Chapter 59: Return
While Nisha was still roaming the avenues of the city searching for the tea shop, Thana Los was in the room tidying up a bit for their tea party before leaving her Hall.
Her destination was the [Hall of Light]. The incident at the guild that she was told about by her small visitor greatly interested her, to the point that she left her refuge for the first time in a few moons.
The corridors snaking through the temple’s living quarters not only allowed the priesthood of the respective hall’s to stay at their place of work, they also connected the different halls with each other, a fact Thana came to appreciate as she didn’t appear as much in public anymore.
Now, no one batted an eye at her when she approached Roland, one of her colleagues, or even recognized her.
At least she thought no one did, her sight wasn’t that good anymore and she had trouble recognizing things further away. There were no surprised shouts or murmured conversations though apart from the already busy hub of activity around two stretchers positioned in front of the altar.
The elven elder blinked for a second. Nisha only told her of a single stretcher.
Approaching the one in charge of this mess, Thana cleared her throat.
“A good day, High Priest Roland. Do you perhaps need some help?”
Turning around, the wizened human first looked annoyed, but then showed relief when he recognized her.
“Of course, Lady Thana, maybe your knowledge can help solve this. Take a look at them.”
His students were very surprised when he addressed someone as Lady. Despite his standing as High Priest, he immediately made way for Thana, giving her a free view of the two from Nisha’s story.
A lanky youth and a burly giant human rested in front of the altar. The former was knocked out while the latter trashed around in pain, clutching his hand.
Examining both of them with her eyes as well as her mana, Thana quickly got a hold of their respective conditions.
The youth had his throat healed, with an angry red scar remaining from the injury that had been there before. From the young elven girl’s account, she knew what happened in the [Training Hall], yet she still couldn’t help sucking in a breath of cold air. The dagger had almost ripped out half of his throat.
Despite that, he was actually feeling better than his big companion, as the real issue laid with him.
Three priests had to hold him down to prevent him from going on a rampage, and his mouth was sealed by a piece of wood they gave him to bite down on. The priests were constantly channeling their healing energy into the warrior’s body, which was the only thing that kept it from shutting down, although they didn’t know it.
His innards started to turn black in the perception of her probing mana sense.
The most suspicious thing was his left hand, where two black fingers had been reattached.
“Roland, who fixed his hand?”
Without turning around, she added her own healing powers to the mix, supporting the effort of the three priests.
The high priest called someone over and stepped beside her.
“Miranda here did.
Miranda, feel free to tell Lady Thana what happened earlier.”
“Of course, High Priest. As you see, Lady Thana, I was on standby earlier when word came that two injured men from the guild arrived. This is the first time I was allowed to do a healing by myself, so I hurried outside from the living quarters to find these two. One was on a stretcher while the other carried two of his fingers, cursing the whole time and pressing a hand on his injured left.
I didn’t have much time to ask questions as the throat injury was immensely serious.
Asking for help from Evan, we proceeded to close his wound together.
Once most of the work was done, I handled the second patient. Inspecting his fingers, which had already turned black, I couldn’t find any issues and reattached them, calling on the God to lend me his power.
The healing went without issue, with everything mending properly, but as soon as he wanted to thank me his complexion went pale and he collapsed to the ground.
Fearing other injuries, I kneeled down and tried to help him, when he started to thrash around.
I needed to ask more brothers for help to prevent the patient from hurting himself and had to go treat a minor injury myself.
All in all, I don’t know what went wrong.”
Towards the end, the female voice carried both embarrassment and shame, the failure weighing heavily on her mind.
The blackened fingers in the report made Thana suspicious, sending more of her mana towards the fixed limbs to inspect them. All things considered, the first healing of the new priestess seemed to be done properly, but sadly she did not have the experience to get wary when seeing the blackened limbs, nor had she heard the story from Nisha directly.
“Roland, can you send Miranda to fetch some things from the storage? I need some [Sunflower Seeds] and [Blessed Water].”
Listening to the conversation, the High Priest hesitated for a second, however he ultimately still agreed.
“Sister Miranda, please do as Lady Thana requested.”
Waiting for a second after the girl disappeared, he questioned the old elf.
“Why did you need to send her away? What’s the problem here?”
Circulating her mana through the pained body a last time, Thana had to withdraw herself before getting corrupted by his blood.
“Have you ever heard of the [White Sandback Spider]?”
The change in topic seemed random, but Roland knew better. The elder always had a goal in mind when asking questions.
“Of course. I think we even had a case a few turns ago. A famous spider known for its poison, mostly used by assassins. Living in the desert, the small insect is toxic enough to deter even large predators from bothering it. Anyone affected by its toxin will slowly deteriorate on the inside. At first the symptoms are attributed to stomach pain and when discovered, it’s usually too late to save the victim.
Why? Are you saying this man got assassinated?”
As expected of [Soleil]’s first servant, Roland remembered most poisons that he might come into contact with as a healer in the political capital of the kingdom.
“Impressive. Nonetheless, this is not the work of the [White Sandback Poison], I was just reminded of it by his condition.
I’m afraid Miranda will soon have to be transferred to my hall. Her treatment killed this man.”
Letting the shock settle in for a second, she continued.
“The darkened limbs were a hint, I just confirmed it with my examination.
An assassination with [White Sandback Poison] takes weeks to finish, this time though the poison is far more potent. Fingers should not turn black just from being severed for a candle, so my guess is that the toxin was concentrated in his fingers.
When Miranda treated him, all of the venom stored inside flooded his body, affecting him.”
“Can you save him?”
