Healer of All

Chapter I [Heresy] - PART 2

Update: 2017-04-26

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Lying face-up in a midnoon field made the sunlight seem that much more dazzling, forcing Eliza's eyes open.
(So bright... I could've sworn it's only May...)
Idle musings ran through her mind as she propped her waist upwards and looked around. The landscape was quite breathtaking; she could see a greenish mist enveloping the snow-white summits of faraway mountains, and in front of them a forest extending into a distant prairie, decorated with the toe sections of her own boots...
Something suddenly seemed improbable about the scenery Eliza was taking in. Looking down, the distance between her point of view and the earth suggested that she was on some sort of elevated platform, and yet her torso and legs seemed to extend past it and properly connected her body to ground level. She ran her right palm across the soil, and the hand all the way down below seemed to move at the same time as she was feeling the earth's soft texture running through her fingertips. The feeling of disorientation gradually went away, but the situation itself remained incomprehensible. She was absolutely clueless as to what she was supposed to do. The same exact questions circled her mind over and over and the confused healer gradually looked as if steam was ready to pop out of her ears any second now.

Just then, her shifting eyes stopped on a black 'something' by her left knee. Immediately recognizing it as a human being, she carefully plucked him up with her left hand, placed him on her right palm and brought him closer to her face so that she could inspect the more minute details from up close. Doing so, she could discern that the armor-clad person was only slightly wider than her little finger, and thin, string-like arms extended from what appeared to be his shoulders.
(How... small.)
On the other hand, perhaps it was actually her who had somehow become unnaturally large. Thinking about it this way, Eliza found it to be rather convenient to her interests; healers like herself treat people by injecting sorcery directly into the wounded's lifestreams to hasten their rejuvenation process, and as such, curing severe injuries would require proportionally vast amounts of mana. Having apparently grown to roughly thirty times her previous size, however, her mana should've also seen a massive increase, which would in theory enable her to heal many more casualties than her previous stature would've ever allowed for. With a newfound resolve, Eliza prudently healed the armored man's wounds with her magic, making sure to not accidentally damage him from pouring too much mana. Despite the conscious restraint, the soldier's body visibly shook with vigor in almost no time at all.
Eliza inadvertently breathed a sigh of relief.
(This is the person I knocked out back then...)
Reckoning that there should be other casualties nearby, Eliza looked around her once more and found a collapsed man clad in dark brown armor by her left hip, as well as an additional group of fallen warriors several feet to her front. She placed the armored man on her right palm and stood up with her other hand free. Her preposterous weight made the ground below her feet sink more than she had prepared for, but she decided to simply try and ignore it.

Gransel, who was only about halfway through fully regaining consciousness, was forced back into his senses alongside a feeling of disorientation brought about by the sudden radical increase in altitude. His body slightly hopped in midair once the abrupt upwards incline subsided before quickly falling back down due to the weight of his armor. He pulled himself off the 'ground', removed his visor and looked around. Behind him he could see a wide vista extending all the way to the distant horizon, but his immediate front was obstructed by some sort of tapestry-like cloth.

All of a sudden, the surface he was standing on swayed backwards, sending his upper body jostling forward; before he had time to even think about what just happened, a weighty sound came from far below, accompanied by the mysterious surface shifting yet again- this time forwards, flinging him backwards and leaving him collapsed face-up and on his rear. His gaze forced upwards, Gransel's eyes met Eliza's, who was looking down below. Likely noticing that the Lilliputian warrior was looking back at her, Eliza gingerly smiled. Gransel recognized that as a familiar expression from a certain healer he knew well, but this spectacle occupying up his entire range of vision seemed uncharacteristically distant, and reaching his arm out to it touch it accomplished little more than cutting through air.

Interpreting Gransel's gesture as 'the tiny man is waving his hand at me', Eliza brought her palm closer to her face to see him better.
"Um... is something the matt-"
Halfway through Eliza's inquiry, the man riding on her palm suddenly covered his ears and stiffened his entire body. She did not expect this reaction, and it took her a few moments to realize that it was because her voice was too loud for him.

To Gransel, who already had his hands full trying to figure out where he was or what was happening, the introduction of an enormous, booming voice came entirely out of left field. After somehow managing to recover, he looked at his surroundings once more, and finally noticed that the arm extending from Eliza's shoulder connected to the soft surface below his feet. Suffice it to say, it took him a fair amount of time to fully comprehend that he was currently standing on top of her palm and the reality implied by such a thing even being possible.

