I was Born the Unloved Twin
Not to be rude or uncaring but if anyone is going to be doing any bleeding, especially a headshot, it really should not be in my kitchens. Food comes out of here, people need to eat around this shit.
"Is a healer coming or are we going to chop and fillet him for dinner?" I ask.
I'm not mad, really I'm not. Life happens, sometimes rather violently around here. Just someone tell me, why is he here and not in some medical quarters?
This is a terrible thing to try to hide!
"Oh don't worry! It looks worse than it is, heads always bleed so much more than other parts. Eyes too! "
Don't sound so used to that you brain damaged brat!
Amar is sipping juice on the tall counter seemingly without a care. While he's not actively dripping all over my floors, there's blood splatter on it. There is also the fact it's literally still gushing through and down the sloppy bandage job.
If no healer is popping him back together just yet why are we just letting someone bleed out! In my kitchen?! Do something!
"Right away my lady!"
Some of the staff start scrambling around as if they figured out how to move again. Ah I screamed that out loud again.
But come on we don't need magic to have some common sense around here. Someone apply something, some pressure, to slow the bleeding first!
"Seriously why is he not at the healers?! What happened?"
When I come up closer I can see how much messier the wound must be underneath the bandage wraps. It's not clean at all and his face is still smeared in the dirt, gravel and a mix of fresh and dried blood. The wound must have reopened at a later time though it is hard to tell with all the flowing blood.
At least his pupils aren't dilated, and he can hold a conversation, if he has a concussion it's not that bad. His hair must have been recently shaved close to his head, it's much shorter than before and makes looking at the wound easier. The other side of his head isn't looking too great either. Like a great force just smashed him into the ground. His scratched up cheek is definitely swelling like a bad slap to the face. I don't see any other obvious injuries in comparison but the rest of him is dirty and definitely been through a banger
There's a lot I want to ask but no one is answering me. What the hell is going on here?! I want answers but first thing first we gotta treat the bloody kid.
"Call Lilyanne!" I command
The staff that is still here give me confused looks while the running ones pause. Even the ones half treating him with a wet towel. Amar nonchalantly gives his thanks and takes the towel to wipe his own damn head. Damn it's your own bleeding wound not plain sweat, doesn't that hurt?
The room is back to being awkwardly silent and people try to process the very simple thing I just said.
"Did I stutter? Bring me my sister." I command again.
There sound of mixed mumbling follows until finally one kitchen maid, the reliable Bertha speaks up.
"But Rosalia, the delicate young miss....she shouldn't be exposed to such a sight."
"Hmmmm, a valid concern. Yes this is a scary sight for a baby. Then we don't let her see anything. Blindfold her and say it's a game from me, just bring her down here."
Bertha is interrupted and anyone else who wants to speak up is immediately silenced by the shadow that suddenly appeared in the room
"As you wish Young Miss Rosalia, I have sent an entourage to safely escort our Young Miss Lilyanne."
Alfonso to the rescue! While my staff is rather loyal and quick to my whims it's Alfonso who truely gets stuff done and organized. Whatever shall our family do without him?
"Thank you Alfonso, I can always count on you! What the situation? That maid was awful at keeping this under wraps."
"Forgive my intrusion, I recall the injured child is one of Young Miss' little friends. I believe then that particular employee was the appropriate messenger to send for Young Miss and not the Lady of the house."
Hmmm yes, mother would react rather badly to having bloody humans in the kitchen, especially children. Alfonso really is amazing to predict this to communicate to me by the lure. I actually kinda sorta legitimately fear this man. The plots he could come up with given his power and intelligence. Alfonso may actually be the most powerful person in this mansion.
"Um can I go back the camp yet? I should report and I think the troop leader might be mad-"
"You- shut up and hold that towel to your head."
"But I really did leave without their permission and-"
"Anyone with a hole in their head is not allowed to talk unless given permission. So says me, the eldest miss of this house and kitchen, which you are bleeding in."
"Oh ok then."
"Silence! And stay still!"
Amar was about to nod his head in an ok when I stopped him. The damn kid is going to give himself a concussion if he doesn't already have one. On closer inspection, I don't think it's so much one big hole as much as it is one lemon-sized gaping wound and a lot of ragged little ones. Like when you fall and skid your knee and get rocks up there, except it's on his head!
Really it's like his head was repeatedly smashed into a rock and gravel then rubbed raw into the ground. Oh, this is not a pretty picture going on in my imagination.
"Yeah that's about what happened, but it was some walls first and then the ground then-"
"I said stop talking!"
Okay so I have a muttering out loud habit, great we have established this and will work on it. How annoying. Wait, what seriously you were head smashed through shit till you got like this?
I didn't even say anything this time but the kid simply nods his head again to the questioning look I gave him.
