"Ouch, my head..." Shaun sat down as he moved a hand to the side of his skull, it throbbed madly, as if his heart had taken residence besides his brain.
"Please don't move, you haven't healed yet." the voice made him turn his head rather abruptly, something not so agreeable when you feel your mind's about to twine in half. "Your wounds might open again."
The voice was sweet yet deep, powerful yet kind, fluent yet sharp. Shaun was forced to look downwards and hold his head between his hands due to the pain from seeing a bright light at the entrance of the room, but he soon felt her soft delicate hands on his skull, and a bit of green hair made its way into his vision.
A soft warmth emanated from the woman, as if she had a tiny sun hidden somewhere within; her touch felt almost magical, the pain instantly easing away and the throbbing weakening with every second her hands touched him. As if making Shaun do it herself, she slowly laid him back on the bed, covering him with the sheets and placing a damp cloth on his forehead.
"You were in a rather awful state when I found you." she began to explain, though Shaun's eyes were still slowly adjusting to the light, he was trying to make out her features aside from the long bluish green hair. "It looked like you rolled all the way from the top of the mountain."
"Mountain?" Shaun tasted the word for a second, his brain started to kick in and the memory came back after a couple attempts. "Mountain!" he almost screamed, trying to sit back up, but the woman's hands pinned him back before he could even move a finger, she was quite strong despite the size of her hand. "Where am I?"
"You're in a small hut in the mountain." she spoke while keeping her hand on his chest, as if making sure he wouldn't move. "Were you to continue downhill, you'd reach the village of Greogonitch within a couple of days."
"What country?" Shaun insisted. "Or kingdom, what's the name?"
"We're on the lands of Light, also known as the kingdom of Frejut." she replied, her tone of voice clearly showed she was somewhat confused by his question. "Why do you ask?"
"Seems I'm no longer in Kansas anymore." Shaun let out a long sigh as he covered his eyes for a second, trying to make the pain from seeing so much light dissipate.
"Kansas?" the woman asked, curious. "I have never heard of that place before, do you come from this Kansas you speak of?"
"Not really, it's just a figure of speech." Shaun explained. "A way of saying I'm no longer in home." he paused for a second. "Or Earth in that matter."
"Earth?" she hesitated. "Is it not what trees grow from?, the soil and the dirt and the mud?" she added. "We are not floating in large rocks like the wyvern cities of the north, nor are we in a place covered in metal as the dwarvish lands of the west."
"Earth's the name of the world I come from." Shaun hurried to state as the information she was handing him seemed all too far fetched. "But I guess this world goes by another name." he sighed loudly while trying to make his brain fully come back into its full working capacity. "...next time a crazy old gipsy tells me about not breaking a cursed amulet, I'll heed her words."
"Gipsy?" once again, the woman seemed as intrigued by his words as all the other times.
"Never mind." Shaun tried to vent out some of his frustration, but being forced to lay back on a bed didn't help much. "Who are you anyway?"
He managed to uncover his eyes with enough luck to find that they had finally gotten used to the unusual amount of light in the room; much to his shock, he found that the room he was in didn't have much of a roof, no roof at all to be more precise, even when the walls and door were perfectly made out of wood, which somehow reminded him of a cabin of sorts.
"Oh, so sorry for not introducing myself earlier, my name is Anila." she said, Shaun noticed she wasn't within his perimeter of sight, so he had to turn his head to see her properly.
"Sh...Shaun..." the young man mumbled back.
He felt somewhat shocked at seeing a nearly naked girl who seemed to solely wear a shirt that barely made it low enough to cover her behind; it also shocked him to realize that not only was her hair of an unhuman bluish green that nearly reached her ankles, but also that her ears seemed to poke their way through the wildly combed hair, making her skull seem almost half a foot wider with the lengthened ears, almost like that of what he'd imagined to be an elf.
She turned around, carrying a tray made out of wood, and with what looked like several plants and some sort of stone made cup with steaming water; her face was delicate, thin to say the least, with a small perky nose and almond shaped eyes colored like the sky itself, yet seemingly deeper.
"Is that my shirt?" Shaun asked as he recognized the drawing on the front, and realizing he wasn't wearing his shirt anymore.
"I fear so." she replied while sitting on a stool besides the bed. "I know not of your customs, but I believe going about naked isn't well seen." she paused for a second, sinking some of the herbs into the cup. "I do hope I'm not offending you by wearing something of your property."
"Actually, I was wondering why was my shirt the only thing you've got to wear." Shaun answered. "You know, having a house and all, I'd have guessed you'd have clothes of your own."
"I do not posses clothes of my own since I'm a dragon." she simply stated while dipping her fingers on the strange tea, then gently touching Shaun's forehead and massaging the warm liquid around the skin and hair. "As a matter of fact, I constructed this house to keep you warm and safe while you recovered; though I couldn't make the roof since I didn't have the time to do it." she hesitated for a second while turning back to the patient. "You've been extremely feverish and ill for the past three days, no amount of magic seemed to heal you so my only option was doing it through the potions and herbs."
