Rae wondered if it would be necessary to sacrifice again. She had more medicines. Maybe, with enough, she could beat the illness with a combination of that and her magic.
She remembered Silas, the old carpenter. His steady and easy friendship. The way he was always eager to help. That was gone forever now. More would die before she could even get the medicines made.
As she walked down the street towards her clinic, she saw Mirko. Her heart gave a painful squeeze. “Mirko.”
“Hello, Rae,” he replied with a sad smile. “Do you hate me now?”
“No. I just don’t agree with you.”
“You couldn’t understand. Born human as you were. You didn’t live your life afraid of them.” He gestured at the city around them.
She clenched the medicine case in her arms tighter. “I do now, and I’ll still save them.”
“It’s impossible, Rae. No medicine can cure them.”
“How would you know?” she snapped out desperately. “You haven’t even tried.”
He didn’t even try to smile now.
A sick kind of dread began to fill her, and she wasn’t even sure why. Something in his expression maybe. He was so calm. Eerily calm given the conversation about life and death of others. She wasn’t sure why, but the other side of her magic occurred to her. The side that she resorted to only in defense. Her power could heal the body, yes, but it could also cause damage. One touch and she could wreak havoc on the body.
Eyes widening with horror, she whispered, “You didn’t.”
He didn’t reply but he didn’t have to. The jerk of his body was answer enough.
“How could you? So many lives.”
“It is the only way, Rae. The only way to save our people.” He didn’t sound angry. She’d expected rage. Instead, he just seemed broken. “They are killing us. One by one we are dying. I couldn’t watch it happen anymore.” He met her accusing eyes with steely resolve. “So yes, I made the plague to save the magi.”
“We are supposed to save everyone, Mirko,” she shouted.
“How many executions will it take before you realize even you can’t do that?”
She stared at him, unable to think of anything to say. Stiffening her spine, she met his dark and sad eyes. “Each life will weigh on you, Mirko. I know it will, and you will have to live with that. It’s not my place to judge or condemn you. However, I will not let you succeed any more than you already have. No matter what it costs me, I will save the rest. And you will have to live with the price of that as well. I hope you are prepared for that.”
Brushing past him, Rae began planning.