Chapter 54:

sceNe 54 - sʜriNᴋiNɢ ꜰeeʟiNɢ

ᴋraCᴋeᴅ ᴍooN / Kracked Moon

If it were not for how long I needed to wait on the potion to brew, I would have been in more of a hurry to get back home after the Silver Justice shows. Jason was really grateful for our help, and even if his mom and Cryztal don’t get along, I think it was a good time overall. I was just horribly tired from wanting to make sure I was brewing the heat resistance potion correctly. I hope I didn’t come off disingenuous to Jason’s crew!

Based on the instructions I was given, the potion was brewing correctly, but these things take time. Thankfully the heat sources were really well controlled, so I did feel like I could leave it alone without believing the house would burn down. Watching different parts of the mixture boil and others spin and drip was actually pretty fun for a while, but other parts were more stressful, like occasionally having to do washes with other mixtures or even just adding water because too much material could cause problems. It was somehow both fun and stressful at the same time.

Before I even knew the potion had finished, Koko was already in the room when I came to check on it after work. She had a pretty confident look about it, and from what I could tell the color was right. I was a little more scared of what tests she wanted me to do to verify the potion’s effectiveness.

The first test was pretty easy and obvious. I brought some ice cubes upstairs and dripped some of the potion onto a few, and watched as the others quickly began to melt. The exposed cubes weren’t melting at all, even when I picked them up. I was expecting the second test to be done on myself, but Koko seemed pleased enough with the first that she didn’t even bring it up. She skipped it because my potion was actually too concentrated, and I would likely suffer some serious nerve damage if I tried the potion on myself.

“You can water down potions to make them less intense, but I didn’t expect you to make it clean enough to be this concentrated.” Koko explained, then grinned. “Maybe you were meant to do this after all.”

Rather than tell me about the next potion she wanted me to make, Koko actually went through describing some things that would normally be taught if I had shown signs of being a natural born witch. She explained that brewing would be a little easier because witches can put some of their own energy into the potions. Her plan was to teach me some workarounds, asking me to save stuff like fingernails and hair and skin and stuff to verify in the future, and even telling me which books would be helpful with that.

Another important detail she informed me of was tools. Magic conducted through a body has a chance of backfiring on the user, so witches traditionally use wands or staffs because it will take the damage for them if the spell goes wrong. This was less important to know not because she expected me to use any tools, but that if I ever meet another witch it might be useful to make sure they aren’t carrying a tool.

I took this chance to ask about something to repair broken furniture, but Koko only laughed at me. The magic she used to fix the house was time magic, and required a lot of skill and experience, which I was nowhere close to mastering. She encouraged me to stick to DIY solutions, or to just have Cryztal or Dale cover a replacement. That was disappointing, but expected.

When she finally told me about the next potion, I was actually surprised.

“You really want me to make a shrinking potion?” I asked. I could do that, but couldn’t fix furniture?

“Even if you can’t make the potion that will save your life, the shrinking potion can make Cryztal less threatening for a moment.” Koko explained, a bit harshly. “If I’m right, despite how vague you’ve been, Cryztal can now probably grow as big as the house itself if she has the room to do it. If you can shrink her, how big she can get is limited. It is also just an easier and safer potion than what you think you want to make.”

I hadn’t even thought about that before. There were probably a lot of ways to slow Cryztal down without hurting her. Maybe the heat resistance potion could help too? Koko definitely sold me on the idea at least.

Another round of writing a shopping list and a few more books to read through, and it looked like I would have a busy two weeks at the very least. I expected Koko to make some kind of silly departure, but she actually told me to put my stack of books down and had me pick out another book. It was probably one of the most beat up books in the collection, and it felt like the pages could fall out. The title didn’t even make sense. It looked like a joke book.

Koko came in close and had a dower tone. “This book will be what I want you to read after you finish the shrinking potion. This is the type of book that a Silly Witch must consider, especially when normal solutions do not come to you.”

She motioned with her floating hands for me to open the book and turn to a page with a very clean bookmark. The page was very loose, and referred to a potion called “Dragon’s Tamer”.

“This is the potion that I referenced to make that resurrection potion. Do you see anything strange about it?” Koko asked.

I did my best to read the writing, but even with the reading glasses the writing was an older form of English. From what I could understand, the potion was supposed to be used when trying to negotiate with great and powerful dragons, before they were all wiped out during the dark ages. Because dragons had a habit of killing and then eating people who bothered them, the potion would resurrect the user, rebuilding their body in a safe place, and giving them another chance to convince the dragon to talk. The potion stopped being used once dragons learned how to smell it, and then refused to eat the people using it.

“Does this mean it only works if–”

“Only if you are eaten. Otherwise, it will not work, and you will be dead.” Koko said in a somber tone.

“Why tell me this now? Couldn’t it have waited until the next lesson?” I asked, confused.

Koko sighed. “Because I don’t want to waste my time teaching you if you’re going to be too afraid to use the potion properly. If any other witch knew I had a potion that could cheat death, they’d not only want access to it, they’d want to capture Cryztal too. The few people who know I have gotten the potion to work are among the most trusted in my life. Do you understand?”

I quietly nodded and said I understood, but I was definitely intimidated by this information. I never expected this to be such a big secret, and it did change my plans. I was hoping I could find some discrete way to take my own life so I could just quietly be resurrected and not have to worry about Cryztal seeing me die again. Being told that Cryztal has to be the one to do it shook me a little bit.

I think Koko could tell I was still processing what she told me, but she didn’t seem to have words of comfort really. Living up to her title, Koko tried to make light of it by saying that she hoped I plan a good dinner date, and that I watch what I’m eating, before disappearing accompanied by a whoopie cushion sounding fart.

Laying on the floor wouldn’t help anything, but it made me feel a little better. Could I really go through with it? It was one thing to let Cryztal eat me when she was starving and couldn’t control herself, but can I really ask her to eat me just to fix my body? Would she even be okay with that? It gave her a lot of energy, and she’s seemed happier since last time, but will it make her cry again? