Chu stared at the young girl lying on the sled in the middle of the barn. A fire was lit on the side generating heat and light. Lucy was covered in a quilt and still shivering with beads of sweat running down her face. On the ground was a puddle of blood that dripped from the side of the sled.
From amidst the sobs and crying he understood that they were ambushed by a lone wolf. Lucy sacrificed herself by pushing the others aside but received the brunt of the attack. The others managed to fend it off her while Miki killed it by burying a crossbow bolt into its head.
The damage was already done and through their efforts they rushed her back to the barn. Wolf and firewood were both forgotten in the panic.
The closest Chu ever got to a hospital was to pick up his father who suffered from a bad ulcer. Back then he hired a taxi and drove up to the entrance made a pickup and drove out.
The only experience he had in seeing major wounds was watching soap operas and medical dramas. It was only in this world that he was forced to adapt due to the situation.
He did know the importance of acting in a speedy manner which can save a life.
“Sue boil some water quickly on the fire. Miki I need someone to keep focus on the lookout for danger. That is top priority for us all.”
He turned to the rest. Getting the emotional Miki to focus on something was a good thing. She blamed herself for this accident as she would have been heavily injured or even killed..
“Clod make a door in our fence so we don’t have to carry Lucy up the platform and down through the trapdoor. I want to get her close to the kitchen oven for heat. Ming help him. Sakura and Dyna get me some fresh blankets and the emergency bag from the cellar.”
The emergency bag contained the medical supplies he bought from the Trading post. Having something and knowing how to use it were two different things. Chu understood he was sorely lacking in this field of study.
Chu bent down on Lucy’s side. The girl was in pain that had her in and out of consciousness.
When Chu raised the quilt he nearly emptied his stomach on the sight that greeted him. If not for the recent bloody experience in this world, he might have fainted.
On Lucy’s abdomen was three large tears on the fragile skin that ripped from left to right. Blood had coagulated and was still dripping down. From one of the wounds her internal organs were starting to peek out.
Sakura returned with the bag and handed it to Chu. From it he removed some rough cloth bandages he bought from the Trading post.
“Sakura get this to Sue, let her boil it in water for me and return it. I want a pot of boiling water here as soon as possible.”
The girl rushed off in a hurry just flinching at the sight. After the carnage with the wolf pack these girls could stomach this little blood. It was the grief for one of their own, and not a beast that posed a problem. Chu had to focus on getting everyone working to keep their minds active. He himself could not afford to break down, all this was part of his responsibility.
Doing so at this time would cause all of them to end up as headless chickens.
Out of the bag he had bandages, small cotton cloths, powder that was supposed to stop bleeding, needle and thread and two bottles of pills that he paid an astronomical sum from Griz for life and death situations.
He took out a pill and immediately placed in Lucy’s mouth during the brief moment she awoke. Seeing her follow his actions to swallow it was a comfort. She passed out shortly after. Whether it be because of the pill or pain, Chu had no idea.
Sue spared no expense in blazing a flame from firewood in the oven. Soon Dyna and Sakura returned with all he asked for.
Taking a cup he washed his hands in the hot water dipping it slowly to avoid getting burned. He then took a rag and after soaking it started to wash carefully around the wounds. He was frightened that if he pressed to hard her insides might become her outsides.
When he finished he turned to the two girls standing near his side.
“I need help. The daylight is running out we don’t have much time. I need someone to stitch Lucy’s wounds together with this needle and thread.”
The response was better than expected from his two designated tailors. Dyna fainted and collapsed to the floor twitching. Sakura turned and threw up on the side of the barn hacking like a seasoned smoker.
Help surprisingly came from an unexpected source.
“I can do it, but you have to show me what you want.”
Miki stepped forward her eyes shining in the flames.
“I told you to be the lookout.”
“I was but I couldn’t stop seeing and listening from above.”
Chu sighed. He turned between Sakura and Miki looking at their shaking hands.
“Sakura, I need you on lookout. Don’t worry, we are all a team. Miki is older and she has steady hands. The lookout is important, I need to know if we have wolves following us.”
The young girl sobbed as she went off. Chu felt he would comfort her later. He got Sue to wake Dyna. When she calmed down she joined Sakura in the crow’s nest on lookout duty.
Chu gently cleaned around the wound and got Miki to start the stitching. All he wanted was to close the wounds so he could start applying the powder and bandage it. Everything from hands to tools were passed through hot water for sterilization.
Sue lit another fire close by and held a torch on the side to provide the much-needed light.
“Nice and easy. Slowly…good job.”
He coaxed Miki as she worked and helped her in pulling the strings tight. After what seemed like years they finished. The end result was a terrible job that would have given grounds for medical malpractice and a court case. It did do the job of closing the open wound.
He got hot water and wiped the wounds and when dry, applied the powder. He then covered it with a loose bandage. If not for Lucy being unconscious this would have been an ordeal by itself.
Clod and Ming had finished making a door in the fence. Transferring Lucy onto a makeshift stretcher they carried her close to the oven. Here the light and fire provided the warmth needed.
When the temporary door closed Chu was satisfied with the added security.
Sakura and Dyna returned and they all huddled around the stretcher.
“Don’t worry too much. Lucy is strong she will pull through.”
