Arslan gasped and rose from a bed he was resting on. The sudden shock of awakening in a random location startled him into checking the surroundings. It was a small room, painted white, filled with beds and medical equipment. A bag filled with clear liquid, presumably medicine was needled into his forearm. He winced as he felt an unpleasant burning sensation in his arm, looking over at the source of the pain revealed that his forearm was wrapped in bandages up to his elbow.
“No matter how long I look, it’s weird to see your face,” Avelyn mocked, she was sitting on the counter adjacent to him, her tail curled over into her lap.
“Don’t worry, you’ll rarely see it ever,” Arslan said, pulling the needle from his arm. “Since I’m here, I guess the plan worked?”
Avelyn chuckled, “No! Not at all.”
“Huh? Then did we escape somehow?”
“No. I saved Bucktooth when she couldn’t finish the kill.”
Arslan draped his cloak over himself and pulled the hood up. A sigil of a horizontal crescent inside a circle blinked into existence on the hood then quickly disappeared. He gave the hood a sniff and cringed from the overwhelming smell of honey. “Thanks, Avelyn. We wouldn’t have been able to live without you.”
She cocked her head; her long brown messy hair fell over one of her eyes; she then smiled, “You two are my pack, for now.” She pointed to his arm and asked, “You bled like a twisted tail. What happened?”
Arslan raised his arm into view. “In alchemy, you often have to exchange something as a cost. In this case, I paid for a spell using my life, specifically my blood and body.”
She sat stone-faced without any indication of understanding or caring.
To break the silence, Arslan asked, “So, where are we?”
Avelyn got up from her seat and walked behind him. She waved her finger in a small circle. “That university place or whatever.”
“Oh good,” he said, then paused. “And Mandilyn?”
“Bucktooth is probably sleeping right now,” She answered.
Arslan reached for the doorknob leading out of the room. “Isn’t it like, midday?”
“You both were out for a whole day; is it really that weird?”
“I suppose you’re right,” Arslan shrugged and opened the door, looking immediately into the familiar face of a half-dwarf. Arslan, having almost ran over the shorter man, squinted and looked at him and greeted, “Hello?”
Fari put down his hand from its position of knocking. “Uh, yeah. I didn’t expect you to be awake.” He confessed, “The doctor here said I could leave a message with the drake, er uh girl.”
“You can probably tell, but that’s unneeded now. I am awake.”
“Yeah, I can. Anyway, you know that stone you gave me?” he questioned Arslan. A particular light was shining in his eyes at the mere thought of sharing this information. “It’s actuall-”
Arslan held up a hand to keep him from saying any more and whispered, “Come in here. I haven’t told anyone else about it.” The half-dwarf nodded and entered the room. He sat on the bed. Arslan and Avelyn stayed standing in front of him. Arslan continued, “Alright, keep going.”
“That’s it! The stone is just a stone; there is nothing different about it at all!” he laughed while pulling out a rag, unfurling it to show Arslan.
Avelyn grabbed it instead. Puzzled, Arslan had to ask, “Are you sure your brother is right?”
“Whyat!?” He yelled, standing from the bed in a small fit of rage. “I would never doubt my brother’s analysis, and a dwarf would never lie about something like that!” He jabbed at Arslan’s stomach several times while speaking to emphasize his point about dwarven culture.
“Alright, calm down. I’m not trying to offend you.” Arslan brought his hand over his mouth and thought out loud, “Was it the symbols then?” He turned to Avelyn and asked for the stone, which she complied, handing it to him. He looked at the scribbles, they were scratched, faded and old, the writing was undoubtedly alien to him, none of which he saw anywhere in his travels of the kingdom. He wrapped the stone back into its cloth and handed it back to Avelyn, investigations would have to be conducted later. He extended his hand to Fari and said,” Thank you,” before walking out the door with Avelyn.
Fari yelled out behind them, “Whyait! My brother didn’t do it for free!” Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the two as they walked away. He sighed and sat back on the bed.
Arslan stood in the middle of his lab around an island table with appropriate machinery and ingredients present. Mandilyn stood next to him with a towel in her arms while Avelyn was on the far end of the room providing ‘security’ if anything were to go wrong. Arslan eyed all of the scholars in the room; they all watched him with eyes open and attention at the ready.
Arslan turned to Mandilyn and whispered in her ear. “I kind of liked it better when I didn’t have to have a bunch of people take notes on my work.”
Mandilyn shoved him with her shoulder and replied, “Just get it over with.”
He snorted, “Fine.” Arslan walked to face the crowd and cleared his throat, “Uh, Hello all.” The group of scholars didn’t answer him and just patiently waited for him. “Right,” he said, grabbing a sheet of paper and explained, “To start, preparation of the ingredients is imperative… three-hundred-seventy milliliters of sap or in this case, honey.” He picked up the jar showing of the glowing golden liquid.
The group started writing in their notebooks. Arslan squinted his eyes picking up the next item, and then continued, “Parchment with a rune for a golem.” He placed it on the table and started to modify it, adding, Insectum, Memoria, and Fertilis, then revealing it once more. “It’s crucial to modify it to the best that you can relate to the source.”
A hand in the crowd shot up. Awkwardly, Arslan asked, “Yes?”
A male, around his mid-forties with black hair and glasses stepped forward and asked, “If I were to add any more runes, would the spell be ruined?”
Arslan shrugged, “In theory, it’s probably better to go more specific just in case any of the others fail, but so far, I’ve had success with simplicity.”
“I see,” said the questioner, “Thank you.” He then returned to his position in the group.
“Right…the last ingredient is the original materials, the higher quality they are and the more you have determines certain traits,” Arslan taught as he picked up each of the materials, dropping them into a steel container that was hooked to an arm on the ceiling, perpetually keeping it suspended.
He closed the container’s lid and sealed it. The container came with a new locking mechanism that reduced the risk of danger from the explosive reactions inside.
A minute later, it simmered down, and he undid the latches on the side. He placed his hands on it and felt the warmth that transferred to the metal and tipped it over. A gelatinous blob spilled onto the table and was met with gasps and other noises of surprise.
He grabbed one of the surgical knives and cut a space in the middle, as even to his surprise, a pair of black fingers came out breaking the membrane. The second thing to appear was a head with long, wet blonde hair, attached to a face of a woman with near flawless features that absolutely gleamed beauty.
She stared at the crowd then turned to Arslan and said, “Well, are you going make royalty do all the work?” She spoke with a highly refined accent.
Her words sparked everyone in the room to begin furiously talking to each other, sharing notes and other activities. Arslan motioned for Mandilyn to approach with the towel. He stepped in front of them so that he could preserve the dignity of the bee-woman.
Arslan spoke loudly to get their attention. “Ladies and gentlemen, creation of life!”