The moment my magic pushed past the barrier of his skin I instantly understood what he meant by bone. Jagged webs, branches, and sticks of wayward bone growths lined the surface of his bones, stabbing and crowding into the surrounding tissues, even taking up the place of some in the less mobile sections of his body, such as his rib cage. There were connections of bones invading into his joints, but they were smaller than the majority of the growths, and I concluded that these were where the other healers had chosen to trim down the bone with their limited magic.
The pain he must be feeling currently aside, this man must have dealt with all the pain of these extra bone growths being broken away as well. There were even nubs threatening to invade his organs.
Thankfully, his cranial cavity was completely smooth, so his brain was intact. However, the bone around his optical nerves had webbed and spiked outward, cutting into the delicate nerves. It was a miracle he could see at all.
My insides ached the more I saw. I expected with the pain it must cause to move, his muscles would be atrophied. But instead I found them relatively in shape, telling me that he had endured the pain of being stabbed with bone, or even bone breaking from the movement, to exercise, or at the very least not being stopped from regular day to day movement.
The next problem was his kidneys. They were damaged and weakened. It only toke me a moment to figure out why. When the healers had broken off the extra bone, they couldn’t just take the extra bone material out of the body. The skin served as a natural barrier against the transference of material, which meant they would have had to broken down the bone into dust. The excess calcium had created deposits in the kidneys, which would have filtered the calcium rich blood. If I broke off too many bones at once it would clog his kidneys and kill him. Even if done moderately, too many years of overloading his system with calcium was going to kill him anyways.
“Oh dear,” I murmured, not fully aware of my mouth moving. “You’re a right mess, sir.”
He chuckled, and his breath tickled just barely across my hand. It amazed me he could have any measure of humor in this situation.
“That I am.”
“Has anyone tried to heal your kidneys?”
“The organs that filter the blood.”
“I know what they are, but no one has said anything yet. The healer the king sent only did anything about my bones.”
“They were incompetent. Breaking off bone and dissolving it into the blood has damaged your kidneys.”
I continued to explain to him what I had found, opening my eyes to give my head a break before I dove in for the next examination.
As I talked, his green eyes watched my mouth, not really focused, probably because all he saw was a darkened, moving shape upon the pale circle of my face.
“I think if I cut your skin I can move the excess calcium out that way,” I said, my insides shivering from the anxiety that I was suggesting surgery even as I thought it on the spot. “Though it won’t fix the root of the problem. I think what you have is a genetic disease that deprives your body of the ability to make the…the proteins or chemicals that tell your bones to stop growing.”
“Then why have I not grown like a giant?” he asked.
“Because that kind of growth is controlled by growth hormones. It has to do with the growth plates, which solidify after those growth hormones aren’t in play anymore. Your bones are growing without order or meaning. They’ve essentially gone wild. Hormones aren’t the problem.”
He licked his lips. “I’m afraid I don’t understand all the words you are using, but I think I have the gist. There is something vital missing from my blood.”
“Yes. But I think I can transfer some of that vital stuff from someone else into your body. That should stop the growth of the bones once we remove them. It will have to be replenished periodically, but you wouldn’t be in pain anymore.”
My throat tightened over those last words as those green eyes shone out and his poor, crooked mouth started to quiver.
“I…I won’t be in pain?”
“The bones…won’t grow? At all?”
“Yes. And I can fix your kidneys,” and after some hesitation. “And your eyesight as well.”
Those glimmering eyes told me he was afraid to believe what I had just said.
“Can…can you really?” t
“It…it isn’t a curse?”
I would have given him a funny look if I hadn’t remembered I was in a medieval like world. Where else would diseases come from if it weren’t a curse?
“No, it’s a genetic disorder. You’re more likely to get them if your ancestors married their close relatives, like cousins and such. Just marry someone not related to you at all and you won’t have to worry about your kids getting it.”
That made him gape at me harder. “What? Are you…you can get diseases from marrying your cousin?”
“Yeah. And you raise the risk of miscarriages and stillbirths in the family as well. But,” I shrugged. “Who you marry is your business, so I’ll just get you started, yeah?”
“Wait, how do you know this? About—about marrying in the family?”
I shrugged. I didn’t know if I wanted to go through the effort to explain. My mind was more preoccupied with how I was going to go about fixing it. It would be the most detailed thing I’d ever done yet, but my coincidentally well-timed practice with moving pigments around gave me the way that I could. “I can explain after this first session, because I don’t know if I can fix you all at once—“
“No no, take your time. Don’t hurt yourself over me—the fact that you can do any of that…” those green eyes shivered across the room till the found the priest then back to me. “No…no take as many days as you need. I will come as often as you require. If you say that you can…”
I bit my lip before asking, “Are…are you okay if I cut you? You can choose where and I’ll sanitize it and—but we can’t do that here in this white room—“
“We can move somewhere else,” said Miurian. “My room should be appropriate, I don’t mind if we get blood there.”
“I’m not going to bleed the guy, a little cut should be fine.” Though once I got the calcium to the skin I didn’t know how far I’d have to get it out of the body. Perhaps the bleeding would have to be the way I did it. Phew, boy, I hope I didn’t bleed this guy to death…oh god, shouldn’t have thought that.
Nehcor, help me!
‘Never fear, sister, you already have everything you need. You can do it.’
It was the most encouraging, soothing thing he said to me. For the first time, he really seemed like a god.
With the help of his knight, the man stood, leaning heavily on a cane even as he refused the knight’s offer to be carried. I could see the strength I had seen through my magic in the man as he walked without wincing, even as his limbs trembled from the pain.
I pulled Gus back as we followed from behind and put his hand in mine. I then put my lips to his ear.
“Listen to my thoughts.”
He gave the slightest of frowns, but I then felt the squiggles of his magic connecting into my hand and the thinnest of warmth up to my mind.
You’re going to heal his eyes, I thought.
I felt him flinch and turned his head to openly gape at me. All sorts of surprised responses flooded over, layered over one another till I couldn’t tell which one he had meant to say, which was probably the point.
But I answered back with my reasons, along with what I had found of his nerves. I couldn’t heal nerves. They were too energy complex to the point I couldn’t feel the energy off them at all. They were like a smooth surface in the mass of carpet.
But Gus could. The mind and nervous system was his forte.
This is your first chance to really see how mind magic can be used for good—to see why it isn’t dark magic. Don’t worry, I’ll make it seem like you’re just using healing magic. Giving my ‘apprentice’ some hands on experience, and it’s a small enough fix that they won’t think too much of it.
His eyes shivered uncertainly, even as he forced them away from me and on the crooked back of the noble and his knight. His hand felt clammy in mine.
I’ve never healed nerves, I heard.
It’ll be instinctive, I said. It’s a normal function your body already knows, since your optical nerves are fine. If you need to you can look at mine for a reference. I’ll let you know when I’ve cleared out his eye sockets and then you can get to work.
And yet, even as I felt his fear, uncertainty, and total aversion to the idea, I also felt his tremulous trust in what I was saying.
I will try, he thought.
I smiled and gave him a ninja kiss on the head for that, to which he responded to with a hand to the spot and quiet indignation.
“Not in public,” he hissed.
Maybe, if not my baby, he could be my little brother. At least, to outsiders.
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