Chap. 10 - What About Yesterday
Published Feb 21, 2013

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Get ready for the chapter of your (pick unit of time)!

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Get ready for the chapter of your (pick unit of time)!

I would suggest clicking the right arrow but it's your life and your choice, sooo . . .

Hope you enjoy!
"The Guidelines of Alchemy, a Strange Fetish, and an Axe to Grind" “Rule—I mean—guideline new-meh-row un-oh for being an alchemist—or in your case a witchy alchemist—is NEVER say ‘oops.’ Instead say something like ‘that’s interesting’ or ‘results may vary.’ Got it?” “Theo, I’m worried about Louise. I haven’t seen her since the night she re-introduced us. And that was a week ago.” “Don’t you think I’m worried.” Panic seeping into his voice, “What do you think’ll happen when she comes back and finds out that I’ve only just taught you rule—guideline—one?”

Marisa crossed her arms: “I think you’re missing the point, Theo.”
“I don’t know. This entire plot seems a bit contrived.” Pumpkin Pie!” Marisa snapped. “Don’t geek out on me now!” “Really, Marzipan—it’s a bit too late for that; besides,” he pointed to a gleaming reddish vial, “You’re gonna need to perfect that potion before your Grandmother will even want to hear anything from you.” “Huh. Why?” “Because you’re a witch, sure—yeah. But you’re magic’s been drained: you’ve got none—nihil, zilch, zip, nada, diddly-squat . That potion and Luna will help you become your very witchy best.”

She gave him an incredulous look.
Trust me.” Then he shrugged, “Or don’t, Marzipan.” His voice went soft and serious, “I think you’re your own grandmother’s salvation; her only hope of moving on. Do you understand what I am saying, Marisa?” “Yup, Theo. Yes, I do.” “Well, then—let’s get to work!” His smile sharp and true. He could hear the uneasy thoughts that danced around both of their heads about him. “I’m Raze.” The smile seemed sincere, “Your undertaker.”

Literal of Metaphorical ?”

“That depends sorely on the Prince.”

“How so?”
“Boss doesn’t like failures—plus he doesn’t trust you: either of you.” “Well, that’s just rosy.” She pressed her pink-lips together, then: “Mac Heath isn’t a very trusting vampyre, is he?” “No, ma’am—he’s not.” “All he wanted was a location—all I’m saying is Mac Heath could’ve given it to him and I wouldn’t be here. In China.” “Rosa, you know as well as I that location is only suspected—The Good Doctor is as flighty as a fairy—and that information is not something you just give out. Carter needs to be brought to justice by the end of this.” “And you think the nephew won’t deliver, is that it?” “You always were a smart one, Rosa.” “Yeah, whatever, Raze. What’s the mission your gonna make him go on?” “Mac Heath just wants it to be something to prove how determined he is about this quest he’s on. Boss said I could pick the task—” “Oh no! Raze! No one else you’ve sent down there has ever, ever come back—I don’t care how much you love smashing things. The Axe of Pangu is untouchable!” “I like to think all you need is the right motivation—which, clearly, the others did not have: now this Prince on the other hand...” “That—” she stopped herself “—sent him out here on a suicide mission.” Rosa shook her head: “You need to get over your smashing fetish!” “It helps me relax and relive the stress, what?” “Then I’m going with him.” Rosa proffered indignantly. “No.” Oren’s voice flitted from the corner of the room, “I go alone. You—Raze—keep her here until I’m gone.” “Oren,” warned Rosa. “The Axe for the location of The Good Doctor. And, Rosa, be glad: you’re debt free—we owe each other nothing.” Oren wasn’t so great at goodbyes—he left. “You’re psychotic, you know that?” Rosa spat.

“Hey—at least my mother loves me.”
She was the most beautiful vampyre I’d ever laid eyes on. And she stumbled into the long-abandoned room with a kind of half-practiced grace. Upon seeing him her red and black-lined eyes widened; she gasped out a “Prince.” I was staring and I did not care to stop, and then— “They said he could read minds—what if he can hear what I’m thinking right—” Abruptly, her train of thought dropped off and I was glad to be thought-deaf again. Supernaturals had a tendency to smile to your face and snarl to your back. I didn’t like to be privy to inter-workings of minds any more about the weather than about the stock prices—and I liked it a whole lot less when the thoughts were about me.

But that was the only way I’d hear them.
Her gaze cut like freshly sharpened shears. Then something in her rubicund eyes softened and she sidled closer to me, “You can read minds, huh?” Something alight and unknown to me.

I nodded.
She smirked, “Nice. I can read hearts.”

“You get much training—for keeping me outta your head.”
She ignored my question, “I need your help.” I could spend the next five years explaining the effect those four words had upon me. I could go into great detail about how my existence was only a reminder—sure, a reminder that gave me mother hope; my uncle a soiled kind of joy; Brock an loyal sense of confusion (or was it the other way around); Zeth a perpetual and desperate contempt. And me? It left me feeling about as needed as a Prince with no throne (no future to aspire towards and no anything to work toward).

