Dax gasped as he opened his eyes. Bright lights overhead made him squint and want to close his eyes again. He couldn’t figure out where he was. Last he remembered, he was having a showdown the Kirinalli thieves on the ship he’d stolen from his father. Where was he now?
“Daxi!” The familiarly high-pitched voice almost made him cringe. He turned his head as much as he could manage, everything hurt.
He saw his strawberry pink haired friend and smiled. “Saria, where are we?”
“We’re in the hospital.” She stepped closer to him and he could see her face more clearly.
“Why?” He did his best to focus on her and he could see dark circles under her eyes. Those definitely weren’t there when they were just fighting on his ship. “How long has it been?” She chewed on her bottom lip a little. He knew she didn’t want to tell him, but she had to. He pressed her, “Saria.”
She pulled up a chair, sitting next to the hospital bed from which he couldn’t seem to move. “The Kirinalli thieves you sought out, do you remember fighting with them?” He nodded, that was difficult for him to forget. Taking back the ship started out so easy. But after he killed the leader, there just didn’t seem to be any hope. He remembered getting off a couple shots before being stabbed and falling to the deck. After that was blank. Saria continued, “The Kirinalli beat you even after you went down. Until the scout ship reached us and gunned them down. You’ve been unconscious for about a week.”
“Konnor...” Dax tried to sit up, but his back screamed at him. Saria rested a hand on his shoulder, pressing him to lay back against the bed. “What happened to Konnor?”
She was quiet for a long moment and he didn’t like that. He had to know that the person he’d fallen in love with had made it out safely. He couldn’t be hurt or dead. Saria was taking too long and he was bracing himself for the bad news, but all she said was, “He and Timothy were taken home.”
Dax was actually surprised by her words. They were fine? Nothing happened? They made it home? He was certainly glad to hear it, just after her build up, he certainly didn’t expect it. “Where is he? I want to go see him.”
At that moment, a doctor walked into Dax’s line of vision. If the doctor had been there the whole time or not, he couldn’t say. He looked up at the doctor who was now blocking most of the glaring bright light. The doctor smiled down at him, “Now that will not be possible.”
Dax glared up at her, “Why not?”
She kept smiling at the prince as she had her nurse check his vital signs. When the nurse told her that he was stable and looking well, she looked down at him with a more serious expression. “That would be because you have severe internal trauma and too much movement will cause you great pain and could cause your stitches to come out before that wound to your abdomen is healed.”
He shook his head, trying to sit up again. She was right about the pain, and he felt a searing tightness in his gut that he hadn’t noticed before. Dax wanted to ignore it and go see Konnor anyway. The doctor rested her hand on his shoulder, pressing him to lay back again. Normally, no one could really stop him from doing something he set his mind on. With him being overpowered so easily, it was clear he was in no fit state to be up and walking. The doctor spoke again, tapping on the IV with tubes connected to his arm, “We also have you on heavy sedatives to keep you relaxed.”
Dax looked at the IV and the monitors that he was hooked up to. The monitors told him everything about is state, it was kind of scary to see himself summed up in the numbers that glowed on the screens. He knew that Toeaux invested heavily in the advancement of medicine, he just never thought he’d be a recipient of care. Dax shook his head again, switching his focus back to the doctor. It was about the only movement he could manage without searing pain coming from somewhere. “I don’t want to just lay here, I want to see him.”
“If you want to heal quickly and not stay in this bed for longer than you have to, then you’ll take it easy and rest here for the next few days.” The doctor’s voice was stern.
“Few days?” Dax’s jaw fell open. He thought the doctor would say rest here for the rest of the day, maybe over night, but for multiple days? It sounded like torture.
The doctor raised her eyebrow, suppressing a laugh, “I could tell your father it needs to be weeks.”
“No. Days is better than that.” He cocked his head to the side, “Has my father talked to you about my care or something?”
“King Austeareus has set up the best care for you and has asked to be kept informed.”
He dropped his gaze, shaking his head to himself. He was glad that his father did something for him, but he knew that his father didn’t care enough to be here with him in person.
A silence fell over the room. Neither the doctor nor Saria knew what to say, and Dax had nothing to say. Saria finally spoke up, she didn’t know if the timing was right, but Dax deserved to know, “Your father is going to have you go ahead with the marriage to the Prince of Seslin.”
Dax stared at her, perpetuating the silence. He wanted to scream and break things, but he could hardly move. The inability to move kept him surprisingly calm, or maybe it was the sedatives being pumped into his bloodstream. “I won’t. I would rather die than marry a stranger, especially when Konnor is still out there.”
“Daxi...” Saria reached out and rested a hand on Dax’s arm. “Don’t be rash and say anything now, just focus on getting better and maybe things will work out.”
“Yeah, because things always seem to work out so well for me,” he couldn’t resist laying on the sarcasm too thickly. He was convinced he had bad luck. Saria knew that he often had to bend to his father’s will and nothing would just work out the way he wanted, so why would she even say that. Dax shook his head again, turning his head to look away from the doctor and Saria. “If I can’t have Konnor, then I just won’t get married.”