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18. Bacon and Pancakes

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Chapter 18. Bacon and Pancakes

Jacob took in a deep breath, a familiar musty-wood smell entering his nose, then turned around. He was in the big tree in Taga Village, and none of the Lorkon had followed him. Letting out the air, he stood still, allowing his mind to relax from the stress it had just experienced. He shifted Akeno’s position, put the Key in its box, then made himself go outside.

The sun had almost set, casting long shadows all over the canyon. He was grateful it was almost night. His eyes ached from a headache that had built up behind them, and he looked forward to having as little light around him as possible.

Forcing his legs to continue to hold him up, he limped toward the side of the village. “Help! Is anyone there?”

“Jacob?” a voice called to him from the ledge. It was Ebony. “Oh, Jacob, you’re back, you’re back!” She began crying, calling out for Brojan and Kenji. Kenji rushed to her side, then saw Jacob. “Help him,” Brojan said to a few Makalo men who had gathered.

Jacob raised Akeno as high as his arms would let him, and one of the men climbed down and lifted him the rest of the way.

Climbing as carefully as he could, Jacob pulled himself over the top. One of the men supported him as he rushed with Kenji, Ebony, and Brojan to Akeno’s house.

Kenji laid Akeno on the table and he and Ebony went to work, acting as a team to cleanse Akeno’s leg. Ebony soaked strips of cloth, then handed them to Kenji, who wiped the ooze from Akeno’s leg. Pretty soon the leg was as clean as they could get it. Kenji poured the rest of the liquid into the main part of the wound, which had expanded to cover Akeno’s entire lower leg.

Kenji glanced at Ebony with a worried expression on his face. “If the fever doesn’t break—”

“Wait!” Ebony gasped. “I think we might have—” She ran out of the room, still talking, her voice muffled by the wall. “Potion . . . you . . . last time . . .” She came back, carrying a very familiar vial. “I saved this.”

Kenji relaxed. “Oh, thank goodness . . . here, let me.” Using an extra cloth, he wiped up the liquid he’d poured in Akeno’s sore, then put a couple of drops from the vial into the wound. He then forced Akeno’s jaw open and poured the rest of the liquid in his mouth.

Ebony wrapped the sore with strips of cloth, then hurried out of the room, returning with her arms full of sheets. Kenji took a couple and handed them to Jacob. “Wrap him as tightly as you can from head to foot.”

Jacob started at Akeno’s head, leaving a space around his nose to breath. Ebony started at his midsection, and Kenji at his feet. Brojan held the sheets in place until they were secured.

“The sheets hold in his body heat—heat the potion needs in order to be activated.” Kenji turned to Ebony. “How long did it take for me to heal?”

“Two minutes, maybe more. His situation is fairly similar to yours.” She put her arm around her husband. “He’ll be fine.” She smiled at Jacob. “Last time, I was the one stressing over whether Kenji would live, but I didn’t need to stress. The Fat Lady really knows her stuff.”

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