I could spend hours just listing all the times my mother overlooked, marginalized, and disregarded me so that a truth about me wouldn’t ever be jeopardized.
Right then, those four words meant a chance: redemption? So, I grabbed on and didn’t let her go—or at least made her promise to return.

“What do you need?” The words snapped out of me; a general in war—prepared and equipped for anything.
“This is where Carter used to stay, am I right?”


“This is where Carter would make his potions, huh?”


“Are you any good at alchemy—making potions and all that?”

I wasn’t but I could be: “I am.”
“Then you’re just the vampyre for me!” Oren stifled his awe for the architecture; he didn’t have time for this. He flew down the stairs, flung himself across the length of the hallway— He flew down the stairs, and immediately ducked through a doorway to his left.
A blocked doorway and stairs met him; Oren picked up his pace and headed down.
He didn’t pause as he passed the glowing keystone—didn’t question it either.

His past was catching up to him—
On her next visit she asked if I could teach her all I know.

My knowledge of Alchemy was only what I was able to filch from my uncle’s journals and the few scintilla of information I could pilfer from the actual Alchemy books. So, I would’ve had to resort to my personality—
last resort.
Well. “It’s all in the book, basically.” I felt my mouth stretch awkwardly into a smile: Laster resort. She approached me idly, swinging her head. A natural, taunting smile on her lips—“You can do better than that, dove. You have to do better than that.” Her oppressive gaze was mesmerizing: My words couldn’t stumble out fast enough, “I can demonstrate how to make a potion” —it was the simplest potion and the only potion I’ve ever successfully concocted— “The Vial of Bliss.” She wrinkled her nose at me, “Baby potion.”

I shrugged, rendered emphatically speechless.
But she smiled widely at me, appeased when I showed her the newly made potion. “That took shorter than I thought, dove; you’ve got skill.” She hoped off the table.

Considering she was a neophyte, she couldn’t really judge but I didn’t say that.

“Now.” She said as though I was the student and she was the teacher, “We both know what the most import part of Alchemy is? Right, dove?—They can make or break a potion…”

I didn’t offer up any guesses.

“Ingredients, dove. Ingredients.” And she laughed lightly at me.

I flinched at the sound; desperate to redeem myself: “I know—I knew that! I also know the name of every plant in that garden!”

“Show me.”

So, that is what I did.
Oren didn’t feel quite so under-threat like he did in the tomb in Egypt. Here things were complicated—and suspicious-looking, as well, but more so complicated. “Why have you been missing lately—not to say that I’ve missed you (because I haven’t)? Did the Queen finally give in: do I get to be bodyguard-less; I’m in no more bodily danger than you.” Brock shook his head, “Your mother does not give in, Oren. You know that. And your birthday is coming up.”

I kept myself from reacting.

A smile bubbled to the surface of Brock’s face: “Your mother put me in charge of your present. I think you’ll really like it—it’s a place to go, other than the Archives and farther into the abandoned places of the Underground.”

“Did you ruin the surprise?”

“Hardly.” Brock scoffed. Afterward, “Where have you been, then?”

I was going to say: The Good Doctor’s apartment; but suddenly, things in my head went from clear and right-aligned to skewered and…complicated; “Oh, here and there.”

“Liar.” An angry disappointment in his eyes, “Your spending time with some girl in Carter’s apartment—the rumor mill’s somethin' unforgivable, Oren. What’s her name? The sneaks and creeps couldn’t even figure that one.” “Rose.” I said aloud—the name snapped out of me before I could stop it. “Well, what ever her name is you need to stop seeing her—she could be a danger to the crown; I mean no one knows who she is. She just showed up one day at court—that much I remember. Your mother was feeling particularly just that day and allowed her to stay here; she keeps to herself, doesn’t mind anyone—anyone but Zeth…” Brock’s face went ponderous; “I think I saw them—yesterday. Whispering about something. Huh. Looked to be a heated conversation to me.” “Oh. And you're suddenly the expert on everything? That’s so funny I forgot to laugh.” I was being immature, but I wasn’t going to let him take this from me. “Oren?” “I’m leaving,” my words fumbled; “Bye-I’m leaving.” Mostly annoyed (and a little bit angry), I left. More stairs and a long walk—Oren was beginning to think that it wasn’t a surplus of traps or danger that made the Axe ‘untochable.’ He passed an ancient meditation room and there were multiple darkened corners and nooks that promised gold or treasure, but Oren was indifferent to all the promises of wealth. “Why do you want those ingredients, again, Rose?” She squinted at me, “How about I tell you when you learn my name, Dove?” “Touché. It’s a type of flower though, right?” “So, are you ever not here? Don’t you have any princely duties?” No. But I do have to report to dinner at nine o’clock sharp everyday. Which usually amounts to the most boring hour of my day. Ergh—kill me now!—metaphorically, though.” “Uh huh.” A half smile graced her lips.

