Reluctantly, he laid Cam on the ground. He checked her pulse, and while it was weaker than before, it wasn’t yet in the danger zone.
Okay then. He brushed her cheek and leaned down to take a better look at her injury. He ripped her shirt away and sucked in a breath. While the metal wasn’t embedded that deep, there was a real chance it’d hit one of her kidneys.
If he’d thought waiting for Richard Ekstrom to trade Cam back on the ocean had been bad, this was a hundred times worse. Because if Cam died it could very well be Marco’s fault.
He took a deep breath, pushed aside his emotions, and focused on the wound. He had no way of knowing if the metal embedded in Cam’s side was straight or jagged. Since pulling out a jagged piece of shrapnel could make things exponentially worse, he hoped for the former.
Of course, he was damned either way. If he left the shrapnel in, it could kill her. Or if he pulled it out, it could also kill her.
Because he had a trick from his teenage training years that might help, he decided to take his chances with removing the shrapnel. He shucked his shirt to use as a compress, and took a grip on the metal. “Don’t you fucking die on me, Camilla, do you hear?”
Of course, she didn’t respond, but Marco only hoped her subconscious heard him. It was important that she knew he was fighting for her.
He exhaled, and on his next inhale, he started to pull out the shrapnel. Cam made a faint noise, and he paused. “I’m sorry, Camilla.” Marco pulled a little more, sweat trailing down his back as the metal came out centimeter by centimeter.
At least Cam hadn’t started to hemorrhage.
Judging by the marks toward the bottom of the shrapnel, the next pull would take it out completely.
He checked her pulse. Her heart rate had dropped slightly, but he hoped not enough to cause her to crash. He needed to finish this. Now.
Marco readied his shirt and pulled the metal free. Blood started to flow out of her wound—at least it wasn’t gushing—and he applied his shirt compress. It was time to try his trick.
He moved one of his fingers to the west and moved some elemental water particles to just under the compress. With everything in place
, he removed the compress, pressed the two sides of her skin together, and used his elemental water to create ice staples to hold her skin in place. He knitted one through her skin, and then another, until he had enough to stitch the wound closed.
This wasn’t a long term solution, but it was the best he could do.
Marco checked her pulse again, but there wasn’t any change. He was going to take that as a good sign.
He brushed back the stray hairs that had escaped Cam’s braid before cupping her cheek. She was pale and motionless, which was a huge contrast to her stubborn, argumentative self.
The sight squeezed his heart.
He had to do something, anything, to prevent fear from taking hold. So, he took a firm tone and said, “I can insult your effectiveness as a soldier, if that will rile you into waking up.” He brushed her cheek with his thumb. “Or I can tell you that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, cooking for her man. Anything you like, Camilla, as long as you’ll open your eyes.”
But, of course, nothing happened.
Marco hated this. He was used to always having an out, or at least a strategy to try. Unfortunately, in this case, nothing he could do would help. Either Cam would last long enough to heal, or she’d die.
“Right, Alvarez. Time to stop moaning, as Jax would say, and focus on what you can do.” And right now, the only thing he could do was try to find a village or someone to take him to a village where he could get Cam help. Even if there wasn’t a major hospital nearby, this area was on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, and there were all kinds of unique medicines here that could help with infection.
He maneuvered himself to pick Cam up again when he heard a noise. Marco looked up. As he scanned the area, someone said, “Don’t attack. This is Diego, and I’ve brought Eduardo with me.”
Marco felt a sense of relief. Diego hadn’t abandoned them after all. “If you’re here to help, you’d better hurry up.”
Diego came into view, followed by a lean young man around Marco’s age.
The man he assumed was Eduardo rushed to Cam’s side, and knelt down next to her. He moved to touch her, but Marco grabbed the other man’s wrist. “I don’t know anything about you, so tell me what you plan on doing to her before I let you touch her.”
The man put up his hands. “I only want to heal her. Will you let me do it?”
“She needs more than a superficial healing. She might’ve been injured internally. Can you heal that type of damage?”
The man nodded. “Yes, and more. But to heal her, I need you to let go and let me touch her.”
Marco released Eduardo’s hand. “Fine, but if you end up killing her, I’ll kill you in return.”