…Ah. So this is why people lost their minds around celebrities. Or why that one dude started a war over Helen of Troy. Or…well, lots of stuff. I mean, my goodness.
“There’s always next time,” said Gus firmly.
Oh yeah, people were talking.
I could feel the faint squiggles of his magic poking around where his hands held on to my arm. “You’re in a lot of pain, Lil’.”
I had to look away and mentally shake myself before I could answer.
“Just because I pulled away too quick, just give me a moment. His eyes are all that’s left and that should be nothing, really. The bones are small, we can even let his kidneys take care of the rest.” I wanted to make as few trips here as possible, thank you. And definitely less time with that face would be healthy for my mental welfare.
Because rather than wanting to make me throw myself at his feet, his beauty sort of terrified me, or rather, the powerful effect it had on me terrified me. I didn’t like that at all.
Gus was frowning deeper, and I only then realized that he could read everything that was going on in my head. But it wasn’t like I should be embarrassed, anyone with eyes could see how pretty this guy was. It wasn’t like I was in love or anything. I couldn’t wait to get this over with.
Because the pretty ones were also the ones most likely to cheat on you. Ugh.
“Then at least take a break,” said the priest, since Gus was too busy frowning at whatever he saw in my head. “I’ll get you something to eat. I should have brought that alone anyhow, our healer always keeps snacks on hand during a healing. I knew I was forgetting something this morning.”
Which left me alone with a displeased Gus, a knight with a stiff-upper lip, and a rather pale looking pretty man on the bed who was still oozing a bit from the cut I’d put on his cheek earlier.
“Crap, I didn’t get the calcium out,” I reached for his face, still holding the handkerchief to my nose.
Gus smacked my hand. Hard.
“But it’ll hurt his kidneys!”
“Then you can just heal them later! Stop being an idiot before you bleed out!”
I pouted at him, but my head really did hurt. I closed my eyes in the hope it would relieve some of the pain. It did a little, but what I really wanted was Hal’s puff-in-the-face cure. I should have brought him along instead of Gus. Maybe Gus would have shut up about me being unescorted and all that schmuck.
After sighing and hissing in turn, wondering if I could ask Nehcor to take away all these bad side effects of the pain, I felt Gus’s fingers rubbing gently against my temple. Unlike with his knife strokes, his movements were cautious and light.
Still, I let out a little moan of relief. It hurt so good.
He paused, but then continued with a little more pressure.
“I can feel the difference,” said the noble man on the bed. “You…you really must be a saint. I never thought I’d meet one. Thank you. Thank you so much. And I can talk without any pain and already move so much better.”
“You’ll be all the way better once I’m done with you,” I muttered. “Or who knows, I could royally screw up and accidentally make it worse, so don’t go praising me yet. It’s not like I’m a pro at this or anything.”
“Professional. Like, an expert or…ugh, Gus, lower down, would you? Oh, you’re a god, thank you.”
“Please stop saying such embarrassing things,” said Gus.
“Only ‘cause I like you.”
The priest returned quickly with a plate full of crackers, cheese, and sausage, with a tiny, reedy looking woman following after him, with gray-streaked brown hair piled on top of her head in a great bun and bright grey eyes magnified through her round-lens glasses. Despite her graying, she didn’t look too much older than me, in her late thirties at most. She wore a white and gold-trimmed dress following after the same style as the priest’s robes.
“Oh, darling, don’t lean back like that, that just makes the blood flow down your throat and upset your stomach.” With a confidence that bespoke being very familiar with touching people, she waved Gus aside and pushed my head down to my knees. “Good. Just keep like that and I’ll seal up those blood vessels real quick, and on your pretty eyes too, oh, how could you have gone so far in one sitting?”
And for the first time, I got to feel the magical strands of another healer, smooth and thread-like, flowing through my head and around the throbbing in my sinuses.
It took longer than it would have for me, but soon the pain had lessened and when I pulled away the handkerchief no blood dripped down from my nose.
“There we go,” said a tired voice. “Your poor head, how hard you must have been concentrating.”
“I think I prefer the big overhaul heals,” I said, giving her my best smile. I didn’t know why, but I liked her. Everything from her sure, tiny hands to her hair bun that seemed too big for her. “This is the first time meeting another healer. Thank you so much. I know how much of a big deal that must be for you.”
This must be the temples little healer, the one who only had the tiny magical capacity.
Even now she looked a little paler than before, but she waved a hand at me.
“Pshaw, it was nothing. I’ve had more nosebleeds than I can count. The little things are all I’m good at, so sealing up a few burst vessels is as easy as blinking. Now, eat up and then you can finish up whatever you were doing here.” She waved behind me to the bed. “Hello, sir! It’s good to see you again—oh! Oh my. That is you, right sir?”
“Good to see you again, Dorius.”
“Goodness, is that really your face?”
“Well, I have yet to see it but it feels so.” His hand reached up to touch it. “Wow. No wonder. It’s all gone, all the bumps and—do I really look that different?”
“Only in all the best ways. Are you still single?”
He chuckled, much more warmly than he had to me. “Who would marry something like me?”
“Me, marry me. I want to lick that beautiful face till the day I die.”
The knight’s eyebrows flew high. The nobleman laughed out loud.
“I’ll consider it.”
“I’m holding your word to it. Missy dear, would you like a drink with that? Why hadn’t you thought of that?” she elbowed the priest. “And it’s so crowded in here, it’s getting hot, leave and get her some wine or something.”
“Water, if you please,” I squeaked in. “If it’s not too much.”
Priest Miurian gave me a toothy smile. “Of course not.” and squeezed himself out.