I opened my eyes. “Pink.” I immediately hear gasps coming from above me. I roll over. “Was it pink you chose?” I ask Ray.
She hesitates and shakes her head. “Green.”
“Should’ve guessed that,” I grimace. I lie back down. “I feel disgusting, what time is it?”
“Eight morn,” the doctor says from somewhere.
“You shouldn’t call me Noah.”
“Kaya was allowed to call you Noah,” I say provocatively.
“Oh, she didn’t have permission.”
“Mmmmph.” I roll over and knock against Daniel. “Daniel?” I immediately straighten up. Then I collapse back down again. I’m too lethargic to lift myself up. “How is he?” I ask.
“No response yet,” Noah says. “Anything could be happening.”
“Jhaq, did you give him tea again?” I had gotten Daniel to swallow a couple spoonfuls of tea when he was barely conscious to help improve his colour, at the advice of the doctor. She nods. “That’s good.” Once again, I try sitting up, and I just lean against the head of Daniel’s bed. “Crap…I have to do things today,” I groan.
Noah frowns. “What do you mean?”
“In…” I’m not sure what to say to these people. “In…my own world, I have to go to an appointment,” I say. “Therapy.”
“For what? Your health is perfect.”
“Not exactly, it’s complicated.” I roll out of bed, onto the floor. I struggle to stand, and Jhaq helps me shrug into a robe which smells like Daniel. “If anything changes, you’ll let me know, won’t you?” I demand Noah.
“Of course. We’ll send Jhaq or Ray.”
“Good.” I catch a glance of myself in the mirror. “How long was I unconcious?”
“I wouldn’t know how long it would be in your world,” he told me. “But you were…gone for two nights. We removed the rest of Daniel’s eye during that.”
“His blood levels?”
“His colour’s better, but like I said, there’s been no response yet.”
I look over at Daniel. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve said he were sleeping. “Be good,” I tell him, as if he could hear me perfectly well. I recoil at myself in the mirror. “I look like shit.” Then I saw Jhaq’s disapproval in the reflection. “Sorry, sorry,” I say hurriedly.
“Dying tends to do that to you,” Noah reminds me dryly.
“True, very true.” I stumble to the floor again. “No need,” I tell Jhaq as she rushes to help me up. “I’ll have you know that I fall at least three times a day, I can handle it.” I pull myself up onto my bed. “My dear doctor, what is recommended that I eat after mass blood loss?”
He frowns. “Anything that helps restore iron in your blood, that’s what Kaya once told me.”
“Wonderful. It looks like I’ll be having steak for breakfast.” Steaaaaaaaaaaaaak.
Then I remember I’d have to cook it in front of my family. “Or crappy gluten free cereal, that works too.”
“Maybe you should sit down again,” Noah suggests.
“No, I’m usually like this,” I tell him. “Just ask…yeah, I’m fine. Okay…” I open the door and a boy falls to the ground at my feet. Not knowing what to do, I look out into the hallway. It’s the same hallway as my house in Reality.
Then I look down. “Hello. Can you bring me a plate of steak?”
“I-I-I-I beg your p-p-p-pardon?” The boy was trembling, and slowly crawling back from me, it was clear he wasn’t meant to be there at the door, but my bloodless brain wasn’t aware of that, at least not immediately.
“Steak,” I repeat to him. “Something along the lines of beef, if you don’t have the genuine article. And make it medium rare, I need blood today.”
The boy begins to hurry away, only to be tackled by Noah. The sight of Noah holding the boy in a headlock brings me out of my hunger induced confusion. “Also,” I add, “you probably shouldn’t be listening to our conversation behind that door either. It looks uncomfortable.”
“What do you want?” Noah growls at the boy. He merely whimpers. “Answer me!”
“Don’t shout at the kid,” I tell Noah. “Bring him in here first anyway, so he can’t run.”
Noah proceeds to throw the kid into Daniel’s chambers, and he stumbles onto the ground. Noah slams the door behind him. “That’s not necessary,” I raised my voice. “You’re not to beat him, he can’t be more than seven.”
“A seven who records everything he hears and gives it to his master,” Noah replies.
“Even so, this is a hospital,” I tell him. “Or that is the case right now anyway. And no violence in the ward is allowed.”
