The Forbidden Village

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Chapter 20

After training together all day, Val and I left the greenhouse and went to the dining hall to eat dinner. Once we entered the dining room, we saw that Sally, Avin, and King Regalis were already seated at the table. The food was set, and they had already begun eating without us.

Val took me to my usual seat next to Avin before walking around the table to take his seat next to Sally. I glanced to Avin out of the corner of my eye, but he hadn’t even glanced in my direction since I walked in the door. He looked to be sitting quite stiffly in his chair like he was uncomfortable or maybe even sore.

I wondered where he had been all day that could cause him to be like this at the end of it. It just didn’t sit well with me. I had a sneaky suspicion that I don’t think that I wanted to know the answers because I probably wouldn’t like them.

King Regalis reminded me that I only had one day left of my stay at the castle before I was supposed to leave for the healer’s campsite. I thanked him politely for the reminder although I didn’t need him telling me that. It has been in the back of my mind all day.

Everyone seemed relatively cheery at the dinner table. Seeing the king like that brought back some bad memories and I had to suppress a shudder. The only other person at the table that wasn’t remotely happy was Avin. But then again when was he ever happy or cheery about something?

I wouldn’t let his sour mood spoil my dinner, though. I talked with Sally and Val about their day, and what they were planning on doing tomorrow. Avin just sat in his chair and didn’t say a single word all dinner…how depressing.

Once I was finished eating, I excused myself from the table, suddenly exhausted. Avin, who had finished eating long before I had, followed me out of the dining hall doors and down the corridor. So now he was back to being my bodyguard? Does he think that he can just do that after leaving me alone for almost 36 hours and letting all of that stuff happen to me? I don’t believe so.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him stiffly walk just behind me, trying to keep up with me. I slowed down my pace a bit so that he could keep up with me better, but I tried not to show that I was doing it on purpose. That’s when I noticed that something was off. His footsteps sounded odd compared to mine. Was he limping?

Now I was even more interested in what he had been doing all afternoon. Once we got back to my room, I was going to find out exactly what was going on, one way or another. Even though I was still a bit mad at him, I did want to make sure that he was doing okay.

The halls were silent except for our footsteps on the marble floor, not another soul to be seen anywhere. The silence was creepy and made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I felt a huge urge to break the silence with some form of conversation, but I forced my mouth to stay closed. I needed to wait until we were alone so he couldn’t run away as quickly.

When we got to my room with the door closed, I could barely contain my questions. I had to force myself to sit down and take a deep breath. I glanced at Avin as he went to sit in the seat that was right across from me.

Avin wasn’t putting a lot of pressure on his right leg, and he was hunched over slightly. I have been severely doubting that he was just uncomfortable. I was more leaning towards that he was moderately wounded.

“Okay, what’s wrong?” I asked Avin once he was relatively seated on the chair. Avin tried to look confused, but his face scrunched up in pain when he moved his left arm. I crossed my arms over my chest and crossed legs as I waited patiently for him to tell me what was going on, even though I already knew what was going on with him. Avin just glared at me with clenched teeth.

Whether he was trying to scare me or stop himself from crying out, I couldn’t tell. Either way, I could feel the pain and anger roll off of him in waves. Whoa, was I empathetic too? I didn’t know exactly how much more of these new powers I could take before I went crazy.

I watched Avin for a moment to get my mind off of going crazy. He was trying, unsuccessfully, to get comfortable in the chair. It was painful just to watch him do that.

“Okay, okay stop!” I ordered him as I got up from my seat. I grabbed his right arm and practically dragged him all the way to the bathroom. I closed the door behind us and turned to face him. Avin was starting to tick me off. I could feel the heat prickle on my arm, and the creature in my arm became restless. I had to rub my arm to get him to settle down again.

“What happened?” I asked, but it came out a little gruffer than I had wanted it to so it sounded almost like an order. Avin remained completely silent, glaring at me from where he stood in the bathroom. I could tell that he was not happy about this situation at all.

“Don’t you dare look at me like that,” I told Avin sternly, “especially when you can’t even sit down properly. Now you can either take your shirt and pants off on your own, or I can do it for you.”

Avin stared at me for a moment, unmoving. Then he dropped his head and sighed in defeat. He slowly took off his pants, thank god he was wearing some undergarments underneath them. Although seeing him naked had kind of been an afterthought. I was more focused on whether he was severely wounded or not. I wasn’t uncomfortable with the thought of seeing him naked, enticed maybe, but mostly I was just focused on what I had to do.

Avin had some bruises on his legs. No open wounds, though, that was a good sign. He wouldn’t put pressure on his right leg still, though. I knelt down in front of Avin and carefully felt around his right leg for any abnormalities.

