The sounds of clattering footsteps fills the entire wing of the building. Every hand present had been incensed into a frenzy as the most pressing orders were received. Phone calls going out, operators raising notice to their superiors and emergency contacts. Together as a team, carrying all of the hope of their kingdom on their shoulders, the weight was already pressing down with grueling force.
A nurse carrying her reports passes by a maiden with violet hair while in a hurry. Plutia’s reflection stares back at her faintly from the glass before her. Her eyes staring reflected from the surface are anguished, anxious and fearful. Those lips of hers that always seem to be held high with a sultry grin have fallen low.
Her hair and clothes are well soaked and cling to her. Although she was cold and miserable, she didn’t have a solitary selfish thought in her mind. Even going so far as to have completely ignored a towel offered by a nurse, instead pleading for her to focus on the tasks at hand.
Just beyond the glass lays the source for all of the unrest upon a pure white bed. A blonde man who had been made bloody, discolored and frail. The antithesis to the vibrant person he was always known to be. As his breathing continues to falter, the roots of fear choke the hospital’s halls with more sadistic vigor. Gaining, growing, entangling the hearts of every person present.
Every drop of blood lost from his veins to stain the white surrounding him diminishes the kingdom’s light of hope.
The kingdom of Celestia is slowly bleeding out.
While she watches the desperate medics giving their greatest attempts to maintain his life, a formidable man enters into the facility with a rush to his step just as everyone else. The many attendants moving with him fan out and begin to assume control of the situation.
“Celestia is grateful for the service of each and every one of you.” Ophikka speaks with a powerful voice. “Your sacrifices and quick action as first responders will be remembered and rewarded for generations to come. That being said, you may take a rest. I have brought a specialized unit of curates and medical practitioners to relieve the most drastic situations from your hands. They will begin caring for the Celestial Knight, effective immediately. A specialized officer shall be arriving shortly. It is my decree that everyone will follow her lead and command without question.”
With his dictation spoken clearly, he approaches Plutia whose attention has broken free from Khiron for the first time since his faltering. A trace of relief is fleeting on her face which continues to be overwhelmed in despair.
“You must be well exhausted. I’m grateful for your duty in having began the chain of communication for the Celestial Knight’s and Celestial Maiden’s rescue. Please rest. Go dry yourself off and get into a change of clothes. It’s horrible enough that you’d had to experience this terrible event. Please don’t make this any worse for your heart.”
“I… I’ll be fine. I need to monitor Khiron. As per your orders.”
He gently rests his hand on her shoulder and reclaims her attention away from the gruesome scene. The pleading, heartbroken look in his eyes stabs her soul deeply enough to touch the single place she has remaining which can feel something other than terror.
“I won’t command you as your king, but I’ll ask you with my deepest heart as a friend. Please, Plutia, get comfortable and warm yourself up. It’s going to be a long night.”
To that she is rendered powerless. Such a command is higher than even that of a king’s decree to her sensitive heart. She buckles under his request and her eyes fall to the floor in resignation.
“I understand, your majesty… Ophikka… I’ll give myself a rest for now.”
Turning, she walks away and into the employee’s lounge where a concerned nurse is quick to assist her. The two close the door behind them but not before Ophikka can capture the hollow and miserable look in Plutia’s eyes one last time.
He looks to Khiron in his fallen state and is overwhelmed. His emotions run high as his chest swells with pride. Pride laced with a bittersweet tinge of sorrow. Pride for his brother’s true heart on display for all to see.
In the glass’s reflection he captures the moment a golden headed woman and a bespectacled maiden enter from the hall. The very moment they break the threshold of the wing, the golden haired woman demands to know every detail of the situation and begins to call her orders after flashing her badge for all to see.
“I am Elite Medical Attendant, Hyla. I’ve been given orders by the kingdom itself to become captain to preside over this medical emergency. You should know well that we’re dealing with a fire affinity man who happens to be a priceless treasure to this kingdom. You are all well seasoned medics so I won’t need to give any remedial lessons on how we perform a rally and partner trade off. We are to exact this tactic immediately. Anyone suited to perform mending magic with a water basis coded into fire is to be given the utmost responsibility in caring for our patient.”
Though she is firm with her words, she is still gentle and humble as she speaks. Passing by Ophikka, the two exchange a firm nod. Urania is close behind her as the duo enters into the room filled with magicians and curates. She scours papers and documents quickly while discussing matters with the next in rank.
At once usage of magic is redoubled by her signal and hands surround Khiron. The air around him glitters and shines as if a dance of fairies floats before his body. A continuous glow of light like hope while no single effort is spared in this dire mission to resuscitate their hero.
✩ ✩ ✩
Hours pass by and yet there hadn’t been a single flinch or faltering in the treatment. When a medic would tire, they would tag out for the next in line who would pick up from where they’d left off with the rest of the magicians acting as a team. More and more the fatigue begins to build until Hyla herself joins the assembly and begins to take matters into her own hands to afford her fellow practitioners a greater rest.
“I’ve done what I can with everything else. I can’t just stand by any longer. Not when he needs our help.”
