"Wha?" Rief eloquently asked his friend.
"No time to explain. Heal Sveta." The way he commanded it didn't sound exactly like Matthew.
Still thrown off by the fact his friend's eyes had completely changed color it took Rief a few seconds to register what Matthew had said. Shaking his head to clear his thoughts Rief turned his attention down to the critically injured girl. The damage was extensive. Going down from her left shoulder to her right side was a large gash made by a Lizard King's axe. Too much needed to be done at once. There was still traces of a cut on her right shoulder from the first hit she took for Reyson that knocked her out of beastform. What was really worried Rief was that he couldn't feel life inside Sveta's body. It was like her spirit had already left the body. While her wounds were severe they shouldn't have killed her. They weren't deep enough to cause her to die from the blows. Blood loss would be the death of her.
"Rief please hurry. I do not know how much longer I can stay like this." Matthew pleaded.
Wait. Matthew didn't speak like that. It was more like the way Sveta talked. Unable to try figuring out what was going on with Matthew and where to start healing Sveta the Mercury Adept tackled the easier problem. Gathering his Psynergy Rief focused on stopping the bleeding first since that was the immediate threat. From there Rief worked on the lower layers slowly causing the body to stitch together. Reaching into the pouches stitched into the inner layers of his robes Rieff produced a vial of potion. Uncorking it with his teeth he slowly poured the light blueish-green liquid over the gash on her back. The mixture of Psynergy and the potion caused the skin to reform at a vastly accelerated rate. There was barely a scar on Sveta's back when Rief had finished.
Matthew looked at Rief appreciatively. Rief just didn't know how to tell his friend that there wasn't any life in Sveta. As he tried to work up the courage to tell Matthew Reyson walked over and put his hand on Matthew's shoulder. The Heron looked hard into Matthew's eyes. Reyson quickly retracted his hand like Matthew was a snake that was going to bite. A mixed look of horrified and confusion was written on the laguz's face.
"That shouldn't be possible." Reyson's voice was quite barely above a whisper.
"What's not possible?" Garet asked as he finally came over to check on everyone. The Mars Adept had been busy making sure that there would be no other surprise attacks. Evident by the blazing ring of fire around the group.
"Soren told you of the Heron's ability to see into a person's heart correct?" Reyson asked to jog Garet's memory.
"What about it?" Garet prompted.
"I can sense Matthew's emotions as you would expect but I..." Reyson trailed off not fully believing what he was feeling.
"He can feel Sveta's to." Matthew finished for the Heron. "Rief am I healed enough to live now?"
The two in one body watched as Rief just nodded his head not even pretending to understand what was going on. Kneeling down by Sveta's body Matthew placed his hand on her healed back. Closing his eyes in concentration Matthew and Sveta worked together to put her spirit back into the correct body. It was far easier to do as the soul and body wanted to be brought back together. It was like transferring Djinn almost and nothing like the way Matthew had returned to his body at the Apollo Lens. If a soul could have a bruise than Matthew's probably did. When he could no longer feel the presence of Sveta inside him Matthew removed his hand and opened his eyes. Once again they were blue. Only they seemed to still carry a hint of the purple in them around the edges.
Sveta stirred awake causing everyone but Matthew to look at her like she had come back from the dead. Looking around Matthew spotted Sveta's coat lying on the ground only a few feet away. Channeling what little Psynergy he had through the Grip Stone Matthew pulled the coat to him. It was soaked through from lying in the snow. Without asking Garet took the coat out of Matthew's hand and sent a warm wave of energy over the furs drying them in a matter of seconds. No Mars Adept on Weyard ever had wet clothes if they didn't want to. Smiling at his "uncle" Matthew took the coat back and laid it over Sveta.
"Okay. While I'd like to hear an explanation on what just happened. The middle of a snowstorm ain't the place. Imil's not that far let's get going." Garet said as he let the flames around them die down.
No one argued the point. It was cold and the sun would be setting soon. If they wanted to reach Imil before night came and it got even colder they would have to hurry. Sevta was still weak though and couldn't walk very far on her own. She had tried to brush it off for a few feet but she soon found herself riding piggyback on Garet. While it didn't show badly Matthew was drained from the soul sharing that he had performed. He was able to keep up with the group but walking a straight line was beyond his abilities. His legs felt like jelly as he walked through the snow. If it wasn't for the energy restored by resetting Flint, Gears, and Ivy he probably would have fallen behind.
