We arrived outside a hospital as I clung onto Tristan with my good arm. The wound on my waist was still throbbing but at least the poison was out.
In the emergency room, Tristan found the nearest nurse in a pale blue uniform with a badge pinned above her breast and asked if anyone could attend to me. I showed her my wound and she shuffled off quickly and methodically.
“Sit her down here,” the nurse said as she returned, leading us to an empty bed.
Tristan sat me down and waited by my side. He watched impatiently as the nurse bustled about to look for an available doctor. I had just noticed that his red coat was coated in white dust and scars on his face. His fingers, which were wrapped around mine, were heavily scratched and bruised.
“What happened to you?” I was able to gather enough energy to speak.
His ruby eyes flickered to me, slightly startled out of his thoughts. “We were attacked at Wynona’s.”
“Are you okay? What about the others? Your parents?”
A brief silence. Before he could answer, Wynona and a baby-faced doctor with a stethoscope around her neck interrupted. Wynona’s violet eyes were round and wide.
“Heidi! Good grief—“
“I’m okay, I just need to patch this up.”
She threw her hand to her mouth when she saw my wound.
“That does not look okay. What happened?”
“Let the doctor fix her,” Tristan cut in and tugged at her hand.
Wynona’s eyes shifted to the doctor who laid her medical instruments onto a metal tray and began her work. Tristan pulled her away.
“We’ll be back, Heidi,” he said and the two Sages disappeared down the hall, out of the emergency room. In a room full of white coats and pale blue uniforms, they stood out so conspicuously in red and purple.
“You’re Heidi Danielson, right?” The doctor asked, sewing my skin back together.
“You know me?”
“I’m the on-call doctor for the Lucky Orphans. I know Mrs Tabitha and the girls very well. They talk about you a lot.”
“Did she tell you what a failure I am? I haven’t been able to protect anyone without injuring myself so badly.” I tried to muse.
Her grey eyes bore on me, no trace of amusement on her face. “Mrs Tabitha and the girls think highly of you, Miss Heidi.”
“Well, I would’ve been dead if it wasn’t for the Sages saving my butt every time.”
“If it’s any consolation, Miss Heidi, you’re a hero to some of us who believe in you.”
I nodded. “Thank you, doctor.”
After she finished, she handed me some prescription painkillers.
“Now, this isn’t necessary but do you need a triangular bandage for your arm? If you lift it, it’s going to hurt the wound—“
“No bandage, thanks,” I interjected. She nodded and let me off afterwards. I was about to ask her where the two Sages went but she had already moved on to another patient with a broken leg.
I tried to recall the direction they headed off to. I scanned the emergency room with all the nurses and doctors bustling about, a child screaming from across the room, holding out a swollen wrist. His red-faced father shook a fist at a calm nurse who was examining the injury. An old man in the bed next to them nagged at another nurse and a young doctor who stood by to talk him down from yelling. Standing at the corridor that led into an x-ray room, a lady in a long cotton frock stood, unmoving and eyeing me.
I tilted my head. She turned away from the frenzy scene of the emergency room and walked down the corridor. Something told me to follow her.
The corridor was silent. The noise was behind us. She glided all the way to the end of the corridor, past darkened offices with their lights off and—
—right through the wall.
I halted in my tracks. I turned to see if there was anyone around me but I was alone. To my right where the windows of the offices were, a bluish object caught my eyes. I pressed my palms against the window and saw a man on the floor bleeding into his pale blue nurse uniform.
“Hey, there you are,” Wynona called from the emergency room-end of the corridor. Then her face turned wary. “What are you doing here?”
“There’s someone in the…”
The body on the floor was gone. Just like that.
Wynona glanced at where I was staring at and shook her head. “I think the painkillers are getting to your head.”
She took my hand and towed me out of the corridor and we passed through the emergency room. A sudden surge of an energetic crowd burst through the double swing doors, ambulances lined up outside at the drop-off and flashing their red and blue lights. A team of doctors, nurses and EMTs was pushing a man on a stretcher, half-running into one of the rooms. As they passed us, the strong stench of burnt flesh filled the emergency room. Another team of medical professionals pushed another stretcher but with a woman on it. Half her face was burnt off.
“Bring the Commissioner’s wife into Room B, please!” A doctor ordered, his voice floated above the indistinct, excited chatters. He grabbed a clipboard and rushed into said room with the others.
