My heart pounded in my chest as Lucia and I entered the room. My mom laid on the nearby bed. Her peaceful breathing was the only noise. Dad and Charly both stood perfectly still at her side as if they were they afraid the slightest movement might somehow hinder Lucia.
“So, this is your family, huh?” Lucia remarked as she scrutinized the three of them. Her expression screamed curiosity and interest as she leaned close to Charly. “They are surprisingly normal looking. With your penchant for the dramatic, I was expecting at least one of them to be a giant beast or some ancient legend made real.”
“The dragon and the demigod are in the other room. They are not family, though,” I replied with a grin.
Lucia scrutinized me as she tried to figure out whether I was joking or not. “I look forward to meeting them after we finish here, then.”
Lucia stepped up to the bed where Mom slept. I held my breath as she peeled back the bandages to inspect the injuries. I grimaced at the sight of burnt flesh and exposed bone. Turning away, I couldn’t bear to look at it.
Lucia whistled at the sight. “What a tough woman. I don’t know how she is even still alive… These clean lines at the edges of the burns, did Sebastion do this.”
I shook my head. “Not directly. He built several dozen splinter cannons that got stolen by the Demons. She got hit directly by one of them.”
Lucia frowned. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking, but I knew it would not be pleasant for Sebastion later. While deep in thought, she placed her hand on the burned flesh of Mom’s flesh. “What type of healing has she been receiving so far? There is a lot of residual energy in her body, more than there should be.”
“Is… is that a problem?” Charly asked nervously.
“Not necessarily,” Lucia replied with pursed lips, “It does make healing her a little harder, though. If I simply injected my talent into her as she is now, the two powers interacting would probably kill her… rather explosively. Even normal methods used to avoid adverse reactions would still leave lingering issues. To avoid that, I first need to draw the excess energy out of her. It is a bit of a tedious process, but if I could get whoever used the talent on her before to help, it should be done quickly.”
Charly cleared his throat. “I’m the one that has been healing her, but it wasn’t with a talent.”
Lucia raised an eyebrow. Her tone was low as she scrutinized Charly. “Show me what you did.”
Charly swallowed nervously under the sudden pressure of Lucia’s gaze. There was none of the frivolous attitude she had shown since her resurrection. With his legs shaking, Charly approached Mom’s bedside. Picking up a bottle of ink and a brush from the bedside table, he glanced at Lucia and then focused on Mom.
The ink dripped onto her skin as he began to draw. Licia’s eyes widened at the sight of complicated patterns being drawn. “You are actually using glyphs to heal? How?”
Charly’s nervousness vanished as he focused on the minute movements of the brush. “Healing might be the wrong word for what I do. I learned early on that I can’t use glyphs to directly stitch up wounds like those with innate talents can, but I have read lots of books on the human body and how it functions. With my glyphs, I assist the body’s natural healing and accelerate it.”
The glyphs on Mom’s body began to glow. I could feel the energy in the room being pulled towards her as they activated. Lucia watched the phenomenon intently. She did not speak a single word until several minutes later, when the ink finally began to fade and sizzle away.
“I see. That is a very clever application of energy. It supercharges the body’s cells, allowing for rapid growth and propagation. If this was used on someone with a self-healing talent, it could create some really miraculous effects. On normal people, though, it can’t do much against injuries of this severity.” Charly lowered his head dejectedly, but Lucia patted his back with a smile. “Don’t be upset, though. Your glyph is undoubtedly the only reason your mom is still alive. No normal healing talent would have been able to keep her breathing through injuries like this. She would have died long ago if anyone else was tending to her.”
“Can you save her?” Charly pleaded. A tear formed in the corner of his eye.
“Who do you think you are talking to? Of course I can! I am the best healer you will ever meet.” Lucia said, loudly thumping her chest, “Let alone your mom’s little injuries, I have brought countless people back from the jaws of death. I even once reattached a severed head. Admittedly, the guy was a little dimwitted after that, but he was alive! The only real question is how long it will take. Assuming you could do that same glyph you just used in reverse, drawing the excess energy out of her body, I can have her healed in seconds. If not, it will take a couple of days while I isolate individual parts of her body, removing the energy before injecting my own.”
Charly’s face lit up excitedly as he ran towards the door. “I can do that! I accidentally did it to a bird once while creating the glyph. Just give me a minute to grab my notes.”
“That poor bird must have died a horrible death,” Lucia mumbled to herself before turning to me, “Do you think there is time to eat before he gets back.”
“I doubt it. His room is right down the hall.” A small flame ignited in my hand as I spoke. After a couple of seconds, it began to turn a bright golden color. “Eat this. It seems to help with the hunger after rebirth.”
Lucia scrunched up her nose at my words. “You make them eat your flames. Why would you do that?”
“Because they all asked for it,” I replied with a shrug.
“Well, it does look strangely… appetizing.” Before she could say another word, Lucia snatched the flame from my hand and shoved it into her mouth like a hungry beast. There was a brief pause. Lucia’s cheeks turned a bright pink. “Why did I just do that?”
“Instinct?” I replied, “Your body is starved of energy after being reborn. It should fade in a week or two.”
Charly burst back into the room with a book in his hand. He quickly started flipping through the pages, exclaiming loudly when he found the one he was looking for. “Here it is! When I was experimenting with variations of my glyph, this one sucked out all the energy in the body. My only worry is that the bird I tried it on shriveled up and died. I am not sure how to limit the glyph to only take out the energy we need.”
“You don’t need to worry about that. My power will replace any energy lost. Just draw the glyph, and I will handle the rest.”
Charly hesitated for a second, looking to me for approval. I gave him a nod. I trusted Lucia’s ability and skill without doubt. Even among the entire Thirteen Divisions, there were only a few that could match her talent. Even if something went wrong with Charly’s glyph, I knew she was capable enough to fix it.
Seeing my tacit agreement, Charly took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He walked to her bedside and once again picked up the brush. “Mom, hold strong just a little longer. We will have you fixed up soon.” Mom was still unconscious as he held her hand, but as if by reflex, she smiled softly in return.
Charly’s brush glided across Mom’s skin. I could not remember the last time I saw Charly as focused as he was now. His eyesight was laser-focused on his brush. He only looked up from his work to check the book for reference.
I knew what he was worried about. I had learned enough about glyphs in the past months that I knew what he was doing was dangerous. This was not a glyph Charly was familiar with, like the healing one. A single mistake in the thousands of curving and intersecting lines and he would hurt Mom even more than she already was. With the glyph drawn directly onto her skin, any mistake could even be deadly.
Sweat dripped down Charly’s forehead as he worked. Nobody dared interrupt him. It took nearly thirty minutes before his brush stopped moving. Only then did he collapse onto his butt, letting out a long-held breath.
Dad looked over Charly’s work for an extra five minutes before giving the go-ahead. I could see the worry and fear in his eyes, but he never objected. He simply held Mom’s hand, waiting for the moment she would wake up.
“If you are ready, then let’s begin,” Lucia said as she moved to place her hand on Mom's head. Her eyes glowed with a pure blue flame.
Charly nodded. Taking one last breath, he activated the glyph. There was a moment of pause as light filled the room. The air began to swirl as energy began to leak from Mom’s body. At first, it was barely noticeable, but with each passing second, it grew thicker and thicker.
Like a dam corroding away, energy increasingly flooded the room until the first bolt of lightning arced into a nearby candlestick sitting on the bedside table. The entire table exploded in a shower of splinters. There was barely time to blink before two more bolts of lighting erupted out of Mom’s body. The first sizzled harmlessly into the floor, but the second flew up Dad’s arm. He didn’t even have time to react before getting thrown across the room by the force of the blow.
“Contain the lightning!” Lucia shouted in my direction.
I moved quickly. Arcs of electricity were already flying in every direction. My domain expanded outwards, barely stopping one of the bolts from landing on Charly’s head. My eyes narrowed. I condense my domain in a bubble around my mom, stopping the lighting from hitting anyone else. I then created only a single hole that led directly into the ground.
Lightning flowed like a river of blinding light, but it dissipated harmlessly into the stone floors of Dragon’s Nest. I heard a slew of angry curses that would make a sailor blush echo through the hallway outside, but I ignored Mare’s complaints and focused on maintaining my domain.
Since when did mom have so much energy? I marveled. Even with all my regained power, I barely maintained the shell around her body. It felt like holding back an erupting volcano. I doubted even Sebastion or Svend would have been able to stop a torrent of energy like this, and this was just Mom unconsciously lashing out. How powerful would this lighting be if she was actually able to direct it properly?
Lucia shot a glare in my direction. “You didn’t tell me she had the energy nearing a division ace!”
“She didn’t before she was injured,” I replied through gritted teeth, “Just focus on healing her. I will hold the power back.”
I grunted as the barrage of lightning exploded in every direction. Cracks started to appear across the shell I created encasing Mom. Right when I thought I might not be able to hold out any longer, Lucia finally acted. Blue fire ignited between her fingertips as she placed her hands on Mom’s head.
The glyph on Mom’s chest burned away in dazzling light. Fire spread from her head to the tip of her toes, but despite the heat that radiated through the room, Mom’s flesh did not burn. Instead, it began to grow. Scabs and scars flaked away as the wounds began to close. In seconds, new skin formed around her muscles, as pristine as a newborn baby.
Mom’s eyes fluttered open as she felt a soothing comfort she had not known since her being injured.