CB Part 2: Chapter 36 You're a Mess by RedPhantom ()
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Nim knew he was a day early for scrying Joanne. Having the bond fully formed but not being able to feel her was driving him crazy.
His watch was broken but he was pretty sure it was late enough she’d be home from work. It also wasn’t a day she usually went out. He cast the spell.
She was getting ready for bed, brushing her teeth. He found it interesting all the mechanical substitutes they had for magic and potions. She spit into the sink. “Nim! What are you doing scrying me? That’s tomorrow night. Is everything okay?”
“I miss you. The palace is in chaos and I gave my travel drawing set to Shay so she could communicate so I’m not able to draw as much and I miss you.”
She smiled. “You said that one already.”
“I really miss you.”
“I miss you too.”
“When can you come?”
“When can you get me?” She paused to rinse her mouth.
“Really?” Nim’s eyes lit up.
“Tonight, if you want.”
“Tonight? Seriously? What about work?”
“There’s been budget cuts. They were trying to figure out how to keep me on. They won’t be replacing me. I haven’t needed to go in. I’ve packed what we talked about and the rest is either being donated to the shelter or is being stored in Ann’s room. It’s all done so whenever you can get me, I can come.”
Nim’s face fell. “I can’t tonight. I’ve been working on something and used a lot of my magic. Between that and this spell, I don’t have enough magic to get to the gate. Maybe Ann can help me in the morning.”
“It’s probably late for me to get John to take me to the gate anyhow.” John was the current name of the dragon Shintanillic. He had ended up trapped on Earth five hundred years ago, caught in the same explosion as Mishtali and Nor’than. He chose to stay on Earth once the gate was available as he was involved with a woman there.
“What have you been working on that’s using so much of your energy?”
“It’s too much to explain now. I’ll tell you when were together. Just a moment. Let me contact Ann.”
Joanne’s ready to come back but I’m not strong enough to transport up there and back. Will you help me in the morning?
Sure. Is everything okay?
I’m fine. I’ve just been casting a lot today. I’m still scrying so I’ll explain tomorrow.
“Ann said she would help me tomorrow,” Nim said.
“What time should we meet?” Jo asked.
“I don’t know. My watch stopped.”
“Did you forget to wind it?”
“Um, no.” He held up the watch. The face was cracked.
“That would do it.”
“I’ll tell you about it tomorrow. I need to end this.”
“Okay. I’ll see you then. Good night.”
“Good night. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Nim found Ann in the dining hall the next morning. While they ate, Nim explained why his magic was so low.
“Was that in that spell book Pt’this gave you?”
Nim shook his head. “It must be in Dae’s book. My mentor taught me.”
As a child, Pt’this had found a spell book written in the language of the immortals. Having recently learned Nim could read it, he gave Nim the book. Nim showed the book to Ann who had found the same book written in Tricon. She also had a second book that completed the set. Dae and Ti had recently found the immortal version of the second book. Nim’s mentor had been an immortal and had taught him many of the things in the books. And he read the language so he was helping the others learn it.
Ann a scried Joanne to let them know they’d be at the gate shortly.
“I’m going to let you cast the spell,” Ann said. “I’ve been missing the targets lately.”
“Is everything okay?” Nim asked. “Have you talked with Shunati?”
“I’m fine. This keeps turning out to be nothing. I’d rather not bother him.” This wasn’t the first time she’d had this problem. It always seemed to last a few weeks and then it would go away. Shunati had never been able to find a cause.
Using Ann’s magic to supplement his own, Nim transported them to the gate.
The guard came alert when Nim and Ann appeared. He eyed Nim warily.
“Just waiting for Joanne,” Nim said. He sat down in the grass to wait.
“She going to stay this time?” The guard asked.
“About time.” The guard muttered softly, but not so softly Nim didn’t hear him.
“Don’t you growl at me, dragon. I’ll make you wait by the road where you belong.” It was all said in jest. The guard and Nim had gotten friendly over the years.
Finally, Jo walked through with a box. “Good morning,” she said. John followed with another box.
Nim stood. “May I help?” He asked the guard.
“Stay on this side,” the guard said.
Nim took both boxes. Ann, Jo, and John went back for more. He set those boxes aside and waited for more.
“How much is she bringing?” The guard asked.