Sue cooked a pot of watery soup for them. They tried to feed Lucy but she never remained conscious long enough. She was waking and then fainting possibly due to the excessive pain. It was half of the night when she started screaming in pain as she remained awake.
“Chu what do we do? You want me to knock her out?”
If wasn’t for the concerned expression on Ming’s face, Chu would have long dealt with him in the normal manner. The situation was too grim at the moment.
This was the first time Chu felt he ever heard Lucy this loud. He was scared out of his wits. They held her down and got a rag into her mouth to prevent her from injuring herself by accident.
Later into the night she stopped and dropped onto the bed like jelly. It was like she had just lost all her bones in her body. Her breathing became softer and softer until it barely could be heard.
Chu was sitting at the side replaying all sort of scenarios. To get Lucy to the village for treatment was out of the question. In her condition she would not be able to survive that trip. Getting the doctor to treat her here was also out of the question.
The lone doctor was one assigned to the garrison. With the recent troubles and being in the height of winter, the doctor was not going to leave the village.
According to what he read, there was no magical healing potions or priest who had healing powers. The closest thing was those pill concoctions from the Alchemist and the Mage Towers.
The pill Lucy ingested was one of the best of such products. Unfortunately the wounds were very severe and blood loss great. It was a miracle in itself she was able to hold on until he returned.
He cursed himself that he didn’t train the others in basic first aid treatment. Because of his negligence the girl had to suffer in pain for so long. He cursed himself for being ignorant of so much things in this world.
Racking his brains he suddenly remembered part of the conversation with Simon.
When a person successfully bonds with a talisman and lifestone they receive a boost in vitality.
‘Wasn’t this the same as the body getting a boost in regeneration and strengthening body functions?’
Chu was oblivious to most things in this world. The main driving forces of culture; economics, technology, politics and religion. He had no idea because he was an ignorant soul living at the ends of the Empire.
What he was aware of was the hard fact that a companion like Lucy was not easy to find. He was not hesitant in barking out orders.
“Sue raise the fire in the oven I need light to read. Ming get me the big book from the Trading post.”
This time Ming quickly moved and completed Chu’s orders. Like the others he was to depressed to joke around.
“Clod, get a bonfire going in the barn. Get the others to help drag the wolf demon corpse close to the fire. Sharpen a dagger that can cut into it. Don’t do anything else until I come.”
Chu grabbed the book and opened it to the last few chapters on the talismans. Sue lit a torch and held it over his side for additional light. She placed a lamp on the table to increase the light.
Although this book was large and contained what he would call advanced knowledge, it was made for adventurers. Such people relied on straight facts and not the roundabout information only scholars could decipher after contemplation..
With his basic reading and understanding skills, he simply guessed and fitting in the most suitable word on those sentences he had trouble with. It was like completing those fill in the blanks type grammar questions.
Only when he finished reading the instructions for using this lifestone and talismans did he understand the near hopelessness of such an operation.
The execution of the procedure was very simple as long as the needed materials were present. The talisman paper was coated with the heart blood of the demon beast and then stuck on the intended user. The lifestone was then taken and simply pressed onto the center of the talisman. It would then activate and turn into a tattoo, marking the user and increasing their ability.
The difficulties in doing this operation was that it also required something beyond reason.
It depended on something called Luck
First problem was that not all demon beast possessed a lifestone in its heart. Sometimes the least dangerous beast would have one, while the most brutal and fierce one had none.
The next problem was getting enough heartblood. This was the blood found within the heart of the demon beast. If the beast lost a lot of blood during the fight, the amount of heartblood would be lessened. The heartblood could only be used up to five days after the beast was killed. Any longer than that and the lifestone with this blood would dry up completely.
Whoever wanted a boost in power from this talisman procedure had to at least be close to the ones hunting the demon beast.
These problems were still slightly manageable but it was the others that followed which opened up his eyes.
A Mage Tower talisman had a success rate of one in a hundred to activate. Once activated it never extracted out the total amount of power carried by the lifestone. It could only transfer roughly about ten percent or less power. This was still better than an ancient talisman where the probability was one in a number close to a million to activate.
If that wasn’t enough odds, the next one was like icing on a cake. What made him want to scream and rip out his hair was the author only casually mentioned it in a small statement at the end of the procedure.
‘Even with all the advancement from ancient times, the success of using a Tower talisman is not guaranteed. Factors like limited heart blood, length of time demon is killed and others play an important part.’
‘A lifestone can only be used to activate a total of five talismans, after which it is destroyed.’
The crux of the matter was that if a lifestone was not successful in bonding after using five talismans, it would self destruct and shatter.
Add this to the previous odds and no wonder those who are successful are few and far in between. It made him wonder how powerful this Trading post merchant company really was to higher a guard who was this rare in success.
He slowly ripped the page of talismans out of the book. Tearing them apart gave him the four talismans.
He placed the talismans in the book and left it on the bench. With his mind still reeling from this new information he went to the corpse by the others.
“I need to get a cut open on the chest about here. I must be able to see the heart. Don’t cut into it.”
Chu left the heavy work to the two bigger boys. He got a clean bowl and other utensils for collecting what he needed. Now he could only sit and pray that the item he needed was within this demon.