Dreamweaver chapter 23
“Well do you want the good new or the bad news first?” I said, after I thought about it quickly.
“Huh?” Akira and Yuriko said, both at once.
“You heard me,” I replied. I gave them a serious look so they knew I meant business.
They both looked at each other, but then Akira spoke up, “if there is any good news I’d want to hear it. I only see bad news so far. Is there really anything good?”
I shrugged, “depends on the situation. If you don’t cooperate with me it could all be bad news in the end. I need you to follow my instruction to the letter. No half promise stuff either. For me to help you I need full commitment and no deception.”
“Eh?” Yuriko was confused, but she mostly was trying to stay quiet and let us work it out.
“Hey Shun, are you OK in there?” I heard Asakura Sensei walk up close to the lean to. She stayed outside, but she noticed I was in there quite a while.
“Don’t worry, just give us some time and space for a bit. Don’t let anyone listen for awhile OK?”
“Got it. Hang in there,” I then heard Sensei walk away from the shack again.
“So you will help me?” Akira asked with pleading eyes. “Or rather can you? I just thought maybe we’d team up somehow. Is that full commitment? But if you can really do something…” he was looking at me curiously.
I folded my arms over my chest defiantly. “I might be able to try something that can help but…the problem is I don’t want a king. If you insist on this king business I don’t want to be involved. So you have to give it up or change the idea for me to help you.”
Yuriko’s face fell. “That’s not fair!”
“Neither is having a king fair. Kings fill their own pockets. They don’t fill the pockets of others. And they generally take all around,” I replied.
“That’s true,” Akira admitted.
Yuriko’s face twitched. “Actually I was mad at him on this king business too. I don’t like it either, but if Yuta becomes king…” she seemed to tremble slightly.
Akira’s didn’t look bad however. He shrugged, “actually I don’t want to be king either, but I just don’t want Akimoto and Yuta to be king. You feel me? Actually you are better at this leader stuff than I am.”
We all nodded. “Yeah, makes sense. Maybe we can persuade the voters and the others to do like a different leadership structure instead of a king? Would you work for that?” I asked.
“Like what? He asked, his forehead wrinkled up from stress.
“Well I’m just asking off the top of my head, but anything sounds better than a king. Except, no lawyers either,” I insisted. I’d read a lot of articles about how lawyers were ruining several different countries…
“I could go for that. But we need some muscle and support. They have the rangers, and a few others. We may have to arm people and get them organized. It might even come to a fight,” Akira said.
Yuriko and I groaned. Neither of us liked fighting terribly. Who does right? It’s painful…
“Well that’s still better than a king,” Yuriko said. I was surprised she’d say it too and voice some support.
“So if you are really on board with this, I need a firm promise from you that we won’t do a king system,” I said. I looked at him carefully watching for any sign of deception, but I didn’t see any so far. I’d known Akira for a few years. I wasn’t sure if I knew everything about him though.
“It’s a deal,” he said.
“It’s a deal what?” I asked testily.
“I will support your idea of no king all the way,” he said giving me a look of full sincerity.
“OK, because you know how dangerous a king is?” I asked to make sure he understood.
“Yeah, the thing is, we need a backup plan too,” he said.
“Like what?” I asked.
“Well, what if we go talk to people and convince everyone no king, but they still somehow vote for it. I’m thinking we have to be ready to go take whoever will go with us into the wilderness and do our own group of separatists if the others are ready to kill, rather than give up the idea,” Akira said.
“That’s better than living under a king,” Yuriko admitted.
Relief flooded through me. If he was thinking this far then yes, maybe he really didn’t like the king idea.
“So we’re good?” Yuriko wondered trying to be sure.
“Yeah, so what are you going to do?” Akira asked.
“Hmm, well …for starters…this is a secret and you can’t tell anyone. Yuriko I need you to wait outside. Akira I’ll need you to cover and close your eyes and don’t for any reason try to look until I say it’s OK to do so,” I said.
“Eh?!” they both exclaimed.
“But…that’s…” Yuriko was trying to pout.
“But she’s my aide and trustworthy,” he protested.
“Trustworthy to you, but I have my own secrets to keep,” I said. “Don’t worry I won’t hurt him,” I added.
After a brief silence they finally agreed. Yuriko crawled out of the tent. Then Akira started to cover and close his eyes. “How long do I stay like this?” he asked while laying flat on the ground. He sounded tired and in pain anyway, so it was natural for him to lay flat anyway.
“Not sure yet. Be quiet,” I ordered.
“Ah, you are so noisy. Be quiet!”
Then I realized a new problem. In the past, when I cast cure I’d voiced it vocally. So would having his eyes closed even do anything?
Wait. Let’s see if it would work. OK, so I’d have to deal with this differently. Just duplicate what I did before…it actually wasn’t something that I could just do without any effort and have it work. I had to make this work. I had to!
