The quickest way to get into the hospital’s library was through the main lobby, where patients would come in and register for assistance. And next to that was the waiting room where they would indeed wait to be called in for examination. The two sections were open so that it was easier to keep an eye on things should a medical emergency suddenly arise.
But as Lynus, along with Lirit, Cedric, and Chi-hung stepped inside through a side door, he stopped dead in his tracks and his heart skipped a beat. The waiting room and reception area were…filled with people. Patients. Cursed patients.
Lynus found himself taking a half step back in surprise and…intimidation as what had to be a hundred sets of eyes all turned in his direction. A split second after that, someone jumped up out of their seat and pointed at him.
“It’s the Miracle Medic!”
Lynus’ eyes widen and he desperately clutched at the strap of his bag as everyone started to crowd toward him, pushing others aside in their desperate attempt to get to him first. And all at once, they started shouting at him, trying to grab at him.
“You have to help us!”
“Cure us, please!”
“Why won’t you help us?!”
“For heaven’s sake, she’s in pain!”
“Save my baby boy!”
C-cursed…there were so many curses. He didn’t…he couldn’t…
“I…” Lynus stuttered in fear as he took a step back only to hit the closed door behind him. “W-wait, I’m sorry, it’s…”
“Step back!” Cedric was the one to suddenly yell as he pushed his way in front of Lynus, to act as a barrier between him and the frantic patients. “Leave him room!”
Lirit also pushed himself forward in an attempt to hold back the crowd. “You need to stop! He can’t help anyone like this!”
Chi-hung suddenly growled loudly, successfully gaining the masses attention and with his head hung low, he prowled forward to widen the gap between Lynus and the patients. He continued to grow warningly at them, which seemed to keep them at bay.
Yet, they were still…yelling at him. Begging. Pleading. Demanding.
Lynus…didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t help them all! Not like this!
A high pitched whistled suddenly caught Lynus’ attention, along with Lirit’s, Cedric’s, and Chi-hung’s as well, and the four of them turned to look deeper into the hospital, pass the hysterical mob. It was Darrell half leaning out from behind a door, a door that only hospital staff was to step through. And he was motion them over with his hand.
Reacting immediately, Lirit snared Lynus’ wrist and pulled him through the slight parting in the crowd that Chi-hung had managed to create, to where Darrell was holding the large stone doors open a crack. With Cedric behind him, pushing him forward, Lynus simply let Lirit tug him along, allowing him to push him through the slight opening before promptly following himself. With the four of them safely through, Darrell hastily closed the door and leaned his forehead against it, as if he needed a moment to compose himself.
Lynus turned to look at the other medic in pure disbelief. “D-Darrell? W-what-?”
Darrell kept his forehead pressed against the door as his shoulders drooped from fatigue. “It’s…gotten worse,” he muttered.
“No…” Lynus whispered as a wave of nausea washed over him.
This…had to be in retaliation for the failure of that cranium curse that hexer tried to place on him. It just had to be.
…They were so quick, though.
He had to do something. But…
He had promised Axel that he wouldn’t go on that healing spree like he did on the first day this epidemic started. He had promised that he wouldn’t push himself like that again. But how could he stand by and do nothing? He knew how to help these people. He could help these people. What’s a little pain to his chest compared to their pain and suffering?
“Lynus…” the sound of Cedric’s voice and a gentle placing of his hand on his shoulder pulled Lynus out of his thoughts and he skittishly turned to look at the other man, mildly noting that he was looking at him in pure concern.
“I can’t…” Lynus whispered before he shook his head franticly and gripped his bag painfully tight with his hands. “I can’t just stand here! I have to do something!”
Lirit immediately stepped up beside Cedric and proceeded to look at Lynus with worry as well. “But removing the curses hurt you.”
“It’s only a slight sting now,” Lynus insisted desperately. “I can handle it.”
The sound of Dr Stiles’ terse, stern voice caused Lynus jump and spin around to see the head doctor standing behind him with a scowl on his face. “But-!”
“I said no,” Dr Stiles reiterated in a surprisingly harsh but tired manner, causing Lynus to immediately fall silent. “To heal these curses as you are now will only cause you to become fatigued far more quickly. Go to the library. Find a way to stop the curses from affecting you. That’s what you need to do now. Nothing else. We can handle this until then.”