Then there was a pause, and her smile froze over—my heart plummeted: “Thank you for everything, Dove. However, I’ve got to be going…”

“You’ll be back? Same place—same time tomorrow.” “Oh, Dove.” She said; then left. Oren could recall the two weeks that passed after that meeting. It was turmoil in the Underground—someone had tried to poison the Queen. Demetrius Carter had returned on the day of the attempt and his keen eye for potions was Queen Evelyn’s—literal—saving grace. The drink had appeared similar to any other, but it had proved to be a potent zombification potion: a roundabout way to dispose of an immortal.

The Axe was right before him—just out of reach…
“Uncle, do you know the recipes for all of the potions?” “Well, it’s like I’ve said before: it’s all in the book—but I’ve got a fair share memorized…hey—has someone been in here since I’ve gone?”

“A maid?” I said like his question wasn’t relevant—and it wasn’t.
“Huh—yeah, why—I mean why do you want to know?” “What are the ingredients for a potent zombification potion?” “The exoskeleton of some Rhinoceros Beetles. Five caps of the Glow Orb fungi. And a couple of handfuls of Mandrake Root.” He rattled off carelessly. “That was one wicked potion—appeared to be as innocuous as a glass of water. Crazy, huh?” Rhinoceros Beetle, Glow Orb, Mandrake Root. The world shuddered around me. She’d asked for each and every one of them. And I had given them to her—no questions! I just handed them over like some fool—I was a fool. The world spun in tandem with my insides: I stumbled out.

“Hmm, where’s all of my—Oren?
Oren!” Dismissing caution, Oren dived into the well before him—

Bones. They consecrated the floor of the well; fumbling, now, Oren pulled himself through a small hidden tunnel.
He was in a room full of dive wells; his breath sputtered out of him at the prospect of having to explore each and every one: he’d barely managed to keep his breath long enough to survive the first underwater trek, but he spotted a stairway in the distance and advanced with caution. The traps had already been activated—and in some cases, disarmed as well. As Oren moved toward the stairs, he was sure that the deaths of his predecessor adventurers were caused by too much curiosity: a secret tunnel down a dive well and not enough air in the lungs to allow them to swim its length. When he reached the top of the stairs, Oren appeared to be no closer to—and perhaps farther from—the Axe. He took to the next staircase leading down: Oren glared at the expanse of the room before him— To his right was an unlit torch—Oren could almost laugh; he’d witnessed this trick years ago: in the ruins of the Underground and in the Archives, a simple pull on an unlit torch had unlocked a door to the room where Oren had found the blueprints of a cure…

So, Oren tried his luck.
The torch sprang alight and every steam trap in the room activated in one obstreperous effusion. And all steam traps in the room were disarmed; ignoring the first and taunting staircase, Oren continued forthwith. Again, Oren climbed. Without a doubt he was closer, and without pause Oren started down another stair. Now here, Oren had a choice—continue on, or take a brief interlude, cross the trap, and find out what was in that hole—then something wholly unexpected popped into his mind: WWMD? A laugh escaped him before he could stop it, and shattered the solemn silence. Oh, she’d definitely… and Oren realized he didn’t know what Marisa would do. She was a puzzle to him; a puzzle he wasn’t going to solve with her on the opposite side of the world doing…whatever she was doing. So, he stopped that train of thought, ignored the hole in the wall, and found and climbed the ensuing staircase. His heart was racing in his chest—he’d made it; it wasn’t altogether a surprise, more so, a pleasantry. The architecture was awe-inspiring. “I never knew there was a door behind there.” “Dove!” “Yeah, you don’t get to call me that anymore—you tried to poison the Queen.” My voice was apathetic, “Where does it lead?”

“Out—to the surface. I can see how miserable you are here; I can. Do you want to—”

“No. Let’s not pretend we were ever really friends. You used me. Who put you up to it?” “Blood oath.” She whispered. So, she physically couldn’t say—blood oaths between vampyre were irrefutable. Immutable. Then she asked: “Are you going to turn me in?” I had considered it but “—Nah. I’m going to let you go.”

“Oren.” Her voice was large and full; full of I don’t know what—she turned to leave.

I called out, “Wait.”
“Yeah,” she said, all soft. “You don’t just get to walk away—no, no, no—you owe me, Rosa; you owe me your life. And one day I’ll find you, Rosa, and you will owe me.” There was something hollow in her face now, but she left. When I shut the hidden-door behind her, I think something inside me shut as well… The Axe of Pangu felt heavy, solid, powerful in his grip—“Now, I’ve got a Queen to cure, an uncle to find, and a antidote to unveil…huh, where’s the exit?” And they all lived happily ever after . . .

. . . yeah, right.

Hope you enjoyed.

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#1kikialexaFeb 22, 2013

Wow! Long chapter! It was a criminal hour! It was exciting to read this chapter, keep up the good work, you're awesome! \:D

#2spladoumMar 2, 2013

"Where's the exit?" ... yup, that's what you get for not planning \:P Treachery and intrigue reign supreme with these folks! Always a pleasure reading this story. \:\)

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