Eliza covered her mouth with her left hand and waited for their gaze to cross again, before sheepishly asking, "Umm... are you alright?"
"I'm fine."
Gransel had just about come to terms with the phantasmagorical situation he found himself in. He collected his thoughts and returned the giantess' question with his own.
"I'm more concerned about you... back then, you looked like you were being mind-controller by that priest... and before I knew it, you're suddenly over a hundred feet tall? What on Earth happened after you were kidnapped?"
Eliza blinked a couple of times before her gaze wandered away from Gransel, seemingly deep in thought. It would be unlikely to up and forget something like that, but for some reason, her memories of these events were hazy.
"Yes, kidnapped. We were all searching high and low for you ever since the Enlighters abducted you four days ago."
Eliza's wandering eyes returned to Gransel at his explanation. This man was looking for her. She couldn't get a clear look at his face- partly due to his size and partly due to his helmet- but she had definitely heard his voice before, and she also recognized the nearby dark-armored soldier as the man she was trying to heal earlier. She recalled that the priest who ordered her to do so had the mark of the sun embroidered on his robe, and she was currently wearing a similar outfit herself. Something about that insignia struck her as familiar...
Gransel's body trembled at the sudden deafening sound. He just barely managed to avoid passing out right then and there due to how Eliza still had her mouth covered by her hand, as well as due to him managing to cover his ears in time when he saw Eliza sucking in air, but his mind went into a daze and a tinnitus-like echo remained ringing through his ears.
"S-sorry, Lord Gransel..."
The giantess' apology didn't reach Gransel, who for a while was not in a state of mind that allowed him to so much as think properly.

Eliza sat down in place, making sure to not accidentally drop Gransel. She picked up the fallen warriors laying by her left middle and index fingers and placed them on top of her right palm. Gransel watched in awe as she plucked up from the ground soldiers clad in armor weighing over 160 pounds each as if they were grains of rice, but he waved his arms and raised his voice in protest upon getting a closer look at the fourth soldier she manhandled into her palm.
"...? What's wrong?"
Eliza stopped moving her hand and looked down at Gransel, who was pointing at the unconscious battlemage at his side.
"Are you seriously going to heal that guy too?"
"Of course."
She gave a quick, unhesitant reply.
"You do know he's an Enlighter, right?"
Eliza nodded slowly with a somewhat perplexed expression.
"But I can't very well leave him to die now that I'm more than capable of saving his life."
Gransel hung his head with a sigh as Eliza daintily shook her head in disagreement. He knew that it wasn't a simple act of kindness or compassion, instead being more akin to a fool hellbent on compensating their own robber with a reward, but he also knew that this young healer frequently spent her days regretting her own lack of power, so he chose not to argue too strongly.
"I get that. But..."
The problem was how they were planning to keep the enemy soldiers restrained; especially that powerful battlemage. After conveying his concerns to Eliza, she pondered about it for a while before gently plucking several black hairs off the side of her head with her left hand and dropped them onto her right palm.
"Could you tie them up with this?"
Gransel picked up the strands of hair. They were comparable to relatively thick strings, and showed no signs of tearing even when he tied them over both his hands and spread open his arms with all his strength.
"Yeah, this'll probably do."
Eliza's face lit up with relief.
"We should also make sure to blindfold the mage, right?"
Gransel folded his arms and went into deep thought.
Sorcery requires strong mental concentration and perception of one's target, so when transporting a captured magician, some order of sealing his or her senses is a necessary safety precaution- whether through physical injuries, starvation in confinement, blindfolding, or something else entirely.
"...in fact, we should break his arm later for good measure."
Eliza furrowed her brow.
"Is that absolutely necessary...?"
Unbudging, Gransel nodded with his arms still folded. Eliza awkwardly look back at forth at him and the battlemage.

After a long silence, Eliza opened her mouth.
"Alright. First things first, though..."

She carefully lowered her right palm to the ground; even that small gesture, however, proved difficult for Gransel to endure. The surface he was standing on began shifting downwards, making him feel like he was floating in midair, and despite trying to brace for the impact by spreading his arms to his sides, the force of the landing sent him rolling a couple feet backwards.
"A-are you okay?"
Eliza's nervous voice came from far above. As he was still on top of her soft palm, he got off with only negligible cramps around his joints. The soldier staggered a bit as he rose up to his feet and waved his hand at Eliza in confirmation. Eliza breathed a sigh of relief, and then stared intently at Gransel. As soon as she did, a warm sensation ran through his body, and that's all it took for all his pains to ease and his stamina to fully recover.

Finishing her healing spell, Eliza let Gransel off her palm and asked him a question.
"Could you tell me which ones are our allies?"
The knight gave her a puzzled look, and she continued with a bashful smile on her face.
"O-oh, um... everyone's so small that I can't tell apart friend from foe, so..."
Gransel inadvertently burst into laughter. He found her priorities to be mistaken at their very core, but couldn't bring himself to say it out loud.

Eliza scooped up the fallen soldiers as per Gransel's instructions and cast healing spells on three to four men at a time. To Gransel, who was watching from the side, it seemed like a superhuman craft requiring masterful delicacy and concentration, but the healer casting the spell in question actually found it to be exceptionally undemanding, as she didn't need to strain herself in forcing out mana like usual. The cured soldiers were dumbfounded at the sight of the giant in front of them, but none were seized up by their fears enough to instinctively attack; as healers were scarce around that area, Eliza's face was well recognized.