"That actually created quite more questions than it answered." Shaun mumbled as he tried to clear his head. "You're a dragon?"
"Sure am." she had stopped rubbing the hot tea onto Shaun's scalp, and was now dipping something else in it. "You don't have a problem with that, right?"
For a fraction of a second, Shaun noticed her hands tensing up around the cup, and her sight seemingly changing into one that was both sad and neutral. "Not really, it's just that... well, I imagined something else." Shaun honestly answered, not fully aware of the change in mood that had occurred. "Where I come from, the legends describe dragons a bit more... scaly."
"Oh, it's just that..." Shaun noticed she sighed in relief. "I thought it best to take this form while healing you, not much I can do in my real body." she smiled broadly while she dipped her fingers again, now working on his ribs; it felt nice, and the warmth didn't seem to dissipate, rather enter his body and keep it inside him. "So you come from another world?"
"If what you've said so far is true, then yes." he stared at her for a moment, she seemed rather concentrated on rubbing the hot water onto his chest, which wasn't unpleasant by the least, though still felt somewhat odd. "You never heard about other worlds?"
"Only in myths and legends." she barely answered while looking at him in the eye for a second; Shaun's face lit up and felt as hot as the surface of the sun, even at his nineteen years of age, he had never thought it was possible for a girl to look at him in such manner. "It seems your fever's back, I'll go damp the cloth again."
Shaun felt like a ten year old, he hadn't blushed that hard since he could remember, and to make things worse it had been just because she had stared at him; there was something about her that just seemed so... pure that it made him just... react.
Had he been pushed to put it into words, he'd have had described as when he was a small child, and one day he was playing in the park and fell down and hurt his knee, the lady gave him a band-aid and kissed his knee; back then, he had thought of her to be so pretty and kind he... well, felt like he had just felt right then; even though she seemed almost his age.
"Um...Anila was it?, don't worry, it's not the fever." he hurried to say before she could get to wherever the water was. "I'm fine already, see?"
"Odd." she placed her tender hand on his forehead, something that nearly made him react again, though he barely managed to hold it down a bit. "Was that just now what's commonly known as a *blush*?" her words hit home, and Shaun now blushed once more though this time out of sheer embarrassment. "Interesting." she stated as she smiled kindly at him. "It seems you've been infatuated by my human form."
"I am not!" was all he could muster to say, while trying to hide the fact she had once again hit home.
"Is that so?" her kind smile became a bit more devilish as she leaned closer, her face coming nearer to his as her soft, tender breasts pressed against his chest. "Dragons are scarce in this lands, and certain... needs remain unfulfilled for very longs periods of time..." she almost purred the words into his ear, it made him shudder at the mere thought of it. "Perhaps you'd be willing to help me in quelling a certain itch I have?"
At this point, Shaun's face took a red color so deep it seemed to spread all the way to his neck; his lips tightly shut as he felt the heat that had once been placed on his chest spread out like a wild fire across his face and the rest of his body. But before he could open his mouth to let out a protest, Anila flicked a finger and hit his nose, snapping him out of the haze as she giggled while getting off his chest.
"Cute." was all she said before heading for the only door and leaving before Shaun could even make a word with his lips trembling out of sheer embarrassment and even a hint of rage. "I'll be back in a while."
He thanked being alone for his own thoughts. Shaun attempted to make out some sense out of what he had just learned, and not much was added to the little things he knew.
Though after about half an hour talking to himself he tired of so much thinking and realized Anila hadn't come back yet; he tried to be patient about it, but soon he found no signs of her coming back even after two full hours of wait.
Unable to resist anymore, he stood up from the bed, and used the covers to substitute for the lack of shirt, as he walked towards the door. The pain had been reduced to nothing, and the only thing he felt odd was the lack of shoes and socks he was certain were hidden somewhere nearby.
Opening the door resulted in a somewhat intense shock, rather than the rest of the hose, he found himself face to face with the forest itself; it was somewhat thick, though the cabin was placed in a clearing, so it was easy to go out and around the wooden walls. "She built this only to heal me?" he wondered to himself as the only wooden structure was the room he had been kept in. "Kinda wasting energy if you ask me." pausing for a second, he stared at the logs that had been used, no one man could've done that cabin alone, even less in a day. "Though I must admit it's well made."
"Of course it was well made." a finger tapped him on the back of the head, forcing him to turn around. "Not only did a dragon make it, but said dragon made it with the sole intention of said place be perfect for you to heal in." it was Anila, obviously, she was carrying a basket with some strange looking herbs in them. "Aside from the missing roof, I'd say it's better built than most wooden built human establishments."