And now I have to have some staff members hold his head still because he is a concussed idiot of a child. Did you get him, folks? Great, moving on.
"Alright, thank you very much for informing me that Amar is here. Now until Lilyanne arrives, someone tell me what is going on!"
My first reaction is to look towards Alfonso for answers but he makes a very regal pass to the others in the returning group. They're looking a little travel worn and a lot of them have on some lightly flowing scarves and are still holding their full packs, not yet put away. Out of all of them, my Georgie is the youngest, and out of all of them, he's the one sighing loudly because it's obviously his turn to handle me.
"Sorry Rosalia, it's kinda my fault here."
"Your fault? You didn't beat him up to this point? You don't even have the strength to do that!"
"I'll have you know my strength is perfectly acceptable, baking bread takes a lot of work!"
Well yes I would know, I'm the one who is most responsible for George's developing upper body strength. Please keep stirring, rolling and baking my creations, thank you. But it should be nowhere near the strength it would take to defeat a troop member, 5 year old or not. They're a ragtag bunch but they're all extraordinarily strong or have something up their sleeve to pass the recruitment. Besides, I've unfortunately seen Amar in action, or well didn't see until it was almost too late. Yay knife to the throat, fun times. That boy is scarily fast, like assassin style fast and agile when he wants to be.
There's no way Georgie could even catch him to land a hit. Nor would my not so little teen assistant do such a thing! He's a nice boy that can only beat up bread dough.
"Anyways, no I did not beat him up. That brute of a monster did enough of that!" Georgie signed, looking peeved.
"What really?! What happened?"
"Well I wasn't very close when it happened but well, I guess we should start from the beginning. So we got some bandits attacking us before that and I was holding on to my new purchase of clover but, wait did they see us at the market before or after-"
Recap story time!
Since George is a rather breathy storyteller it takes my brain a bit more effort to piece the events together. Okay fine, a lot more time and effort.
Preparing to head home after their splendid tag along adventure in a foreign country, Georgie and the other chefs took one last trip to the market for any last-minute souvenirs and purchases. Previously Georgie and the others were afraid of all the strange newness but over time they got used to it and can traverse the marketplaces and local bazaars. While they prefer to have the troop members it's gotten to the point where George can go by himself, though we would much prefer to have someone with him. Amar was a pretty popular guide for the cooks since he could translate and identify whatever was being sold.
And yes everyone bought a lot plenty of seasonal local spices, so I should stop greedily staring at the packs- hey what is that supposed to mean?
"Georgie, I gave you that bonus to buy stuff, I can take it back!"
"Can I get back to the story now?"
"So then I found this great thread made from a-"
Hmmm the Rosalia translation filter is working, please hold.
Shopping, shopping, bartering, more shopping, wow Georgie really likes shopping. I'm not getting any of the why someone is bleeding on my kitchen counter though? Where does Amar's injury come into this again? Or the bandits? As lovely as your trip sounds I'm not getting anything interesting.
"I shopped for his clothes because the kid only wears the same 2 outfits if you let him. "
"The number went down?!"
"Fire breathing beetles' nest accident. Which was probably for the best because god does he need new clothes. I picked the out the outfit he's wearing now and a whole trunk's worth!"
"Ok, carry on!"
Restarting Rosalia translation filter- hmm shopping, shopping, sightseeing, eating, shopping, forcing Amar into playing dress up, some more shopping. This is all in the span of one morning? So this is Georgie's secret skill? It absolutely beats out mother but I can't even be mad because he's so cost-effective about it.
Nothing happened in the market, they had a lovely time and Georgie bartered his heart out over those sales. Absolutely nothing at all. What gives?
"I'm getting to that part!"
Since this was the day the portal would activate, the plan was that 2/5 of the scouting team switches members with fresh troops back in the camp. That way they could continue to build a base operation to run this particularly large dungeon raid with more efficiency. The campaign hasn't been officially started yet after all.
Since the magical inter-space portal would be open for a certain window of time, people and supplies were ready on both sides to make the move. This included Georgie and all the goodies they were bringing back home. It was a busy morning as the troops got things ready and in position for the portal and transfers.
Before Georgie and the rest of the morning last-minute shoppers could get back into their positions into camp, they witnessed a bandit attack attempt made towards the vulnerable supplies and weary scouts looking to go home!
A few of the straggler bandits saw their party before Georgie and the rest could either hide or rejoin the main group. Loaded with shopping bags and freshly purchased goods they looked like fat worms for the picking!
While the cafeteria cooks can definitely fight, they were loaded down with my civilian cooks and all the luggage. It was horrible!
Hmmm, I should do something about that. I can't have my employees be absolutely defenseless when the going gets tough. Should I hire self defense trainers for them or something? I'm sure there's some troop members with free time and wouldn't mind giving some freelance lessons.