I didn’t feel anything wrong with his thigh, just a lot of hard muscle. I lost my focus for a split second and blushed. I managed to quickly regain my composure when I found what I was looking for on Avin’s shin. Avin gasped in pain when I touched the spot on his leg where the bone was pressing against his skin. His leg was broken. Well, this was going to be a real pain in the ass to fix.

“You might want to sit down for this part, or at the very least lean up against something for support,” I commented looking up at Avin from my kneeling position. “I just can’t have you moving around too much while I deal with the situation with your leg.”

I watched and waited as Avin looked around for something to use for support because there wasn’t any place to sit down. I was really surprised that he was being so complacent with what I was asking him to do.

Avin moved to the sink and braced himself on the counter edges. I shuffled over to Avin, checked with him to make sure that he was ready, and then pressed down on his shin in the spot where the bone was poking against his skin while using my fire powers combined with my healing abilities.

I tried to make it as quick and as painless as I possibly could. It only took me about 10 seconds for me to completely heal the fracture in his shin. But Avin still tensed up, and I’m pretty sure that he was biting his lip or something because his voice sounded muffled when a pained noise escaped his lips.

“There we go, all done,” I told him as I stood up to face him. “Does it feel a bit better?”

I watched as Avin hesitantly put pressure on to the leg that I had just finished healing. He still winced, but at least he could more or less walk on it now. I was happy that it had worked out so well.

“Still a bit sore but better, much better,” Avin replied as he slowly applied more pressure to his leg until he could put his entire foot flat on the ground.

“Okay, now wiggle your toes,” I told Avin as I looked down at his feet. I’m pretty sure that he gave me a funny look, but he complied anyway and wiggled his toes. I nodded absently as I watched his toes. They all moved just fine, which I took as a good sign. I straightened up to look Avin in the face, for what I was about to ask next.

“Okay you can put your pants back on but I’m going to need you to take your shirt off now,” I told Avin and took a step back to give him some space so that he could take the shirt off. Avin pulled back on his pants without much hesitation, but he was very hesitant in attempting to take his shirt off.

Avin tried to pull the shirt up and over his hand, but he seemed to be struggling with it and getting frustrated when he couldn’t get it off. I sighed quietly and tried to help him get the shirt off. Sometimes I hated it when I was right.

“Alright, now hold still…stop squirming!” I huffed lightly as I gently tugged on his shirt until it came off. Just as I had thought, there was much more damage on his chest and back. This was bad. It looked like he had had someone try to patch him up at one point. But whoever it was, did a horrible job of it. The stitches were a mess, there weren’t any bandages, and I’m pretty sure that the wounds weren’t cleaned properly.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I exclaimed exasperated. “Who the hell is responsible for this…this embarrassment?!”

Healing was one of the things that I was passionate about. When someone claims to be a healer and passes of their shitty work as something good. It just gets to me a bit more than anything else. It’s completely just really irresponsible.

“By the head healer,” Avin replied carefully as he watched me. Was he serious? “She’s the best of the best that we have here.”

I laughed darkly at his response. What kind of healer would make such rookie mistakes and not bother to fix them or at the very least ask for help from other healers? A healer with tiny amount of experience to no experience at all, or someone with a lot of pride and ego that’s who.

Someone who doesn’t like to admit when they have screwed up, and most likely doesn’t like using teamwork to their advantage. Who better than the head honcho to have these issues and then hide behind their ego? Saying that what she did is good and that no one else can do any better. I bet that she even likes to keep all of her healers under her thumb. That just makes me feel sick as a healer.

Well, that’s just great, and I’m going to have to work with her too. I’m sure not going to listen to her then. No way. If this is the way, she heals the Royals than I don’t want to know how she treats ordinary everyday people with no blue blood in their veins.

“Well if this was the best that she could do then she needs to go back to training,” I replied feeling mildly frustrated. My arm was tingling again, and I was trying to keep myself from burning Avin. “I’m going to have to start from scratch just to get your wounds to heal properly. I mean she didn’t even clean out your wounds to help ward off infection. Her work is lazy and sloppy at best.”

I bit my tongue to stop myself there because I realized that I was ranting. Seriously, though, she needed to be taught a lesson. This kind of stuff was just not acceptable. I wonder if I could challenge her for the position.

I froze. Where did that thought come from? I resumed my work, but my mind was all over the place. I liked that idea, but was it even possible? Could I challenge her for the position of head healer? If I could do that and win, then that might work out in my favor.

“Do you want to sit down while I take the stitches out?” I asked, feeling a little calmer now that I had a plan of what I was going to do.

It looked like Avin might’ve been debating whether or not to allow me to work on him. The reason why I say that, was because he was giving me a funny look that looked like he was about to protest. Although frankly I wasn’t giving him much of an option.

