Book II - Chapter 23

Chapter 23


Snake Report



Why didn’t you say something earlier? Are all Elves this stubborn?

“Apologies, Great One…”


Was it that guy in the alley? The one way back there?

Why didn’t you tell me?

“I was… foolish...”



She calls running after being stabbed, "foolish."


If she’s foolish, though, what does that make me?


That’s the tenth time I’ve cast this.



I cast the magic as soon as I realized, managed to seal up some of the edges right away. The wound is bad, but it’s not impossible


So why?


Why isn’t the wound disappearing?


Why can’t I fix it?

“No one… can heal death… Great One…”

Shush, Imra. Sit tight, I’m going to fix you.


I will.



Why won’t this close?

Using this on someone else isn’t quite the same as using it on myself, but at this point I’m just trying to stop the bleeding.



We’re falling over.

“It is… as it was… always… the same…”

Imra, stay with me. Just focus on breathing.

I’m a pro at this: you’re going to be alright.

Come on…


I’m missing something.

When casting on someone else, healing magic isn't internal any longer. I have to pass mana along into a foreign entity, which can be weird- but that’s not the problem.

I can do that.


Mana is passing along just fine.

What’s different?


I’ve done it before, back when I helped Miss Paladin. When I was with the Goblins, too: I healed plenty of injuries.

So, why won’t this work?


Is it because it shouldn’t?


Should it not be used this way?

As the logic seems to follow: serpent monsters from the dungeon normally aren’t normally familiar with bipedal fleshy things that live near or atop the surface world.

That's fair.

Most are not going to have gone to university, established an unhealthy number of life-science credits, or spent late nights watching poorly remembered surgery channels on youtube. Human experience shouldn’t normally enter the equation.

Snake monsters typically just want to eat things and avoid being eaten, themselves.


But it worked, then!

It worked for Miss Paladin and a few Goblins… do Elves need to be treated differently?

Elves aren’t humans, so I have to treat the spell a specific way? Goblins weren't humans, either...



No, if that were true, I wouldn’t have been able to fix what I already have. The tears and rips from running on a stab wound are fixed, it’s just the original part of the injury that seem to be resisting.


Is it a strength thing?

I’ll up the voltage.



My headache is getting worse by the second now, but I felt something there.


Is that it?



It won’t budge, but there’s some sort of resistance… something is in there…

I need to look deeper.

If I flood the wound with mana…

I need to really look.


There’s a blood vessel… there’s another one… big ones. Arteries- they’ve been cut.

Make’s sense.

She’s losing blood, so she’s losing consciousness. Even if I close the skin, she’s still going to bleed.

Mana is fading…

Okay, one more.


I can’t close the skin, either…

Why not?

Ssss… I’ll try something stronger.


I can see it. Blood, veins, arteries: the knife went in straight, and out jagged. The cut swerved, like a crescent. Nasty, but fixable…

Still, these… won’t seal up.

Only the ones on the farthest edges of the damage are responding. For the rest…

Backlash? Resistance?


I still can’t see it clearly.

More mana.

Spell needs to be stronger: I need to see what’s happening.



I’ve got it concentrated now, saturated more with every heartbeat in Imra’s chest. Layers upon layers of the same spell, lingering.

Earth might not want to listen to me, [Voice of Gaia] might have taken a hike, but right now: this is my domain. I can fix this.

Let’s seal the skin, work our way in.


Resistance, again.

What the hell is in there?

The blood stopped flowing out, and the skin started to come towards itself and- stopped. Like it hit a wall or something, my magic just stopped.



It’s like recoil.








My head.

God damn it all, my head…

I swear, the wound is fighting back. With that last one, I tasted… metal? Swear it was metallic.


What? Imra, don’t talk. Just try and breath.


Imra, I’m serious: don’t talk.”

“Twisted… Earth…”

Twisted earth.

She’s trying to tell me something.

Show me something…

An image of the knife?

The knife.

… Iron?

“You have done... more than... enough…”

No, I haven’t. Just hold on.

“Death… cannot…”

I can heal anything.

Don’t talk, Imra. Don’t move, I can fix this.


Again. I just smashed against resistance. It’s like a block, between me and the wound.

One more.


It’s straining. Like the wooden limbs of a bow: bending, but not breaking.


Can I beat this?

Shit, shit shit shit shit.


You bastard. Break.


It’s bending… bending…


“No one... can heal... death...”

Quiet, Imra. Hold on. Death doesn't enter into this.

I didn’t lead you here to die in an alley.

Death isn't going to take you.

No one takes from me.


I don’t care how bad the backlash is, or how bad my head hurts: I can beat one stupid cut.

Just one stupid cut.


“This is... why... we could... never... win...”

Her voice is trailing off.

Fuck it all! How do I make this work?

“Why... we… needed... a... God...”

I only have so much mana left at this point. I’ve cast too many spells, as it is.

I’m going to fix this.

Gathering my strength, reaching deep down until I feel like my scales my rattle, tearing down the mana floodgate.

We’re going all in.


I can see it.

We can see it.

I can hear it.

The wound is screaming.


Like oil on water, violent- spiteful.


It hates me.


Skin, sealing- ripping back open. Sealing, tearing back again.

I can taste it, now.





There it screams, of pain and agony: of something horrid and wrong wishing for all that upon it to be damned away to the farthest reaches of-



It’s over. The wound’s sealed. Erased for the slightest graying scar, almost silver.

No further noise.

No metallic taste.

See? What did I say? No one steals from me.

No one…

That’s a... weird thought.



Headache or not, I declare this a victory.


Ahem… I said, “I declare this a victory.”


Come on!


Where’s my [Level] up?


You’ve got to be joking. My entire body hurts from that, my head feels like it might pop, I’m practically out of mana…

That might have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Hey, [Voice of Gaia]


I know you’re watching.


Screw you, [Voice of Gaia]


Seriously: you suck.



I’m so tired.

Imra, how are you doing?

“I owe you a second life, Great One.”

She’s sitting back up, at least.

Looks shaky, but that’s good.

Was getting a little touch or go, not gonna lie, but immediate danger has been avoided.

All it cost was a boatload of mana and a horrible migraine...

“The Elders taught that, long ago, the first Gods of our people could perform miracles. Still, I never thought I would live to witness one.”

Yeah… well, uh… you’re welcome.

I’m flattered.

Tired, too.

Pretty sure people are coming.

I can hear boots, armor.


Can we move like this?


We need to move, I think…

We need…


My head hurts… so… bad…




Oh... alright.

Good idea.