Urania steps up beside Hyla and speaks to her friend a solemn resolve. Hyla smiles to her as she raises her hands above his body and begins to focus deeply at her side.
“I’d never wanted this day to come where we would both need to use the fruits of our studies together. But that’s no longer our privilege. I couldn’t ask for a greater partner than you.”
“We should alternate signatures in sequence so to continue applying any form of mending while taking a rest from the most effective but taxing coding.”
“You’re right. With how long this has continued, it’s our best bet until we can get more manpower or if can we manage to catch a second wind.” Hyla nods her head. “Every single one of us will trade off in a counter-clockwise direction.”
Despite how grim the event, how fearful every heart is, the two stay close together and hold tightly to their faith.
✩ ✩ ✩
The bluest and most innocent light of daybreak begins to welcome the new day. The hospital hda been focused on the Celestial Knight through every hour of the night without rest. Not retreating nor drawing back in defeat. Exhausted and beaten down yet soldiering on through the worst no matter the cost.
In a nearby emergency room lays one with red hair. After a fair number of hours unconscious, her wits begin to return to her in trickles while her eyes open to display their passionate red. The nurse given charge to oversee her greets her a good morning while her fellow maiden sleeps soundly in the chair next to her bed.
“Good morning, Juna. It looks like you’ve at last woken up. I was told you would be safe, but there’s always that little worry I have inside.” The nurse greets Juna with a sweet smile.
“Where am I?” The weariness of her condition is revealed through her low voice.
“You’d had an accident. But it’s okay. You’re safe now and you’d only received a minor concussion. But it seems you’d wanted to get a bit more sleep so we’d let you rest up well while taking care of you.” She explains as she brandishes a clipboard. “If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to ask you a few questions to test your memory. It’ll only take a moment.”
Still jarred and confused, she’d desperately attempted to remember even before the nurse’s questions could begin.
“Do you remember your name, dear?”
“You’d said it earlier… I’m Juna.”
“That was a little silly on my part. Then would you please let me know the date?”
“It’s… summer… June… I… I don’t know what day it is.”
“Do you at least remember the year, sweetie?”
“The year… The year…?”
She scours her memory as hard as she can, forcing herself to the point of pain and discomfort. She recoils and holds her head, frustrated at the blurred and disorganized stream of thoughts her memory has been brought to.
“June… The… carnival is coming… The… carnival…”
“You’re correct. The carnival should be coming up shortly. I suppose you have some plans for it, don’t you? Most everyone has at least something planned every year. Do you remember what you were looking to do?”
“Plans…? Plans?” The images of guardians and knights begins to flash before her eyes and a panic begins to come up from her heart. “Khiron… We were supposed to be there together as security… Khiron…”
Her breath begins to quicken and grow shallow. Tears dew her eyes while her skin grows cold and pale. Image after image returning, overwhelming her in a barrage of strikes and hits until she remembers her final memory before waking into the hospital bed. It explodes into her mind and shatters it apart.
Arms around her, embracing her. The most brief, quick sensation among everything she’d felt from the heartache tearing her to pieces from the inside to the feeling of her body running dry of its last ounce of energy.
“Khiron? Where are you…? Where’s Khiron?”
“The Celestial Knight? I… I’m not sure you’re allowed to-”
“Khiron! Tell me where he is!” Juna begins to shout out, taking a pointed tone to the benign woman.
Her rising voice manages to shake Plutia from her sleep and she shoots up in a startled jump.
“Juna? You’re awake?”
“Plutia! Where’s Khiron? Tell me right now!”
“Nevermind! I’ll find out myself! I don’t need to waste my time here!”
She leaps out of bed with a stumble but catches herself and continues charging forward despite how disoriented and confused she is. Before the two can react, she’s already out the door and into the halls of the hospital.
“Everyone, we have an escaped patient. A Celestial Maiden. Please apprehend gently and return her to her room.” The nurse is heard speaking from behind the wood of the door.
Juna carries on her way, avoiding everyone who attempts to stop her. She’s lithe and agile despite having the handicap of a bleary mind. And before anyone can gain custody of her, it’s already too late.
She finds a window overlooking a busy room filled with a host of medics. The pure panic within is chaotic. It’s obvious to tell with a single look that all control has been lost and fear closes in step by step. She recognizes a figure. Urania. She stands beside Hyla as calm as possible in the midst of the fevered rushing and last ditch efforts finding their conclusion.
But the true horror mercilessly stabs her through as she sees who it is that is being operated upon.
Plutia gains on her grabs a hold of her. Desperately hoping she hadn’t understood what she’d witnessed, she attempts to take her back to her room, but she fights hard against her. She keeps her eyes forward and refuses to let them leave him behind. Her spirit grows more fearful. She kicks and pulls herself, fighting to reach for him yet Plutia continues her attempts to gently restrain her.
All she can think to do is outstretch her hand hoping it will touch him beyond the glass barrier separating them. All she desires is to be near him.
As a single tone begins to sound, that tone drowns out all of the sounds of the hospital. It’s as if the entire earth went silent. It surely had for her. After all, she couldn’t hear the petrifying sound of her own screams.
She had witnessed the very moment the light of Celestia’s hope had been extinguished.