“Can I look now?” Akira wasn’t trying to cheat but just impatiently stupid. He was still laying down though, and part of his movements might be because of the fever and what looked like night sweat, except it wasn’t night.
“Be quiet. I need my concentration,” I said.
“Oh…Oh shit! Please! Don’t do this! You’re not going to try to cut my legs off are you?!” he pleaded, nearly crying. What a baby seriously…
I face slapped myself. Really this guy…
“Shut up! This is your last warning.”
I tried to cast cure without saying it aloud while staying near Akira’s feet. His feet were the main problem. His headache would be dealt with eventually, but we needed him to be able to be up and about to help if the orcs came back. So that was why I’d chosen to try to cast cure on his feet first, which would help him be more combat ready. It didn’t work, but at least there was no stamina drain.
Still it made me more nervous. I felt all jittery after it didn’t work the first time and my hands were all clammy. I’d have to concentrate harder too and not worry about other things. I tried to blot everything out except for Akira’s feet and their problem.
But why didn’t it work? Was it not possible to cast it without saying it out loud? There were many reasons why saying it without vocally doing so might be necessary, such as stealth, or if captured, or under pressure.
I tried again, but it didn’t work this time either.
OK, just think through this. When I’d done it before successfully on Rina, I’d had to think intensely about pulling Rina back to us. So I pictured the same thing of a sort of pulling at Akira’s spirit, but with Akira instead. I felt a brief tug of energy but then it petered out. It had almost worked though, but then failed at the last second but there was the moment of tension when I felt the heaviness of the energy about to flow. It’s clear that doing it with no vocally said word was a higher difficulty and much more work. But the fact that it had almost worked, meant that it might be possible.
Had I missed something?
I went over it in my mind. This was so hard…then I realized the mistake. Before not only had I done it vocally but I’d pictured pulling Rina towards us from the other side she’d been rapidly going towards. But that wasn’t the only thing that had happened; it wasn’t just pulling at Rina, but pulling her towards peaceful thoughts and towards light.
“Oh!” I accidentally said it out loud.
Akira squirmed but he was still trying to resist being antsy. I could feel how tempted he was to peak too.
This time I did it properly. I was more careful than I had ever been before and pictured in my mind pulling Akira to …like rays of light energy coming towards him and something like morning dew in the form of magic concentrating in my hand above his feet. The energy flow felt heavy and sluggish though because I was so new at it. It might not even need the feel of blue light energy per se, but just some kind of mental picture for things to form. I had to fight to keep the flow coming through on my end and then also where it was leaving my hand and concentrating into the little blue spark.
It was working!
This time the blue spark was bigger too! I’d made progress! I felt a rush of excitement! This was a power up of some kind! I wanted to shout in my excitement and struggled to contain myself. I could feel the energy of the blue spark had like a tingling sensation and like the air felt wavy with the energy heaviness collecting together almost what felt like a pulse like wave around it. It felt wonderful too and relaxing as it floated in the air between my two hands that were cupped around it. The blue spark was now instead of only being smaller than pinky fingernail size grown up to the size of my the length of my thumb tip to the first thumb joint. In other words, it was about three times bigger in radius and thus much, much bigger but still very small.
Magic was hard after all…I had to fight for it.
It didn’t bother me that it was still small though, because it was exciting that something cool had worked out. This was amazing! Magic was real! This wasn’t just a half skill now; it was something dependable and could make a difference!
“Wh-what are you doing Shun?! I feel weird! Something strange is tingling me! It feels strange!” Akira was starting to panic. He was really tempted to look, from the sound of his voice.
“Just don’t look and stay quiet. If you look I’ll have to stop,” I said firmly raising my voice a small amount. I held out the blue spark light over his legs and then gently pushed it down into the ugly putrid flesh of both feet that were placed close together for better efficiency.
It was hard to feel this out because I wasn’t sure if it was better to let the blue spark light naturally flow into him or to actually try to push it through. There might be some efficiency change in how I put it on the wound. Would it also be better to spread the blue spark light over the entire area or pinpoint certain parts of the mutation and infection in his legs? Would he also feel pain because it wasn’t a true wound, but rather was a mutation and swelling?
By reason of thinking that doing things differently with my mind in trying to cast cure meant a different outcome, then that meant maybe trying different ways of applying the small blue light might also have a different outcome too. This time I’d try pushing the clear blue light into him and then do it the other way next time and see how it goes.
Slowly the blue light started to diminish as I pushed it into his feet. The energy flowed out and feels pure and refreshing, like a simple subtle breeze.
“Arrrgghh,” Akira said.
“Eh? Does that hurt?” I asked.
“No, it feels soothing, but it tickles too,” he said. But then his fear got to him, “yo-you aren’t doing anything weird are you?”
“If you look you’re dead meat!” I said.
“Haha, it tickles! Stop! Make it stop! HAHAHA.” Jeez for being some huge buffed guy he was acting like a ten year old.
