Eye of the Beholder: Prologue

By Jenny DeVic

Original Date: December 25, 2011 for SESA

Shunrei sat in the nearly empty waiting room, struggling to drink her bottled green tea that a sympathetic nurse had given her. Her hair was a mess, with several strands sticking out of place, but she didn't care. Right now, she had only one thing on her mind and that was that her greatest nightmare had come true, Shiryu was in the hospital after being gravely injured during a battle with someone called Algol of Perseus.

She was in her room painting at the time when Old Master, after sensing something terrible had happened to Shiryu, asked her to travel to Japan. She still couldn't believe how frightened Roshi seemed to be, but it was perhaps due to how accurate his instincts were to the point that dreams transfigured into reality.

The trip itself was a nightmare. The taxi that she took to reach Beijing got lost twice while her flight had a six hour delay due to a bird flying into one of the jet engines on the plane. However, the worst part was when she finally reached the Land of the Rising Sun, she found out that there was more than one Kido Hospital. She had to travel to at least seven of them before finding the one where he was at.

She managed to come in time for the surgery, but unfortunately the sight of the doctor slicing the thin layers of Shiryu's eyes was too much. The next thing she knew, she had found herself here in the lobby where a nurse was by her side telling her that she had fainted and offered her the drink. Shunrei asked the nurse if she could return, but the nurse said that if Shunrei didn't think that she can stay inside without fainting than it was best she remained there to allow the surgeon to focus on the delicate operation.

She drew a sleeve toward her face and pressed it against her eyes and using it to absorb the tears.

Suddenly a hand brought a tissue to her face. "[How are you feeling, Shunrei?]"

For a moment, Shunrei gasped as she looked up at his face. "[You... speak Mandarin?]" she muttered, hearing her native tongue.

The doctor, still wearing his surgeon's cap nodded, "[I'm actually from Shenyang and went to college in Beijing. It is a pleasure to meet you. My name is Dr. Ko Kung.]"

Shunrei smiled. She was fluent in Japanese; she had to be with Shiryu when they were growing up and teaching him how speak with the nearby villagers. However she could communicate much better and more confidently in her own language. After that, her thoughts returned back to current predicament, "how is Shiryu?" She swallowed hard, "will he be able to see again?"

The doctor sighed. Television always seemed to exaggerate the limits of medical science. "Miss Shunrei, we weren't trying to save his eyesight, we were trying to save his life."

She gasped as she placed a hand over her mouth. "But, you did transplant his eyes?"

Doctor Kung "We did and the transplant itself was successful, but primarily on the cosmetic side." He reached for one of the chairs and pulled over in front of the girl. "It's not like any other organ where you can remove and insert a new one in. The nerve endings in the back of the eye are very complex and connect to the brain itself. When his fingers broke through the center of his eyes as well as the backs of them," he looked at her face as it slowly began to pale. "I'm sorry," he reached over and held her hand. "I'm doing my best to not be so graphic, but with the severity of the situation," before he could finish, Shunrei shook her head.

"No, its okay." She placed her hands on her thighs and summoned her courage. "Please, tell me more."

Doctor Kung nodded. "Of course. Anyways, the nerve endings of an eye are so complex that reconnecting all of the nerve endings and full restoration of eyesight is impossible without the body rejecting them. That's why most who lose their eyes receive glass eyes to put over the damaged one. Saori Kido offered an experimental laser that would allow us to at least reattach the nerves to the eyes. Shiryu will be able to open his eyes without pain or fear of further infection as well as retain the ability to move them in any direction. The laser is quite a leap in the field of ocularists."

Children were always the most difficult to drop the bad news upon. The only thought that ran through the surgeon's head was why did she have to be thirteen? He sighed. "Unfortunately, sight is beyond medical science right now. I'm sorry but your friend has a very tiny chance of ever regaining his sight, even at the basic level of seeing outlines and shadows." He watched her reaction as her eyes saddened so much. "But... there is a chance that he could recover. The body has been known for miracles. I've seen quite a few in my years here."

Shunrei's eyes closed as she felt the doctor place a small tissue in her hand. "Thank you," she muttered as she felt her shoulders tremble from the heartbreaking news that Shiryu will never be able to see again. She looked up, "can I see him?" The doctor nodded and that was all she needed. Quickly, she stood up and headed for the door that the Dr. Kung came out of.

She hurried down the hall, only slowing down at each room to get a quick glance inside to find him. Suddenly, around the corner, the bright red shirt of Seiya came into view, causing her feet to move faster. "Seiya!" she cried and waved her hand.

The Pegasus Saint's head raised and turned to her. "Shunrei!" He rushed to her side and grabbed her hand, "Come on! They gave Shiryu a sedative, he'll be asleep soon. Man, he'll be so excited to see you!" He shouted as the two passed Shun, Hyoga, and Saori leaving the room. Seiya frowned as a nurse stepped outside, waving her hand to discourage any more visitors for the night. "Crap!" he calmly cursed. Undeterred, Seiya simply came over to begin talking to her about a strange patch of moles on his arm while swinging Shunrei past him and letting go.

For a moment Shunrei stood there, surprised at how smooth Seiya was when it came to creating a diversion. After that, the light hum of electronic instruments caused her to return back to her true purpose. She gazed at a long curtain surrounding a bed. She spotted the morphine next to the bed, feeling her pace slow with increasing hesitation. She heard a slight moan before approaching the side where an electric monitor sat, beeping away. She gazed at his face, as several bandages were covering his eyes while the skin around his face looked a little dark and bruised.

"Shunrei?" he whispered.

The Chinese girl gasped as she held her hands. "Shiryu, how did you know?" she asked as a small voice in her head began to whisper of hope that a miracle, as the Saints were known for, had come. After all, Seiya did restart Shiryu's heart after their terrible match at the Galaxian Wars and the time when Shiryu had to give up all his blood to resurrect the Pegasus and Dragon Cloths and came back fine. Perhaps Shiryu would be just fine here? Perhaps Shiryu could see through the thin fabric of the bandages and all would be normal again.

But at that moment, Shiryu's hand reached out and despite her standing there, his hand swiped around, touching the folds of the blanket before reaching out and flinching when his forearm bumped into her hip. "I... smelled lilies... you always wore that same perfume... lilies... you like it," he muttered as if he was trying to stay awake while trying to find her hand.

Next Chapter: May 12, 2012