Of Potions and Paintbrushes: Part Four
Also by antiaircraft
Drakovitch sat in the laboratory on the top floor of the mansion. He was diligently tending to a cauldron that was bubbling away on the fire (he had tended the cauldron somewhat less diligently a few hours earlier, resulting in a rather messy series of stains that he couldn’t seem to get off the floor). The smell emanating from the pot was a bit unpleasant, like old cheese that had been warmed in the oven. He stirred the slightly viscous liquid, checking the clock periodically. Why aren’t they back yet? he thought to himself.
Moments later, he heard the front door close, followed by footfalls on the stairs. The door to the laboratory swung wide to reveal a soggy, bedraggled-looking Werelupe.
“Sun?” Drakovitch looked confused by his brother’s appearance. “What in Fyora’s name happened to you?”
“It wasn’t my fault!” Frostgleam’s disembodied voice interjected. “I know we marked the trail, so that we could find our way out. Meepits must have moved our markers on us. How else would we end up in that swamp!” She left a wet trail behind her as she walked into the room. As an afterthought, she added, “Oh, and there was a bit of a battle with a spectre, as well.”
Drakovitch raised an eyebrow, but wisely let the matter drop. He could ask Sun about it later. He refocused the conversation back to Frostgleam’s mission. “Did you get the reagents you need?”
“I did,” Frostgleam stated triumphantly. A vial of clear liquid, a vial of brown powder and a small, leather packet, emitting a faint glow appeared on the potion table. “One vial of dirt from the grave of someone mad with fright, Ghost Aisha tears, and glowing mushrooms that have never seen light but their own.”
“Well, dear sister, your potion base is ready. I followed your instructions exactly,” Drakovitch stated, tactfully refraining from mentioning the incident that had resulted in the stains on the floor. “I hope it’s up to your standard.”
Frostgleam took a tiny scoop of the potion liquid and placed it in a test tube. She carefully measured out a neutralising agent, and added it to the liquid. The concoction hissed and foamed for a moment, but left only a clear liquid when it was done reacting.
“It looks perfect to me,” she reassured her brother. “Now to finish this potion, so that I can go back to being a ghost.”
Sun and Drakovitch left Frostgleam alone to do her work. Frostgleam laid her materials and ingredients out on the potion table before her. She measured each ingredient with the greatest care. First, she added the tears, followed by the soil. Lastly, she snuffed the lamps and closed the door to cut and measure the mushrooms. Once they were added to the cauldron, she stirred the mixture and waited for it to come to a boil.
Once Frostgleam was certain that her mixture had boiled for the correct length of time, she added one final binding agent and removed the pot from the fire. She strained the liquid through several filters, until a flask full of translucent, grey, glowing liquid remained. It had a vaguely earthy smell about it. Almost cool enough to drink.
The clock struck two as she opened the laboratory door to find her brothers lounging by the fire in the sitting room adjacent to the lab. Sun had taken a bath, and he seemed happy to be dry and warm. Drakovitch rose from his chair at the sight of his sister.
“Well?” the Draik waited for a response.
Frostgleam held the flask aloft, so that her brothers could see the finished product of their combined effort. “Before I drink it, I wanted to thank both of you for everything you have done to help me make this potion. I couldn’t have done it without the two of you.” The sincerity of her statement was evident in her voice.
She continued. “With any luck, I’ll be a ghost again in a few minutes.” She paused. “And with this recipe, I’ll never have to worry about invisibility curses again.”
“What are you waiting for?” Sun asked, excitedly.
Frostgleam held the flask nervously. “Well, I guess there’s no point in delaying this any longer.” With that statement, she raised the flask to her lips. The potion didn’t taste as bad as Frostgleam feared it would. With each gulp, she became both more excited and nervous, in anticipation of transforming back into a ghost.
Drakovitch and Sun watched as the liquid drained away from the flask into oblivion. With the last drops of liquid gone, Frostgleam set the empty flask down on a table and waited, staring at a mirror across the room. Moments passed, but Frostgleam was still nowhere to be seen.
“Is this supposed to take a long time?” she asked, a little worried.
Drakovitch shook his head slowly. “No, I don’t think so.” He stared at the floor.
Frostgleam sighed. “Well, it was just an experiment. I knew there was a chance it wouldn’t work.” There was a hint of disappointment in her voice.
Sun rested a paw on her shoulder. “I’m sorry this didn’t work for you. I really hoped it would. I know you didn’t want to have to go buy another paintbrush again.” He smiled, trying to sound cheerful. “If it makes you feel any better, I really enjoyed going on an adventure with you tonight. Except, maybe, the part about getting attacked in the woods. That had me a bit worried.” He rubbed the back of his neck.
“I’m happy we went on an adventure too. I’m happy I tried to make this potion. I’m a bit disappointed that it didn’t work, but that’s how experiments go sometimes. I’m not going to let this get me down.” Her enthusiasm made both of her brothers smile.
Frostgleam suddenly realised that she was tired. It was quite late, and there was no point in staying up any longer. She turned to her brothers. “I think it’s time for us to get to bed. I guess I have a bit of a journey ahead of me tomorrow.” She kissed each of her brothers on the cheek and headed to her room.
When Frostgleam awoke in the morning, the sun was shining through her bedroom window, throwing colourful patterns from the stained glass across her floor. She rose, and began to pack a bag for the short journey ahead.
Although Frostgleam didn’t want to admit defeat, she knew, deep down, that making a potion to turn her back into a ghost was a bit beyond her ability. She simply did not have enough practice at potion-making yet. At least she could say that she tried. Frostgleam knew that someday she would have all the right books, equipment, and ingredients she needed to become the best potion-maker there was. But, for now, she would have to go with a much more simple plan.
She finished packing her bag, then walked down the hall to look for her brother, Sun. The shaggy Werelupe was still asleep in his bed. She prodded him gently. He lazily opened one eye.
“I’m leaving now for Neopia Central. I’ll be back as soon as I can,” she told her half-sleeping brother. She didn’t dare ask him to join her on this adventure. After last night’s battle, he deserved some sleep.
“Travel swiftly and safely, dear sister. I can’t wait to see you again,” he mumbled, still on the brink of sleep.
Drakovitch was waiting for her in the kitchen. “Breakfast is ready,” he stated, setting out a plate of warm, buttery scones and fruit for Frostgleam. “I also prepared some snacks for your journey,” he added, setting a brown, paper bag down on the counter. As was typical of most of Drakovitch’s morning cooking, the bag was emanating a warm, buttery smell.
A scone floated up from the plate, and a bite disappeared from it. “Thanks!” Frostgleam said, when she had finished chewing. “And thanks for your help last night, too.”
“I really wanted your experiment to work.” The shadow Draik gazed absently around the room. “Just think of all the NP we could get if we set up a business selling morphing potions!”
“Sell them...” Frostgleam trailed off, dumbfounded by the suggestion. “Hey... you weren’t just helping because you wanted to... HEY!”
Drakovitch laughed and tapped his sister playfully on the shoulder (he would have punched her playfully, but that wouldn’t have turned out well if he had missed). “I’m just teasing you, Frostgleam. You know I care more about you than any amount of money,” the Draik answered affectionately. Then, moving to avoid the incoming swipe that was sure to be coming his way, he jokingly added, “Well, almost any amount...”
Frostgleam sniffed. “I suppose you could show your love for me by cleaning up the lab today while I’m away. I was too tired to tidy up last night.” She picked up her brown bag, gave her brother a peck on the cheek, and walked out of the kitchen.
To be continued...