Upon arriving at the Villa, Cale immediately ordered Beacrox and Lock to fetch potions and bandages as he handed Karin’s unconscious body to a shocked Choi Han. Karin was quickly brought to a bed on the first floor of the villa where she was placed on her back in the center of the sheets. Her face looked incredibly pale.
Cale felt Raon’s paws slightly shaking as the little Dragon held onto his back.
“Raon, go get miss Rosalyn, I believe Karin would prefer to be cleaned up by another woman.”
“R-Right, human! I’ll go get her!”
Raon quickly flew out the door once Beacrox and Lock appeared with potions, towels, and bandages, and brought back a panting, out-of-breath Rosalyn within two minutes. It was clear that Raon and Rosalyn rushed back to the room.
Rosalyn glanced at Karin’s figure on the bed and then looked towards Cale with a forced smile. Her face seemed to be asking what the hell happened, but had decided to not ask in favor of addressing Karin’s condition first.
“I know how to clean wounds, leave it to me. Everyone, please leave the room until I give permission for you to come back in.”
Raon raised his paw tentatively in response to her request.
“Rosalyn, can I help? Karin looks so hurt. It looks painful.”
Rosalyn let out a sound somewhere in between a sigh and a chuckle and nodded her head at Raon’s hesitant offer.
“Yes, Raon-nim, you can stay. I’m sure Karin would appreciate you being here too. Everyone other than Raon-nim and I need to leave, though.”
Cale, Beacrox, Choi Han, and Lock all nodded their heads with solemn expressions, their eyes showing varying levels of concern. The four men filed out of the room and shut the door, but both Raon and Rosalyn could sense them waiting in the hallway without leaving. Rosalyn and Raon had matching small smiles on their faces at the actions of their group before Rosalyn gave the first order.
She peeled off the tattered remains of Karin’s clothes before looking towards Raon.
“Raon-nim, please bring me one of those soft towels after wetting it with warm water. Bring a potion as well.”
“Okay! Rosalyn, teach me how to do this, the great and mighty me needs to become even more great and mighty”
The words ‘so this doesn’t happen again’ went unsaid but were heard clearly by Rosalyn as her curly red hair bobbed slightly as she nodded in agreement.
“Sure, Raon-nim. I will need your help refreshing the towel once it gets dirty, so please watch closely and pay attention, this is a very important skill to know even for great and mighty beings like Dragons.”
Raon brought over the towel and potions using his little chubby paws and levitation magic, handing them over to Rosalyn’s outstretched arms. He nodded at Rosalyn’s words before landing on the corner of the bed and watching carefully as Rosalyn gently dabbed the blood away from the gashes on Karin’s legs.
He watched the process intently, occasionally cleaning the towel with his magic before wetting it again so they could proceed further. Eventually, the dried blood and grime was removed to an extent that they could clearly see the shape of each of Karin’s wounds. They were words.
Raon was shaken up as he realized the similarities between Karin’s items and the current condition of her body, his mouth opening and closing as his eyes shook.
Rosalyn opened the first of the higher grade potions and poured it onto the gashes on Karin’s right leg, her eyes taking in the sight of the dark bruise on her thigh fading within two seconds and the blood oozing from her wounds no longer flowing. This was good.
However, she frowned when the cuts did not heal despite the ugly bruising having disappeared. She tried putting some potion on a new towel and dabbing it directly onto the wounds, and her heart ached as she felt Karin’s leg spaz in response to the pain. She must have felt from the pressure applied, while the cuts still did not heal.
Since the potion at least seemed to stop the bleeding, she tended to Karin’s other limbs, where the same phenomenon occurred, leaving Karin’s body spotless except for angry red gashes. From a distance, one would think Karin had written on her body with red paint, as the color of blood and muscle tissue could be seen within the gashes, and yet the gashes themselves would not close.
The little Dragon was feeling a bit frustrated to see Karin’s body not healing fully. His heart felt stuffy, and something felt wrong. Rosalyn looked down at Karin and shifted Karin’s hair off of her pale face as Raon voiced Rosalyn’s thoughts for the both of them.
“Rosalyn, why isn’t the potion working for those wounds when it worked for everything else? This is very strange! Karin’s body is human so potions should work! The potion seems to have healed everything except for the spaces in those cuts! Why isn’t it healing completely?”
“Raon-nim, I have an idea but I do not know for certain. Perhaps Eruhaben-nim may be able to explain this?”
‘Her body resembles the items she makes!’
The two immediately realized what the implication of this strangeness was, but as they were not certain and a lot of time had passed, they decided to let the others into the room for now. Rosalyn quickly but gently dressed Karin in a simple nightgown before calling the rest of the group in.
Upon entering the room, Cale looked towards Karin and frowned as he observed all of the bandages and towels scattered about that were littered with specks of blood. Choi Han, Beacrox, and Lock just stood behind Cale with neutral expressions. Rosalyn dusted off her hands and stood up from a kneeling position, and looked towards Cale to report Karin’s condition.
“How is she?”
“Her external wounds have stopped bleeding, her breathing is stable, and most of the bruising has gone away. However, there seems to be internal bleeding in her skull, and Raon-nim and I noticed something strange.”
Raon flew over to Cale and started explaining with wide eyes.
