Two days later, after much research into the blood and bones of Milly, Hal, Gus, and Derrick (as well as plenty of practice of knowing my limit before getting a nosebleed), I found myself once more seated in Priest Miurian’s little room next to the bed, where the nobleman, today dressed in less austere shades of green and brown, lay. He had trimmed and washed his dank hair back to a well-groomed sweep, which only enhanced the handsomeness I had returned to his face. His eyes moved around more too, twitching and flinching whenever he noticed me looking his way, which was most of the time as I was seated right next to him.
His gentleman knight also looked happier than when I last saw him. The grim line of his mouth seemed just a bit less square and he gave a little bow as I entered.
“Where’s your young apprentice?” asked the nobleman.
“There was some work back home that we couldn’t avoid, so he opted to stay. It’s alright, he already knows plenty about the procedure I’m about to do, since he let me practice it on him.”
Which was only half true. Yes, he had let me practice on him a grand total of once, all while not saying a word and snapping whenever I whined about cutting him. But also because, when it was time to leave, he’d said “It’s not like you appreciate me being their anyway. Protect yourself today, for all I care.”
Ugh, please tell me this moodiness was just a phase. Seriously.
Priest Miurian had other things he had to attend to that day, so I asked the knight to assist me—which was for the best. He looked like his body would have more to offer than the thin priest.
For the procedure I had planned involved moving the protein or hormone or whatever little thing it was that the nobleman was missing from someone else to him through cuts on their palms. On their palms because it was easier to make a closed seal that way. I had measured the levels of this certain something in all the bodies I was able to look into, so I also had a estimation of how much the knight needed to be left with to not turn out the same as the nobleman, though I also planned on injecting his body with extra magic to encourage the replacement of the…let’s just go with protein. That sounded good enough.
Before I moved into it, though, I gave the knight a series of question to assure myself that he didn’t have any blood to blood transferable diseases…that I knew of. Hey, I wasn’t a med student. Though that just meant that my list basically included AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases, so by the time I was done with him his face was the most brilliant shade of red.
“Sexual diseases transmit through the blood?” asked the nobleman, who was totally enjoying watching his knight squirm from where he sat on the bed.
“They can. Not all of them. There are many different types. But, since our good man here swears on his honor that he has only ever had one sex partner, who also has only ever had him,” I patted said good man on the shoulder from where he sat next to me by the bed on a second stool he’d brought in from the hallway. “You probably shouldn’t have to worry. I haven’t had to catch too many viruses or bacteria in the past, but I know the general feel.”
The knight hid his face in his hands and I started feeling guilty.
“Hey, bud, it isn’t anything to feel embarrassed about. Keeping your chastity for marriage is something to be proud of, and very healthy.”
“I think it’s less about chastity and more about who is asking,” said the nobleman with a twitch of his mouth.
Ah, I guess that would be embarrassing. I was a woman. “Well, if it helps anything, I’ve been married before so it’s nothing I’m not use to.” I plucked up the knife from where I had set it on an alcohol sanitized cloth.
The nobleman’s eyes had gone wide. “You? At your age?”
“I’m older than I look, sir.” I gave him a smile. “Hands please?”
They handed them over, but the nobleman wasn’t done.
“Not meaning to sound insensitive,” he winced, as I slashed hard on his hand to make up for my nerves and a lack of Gus being here to do it for me.
“Sorry,” I pushed a rag in and reached for the knight’s palm. He too was watching my face with interest.
“No, no, it was just sudden—what happened to your husband? That…that sounded really uncouth. Please feel free to ignore that question.”
“No, I’ve gotten it enough times.” The knight’s hand was much harder to cut due to all the calluses. My stomach was clenching something awful by the time I’d gotten deep enough to bleed freely. “Alright, clench hands. We don’t want any blood to escape. Get your cuts as well aligned as possible.” I’d even made sure to cut them in the right direction so doing so would be natural, and thankfully, the two men had similar hand sizes.
I set to tying their hands together, even as a thin trickle of blood from the two tried to escape.
“He left me for another woman,” I said. “That isn’t too tight, is it? Can you still feel the flow?”
But they were too busy gaping at me. Even the taciturn knight.
I chuckled. Okay, this response definitely stroked my ego. If only I’d had this back home.
“What kind of…” the knight muttered.
The nobleman’s face screwed up into a scowl. “Are you sure it wasn’t a man he left with?”
“Nope. She was a woman. Now, I need you to not talk or do anything to distract me. It’s hard to concentrate on such a small part of blood. Mr. Knight, if you’d be so kind as to hold a handkerchief to my upper lip if you should see my nose start to bleed. I don’t want even that to distract me.”
The nobleman flinched. “You don’t have to go so far—“
“I’ll be fine. Really. Let’s just get this over with. Aren’t you excited about being pain free?”
He didn’t have anything to say to that, even though he still looked disconcerted.
Thus, after taking a nice big gulp of water from a pitcher nearby, I cracked my knuckles, set my hands over their intertwined palms, and sent out my magic.
First, zooming down to the minuscule hairs of the carpet that fluttered about the bones of the knight…