Lynus stared at Dr Stiles with wide eyes for the longest moment before he swallowed thickly and nodded his head meekly. “…Ok,” he murmured dutifully in response.
There was a sense of regret in Dr Stiles’ eyes, but he remained firm and Lynus allowed for Lirit to gently take his hand again so that he could lead him to the library, pass all the haggard and exhausted hospital staff. Mutely, he allowed himself to be guided, his eyes glued to the floor as his mind reeled from the information he had just learnt and his heart thundered from the devastation of how dire things have become.
And he couldn’t help but feel that it was his fault somehow.
“Are you all right?” Cedric asked him softly as they entered the library room and Lynus nodded his head out of habit more so than giving the other man an honest answer.
“Yeah, just surprised,” he said meekly as he tugged his wrist from Lirit’s grip and numbly walked over to the furthest bookcase where he began to scan the spines of the many books, idly gazing at the titles.
He was fairly certain that neither Cedric nor Lirit believed him, but they thankfully didn’t press him. Instead the two troubadours turned their attentions to the bookcases as well, hoping to find anything, anything at all that was useful.
The room fell into a somewhat tense silence as they shuffled through the books one by one. Flip through the pages for anything that could be useful before putting it back on the shelf and picking up another one.
It was tedious, but the only thing they could do. They just needed to bide their time until Axel and the others return from the labyrinth (in one piece and unharmed hopefully) before they can begin to experiment with the blueprints and recipes of that old book Lynus had found. And…
And try to ignore the chaos of what was unfolding in the waiting room and front reception.
But Lynus couldn’t do that. He could feel his fellow healers and medics becoming frustrated, fatigued and…frightened.
He couldn’t help them. He wasn’t finding any answers.
Well, of course he couldn’t find any answers, couldn’t discover any tangible snippets of useful information; he was just one person. One medic. A simple medic with about nine years’ worth of experience. Insignificant compared to Dr Stiles and the many other veterans of the hospital.
What could he possibly do on his own?
Lynus ran a hand over his face in frustration. “I’m just…a normal medic,” he mumbled to himself. “There’s nothing special about me. What makes me think I can do anything on my own? The hospital is filled with talented healers. I’m…being so self-centred thinking I can do what they can’t.”
“Lynus.” A hand on Lynus’ shoulder caused him to look over his shoulder to find Cedric standing behind him once more, like he had done only moments ago.
“But you can,” Cedric said as he squeezed his shoulder, prompting Lynus to turn around to face him. “You can do what they can’t. Only you can read a patient’s aura and find their true ailment without having to ask a single question. Only you can offer precise healing to get to the very core of a patient’s illness. Only you can figure out the cause of a patient’s illness and create medicines to help them.”
So why couldn’t he help them now?
“But you are not invincible,” Cedric continued as he gently took Lynus by both his shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. “Even you have your limits. Now is not the time to doubt yourself. Focus. If anyone can find a way to remove these curses without medics and healers suffering from the repercussions, it’s you. One thing at a time.”
…Was he right?
“I’m sorry,” Lynus said as he glanced down at the floor. “I just…”
Cedric suddenly pulled him into a hug and Lynus readily returned the embraced, burying his head into his shoulder and grasping at his back tightly.
“It’s ok,” Cedric said as he nuzzled his cheek against the side of Lynus’ head as he comfortingly ran his fingers through his hair. “You’re feeling overwhelmed. You want to help everyone. That shows how kind and compassionate you are. You really are a gem.”
Wait…a gemstone? The amazonite stone that he carried with him everywhere. The one that Axel gave him. The same with his garnet ring. He had been healing patients with his right hand. What if…what if he tried with his left?
He had read up on the amazonite stone a lot since Axel had given it to him as a gift all that time ago. It had a connection to the heart chakra. It had a filtering effect. Amazonite assisted in maintaining optimum health. And garnet; it was once believed that garnet could drive off demons and dark spirits.
Could that also help him here?
Lynus drew in a sharp intake of air, which caused Cedric to pull back slightly to look at him in concern once more. However, before he could ask or say anything, Lynus interrupted him.
“I have an idea.”