“The Commissioner?” I asked, turning to Wynona whose eyes were still glued to the commotion in the rooms.
She got a hold of one of the nurses nearby, “Who is that?”
The nurse, a short middle-aged lady with a pair of spectacles as her necklace, offered a professional smile and shook her head. “Not sure. But you ladies best hurry on about your lives. Try not to linger here.”
Wynona stood her ground. “I am a Sage and there is danger out there. Tell me who that is, Miss…Alice.”
Alice, the nurse, sighed through her nose. “Commissioner Clarke, head of the PN-16 department. There was an explosion in his home. Now please, Sage, you need to leave.”
The nurse returned to her work, attending to a child who had gum badly entangled in her long brown hair. I turned to Wynona.
“That could be Necromancer and her cultists.”
“We’ll deal with that soon. Let’s head over to Tristan, see if his mother is okay,” she said.
“Mrs Embers is here? What happened?”
We left the emergency room. In the distance behind us, more chaos arose as the doors swung open with more casualties.
“Renee escaped the Underworld somehow and showed up at my mansion. Then she blew it up,” Wynona explained as we waited for the lift.
We headed up to the fifth storey; the surgical floor. I let her lead me past different wards and the nurse’s station.
“Well, I met the Necromancer,” I said. Wynona whirled on her heels to look at me, her eyes darting back and forth.
“Did you get a good look?”
“Up-close and personal. She doesn’t like me very much.”
The floor was quieter on Surgery level. The smell of hand sanitisers and medication wafted through the air. The noises were muffled with the clacking of the heels of the doctors’ and nurses’ shoes, as well as the occasional beeping of the machines.
“We’ll have a debrief later,” Wynona replied.
We finally arrived at a ward not too far from the nurse’s station. Mrs Embers was lying in bed with her shut and an oxygen mask over her nose and thin lips. Tristan’s back was facing the door, towering over his mother. All I saw was the dark brown locks of his hair and the back of his red coat. At the foot of the bed, a young female doctor and the other was an older male.
“How is she?” I asked and all three turned to me.
Tristan’s ruby eyes bore on me, his jaws and eyebrows immediately relaxed. “She’ll be in a coma for now. How’s your wound?”
“All stitched up and pretty.”
“We’ll leave you alone with her,” the older doctor said and glanced at Tristan and Wynona. “I’ll take my leave now.”
I walked towards the bed and saw Mrs Embers’ pale face with dark rims around her eyes. I had never seen her so frail that way.
“She lost a lot of blood but she pushed through during surgery,” the female doctor said from the corner. She was clutching onto a clipboard.
Tristan remained silent. I turned to her, “Thank you, Doctor…”
“Nicole. I was there during the brunch when it happened.”
I raised my eyebrows. “Oh, are you the baroness?”
“No,” she smiled sheepishly, “I am her daughter.”
I caught Tristan throw a side glance for a millisecond without turning his head.
“Well, glad you guys are okay. Where are the rest, then?”
Silence. Wynona and Dr. Nicole glanced at each other before waiting for Tristan to speak. He did not lift his gaze from his mother. His body tensed.
“Missing,” the doctor said, clearing her throat.
“From the explosion?”
Wynona asked, “Did the Necromancer say anything when she attacked you?”
Tristan’s eyebrows furrowed at the name. He tilted his head at me.
“She gave me the poison,” I shrugged as I said to him. “I thought you’d have guessed it.”
Wynona’s eyes flickered between him and me. Then she added, “We’ll need to figure out a plan. We need to know her next move.”
I pinched the top of my nose bridge between my eyes with my thumb and index finger. My head was throbbing.
“If I remembered correctly, the Necromancer mentioned something about wanting my dark energy and that she’s going to get it from Lord Voltaire first.”
“She didn’t take it from you?” Tristan asked, breaking his silence. “Why would she pick Lord Voltaire first when you were right there? Wouldn’t it be harder to get it from him?”
I thought about me using the dark energy to fight back and I knew I couldn’t answer him.
So instead, I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know, but that’s what she told me.”
“She has a plan, we just don’t know what it is,” Wynona said as she pulled out her wand. “I’m going back to the Academy to make sure everything is okay. The Necromancer and her cultists could be heading there next.