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Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on how you looked at it – I was woken up a short time later, feeling somehow worse for the power nap.

I had the presence of mind, and I was in that weird place between too tired and not getting enough sleep, that I didn’t wake up blasting.

The eternal curse, the quandary surrounding naps. Be tired, take a nap. When you wake up, you somehow feel worse than when you went to sleep.

Still, I’d gotten a solid chunk of sleep, no matter how short. I got up, saw the second midnight dinner I’d ordered but never managed to eat next to me, and inhaled it.

Almost literally.

I got up, stretching liberally to work out the kinks in my neck and my arm. Somehow, I’d pinched myself slightly on my armor as I slept, and it was obnoxious. I didn’t get myself fully awake though, there’d be no point.

There was still the permanent multitude of Orange tier wounded waiting for healing, and with basically no warning, I started walking through them.

“You’re healed. You’re healed. Healed. Healed, now shoo. Healed, get out of here. Healed, go away. Healed, clear out. Healed. Healed, goodbye. Healed.”

I blitzed my way through the tent, clearing nearly every soldier who was waiting for healing, except for those at the back of the line. I managed to empty out my entire mana bar, and with a yawn, stumbled my way back to my cot.

People were trying to talk at me, but I was still exhausted. I’d pulled off a solid 24-hour insane marathon, and I wanted my beauty sleep. I basically ignored everyone, except the food-retriever.

“You.” I sleepily said, singling him out. “Is there some dire emergency I need to know about?”

“Well, no, but-“

“Right. Food please. Wake me up in fifty patients.” I said, collapsing back down.

I had the option of telling people that I was a healing beacon, that touching me while I slept was enough to get them fully healed.

The natural consequence of that would be a bunch of strange men pawing at me while I slept. I’d run completely out of mana, then I’d have strange men persistently touching me while I slept, trying to slowly heal themselves up.

No.

I don’t remember my head hitting the pillow, but the soldier was insistently shaking my shoulder.

I brushed it off with my hand, head in my pillow.

“I said 50 patients.” I grumped, mostly into my pillow. No idea what it sounded like on the other end.

“Begging your pardon Sentinel – it has been 50 patients.” A nervous voice came from the side.

I got up with a groan. It felt like a blink, and my head felt even worse. The tent was full again. Naturally. No rest for the wicked.

No rest for the good either.

Heal. Chow. Drink. Sleep.

Repeat.

After another six rounds, I got up, bleary-eyed, but realized I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep. I mentally cursed. I hate that. The stage of ‘I got enough sleep to not go back to sleep’, at the same time as ‘sleep deprived enough to be suffering’.

Nothing I could do about that. Might as well get back to healing.

“Healer Myron.” I said as politely as I could, shuffling up next to him after clearing the room again.

“Sentinel Dawn.” He said with stiff formality. “Sorry for my outburst last time we spoke.”

I shrugged.

“I’ve been there, more than once. I get it. No hard feelings.”

I gave him a critical look. Still looked like he’d been through the wringer, but hell, everyone here did. I had to give him credit. Whatever ego he had, whatever quirks and demands he had, he’d single-handedly kept this unit alive.

Breakfast was acquired, and the marathon was on.

A guilty, fleeting thought was sent towards Toxic. I’d promised I’d see and relieve him on the frontlines, but I’d gotten no chance to.

But oh, the difference a single healer made. One of us could just barely keep on top of the critically injured patient, and patch up the lightest, easiest to cure of the wounded. Two of us?

I was ripping through patients like a tornado.

Thinking about it, that analogy might not be my best phrasing.

Either way, three intense days of trading off, with only one bad aftershock of Destruction’s earthquake in the middle, and we were down to a magic number.

Zero. Patients were healed as they entered the tent, by Myron or myself.

I didn’t have a way to calculate it directly, but it seemed like the rate of new patients over time was diminishing. I could totally believe it was Toxic doing enough work to slow things down, Bulwark making improvised defenses, or enough fresh soldiers on the line that generally upped the safety.

Or that massive walls weren’t being dropped on their head anymore. Earthquakes and poor building codes were a deadly mix. The frontlines had been here long enough that a number of semi-permanent structures existed. Had existed.

Anyways. No matter how it was sliced, we were on top of things.