"Are you seriously zoning out right when I get to 'the interesting part'?" deadpanned George.
"Yes- no, I'm still here. Keep going! The horrible bandits arrived and then what?!"
"It wasn't that bad actually-" noooooooo, this voice is not allowed.
"You! Didn't I tell you to not talk or move!"
"Oh yeah sorry- but it really wasn't hard. The bandits really weren't much to take care of at all. Most of them were-"
"Shut up already Amar!"
"Both of you brats shut up and let me finish retelling this story!"
The best solution to talking children is snacks. Bless Alfonso for his preparedness, I had no idea where he slipped more juice and some honey buns from. Well I mean it's the kitchen so it shouldn't be that hard but still.
I'd prefer popcorn for this occasion but honey buns are classic and work just fine. Besides, isn't sugar good for uh blood loss? With snacks to distract everyone's mouths, George finally gets to continue his story.
The Rosalia filter is still operating, as usual, to translate his rambling into sense.
There they were, blocked off by riding bandits while the portal site was being attacked by a rush of many more. How terrifying, how exciting, but really how terrifying! George is a chef in training, not a fighter!
Luckily not only did the cafeteria cooks hold their own just fine, but Amar was there to keep George, and his precious shopping bags, safe from any harm. Apparently there was a lot of parkour jumping involved and maybe blood spilled, but George couldn't see too much because he busy was hiding. Kid is fast I told you so.
They defeat their small corner of bandits and rush to support the scouting base camp. In an epic battle with clashes of metal and various other weapons, they fought on under the hot sun for what felt like an eternity.
"Actually it was less than 6 minutes. Cleaning up was longer."
"Ssssshhhh it's getting good, eat another honey bun or something."
An eternity of battling! When it was all said and done, the bandits had either all fallen or fled. A complete victory with no little to no damages. Barely any injured and even then it was nothing that couldn't be easily patched up because Amar was right and those bandits really were nothing, George is just really into telling this in his POV.
That's the thing though, Amar didn't have a single scratch on him by the end the skirmish.
"It was one of our own." seethed George, his tone changing into something entirely different, defensive.
As the kid surprisingly subdued a group of bandits to the ground, a much larger man, glad in troop issued armor, attacked. A hulk of a man if George is to be believed. At first, Amar jumped out of the way, easily avoiding the surprise attack with nimble steps. Because George was further away he couldn't hear the words exchanged but something said made Amar stop dodging.
And that's when the worst casualty of the day occurred.
George didn't look away for this, he started screaming for help. Something was obviously wrong because Amar stopped fighting back entirely and just took it.
I don't like this story anymore, child abuse isn't entertaining. It's never okay.
"It really wasn't that bad." lightly laughed Amar and no, he should not be laughing. This isn't a fantasy children's show, magic world or physical enhancements be damned. In a scene where there are responsible adults present, such abuse should never be allowed let alone normalized.
"He flung you like a rag doll! Through walls!" yelled George.
According to George the other troop members interfered near instantly but not before Amar got his head cracked into a crater in bedrock.
What really got George roaring in anger and indignation was how those troops rushed around the attacking child abuser. There were those holding him back and those who were talking him down, comfortingly calming him down from his sudden rampage. Everyone was focused on him.
Why were they comforting the attacker when the victim, a small kid, was laying there bleeding and lifeless? Did no one help him?
"I wasn't actually lifeless you know? You're supposed to relax your muscles to lessen the damage, well you're supposed to cover your head and neck too but I didn't do a very good job on that." Amar complained while munching on his 3rd honey bun.
That's when I notice the gravel like gashes on his skinny arms, probably from said bad covering. His neck was fine though, uninjured. That must be where he was protecting himself, the force that could break walls and rock could snap a child's thin neck easy. The cloth part of his cloths was torn from the fresh action, not being worn down I I first thought.
Shit kid what are you doing here and not a healer? How are you still sitting up sipping juice and stuff when you should be in a med bay! Why are you not crying or reacting right? Is it shock? Brain damage?
Apparently Amar wasn't even one of the ones scheduled to come back home. He was supposed to stay over there but George wouldn't have it and forcibly carried the kid over himself.
" Shit I'm not leaving him over there. Not with those people! What is wrong with them?!"
And that's how they ended up here after stepping through the portal and riding back to the mansion. They could have gotten medical treatment back at the main camp but George was adamant. He couldn't trust the troop members after whatever it was he saw.
It was impulsive and George was acting out of his jurisdiction but honestly, I agree. Thank god he did. Seriously what the hell? The troops aren't an abusive place, sure it's rough and tough but such murderous violence on anyone, let alone a child? That can't be right.
"It's not so bad, Giloh doesn't like me and I made a mistake and got in his way. I think he was feeling better after so that's good."
