Chapter Forty-Seven

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Guin opened her eyes, and saw the dawn. It was the color lavender and blushing peaches.

For what felt like ages, she lay flat on her back and watched the clouds drift like sidewalk chalk scribbles on the sky. She felt oddly peaceful, as if all of her sharp edges had been swathed in cotton wool--but it was a fragile sort of tranquility. She knew it would break soon.

And it did, but slowly. It began with her hands. A deep, throbbing pain that gnawed at her palms. Soon, her feet joined in. Then her knees, legs, spine, and ribs. Her head was soon to follow, pulsing with the kind of migraine that could drive the sanest mortal to suicide. The chorus of pain now complete, Guin closed her eyes and fervently wished she was dead.

Instead of doing the decent thing and dying, her body decided it had to pee.

Bloody stupid bladder.

Could she sit up? Was it even possible? Dying really did seem like a better option...

"Guin?"

She cracked one eye open and saw a concerned, freckled face peering down at her.

"Hey Kipper," she croaked. "Please go find a large rock to put me outta my misery."

Kip glanced over his shoulder. "She's awake! Guin's awake!"

His raised voice sent a lance of agony through Guin's brain. She squeezed her eyes shut again and moaned.

There was a shuffling kerfuffle of footsteps and voices, followed by a silence that was almost as loud. When she couldn't stand the suspense any longer, Guin forced her eyes open again.

Standing above her in a circle, their heads haloed by sunrise, were Mogra, Droom, Kip, and Talon. Zolga and Lorn were nowhere to be seen.

"Mornin', lass," Mogra said, bending down and smiled warmly. "Decided t'join th'land o'the livin' again, 'ave ye?"

"I'd rather not, actually," Guin rasped. "Life sucks." She thought for a moment, then added, "But I gotta pee."

"Let's get ye up then," Mogra said, and reached down to grasp her shoulders.

As she forced her abdominal muscles to pull her into a sitting position, Guin bit back a cry. Tears sprang unbidden to her eyes. It felt like someone had danced all over her unconscious body with hobnail boots, then dragged her up a downward-running escalator. Oh, and the broken glass. She'd almost forgotten that.

"Aaaarruuuhhhaarrrggghhhh."

"Steady now, lass."

"Can I help?" Kip asked, looking stricken. He was wearing a vest that was way too large for him. It took a second for Guin to realize that was because it was Droom's.

"Nay," Mogra rubbed Guin's back with gentle circular motions. "We're fine, aren't we, lass?"

"Nnnhhrrrrgh."

"Just take it slow, now."

Talon, looming over them like a haggard goddess of exhaustion and rage, scowled down at Guin. "We did our best to remove all the glass, but without a proper kit there's only so much that we can do. Do you feel feverish? Dizzy?"

Guin cleared her throat. "Uh-huh. Urk."

Talon's scowl deepened, and she glanced sidelong at Mogra. "Are her wounds getting infected? We don't need another..."

Mogra made a tut-tut sound and pursed her lips. It was so weird, Guin thought, seeing her beardless. She still couldn't shake the feeling that Mogra's face was naked without it. The tiny cuts and scratches had scabbed over, speckling her chin and cheeks with red marks.

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