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part five.


Mallos was still wet when he walked through the door of the hospital wing. Arthur strongly suspected that that was only so he could have the satisfaction of shaking himself like a dog and sending a spray of water over the people nearest to him, which is exactly what he did.

“Why is it that every time I turn my back for five minutes, you break Shaman?” The sun-god remarked in a casual tone.

“My apologies,” Arthur replied dryly. “At least you didn’t have to disintegrate yourself to fix it this time.”

Mallos just grinned. Arthur would have preferred to have continued the inevitable conversation in his office - much later, once he was reassured about his son - but that seemed unlikely now. Tristan, lying in the hospital bed, had perked up the minute his grandfather walked in. The healers were still trying to determine if he’d broken or cracked his ribs, but other than that it seemed to be only exhaustion which was troubling him. Thoth seemed perfectly fine, but the healers had forced him into a hospital bed too. He looked livid about it, and Arthur suspected the only reason he hadn’t walked out in protest was because he was hoping to hear what Mallos had to say.

Morgana was also present, perched on the end of Tristan’s bed with Sperantia curled up on her lap. Mordred had hung around long enough to make sure that his nephew wasn’t seriously hurt before departing to oversee the guards in charge of maintaining the bubble. The healers had left to go and find the head healer, who was off-duty and hopefully still in the castle somewhere.

Mallos walked around the bed, pulled up a chair which hadn’t existed a second ago and slouched in it. Even when he wasn’t talking, it was difficult not to give Mallos the centre of attention. Sperantia opened one eye to watch him suspiciously, Morgana quirked an eyebrow and Thoth glowered at him. Only Arthur ignored him, keeping his attention on his son’s face. A slight smile had curled at the edge of Tristan’s lips.

“You alright?” His grandfather asked him.

“Yeah,” Tristan tried to grin, but it turned into a grimace. “Perfect.”

“What happened?” Morgana asked. “Is everywhere…?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Mallos mused. “It’s deep enough. Might be a few peaks of Vista Mountains still above water.”

Now that Morgana had opened the discussion, there was no stopping or moving it. Arthur could have requested they go to his office and Mallos probably would have obliged, but Tristan and Thoth would have protested. And, besides, Arthur didn’t want to leave Tristan.

“I presume Therait caused it?” He enquired. Mallos nodded. “Can you reverse it?”

The solar deity snorted. “Sure. Can you tap-dance the macarena while standing on your head and drinking whiskey?”

“That’s a ‘no’,” Morgana translated with a grim smile. Mallos shifted slightly in his seat as though admitting he couldn’t do something didn’t happen often.

“Therait uses a chaotic form of divine magic,” he grunted. “Hard to unravel. If I tried, he’d attack me and I’d have to defeat him before I could do anything else. Divine battles are… high risk, for everyone on the planet they take place on.” He picked a flower off the bouquet by Tristan’s bedside and twirled it between his fingers. “Therait spends most of his life in a state of hibernation and only causes trouble when he wakes up. When he goes back to sleep, the flood waters should recede on their own.”

Arthur nodded, accepting that. The last divine battle to take place on Shaman had been between Mallos and Lorraine, and they had almost torn half of the planet apart. Gwythr and Aura’s battle had formed a civil war which tainted generations. Perhaps engaging Therait wasn’t such a good idea.

“He couldn’t attack Shaman because of Aura’s magical protection, correct?” He asked, glancing briefly at Thoth. The teenager’s expression didn’t waver at the mention of his deceased mother.

“Yeah. That wouldn’t have held up against a prolonged attack, but I improved the enchantment.” Mallos spun the flower stem sharply in his hand and released it. It danced through the air like a little helicopter, tickling people’s noses as it went. “I can feel it when the protective enchantments are triggered, so I can come and help. You might find the enchantments have a few extra tricks up their sleeves to help with the flood, too.”

He wouldn’t - or couldn’t - elaborate on that when Morgana asked him to, so Arthur supposed they would have to find out for themselves.

“This bubble around the castle is not a permanent solution,” he pointed out, redirecting the conversation slightly. “We have a limited air supply and the bubble pops whenever something passes through it.”

“I’ll strengthen the boundary for you and give it gills or something,” Mallos offered. “I’ll make sure the royal navy is shipshape too and move all the boats above the castle.”

The flying flower fluttered breezily over and settled into Arthur’s hair, just above the air. He reached up to pluck it out and frowned very slightly as the flower refused to be dislodged, no matter how hard he pulled. Mallos smiled benignly.

Written by Aspelta.

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