When the snow covered houses of Imil came into sight everyone brightened up knowing that they would be able to sleep in a nice warm house rather than in a cold tent. Like most towns that existed before the Golden Sun event Imil had grown. It was no longer a small village that stood guard against those who wished to ignite the beacon of Mercury Lighthouse. Now Imil was a full blown city bordering on the size of Belinsk. The healing properties of Hermes' Water having attracted many people to the the once peaceful village. Rief being raised in the town led the group through the snow shoveled roads towards his home.
Mia's house was next to one of the many clinics in Imil. It was small and homey looking on especially when compared to the other more extravagant houses that had sprung up. Of course everyone that knew Mia went to her if they needed healing rather than one of the other healers that decided to set up shop. Justin and Megan her two apprentices had both grown up and left Imil to use what they had learned to help the people of Weyard.
Rief was the first one inside seeing as it was his home. Shuffling in behind him the others were greeted with a wave of warmth from the red flames flickering in the fireplace. Mia's house appeared to only have three rooms. The one they were all standing in which was quite large having to hold the kitchen, a table, chairs, and everything else you'd normally have in a living room. At the back of the room was two doors one on either side of the wall. Presumably they led to bedrooms. There were shelves lined with various herbs and jars all clearly labeled situated on in the room opposite of the kitchen. A few high back chairs were situated in front of the fireplace which is where they saw Mia. She was dressed in bulky robes just like her son's in design. White and a light purple color was the theme for her robes. The main difference between Mia now and thirty years ago was the simple fact she looked older. You could only see it in her face as her robes hid everything else. Her staff, a Clotho's Distaff, was leaning up against the side of the chair.
When the door closed behind the group Mia looked up from the book she had been reading. It wasn't odd to her that someone had entered her house. Many people came in to ask about their loved ones that were over in the clinic. So when Mia looked up she expected to see just another person coming to check about their loved one. Her book fell to the floor forgotten when she spotted Rief standing just inside the door. Mia was out of her chair and hugging her son in a matter of seconds. Two Mercury Djinn hopped over from the chair where Mia had been sitting and bounced around the reunited family. They looked just a pleased to see Rief as his mother did.
It was when Mia pulled back to get a better look at her son that she noticed there were four other people that had come with him. One of whom was being carried and another who looked like he was going to fall over at any second. Instincts born of years of healing took over the Angle.
"Garet take the girl to my room and put her in bed. It's the door on the left." Mia commanded with such authority that Garet jumped a bit at the words before following her instructions.
Looking directly at Matthew the Mercury Adept pointed to the chair she had occupied only a minute ago. Without hesitation Matthew went and sat down in the chair. If Mia was anything like her son when it came to taking care of people Matthew would sit down, shut up, and do as he was told. There really was no other option. Taking a seat in the comfy chair Matthew felt his eyes start to droop. Warmth from the fire in front of him and the soft seat he was sitting in reminded him just how drained he actually was. Two Mercury Djinn appeared in Matthew's lap. One of them glowed with a soft blue light and Matthew felt his fatigue wash away.
"I'm glad you're home son." Mia said kissing Rief on the forehead before heading to her room after Garet and Sveta.
Turning crimson with embarrassment at being kissed by his mother in front of friends, well only Reyson really but still. Rief told the Heron to make himself comfortable while he helped his mother with Sveta. Hanging up his coat on one of the hooks by the door Rief headed to his mother's room. He reached the door and heard Garet explaining what had happened to Mia. That is to say Garet was doing his best to explain what he knew happened. Right now there wasn't a need to try explaining what Matthew and Sveta had done. Not that anyone other than Reyson could even have a chance of being able to. Rief came in and added to Garet's story telling his mother more about Sveta's injury and what he had already done to help it along. Mia nodded as he explained the healing light of Mercury Psynergy illuminating the room as the older healer checked over everything.
"She should be fine now." The light of Mia's Psynergy disappeared. "If you don't mind me asking, who is she?"
"This is Sveta mom. One of the people I traveled with. And recently Matthew's girlfriend." Rief answered.
"Jenna let him date?" Mia gasped. Even Mia who lived up in the north knew how dead set the Mars Adept was against her son dating.
"With a little help from me we got things straightened out." Garet interjected. "Right now though we need to ask Matthew a few questions."
The redhead turned and headed out the room. Rief and Mia followed after him. Matthew was still in the chair Reyson sitting in the one next to him. Two red crescent moon shaped tails could be seen swinging from the sides of Reyson's chair as Mia's Djinn investigated the Heron. Like their Adept they had a knack for healing and the introduction of a new species intrigued them. Both Djinn turned to into energy and shot into Mia when she got close to them.
"I'm sorry for not introducing myself before. My name's Mia." She held out her hand to Reyson.
