Clinging to Daylight [Enfai] Jul 11, 2015 21:11:52 GMT -6
Post by HARUKO SUGIHARA on Jul 11, 2015 21:11:52 GMT -6
‘What does that healer mean to do?’ he wondered–a breeze brushing by and lifting the heaviness of the evening from the Jade Court. The clouds billowed in the sky, pressing fast across the moon. ‘I will see,’ he thought before he walked again, pensive. ‘I will see.’
The chamber came to crashing—the physicians barked orders, harsh and panicking, as they fought the Prince down—his wordlessness broke suddenly with deep, wet coughing, he choked on his own gasps between each cough. He spat blood; lines of pink spittle stretching between his lips. Haruko shuddered, her eyes wide, as she managed to look away and watch Enfai work the pestle and mortar silently. Her concentration unwavering even in the eye of the storm. The smell of good greenness and kind woods had chased the Kirin girl since the moment Haruko met her—it probably always did, as the latent mark of her particular heritage. But as she worked, a distinct smell of roses and lavender rose from the pulp she ground, the floral notes interlacing with something else—
The tincture was ready, and Enfai took a silver spoon to the pulp, bright and wet as moss—a blurring light lingering in her bowl. She stepped forward—and the Master Physician stepped between her and the Clan Prince.
“Wait—” Haruko protested. “—Let her! Let her, please—” The Master Physician shook his head, as the Lady Shionoya herself moved from her shock at the turn in her husband’s health.
“Haruko,” she began. “This young woman—you brought her?”
“I—I did,” Haruko insisted. “She can help—please let her, please—”
“I will not, princess—the Clan Prince is too vulnerable for untested methods—”
“I permit this,” Lady Shionoya interrupted. “I permit this. Please give her all assistance.”
The tone of the room changed immediately; the attendants maneuvering to hold the Prince still as his chest pumped with the bellows of his lungs, his gasping shallow and sharp, hissing air, each breath weaker than the last—
—Until the tincture touched his lips. For a long moment, the Prince did not breathe at all—his eyes rolled back in his skull before he closed his lips and swallowed. He slumped against his attendant physicians, his breathing quiet—his eyes still open, and focused on the healer at his side. He coughed again, once, clearing his lungs, and his gaze grew unsteady and he slipped into an easy stillness. His face calm and free from strain, his eyelids half-open and shivering.
“Did-did it work?” someone asked.
Lady Shionoya dropped her hand on Enfai’s shoulder—a worn but still regal woman towering over the half-kirin child in her chamber. The golden robes of her clan hung limp and dull from her shoulders under the black fall of her hair. “If it did not, will he be—will he be peaceful? Will he?”
“Sumiko, don’t say that! Don’t say that!” Haruko said, tears on the edge of her voice. “It worked, didn’t it, Enfai?”
“If it didn’t work,” the Master Physician interrupted, his attendants cluttered around him and the two Princesses. He reared up, territorial before the Kirin girl. “We cannot allow this—charlatan to trick the great ladies of the Shionoya any longer—”
“Eito, please!” Lady Shionoya said fiercely. “Not at this moment, please—”
“Enfai is not a charlatan!” Haruko snapped over her sister-in-law at the physician. She knew she had no cause to believe that, but her heart wanted it badly. “She—it did work! Enfai—”
“Your name is Enfai?” The intruding voice was low and clear. The Clan Prince had risen from his futon, a thick blanket tangled about him, his face drawn and his dark hair matted. Age and sleeplessness had settled on him suddenly, and the undersides of his eyes hung gray. Blood still streaked his chin, and he wiped it away with his thumb.
Nobody else in the room spoke, as if a ghost had called from the bedside.
The Clan Prince blinked, his eyes red and tearing still. He sighed, and said: “I am tired.” He watched Enfai—uncertainly, swaying between awareness and oncoming slumber. He seemed to watch the Kirin girl especially closely, his mouth a firm line, as if he sensed her urgency to escape, a need he did not misunderstand. “Will you wait until morning, Enfai? I—I want to speak to you when I am well.”