By the time I'd been there almost a week, I was so
done with this medical stuff. After the incident in the kitchens, that professor who had listed the bounty realized I actually DID know how to control healing magic. He had Sheeba (his assistant and my new friend) and Kori (the quiet girl who taught me on my first day) both crack down and do double shifts with me. The only breaks I got were for meals and sleep. And man
did I sleep. Some of those text books were horribly
boring! The magic use was straining my stamina to the limit, too.
During the lessons that I spent under Kori's tutelage, if she was having me do book work or a test or something, her and Jace would sit at the opposite end of the room talking quietly together. Lovely... My lone compadre in this sea of unknown people and he was more concerned with flirting with one of my temporary teachers.
Occasionally, the girls would put me in labs with other students. From them, I learned that classes were not held on the weekends. My heart hardly contained my joy at that discovery. So when the weekend rolled around, I was really looking forward to some time off. Alas, I was not an average student; I was a special case. At the crack of dawn, Saturday morning, there was knocking at my door. Sheeba wanted me down in one of the libraries as soon as possible. I sighed and dressed.
The library in question was way on the far end of the school, out by the west gate. It was old seeming, even by library standards, and the light that came through the high windows was diminished by a slow storm of dust particles floating in the morning light.
"Do you know why people choose to come to this school?" she asked me, skimming through an old tome.
"To learn healing, I guess," I shrugged.
"There are five Master Medical Spells to rescue a person from the brink of death," Sheeba explained. "Most places that teach healing magic will only focus on teaching one or two of the five, because they are very difficult. We at the Barton School teach all of them."
I blinked, impressed. "Wow... So I guess a lot of people sign up to learn them all, huh?"
"Do you remember your encounter with the employee who was injured in the kitchen?" she asked.
"Did anyone appear ready to jump in and aid you?"
"Those who are blessed with the greatest healing magics are often the most quiet and reserved sort of people. They don't run head-first into any kind of situation; they rely on leaders and sound thinkers. If they are operating within the confines of a hospital or medical aid building, they are given specific parameters to follow and that is their comfort zone. Very few magic healers are brave enough to run out and make judgment calls on their own in any other environment. So no, not a lot of people are brave enough to learn the five Master Medical Spells, because that would mean they're then responsible for knowing when and how to use them properly. Of those who do
, they are often in such high demand that only the wealthiest of patrons can secure their time and talents."
"Your time here is coming to an end," Sheeba said. "I'm sorry, but we won't be teaching you the five spells."
"That's alright," I said quietly. "It would have been nice, but..." I gave a nervous laugh. "I'm novice material, right? And you've got important students who're learning that stuff and have been at it for years, so-"
"You will learn them on your own."
I stopped mid-thought. "Pardon?"
"You aren't a normal healer," Sheeba said, "You're a mageling. Your capacity for magic is on a different scale than most. But in order to learn them, you must know what they are so that you can recognize when you're advancing."
With a small nod, I said, "What are they?"
Sheeba took a deep breath and pointed to a section in the book she'd been flipping through. "One completely restores the damage done to a body," she pointed to the first heading and a diagram with it. "One keeps the circular system going," she pointed to the next heading and picture. "One keeps the breathing steady and oxygen conversions going, no matter what state the patient's breathing capabilities are at; one keeps enough activity going in the brain for it to be running on it's lowest, safe level of activity; and the last one, the hardest one, borders on necromancy because it has to grasp the actual soul before it makes it to the other side and tie it back to its original body. We have special teachers for that one, because it qualifies more as a holy spell than a standard healing spell."
She sat back and let me examine the five diagrams for a moment.
"Usually the most a healing mage can manage to master is one or two of the five spells. Because of that, if a situation arises where someone needs to be healed using all five of them, it means they're someone important who can afford good healing mages, and a team of them is brought in from the local clinic."
Sheeba held up one finger. "Remember that; teams can accomplish great things — in work, in magic, and in life. If you have access to a team for accomplishing a task, use them. Never take on more of a workload than is absolutely necessary, because it would put a heavy strain on yourself. More than one healer has permanently damaged their own magic by going above and beyond what they were capable of."
That honestly frightened me. Magic often knocked me out for a while. It was a tiring thing.
"How do you know where the line is for safety?" I asked.
She shook her head. "It's different for everyone. I expect yours is pretty high. Nothing you could accomplish as you are now will damage you, I don't think. But be mindful, when you're older, that if you should try something like
managing more than one of the five master healing spells at the same time, the more heavy magic you juggle, the greater the risk to yourself will be."
I nodded. "Okay."
She closed the book and handed it to me. "This outlines the basics of all five aspects. You may need to research them further as you go. But once you grasp what you have to do, with your
type of magic, it's all a matter of commitment and confidence. Find something worth fighting for and let it fuel your magic. The key to mastering any kind of magic, healing or otherwise, is to have a clear picture of who and what you are."
I nodded again and accepted the book. "Thank you."
Sheeba smiled. "You need to go back to your suite and change into your normal clothes, now. Your captain and crew just got into town."
My heart sped up. "They're back?!" (I'd forgotten until just then that Sheeba was also telepathic. I suppose she had sensed the others' return.)
Sheeba grinned. "Yes. And I believe you'll find Mister Jace in the sunrise café saying goodbye to Kori."
With a laugh I spun around and headed back to my room.
By the time Crim and the others made it to the gate, I'd dressed and gotten Jace. He was slow to follow, not wanting to leave Kori — who apparently had a mutual interest in him, so I left him to follow at his own pace and went down to meet them myself. At first I lost track of where they had gotten to, but Crim's bright red jacket matches my own and stands out in a crowd. He was blazing a trail across the grounds with a purposeful stride, heading toward the offices — probably to go turn in that bow the bounty was for.
"CRIM!" I shouted, running to catch up.
He turned, caught sight of me, and broke into a smile of his own. I might have put a little too much effort into trying to catch up with them, because when I got there I damn near collided with him. Crim didn't seem to mind. He turned with the momentum and switched my crashing hug into a spin.
"How'd it go?" I asked.
"Took forever to find it, but here we are. You?"
I groaned. "I hate school."
Crim laughed and hugged me. "So are you a full fledged healer now?"
"Apparently, far from it," I sighed. "But I'm further along now than I was a week ago. And they taught me what I need to know to learn on my own."
"Good, good," Crim nodded. "Progress toward becoming an arch-mage level magic user is always good." He roughed up my hair in a playful way.
"I missed you," I said into his jacket. He smelled like home.
He let out a small laugh. "I missed you, too, mageling."
Master level healing magic was probably the furthest thing from my mind right then, but if learning it meant I was useful to Crim... I guess I could keep at it. I really had