Floating high above the fight below, the God Razu watched with both pride and regret as Ladon was slain. In a perfect world he would have dealt with the Dragon long ago, but direct interference in Mortal affairs was heavily frowned upon by both sides. So he worked passively to support the cities population, providing comfort where he could. However there was always a way to bend the rules, and the young Tiefling had directly asked for his assistance before so it was acceptable for him to help. Since she was so inexperienced he decided to give her some invaluable insight she would have missed otherwise.
As the volcano collapsed down around his head, he kept himself incorporeal, allowing the mountain to pass through him. Keeping an eye on his charge, he noticed a Demon attempting to block the girl’s path by collapsing the path out. ‘Your champion lost.’ He thought with contempt at the petty act. The game was over and the pieces had to fall where they may.
Examining the tunnel structure, he smiled and strengthened a new path for the girl to take, knowing that the Demon would not risk open conflict with him over a Tiefling’s life. Deciding that he had done enough, Razu finished watching the girl reach safety before returning to Lutansk. It would be dawn soon and he had to keep watch over his humble temple.
“Wow.” Ranma wheezed out a breath, her jaw refusing to close at the sight that greeted her.
The room was at least thirty meters in diameter with magical lights placed halfway up and around the room. Small and large piles of gold coins and bars sat at the foot of a literal mountain of gold in the center of the room. Brightly colored gemstones sparkled amidst the soft golden glow and ancient artifacts peaked out from their partially buried homes.
Reaching out her free hand in a daze, she hesitantly picked up a nearby coin. The inscription was from a country she had never heard of and a date printed on it showed it to be nearly five hundred years old. Her blue eyes slowly traced upwards to the largest pile, unable to stop herself from laughing deliriously. There was more wealth here in just the gemstones than anyone could spend in a lifetime.
Struggling up to her feet, her hooves slipped momentarily on some of the gold she had been laying on before she was vertical. If she had pockets she would have been filling them well past the brim. Hundreds, thousands of years of Ladon’s ill gotten gains lay spread before her. It was overwhelming and she had no clue what to do. Shifting Saffron slightly, the baby squirmed at her sudden movement, but remained quiet.
Coughing and hacking, she slipped, and collapsed onto her knees. Covering her mouth with her hand she struggled to get her breathing back under control. Feeling light headed she slowly pulled her left hand away from her mouth and saw that it was covered in a small coating of blood. The baby in her arms made a plaintive whine and tried to grab onto her better.
“Where’s that jerk doctor when I need him?” She coughed again, struggling to get back to her feet while desperately looked for an exit. Ladon’s hoard could wait, she needed to get back to Lutansk. She needed to get help.
Two Days Later
Ranma’s eyes snapped open and she shot up into a sitting position, her large wings briefly flaring before tucking in close to wrap around her body. Eyes wide and unfocused, she breathed in and out rapidly through her nose. A shiver ran up her body and finally she was awake enough to notice her surroundings, the nightmare she had been having already a distant memory.
Immediately she became aware of Saffron preparing himself to start crying. Quickly gathering him up from where he lay to her right, she made soft shushing sounds at him, and gently rocked him until he quieted down. ‘Safe!’ She mentally cheered, having avoided the head splitting cry of the Phoenix child.
“Are you alright?” Pepa asked quietly, floating over from a nearby table where a small pillow was serving as her bed. The fairies large concerned eyes shifted down to the baby.
“I’m fine.” Ranma answered, her voice was hoarse and barely louder than the tiny fairy.
“Okay.” Pepa nodded and traveled down to the foot of the bed to sit down to watch Ranma attentively.
‘Thanks to you.’ She added to herself, uncomfortable vocalizing the sentiment to the spell creature. The events were hazy, but she had apparently collapsed a little over halfway back to Lutansk. Pepa had noticed her distress somehow and had got the attention of Favian to go search for her.
Ranma’s breath caught and she fought down another coughing fit. Waving off a concerned question from Pepa, Ranma delicately placed Saffron back down to her right. Swinging her large wings around, she twisted to lay on her side with the baby almost touching her stomach.
Staring out the window, she must have missed Kasumi once again because the sky was black, and the room was lit by several candles. It had hurt that neither Kasumi or Favian had visited up until Pepa had informed her that they had visited several times but she had been asleep. Ranma’s former fiance had been kind enough to leave off a couple of her male sized tunics to sleep in rather than the tacky hospital clothing.