“I have no idea,” Nim said. He had made suggestions of the type of things she’d want or need but left the actual items up to her. He could buy her everything but he knew she’d never agree to that.
The guard laughed. “Women, they’re the same no matter where you’re from.”
Nim smiled, though he didn’t understand. They came with the next set of boxes. Nim moved to take them.
“This is it,” Joanne said.
John handed Nim his box. “Have fun. I’d say come back for a visit, but…”
“You come for a visit,” Nim said.
“I will. I need to go so I can drop off the van at the shelter and get the studio opened. Someone stole my assistant instructor.” The last comment was directed to Ann. Andy had worked for John teaching the beginners karate classes before marrying Ann and moving to Menthanla.
“Thanks for the help,” Joanne said.
“Bye,” Nim said.
“See you around,” was John’s reply and then he turned and left back through the gate.
Nim turned and kissed Joanne.
“At least wait till we get back to the palace,” Ann said. Nim blushed.
He put the box with the others. Then, using Ann’s energy, he cast the spell to take them back to the palace and the room he’d share with Joanne.
Ann excused herself saying she wanted to check on her guests.
“Guests?” Jo asked Nim.
“Mishtali’s here and someone else. I didn’t see who it was with all the commotion last night.” He opened one of the boxes to help her unpack.
“Open that one,” Joanne said, pointing. He did. It was filled with stacks of parchment that Joanne called paper. It was pure white and very smooth. Then, she handed him another small package. He opened it. Inside were sticks that looked like colored charcoal. “I thought you might like to do color pictures once in a while. It’s called chalk. The guy at the art store said it would be the easiest for you because it would have the closest feel to charcoal.”
Nim kissed her. “Thank you.”
“Are you going to try them?”
“While my lungs are recovering.”
“What’s wrong with your lungs? I don’t feel anything.”
“Nothing yet,” he said and kissed her so she got the hint.
“Let me help,” Nim insisted.
“You said you were going to draw.”
“I did draw. I’m fine. My lungs didn’t get so bad this time.”
“They didn’t get bad last time and then you went flying and could barely breathe.”
“I’m not going flying. I just want to help you unpack.”
“It’s four boxes. I don’t need help.”
“I’m fine, really. You can’t keep treating me like I’m dying every time we mate.”
“It feels like you’re dying.”
“Jo, I’ve had this for eleven hundred years. I’m not dying.”
“You haven’t been mating for that long.”
“No, but I do hunt. What do you think happens then? I breathe fire which hurts worse than this. And I used to do it almost every day.”
Joanne looked shocked. “Why would you do that?”
“How do you think I ate?”
“Why? Why not go to the market?”
“Because I was a hermit. I didn’t want to see anyone. The pain people cause is much worse than anything in my lungs.”
“I’m sorry,” she said and put her arms around him.
“It’s okay. You weren’t one of them.” He kissed her. He kept kissing her.
She pulled away. “None of that now. You do need to take it easy.”
“Okay, but at least let me help you. I won’t even lift any boxes, just the stuff inside.” The boxes weren’t heavy to him but Joanne thought they were.
Joanne sighed, but before she could reply the door opened. Nim growled.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought this was Pt’this’s room,” the man said.
“Thailyn?” Nim asked.
“Nimitinas?” Thailyn was just as surprise.
“Was that you in the garden with your dad last night?”
“It was.” Thailyn nodded.
“Joanne, this is Thailyn, Ann’s birth father. This is my pledged, Joanne.”
“Please to meet you.” Joanne held out her hand.
Thailyn smiled. “Haven’t you learned? Dragons don’t shake hands.” He hugged her and then Nim.
“Shades of night! Nim, you’re a mess!” He cried.
Nim stepped back in surprise. “Good to see you too.”
“I’m sorry, but you are. Your lung, your arm, your magic, multiple stabbings, eta-vie poisoning. How are you even alive?”
“I feel fine.” Nim shrugged.
“You do not feel fine, you liar,” Joanne cried.
Thailyn laughed. “She’s your mate too?”
Nim nodded. “I’m starting to think it was a mistake.”
Joanne smiled. “Someone has to look out for you.”
“Nim, if you’ve taken a mate, you need to take better care of yourself,” Thailyn admonished.
Nim nodded. “But there’s nothing anyone can do.”
