Chapter 7: Autopsies, Cranky Physicians, and a New Assignment
Demon blood is green and acidic. Artemis stood in shock after being sprayed by what had been a demon before the princess had efficiently shot two large holes into it. Her monk’s robes started to sizzle and that’s what shook her out of the stupor.
The robes were comfortable and loose, they hid her shape and any indications that she wasn’t a man; and they were disintegrating. Between that and the burning on her skin she ran for the well.
There was already a monk at the well splashing people with water to wash off the demon blood.
“Take off your clothes, it’ll limit the damage,” The monk said.
Artemis had to make a decision at that point to either expose herself, in every way possible, or risk permanent scarring or damage. She started taking off her robes. Becoming a master wasn’t as important as protecting the world and the princess.
“All of you idiots stop what you’re doing,” The voice was gravelly and sounded annoyed. The man they came from had dark skin and a grey close cropped beard. He was shorter than Artemis by a head and was thin. Despite his size, he had no problem ordering, and being obeyed by, the fighting monks.
“We need to take these clothes off to avoid burns,” the monk at the well said. He was one of the older monks and didn’t take orders from anyone.
“Unless you neutralize the demon blood, it’ll soak into the ground and contaminate our water. I can both do that, clean, mend, and heal your monks with a simple spell. I don’t need to see their naked bodies while I do it.” He looked over at Artemis and waved his hand. The pain disappeared and her robes looked better than when she’d put them on that morning.
“Thank you Royal Physician,” Artemis said.
“Don’t be so formal, Master. Just call me Fred.”
“Thank you, Fred. But I’m not a master yet.”
He made rude noise and said, “You’re more qualified than these shmucks. Come with me,” They walked back to where the body of the demon was slowly melting. The Princess kneeled next to the body with thick gloves and appeared to be dissecting it. “Couldn’t help yourself Diana, huh? Had to get started?”
“It’s a darn good thing I started. With the pace you move, old man, the body would have dissolved by now.” The Princess looked up at him and they both smirked.
“Good. What have you found?” He bent down and picked up a set of gloves that matched the princess’s and they both started to rummage around inside the demon’s corpse.
They said a lot of science themed words but it might as well have been Troll for all she could understand. As they worked they put things in jars, took things out of jars, and scooped things back into jars. There were a lot of jars.
“Not a master. What do you think?”
“Don’t tease the poor boy,” the Princess said.
“My name is Arty and I have no idea what either of you was saying.”
“Arty huh?” Fred winked at her and continued, “We think that the acid in their blood is a by-product of the magic that lets them regenerate… heal.”
“Okay?” Arty didn’t understand how that was relevant.
The Princess explained, “If we can stop them from healing we’d have a better chance of defending ourselves. Fred thinks he can isolate something that we could tip our arrows with. I want you and,” she pointed at two guards, “you two, stay with him and protect him.”
Arty wasn’t sure if she should or if she could be assigned to the mage but when she questioned a senior Master, he told her to follow the princess. There was an odd avarice in the master’s look.
“Why the long face youngin?” Fred asked as they headed back to the castle. She’d expected some sort of fast transport but he was just walking.
“I’d rather not say.”
“Ah. You’re uncomfortable with the Monks gaining favour with the princess and even more so with you helping that along. I understand.”
“How did you know that?” He was right. She loved the fighting monk’s technics and they had some unique methods, but their pseudo religion based on emotional suppression and misogyny made her uncomfortable.
“Child. I’ve been a healer for three of your lifetimes. I’m very good at my job.” He winked at her. “What I don’t understand is why someone like you would want to become a monk. You started ten years older than most and have almost reached master-hood in less than a year. Frankly, you’re better than they are.”
“I… I’ve spent my life learning how to fight. I’m very good at it.” She smirked at him. “But there are countless orders like the monks that are renowned for excellence. I want to learn from them all.”
“You’ve done this before?” Their conversation was cut off by a scream. “Looks like the monks weren’t so special and the serum will have to wait.” He pointed at a guard, “Get a platoon and tell the princess that I’m going to help the villagers.”
“Sir, I was ordered to escort you to the castle.” The soldier stepped forward to grab the healer.
Artemis was going to block him but the healer said, “Touch me and I’ll make sure you die slowly, in the dungeons, and I’ll use your skull as a flowerpot. Do what I say or go complain to your major. Either way, deliver my message and leave me.” The man’s posture was almost comical. He was two heads shorter than the guard, wearing no armour but his scowl. It was effective. The guard turned and ran.
The royal physician and his now two guards headed towards the screaming.
“A flowerpot?” Artemis couldn’t keep the laughter from her voice.
His only response was an aggressive, “Bah,” and a smile.
If you’re enjoying this year’s serial story why not check out those from past years?