“I –I can’t! I suck at that stuff,” he said. “I cry to my mom sometimes even still when I skin my knees. I can’t help it!”
The light was gone, so I looked again to see what had happened. After all I was curious if it would return him to his human form, which was the main goal.
But I was disappointed. Nothing had happened. He still looked gross and weird. But maybe when the changes had solidified he might look less gross and weird.
“What?!” I exclaimed aloud accidentally, but I had also let the stress in my voice be heard too.
“Can I look now?” he asked. “It’s bad huh?”
“No, not yet. Let me try again.”
I looked again.
Wait, I was wrong. I’d been looking for the wrong things. I’d been hoping he’d turn back to being human, but there was a small effect, just that it hadn’t cured everything. It just wasn’t in the human direction. The legs had solidified more with whatever they were turning into. They’d lengthened about another inch from the heal spell each, which surprised me greatly. But the bruising was still all over.
“How’s the pain now?” I asked.
“Well…wow it’s not as painful! Thanks!” he started to sit up but I stopped him.
“I’m not done yet. Stay put like before,” I commanded, while wiping the sweat from my face and catching my breath. Not as painful was good. Then I noticed too the swelling didn’t look as infectious and not as discolored. The purple and blue bruise like abscess fluid buildup had diminished considerably too, but it was still bruised black and blue all over his ankles and down. The skin didn’t look like it was melting anymore either.
I wouldn’t be able to do much more of this because I was so tired. It felt like I’d just run the mile as fast as I could with how my heart and lungs were pumping. I didn’t realize it too that not only was there more stress because I’d used two heals on Rina awhile ago, but this heal had been more powerful than the earlier ones and that had a cost with it. Did that mean casting too magic beyond your limit was bad for your heart, I wondered.
I even felt a little weak in the legs and faint like I might black out. I’d have to rest after this for sure. The sweat was pouring down my face like crazy and I wiped it on my sleeve.
Was this even a workable skill though? Only being able to use it a few times wasn’t very fun.
I tried again, this time with the pretty blue light just naturally flowing into the feet without being pushed in. It settled more slowly over time but I almost fell over because the backlash from the energy cost had hit me way harder than before. I’d never done four heals in such a short amount of time, and so when I was holding the blue spark light in my fingertips I’d nearly fallen over, and the room was spinning when I’d try tried to pure the energy out and have it flow down through my hands.
But there was something else I’d noticed this time that I hadn’t noticed before. The magic didn’t come from around me and in the environment but actually came from inside me somewhere. It felt like it was coming from somewhere near my heart or chest cavity, when it’d flowed out but I wasn’t completely certain.
I’d have to think about this later, it might teach me something. And it explains why I could only use it for a few times before feeling weak!
Gripping the biggest ceiling support beam of the lean to, I managed to catch myself. Then I leaned forward applying the blue light over Akira’s legs.
There was an immediate change and Akira even ended up laughing from how ticklish it felt. His feet thrashed around briefly while he failed to control himself but then I could see his toes and part of the feet weren’t even human anymore. They still looked swollen up though, and still had bruises. But there was some territory gain in his feet in trying to help him, even though it wasn’t as much as I wanted.
“Ehh?!” I exclaimed weakly.
“What? What is it? I want to open my eyes! What did you do Shun?! I don’t feel pain anymore. Oh man, this is like wonderful!” he said.
Because the two heals had taken down the swelling I was finally able to see the changes properly.
Akira was forming cloven hooves instead of normal human feet and toes. It took me a minute to realize it because I hadn’t been around real farm animals often. This looked…somewhat close to what either a cloven hoof of a goat or deer might look like. It was forming a black hard glossy texture around the edges too the way animal’s cloven feet formed.
What the hell?
I somehow resisted showing a what the freak face in front of Akira. That might cause him to panic.
“So…tired…” I gasped.
“Eh?” he asked.
“I need to sleep. I’ll take a nap and then we’ll try again,” I said.
“Shun? I heard Rina close to me on the outside of the lean to, and there were also the voices of Yumi and Sensei there too.
“Ah, he used ‘that’ didn’t he?” Yumi said. We all knew what she meant, except for Yuriko and Akira.
“So amazing. Wish I could do that,” Sensei said.
“Shun? You don’t look so good?” Akira said with his eyes now open and looking at me strangely. I hadn’t noticed it before but his eyes had also turned to a yellow golden radiant color now instead of the normal brown. It surprised me. They didn’t glow, but it was still fairly noticeable.
Yep, some kind of demon…we’d find out soon. I yawned.
“Ugh…I need to sleep. Protect me while I sleep….then we’ll try again in yeah, maybe an hour or two,” I wheezed and coughed. The sweat was all over my face and when I tried to wipe it off now my shirt was drenched in it.
OK, maybe four heals that soon is too many, I thought.
Oh man…so sleepy…