EXCERPT FROM THE LOST KINGDOM
Chapter One: REN
Golden light blooms in the palm of my hands as I focus on the buzz of energy in the air. The ball of light expands with each breath I take, until it’s powerful enough to heal the wound of the patient in front of me.
At least, that’s what’s supposed to be happening. Instead, the light, once again, refuses to glow from my hovering hands. This is fantastic, I think, clenching my fists in frustration.
“Well?” the patient before me prompts, making my head snap up to meet their impatient gaze.
“I’m working on it,” I mutter. I twist the bracelet of braided rope on my wrist and take a deep breath. When I look around the Infirmary, I realize with a pang of disappointment that all of the other Healer Apprentices are almost done or have already finished healing their patients. And here I am, not even able to start.
I shut my eyes, trying to ignore the watchful gaze of the patient in front of me. If the real Healers weren’t just around the corner, I would have told him to shut his eyes. But I don’t feel like getting fired from my apprenticeship just yet—not only because I don’t want to prove my classmates right by failing, but also because I don’t want to disappoint Dad.
“Everything going alright?” Dad’s voice sounds as he approaches. Perfect timing. Please, do come over just as I’m about to make a fool of myself.
My eyes snap open and I force a smile. “Everything’s great.”
“Everything’s not great,” the patient complains. He gestures to the small cut on his leg, the one I’m supposed to be healing. “If this was a serious wound, I could be dead by now—”
“Alright, alright,” Dad interrupts with a soft chuckle. “Let’s take a deep breath.” He turns to face me, and I can feel my cheeks warm with embarrassment. Or maybe it’s just warm in here. “Ren, you know what you’re doing. You can do this.”
“I know,” I mumble, turning my attention back to the wound in front of me. He’s right, I do know how to do this. I’ve healed countless wounds in the past by myself or when I’m alone with Dad, but as soon as I’m actually in the Infirmary with other people watching me, my magic refuses to work. I can feel the burning stares of the people around me, and the knowledge that I’m embarrassing myself makes my ability to concentrate fly out the window. And concentration is the most important part of being able to use Light Energy.
My much-older classmates like to gossip about my inability to heal, and the whispers always end up circling my way. They say that the only reason I got this apprenticeship is because of my dad—a theory I loathe, but one I sometimes wonder to be true. After all, how can the daughter of the most powerful Healer in the entire Kingdom be this bad at healing?
Dad doesn’t move, but I can feel his steady presence to my left. I take another deep breath.
I can do this. But then I force my mind to correct itself; I can do this now that Dad’s here. I try to ignore the presence of everyone else in the room, and pretend it’s after-hours during the times when Dad and I would practice, alone.
It’s similar to the sensation of having my eyes adjust to a dark room. At first, I can’t see anything, but after a few moments, my surroundings become clear. Sensing the Light Energy is much the same. It’s a warm buzz in the air, growing in strength as I hone my concentration in on it. I inhale slowly and on the exhale, my hands began to glow, turning the light into a physical form.
The light from my hands spreads down to the wound, and after a few seconds I pull away, letting the light fade back into my surrounding environment. The patient’s leg is flawless, as if the cut had never existed in the first place.
“Not even a scar, would you look at that!” Dad grins and ruffles my hair with one hand. “See? There’s no need to doubt yourself. You’ll make a great Healer one day.”