The skies turned bright thirty minutes later. While Daler kept a close eye on their surroundings, he’d gone around picking medicinal herbs for Mien and Howl. He’d been able to pinpoint useful plants that could curb bleeding and suppress infection among the pile of unruly weeds since he had a decade of experience under his belt. Daler had even found castor oil plants that could serve as a numbing agent; it was a plant that was sold at two sorres per stalk in the apothecaries and sundry stalls across the east coast. It felt like everything was going to be alright but there was bad news awaiting his return.
“The hawk is dead.” The life in Miran’s eyes was gone. The death of a summoned familiar was a great blow to its summoner’s mental ability, which could cause Miran to lose her consciousness temporarily or worse, lose part of her mental ability permanently and face a decline in capabilities. Her complexion was ghastlier than ever. Yet, the adverse effects of losing the hawk weren’t half as impactful as the underlying implications. If a winged monster capable of free flight had perished, what else could be said for Martin’s fate?
Miran just couldn’t catch a break. Before Team Dawnlight could even comfort her, Mien’s condition was worsening by the minute. The young man remained unconscious but his temperature was rising. His wounds were badly infected with pockets of pus while his fever continued to boil. Amputation was plausible if no medical attention was received soon.
Photomancers were known for healing spells but that speciality was limited for actual elementalists. Miran wasn’t a photomancer; she merely had an overall affinity towards photomancy but the only healing spell she was capable of was the simplest Ball of Light. Strictly speaking, the Ball of Light couldn’t be considered a healing spell since it was mainly used against shadowmancers and reanimated corpses. It was only capable of soothing and disinfecting the surface of the wound to a certain extent.
“Here, feed him this potion. This will at least save him from amputation!” Kristin produced a vial from her spatial ring. It was a pale green medicinal potion formulated with Botanian Essence, gifted by Locke. Mien’s wounds were horrific; the right half of his body was completely mauled, which offered peeks of ghastly bones between torn flesh. It was fortunate that the night leopards hadn’t done that to his left cavity. Gloom dawned upon the crowd following the hawk’s death. Everyone feared for the worst.
They began moving to the other mountain when Locke hadn’t returned thirty minutes later. Lunch consisted of some simple roasted mushrooms that they found in the outermost radius of Depan Forest. The area wasn’t as dangerous since there were only regular wild beasts lurking around.
Mien’s condition had visibly improved with the potion, though his high fever remained. At least his wounds stopped worsening.
“What exactly is in that potion, Frau Kristin?” Howl inched over to question. The amazing potency of the Botanian essence potion was beyond his comprehension. How could such a small dosage save Mien from the brink of death? That was nothing short of a miracle.
“And why should I tell you anything?” Kristin rolled her eyes, promptly ignoring Howl to comfort Miran. The female Lehrling’s brother was in a precarious situation and her lover’s fate remained unknown; Miran needed concern and love.
It was soon three in the afternoon and Locke was still nowhere to be seen. Kristin and Laffey grew worried. There was nothing they could do apart from waiting patiently since there weren’t any means of real-time transmission.
“I should’ve asked Sister Angelina to teach me mana transmission if I knew this would happen,” Kristin lamented to herself.
By four in the afternoon, despair reared its ugly head. It was then that a black mass emerged in the distance.
“It’s Fermoss!” Kristin shot up from her position. Laffey quickly followed her line of sight.
While the name rang no bells, the girls’ excited expressions were an obvious sign of Locke’s return. As the black mass eventually came closer, Team Dawnlight could finally recognise that it was indeed the huge major monster that Locke rode off with earlier.
There were blood clots all over its inky scales, an indication that a fierce battle had taken place not too long ago. Kristin and Laffey ran their eyes worriedly over the scratched surface of Fermoss’ carapace and Locke while Team Dawnlight zoomed in onto the bloodied person behind.
“Martin!” Miran gingerly passed her brother into Daler’s waiting arms and dragged herself to the scorpiondrake.
Locke carefully handed Martin over to the relieved members. “I found him alive in a tree hollow. He was barely breathing but I managed to stabilise him with some potions,” He said. No one was surprised that he possessed potent potions since Kristin was able to offer one as well.
“Oh, that reminds me. I found this in the same place too.” Locke pulled out a monster carcass from his spatial ring; it was the bloodlust hawk. The hawk’s skull was completely chewed open and its nucleus core was gone. Needless to say, it had most probably ended up in some major monster’s belly. Its perpetrators were none other than the two night leopards, from which Locke had, in turn, harvested a myriad of useable parts.
Team Dawnlight was beyond grateful to have Martin back alive. They considered themselves incredibly lucky to have only lost a familiar to the bloody monster wave. The group stayed another night on the fringes of Depan Forest and began rushing towards the nearest civilisation when morning came. Martin and Mien were gravely injured and they were in dire need of medical assistance.
“I’m terribly sorry that we’re unable to see our task through,” Miran apologised as soon as they reached Fortman City. “We’ll compensate you for the trouble-”
“It’s alright.” Locke interrupted her. “These are unforeseen circumstances and your compensation is of no use to me. Keep the money to get help for your friends instead, alright?”
It was true that Team Dawnlight required money since the concoctions for Mien and Martin’s recovery would cost a year’s worth of savings. There were many occupational hazards for an adventurer and they burnt through their savings like crazy. Locke stubbornly refused every penny Team Dawnlight offered, and they bid each other farewell in Fortman City. Locke, Kristin and Laffey then hitched a ride with some merchant convoy to the nearest economic hub, Krimea City.
Two months later, a knight in a suit of armour strode into an establishment on the Hafman Avenue of Krimea City. “Old Korr, I brought you some good stuff!” The knight shouted at the counter.
A bespectacled silver-haired old man soon emerged from behind the curtains. “Oh, Locke! What do you have this time?” The old man brought out a thick book from under the counter.
“Take a look.” Locke brought out a blue parcel from his spatial ring and threw it onto the counter. Bam! The counter rattled under its weight.