After confirming that everyone were up on their feet, Eliza lowered her hand to the ground, keeping it perfectly level to the best of her ability. She waited for everyone to get off and then plucked a few more strands of hair off her head, dropping them over the men.
"Could you tie up the defeated enemy soldiers with these, please?"
Being asked as much did little to explain the situation to the confused soldiers, who just barely managed to comprehend that they weren't actually shrunk down to bug-size, but not much else beyond that. Gransel approached the astonished men and elaborated.
"It's so we can capture and carry them, apparently."
Still, even the most quick witted of the soldiers took a few moments to comprehend Eliza's request. The first one to catch onto things was a young archer named Easem, who looked up at her and shouted with cheer.
"You're gonna save the enemies, too?! Man, that's so like you!"
Eliza offered a quiet apology with a slightly embarrassed giggle. Starkly contrasting with her enormous figure as they may be, Eliza's gestures were still unmistakably her own, and any fears and doubts remaining in the soldiers' hearts were quickly dispelled. Even Easem, who somewhat regretted his own rash remark just now, felt a tinge of relief which he tried to hide behind a confident expression.

The soldiers cut the hairs into appropriate lengths, gathered them into bundles and tied up the enemies' limbs. Eliza bent over to pick up the bound soldiers before suddenly halting her movements.

The priest wasn't here.

She raised her head and looked to her sides, but couldn't find him. She stood up to get a better view of her surroundings, but the priest was still nowhere to be seen. Wind currents were produced as the healer turned around, dancing back and forth, and her watchtower-sized boots created tremors as they stomped on the earth. The soldiers were intimidated enough to instinctively take a few steps back, but Eliza paid no attention to the situation by her feet.

Suddenly, two deep red blotches staining the soil by the entrance to the tent where she was held captive earlier piqued her interest. The smaller of them was likely the blood spilled by the battlemage, while the other was a rounder, seemingly expanding puddle that, upon closer inspection, seemed to have been gushing out of some sort of cloth.
Eliza gasped and approached the red stain, crouching in front of it to get a closer look. The distinct emblem of a sun could still be clearly seen on the bloodstained cloth. Her right shoulder all but froze in place; she tried running a finger across the substance, and it felt as sticky as it looked. She pulled her left finger back and saw that it was now dyed a deep red.

There was no denying it at that point.
(I... killed him...?)
Sweat began cascading like a waterfall from her visibly shaking body. She stared at her own finger with vacant eyes, and anyone looking at her could tell that her thoughts were racing.
"That... can't be..."
That was all she could say after the brief, yet seemingly endless, moments of silence.

Her quivering body eventually settled down, and with a refocused gaze she attempted once more to analyze the stain that used to be a clergyman. The maroon blemish tarnishing the ground hinted at the tragedy that Eliza had accidentally crushed him beneath her massive body when she turned over before getting up earlier.

She scooped up the priest's robe. As it no longer contained any traces of recognizable flesh, the holy vestment itself was all that revealed its wearer's identity.
(What should I do...?)
Her instinct assured her that this was a lost cause, but the men looking up at her from below had no way of knowing. Easem stepped into Eliza's field of vision and spoke to her with an almost impatient tone.
"What's up? Aren't you gonna heal him?"
In response to the sudden query, the intensely disoriented Eliza momentarily lost her composure.
"The problem is that I can't!"
Her thunderous nigh-scream struck Easem head on and its sheer volume sent him toppling backwards and on his rear, irises shrunk and eardrums bleedings.
Eliza hurriedly tried to help prop his body back up, but she accidentally applied too much strength into her fingertips; the sound of a 'snap' could be heard as she felt the youth's ribcage crack in her grasp.

Eliza shut her eyes tightly as if in a flinch as she finally began to truly understand what it meant to posses such a gigantic body. With this size difference, the slightest negligence on her part is more than enough to potentially endanger the lives of people around her. She had to be extra precautious with every word she spoke, every step she took and every little human being she picked up in her hands.

First, she focused her gaze on Easem, who was lying down and coughing up blood on top of her palm. She took one deep breath to spur herself and began prudently pouring mana into his body.
Soon enough, he reopened his eyes.
"I'm sorry. Are you alright?"
Easem staggered to his feet after hearing Eliza's question and waved his hand in response, still reeling. In the next breath, he pointed at the red robe lolling on top of the same palm and asked, "That him?".

Eliza silently nodded and lowered her hand back to the ground. Easem walked a couple of steps to alight from the giantess' palm before suddenly stopping in his tracks to turn back and look up at her.
"Well, just do your best."
The young man's voice had a certain bluntness to it.
"Yes. I'll see what I can do."
Eliza responded softly and, after confirming that Easem safely dismounted it, raised her palm back up in front of her eyes.

Resurrection of the dead is said to be a "miracle among sorcery" and is nowadays regarded as a ceremony on the same scope as funerals, but Eliza recalled hearing that it was feasible in theory. If her memory served correctly, the process involved the invocation of powerful "transmogrification sorcery" to create a body from scratch, followed by breathing life into it while calling upon the spirit of the deceased and sealing it inside. Not only does every single step of the procedure requires incredibly high-grade magic, but many aspects of it are kept as a secret to commoners, and there are next to no recorded cases of success. Being a total novice, the burden of such a ritual should be much too heavy for her to bear.

However, Eliza hardened her resolve- with the enormous amount of mana she now possesses, perhaps something could still be done. Moreover, she simply couldn't bring herself to give up.

She closed her eyes and began visualizing in her head the priest's original living form.

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