The Crystal Cave: A FanFic

"Merlin, don't touch that one!"

Galapas shook his head at his now cringing pupil.

"I tried to warn you. This plant is called starwort. It may look soft and harmless, but its small fibers will in fact embed itself in your skin. Most painful."

"How do you make it stop stinging? It hurts!"

" Now the starwort has many uses, if harvested correctly. If you steep it in boiling water, it can be used as an infusion for infected wounds. Now then-"

"Galapas! My hand!"

"I'm getting to that, be patient. As I was getting ready to say, starwort can also be used to make a drink that will cure most headaches. Notice the pretty flower at the top. Because most people don't want the hassle of collecting the plant and becoming injured like you yourself, it has become quite a treat for girls to use these very petals to decorate their wedding cakes."

"Galapas! Please, it burns! I've learned my lesson, I promise!"

"Hmmm, well, I suppose I can take a look at your hand. If you look closely Merlin, you can see where the fibers have entered your flesh. Now, let me seeā€¦"

Galapas leaned over and started rummaging through his pack, tossing odds and ends out of his way.

"Ah, here they are!" With that Galapas emerged from the depths of the black hole known as his pack. Held in his hand was a pair of wooden tweezers and a roll of soft linen.

"Give me your hand. This will be a bit painful Merlin, but I want you to watch what I'm doing. To treat someone who has been unfortunate enough to come in contact with starwort in a manner similar to yours, you must first pull every fiber out of the flesh. You must grip the fiber like so-"

"Oww! Stop, that's my skin, not the fiber!"

"What? Oh, so it is. Sorry. Now, on with the lesson. You take the fiber between the tweezers like so, then pull gently. You repeat this process until you can find no more fibers. I must say my lad, you're quite lucky. It seems you have very few fibers in your hand. Why, I once treated a silly girl who had stuck her entire face in a bed of starwort. She thought the flowers were pretty, so of course the must smell good. Humph! Stupid girl, it took me hours to get all the fibers out. I doubt many boys looked at her much for about two weeks. The entire time I was treating her face she kept screaming and screaming. One would think I was trying to gouge her eyes out. Tempted to cut out her tongue maybe. There, all done. Now all that's left is wrapping it."

As Galapas unrolled a length of bandage Merlin looked at him in wonder.

"How did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Make me forget about the pain. I barely felt a think as you worked on my hand."

"It's a little thing called attention. I talked while I worked and you were so busy listening to me that you forgot about the pain for a while. I've already taught you how to wrap a hand injury, and this is no different from a burn or cut. Make sure you change the bandage in the morning. Your hand should be just fine in a few days. I've got enough herbs for now. It's getting late, you'd best go home now, or your mother will miss you."

"Thank you Galapas. Should I still come tomorrow night to learn the stars?"

"Of course, the patterns can be very important to learn."

Gathering his things into his pack Galapas smiled as he watched his young pupil race down the hill towards the town. Picking up a last stray bundle he turned to go back up the hill to the cave were he made his home.