Of course this would happen while Daedalus was gone and Quincy was completely hungover! What was wrong with these people?! How in the world did they even survive this long?
I turned on the ball of my foot and charged into the barn. “Quincy, Elmiryn needs you!” I yelled.
At her stall, Quincy looked up with evident surprise and dread. “What? Now?”
“Yes!” I snapped.
“Can’t someone else—?” Lethia started, suddenly pale and big-eyed.
“Do you know revival methods, or how much tincture to give?” I hissed at her.
“Well, neither does anyone else, so at the least, this cajeck needs to be there!”
Without waiting to hear Quincy’s reaction, I stood over her body, grabbed her under the armpits, lifted her up, and hefted her over my shoulder. The wizard yelped, but I didn’t pause. If this fucking warrior died on account of someone else being too drunk to help her…
Let’s just say Quincy’s body would have multiple resting places.
“Kali, I can walk!” Quincy shouted, pushing against the small of my back.
“Don’t care. You’re slow!” I grunted back.
I cleared the barn doors and charged for the tower, Hakeem and Lethia following close.
“It’s a heart attack, wizard. What do we need?!” I asked between puffing breaths.
Quincy gasped in pain. No doubt all this jostling was torture for her head. “Um, um— There’s a small case in the kitchen, to the left of the entryway on a shelf! There should be a vial of digitalis tincture that we can use—”
“Lethia!” I shouted as we came through the tower entrance.
“I’ve got it!” The girl exclaimed breathlessly as she veered a hard right into the kitchen.
“What about me?” Hakeem asked.
“Bring two buckets, one filled with water, the other empty. Also, whatever cloth you can find!” Quincy hollered as I carted her down the cellar steps. Her voice echoed on the narrow walls. “Leave it at the top of the stairs!”
“He can’t be involved, Quincy,” I growled.
“I know. We don’t need any of that,” she muttered. “I’m just trying to keep him busy.”
When we arrived at the bottom, it was to find Paulo kneeling at the edge of the containment circle.
“It’s all right, lia. Just hang on!” He said urgently to Elmiryn.
Lethia arrived a short moment after us. “Here is the vial,” she huffed, holding the small bottle up.
I set Quincy on her feet and the wizard reeled a little with a grimace as she tried to keep her balance. Lethia handed her the vial.
Paulo turned to us, and the weariness of a long night was evident on his glistening face. “She says her arms hurt and her chest feels tight! She’s having trouble breathing!”
I pointed at Elmiryn. “Help her, Quincy. Now!”
The wizard shook her head vehemently. “Are you mad?! I can’t go in there! She can smell the sake on my breath! Just my being here is problematic!”
“Your weakness was problematic,” I snapped. “This hesitance is dangerous!”
“Kali, she’s right,” Lethia said quickly. She gestured at Quincy. “She reeks of indulgence. Better that she guides from a distance. In fact…” She looked earnestly at Quincy. “May I borrow your knowledge?”
Quincy’s eyebrows lifted. “You can extract it safely?”
Lethia scowled. “I’ve had more training, you know!”
While they talked, I stepped closer to the containment circle, looking over Paulo to where Elmiryn lay, just near her sloppily reassembled hay bed. Her eyes were squeezed shut as she clutched at the front of her sweat-drenched shirt, her breaths coming in quiet but unnervingly quick takes. Her hair was a messy halo about her head.
“Are you sure?” Quincy asked Paulo next. “Did she seem lucid to you when she told you how she felt?”
“Lucid enough!” he snapped. “Just look at her!”
“I need to know for certain!” Quincy snarled. “Lethia will be at risk the moment she steps inside. She’s still healing herself!”
She had a point. Was this a ruse?
Quincy looked sharply at Lethia. “Can you read Elle’s mind?”
Lethia shook her head once. “No. Since the last time, her mind has become an impenetrable maelstrom!”
My nose flared, trying to sift through the sweaty, musty, vomit tainted air. Humans had a certain smell to them when they were in severe distress or suffering from illness. Elmiryn was still part human. Could I pick out that fresh scent of body failure, or would her fae nature deceive my nose?
If she smells differently from the last time we saw her, then we know this is true.
My jaw clenched.
But if she doesn’t…