49- In Which Lawson Finds Silver Lining
They evacuated almost immediately.
Steinorth instructed them all to leave while he went to the Wheel Room and retrieved Madeline and the antidotes. Hayden was reluctant to split up like that, but Steinorth insisted, not giving anyone an option. "Go to the Kingdom of Snow," he said.
"Snow?" Hayden questioned. "Why there?"
"Go," Steinorth said. "The Thunder is not a safe place right now."
"Is the Snow really any safer?" Phinn retorted.
"Go," Steinorth repeated as he left without saying another word.
Hayden still had Turner, Phinn picked up Lawson while Elena and Sage helped Quentin walk since he couldn't put too much pressure on his leg. Emma frantically tried to wake Lawson up as she ran next to Phinn, but she was unsuccessful.
They reached one of the vessels of the Wind and settled into it. Emma was rocking back and forth, clinging to Lawson's hand, but other than that, most people were still and quiet. No one knew if there was anything they could do or say. They couldn't believe what had happened.
Of course they went straight to the hospital room. Turner's condition was stabilized quickly, and nothing could be done for him aside from waiting it out. The wound on Elena's head was washed and dressed, while Quentin's leg and various other open injuries were tended to. Lawson was placed on one of the beds and, while Hayden cleaned up the scrapes on his neck, Emma remained by his side.
"Does this mean Lawson has two Thars inside of him?" Sage asked in a reserved voice.
Hayden paused and glanced over to Emma instead of answering Sage.
"Thar?" she whimpered. "Lawson has a Thar?"
Elena had forgotten that they hadn't told Emma about that.
"He might have two now," Phinn said insensitively since he was noticing that no one else was answering.
Emma erupted with tears, throwing herself down on Lawson's chest and hanging onto him, clutching his shirt and shaking her head.
Hayden was still staring at Lawson though, as if Emma hadn't had her breakdown.
"I don't know," he said in response to Sage's question. "I didn't know something like that was possible. I don't think it's ever happened before."
"What was Hunt doing to him?" Quentin asked, putting pressure on his own leg. "When the two of them began to—I don't know what it was. The air around them seemed to glow."
"I don't know," Hayden said again.
"Hunt was really mad at him," Elena added. "Maybe just because he didn't see it coming. Everything up to this point has gone completely according to his plan, but what Lawson did…it totally threw everything off."
She could only guess.
"I wish we could have gotten there sooner," Hayden said. "Maybe this could have been prevented somehow."
"What happened to all of you?" Quentin asked.
"The Others appeared, all right?" said Phinn defensively, as if Quentin had accused them of purposely not rescuing them sooner.
"Our group was split up," said Sage. "They came from downstairs and from upstairs, and forced us into the hallways. We could hear the commotion and all the yelling, but we couldn't get to you guys."
"It was fairly obvious they were only trying to stall us," said Hayden.
"Who got Hunt to bleed, though?" Phinn asked, looking at Quentin because he suspected it was him.
"I did," said Quentin, looking distinctly ashamed of himself (he was not proud of losing his temper).
"Nice," said Phinn. It actually sounded like a compliment. "You punch him?"
"I think so," Quentin said, still speaking quietly and in an ashamed tone. "It's a bit of a haze."
"Four times," Elena filled in.
"Don't tell me it was Bad Quentin who did it," said Phinn with a slight laugh. "You'd think Hunt would know better than to let someone like that out, you know?"
"He threatened my wife," Quentin said as if he had only just remembered. "And… he threatened my child. He might still come for them."
"Now that we know Hunt intends to return as a demon, we'll be ready for him next time," Hayden said. "We'll stop him before he gets the chance to hurt anymore loved ones."
"Is there a way to stop someone from coming back as a demon?" Elena asked, jumping at that opening.
"Only very powerful magic," Hayden replied.
"Magic more powerful than Mr. Steinorth is capable of?" Elena confirmed. "Ah—Sir Steinorth, I mean?"
"Yes, far beyond him," Hayden said.
"A weapon has to be blessed." Steinorth entered the room suddenly, carrying Madeline over his shoulder and the box of antidotes in his hand.
Hayden immediately went to him and relieved him of Madeline, carrying her to the bed and inspecting her for injuries. He reported that she was merely having a vision.
"How does that work?" Elena pressed further as Steinorth placed the box of antidotes on one of the small tables.
"The weapon has to be blessed by a very powerful magic user," Steinorth explained. "It's a difficult task that not many magic users are willing to attempt. After all, if they fail, then they die, and their souls are forfeited as a result of that failure."
"There have to be weapons that have been blessed before," Elena concluded. "We can use one of those, can't we?"
"No," said Quentin. "The blessing of a weapon expires after it extracts the soul from the person it pierces."
"In order to become a demon after death, a man must trade his soul," Hayden clarified, noticing Elena was still confused. "A blessed weapon shatters the soul seconds before death, so nothing can be traded. And, in the process of removing the soul, the weapon is destroyed as well. Each blessed weapon can be used only once."
He began to open up the box containing the antidotes, but Steinorth put his hand on it to keep it closed.
"What are you…?" Hayden asked curiously, but Steinorth shook his head. "It's for Lord Lawson. It's the only thing that will slow the Infection."
"You don't need to worry about that," Steinorth replied.
Emma sat up suddenly, feeling Lawson begin to move underneath her. Elena didn't understand what Steinorth had meant by that, but Emma gleefully looked down at her cousin as he slowly regained consciousness.
"Lawson, are you okay?" Elena asked as she ran to Lawson's side.
He let out several loud breaths. At first, Elena thought he was having a difficult time breathing, though then she listened more closely and determined he was trying to speak. He raised his hand, reaching out for Elena's face. His eyes locked with hers. He had absolute clarity in them for the first time in so long.
Maybe he had learned something about Hunt from whatever he had done to him. She tried to interpret what he was saying as he repeated the same three syllables over and over. She leaned in closer to him, thinking maybe he couldn't see her well enough.
And, as soon as she did that, she realized what he was saying.
Promptly, she sat up straight again and looked around at everyone else.
Lawson let out a heavy sigh, gathered himself and then uttered, "I can see."
There wasn't a good enough reaction to this. Elena looked at Emma who only seemed confused, though she was happy enough that Lawson was awake, and then pulled her into a hug. Hayden looked at Steinorth for an explanation as Lawson repeated himself.
He said it again, "I can see."
"What happened?" Hayden asked Steinorth flatly.
"A second Thar would have killed Lord Lawson," Steinorth replied. "Hunt knew this. His only option was to remove it."
"But he removed the first one too, didn't he?" Elena inferred as she let Emma go and then wrapped her arms around Lawson.
"It seems he didn't have a choice," said Steinorth.
"So Law doesn't have a Thar anymore?" Phinn clarified.
"No, he doesn't," said Steinorth.
Elena pulled away from Lawson and looked at his face. He could understand everything that was being said, but he was too weak to add any commentary. There were definitely tears in his eyes, though, as he tried to calm his breathing. He grabbed Elena by the hand, leaned his head back and merely said one more time, "I can see."