Royal Guardian Lando Garr was weakened by his extensive injuries in the service of his prince and faces boredom from a medically enforced bed rest. When the unexpected happens, Lando is forced to act to keep the royal family safe, but at great personal cost.
Prince Kallen proves once more that his symbiotic relationship with the dragon Bobik is not only to his benefit but to his world’s. Faced with a difficult decision, Kallen realizes that he either accepts the inevitable or faces a lifetime without the man he loves by his side.
2345 (Universal Standard Calendar)
Kallen looked at his father, King Arzhur Linya Brennus. They were both in his rooms, watching over Lando as he recuperated from his injuries.
“How did he get hurt, exactly?”
“Bobik told me that he opened the door without first checking out what he was going to face. Neither did he ask Bobik’s assistance.”
“Bobik said Lando either forgot his training or he acted impulsively.”
“Don’t blame him, Kallen. He was very worried about you. I have to apologize, I was no help.”
“No need to apologize. The way I heard it, Bobik was getting desperate too.” Kallen threw a wry grin to his father. “In any case, he was lucky the beam of light was only a ricochet. A direct hit from the weapon set on kill wouldn’t have spared him. Had it not been for Bobik, Lando would have died on the spot. It was Bobik’s magic first that weakened the ray’s effects. When I got there, I thought I was too late, but Bobik…he told me how to combine my magic with his and slowed down the bleeding.”
Kallen recalled how he’d frozen in place, horrified at seeing his beloved Lando’s body almost cut in half and a swirl of white light enveloping him. At Bobik’s prompting, he’d let go of his magic, which Bobik took to increase the protective shield about Lando.
Once the initial shock had worn off, he’d acted on instinct and desperately opened a space conduit from inside the closed quarters of the rebel hideout. He’d then transported them directly inside the royal medical building on Oryon.
“You do realize that what you achieved out there, it’s never been seen or heard of before?” His father’s voice brought Kallen to the present. “Space conduits are thus named because supposedly they could only be opened out in space…not from within tight areas. That feat proved once more there’s been no one as strong and talented in technomagical abilities born within the Linya Brennus family as you are.”
Kallen flushed under his father’s regard. He’d been told he was one of the more powerful technomages in over a thousand years, but he’d never really paid attention to the comments or the attributes. Right then he was just glad he’d had the ability to save Lando’s life. He couldn’t imagine life without him.
“The medics were startled to inaction at first, but overall hadn’t panicked at the sight of a conduit opening in the middle of the building’s courtyard.” Kallen leaned back in his chair. Once they heard Bobik’s frantic call, the medical staff had moved to immediately set to the task of stabilizing and repairing Lando’s body as fast as they could, without causing more damage to the remaining uninjured organs weakened from the blast.
When his father stood up, he made to stand as well, but Arzhur laid a hand on his shoulder.
“No, stay here. I won’t tell you to rest knowing you’ll watch over Lando. I have some work to do before the dinner gong sounds. Join me?”
“I will, thank you, Father,” Kallen said, placing his own hand over his father’s on his shoulder. Arzhur gave him a last pat before turning around and opened the door.
Outside the door, Kallen could see the Royal Guardians standing in attention. Standing off to one side was Aiken, an older and experienced Level 1A with a stern countenance. Lando had reassigned him to Arzhur when Cheol disappeared. His gaze met Aiken’s, who made a slight inclination of his head.
Although Lando had been repaired three days earlier and was no longer in immediate danger, he still remained physically weak and in considerable pain. Through him, the doctors imposed their will, and Lando was under strict medical orders to avoid physical stress. The speed of their repair might have sealed his tissues together and stopped further blood loss, but the rest of the healing was best left to time. Should he overexert himself before his body could stabilize properly, it could mean internal bleeding or an aneurysm.
Kallen chuckled at the thought of Lando inactive. As a Level 1A Security, Lando was not only mentally and physically stronger and more intelligent than all of the other genetically enhanced security guardsmen, but he also had a surfeit of built-up energy he needed to expel through physical activity, usually through arduous training. Until he healed, that same energy was directed to his body’s complete recovery.