The Story Continues

Injured Innocent

Lynus’ entire being, from his toes to his eyelids, felt alarmingly heavy. It took a lot of effort to open his eyes. First, all he could see was a stone pathway littered with pink petals. Slowly, he began to register that he was lying face down, on his stomach, his cheek against the ground.

What had happened…?

He desperately tried to remember. He was with Axel, Jhon, Tobyn, and Macerio. Fourth stratum. They were checking out a so-called secret area. Looked toward a dead-end, found nothing so pushed to move on. But then there was…a flygourd?

Yeah, there was. He was beginning to remember now. They were surprised by a flygourd. It snuck up behind them. From the ground. Macerio was directly in front of it. Lynus reached out and pushed him aside out of instinct, and…

There was pain before everything went black. He lost consciousness.

Being careful not to move himself too much, Lynus took in his surroundings. Still in the fourth stratum, but he couldn’t see anyone else. Couldn’t hear anyone else. He…must have fallen through a pit. There were many around this stratum. Most of them hidden. Some known.

That, however, wasn’t important. He was separated from Axel and the others.

He was alone.

He…had to get himself into a more suitable position to check for possible injuries.

Drawing in a deep breath, Lynus moved his hands and placed his palms against the ground in line with his shoulders. Holding his breath, he squeezed his eyes shut and pushed with arms with all his might, causing him to roll onto his back.

He choked back a scream of pain as he fell onto his back. His legs. God, they hurt so much. They felt heavy and…slippery.

Although his head was spinning, he managed to push himself up slightly with his elbows to look down over himself. But all he could see through the blurriness of his vision and the spinning of his head was the colour red. A deep, dark red.

Blood.

Lynus flopped back to the ground, mentally and emotionally numb. He was bleeding out. His legs were badly damaged. He could still feel them, though. He could feel his toes. He could move them, although it hurt like hell to do so. But despite that, it was a relatively ‘good’ sign.

That meant that there was no damage to his spine or back.

Just the legs. He could handle not being able to walk for a few days. But how did he manage to receive such injuries? From the FOE? Or did his misfortune continue by landing upon one of those strange but extremely painful green swirling masses on the ground? Perhaps both.

Closing his eyes, Lynus concentrated on his own aura. He was so used to analysing someone else’s symptoms that it took a bit of effort to concentrate solely on himself. But he was eventually able to reach a diagnosis.

And he wasn’t very happy with what he found.

Bone fractures and deep lacerations to the skin and muscles of his legs. Low blood pressure. Fast heart rate. He was going into hypovolemic shock. He was losing blood quickly. He needed to stem the flow, but sitting up wasn’t going to be easy. Taking it slow was his best bet to ward off the nausea and dizziness, but that would only prolong his blood loss.

His bag was close by, thankfully. He always made sure to have the strap across his chest so that it would never fall off his shoulder. All he needed to do was grab it and-

“Lynus!”

Lynus breathed out a deep sigh of relief and sagged against the ground. That was Axel’s voice. He found him. And by the sound of multiple feet pounding against the stone ground of the fourth stratum, he wasn’t alone. Macerio, Tobyn, Jhon. They had found him. And they were safe.

“God, Lynus,” Axel muttered as he skidded to a stop next to him and abruptly dropped down to his knees beside him.

Axel instinctively wanted to pick him up off the ground, to cradle him in his arms for security and reassurance, but Lynus had to stop him. “D-don’t,” he murmured as he weakly reached out a hand toward the redhead. “Don’t sit me up. I’ve lost too much blood. I’ll pass out if I move.”

Axel look devastated, his face pale and his eyes wide. But he mutely nodded his head and instead clasped his hand tightly in his. He looked so lost…

“I’m so sorry.” Tobyn was both apologetic and guilty as he scrambled onto the ground on the other side of him, leaning over him slightly. “I should have seen that flygourd.”

“You pushed me!” Macerio was hysterical as he knelt on the ground near his head. “Why did you push me? It would have been better if I-!”

“Lynus, what do we do?” Jhon asked as he crouched down next to Axel, his blue eyes darting over him back and forth, taking in the sight of his injuries. “Y-you’ll need to talk us through this.”

Yeah, he could do that. Just…detach himself from the situation and rely on his training.

“I-I need a tourniquet on each leg,” Lynus instructed. “High on the thigh as possible.”

