137 Will to Live
For a short while after the stunning event had taken place in the canyon, the entire Asurai camp was in a daze. It took a moment for them to realize what exactly had taken place. Before long there were exclamations of joy and shouts of happiness as people started to realize that their injuries had been healed. Aside from mental trauma and missing limbs and body parts, all other injuries had been healed by the rain that had been produced by Viridi and Zoey's magnificent Rune Array.
Soon the entire camp was buzzing with energy as the people discussed what had happened. Many of them, including the soldiers that had been at the front had no idea about Zoey and her party, and those that did had regarded the strangers in their midst with suspicion, at least until the news started to spread.
The ones closest to where Zoey and Viridi had performed the magic had realized that these unfamiliar youngsters were the benefactors that had performed the magic. Some had tried to approach them, but had been stopped by a stoic Max who was standing protectively in front of the sleeping pair.
It did not take long for the Asurai to put two and two together and realize that the young woman and her pet had completely drained themselves casting a magic array that had healed the entire camp to a degree that nobody believed possible! The news spread like wildfire through the camp about how the stranger had cast the miraculous magic and apparently also saved Commander Taigen's life not too long before that.
Little by little as the story about the unknown trio spread through the camp, the spot where Max stood watch over Zoey and Viridi became the unofficial center of the camp as everyone gathered in to catch a glimpse of the unlikely heroes that had appeared suddenly out of the night.
While Max maintained his vigil, keeping the curious crowd away from Zoey and Viridi, a group emerged from the crowd and approached him. Max recognized the one called Ssaul as he was hard to miss as the only Carzivore, and the other young man that Zoey had saved from the corrupted. With them was a woman dressed in healing garb and an older, distinguished looking man in armor.
They stopped short of where Max stood, then the young man opened his mouth to speak. But before a word came out of his mouth, Max raised his hand, stopping him before he made a sound. As the crowd looked on in confusion, the boy pointed at the sleeping duo behind him and shook his head. He wanted to let them rest.
The boy's determination and obvious devotion to his companions brought a smile to many of the gaunt faces on the crowd. They understood how he felt when they looked at their own remaining family and comrades.
The Asurai had dwindled until only the ones in this canyon were left, and those that remained had formed close bonds through the hardship that they faced. So they understood this boy, and why he wanted to protect his friends while they rested.
The group that had approached was no exception. They bowed in apology and took a little distance to give Zoey's party some room while they quietly discussed amongst themselves.
"Taigen, do you have any idea who she is?" asked Baiken as she brushed some dust off of her healer garment.
The commander shook his head, then replied, "Not a clue. that power, that ability... It's all so far beyond anything I have ever seen for someone at her rank... I think even the Asurai ancestral legends could not match with what little we had seem from this girl."
"Can we trust them? You know how the Barron feels about our clan. What if this is another scheme of his to humiliate us?" Baiken asked worriedly.
The venerable General Saigo cleared his throat to gain their attention.
"I sense no evil in their hearts... and besides, they are but children with the intent to help us. We have suffered much, but we should not forget how to trust others, especially if they have earned it."
The General's measured words carried weight, and all of them present pondered what he had said as he sipped on some tea that had appeared from somewhere
"I too believe they are not our enemies," said Ssaul with his deep voice. "They came here with purpose, but I sense that this purpose is not to do us harm."
After a moment the General spoke again, "Hmm, I can't put my finger on it, but the boy... Something about him seems, familiar..."
"To me as well," Ssaul affirmed General Saigo's thoughts. "It's like I've seen him somewhere before, but can't remember where..."
Silence fell as they all fell into quiet thought. In fact, the entire camp was blanketed with a comforting and peaceful quiet that seemed to ease the soul. Even those that had been mentally traumatized by the appearance of the corrupted creature felt their inner turmoil fading slightly.
Then, someone exclaimed quietly off to one side, "Look! She's waking up!"
When Zoey swam her way out from the sea within her unconscious mind and opened her eyes, she was shocked by what she saw.
She was surrounded!
That is, she was surrounded by an entire camp of Asurai clanspeople, who at that moment were watching her as she slowly sat up. It was a bizarre sight to wake up to, but Zoey guessed that the rune array that she had cast with Viridi was the cause.
Speaking of Viridi, the big feline was a little more tuckered out than Zoey had been since she had essentially been the focus of the entire array, so she was still resting.
As Zoey looked around, she judged by the glowing looks on everyone's faces that the healing array had been successful. Although, she had not expected to drain her entire essence lake in the process... It would take about a day before she was back at full magic power, so she would have to take it easy until she recovered.
But that could wait for later, at the moment there was a concerned boy kneeling in front of her. The boy was Max of course, and though it didn't show on his face, Zoey could see his concern for her in his eyes. She nodded to reassure him, then held out her hand to him.
Happy that she was indeed OK, Max took her hand and pulled her to her feet. The second she stood up, the gathered crowd around them burst into cheers!
Zoey was a little startled by it at first, but then she saw the happiness and hope on the faces around her. She had appeared out of nowhere and performed what was essentially a miracle for a group of complete strangers.
She had restored their health, and most important, she had restored their will to live.