CH. 33 – Janine sat on the edge of the bed and studied the sleeping boy’s face. He looked about her age, with shaggy chestnut hair and thick eyelashes. A white scar ran from the hairline on the top left side of his forehead to his eye and then down his cheek to his ear. She lifted his eyelids — the eye which was scarred was almost white, the other a bright blue. The boy was slender and his skin pale, as if he’d spent a lot of time indoors, yet his hands were rough and calloused.
“I wonder what happened to him.” Using a napkin, she dabbed a drop of medicine from his lips.
Fritter stoppered the bottle he had brought in and wiped his hands on a towel. “That’s it. I’ve tried every medicine in the storeroom. Nothing has worked — not even Miracle Mix.”
“I don’t understand,” said Janine. “You say he should be dead, but he’s clearly asleep.”
“I don’t understand it either,” said Fritter. “He definitely should be dead. Magic is involved, but I can’t figure out what kind.”
Janine frowned. “I didn’t realize that dragons were so poisonous. It’s a wonder we both haven’t died by now from mopping up Jay’s tears.”
Fritter shook his head. “It’s only the blood that is poisonous, and dragon skin is very hard to pierce. Dragon tears actually have many medicinal benefits — and yes, I’ve tried those on the boy too.”
Janine noticed that Fritter was careful not to mention just where Jay’s vulnerable spots were, or what dragon tears actually did. As she thought over the past year, Janine realized that she was healthier than she’d ever been in her life.
“I’m out of ideas.” Fritter slumped on his stool. “Maybe it’s time to get someone else involved.”
Fritter was one of the best healers Janine had ever seen. If he admitted to being stumped, then they really were in trouble.
“His clothing looks like it’s from Nelsonia. Why don’t we send for a doctor or magician from the city?”
Fritter glanced at her. “People don’t usually just wander into the Tulgey Woods. No, there has to be a reason he came here. Anyone who can kill two bandersnatches, even with the help of a poisoned vorpal sword, is more than he appears. I suggest we keep our visitor’s presence to ourselves. Until we know his identity and why he’s here, we can assume nothing.”
“You mean, he might have been coming to kill Jay and take me away?” Janine didn’t like the thought of that. She looked at his peaceful face. Somehow she couldn’t believe anything malicious about him. “I could send a letter down to Col and Bee. Maybe they’d have some ideas.”
“Good. Although a storm is predicted for today. The mail won’t get through any time soon.”
“I’ll ask Jubby to fly it down.”
Janine brushed her fingers through the boy’s hair and then pulled the blanket up under his chin. “Sweet dreams,” she whispered.
She ignored the worried look that Fritter gave her.