Chapter 12 - Healing

The Tribal Chief approached Sarby with a bowl. What was laying in the cracked dish was unexpected. Instead of liquid sloshing around as he brought the bowl down to Sarby, chunks of crystal clanked beside each other. Sarby’s eyes squinted as he tried to shake his arms free of the fatigue, but it was no use.


Gaan sighed. “This is the first time I’ve had to perform this procedure. Of course, I’ve been taught it before and even witnessed it in my youthful days, so there is no need to fret of me butchering the process. You will feel immense pain for what is about to be done to you, and everyone will always know what it is you have done and are capable of doing. All Higher Beings alike will know what you are. A true monster.”


Sarby’s mother’s sobs bellowed, but his father stood stern, still beside Sarby with no hint of emotion.


“I need the Tribal Guards to hold down his body. No matter how much his body thrashes about, do not let go.” Gaan turned from Sarby and fetched a metal instrument. He pointed to the tip, sharp like a blade. “I advise anyone not involved in this child’s life to leave.” He looked at Star and Hyanga who departed the Crystal Cavern at once.


Sarby gazed upon the hanging crystals as the Chief sat beside his body, holding the instrument above his large horn. He had never heard of such a procedure. Was Gaan about to carve his horn from his head? Immense fear flared throughout him, but still not enough to trigger his body to flee. He felt helpless. He looked over to his father who bit his own claws. Sarby’s mother was unable to be seen.


A pang of intense pain shot through Sarby’s head as the metal tool struck his horn. Again. And again. And again. Over and over. He felt his horn crack. A web traveling from the base to the top. As the minutes passed, he no longer felt pain, only fear. Would it shatter completely? The clanking stopped, and the Chief reached into the bowl of crystals and broke them into smaller pieces, then forced them into the cracks of his horn. With each crystal, Sarby felt life return to him. His body surged with energy, almost too much energy.


His body contorted in spastic patterns and the guards grunted while trying to keep his body down. He couldn’t control any movements. His body went from not listening to him and remaining immobile, to ignoring him and flailing about.


He felt it come on again. An Awakening. But as quickly as it happened, it was over. The last thing he heard before his vision faded to black was, “It’s a success.”

Sarby awoke in a familiar indent of the cave, laying in hay with a mangled cloth tucking him in. His father sat on a stone chair before a larger stone used as a table. He seemed to be deep in thought, his paw resting on his head as he traced his other paw in the cracks of the stone. Sarby attempted to speak, but coughed instead. Alfon rushed over to his son’s side and placed a paw on Sarby’s horn.


“Did it work? Can you move? Can you speak?”


“…I can, it seems.”



“Oh, praise the crystals!” Alfon jumped up and down, then collected himself and hugged his son.


“Where’s Mother?”


His father’s smile halted for a second. “She, uh, she’ll come around in a while.”


Sarby knew that was a lie. He saw the look his mother gave to him. He broke the biggest law. Sitting up on the haystack, he looked around the room. “What’s going to happen to me now?”


His father sighed. “You should know what happens next, but I am going to do all in my power to avoid such a thing from occurring, even if it means that I may never see you again. I’m going to need you to continue to remain laying in your bed. The Chief makes frequent stops, and whatever he does or says, I need you to act as if you cannot move. At least until I come up with a plan.”


A realization hit Sarby. “Father! My friends! The humans have captured them. We need to send the rescue squads out at once!”


“So that’s what you were up to. Sarby, you know that our squads in Jalla are diminishing. I don’t know how or why, but this time these humans are so persistent. It’s like they aren’t stopping until every Bakkon is caught, and no matter how prepared everyone seems to be, they bring in forces of the like we’ve never seen. I don’t think we can take them head on. And neither can you.”


“But we found out where they sleep, if we gather more people we can—”


“Son, it’s admirable that you fight this hard for our country, but the Chiefs of every tribe have discussed this over this the past few days. Word has spread. We need to figure out a way to act fast. These humans won’t stop.”


“Father… If we all awaken—”


“Absolutely not! You don’t understand what can happen while we are in that state! The fact you would even suggest such a thing is repulsive!”


A rock rolled from the corner of the dimly lit room. “Hello, Alfon. Talking to yourself?” The Chief stepped in. “I understand, it must be terribly difficult, essentially losing your son. It’s such a shame he will never be the same…”


“Oh, Chief Gaan! Yes, I’m trying hard to come to terms with it.”


The Chief walked over to Sarby, who had shut his eyes. “Seems he looks in better wear than before, that’s a good sign. I’ve set up the crystal prison for him. I suppose with our recent developments, we’ll be able to test new things that have yet to be documented about Awakening.”


“If anything good can come from this, it would be an honor for you to conduct whatever you need to on my son.” Alfon’s voice wavered and cracked mid sentence, but the Chief didn’t seem to notice. 


Gaan laid his paw on Sarby’s face and horn. “Seems the crystal is doing its magic. The way the crystal seems alive while it’s inside of us, is quite terrifying to me, what do you think, Alfon?”


Sarby could still feel the flow, as if a powerful electric current washed up and down through his horn.


“It is much brighter and lively than I imagined it would be. The way the glowing parts crawl up and down the cracks of his horn makes it look as if it’s breathing.”