"The roof's kinda important when you want to build something." Shaun stated. "You know, to keep the warmth inside and avoid getting everything wet."
"It matters not when you use dragon magic." Anila grabbed him by the ear, and completely ignoring his complains, almost dragged him all the way back inside. "Even less if the patient attempts suicide."
"C'mon, I was just moving around a bit." Shaun complained as his ear was released when he sat down on the bed. "Being stuck on a bed an unable to move weakens the body."
"You say that because you know not what your illness is." Anila's stare became hard and cold. "At first I thought you had just bruises and a broken bone or two, but I soon realized your body seemed to be dying on its own, as if poisoned." she paused while placing a finger on Shaun's chest, such was the strength she applied with it that he was forced to lie down once again. "At least, not until you told me about you coming from another world where magic does not exist."
"So it's not the flu." it was a feeble attempt of humor, but the stern look on her face made him become mute right after.
"No, it's the magic." she calmly said while grinding up some of the herbs between her hands, allowing the fluid to drip on his chest. "Your body is not used to the magic in this world, and if left alone, you'll decompose while being alive, for your flesh would die because the energy it receives is greater than that which it can handle." she paused while she began rubbing the thick ooze onto him. "And while you're unable to sense it, I've been attempting to keep the inside of this hut as free of magic as possible, so just walking out the door could have restarted the process I've been trying to stop."
"So that's why you didn't use magic?" Shaun's question was merely answered with a glare, which made it plain obvious she wasn't going to answer that. "Ok, I get it, I get it; part two, what're you doing now?"
"Right now, I'm avoiding your flesh from dying." she didn't loose her concentration on his chest for even a second. "Luckily for you, your heart's strong enough to carry the medicine all around your body easily, so it shouldn't take me too much." she hesitated with the words to follow, as if afraid he'd hear them. "But even then, you'd still die the moment you step out of this wooden cage, and I'd have to apply this medicine every few days for the magic that emanates through the ground itself."
"Any way out of me becoming a plant addict?" he tried to lighten the mood, her tone was as grim as it could get, as if she spoke to someone who was terminally ill. "Better yet, know of any way to send me back to my world?"
"No." her tone became dark. "I don't know how to send you home, nor do I know of a way to keep you from dying from the magic." she sighed, seemingly aggravated to a degree Shaun couldn't have understood. "It's a horrible death, or so I've heard; it usually takes several days, but every passing moment is an eternal agony; most ask to be killed by the second day."
"Golly, that sounds thrilling." Shaun tried to muster a sigh, but what came out was a groan of pain as Anila's fingers dug in between his ribs enough for the pain to shut him up; by then he realized tears were wielding in her eyes. "Hey, what's wrong, why're you crying?" the sense of guilt that took over him was incredible, never in his life had he thought he'd ever feel like apologizing to someone he had just barely met. "I'm just some unlucky guy, that's all; if I die, I die; not much I can do about it."
"Why do you speak like that?" her fingers tightened again for a second. "Do you find life unpleasant and not worth while?"
"Not really." he replied. "If I live I live, and if I die I die." he paused while staring at her for a moment. "I don't like to just give up and die like that, but I'm not gonna struggle against something I know I won't win against."
"You don't know if you'll win or not until you've given it your all." she dried her tears. "And even if you're going to just give up and let yourself die, I'll make sure you don't." suddenly, her eyes lit up as she seemed to look at something at the distance. "That's it!"
Without saying another word, she ran out of the room, leaving Shaun to wonder what had just crossed her mind.
About ten minutes latter, she burst back through the door, carrying a series of glass containers, a thin copper chain and a rather intimidatingly large old book; she set the whole set on the floor, and began to flip the pages while she moved the other objects around. "Let's see... where was it?" she came in a halt on a page Shaun saw several drawings, and he recognized at least one of them to be a human. "Here it is!"
Before the patient had the time to take a closer look at the other images in the pages of the book, Anila had already closed it and had went out the door once more.
She kept coming and going, not leaving for more than ten minutes, and leaving after she had dropped whatever it was she had brought; the items varied from rocks, to herbs and even what looked like a medallion or two, though within the hour there was a small mountain of stuff Shaun didn't even want to know what it was for.
"Um... you gonna tell me what's going on?" he interrupted the silence after Anila had finally chosen to stay inside and begin whatever it was she was going to do.
"I'm going to..." she hesitated. "Hm... how do I put this in simple terms?" she paused, thinking over her words for a second. "I'm trying to make a spell that'll make your body process magic better."
"And how're you going to do that?" Shaun couldn't stop himself from wondering. "I mean, till now it seemed I didn't have much choice but to die a slow and horrible death."
"That's because changing a body at that essential level is impossible without killing the host." Anila took out a dagger from within the pile of junk. "That's why I'll have to kill you first."