I felt a throbbing sensation in the back of my skull. It was not pleasant neither was it painful.
I was filled with memories that both were and were not mine. It was disorienting, being able to remember two differing events from the exact same instant. It was not the same as my racial memories. They were more… muted. These were extremely vivid.
It took me a moment to realise that my brow was being wiped with cool water. I opened my eyes. Aiko was looking down at me. She noticed my eyes open and smiled. There was uncertainty in the expression.
“Thank you, Aiko,” I stated. “But I do have an inquiry.”
“Go ahead,” she said. She seemed more at ease.
“Why is my head in your lap?”
“I thought it would be a comfortable spot for you while Illy went to get a cleric,” Aiko answered. “You looked rough after you merged with… well, yourself.”
“It is a strange sensation,” I stated. “My mind is filled with vivid memories of the past few weeks. I am one place and I am another. I am working alongside you and Illyana while I am also beside Lynai, Tynan, Callie & Gabriel.”
“Are you still… you?” Aiko asked.
I took her hand gently in order to comfort her. “I am as you always knew me. I am just stronger and calmer. I am… whole.”
She seemed satisfied. It was not long before Illyana returned with a cleric in tow. “Michael, are you okay?” Her voice was filled with concern.
“I am disoriented,” I admitted. “But I am certain that I will quickly overcome it.”
“Let me just have a look at you,” the cleric said. She was trying her utmost to appear professional but was clearly uncomfortable with me. She examined me carefully, eventually removing me from Aiko’s lap in order to get a better look.
Her examination was thorough. She steadily pushed healing magic into me as she worked.
“You appear to be in excellent condition,” she said, seemingly satisfied. “I’d say your condition is an acute exhaustion.”
“So, he’ll be fine after some rest?” Illyana asked.
The cleric nodded. “I may not be an expert on draconians, but I’d wager good coin on it.”
“All right,” Tynan lumbered over. “I’ll carry him somewhere comfortable then.”
“And I’ll prepare some herbs to help him sleep,” Gabriel stated.
We spent nearly a fortnight looking after Michael. For a while, he didn’t seem to be improving. He was listless and barely mobile and we were very concerned.
Then he started moving more and more. He was starting to seem like the same man I’d met in the Great forest, almost. I say almost because he’d seemed a little cold back then. Now, he was more in touch with his emotional side. It was a nice change.
Aiko stayed close to him throughout his recovery. She had it bad. I couldn’t help but wonder if he felt the same way. He was kind to her, certainly, but showed no signs of being interested in her romantically.
Tynan and Gabriel stuck around even though Callie and I told them they could go at any time. Tynan would just mutter something about “smelling coins.”
“So, what are we going to do?” Callie asked.
She nudged me. “Let’s not play at ignorance. What are we going to do now that you’re free, the war is over and your friend is in a good spot?”
I thought about it. Truthfully, I was cherishing my quiet time in Wicadia with Callie. But I also knew, somewhere deep inside, where it was going to lead. “Callie, his people were wiped out,” I explained. “That’s a crime that has to…”
“Shhh,” Callie put a finger to my lips. “I know. You want to help him get justice. But have you thought about doing it another way? Sadow is a citizen of Strecner. My family is nobility in Strecner. If we push for an investigation into him…”
“You won’t find anything,” we both turned. Neither of us had noticed Gabriel behind us. “His kind always keep their dirt buried too deeply to uncover readily.”
“But with Michael as a witness…” Callie began.
“One unknown draconian against a revered Magi,” Gabriel interrupted. “We both know how that’ll go.”
“Well, we already beat one Magi,” I pointed out. “Maybe we can beat just one more.” I wanted to make them feel better, but I was full of doubts. Larick had let me beat him. I was certain of that much. Sadow wouldn’t be so accommodating.