He frowns at me. “Kaya told me you were kindhearted,” he says. “But I didn’t take you for someone who is soft.”
“I’m anything but. I’m simply tired,” I told him, and his face changed. “Kaya died a year ago. I’ve changed a lot since then, and I can assure you this has nothing to do with kindness or weak hearts. There’s a time and place for that sort of punishment, and it’s not now.” I sigh. “If you want to beat the boy, do it away from here, and away from me. I can’t stop you. But there’s been enough blood and death here today.”
“That’s a bit of an exaggeration,” Noah says, but he doesn’t move toward the boy.
“Question the boy and be done with it,” I said. I open the door and I see the glamorous hallways of the castle. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find my prey.” Steaaaaaaaaaak.
When I told Lolly about Daniel, I didn’t mention how I was drained until I was dead. That’s not what she cares about though. She’s more concerned about on how Daniel’s death would affect me than what I would go through to save him. So I didn’t say anything.
I was told to take my mind off things, as if Daniel slowly dying alone in his bed was as insignificant as a patch of dust on a jacket. I had become depressed as the day went on, worrying about Daniel and life without him. Talking about it only made me realise how much he meant.
And then I saw the last person I wished to see.
“Lady Madigan,” Christan greeted me outside the adolescent centre.
“Save it.” I walked straight past him, and I heard him hurry after me. “Are you deaf?”
“I was told to come here by the physician. I bring news of Him, my lady.”
“He said Jhaq would be sent.”
“She was, before I intercepted her.”
I turned around to glare at the golden prince. “You think that’s clever?” I hiss. “Going after me again after you’ve broken me already?”
“Listen to what I have to say and I’ll be gone!”
“That had better be the case.” I continued walking, but I slowed down, so I walked behind him. “Speak.”
“Daniel awoke for a few minutes, before going into a seizure. That is all I got of the message from the girl.”
“What exactly made you think that it would be safe for you, of all people to tell me that?” I growled.
“Calm down, I-”
“You stuck a dagger in the eye of the man I trust the most!” I screamed. “If he’s dead, it’s on your hands.”
“It wasn’t my intention-”
“Save it. I’ve had enough.”
“I’m not done speaking.” He continued to walk beside me, and I remained completely silent. “He came at me and knocked me to the ground. He was throttling me, I had no choice! But I didn’t kill him!”
I didn’t respond. For some reason, this gave him confidence. “I only wanted to get him across the face. A scar as a warning. But he moved.” His voice became frantic. “I had no intention to hurt him in the way that he was. I swear Lady Madigan.”
Both he and I were silent as we walked. I looked over to him. “You want my forgiveness,” I said.
“I do,” he said. “And I am willing to give you anything to have it. Whatever you desire, you can have it.”
“Very well.” My tone is pleasant, but I’m glaring at him. “Rip out your own eye, and have your guards beat you till you’re at the edge of your wits.”
“Wha- My Lady, be reasonab-”
“I’m being perfectly reasonable,” I said, in the same kind of voice I would use to explain something to a little child. “It’s an eye for an eye. So to speak. That’ll pay for my forgiveness. I think you can figure out what you would have to pay for Daniel’s.”
“You must know.” I smiled sweetly at him, my eyes full of poison. “Take the one thing you care about the most and have your guards hold her down while she is-”
“Should you really be saying that to me? Of all things?”
“Don’t bother. Just understand this.” I was shouting then, but I didn’t care the slightest. “Daniel and I are not toys for you to enjoy and to throw away as you please. Neither is anyone else, no matter what you think of them. And if Daniel dies because of you…” I broke down sobbing on the pavement. I don’t know what it was; despair, anger, madness, one of those three. When I finally looked up, Christan held out his hand. I saw his face, full of pain and sympathy. But most of all, he looked frightened.
I took his hand, and I crushed it in my grip. “If Daniel dies because of you,” I repeated, ignoring his cries. “I will not hesitate to make every fibre of your being burst into flames. So I suggest that you stay a long distance away from me, if you want to live.”
“I don’t want him to die,” Christan said to me. “He’s the last person in this world I want dead, trust me my Lady, I wish him no harm.”
I gave him my poisonous smile again. “Then I think you understand my message,” I said sweetly. “Now go.”