Part 2: Chapter 11
Prie was awaiting my arrival at the medical ward. She handed me my clothes as I shifted out of form quickly. In the circle link, I saw images of Hasten escorting Aralisa back to the school. I glanced at her in his mind. She didn’t notice him once; her face was focused on something I couldn’t see.
Desperate measures, Prie answered my unspoken question.
I glanced at her.
They shifted quickly; Asper flew them their clothes so they could bring her. Everyone else is recovering in their dorms. They’re all shaken by Aralisa’s actions. She raised her eyebrow at me and then nodded to the newcomers behind me.
I turned and parted the way for Panter who carried Mir in her animal form. She was unconscious. I followed him to the nearest bed, where he placed her on it. The healer was a Guardian. He came over to us and stared down.
“I can’t treat her in this form, she needs to shift.”
“She’s unconscious; even I can’t get into her head,” I growled angrily at him. We needed a Shaper healer. They could treat wounds and injuries in animal form.
Nola appeared behind me; I felt her presence. She came around to where the healer stood and placed her hand on his arm. “Step aside. I can get her to shift.”
I was expecting her to use the link to get Mir to change, but instead she pulled the shaft out. The healer gasped and stared angrily at her. Blood poured out of the wound. Mir twitched but she woke up slightly.
Nola glanced at me. “Use your connection, now!” she stated hurriedly at me with such authority that I complied.
Mir! I shouted across the link.
She responded faintly. I felt pain coming from her. I automatically doubled over in shock, for even my chest hurt.
You need to shift. Can you do it? I pleaded with her.
Just let me die. I deserve it, she wailed through the link.
My eyes focused in on her from where I stood hunched over. She was fading fast. Clenching my jaw, I forced myself up and pushed past the healer who was panicking at the bedside. I grabbed several gauze squares and the bottle of antiseptic. I poured the liquid over the squares quickly, not bothering to watch where it went, and slapped the squares over the wound on Mir’s chest. It only took a second or two.
Her mind and the link opened again with renewed fury. What the hell are you doing? Let me go! she wailed again. Even I could feel the pain from the antiseptic. She wanted me to pull it away. I wouldn’t.
Mir, you’re not thinking clearly. Why are you doing this to yourself?
What’s the point?
“Why won’t she shift?” Nola asked me. She was staring at Mir with worried eyes.
I sighed. “She wants to die.”
“Why?” she asked, shocked.
You tell her that I don’t have any friends anymore. Aralisa is gone. I’ve ruined any hopes of our friendship to be repaired ever again. She earned the right.
So that’s what this was about?
“You know what, Mirabella Roslynd?” I shouted her full name to her in the ward, not caring who heard it. “That’s the most ridiculous excuse ever created by you! If you don’t shift to your human body right now, then I won’t care if you live or die!” I tore the gauze away from her body.
She twitched as her eyes popped opened to stare at me.
“Keep pouting over your relationship woes, because if you die, then you truly won’t have any chance of repairing your relationship with Aralisa ever again. It will be gone, and she’ll have never known you.”
But she doesn’t know me! It’s like we never were! she screamed at me.
You’re right. But you know what? In her mind, we never were either. None of it was there! And it was you who said I should go for it, and repair that connection. It worked! What if she wants to repair that connection with you? If you die now, you will never have known if it was true. You will have never known the new Aralisa.
I leaned in close to her body. “Now shift your form! Because if you don’t, you will die.”
I straightened and she followed me with her eyes.
I shook my head at her stubbornness. “You’re too proud of what you guys used to have. You’re willing to throw it all away. I’m not.”
She didn’t shift at all. I sighed and chunked the gauze to the ground. I turned from the bed and headed for the door. Everyone watched me leave. I met Hasten in the hallway; he glanced at me with curious eyes, but Aralisa wasn’t beside him. I knew where she was; he didn’t have to tell me.
In the back of my head, across the wavering connection between Mir and me, she whispered suddenly, I hope you’re right.