"No apology is necessary. Sveta was injured and you were worried. It is understandable that you would help her rather than introduce yourself. My name is Reyson." He shook Mia's hand gently.
"I have to apologize for this though. Just what are you exactly? I've treated beastmen before but not a one of them have had wings." Mia's curiosity shone through. It wasn't hard to see where Rief got his intellect and need for information from.
"Mia. He's from another land. New species called laguz, Heron to be exact." Garet answered for Reyson impatiently. "Now like I said we have some questions for Matthew."
Garet stepped over next to Matthew and started nicely. He tapped the blonde on the shoulder to see if that would wake him up. No such luck of course. Next was shaking his shoulder followed by shaking the entirety of Matthew. Those having failed Garet moved to the back of the chair. Remembering to lift with his legs Garet picked the chair the back of the chair up so Matthew tumbled out of it. That woke him up.
Matthew stood up with a groan. Last thing he remembered was two Mercury Djinn sitting in front of him in his chair. Now he was lying on the floor and really close to the heat of the fire. In fact the fire felt really close. Sitting up and checking himself over Matthew let out a sigh of relief when he didn't spot any flames on him. He really was just close to the fire. If he had rolled another six inches or so his hair would have been smoking. Backing up Matthew collided with a pair of feet. The lack of robes told him that it was Garet. Well lack of robes and the fact they were too thick to be anyone elses. Garet pulled Matthew up off the ground and turned him around so they were face to face.
"You got some explaining to do." The frown on Garet's face told Matthew that it was time to fess up on what had gone on. He'd been hoping to get a good night's sleep first.
"What are you talking about Garet?" Mia asked leaping to Matthew's defense.
"I don't know exactly is the problem." Garet answered a little harshly. "Matthew used Jupiter Psynergy, had purple eyes, and said that Sveta's soul was in his body. I want some answers."
"Her soul was in his body? There isn't a way to do that." Mia answered calmly. Her voice and demeanor created a calming feeling over the room. As a healer Mia had learned how to create a comforting environment out of even the most stressful scenarios.
"It's true Mia." Matthew answered seriously. "It's not the first time it happened either."
"What?!" the other four in the room shouted. Not even Rief had known it had happened before.
"What do you mean Matthew? I've never seen you and Sveta do anything like that." Rief was confused and it showed. He always adjusted his glasses when he either knew exactly what was going on or when he was confused and out of his element.
"It was atop the Apollo Lens." Matthew began.
"Matthew, the switch on the Apollo Lens... Would you kindly throw it?" Kraden asked of him.
Matthew nodded his head and turned to face the ladder behind him. It went up the back of the human statue like a spine. As he grabbed the first rung he could feel the light energy pulsating in it even through his glove. Not wanting to feel the pain of the light more than he had to Matthew made his way up the ladder as fast as he could. His hand reached the top and as he tried to pull himself up the power of light knocked him back down to the ground. Pain seared through his body. The power of light was more painful than any attack the Chaos Hound had unleashed on them.
Everyone gave him words of encouragement as he stood up. Even Sveta who was still in pain at finding out her brother was the Chaos Hound. If she could push through that pain to support him then Matthew was going to try again and again until he could fire the Apollo Lens. Running back to the ladder Matthew did the same tactic. Go up fast and try to reduce the amount of pure light he was exposed to. Again as he tried to crest the top the power threw him back down to the ground. It was all he could do to try to get up once more. There was no way he was going to quit now. To many people were counting on him to throw the switch. Darkness blanketed the land and he had the opportunity to return things to normal.
Stop. The voice was Alex. The young Venus Adept looked around but was unable to find the former Mercury Adept. Matthew you cannot do this.
Matthew shook his head. He wasn't going to give up. Not now, not when they were so close to undoing all the pain they had caused. His climb up the ladder was slower this time. Every fiber in his body was telling him to stop or he'd die but still Matthew pushed upwards and onwards. The results were the same as he reached the top. Thrown down to the ground yet again Matthew laid there trying to move his body but not feeling anything respond right. He could hear the sounds of people talking but there was a ringing in his ears preventing him from understanding any of it. That was until he heard Sveta speak up.
"I... can do it..." her voice was as weak as Matthew felt. He could feel her walk closer to him. Her life energy was like a light in his mind. It was weak though and he could feel it fading as she moved. "Matthew, please help me. I need to borrow your strength to reach the Apollo Lens..."
Wincing in pain as she took his hand in hers Matthew looked at the desperation in her eyes. He didn't want her to feel that pain. Even though he didn't know how he would be able to do it Matthew wanted nothing more than to help her with what she was about to do. It was then that he felt... something brush up against his mind. It was familiar like Sveta's Spirit Sense but far more pronounced. It wasn't just calling for information like before, now it was calling for him in his entirety. Matthew answered the call.