She hadn’t expected to be staying in the hospital but the toxic fumes she had inhaled nearly killed her. Only her rapid healing and quick exit had saved her. Unfortunately without the barrier to suppress her infernal side, no Mortal doctor could perform any healing spells on her. While Ranma had gained a great amount of control, just her passive presence overwhelmed any attempts. So she would have to recover without assistance, a limitation she would have to remember going forward.
Seeing the face of one of her Phoenix guards standing outside the door, she rolled her eyes. The Phoenix were not leaving her alone, having been alerted quite quickly that the baby Saffron was with her. That was fine by her except they couldn’t take him. Apparently when he hatched from his egg, he imprinted on her, and would cry without end if taken away. There was a way to change that but they were holding off on deciding who would get to experience this particular honor until Kiima regained consciousness. She didn’t see why they were waiting. Kiima wasn’t going to want to do it and there were several female Phoenix who were more than capable of stepping up.
Yawning, she just wanted to go back to sleep. Remembering the child, she made sure he was under the thin blanket as well. “Don’t wake me up.” She mumbled to the infant drowsily.
The Next Day
“And now take a deep breath.” A female doctor named Liana instructed, sitting on the bed to her side, with a cold metal stethoscope pressed against Ranma’s back. The doctor was younger than the others Ranma had dealt with, looking around thirty years old with short black hair, and her bangs pulled to the left side by a silver barrette.
Wheezing in a deep breath to the point where she coughed lightly, Ranma breathed out, and waited impatiently for this inspection to be over. Kasumi had arrived midway through the physical and was forced to wait outside while the doctor finished. Pepa was busy keeping Saffron occupied, the baby happily giggling at the glowing fairy dancing around him.
“Your condition is noticeably better than yesterday.” The woman noted, pulling the stethoscope away from Ranma’s back. “I wish there was more I could do.”
“It’s alright-- I’ll live.” She shrugged, feeling a little overwhelmed by the generally positive attitude the Mortal inhabitants had gained towards her. Ranma had noticed that multiple doctors were fighting just to check on her and the nurses were far more attentive. News had filtered up to her through the nurses that there were many high profile figures trying to pay her a visit.
“Help!” Pepa called out, interrupting their discussion.
Ranma twisted around to find that the fairy had been caught by Saffron who was happily squeezing and shaking his hands. As soon as she reached out to pry Pepa away from the Phoenix, the spell creature was forcibly shoved into his mouth head first. Her eyes widened and before Saffron could move another muscle she had plucked Pepa from his grasp.
“You good?” She asked the fairy who’s blue hair was wet down by saliva.
Pepa looked shaken but nodded her head rapidly, wiping some of the spit from her eyes. “I’m sticky.”
“Yea, you are.” Ranma released Pepa and used her tail to distract the child, trying to turn keeping it from him as training.
“Why don’t you use the wash basin in the corner to get clean?” The Doctor suggested helpfully.
“Good idea.” Pepa answered as though it was a great realization.
‘Still not much with common sense.’ Ranma mentally sighed.
“It seems like you have your hands full.” The Doctor smiled warmly at her. “Taking care of an infant is never easy-- even when expecting it.”
“He should be taken by one of the Phoenix soon enough.” She flicked her tail a short distance from Saffron, making him crawl in order to follow.
“Then you should enjoy the brief practice for when you have your own.”
“I’ll pass on that.” Ranma answered that suggestion with a derisive snort and the woman just laughed at her response.
“Be that as it may, if you need to talk about anything at all, I’ll be available. You have been through a great ordeal, it’s normal to have emotional distress as well as physical injuries.” Liana patted her on the shoulder before rising to her feet. “Is there a time you would prefer me to visit you for checkups over the next week?”
She wanted to protest that she didn’t need to be smothered by some doctor but it would be smart to at least keep track of how fast she healed. “Anytime in the morning I guess.” She answered meekly.
“I should be able to work in quick check ups at nine.” Liana rapidly scribbled down a note on a small piece of parchment she was carrying.
“Alright.” Ranma nodded, accepting the frivolous doctor visits.
“Then I will be seeing you tomorrow at nine o'clock sharp.” The woman paused before inclining her head towards Ranma. “And thank you.”
“For what?” She asked glancing backwards when she noticed Saffron’s tiny clawed hands grabbing at her tail. Refocusing her efforts at keeping it just out of reach, she made a note that his little claws were sharp.
“Because you saved my life and my family. Haven’t you realized it yet? You’re the hero of the city.” Liana nodded towards her again. “I’ll send your friend in.”
Ranma watched the woman travel the short distance to exit the room. “Oh my.” She gasped.