“Use a belt or something,” Axel added.

With a nod of his head Tobyn leaned back away from him as he quickly removed one of his belts. Lynus drew in a deep breathed and held it, tightening his hand around Axel’s as he waited for what was to come next. The tourniquet was going to hurt. A lot.

Wrapping the leather belt around the upped part of Lynus’ left leg, Tobyn pulled it tight sharply and Lynus threw his head back on a scream of pain, a sob hitching in his throat.

“I’m sorry!” Tobyn immediately blurted out.

Lynus squeezed his eyes shut and gritted his teeth as he shook his head. “N-no, it’s ok. D-do the other leg now,” he murmured as he tried to concentrate on the feeling of Axel running his fingers through his hair in an attempt to comfort him.

Keeping his eyes tightly shut Lynus was unable to prevent a weak, painful sob from slipping past his lips when he felt a tight pressure added around his other leg. Tears seeped past his eyelashes and he turned his head toward Axel. Axel was whispering something to him with his forehead touching his, saying something along the lines of an apology and a promise, but Lynus couldn’t take in the words. All he could feel was the pain, both sharp and aching, in his legs. He tried hard not to move, but he could feel himself twitching and trembling.

They weren’t done yet. There were still a few more things they needed to ensure before he could be moved.

Forcing his eyes to open, Lynus lolled his head to the other side where Macerio was, the brown-haired gunner weeping softly, unwilling to look at his injuries, to look at him. He didn’t want to believe or accept that Lynus was badly hurt. He felt guilty. He felt that it was his fault.

Slowly, he lifted his had toward him to touch his face. “Macerio, please, I need you to stop crying and look at me.”

Macerio snapped his head up and looked at him, large tears staining his cheeks.

“In my bag there is a blue bottle of medica,” Lynus continued as he tried to give Macerio a small, reassuring smile. “Get that for me.”

“R-right,” Macerio murmured as he turned away from him and began to hastily fumble through his medical bag. It took him a good few seconds before he pulled out a bottle, gripping it tightly in both hands as he turned back to him.

“We’ll have to sit you up to drink it,” Axel stated.

But Lynus swallowed thickly and shook his head. “It would take too long. P-pour that medicine directly onto the injuries.”

“But-”

“It’ll ward off infection,” Lynus explained simply. “It also has a numbing agent.”

Macerio gripped the bottle tightly, his face growing paler. He didn’t want to look, and honestly Lynus didn’t blame him. The deep lacerations. The exposed flesh. The blood. But he needed to lower the risk of infection. And he needed to do it quickly.

Fortunately, Jhon was able to see that Macerio was too petrified to look and silently took the medicine bottle away from him. A mere moment later Lynus hissed lowly when he felt the tonic splash haphazardly along his legs. However, after the initial sting, the pain began to subside.

A bit more…

“You’ll need scissor to cut away the pants,” Lynus continued to instruct, closing his eyes tightly when a wave of nausea washed over him. “T-they’re in the bag. Also, pull out all the bandages you can find.”

Lynus kept his eyes shut and focused on his breathing. His head was starting to spin, his heart fluttering in his chest. He was falling into shock. But he could feel that his teammates, his friends, were working hard to cover the injuries with the bandages to prevent further blood loss and infection.

All they needed to do next was to get out of the labyrinth and to the hospital.

“Axel, listen to me,” Lynus as he opened his eyes and peered up at his landsknecht. “As soon as you move me, I will lose consciousness. But it’s for the best. When I pass out just take me to the hospital. Don’t worry about being careful; just get me there, ok?”

Axel did not look at all reassured or pleased by any stretch of the imagination, but he nodded his head nonetheless. “Ok.” There was still panic and fear in his eyes, though.

“Tobyn?” Lynus looked for the blond-haired survivalist. “W-when we get to town, p-please run ahead and tell Dr Stiles that it’s fractures and lacerations. Not damage to the spinal column. I can feel everything.”

“R-right,” Tobyn muttered in response.

Still crouched next to him, Macerio appeared to be searching for further reassurance. “L-Lynus?”

Despite how alarmingly tired he felt, Lynus managed to pull a small smile to his lips as he regarded the gunner. “I’ll be all right. I won’t lose anything. Just be patient now, ok?”

