Dec 21st, 2012
- Your name is Cobalt Hills, and you really feel sorry for this girl.
- Astarielle was laying in the bed, hooked up to two IVs, her chest rising and falling peacefully. She was almost cute like this, if she wasn’t in so much danger. Her once brown hair was now green with the slightest bit of a brown tint, and though no one else had noticed, you could see the hairs of her tail growing in. Of course, the most notable thing was the thickening coat of white fur. You just couldn’t stay mad at her for running into the warehouse like that; she was being punished for her curiosity enough.
- “Are you sure this is going to work? She still seems to be changing…” you asked Micheal, who came over to look at her.
- “Yes, but at a reduced rate. Until I understand how he’s transforming people into ponies, I can’t stop the transformation or undo it.” He sighed, headed for the door. You followed him as he entered his lab, sliding into his chair and looking into the microscope. As far as you could tell, he was studying Astarielles blood, looking for any changes. Unsure of what to do with yourself, you meander over to a chart on the wall, listing times and numbers.
- “What is this?” you ask, looking back at Micheal and pointing. He turns in his chair to look at it, shaking his head.
- “Measurements. She’s shrinking as well; again, I’ve slowed the effects, but all the more reason to hurry up with our studies.” He turned back to the microscope, shaking his head. “Whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to be in her bloodstream; or if it is, I can’t see it.”
- The next half hour or so passed in silence as Micheal worked and you watched him, hoping the three of you got to the girl in time.
- “Grubs here.” Tyler said, opening the lab door and sitting down in another chair. He put a salad on the floor for you, and tossed a bag to Micheal, who ignored it.
- “He’s absorbed in his work.” You explain, starting on your own dinner. Sometimes you really missed fast food meat. Not often, but enough. “He really thinks he can help that girl.”
- “If she had been a little smarter, she wouldn’t be in this mess.” Tyler remarked, taking a big bite out of his hamburger. You winced a bit as some sauce dripped down his chin; perhaps an all vegetable diet wasn’t so bad after all. “We did warn her not to go.”
- “Can you blame her, though?” you reply, looking up. “She got an email from someone she trusted, telling her he wanted to share something with her. I’m surprised Master doesn’t do it more often.” Once again, you failed to catch yourself before calling that man Master. You may as well give up, it was something to call him, even if it made you shudder. “I wonder what made her so special, though; why not just kidnap her?”
- Tyler shrugged between bites. “Who knows how his mind works. This is the guy who doesn’t see a problem with kidnapping people and changing their very bodies, or even their minds.”
- “That’s the thing. He’s never been shy about the kidnapping part; he doesn’t try to convince them because his brainwashing ensures they’ll go along with it. But he went out of his way to make sure this girl came to him. If we can understand that, we might have a chance of saving her.”
- The two of you look over at the wall, thinking about the girl on the other side of it. “You think we got to her in time?” you wonder aloud.
- Tyler shakes his head, putting the hamburger back in the back. “Honestly, as far as she’s progressed, I don’t know. Of course, it brings up another issue.” Seeing your curious stare, he goes on. “All those people he’s changed, you, and her.” He nods at the wall. “What do we do once we stop him, if Micheal can’t reverse the transformation?”
- That had been bugging you as well. Living in Tylers place, hiding from the public eye, worked for one pony, maybe two if Astarielle did fully transform. But he had brought over two dozen people to his little warehouse. What had happened to them all, and could they look after themselves if need be? “I don’t know, Tyler. I just don’t-“
- A crash from the other room got the attention of all three of you. You were the first one to the door, and the other two were fast on your heels, but all of you stopped dead when you saw who was in the other room.
- Master was standing over the bed, holding Astarielle in his arms, the IV drips dangling uselessly. “I believe this is mine.” He said smoothly, smiling at the three of you.
- “Put her down!” You demanded, taking another step forward. He fixed you with a look that stopped you again.
- “You’re welcome to come home with me, if you’re so worried about her, Cobalt Hills. You can do much better than this.”
- He still had that way of talking. His words slipped into your mind, making you want to skip along beside him and obey his every word. Why couldn’t he be some kind of hunchback villain? His eyes moved upward.
- “I wouldn’t recommend that.” Master said conversationally; Tyler dropped a scalpel he was holding. “Shame if I suddenly dropped Angel Grace, her bones have already become lightweight, I doubt she’d be able to stand for awhile afterwards.” He moved smoothly towards the door. “If you’re coming, Cobalt.”
- Once again, you had to restrain yourself from mindlessly following Master. You looked down quickly, growling.
- “Why are you doing this?” Micheal asked, stepping aside and shaking his head. “You have to have taken some kind of medical schooling! This is in violation of everything doctors stand for!”
- “Primum non nocere.” Master recited, headed for the door. “You know where to find me. I believe you two are worthy of a greater calling.” He glanced briefly at Tyler. “Others, not so much. Farewell for now.” The door closed behind him as the three of you looked on helplessly. Tyler rushed out after him.
- Micheal sat down in a chair, shaking. You trot to his side, confused. “What is it? What does Primum non nocere mean?”
- “First, do no harm.” Micheal replied uneasily, looking at the door again. “It’s normally applied in emergency medicine, but in medical research, it means ‘Make sure the benefits outweigh the costs.’” He put his head in his hands, silent until Tyler returned. The two of you looked up hopefully, but he merely shook his head.
- “It’s no good. The sedative will wear off soon, and she’ll resume changing. She’s already reaching advanced stages…” he walked off, heading toward the lab.
- “Where’s he going in such a rush?” Tyler asked, panting. Had he been running after Masters truck?
- You watch him leave, your spirits still low from the loss you suffered. “Hopefully to put an end to this madness.”
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