“Twelve broken ribs.” Richard heard. “Are you sure he got hit directly in the chest? A full-blown punch?”
“Well, it’s… it’s pretty bad, but it doesn’t look that bad. Lots of broken ribs, but nothing seems to have pierced the lungs. There are some irregularities there, but it appears he’ll be fine.”
“It hurts a lot though,” Richard said.
The doctor came walked over to Richard. “You’re awake? Already?” Then he sighed. “I’d be more surprised if it were anyone else. Tell me, do you often get hospitalized?”
“Never… before I came here.” Richard smiled slightly. It hurt a little to talk.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t make you talk,” he turned to Jot and Richard’s father, “You can stay, but try not to have him talk much. Normally I’d just kick you out, but…” They nodded.
Richard took a look at himself. About what he’d remembered. He felt some things were a bit out of place though. Then he remembered. He’d removed some bone to put his ribs back into place, and it was still gone. Maybe after he’d eaten something he’d try to fix that. For some reason, he felt better about doing that than any real medical treatment.
Jot walked over, and Richard smiled more. “Jot, you’re okay. I’m glad.”
Jot gave him a very odd look. “Why would I not be okay?”
“I just… I heard the sound of breaking bones, other than my own. That guy was so big, he was like…”
“250 kilos, approximately.”
“Yeah. Did you fight him? For me?” Jot nodded. “Thanks. Thanks for fighting someone bigger than you for me. I’m glad you’re okay.”
Jot shook his head. “Hmmph. We weren’t even in the same weight class.”
“Yeah, he was so big.”
Jot shook his head again. “I weigh 300 kilos.”
Richard tilted his head. “But… the other guy was so big…”
Jot nodded sagely. “Not dense enough. That’s why his limbs snapped like twigs. Umm… forget I said that.”
“How is he?”
“Not dead.” Richard heard Jot mutter something else, but he could only catch, “…woulda been…”
“Will he recover?”
Jot frowned. “Yes. Soon.”
“Well, at least he wasn’t hurt too bad. Although, I don’t have too much sympathy for him.”
Jot frowned again. “The next and last thing to break was going to be his head.” Jot shook his head back and forth, as if shaking off a feeling. “Thanks…”
“For what? You’re the one who saved me.”
“Thanks for stopping me. I was… not acting rationally.”
“I didn’t stop you on purpose. I thought you were getting hurt.”
“It doesn’t matter. I thought you were dead. Thus, I was going to kill him. I was too filled with anger to go check on my friend.”
“I’ve never seen you angry.”
“Of course not. I work very hard for that to not be so. It is hard, in second puberty.”
Richard quietly laughed. “Sorry, but I’m tired still. I need to sleep, after I eat something.”
“Of course. Rest well.”
When Richard awoke, he saw an older woman. Elderly would be taking it too far, but she certainly wasn’t young anymore. Richard knew that for sure, because she was his grandmother. She was his only living relative besides his father and mother, though he now knew he wasn’t related by blood to any of them. He could see the strong resemblance of his grandmother to his mother even now, in both her face and their very similar blonde hair. “How long was I out? When did you get here?”
Richard’s grandmother smiled slightly. “Do not worry, it was not long. I believe this is the next morning. I was actually already on my way to visit. Your mother wanted to come as well, but she is very busy. I am sure you already have a few messages from her.”
Richard looked at his phone and nodded after seeing several messages all from his mother. He would have to call her back later. Richard looked at his grandmother, who currently seemed to be thinking about what to say next. His relationship with his grandmother wasn’t particularly deep, though Richard wouldn’t say that it was bad. Most of his memories of her were fond memories, but beyond the memories of her being a kind grandmother, Richard felt she was strange. His father was a somewhat silly type of weird sometimes, but his grandmother was generally more serious, and thus she felt like the word strange was more appropriate than weird. Perhaps it was just the way she looked at things around her.
“I would like to say that I am here only to check on the health of my cute grandson, but that is not everything.” Richard’s grandmother spoke in the same manner she seemed to do everything. Calmly, deliberately, yet gently. “I came to see you for another reason.” She held her hands up to Richard’s face. This was one of the strange things she did, where she would look at Richard… and he felt like she was seeing through him. This time was the same, but Richard also felt something else. He had begun to ignore what he saw with the second part of him that saw something like auras from people. That was mostly because he had no context for interpreting that information, and it wasn’t helpful. However, here there was a change that he noticed for the first time. The energy around his grandmother had been calm and subdued, but now he felt that there was more of it, as if it were bubbling up from a hidden spring and flowing over him. It was a strange sensation, but it wasn’t unpleasant. Then, the energy slowly receded, and his grandmother lowered her hands. “Tell me, Richard, do you believe in magic?”
Richard thought it was a strange question, but being asked about it in such a serious manner made him think about it. Finally, he shook his head. “No. Should I?”
She smiled slightly. “Should you? Now that’s a good question. I, for one, believe in magic. However, I would say most people do not, and for good reasons as well. All I can really say is that you should take care of yourself. I do not enjoy hearing that my cute grandson is in the hospital.”
“So, what if I did believe in magic?”
“Well,” she paused for a moment, “I would have much more to tell you in that case, but since you do not believe in magic, it would just sound like a pile of superstitious nonsense.”
“… Can you tell me anyway?”
She paused to think again. “I suppose I can. However, it might be unpleasant. Still, if you want to hear…” Richard nodded. “Very well then… where should I start…” Her eyes grew distant, as if she were thinking about memories that were not often remembered. Then, she seemed to finally settle on where to start.