“Most any healer can patch a rip. And who ever healed my dad should be able to take care of your arm.”
“I’m ripped?” Nim asked, surprised.
“Pretty close. Perhaps when you and Pt’this were fighting my dad?”
“Perhaps. I didn’t even realize it happened. It doesn’t hurt. I would’ve gotten that fixed.”
“And the arm?”
“It’s just scars.”
“There’s a lot of nerve damage too. You’re lucky you didn’t lose it. What happened?”
“It was right after the war. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“What did this?”
“Dragon fire. What else could?” Nim snapped. Joanne laid a hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry,” he said.
“Did you talk with a healer about it?”
“Not when it first happened. I did later, but I was told there was nothing that could be done.”
“What about whoever healed my dad?”
“Shunati?” Nim shook his head. “I talked to him too the first time I was stabbed and didn’t realize it. He had originally said he thought he could do it in a series of treatments but then when he looked deeper, he said it was beyond him. He said he didn’t think even you could fix it.”
Thailyn raised an eyebrow. “A challenge, huh? Right now, I’m more concerned about your lung and the eta-vie poisoning.”
“We talked about my lung. You said there was nothing you could do.”
“I said there was nothing I could do at that time. I said I’d have to examine you further to know what needed to be done. We never got that chance.”
“The eta-vie is from trying to live in Joanne’s homeland.”
“No. This is more than that. This is in your blood.”
“I was using my claws while fighting there. My hands got a bit cut. Perhaps something got in then.”
Thailyn nodded. “That would do it. We need to get that taken care of and then your lungs. Take off your shirt.”
“No, now I’d like to examine your lung properly. I get the best reading without clothing.”
Nim took off his shirt. Thailyn put his hand on the scar on his chest and then put his other arm the one on his back. He frowned.
“I can’t heal this.”
“See?” Nim said, turning to Joanne. “It’s just something I need to live with.”
“I didn’t say that. I said I can’t use my magic to heal it. I need to do surgery.”
“Surgery? You mean cut me open? On purpose? No. I’m not that bad.” Nim shook his head.
“Yes, you are. This should have been done long ago. Each time you breathe fire you do more damage, it’s not a lot but it adds up.”
“What about when I mate?”
“Don’t breathe fire then. You might hurt Joanne.” He grinned. “Seriously, that’s just you using your lungs more than they can handle.” He thought a moment. “There is something I can do to help with that pain, but only if you promise not to let this go. As soon as I can get Shunati to help, we’ll do this.”
“Shunati can’t help. He has his hands full with Vaila, his son. The boy was born too early. He keeps getting chills and then he gets sick. Shunati’s been keeping him warm by making himself run a fever and it’s taking a toll on him. Tor and a healer named Darkham have been helping some but both have other responsibilities.”
“What happened to Mila?”
“Her sister is sick. She’s staying with her.”
“What is it? Anything I can help with?”
Nim shook his head. “Mostier.”
Thailyn frowned. No one could do anything about that, except make the patient more comfortable.
“I’ll talk with Shunati and possibly Darkham. He’s the one who taught me to do the surgery,” Thailyn said. He didn’t know if he could trust Tor. “Will you agree to do this when I can get help?”
Nim hesitated. “Let me think about it,” he said.
“He’s terrified,” Joanne said. “What does the surgery involved?”
“First, we’ll put you to sleep. I’ll probably do it myself so I can monitor you better. I’ll make a small incision, probably only half the width of your scar. The way the original injury healed, your bellyfire fused to your lung. The valve can no longer open and close properly. That causes some of the pain. Plus, every time you breathe fire, the opening tears a little bit more.”
He turned to Joanne. “Humans have a diaphragm between their lungs and stomach. Dragons have what’s called a bellyfire. It’s similar to the diaphragm but there are valves between it and the lungs. When a dragon breathes fire these valves open and the air heats and ignites. When Nim fell on the tree, the tree branch tore one of the valves along with part of his lung and his bellyfire. A poor job of healing was done and the bellyfire was allowed to fuse to his lung. That prevents the valve from opening and closing properly.”
He turned back to Nim. “What I need to do is cut the lung and the bellyfire apart. I’ll then heal them and the scar tissue. I’ll need to leave this incision open for a day or two to keep an eye on things but then that can be healed up too and you should have no more pain.”