Cedric looked confused but Lynus simply took a step back from him and reached into the back pocket of his pants to pull out the beautiful green-blue amazonite stone. He always made sure to carry it with him everywhere he went. It was a gift, after all, from Axel. And it made him feel more secure in himself. A worry bead of sorts.
Could it help him now?
And his ring. That was also a gift from Axel. He was used to healing primary with his right hand. But with his left, this might…actually work.
Clutching the stone tightly in his hand, Lynus wordlessly turned to leave the library and headed toward the staff room that was close by. He ducked in and immediately headed over to the utility draw.
Lynus fished around in the draws for a moment before he pulled out a thin cord of leather. He tied it around the amazonite stone several times to turn it into a makeshift necklace. If his theory was correct, if this worked, he would ask Thompson to turn the stone into a true necklace later. But for now, the leather cord should be enough for him to tie it around his neck and for the stone to rest in the centre of his chest. Where his heart chakra was.
The amazonite stone would protect his heart chakra. His left hand will aid him in removing the curses in their entirety.
“What are you-?” Lirit began to question him, no doubt having followed him hot on his heels when he left in a hurry.
“Can you help with this?” Lynus unintentionally interrupted as he lifted the stone around his neck and attempted to tie the strings behind his neck.
Lirit seemed to hesitate for a moment before he reached up to take a hold of the two string ends and tied them together tightly in a knot. “Why this all of sudden?” he rightfully asked.
“I think I know how to stop these curses from affecting me,” Lynus answered as he trailed his fingertips over the greenish-blue stone and turned to face the troubadour. “I need to see.”
Both Cedric and Lirit shared a look with one another, hesitant on how to respond. But it wasn’t that they didn’t believe him. It was because they were worried about him. For him. They didn’t want him to be hurt again.
With the gemstone settled comfortably against his chest, Lynus took a step forward and reached out to take each of their hands. “Trust me. I know this will work.”
“…Fine,” Cedric was the one to respond after a moment of silence. “But just this once. I will drag you back to the library if it doesn’t work.”
Lynus smiled at them as he squeezed their hands reassuringly. “I know, and I appreciate it very much.”
With one last reassuring look at the two troubadours, Lynus released their hands and hurried from the staff room. As he walked, he reached up to grasp the amazonite stone tightly in his left hand. He knew that he was on the right track. He knew it was going to be ok. He could just feel it.
The Critical Care Unit was the first place Lynus thought of as he hurried through the busy, bustling halls of the hospital. And Darrell seemed to be the one in the middle of it all. He appeared to be the one currently in charge of the floor, of which patient needed to go where. He was the man that Lynus needed to see to gain access to a patient.
So he quickly approached the other medic. “Darrell, give me a patient.”
Darrell barely even glanced up at him as he scribbled hastily down onto a clipboard. “No.”
Lynus honestly expected as much. Either Dr Stiles had warned the other staff members to not allow for him to get involved, or they had taken it upon themselves anyway.
“No, it’s ok,” Lynus insisted as he tried to get the other medic’s full attention, to make him look up at him to see that he was being honest. “I think I’ve found it. Found the way to stop the curses hurting me in return.”
Darrell finally glanced up at him, not fully convinced, but not wholly sceptical either.
So Lynus continued, indicating to the gemstone that was hanging around his neck. “Axel gave me this crystal a long time ago and it has helped me ever since. I know this will work. Trust me.”
Darrell remained silent and looked at him critically, yet he seemed to be mulling over his words nonetheless. “…Fine,” he finally said. “But Dr Stiles will be pissed if this doesn’t work.”
Lynus gave him a grateful smile. “I know.”
“We have an unresponsive patient in Bay 3,” Darrell explained as he led the way to the ward and opened the door. But as Lynus moved to take a step inside, Darrell snared him by the elbow and pulled him to an abrupt stop. “You have one shot.”
Lynus nodded his head in understanding and Darrell quickly released his arm. Knowing that words of reassurance wouldn’t give the comfort he needed, Lynus instead turned his focus toward the patient lying still and silent upon the first bed of the ward. Male by appearance, and middle-aged. He was also attached to a breathing machine.