I waited for him to make up his mind with my arms crossed over my chest. After a minute or two Avin lowered himself onto the ground in a seated position, with his back straight, in front of me.

I walked around to Avin’s back and knelt down. I carefully started to undo his stitches that were on his back. I stood back up once I had one group of stitches out and grabbed a cloth from beside the bath tub. I ran some water from the tub over the cloth and then knelt back down behind Avin.

I went over each of Avin’s wounds with the wet cloth. He hissed, panted and grunted but managed to keep his back straight so that I could work. I tried my best to clean them all out as quickly as I could without causing him a lot of pain.

Once I was finished with cleaning out his back wounds, I was able to heal most of them right then. But there were a couple that needed to be re-stitched because they were so deep. The stitches would only leave minimal scars so it wouldn’t be that bad.

When I finished with his back, I scooted around to the front of him and started to get to work. It was a bit easier because there weren’t as many wounds to deal with. The only problem was that the few wounds that he had were very long.

I carefully removed the stitches in the first wound and began to heal it. This injury went from Avin’s shoulder on his right side down to the middle of his abdomen. But the wound wasn’t deep, so it was a rather easy fix.

However, the other one was a bit deeper and in a somewhat more complicated of an area. The wound came from his left shoulder, across his chest, cutting through both bone and muscle. It came to a stop a few inches underneath his armpit. This was going to be a bit of a complicated fix.

I focused all of my healing power into my pointer finger on my left hand and tried my best to heal the areas with the most damage. Even with all the effort that I put into healing it, I still needed to stitch up a smaller parts of the wounds.

Now I just needed to find some bandages to wrap up all of the wounds into even better prevent infection. I looked around the bathroom for something that I could use. I checked the cabinets and didn’t find anything.

I checked under the sink, and at the very back behind some very weird pipes I saw some bandage wraps. Avin had stood up to help me look and was now standing in the middle of the bathroom. I stood back up and showed him that I had found some.

“Can you hold your arms up?” I asked him as I started to unwrap the bandages. I noticed that he could lift his right arm up all the way. His left arm, on the other hand, could only go half way up. Oh crap, I almost forgot about the trouble with his left arm.

I put the wraps down on the counter before asking Avin to lower his arms. I poked around on his right arm, and nothing seemed to hurt. I poked around on his left arm and got the same result. However, when I poked him in the shoulder on the left arm, I swear his teeth snapped together so hard that they made a sound. I was afraid that he might’ve hurt himself more.

It appeared to be a dislocated shoulder, or at least that was the first thing to come to mind. But how could I be sure of my prediction? Hmm…he couldn’t move his arm much, painful to touch the shoulder area and slight bruising around the shoulder joint. I don’t think that I was missing anything.

Avin wasn’t going to like what I was about to do, and frankly, I don’t like doing it in the first place. If I had another option, I would’ve done that instead, but there wasn’t another one.

I grabbed the bandages off of the counter and wrapped Avin’s wounds before even attempting to fix his shoulder. I wanted to keep the stitches as still as I possibly could while I, uh, ‘resituated’ his arm. In other words, I pulled on his arm until it popped back into place. It’s an ugly way to describe it, but in medical terms, it’s almost impossible to understand. Plus, I didn’t know what the medical terminology was off by hand.

I told Avin what I was planning on doing and, judging by the look he gave me, he was none too happy about it.

“If there were anything else that I could do then I would’ve already suggested it,” I told Avin, exasperated. I didn’t mean to snap or be rude, but exhaustion was starting to creep up on me. When I become tired, I can become very irritable and quick to snap at people. “Now just hold still. I’ll try to make it as swift and painless as I possibly can. Do you think that you could sit down? It might make things a bit easier.”

Avin looked around the room, sighed and then plopped onto the ground in front of me. I grabbed hold of his left arm, brought it up as high as it would go and then looked to Avin for confirmation. He gave a quick jerky nod and then looked towards the wall on the other side of the room.

I readjusted my grip and pulled back on Avin’s arm. As soon as I felt the pop, I let go of his arm and stepped back to give him some space. That was still really gross to do.

“Are you okay?” I asked concerned. Avin nodded as he rotated his arm, but he wouldn’t look at me. So I tried again thinking that maybe he hadn’t heard me the first time. “Do you feel better now?”

Avin stopped rotating his shoulder and turned to look at me, curiously. He nodded slowly and then stood up. He began stretching out his body with his back to me. As he was stretching something on his neck caught my eye. It was a tattoo that I immediately recognized as one from the books that I had read in the library.

I tried to keep the surprise and fear off of my face as Avin turned back around to face me, but my heart wouldn’t settle down. He was the king’s right-hand man, his personal weapon.

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