Nim still hesitated.
“I’ll talk to him.” Joanne assured Thailyn.
Thailyn nodded. “Tell him about your surgery.”
“Surgery? What surgery?” Nim asked, surprised.
“Sorry,” Thailyn said. “I didn’t realize you hadn’t mentioned it.”
“It’s okay.” Joanne assured him. “It wasn’t a secret. I just never thought about it.”
“What surgery?” Nim insisted.
“I had my tonsils removed. It’s not a big deal.”
“What are tonsils?” Nim asked.
“Something humans have in their throats to help prevent infections. Sometimes, they have to be removed.” Thailyn explained.
“I’ll tell you about it. Don’t worry. It was a long time ago.” Joanne assured him. “I survived.”
“I need to go. I’m going to do something so you can mate without pain, but you absolutely cannot breathe fire or use your bellyfire even for warmth. I can only leave it this way for about a week so if you choose not to have the surgery, I’ll have to put it back.” He put his hand over the scar a moment. “Feel better?”
“Now, if you don’t have the surgery, I’m going to tell Pt’this about this. You can deal with his pestering.”
“Tell Ann or Andy,” Joanne suggested.
“Are they as bad as Pt’this?”
“Worse,” Nim admitted. “Just give me a chance to think about it, please.”
Thailyn nodded. “I’ll talk with Shunati about the antidote for the poisoning too. That should be done first. Who around here can make potions?”
“Andy,” Nim said.
“Really? The boy can barely cast but makes potions?”
“Ann sometimes helps him with the spell shield but he’s amazing at mixing,” Nim told him.
“Okay. I need to go now. I still need to find Pt’this’s room.”
“It’s just below us. You still have no sense of direction. I’ll be down shortly. I have something for your mom.”
Thailyn started out but stopped, looking at a drawing on the wall. “Nim? Why do you have a drawing of Darina?”
“That’s not Darina. That’s Chapado. She was my mentor.”
“You had a human mentor?” Thailyn raised an eyebrow.
“She wasn’t human.” Nim said.
“That’s right. I remember. I wonder if she…”
Nim cut him off. “The palace walls have ears.”
Did Ann tell you what I told her about her mother? Thailyn sent, switching to telepathy.
I better not say then. I don’t know who she wants to know.
“I’ll see you in the garden,” Thailyn said switching back to speech.
“I’ll be there soon. I need to do something first.”
“Not mating. Give your lungs a rest.”
“Not that. Do I look like Pt’this?”
Thailyn smiled and left.
Nim had made Shaw a vial since she’d lost hers. He needed to get it ready to give her.
Kamlia left, angry that his secret was out. He had signed the treaty, but no one thought he’d honor it. Thailyn healed his Mother enough that she could talk. Eventually, he hoped to heal the scars also, but that would have to wait.
Thailyn talked to Shunati the potions. The elf agreed to let him treat Nim. He was unfamiliar with the poisoning Nim had. Thailyn then contacted Nim. Where are you? I have the antidote.
In my room.
Okay, I’m on my way.
Upstairs, he knocked on Nim’s door. There was no response. He knocked again. He didn’t even hear anything.
Nim? Are you still there?
I must be at the wrong room.
Same wing as Ann’s, fourth floor, middle door, on the outside. Pretty close to two floors above where you’re staying.
That’s where I am, I think.
Wait a moment. A moment later, the door unlocked. Nim opened the door a little ways. He was only wearing pants.
“Everything okay?” Thailyn asked.
“Yeah.” Nim nodded.
“I have the antidote.” He held out a glass. “It’s pretty nasty tasting.”
“Worse than troll food?”
“You’ve eaten troll food?”
“I attempted to eat it.” Nim grinned sheepishly.
Thailyn laughed. “You should be fine.”
“Who is it?” Thailyn he heard Joanne ask in the room.
“Thailyn,” Nim said.
“Let him in.”
“Put some pants on first,” Nim said, looking back into the room. Now, Thailyn understood why he hadn’t heard anything. He remembered how private Nim was. He probably was using a silence spell so no one would hear what they were doing.
“I have on pants,” Jo said. “See?”
“Those are not pants.” Nim growled.
