“Is everything ready?” Ezra asked as she peeked her head through the door to the ceremonial hall.
The giant overhead chandelier scattered its golden light on her hair, making it glow and I wasn’t the only one who thought she looked beautiful as several giggles went around the room.
“Flower garlands are ready; the incent sticks are burning and the celebratory dinner is being prepared in the kitchen.” I listed off my completed duties to her as I went to greet her at the door. “Daphne finished cleaning everything this afternoon and Rosa is taking care of arranging the rooms for the soldiers.”
“She isn’t back yet?” Ezra looked a little concerned. “The soldiers are supposed to arrive in half an hour.”
“I’ll go ch-”
“I’m back!” Rosa called out before I could finish my sentence, as she came to stand next to Ezra. “Sorry I’m a little late.”
“You finished right on time. I’ll send word to Alpha Malachi that the preparations are complete.” Ezra gave her a smile and a pat on her head before heading off.
Rosa gave me a smile and a sigh of relief and then came to join me at the garland counter. “These look lovely!” She picked up a garland made of white and pink roses and carnations. “Did you make them?”
“I had help.” I smiled as I remembered the enthusiastic faces of my tiny helpers. Those little devil-angels usually flocked around Ezra, but they seemed to want to help me today. It might be the excitement of tonight’s feast that was making them jittery but I wasn’t complaining. Once I showed the children how to make a garland, everyone had followed the instruction to the T.
“That’s great,” Rosa gave me a bright smile, her big blue eyes sparkling in delight. She was shorter than me in stature but older in age by five years. Her strawberry blonde hair was cut short to her shoulders and they cascaded around her head in loose ringlets. She was a sweet girl but we didn’t interact as often for some reason.
“Well, I have to catch up on the dessert preparations,” she said to me now. “See you at the ceremony?”
“Yes, sure.” I gave her a welcoming smile and waved her goodbye as she headed out the door.
I was about to go off on my own when a call from behind halted me.
I looked back at the familiar face of the soldier who had come to escort me to the wounded soldier yesterday.
“Yes?” I stepped closer to the door so I could talk to him. Men weren’t allowed inside the temple unless there was a special occasion, like the initiation ceremony tonight, but even then, only a select few men could enter. This temple was completely dedicated to the Goddess Selene and her devoted followers.
“The soldier from yesterday, whom you helped treat,” he said a bit hesitantly, as if I would have trouble remembering him.
“Yes, of course.” I told him encouragingly. “You came to get me yesterday, I remember. Is something the matter?”
He nodded his head urgently, making dark brown hair fall on top of sea blue eyes. “I’m his friend. I just went to visit him and he…seemed restless.”
“Restless?” I frowned. That didn’t sound good. I had healed up his would carefully, but was it possible I had overlooked any kind of internal bleeding? “Let’s go check on your friend.”
I told one of the other Lunar Maidens that I was heading to the infirmary before following the soldier to his friend. When I reached the ward, I found it empty of any caretakers. There was a soldier stationed a few feet away but there was no healer or nurse present, so I entered to check on the patient.
Just as his friend, Joshua, had described, the soldier was tossing and turning on his bed as if he was having a nightmare. He was also sweating profoundly, to the point where his shirt was soaked through. I told Joshua to help me change him into a new shirt while I opened up a few windows to let the cool air inside.
“I think he has a fever.” Joshua told me as he stepped back from his friend’s bed after having changed him.
“Oh?” I put a hand on his forehead to check and immediately removed it. “He’s burning up.”
And I didn’t even use it as a phrase. Joshua’s friend was literally burning up. His temperature was so high that it seemed impossible even in wolf standards. Also, werewolves rarely got sick. They would get sprains and wounds all the time but never have I seen a wolf with a fever. What was going on? Was his injury not healed properly?
Telling Joshua to get some ice, I took out the salves I had for the few humans that resided in Lindersay. I had a particular salve with mint and clove oil that helped reduce fevers for humans and I wanted to apply it on the soldier to work temporarily while I healed him. So, I applied the salve on his forehead and neck and then I used my powers to help reduce the fever by placing my hand on top of his chest.
Joshua came back about five minutes later and his fever still hadn’t gone down while I was losing energy. I was connected to Alpha Malachi via the Alpha-Healer bond, but I tried to use as little of his powers as possible. When it wasn’t working after ten whole minutes, I gave up.
“Can’t you use fever medicine on him?” Joshua asked hopefully.
“Wolves don’t get such high fevers, so I don’t have any on hand and the ones I use for humans is out.” I told him sadly. “I’ll need to get some from the forest outside after the ceremony.”
“But what if it’s too late after the ceremony?” Joshua urged, looking at his friend with longing in his eyes as he took his limp hand in both of his. “I’m scared for him.”
He loved him; I came to the sudden realization. The way he was looking at the injured soldier and they way he was getting worried about him told me that they were more than friends. Joshua loved him, but I couldn’t tell yet if the feeling was mutual.
I felt sorry for the soldier. He wasn’t the only one suffering, Joshua was too and I didn’t know how to help them. The herbs needed to treat him were found in a dangerous part of the jungle where rogues often frequented. Usually, at least ten highly trained soldiers escorted us to collect herbs from that area and they would use smoke bombs beforehand to ward off the rogue. But this soldier needed the herbs now and I couldn’t get any of those soldiers to come with me since everyone was busy preparing for the feast.
“I’ll come with you.” Joshua said suddenly, snapping my attention to him.
“I’ll escort you to the forest and get us back safely.” He looked at me with determination. “I’m training to be a special soldier. I’ll protect you.”
“Joshua, it’s very dangerous to go-” I tried to reason with him but he cut me off.
“Please! He needs help.”
I looked at the face of the fallen soldier and saw that Joshua was indeed right. His sweating was only getting worse, his shirt was once again soaked through and he was trembling like a leaf. He needed medication and he needed it fast. I couldn’t risk his health any longer.
“Alright.” I sighed. “Let’s go.”
The only thing I could hope for now was that we didn’t run into any kind of danger.