*”He his alive! I did it! I managed to save your boy’s life.”* (please, remember that * means words that Derek is not capable of understanding.)
After the midwife triumphantly said those words, the room exploded in cheers and tears of joy. The people in the room were hugging each other and the mother in turns.
Meanwhile, Derek lied limp in the midwife’s arms, looking left and right trying to determine how bad was his current situation.
“Well, well. What do we have here? The bedridden woman is clearly this body’s mother. She definitely needs a bath.” After delivery, the sheets were stained with blood, urine and feces.
“The crying, rough looking man should be the father. I wonder if he is crying for my sake or just because he was afraid of losing his wife. I bet the second one. Then I have a bigger brother and a sister. This is bad.”
Suddenly another woman entered the bedroom bringing with her a little boy and a girl that raced to the bedridden woman.
“Oh dammit! This is even worse that I thought. So far I have only two possible choices. Option one, grow into this large family, fighting every day for the few available resources. Malnourishment is most definitely a given. Then, when I am old enough, starting to work with father and brothers, getting married, having children, etcetera. Option two, wait until I am tall enough to grab sharp objects, put me out of my misery and take another spin hoping for a better outcome. I think I’ll go with option number two.”
Meanwhile the room had become silent. The midwife had already finished cleaning the newborn, wrapped him up in a clean cloth. During all this time Derek neither moved or cried.
*”Nana, what’s wrong with the baby? Why is he not crying? It never happened before!”* The mother was worried, and ignoring the pain was trying to get up.
*”Shush, child, and don’t you dare to move. I still have to heal you.”* The midwife tone did not leave space for reply. *”I delivered dozens of children, a silent one is rare but nothing special. Do you want to see how strong he is? There you go!”*
She unwrapped him from the cloth, and while holding him gently gave a little spanking, to force him to cry.
Derek grunted a little, while staring at her in dismay.
“Want to play rough, old hag?” He thought. “Fine! You just triggered my trap card! Twin Flood, activate!” And out of the blue he relieved both his bowels and bladder.
The backdoor attackers splattered all over her feet, while the front door flood struck her on the face and chest.
Derek started giggling loudly.
*”Well, this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but as you can hear for yourself, this little imp is breathing just fine.”* The midwife handed the baby to another woman to clean him.
Derek kept giggling, proud of his work. After washing her face with warm water and a cloth, the old hag moved her left index finger drawing a circle in the air, striking it through in the middle from right to left. Then she pronounced a single word.
A black energy manifested on her fingertip. She proceeded to point it over her wet dress and then over her shoes. The smell of feces and urine suddenly disappeared and so did their source.
With his mouth agape in shock, Derek watched as his poop would dry and crumble, turning into dust. It was akin to watching one of those fast-forwarded videos where in one minute you could see a seed becoming a flower.
“Heisenberg’s beard! She is not just an old midwife! She is a real magician, in the flash! I have never been so happy in my whole three lives of being so dead wrong!”
Derek was ecstatic, and not only because that world had magic, but also because as soon as he heard the word Ekidu, he had felt something clicking inside of him.
Like if something deep inside of him had started taking root, and suddenly had become engrained in the very fabric of his new reality.
He started repeating obsessively the magic word in his mind, and trying to engrave in his memory every detail of the circular finger movement.
*”Now that I’m clean let me stop that bleeding, dear.”* The healer approached the mother and placed her hands above her nether regions.
“Is it time for another magic? Show me, please!” Derek begged in his mind.
Nana first spreaded he fingers wide then started to move both arms in a circular motion, first up over her head, then opened her arms as much as she could before joining her hands, palm against backhand, at her navel’s height.
Derek, all wrapped up, tried to mimic all her movements, step after step, memorizing every single detail he could grasp, no matter how small.
A sphere of light enveloped Derek’s mother lower body and she quickly recovered her complexion. The pale skin reverted to a healthy pink, while all the traces of pain and fatigue disappeared from her face.
Once again, something clicked inside him. After the dark magic, he could clearly feel that simply by hearing the power word, a connection had been established between him and light magic. Derek could not stop grinning.
“If, and I say if I have enough magical talent, it would mean there is actually a third hidden option.” He thought. “I can become a magician and live free for the first time in my life! No shackles, no responsibilities! But it’s better not get over enthusiast. With my luck I could just have a poor talent or…”
His reasoning was abruptly interrupted, the woman that had held him until that moment was handing him to his mother.
*”Nana, are you sure he is all right? He has yet to cry, and giggle or not he is too quiet. With all that happened, I am really afraid that something is wrong with him.”*
After those words, the noisy room turned gloomy. Afraid that he was somewhat responsible, and quite eager to explore option number three, Derek did his best baby impression, giggling, smiling and doing raspberry sounds.
Nana felt her professional pride hurt by such allegations, but it wasn’t her first time with an anxious mother.
She knew Elina since she was still a child, and had delivered all her babies. Nana could not deny that this delivery had been one of the most difficult of her career.
The labour had lasted hours and she had been forced to cast healing spells multiple times to stop the bleeding. When she finally could see the baby’s head, she knew something was wrong.
Elina was fighting with all her strength but the baby was limp. So, she had rushed and used her hands to pull out the baby as fast as possible, only to discover that he was being strangled by his own umbilical cord.
After cutting and removing it, she had tried all her best spells, but to no avail. For a whole terrible minute, Nana had believed the child was lost.
But then the healing light had finally activated, forcing the baby to puke, clearing his airway. Then and only then Nana started affording the luxury of relaxing.
Healing magic was no miracle. It could enhance the life force of the patient making easier to recover from an illness or healing from an injury but it could not create life.
Nana was sensitive, so she understood that Elina didn’t need a lesson about magic, just be reassured about her child’s health.
*”Worry not, my child. I can prove it to you that all is well.”*
With a warm smile, she caressed Elina’s cheek and took Derek from her arms, removing the cloth like she was revealing a treasure.
Nana carefully adjusted Derek in the crook of her left arm, then she circled her open right hand all around him and said:
“Vinire Rad Tu!”
A small wisp of light came out of her palm, dancing around the baby before penetrating his chest.
The light spreaded from head to toe, making him emit a dim light.
*”See? If there was even a scratch on his body my injury detecting spell would leave that area bleak. Your little sun is fine.”*
The energy flowing through his body was making Derek feel empowered. In his old life he had felt like that only few times.
When he got his degrees, when he finally abandoned his parent’s home, when he beat up the bullies. But all those times it had been a fleeting emotion, lasting few seconds at best.
Now it was different, it wasn’t just adrenaline. Real magic, real power was coursing through every fiber of his being, making him feel invincible.
So, when the spell started fading off, he could not accept that.
“No! Come back to me! Give me my power back!” Derek screamed inwardly.
He focused on the last strands of energy, willing for them to stay. He could not cast the spell on his own, but he could still feel the lingering power and started feeding it with his own.
Derek’s light stopped dimming and instead grew stronger and stronger.
Nana was dumbfounded. She had never seen anything like that before. That was not how the spell was supposed to work.
Derek wanted it to last forever, but a second later he fell asleep due to mana exhaustion, and the light disappeared quickly.
Nana wrapped up the baby again and returned him to his mother’s embrace.
“Nana, what was that?” Elina asked full of wonder.
The old healer had no idea how to answer. Many possibilities popped up in her head, and all of them would require long explanations that would needlessly make Elina worry and maybe even forcing Nana to repeat the spell.
Had been a long day, and she had no intention on prolonging it even a second more than necessary, so she borrowed a line from her childhood’s favourite fairy tale.
*”My child, I think the new-born may be blessed by the light. There is no need to worry, only to rejoice.”*