No, no not good. No that doesn't excuse anything!
"....Oh Amar no." George's face crumples and he looks at an innocently confused Amar like he's looking at something very sad. To be honest I am too.
Giloh? Write down that name Alfonso! I'm telling grampa to run a full report for me. In fact I want to know if we have a whole child abuse string going on or if this was an isolated incident!
Rather then the med bay, does this kid need a psychiatrist? He sounded like he could have kept avoiding this person's attack but just, stopped. Stopped and let himself get hurt?
I don't think I can get a proper answer from Amar himself either.
"I shall notify records keeping and the honorable Lord commander per your requests young Miss Rosalia."
"Yes...yes thank you Alfonso."
"Your sister, young Miss Lilyanne has arrived but I've kept her outside for the time being. Will now be deemed a convenient time for you, Miss Rosalia?"
"Yes, yes send her in and clear the area after she's here."
"Of course Miss Rosalia."
The eavesdropping staff in the background are well trained and quick to clear out. I don't know if there will be gossip soon but this sounds rather....heavy to be gossiping about. But violence isn't that unusual in this world is it?
George impatiently taps his feet.
"So now what, I know I shouldn't have brought him but I really could not leave him with those people."
"I know, thank you George you did the right thing. Amar stop moving your head, it's bad for your injury!"
He's looking back and forth at us as we talk and damn it, he's going to give himself a worse concussion and I don't know if Lilyanne can fix that!
"Eh? Sorry sorry, I should be okay though? This isn't so bad."
Okay that's enough talking from you, I can see the pity painfully rising on George's face. It might be on mine too. Funny, I can afford to be so sympathetic to others when I'm doomed to a bloody fate myself. Just great.
"Oh but why is your baby sister coming in Rosalia?" questions Amar.
George is still impatiently tapping his foot, his rage from the earlier memory still present in his body language and tone.
"Yeah, did you call for Lilyanne? It's rather inappropriate."
Before I can answer Alfonso arrives back once again carrying a giggling Lilyanne who is closing her eyes and covering them with her hands. Finally!
"Suwpwise suwpwise, Lilli is good giwl and likes suwpwises."
"No no Lily, keep those eyes closed. It's part of the surprise I have for you. You absolutely cannot open your eyes until I say so alright?"
I motion for Alfonso to set her down next to me as I get into position next to the injured patient who is still on top of my kitchen counter. Alright, it will just have to do as a medical table now.
"Now Lily I want you to imagine that you're charging another magic stone. Not a big one, just a small melon sized one. Imagine it has a crack, an owie! Can you do that for me? Can you imagine fixing the owie on the rock?"
I take Lilyanne's tiny hand in my own and position her other hand to hover right by Amar's wound. I don't know if this will work given her age but it's worth a shot. Lilyanne has always been a natural miraculous level healer, that's one of the things her blessed magic is so well known for.
"Very lightly, push the magic and heal the owie Lily."
"Yes just like that!"
She sticks her tongue out and makes that focusing face of hers. Everyone else remaining in the room, only Alfonso and George, keep quiet as they curiously watch. Amar thankfully also keeps quiet for once.
They watch in awe as my gamble pays off. Lilyanne's signature light glows off her palm like the tender glow of fireflies, they float and fizzle to magically mend the bloody wound. Little dots, actual fireflies, float off from the main light to sprinkle and melt into gnarled arms and blooming bruises. The wound shrinks and vanishes as the light melts into flesh.
"Whoa." breathes Amar, the first living test subject to receive's Lilyanne's saving grace. He looks absolutely awed and starstruck at the light, as he should. This is an incomparable honor you know?
I feel something, that tingle that says the limit is approaching and make to stop Lilyanne. Any more and I can't guarantee anyone's safety.
"That's it - that's enough."
I let go of her hand and when she stops I can see clearly how there are no wounds, not even a scratch, left. Streaks of drying blood yes but nothing lasting, as good as new. Even those who witness it first hand can hardly believe it. George has his jaw to the floor while even Alfonso is showing a reaction, now that's something.
It's like a miracle.
"Rosa? Can open eyes now?"
"Sure thing! You did so good!"
"Surprise! It's big brother Amar and really big bro Georgie! They're back!"
"Lilli likes suwpwises!"
Isn't she cute? Just an angel. Don't seriously fall for her too hard okay boys or I'm going to have to hurt someone.
My experimental gamble paid off beautifully. Amar's immediate injury is healed, my witnesses are trustworthy people, while I get to verify that Lilyanne can still heal, though she needs my help to conduct the magic. Great!
Now I won't feel guilty as I smack this dumb brat for getting so beat up in the first place. Or thinking that it's okay?! 'Not so bad' my butt, I'll show you not so bad. It's not child abuse if I'm a weaker child myself!
Thanks for reading