“Hi, Thailyn,” Joanne said, peaking around Nim. She was wearing one of Nim shirts. Her legs were bare but the shirt came down to her knees. He didn’t see any pants.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Jo, Sweetie, please put something on your legs,” Nim requested.
Jo sighed. “Fine.” She stepped out of sight. Thailyn heard movement then, “happy?”
Nim looked. He opened the door so Thailyn could come in. Joanne was still wearing Nim’s shirt and an unusual looking pair of pants. He’d seen Andy in something similar yesterday morning. He saw another pair lying on the floor. Joanne picked them up to put them away. He noticed they were missing most of the legs.
“Sorry about that. We’re still discussing differences in wardrobe choices,” Joanne said.
“Don’t worry about it.” Thailyn waved her off.
“This is strong stuff, so there may be some side effects,” Thailyn warned Nim as he handed him the glass. “One thing I do know is it has green bough in it so it will affect the bond some.”
Nim hesitated before drinking it. “Not permanently, right?”
“Nim, drink it,” Joanne scolded.
“Only if this morning was your first time.” Thailyn shook his head. That would also explain the silence spell although Nim had said Joanne was his mate yesterday.
“It was a few days ago,” Nim said.
Thailyn shook his head again. “No problem. You’ve mated a few times then?” He looked at Joanne. “I’m sorry to ask such personal questions.”
“I understand. It’s him you’re making uncomfortable.”
“I’m fine,” Nim insisted. “And yes there have been a few times. Not as much as I’d like, but a few.”
“You’ll be fine.”
Nim took a sip and gagged. “Shades. I thought you said troll food was worse.”
“I lied. I’ve never had troll food to be able to compare it. Drink.”
Nim continued sipping and gagging.
“How’s the lungs?” Thailyn asked.
“Fine,” Nim said between gags.
“I wasn’t asking you. Drink.” He looked at Joanne.
“Much better, thank you,” Joanne assured him.
“Good. I talked with Shunati about the surgery. He’s willing to help but is in no condition to. I offered to help him out a few days to give him a break and to watch Vaila too. Once he’s had a chance to rest, he’ll be able to help.”
“How is Vaila doing?” Joanne asked. “He so tiny, I worry about him.”
“He’s not too bad. He could be much worse. Shunati is helping him a great deal. Another month or two and he’ll be able to keep himself warm.”
Nim finished the potion and gagged again. “Oh shades.” He covered his mouth and started for the chamber pot.
“No you don’t.” Thailyn grabbed him and put a hand on his stomach. He countered the nausea.
“Thanks,” Nim said.
“How do you feel?”
“Now that my stomach isn’t trying to empty itself, not too bad.”
Thailyn glanced at Jo.
“I’m not feeling much of anything from him.”
“Nim, this is serious now. You need to tell me if something is wrong. I gave you extremely high doses of some strong potions. They could have terrible side effects. I can help if I know about them but if you keep it from me, there will be problems. The green bough will wear off before the rest is done and then Joanne will feel it too. You don’t want that. So, if you feel anything, you let me know.”
“I feel fine, I really mean it. I’m not feeling sick or dizzy or in pain or having any trouble breathing.”
“All of them?”
“Draw in magic.” Nim requested.
Thailyn did. “Why?”
“So I can see your pathways.”
“You see pathways?” Thailyn was surprised. That was a rare sight even for Augmenters. He drew in some magic.
Nim nodded. “All sights seem fine.”
“Okay. I have other patients so I’m not going to sit with you. If you start to feel bad in any way, let me know and I’ll come back. If you can’t use telepathy, give a distress cry. I don’t know where I’ll be.”
“I will,” Nim said.
“And try not to vomit it up.”
“Okay, back to bed, both of you.” Thailyn smiled. “A little enjoyment may help avoid some of the side effects.”
“Okay then. I’ll check on you later. Keep the silence spell off.”
“But…” Nim started to argue.
“No buts. I won’t hear the cry with it there. You’re a dragon, Nim. The servants around here expect you to be mating a lot. Or, don’t mate. That’s between you and Joanne. Just keep the spell off.”
“Okay, no spells.” Nim agreed.
Thailyn nodded and left.
Image Comments (6)
Kordouane () Online Now! 4:46AM | Sun, 25 April 2021
Wow !! It is very well done and at least we do not get bored there is material to follow this story !!