“No, the only thing keeping him alive is the healing he receives from your priests. He’s rotting away on the inside, even faster than he recuperates. My suggestion would be to keep healing him and wait for the body to cleanse the poison, albeit it’s probably useless.
I already tried dispelling the venom, to no avail, it’s stronger than anything I know.
It might be more humane to let him pass away now, otherwise his plight will only increase as his body keeps failing and rotting.”
Roland still had hope when Thana identified the illness plaguing the patient. That made hearing that he was ultimately doomed hit much harder.
“I see. And I agree, it might be the best to keep it from Miranda. I will reassign her to you today.
Arnold! I need you to go and tell Miranda in the storage that Lady Thana is impressed with her work and wants to personally tutor her. She’s in the storage, go and tell her.
I assume you have no issue with this?”
Trying to soften the blow on his subordinate, this was the Roland she knew. Although she didn’t particularly like it.
“Yes, I will make sure she gets the experience she needs. I won’t always be that soft, though.”
Lost in thought about getting a new student, Thana didn’t notice the dark expression on Roland’s face.
“Something more vicious than [White Sandback Poison]… Can’t say I’m not worried.”
Laughing about the dissonance between Nisha’s cute appearance and the monster in the priest’s head, the elven elder reassured him.
“Whatever creature that poison came from, I think you won’t have to worry about more cases. It should be fairly rare, even more so than the spider. Just keep an eye out for black limbs and call me right away if you get more cases.
Still chuckling on the way back to her room, Thana thought about whether or not she should tell Nisha about her gift.
In the late afternoon, Nisha left the [Temple of the Seven Stars]. Talking to Miss Thana was a really nice experience, as she was now sure that the events at the guild might not have been wrong, and defending herself and her friend certainly was good.
Discussing her experience over a hot can of tea also helped her relax the tension she didn’t even know she was still holding after fighting a life and death battle.
Miss Thana also wanted to see her dagger at one point, and Nisha had no reason to not show it to her, but the older woman only praised the craftsmanship of the weapon.
Towards the end, they also talked about Nisha going back to the guild and talking to her friend Aubrey, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to do that yet.
All in all, the dragon enjoyed the day’s activities, even if not everything went according to plan.
She was still angry about getting pickpocketed though. During her walk towards the guild building, the elven girl kept an eye open to find the woman that stole her purse, but in a city that was bustling full of life, it was akin to trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Approaching the Guild slowly, the dragon went through the conversation with the older elf again. Ever since Annabelle and Lydia started training to be merchants, they did not have as much time as before to catch up with their little sister. Talking to someone about her problems greatly relieved Nisha.
Situating herself near a food stall in front of the Guild, she grimaced, recalling the advice Thana gave her.
I do need to train my powers. But the skill library is out of the question, at least until I know what the Guild plans to do after the fight today.
And school only starts in half a turn. Finding someone to teach me is going to be hard, too.
Nisha pulled down the hood of her cloak, just enough to let her keep an eye on the entrances leading into the Guild and waited. Simply waited.
Only when the sun started to set and the masses of people entering and exiting the building had dwindled massively did she catch sight of the figure she looked for.
Great, no one apprehended Aubrey. She does look a bit shaken, however that’s to be expected, I guess.
Truthfully, Nisha originally wanted to enter the building to look for her friend and face the Guild, taking whatever punishment they deemed necessary for injuring two adventurers in the [Training Hall]. Thana also had advised her to take this way – yet when she was in front of the building and thought about possibly losing her access to the guild. Also being faced with Aubrey’s possible disappointment, or worse, resentment… she simply couldn’t bring it over herself to actually enter.
Satisfied with having assured at least the counter girl’s well being, the dragon waited for her to pass by the stall, making sure to keep looking down, her hood obscuring her appearance.
Afterwards, she threw a last glance at the sturdy building before heading home.
The way back passed without an issue, and even the captain guarding the gate towards the noble district didn’t give her a second glance, only opening the man portal for her, since the large gates were already closed when the sun set.
Slipping over the wall around the Dharnas estate, the little dragon hoped to quickly arrive in her own room, as waiting for the counter girl had sapped away her willpower. If it was necessary, she’d have stayed all night on the plaza to wait for her, but now Nisha only wanted to fall in her bed and sleep.
Tiptoeing by the dining room, the light of a candle fell through the slightly open door and someone called out.
“Nisha. Come in here for a moment.”
Recognizing the voice as the marshal’s, the person in question reluctantly entered the room.
“How was your day?”
A seemingly innocent question, yet the way he scrutinized her while sipping on a glass of wine carried another feeling.
“Ah yes, I had fun, I even made a new friend.”
Thana probably doesn’t mind me saying that. And it’s not like I lied either. Sorry, Thana.
“I see, so getting into a fight and running away is your definition of fun.
Nevermind that, since you obviously don’t have anything meaningful to do and like starting trouble instead, I think it’s time to take you to court with me, maybe that will keep you from becoming a punk.
Galan will take you to get the proper attire, so we will pick a good date to introduce you to something more productive.
Good night, Nisha.”
The frosty undertone in his voice revealed that he knew exactly how the dragon spent her time, a thought that scared her.
At least a tiny bit of his words were true, thinking about what her grandfather would say to her if he knew what she was up to, the elven girl simply admitted defeat.
It’s no good to loiter around and get into fights. I really need to spend more effort to learn more about my skills and prepare myself for entering the academy.
However, now I just want to fall asleep, I’m spent.
Unwilling to sleep alone, she stealthily slipped into the room Lydia and Annabelle shared.
Entering Anna’s embrace, who already crossed into the realm of dreams, a long day ended for the dragon.