Angel and I stayed in bed for the majority of the next day. It was mostly her there to assure me she wouldn't leave me. I was so ashamed. I couldn't understand how she was still here.
"I was responsible, too," she kept reminding me.
They had retrieved my cane but I broke it in half before they could stop me and tossed it into the fire. Angel was annoyed but didn't say anything as they brought me a new one. Knowing fighting was pointless, I accepted it. It was polished black oak and a silver head.
After lunch, I went to the room they told me Hugo was in, Angel following. I was worried for my friend and they let us in. I groaned.
Hugo was shirtless and pale. He was sweating terribly. There was a bandage on his chest just below his heart. Angel looked on in horror as I limped over to him. Dr. Amelia came in and pulled out familiar instruments.
"Hold my hand, Hugo," I said softly. "This is going to hurt."
Hugo chuckled and coughed. "You mean more than my ex-fiancee shoving a sword through my chest?"
"I'm afraid so." I passed him the rod. "Bite down." He looked doubtful. "Trust me, friend. You're going to need this."
So it began. She pulled the bandage off and I winced. It was very inflamed and he screamed as Dr. Amelia cleaned the wound. She was as careful as she had been with me. Angel hurried over to hold onto Hugo's other hand as he continued to scream. Dr. Amelia was frowning in a way I had never seen before. It wasn't comforting.
"Take a deep breath," she told Hugo in a soothing voice. "I'm almost done."
He whimpered in response. She spread the ointment inside the wound then got out the needle and thread. She was working fast. Angel was speaking words of comfort to Hugo who was leaning back, his eyes shut, and tears streaming down the corners of his eyes. Now I understood why Angel had been so afraid. This must be what I looked like.
Finally, Amelia wrapped a fresh bandage around his chest and I took the rod out of his mouth. He sobbed as I rubbed his jaw for him.
"I'm so sorry, my friend," I whispered. "But you'll be okay. You're in the hands of the best doctor I've ever known."
"He needs sleep," Dr. Amelia said quietly after the servants changed the sheets. "Wait for me outside. I need to give him the tonic and wash my hands."
We obeyed and I held Angel's hand tightly. She was crying. We heard Hugo cough a few times and Amelia speak. Then she came out, looking exhausted.
"It's bad," she whispered so he couldn't hear. "Luckily, whoever did this must have had a change of mind. It's not near his heart and she didn't hit any major arteries."
"So it's more of a flesh wound?" Angel whispered.
Amelia nodded. "Unfortunately, the blade was rusted. It's severely infected. I haven't seen an infection like that in a long time. The medicine will do the work but he's in for a long, long, long haul."
I looked at the door in worry. "You sure the medicine will be enough?"
"Honestly, Prince David, I can't be sure. With you, we caught it early on. But he had been in that house with a wound from a rusted blade for several hours."
Angel was sobbing and I put my arm around her.
"If it doesn't work, how long does he have?" I breathed.
Her face fell. "A week at the most." I shut my eyes tightly. "I'm sorry. All we can do is wait."
"Can we stay with him?"
"No." I sighed and put my forehead on Angel's head. "Again, I'm sorry but it's too risky. Only I and a few select servants will be going in there." She hesitated. "Stay away from this wing of the castle. You will not like what you hear."
"She's right, David," Angel said, her voice shaking. "When you were ill...."
"It's much worse than you," Dr. Amelia repeated. "Please, just let me work and I will give you daily reports."
"If he gets...."
"I'll let you see him one more time," she promised.
When you're excited about something, time seems to speed up. When you're waiting on bad news, though, time seems to slow down. I couldn't focus on anything. I would try to sketch, but all I could manage was Hugo's face. Shooting didn't help, either. It reminded me of the night he helped me save Angel. Walking among the grounds only brought up the memory of when he told me he wanted to be my friend. He was my first friend.
Angel spent her time with me, as well. Though her friendship wasn't as strong as mine, it was still there.
"You have to eat," Roland said on the sixth day. "There hasn't been any news. Perhaps he'll-"
"David," Amelia said from the door and I stood up, my chair falling over. "Angel, stay here."
"No," she said. "I'm coming."
Amelia sighed but led us to the room. We could hear Hugo yelling and Angel gripped my hand so tightly it went numb.
"He's been demanding to see you," she said as we walked. "I can't get his fever to go down."
"Is it still infected?"
"We can't get him calm enough for me to remove the stitches and look." We got to his room and she sighed. "I won't lie, David. It's not looking promising. If we can't get it under control tonight...."
Angel covered her mouth and sobbed a few times. I collected my emotions and opened the door. Angel followed timidly behind me. Hugo was in his bed. He was sweating worse than before and his eyes were wild. His face was pale and they had him restrained.
"David!" he gasped. "Oh, thank God! They're trying to kill me, David!"
"No," I said, limping over to his side and holding his hand. "No, my friend. They are trying to help you."
"They won't let me move!"
Angel brushed the sweaty hair off his face. "Where are you wanting to go?" she whispered.
"I have to see Ingrid!" he cried.
"She tried to kill me! I must know why!" His lower lip trembled. "I'm going to die, David," he said suddenly, gripping my hand. "I-I have moments where my mind is clear. Like-Like now. Then my mind slips...."
"You're not going to die," I said firmly. "But you need to calm down. Dr. Amelia cannot hel you if you keep thrashing around like this."
He shook his head. "No. She'll try to make it worse!"
"Look at me," I said but his eyes were going wild again. I gripped his head tightly in my hands. "Hugo! Listen to me! This is the fever speaking! You know this!"
"Ingrid!" he yelled. "I must see Ingrid! Don't let them kill me David!"
"Doctor," I called and she hurried over. "Hugo, this is-"
"Dr. Amelia," he gasped. "Please. Just kill me now. I can't take this anymore."
Amelia sighed. "If you would just let me help you-"
"What's the point?" he whimpered. "My love tried to kill me because my best friend is the prince."
I tried not to cry and held his head firmly in place.
"Forgive me, my friend," I whispered and nodded to Amelia.
Quick as a flash, she poured the sedative in his mouth. When he tried to spit it out, I used my thumbs to clamp his mouth shut. He looked at me, eyes full of betrayal, until the sedative took effect. Amelia sighed.
I gently let go of his head as she unwrapped the bandage. Angel gripped my hand tightly, shaking in fear.
"How-How is it?" she rasped.
Amelia shook her head. "I can't do anything else for him," she said regretfully. "I am sorry." She swallowed thickly. "The sedative... shouldn't last long. You'll have time."
She left and Angel fell to her knees, sobbing. I held her and cried, waiting for my dear friend to wake back up for the last time. It took two hours for the sedative to wear off and for the pain to wake him up. He gasped and tried to move against the restraints.
"Hey there," I whispered and his eyes focused in on us.
"I-I had a dream," he said in a hoarse voice. "I was-I was facing God. David, I'm going to die, aren't I?"
"Yes, Hugo," I managed. "You are. We've done all we can for you."
"Why did she do it?" he breathed.
"She said you were trying to leave her," I said and he closed his eyes.
"No. I was trying to get her to leave the kingdom with me. I wanted her to get a fresh start."
I sighed and held his hand tightly. "We'll stay with you."
"Please," he said weakly.