Chapter 22

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Pale knuckles tapped gently on the heavy wooden door and alerted Nairi to the presence of a visitor. She wrapped her slick fingers around the handle and pulled the door open just enough to peer at the other side. Janus silently bowed his head to her—a gesture which she returned before allowing him into the dark room.

Seated at a desk on the far end was Rehor, who hastily scribbled away with his quill as he muttered fragmented medical terms to himself. So enthralled was he in his work that he did not notice their guest until Janus stood directly beside him.

"Ah, good morning, Lord Janus." He placed the quill in the inkwell.

"Good morning, Rehor." Janus turned to the rows of beds, most of which were empty. "I see that Haven has ceased the delivery of any newly found afflicted during this approaching crisis."

"Yes. Though I do worry about the lasting effects that the delay in treatment will have on them once they are finally sent here."

"Have you been in communication with the spital regarding how they plan to evacuate the afflicted in their care?"

"I sent one of the goblins with a missive just this morning."

Rehor turned at his waist and rested an arm on the back of the chair.

"Speaking of the goblins; what of the meals for the afflicted?"

"I inquired with Smaul this morning and he said that they've already begun preparations. Everyone will remain as well fed as they would be in the asylum."

"Excellent. Thank you for checking with him in my stead."

The pairs watched as Nairi slid across the floor and the residual droplets left trailing in her wake were drawn back into her form. She checked a folded towelette on one of the afflicted's foreheads and used a slightest bit of water magic from her fingertips to restore the moisture that had dissipated. With a gentle tap, she placed it back on their forehead and returned the faint smile they gave her.

"Most of the afflicted will fare well, so long as they remain in the covered carts." Rehor drummed dark fingers on the desk. "Unfortunately, those in the inner chambers may need an induced coma, as the stress coupled with the daylight may irritate them and cause regression."

"Do you have the sedative necessary to induce a coma?"

"Not enough of it. I wanted your permission to use the transmutation room to concoct additional doses."

"Of course. I'll be certain to leave the south door unlocked."

"Thank you, Lord Janus."

"If there is nothing else, then I will take my leave to go tend to my family."

"Ah." Rehor raised a single finger. "As a matter of fact, there is one more thing."

He pointed to Janus's waist with the same finger.

"Your wound; how is it already fully healed?"

Janus's brow twitched with confusion as he brought his hand to where his wound had once been. For how accurate Rehor's assumption was, Janus nearly expected it to be exposed.

"A wasted effort to attempt hiding anything from you, eh?"

"I am a doctor, Lord Janus."

"But certainly not a conventional one." He returned his arm to his side. "Ellie... offered her blood to me last night."

"And you didn't take a sample for me?"

Were it not for Rehor's low laugh, Janus might have thought he was serious. As it was, he was terribly confused by the humor and felt as though he were missing part of a larger image.

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