Chapter 53

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They broke through the trees and into a clearing. There were wooden buildings that surrounded an open fire pit. They went through them and further away to a bigger building. This was where they carried the sick people. It was a good distance away from the other buildings.

People stared at them as they walked through. Hailie ignored them. She'd deal with the questions and whatever else it was after. As long as she didn't meet Keagan things would be fine. She should disappear quickly before he heard that she'd come back.

Geron, the healer of the village, was sitting on a chair by the table holding a screaming boy in his arms. He looked much older since she last saw him.

"Hailie? What are you doing here? We thought you were dead," he said. He looked down at the child who couldn't have been much older than one year. "Stop it. You have to eat this."

"Who is he?" Hailie asked.

"My grandson. His mother needed to do something and asked me to look after him. The poor boy is sick but he refuses to eat the porridge with the medicine," Geron said. For a man with five children, he looked hopelessly lost.

"Give him to me," Hailie said. She took the boy from him and held him up so they were both on eye level. "Listen to me. You will stop this crying and you will eat every last mouthful of this porridge and that is final." The boy had stopped crying and was captivated by her voice. She held him in one arm and took the spoon from Geron. She stuck it into his mouth without any complaint coming from him.

"You haven't lost your touch," Geron said, amazed. "All I had to do was tell him he didn't have a choice and stick it in his mouth."

"Geron, that man is dying and we need this to save him. Do you have any?" Hailie asked. She handed him the bag with the moss.

"No. This grows in Brook's territory and you know how he is. If he finds out we want this he'll keep it to himself and raise the price, and we won't get it for at least two weeks and from the looks of this man, he doesn't have that long. Put him down over there and I'll see if I have anything that can work."

The Captain gently rested Eli down on one of the cots. The building was empty. That was always something good.

"I need to go and tell Minerva you're here. She'll be happy to see you," Cowal said. He excused himself and left.

Geron only grunted in reply as he opened Eli's shirt and started to examine him.

"This is a jellyfish sting," Geron said, more a statement than a question but the Captain answered yes anyway. "How long ago did this happen?"

"The day before yesterday," the Captain said. Hailie had thought it happened yesterday. It was a good thing the Captain was there to help answer the questions.

"What type?"

"Big. The water was dark so I could not see it clearly but I have never seen such a large jellyfish before. It would take up this entire room," Hailie said.

"Don't you have a doctor on board the ship? Why is he burning up? He must be an incompetent fool," Geron said.

"I'm the doctor on the ship you old geezer." Celeste was leaning against Shen in the doorway. She really seemed to like making her entrance known. She looked out of breath from the walk and her jacket was zipped straight up to her neck. Shen helped her over to a chair. She rubbed her leg where she'd gotten the slash. "And for your information it would have been worse if I hadn't used up all my herbs making cataplasms to keep it down."

"You should have poured basil down his throat."

"Basil? Did you even think to ask if he could have basil? No matter what basil is in, even if he doesn't know it's in there, he starts throwing up the minute it goes down his throat and gets hives all over his skin. Basil would just make everything worse."

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