stairs.
Omri had been standing near Athos' bed, by the footboard. The guilt of failing to protect Athos' parents and the prince himself weighed heavily on Omri's mind. His face looked dispirited and his eyes drooped like dead fish. It wasn't the Omri that Athos knew, as the man usually carried himself enthusiastically.
Athos noticed the gloomy aura around Omri and called out to him.
"Y-yes, my prince?"
[Where am I? What is this place?]
"It is my paternal mother's childhood residence here in the town of Parte, we are currently in one of the guest rooms on the 1st floor, my prince."
[...How long was I out? And what happened?]
"Ten hours, my prince." Omri scratched his head as he recalled the events several hours ago.
"Mother had stepped in earlier and rescued us, she sensed that her Ward had been triggered... Apparently, she had cast a passive Protection Ward on the both of us back in the watermill. According to her, if both of us got wounded, the ward would activate a warp spell and would immediately send us to her location."
Athos recollected the moment when Sagitta had given them a warm embrace back at the watermill. 'Was it during that time then?'
It was Sagitta's special ability, Wards.
Wards were the highest level of Enchantment, unlike the usual methods of enchanting, Wards utilized both the caster's mana pool and the external mana from the surroundings to create one.
Only the caster can activate and manipulate the flow of mana from a Ward that they created and to dispel one, requires a blood connection or a Bond to the one who initiated it.
Sagitta was one of the dominant Moirais that pioneered the use of Wards.
[Also… What is that on your neck, Omri?]
"Ahh, you mean... this wound…" Omri tried to cover his bandaged-up neck with his shirt, it was the burn that the man in the red cloak had given to him when he declined his offer of servitude.
Unfortunately, due to the spell that was used, Omri nor Sagitta was unable to fully heal the wound after using all of their healing and recovery methods, a terrible scar remained on Omri's neck.
"Please pay no mind to it. I have already healed it." An uneasy smile was etched on Omri's face as he tried to hide the truth from Athos.
Athos sensed Omri's apprehension, he knew that the smile Omri had on his face was just a pretense since they were on the same boat.
[I told you already… It's not your fault.] Athos' emerald eyes were tinted with anguish.
"But I swore… to protect you, and I failed! What's the use-"
Athos gazed at Omri with tears welling upon his eyes.
[The guilt you feel now, is similar to the guilt I have for not being able to help my parents.]
"Prince Athos, I-"
[I think I know now... why mother told me not to blame myself… That night, when they sent me away to escape, Mother gave me her blessing of Fated Protection…]
Teardrops fell from Athos' eyes, slowly drenching the pillow he was resting on, he tried to suppress his tears but his muffled sobbing echoed through the quiet room.
[Father too… He passed onto me his mana… and the Tome.]
Athos squinted in pain as the wound on his abdomen was still sore. His fists clenched on the sheets tightly as the feelings of frustration overwhelmed his thoughts.
[If I didn't receive those blessings, then they wouldn't have to die… They would have had the strength to defeat our enemies... If only I wasn't weak! If I wasn't helpless! If only I was strong enough to able to foresee this coming then they wouldn't have to give me their-]
"Little prince, that is enough."
Sagitta was at the door, she then brought out three thick blankets and a pile of clean clothes from her spatial inventory.
"People in recovery should rest and avoid stress." Sagitta handed out a change of clothes and a blanket for Omri.
"Omri, go and take a bath upstairs and change into those clothes. You're filthy with all the rainwater and blood stuck on you." Sagitta sighed as she looked at Omri briefly and then turned her attention towards Athos.
"Little prince, don't let your regrets and emotions move you." Sagitta's eyes held a lonesome expression.
"There are three expressions that people say to each other every day... Thank you, I Love You and Hello… When you lose someone dear, you start to ask yourself... Have I said those words enough to that person?"
Sagitta tried to hold back her tears as they swell up from her eyes and her voice trembled as she remembered Turris.
"Or when you recall regretful moments, like when you refused to kiss someone goodbye as they leave on a journey… only to find out that they will never return."
Sagitta sat down beside Athos and reached out her hand and caressed his face, she wiped Athos' cheeks that were wet with tears.
"Athos, it's natural to mourn and remember our loved ones, but please, always remember to love and take care of yourself first." A gentle smile formed on Sagitta's face.
She then activated a condensed Recovery Ward, just enough to surround the bed that Athos was lying on. Athos felt an overwhelming feeling of drowsiness and his eyes started to droop.
"Rest and recover first, little prince."
To be Continued.