Now Matthew was looking down at his body. He could feel everything that Sveta was physically feeling. Enhanced sense were the first thing his spirit dealt with as it shifted into a new body. More information assaulted his mind as Sveta's inner feelings mixed with him. He could feel the pain of loss for Volchek, the pain of loss for the people of Morgal, pain of loss for all who had lost a loved one to the Grave Eclipse. Stronger than any other feeling though was the one of happiness. Sveta spoke to him he couldn't make out the words though. He was trying to figure out why she was so happy. She kept speaking as if she was purposefully distracting him from finding out what was behind the feeling.
Then they reached the top of the ladder and climbed out into the heart of the light. Pain coursed through both Sveta's body and Matthew's spirit as they stood there ready to move forward and fire the Lens no matter the cost. A loud howl caught their attention. Through Sveta's eyes he saw Volchek jump out in front of them. He smacked their body sending it flying back to the ground. They were in midair when Matthew felt his spirit disconnect from Sveta's body and slam back into his own. He came back to consciousness just in time to catch Sveta.
"That's what happened." Matthew finished.
They had all gathered around Mia's kitchen table. She had prepared tea for them before Matthew had gotten too far into his story. They all stared into their cups as they took in the information they had just been given. Matthew stirred his un-enthusiastically waiting to hear who would speak first and what their reaction would be. If it hadn't happened to him Matthew wasn't even sure that he would have believed it was possible. The fact that he had left his body alone was amazing. Add to it that he was able to return without a negative effect it was downright unbelievable. Luckily Reyson had been there the second time and could sense Sveta within him. This would give Matthew a bit more proof that such a thing was indeed possible.
"I can't... how did you...what did you...?" Garet stumbled trying to voice all his thoughts at once.
"Garet one question at a time." Mia advised. She tried to appear calm but there was a hint of nervousness in her voice.
"Why and how did you do it a second time?" Reyson asked. It was the original question if only slightly different because it was a second time now.
"She was injured. I didn't know if she would live. Rief couldn't come heal her and I was tapped out. I... I just thought that if I kept her spirit safe than she could return to her body once Rief was able to heal it."
"I would love to say that was incredibly dangerous and you could have ended up killing her. But I actually have no clue." Mia sighed. "I've studied the Mercury Clan's way of healing all my life. We have no records, stories, anything that even suggests that a spirit can leave the body. Except in death."
"So your Jupiter Psynergy..." Garet prompted.
"Sveta casting through me." Matthew finished. "She gave me the energy and incantations for the Whirlwinds. I can't explain how it worked really but I could feel the power come from Sveta then through me into the world."
"It sounds like you were a puppet for her then." Reyson looked coolly at Matthew.
"No. I was in control. While I didn't I knew I could cut of the flow if I wanted. We worked together." Matthew yawned the last bit.
"Alright. You're too tired to continue. We'll talk more about this in the morning. I think all of us will be able to handle this better after we can sleep on it." Mia pushed her chair away from the table and got up. "Matthew you'll sleep in Rief and Nowel's room. Reyson, Garet, you'll two will have to sleep out here. I don't have enough beds for everyone."
"That's fine Mia. If Matthew could sleep in the chair I'm sure I can to." Garet laughed getting up from the table.
"Sorry to impose on you Mia." Reyson apologized.
"It's no trouble at all Reyson. You're the one that has to sleep in a chair." Mia assured him.
Matthew got up from the table and followed Rief to the room. Garet was trying to convince Mia that he'd clean the tea cups while so she could check on Sveta and go to sleep. Rief closed the door behind Matthew. The room wasn't very big. It held two beds one on either side of the room and two dressers. Rief headed to the bed on the right which had a deep blue blanket. The dresser next to it had books stacked on it and a cup for Rief's glasses to sit in. Nowel's bed had a purple blanket it on it. The same shade of purple that was on Mia's robes.
"You shared a room with your sister?" Matthew asked.
"Yeah. Mom and dad took the smaller room. There really wasn't room to expand the house after I was born so I had to share with Nowel." Rief sat down on his bed and put his glasses in the cup. He was too tired to bother with taking off his robes. Besides it was cold enough that the extra layer of clothing would help keep him warm at night.
Matthew plopped into Nowel's bed. It felt beyond weird sleeping in a girl's bed. Not just any girl either but the sister of one of his closest friends. The bed had a girly smell to it. Nothing identifiable but just the common "girl" smell. Pulling the blanket over him Matthew was overwhelmed with weirdness. If he wasn't so sleepy he probably would have laid there all night feeling uncomfortable.