Quietly, Macerio nodded his head. “Kay…”

“I’ll, ah, tell everyone at the inn,” Jhon said. “T-they’ll be hysterical, but they need to know.”

Hah…Seemed like there was going to be an enormous amount of fussing in the future for him.

Carefully, Axel slipped an arm under Lynus’ shoulders as he slipped the other behind his knees. Despite deliberately moving slowly and cautiously, when Axel took to his feet it proved too much for Lynus to take. His world spun and everything went completely black…

… … … … …

Lynus felt unsteady and dazed as he opened his eyes. He found himself staring up at a white ceiling, lying upon something soft and warm. He was in a room, a dark room with minimal lighting. He also had something sitting just under his nose and something piercing the skin on the inside of his arm.

He immediately recognised where he was and what had happened.

He was in the hospital, in a private room, and was on oxygen and intravenous fluid. It wasn’t at all surprising or alarming. He figured he would be.

Slowly, he lifted his head off of the pillow and looked down upon himself. He was covered in a thick blanket, but he could see that his two legs were propped up with pillows to make him more comfortable. He knew his injuries were extensive, but he gave his toes a wiggle anyway. It was almost comforting in a way when he felt a sharp pain race up his legs.

He was going to be fine. He was in good hands.

The sound of rumbling, like that of thunder, caused Lynus to roll his head to the right. However, instead of looking at the window he gazed at the form sitting next to his bed. It was Axel, of course. He was slumped in a chair pulled right up next to his hospital bed, dressed hastily in a new set of clothing. He was resting his head against one of his hands while the other was holding Lynus’ hand tightly. And it felt as if he had been holding one for quite some time.

Gently, Lynus rubbed his thumb over the back of Axel’s hand, not wanting to wake him up just yet. He looked pale and tired. Let him rest for a little bit longer.

Looking around the room Lynus quickly realised how full it was. Everyone…everyone from his guild was in his hospital room, scattered about in numerous locations, sleeping fitfully. Jhon with Tobyn resting against his shoulder. Shen with Magnus curled up against his side. Lirit slouched in a seat, a hand on Binah’s back as she rested half on his lap. Rahas sitting against the window, arms folded tightly across his chest. Hamza in a chair near the door with Chi-hung at his feet. And Macerio was on the other side of Lynus’ bed, his arms folded atop of the mattress and his chin resting on his arms.

The sight of them all was both uplifting yet distressing.

They must be so terrified by what had happened. That was the first time they had witnessed Lynus receive such injuries and saw him in such pain.

It was going to take some time to reassure everyone that he was going to be ok and that no one was at fault. And with him being unable to walk for the next few days, it was going to be a tricky task comforting everyone.

A flash of light caused him to turn his attention to the window. When he heard a low rumble of thunder he realised that it was storming. Probably had been for a few hours. The thunder must have been what had awakened him in the first place. He was glad, though, that everyone was inside, out of the weather.

Turning his attention back to his red-haired landsknecht, Lynus squeezed Axel’s hand as tightly as he could. He watched as Axel’s brow furrowed slightly and he began to stir from his sleep. Blearily opening his eyes, he soon sat up straight in his seat when he realised that Lynus was awake. A mere second later, he was leaning forward in his chair, cradling Lynus’ hand against his chest as he gently raked his fingers of his other hand through his hair.

“How are you feeling?” he immediately asked, his voice soft so that he wouldn’t awaken the others.

Lynus gently rubbed his thumb against the back of Axel’s hand once more and offered him a small smile. “A little groggy to be honest. But I’m not in any pain.”

Axel nodded his head idly before he leaned forward and pressed his lips against Lynus’ forehead, lingering for a moment. Lynus sighed softly, briefly closing his eyes to the touch before opening them again when Axel pulled back.

“I’m going to be fine,” Lynus said.

“You scared the hell out of us.”

“Completely unintentional.”

“This can’t happen again,” Axel abruptly said as he looked him straight in the eyes. “We can’t handle it. I can’t handle it.”

Axel…sounded so distressed. Lynus couldn’t imagine how he must have felt during the entire event. There was…a lot of blood, after all. He…needed to be more careful in the future. For Axel’s sake. For his guild’s sake.

Lynus released a soft sigh and nodded his head, feeling unbelievably tired. “I know, Axel. I know.”

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