He placed his right hand against his chest, over the stone and heart chakra while he raised his other hand to hover above the patient’s forehead. It took him only a matter of seconds to locate the dark spot within the patient’s aura as it was in the same place, harming him the same way as the patients he had healed before.
Curling his fingers around the gemstone resting against his chest, Lynus drew in a slow breath and held it as he used a refresh spell.
The effects were immediate. He felt the light snap as the curse disappeared and the person’s aura fell back into its natural state. And the patient’s eyes soon fluttered open as they made sounds of confusion and distress. However, there was something distinctively different this time around.
There wasn’t any pain against his chest. The sharp sting, like that of a whip crack, was absent. Completely.
“It worked,” Lynus breathed with a sigh of relief and took a step back to allow the ward nurses to comfort the patient. “It didn’t hurt.”
“Are you serious?” Darrell asked him as he took him by the elbow once more and forced him to turn directly to him. “You’re not just saying that?”
“Yes, I’m not just saying that,” Lynus said with a smile of relief. “It didn’t hurt. Believe me.”
Darrell opened his mouth, no doubt to ask more questions, when a commotion just outside the ward drew both of their attentions. There were calmed shouts for assistance from a fellow medic for a patient appeared to be fitting.
And with that, Lynus knew he couldn’t waste any more time. He trusted the skill of his fellow healers, but if there was something he could do to ease their burdens, he should do so. It was his duty as a medic to help another.
“I need to get to work right away,” Lynus muttered as he tugged his arm free from Darrell’s grip and headed for the door.
“But that was only one patient,” Darrell argued back as he followed right behind him.
“Their curse was one of the worse I’ve encountered,” Lynus returned as the two of them pushed their way through the unusually crowded halls. “If that didn’t hurt me, it’s safe to assume that the milder ones won’t either.”
“You’re going to have to convince Dr Stiles of that before you can do anything,” Darrell reminded him.
Without waiting to hear how Darrell would respond to that, Lynus broke out into a mild jog as he searched for the head doctor amongst the throngs of healers and patients. Convincing Dr Stiles to let him heal again was likely to be difficult, but he had to try. At least convince him to let him deal with the walking injured, as they were often referred to.
He was able to heal them, so he had to.
“Dr Stiles!” Lynus called out as the man he had been searching for all but stumbled out of a surgery room. “I’ve found it. I can stop them from hurting me.”
Ripping of a surgical mask from his face, Dr Stiles immediately spun around to face him, that stern but also quite haggard expression on his face. “You better not just be saying that to pacify me,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be able to hide it from you or Darrell,” Lynus returned as he stood right in front of him and gave him a somewhat pleading look. “And I won’t risk losing your trust in me.”
Dr Stiles just looked at him for a moment before he sighed. “…How?”
Lynus immediately showed him the stone around his neck and the ring on his finger. “This amazonite stone in combination with my garnet ring is somehow able to prevent the curse from lashing out at me in return. I’ve carried this stone around with me for so long that it’s taken on characteristics of my aura. The same could probably be said for my ring,” he explained before a thought suddenly occurred to him. “There is…also a possibility that I can teach you how to remove these curses without you suffering the same. But for now, let me deal with as many patients as I can.”
Dr Stiles, however, looked sceptical. “Those two little stones are blocking the repercussions? How?”
“I don’t have time to work that out right now,” Lynus countered. “Let me deal with the walking cursed. The sooner they are healed, the quicker they can return to their homes. And out of the way. Since they are conscious and walking about, their curses would be small and weaker compared to those in the IC units.”
Dr Stiles still wasn’t all convinced or satisfied by Lynus’ explanation, but he was exhausted and stretched to his limit. He had no choice but to trust him, to let him go out on his own and do things his way. “…Go.”
Without a second thought, Lynus pushed forward and suddenly hugged the head doctor with his arms around his neck before abruptly pulling back to look straight into his eye. “Thank you. I’ll be fine, I promise.”
Then, he turned on his heel and headed toward the waiting room. Now, his next hurtle would be to calm the curse victims in the waiting room down enough to get them to cooperate with him.
A hand suddenly snaring him by his wrist pulled him to a stop, and a somewhat timid voice caused him to pull himself out of his thoughts. “Lynus?”
“Oh, Lirit,” Lynus murmured in surprise when his gaze collided with that of Lirit’s, whose gaze was filled with uncertainty. He also looked somewhat fearful. Not of him, but for him once more.