I wanted to stretch, but didn’t. I was coated in filth and grime. I’d never truly gotten clean ever since I landed feet-first on a Formorian, and it’d only gotten worse from there. Dust got blown up, coated the freshly-sprayed on gore, then it dried into an unholy mess. Being elbow-deep in dried blood and desiccated gore would be an improvement, because that would imply it stopped at my elbows.

My efforts hadn’t gone unrewarded though.

[*Ding!* [Medicine] leveled up! 251 -> 256]

[*Ding!* [Warmth of the Sun] leveled up! 217 -> 231]

[*Ding!* [Oath of Elaine to Lyra] leveled up! 252 -> 256]

[*Ding!* [Persistent Casting] leveled up! 182 -> 189]

I suspected I’d managed to get a solid amount of stockpiled experience to boot.

“Cheers Myron.” I said, heading towards the door. I was leaving my backpack behind. Seemed like a safe enough spot. “I’ll be back later to patch up anyone who slips through the cracks.”

I heard some dark muttering behind me, and I cracked a self-satisfied grin. Perks of being a Sentinel, even in a warzone. I got to do what I wanted.

At the same time, only people with the right mentality ended up as a Sentinel. I somehow doubted I’d be in this position if my inclination towards seeing a large number of injured and wounded soldiers wasn’t “stick around and help”.

I headed towards the frontlines, and since there was a fairly direct route between the emergency triage and healing area, and the frontlines, well. It was pretty easy to intercept and heal everyone who needed it. Not like I could ignore them, not with my [Oath].

Still, the attitude, and the feel, of the camp was significantly different from when we’d dropped in earlier. Little structures were popping up again, tents were whole, and the rows between tents were military neat again. People were cheerful, almost upbeat. Wildly different from the healing section, but then again, people missing limbs tended not to look on the bright side of life.

I frowned as I kept moving. The deadly meatgrinder was far. Much further than I expected.

Heck, for that matter, why was the healing section so far from the battle in the first place? We should’ve been on top of it, to more easily get people to us.

I did eventually find my way to the battle, Toxic’s massive form unmistakable. I didn’t bother calling out. I wasn’t loud enough, and I was small enough that I’d never be seen. Didn’t help that Sentinel armor was like Ranger armor, which closely mirrored Legion armor. I was just another short form in the press of soldiers.

I did have skills though, and there were some rickety, unstable platforms for mages to use.

“Hey!” I called up to an Earth mage on the platform closest to me. “I want that platform!” I yelled to him.

He barely glanced down at me, before shooing me with his hand.

“Bugger off! First come, first serve! You know the rules!”

You know what? I was actually fine with this style of rudeness. No sexism, no elitism, no whatever-ism – just plain, simple, “I was here first.” I could totally respect that. I’d do the same thing.

Didn’t mean I was going to let it slide.

I held up my Sentinel badge, and let it [Shine]. I coughed.

No reaction.

“Ahem.”

Nothing.

Ahem.” I said, quite a bit louder.

“Now listen here you – holy shit Sentinel please take it!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the abrupt tone shift, and the sheer speed the mage moved at to vacate the spot. Didn’t bother walking down, just jumped off and vanished, presumably to dodge my non-existent ire. Couldn’t have moved faster if I’d lit him on fire.

Not that I’d extensively considered lighting people on fire and what their reactions would be when I had a Fire element. Noooooo.

Ok, fine, I had, it was a practical combat aspect to it. I blamed Maximus.

I climbed up on the mini-outpost, and took a good look at what was going on.

Let’s see…

Four rows of footsoldiers, shoulder-to-shoulder, shield-to-shield, from one wall to the next. Spears flashing with deadly grace and precision, careful rotations preventing the Formorians from getting any deeper. Toxic, centering the line against the endless black tide.

I blinked.

Hang on – not an endless black tide. The Soldiers weren’t nearly as densely packed as they usually were, nor were they as organized and mechanically dangerous as usual. Were the Formorians running out of soldiers? Were we winning?

Right, things seemed fine here, with Toxic mostly as moral support. Time to get his attention!

I fired a few [Nova]’s into the Formorians, having them skim close to Toxic, but not too close as to possibly hit him. Close enough that they’d be impossible to miss though.

I also toned down the power significantly. I wanted something bright and distracting, something to get Arthur’s attention. Didn’t care about doing damage, and I wanted to preserve my mana for healing.

WeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeBOOM!

It was a heck of a lot more relaxing when the pressure was off.

A half-dozen [Nova]’s later, and Toxic glanced back. [Shine] full blast, and I jumped up and down, waving my hands.

I literally couldn’t be more obvious if I had a neon sign.

Actually, for that matter, I could kinda make a neon sign.

I used [Veil] to make a large arrow pointing downwards at me, continuing to jump up and down like a maniac.

Arthur waved back, and turned back to face the Formorians. He stepped forward, out of formation, and continued to fight as his spot in the shield-wall was filled by another soldier.

He then did what I could only describe as the “Sentinel Special”, where he single-handedly went back and forth along the line, killing dozens upon dozens of the Soldiers single-handedly, in front of all the soldiers.

Which got them all sorts of riled up.

“Tox-ic! Tox-ic! Tox-ic!” The chant came up from the crowd, as Arthur did some grandstanding, killing Formorians in particularly large and showy motions.

I stifled a laugh. Sneaky snipey Arthur, expert in bows and poisons, fighting Formorians with a spear and grandstanding? He must be hating every minute of it, but probably saw the need to show off, to boost morale.

‘There’s nothing wrong here! Look at me! We’re invincible!’

Or some message like that. I left that type of stuff to other Sentinels whenever possible.

Eventually Toxic finished his grandstanding, and made his way through the lines, the shield wall unsafely parting like the Red Sea to let him pass. I hopped down as he got near.

“Arthur! Good to see you! Sorry I didn’t swing by earlier; the casualty rate was atrocious.”

I got a grin from him, probably the first one he’d had in months.

“Elaine! Glad you made it. What’s up?” He asked.

I shrugged, suddenly realizing I didn’t have much to say, no real plan or anything.

“Not much. I promised I’d swing by, and I am. Is there a place where we can quickly catch up?” I asked him.

“Yeah, we got our place set up. Tried to find you to let you know, but had no luck.”

I gave him a flat look.

“Did you try, oh, I dunno, the infirmary!?

Arthur looked at me.

“Yeah, first place we sent a runner to. Said you weren’t there, which confused us.”

We walked in silence a moment, while I processed what he said. A light went off, and I snapped my fingers.

“The idiot Legate. He’s been trying to get me to see him. Kept sending people to ‘order’ me around. The guards working the infirmary are fairly protective, and probably just brushed your dude off.” I said, putting a likely solution to the puzzle together.

Arthur shrugged.

“Totally possible. That, or the dude was straight up incompetent.”

I nodded in agreement. I’d gotten some recent, hands-on experience with incompetent gofers.

“Well! Here we are!” Arthur said, throwing open the tent flap of an extra-large tent. The interior was “as luxurious as possible considering the situation”, which basically meant extra layers of blankets on the three cots in the space, little dividers splitting the room up, and a table with food on it, surrounded by four stools. Sorry Nature. The grove was nice and all, but the tent was just flat-out better in every aspect. Like privacy!

It was weird. Of all the things, the fact that they’d gotten a spot ready for me touched me the most. I gave Arthur a grimy hug.

“Lunch?” He asked, gesturing to the table. I needed no encouragement, as I sat down at the table, grabbing a plate and digging in.

“Lunch!” I agreed happily.

“What have you been up to?” Arthur asked, digging in himself.

“Oh, nothing surprising. Found the first aid tents. Healed until I was out of mana. Rinse, repeat for days. They had another healer, we basically traded off. Nothing super special.” I said, downplaying it a bit. “How about you?”

Arthur groaned.

“Oh, it’s been terrible. It’s all morale management. First had to come in like one of Artemis’s lightning strikes, shock and awe, the great big bad Sentinel come to save everyone. Nearly had to beat the entire line back on my own for the desired effect. Then I needed to play at being a [Bard], and work up the great big battle we had against the Queens. If anyone asks, they’re all dead, and I killed one in single combat.”

I laughed at that.

“They’re all probably dead at this point. We only saw one alive before we left.” I said, swallowing a bite. “Otherwise, we would’ve seen it by now. We weren’t that far away from the walls that we wouldn’t see it days later.”

“Sure, but then where are the rest of the Sentinels?” Arthur asked, my train of thought clearly derailing his.

I shrugged.

