Finally, after almost two weeks of confinement, I got a message with my breakfast. I was to prepare myself for a meeting with the emperor and his personal physician about Colin. I laid out my leathers, but thought better about it; it would feel odd to wear them and not wear my sword belt. By the time my escort came to retrieve me, I was dressed in blue jeans, a white T-shirt and sneakers; it was nearly the first time since I got the tattoo that it was fully visible.
Outside my door, I found that I now had two guards much like the emperor. They hovered at my shoulders just like his did. I’m sure they were prepared to kill me, or at least die trying, if they thought I was trying any magic on their emperor, or anyone else, for that matter.
We must have walked half a mile through dozens of hallways before we reached the best-equipped hospital I could ever imagine, although it was much smaller.
Colin was there, waiting for me. I noticed he looked tired, but he perked up with a smile when he saw me. “Ah, a familiar face, and someone who won’t be poking and prodding me, I hope,” he said.
We shook hands and then clasped arms. “I never had to poke or prod before. I shouldn’t have to now,” I said.
A man who could only be the doctor came in then. He was probably in his sixties with thick graying hair and a trim physique. Just the kind of doctor one would like to have. He looked healthy as a horse, which lent confidence in his ability to keep you as healthy as possible. “You must be the miracle worker I’ve been hearing about. I’m not sure I believe what I hear, but just to humor the two of you until I can be convinced otherwise, we will discuss some of the anomalies I have discovered. Most of them are minor and may correct by themselves given enough time, and some of them can be corrected by surgery, but young Colin here insists that you have a better way. We shall see.
“At any rate, the emperor wanted you here to do this. He also wanted to watch what we do here, so I’ll set up the cameras.” He fiddled with some equipment around the room and then the three of us sat down at a table.
My guards remained close at my elbows, so I turned around and asked, “I don’t suppose you could just sit down somewhere, could you? You’re very distracting.”
They were reluctant, but a nod from the doctor put them against the wall near the door.
Then my medical lessons began. It was little more than a comparison between the average normal man of Colin’s age and Colin himself, but it was meticulous and detailed. Dr. Makusic was a very good teacher. First, we started with Colin’s bone structure. While Makusic was pouring information into my brain, I was fingering through Colin’s bone structure and making fine alterations. Colin soon got totally bored and my manipulations, as minor as they were, lulled him off to sleep, so within half an hour, Colin was stretched out on a gurney between us while the lesson continued.
After we covered all the bones, our lesson progressed to the muscles, but before we really got started, the day was over.