Seeing as how he really couldn't fall asleep right away Matthew reflected on what he had done that day. Having Sveta's spirit inside him had been very calming. Even though they were in his body his senses had heightened to what he would assume Sveta normally had. He had been able to hear the snow crunching underneath the feet of everyone. Wind carried the scaley scent of the Lizard Kings to him. Like before he felt Sveta's emotions mix with his own. She had been confused at first as she got situated in his body. Matthew was sure that he had felt the same way when he had been in her body.
Sveta had sort of used Matthew as a puppet. He had given her control of his body for the casting. It was much faster as she knew the words to chant that would whip the winds into a frenzy. Like he had said to Reyson, he knew that he could have cut Sveta off at anytime. With practice they would probably be able to work together in one body. It wasn't something that Matthew really wanted to try out though. While Sveta had control of the body though and was focusing on casting Matthew had taken the brief few seconds to try to find out about her nightmares. It was impossible to sort through all the feelings of the soul in the short time to find what he wanted. While he didn't expect to find anything he had hoped he'd be able to get something so he could help her once they were back to normal.
Matthew lay in bed looking up at the ceiling. It was then that he noticed Reif hadn't taken a candle in with them and none was lit. The only light that had entered the room was from the window. Even with the light from the stars and moon there shouldn't have been enough light for Matthew to tell that the bedsheet was the same purple as Mia's robes. Yet somehow Matthew had been able to see Nowel's bed easily enough. Maybe this time sharing one body with Sveta had a side effect.
"Garet. Put the cup down." Mia said through gritted teeth. "That's been passed down through the Mercury clan for generations. I won't have your gruff hands breaking them."
Reyson, the diplomat that he was, knew a lost cause when he saw one. No matter what side he took it would end up badly for him. They were arguing quietly enough that he'd be able to sleep still. You didn't live with the Hawk Tribe for years and not learn to block out a few loud noises. Grabbing a blanket from the chest Mia had pointed out Reyson went back to the chair he was in earlier. Getting into a comfortable position he drifted off to sleep ignoring the sounds of the arguing Adepts.
"Mia it's fine. I haven't broken a dish in six months." Garet told her sternly.
"Six months?" Mia's already pale face grew paler. "It's amazing you haven't killed yourself yet." Mia tried to grab the cup in Garet's hand.
"I was joking Mia. I ain't a kid anymore. Tyrell breaks all the dishes now." Garet said seriously pulling the cup out of Mia's reach.
Ice formed in Mia's hand. "Garet you put that cup down or I will freeze you solid and remove it from your cold living body."
"I just want to help out Mia. We haven't seen each other in two years but I can still tell when you've been pushing yourself too hard. You're exhausted and need rest."
"You are wrong Garet. I'm not exhausted in the least. At least I wouldn't be if you'd put the cup down." the ice in Mia's hand grew larger.
"Really? So then why didn't you fix Sveta up right as rain?" Garet questioned smugly. "If you had the energy she would be perfectly fine. Even I can see there were a few things your son had missed in his patch job. I give him credit though. It was field work under very odd conditions."
Mia dismissed the ice she had gathered. Garet was annoying right. There were a few spots on Sveta's back that Rief had missed. They were underneath the skin so it'd be hard to see but nothing was threatening. Sveta's body would easily heal in during the night. Garet was also right in the fact that if she wasn't so tired that Mia would have fixed the beastgirl in a second. Today she had attended to more than sixty people who had come down with the flu. Even with her powers increased by the Golden Sun it was a taxing thing healing so many people in one day.
During their travels thirty years ago Garet had always been the one able to tell when she had reached her limit. Numerous times he had forgone healing so that she could tend to the others, or more importantly herself. It seems that she still had the habit of tending to others over herself and Garet still had the habit of forcing her to admit she needed rest.
"Fine. I'll go to bed. Only if you leave the dishes for me to take care of in the morning. I don't even let Rief wash them." Mia bargained folding her arms over her chest.
"If that's what it takes to get you to rest." Garet said with a smile setting the cup down gently on the counter next to the sink.
Mia headed into her room. Sveta was fast asleep on the large bed. Using her Psynergy Mia did a quick check on the young girl. Pulling the blanket over her patient Mia sat down in one of the chairs she had in the room. Sometimes when the clinic got full or there was someone she needed to watch over all night she would bring them to her room. For that very reason Mia had gotten the most comfortable chair she could find that'd fit in her tiny room. Situating herself in the chair Mia watched Sveta as she drifted to sleep. The beastgirl was a special case if she was somehow able to leave her body and come back to it without problems.