And Lynus…couldn’t really comfort him. Not the way he wanted.
Instead, he reached out to place a hand on Lirit’s shoulder as he continued to look into his eyes. “Tell Axel and the others I’m sorry,” he said with a subtle tone of remorse. “But I can’t turn my back on this. I don’t know what will happen, but I need to do this. I need to remove these curses to help not only the patients, but the hospital as well. Please don’t try to stop me.”
Despite his initial unease, Lirit didn’t look surprised. Just…sad. “…Ok.”
Lynus instinctively hugged him in hopes of offering him a small sense of reassurance. “Thank you. I’ll leave the research to you and Cedric. I have faith in the two of you.” As he pulled back he noticed that Chi-hung was sat at Lirit’s heels and was looking at him with a sense of expectancy. “Chi-hung, come; I’ll need you for crowd control.”
Lynus gave Lirit one last comforting smile before he turned again to make his way to the waiting room once more, this time with Chi-hung right beside him.
As he stepped out into the waiting room, Lynus briefly wondered how he was going to gain everyone’s attention when he suddenly realised that the moment he stepped out, all eyes were on him once more. And he had to fight the urge to slink back, to hide from the attention.
Lynus had never liked being the centre of attention, being at anyone’s attention had always been a bad thing for him, but there was literally no other way. He couldn’t expect others to follow his words unless he spoke to them all directly. It was…going to be a new experience for him.
“I know that you are all afraid with uncertainty and concern for what is happening to you, to your loved ones,” Lynus said gently, his words empathetic but firm. “But please, listen to me; I will do whatever I can to help you all and I need your cooperation. We need to work together for this. Please, children and elderly first. I will help you all so please wait patiently. I won’t abandon any of you. Don’t be afraid. Everything will be fine now. I promise.”
The room fell into an unnatural and tense silence, and Lynus momentarily wondered if he had failed to comfort them.
But then, slowly, the patients seemed to gather themselves, arranging themselves into an orderly manner. Those with children and elderly were aided to their feet as those who had minor complaints stepped to the back.
They were…actually listening to him.
He could do this.
As the first patient approached him, a frail mother and her young child, Lynus kept pressed his left hand against his chest, over the amazonite stone and heart chakra. He had to do this. He couldn’t back out now. Not when others needed him so much. Not when his fellow healers needed him.
He had to do this.
“He won’t wake up,” the mother tells him tearfully and Lynus immediately understood how frantic she must have been.
Gently, Lynus placed his hand upon the child’s forehead and with him being so small, so young, he was able to locate the reason for his inability to awaken. It was a curse. A small one. An experimental one. But a curse nonetheless.
Lynus gave the mother a comforting smile as he uttered a refresh spell. The curse was gone. Completely. And again, no repercussion.
The woman burst into tears a mere second after her son did, crying for attention and food. She blubbered out a few sounds and words of appreciation and cradled her child close. But Lynus wasn’t able to offer her the comfort she needed either. There were others who were waiting. Others who were suffering like her son had.
So he gently guided the woman to the side and turned his attention to his next patient, another elderly woman.
As he placed his hand upon her forehead to remove her curse, he felt disheartened to realise just how many patients were in need of his attention. And more appeared to be stumbling in.
He needed to remove as many as the curses as possible.
He should…be able to cure a few patients at the same time. A party wide refresh, as if he was in battle within the labyrinth. He could do the same here in the hospital. Two or more patients at once.
Just…let him try for a moment.
Lynus folded his hands against his chest, against the amazonite stone and lowered his chin as he closed his eyes. Slowly he searched out to the patients within the waiting room. A couple at a time. The ones with auras he had experience with at least once before. The ones who’s dark spots were potent and small, but significant.
And he uttered a refresh spell.
Immediately, he felt the curses lift from the auras of those he focused on.
There were a few murmurs of surprise from those he had just healed, but he had to push them aside for the moment. There were more left to be healed. More left to be done.
He wasn’t going to let those hexers, those curse makers, get the better of him. He wasn’t going to let them win. He was going to remove every single one of their hexes. Remove them quicker than they could replace them.
But for now, he would deal with those who needed him most.