“Her cuts wouldn’t heal even when we poured potion on them, human! The bruising went away and the bleeding stopped, but even when we used a highest grade potion the cuts on her arms and legs won’t close! It is like there is something you can’t see holding the skin apart! It is very strange. I feel Karin’s energy in those cuts!”
Cale seemed to ponder something for a moment, and then quickly gave Raon an order.
“Raon, go bring Eruhaben-nim here, and Pendrick too. Perhaps there is something about Karin that is incompatible with potions made by a temple. Beacrox, go make some food. She will be waking up soon. Lock, go assist Beacrox.”
“Okay human! I’ll be right back!”
“Yes, young master.”
“Yes, young master-nim!”
After Raon, Beacrox, and Lock left, Cale sat down on an empty chair and asked Rosalyn a question.
“Is there anything else to tell me? I don’t believe we’ve been told the whole story.”
Rosalyn grimaced slightly and glanced towards Karin’s sleeping face before responding after a little hesitation.
“Well, you see young master, I realized as I was cleaning her wounds that the majority of them seem to be… self-inflicted. The entirety of the cuts on her arms and legs seemed to be created with intention, and well, they distinctly resemble the engravings on the items Karin has created thus far. I believe she did this to enhance herself so she could escape since all items would have been confiscated when she was kidnapped. If this happens again she will be permanently crippled from such injuries.”
Cale’s contorted into a frown for a moment before he steeled it back into a neutral expression. Rosalyn was not done sharing her findings.
“One more thing. Young master Cale, if you hadn’t arrived when you did, she may have bled out and died.”
Cale nodded at Rosalyn’s words in agreement and mumbled something under his breath, but both Choi Han and Rosalyn heard it clearly.
“But she still chose to turn her own body into one of her weapons…”
The mage and the swordmaster winced at those words and thought of how desperate and determined she must have been to carve up her flesh to become strong enough to become free. Even as she was covered in her own blood. Even as she risked it all because if Cale hadn’t come in time she may have lost too much blood-
A moment later, a bright light filled the hallway, and Eruhaben, as well as Pendrick the elf, strode into the room with Raon flying behind them. Eruhaben stood near the head of the bed and observed Karin as Pendrick approached her and began to use his abilities to heal her. Placing his palms gently upon her forehead, a warm glow surrounded her and color started returning to her face.
Everyone in the room let out soft sighs of relief as they saw the girl’s finger twitch and her eyelids make minuscule movements, a sign she was no longer unconscious but simply sleeping and would wake up soon.
However, Pendrick’s face contorted in confusion and he increased the power of his healing, making the glow shine brighter than before. He made a grunt of effort and perhaps perplexed frustration before removing his palms from Karin’s head. Raon glanced up at Pendrick from the spot he was sitting on at the foot of the bed, excited that the strange but caring human seemed to be okay now and curious about the expression on the elf’s face.
“Hey little elf, are you done healing her? Is she okay now? Why do you look like that?”
Pendrick was looking down at his hands with a dumbfounded expression before quickly lifting up his head to answer the little dragon’s questions
“Ah! Yes dragon-nim, I am done. The internal injuries have healed and she will wake up soon. However… for some reason I could not heal the wounds on her limbs. It felt like my power was being repelled by some sort of force from within the space in the cuts…”
Raon tilted his head in confusion at the vague explanation for the elf’s state, but Eruhaben nodded his head in understanding as though he had found the final missing piece of some sort of puzzle. The ancient dragon acknowledged all of the eyes awaiting an explanation and started to share his thoughts.
“As a natural healing power did not work, it is probably this human’s special ability preventing them from healing. There are small quantities of this child’s unique mana remaining in between the tears of the skin. Because of this, her mana is essentially clogging them so other powers cannot enter the area. That is why they do not heal from potions or healing abilities like Pendrick’s.”
Raon launched himself off the bed and into the air, hovering around Eruhaben’s face with a worried expression and tears threatening to fall from his eyes. The other people in the room shifted their weight around slightly as well from hearing those words. What did he mean, they can’t be healed?
“Goldie gramps, does that mean she will have those open wounds forever?! That cannot happen! Humans can’t live like that goldie!”
Eruhaben sighed and patted the little dragon’s head with a hand while he looked back toward Karin.
“Little kid, as long as that human doesn’t channel any more mana into those spaces, and that mana is removed, eventually she will heal. She must heal naturally over time, that’s all. Humans can heal on their own just like any other creature. Her constitution just means she can only do that, unlike most humans.”
“So she’s gonna be okay?”
“She will heal. Now then, it seems the human in question is waking up.”
Raon spun around and perched on the pillow next to Karin’s head, trying to avoid stepping on the strands of hair sprawled out all around them. Karin’s eyelids fluttered and she made a very unladylike groan and she started waking up.
Opening her eyes, the first thing she saw was a very happy-looking baby dragon with his big chubby face right in front of hers. Karin froze slightly in surprise. Raon fluttered his wings and patted Karin’s head with his stubby paw before greeting her cheerfully.
“You woke up! Welcome back, Karin!”
Karin smiled at Raon before trying to ask him if she could pet him, but she let out another, more painful sounding groan as she tried to shift herself upright and reach out toward the soft black scales. She immediately stopped trying and flopped back down onto the soft pillows in resignation.
As she became more cognizant of her surroundings, she saw the bandaging around her body and noticed the different presences around the room. She felt tears welling up in the corners of her eyes and grinned.
“Thank you for coming to find me.”