“No idea. They might be holed up deep down for whatever reason. They might have returned to another section, and are working as a stabilizing force over there. They might be doing one of a dozen other things.”

“Reasonable. Anyways. I’ve been working with Bulwark when I’m not projecting confidence. We move forward, he has his crew move in and put enough stone in the broken wall, then works his magic. Fixed wall! We’ve more than tripled the size we have secured, and joined up with a number of other groups.”

I frowned at that.

“How did I not notice more healers, new healers, or a change in patients?” I demanded.

Arthur shrugged.

“I think it’s because it’s happened more on the other side. The gap here is too large to easily bridge, so Bulwark’s been working more on the other end. I imagine the injured from this side stay the same, and healers take over more on the other side. You mentioned having a bunch of extra people that needed healing, and it took you, Dawn, the Sentinel for healing, three whole days to work through the backlog. Imagine other healers, but they only get relieved once we’ve expanded far enough that new patients aren’t making it to them.”

I groaned, and put my hands in my head.

“What’s up?” Arthur asked me.

“I was planning on classing up now, and I was going to ask you to guard me while I did it.” I said. “Now I feel like I need to go out and help the other healers instead.”

“Were you planning on classing up both classes?”

“Just the healing one for now.”

“Hmmm. Well. We’ve got a momentary lull right now, and your [Oath] doesn’t demand you run out right this second to help, right?” Arthur asked me.

I reluctantly nodded.

“For just a few hours to a day of classing up, at the bare minimum, you get more mana regeneration. The pressure’s low here, and you can figure out your new skills without getting everyone killed. Who knows when you’ll next have a chance to class up? Plus, Bulwark swings by every night. He can help as well. Who knows when we’ll end up too busy to help out.”

I spent some time thinking about it. The dire emergency was over. I’d stabilized the situation. There wasn’t an immediate demand for me. Heck, I was running around right now on a semi-social call. I was probably sitting on a mountain of experience points, which would help me out with my regeneration, which was my current bottleneck. I was in a position to get some solid practice in with my new skills. Also, Arthur was right. I had no idea when the next time I’d be in a somewhat safe position, with someone I trusted to look over me.

Still. I felt bad about it.

I closed my eyes, coming to a decision.

“Right. I’m going to class up. Just the healer class though. Let me grab my stuff from the healer’s tent, fix up anyone I can to give them some breathing room, then I’ll be right back to class up.”

I jogged slowly down to the infirmary, intercepting and healing up soldiers whenever I could. Benefit of moving slowly. Made it, wished the healer luck, mentioned it might be awhile before I showed up again, grabbed my stuff, and I was off like a shot. Before the idiot Legate’s messengers or whoever could try to waylay me.

I hurried back, making sure to heal anyone I encountered. I still felt bad about this, but I was back in the tent in no time. I chucked my stuff into the little divided out portion of the tent that was ‘mine’.

“Ready?” I asked Arthur. He shot me a thumbs up.

“Ready!” He said.

I settled onto my cot, full gear still on, helmet and all. I closed my eyes, and let myself fall into the world of my soul.

 

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 19]

[Mana: 70000/70000]

[Mana Regen: 62338 (+44800)]

Stats

[Free Stats: 2]

[Strength: 311]

[Dexterity: 200]

[Vitality: 1000]

[Speed: 1000]

[Mana: 7000]

[Mana Regeneration: 7000 (+4480)]

[Magic Power: 5839 (+74739.2)]

[Magic Control: 5839 (+74739.2)]

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 256]+]

[Celestial Affinity: 256]

[Warmth of the Sun: 231]

[Medicine: 256]

[Center of the Galaxy: 256]

[Phases of the Moon: 256]

[Moonlight: 256]

[Veil of the Aurora: 256]

[Vastness of the Stars: 147]

[Class 2: [Ranger-Mage - Radiance: Lv 256]+]

[Radiance Affinity: 256]

[Radiance Resistance: 256]

[Radiance Conjuration: 256]

[Shine: 111]

[Sun-Kissed: 256]

[Blaze: 256]

[Talaria: 256]

[Nova: 256]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Identify: 151]

[Pristine Memories: 200]

[Pretty: 152]

[Bullet Time: 256]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 256]

[Sentinel's Superiority: 256]

[Persistent Casting: 189]

[Learning: 256]



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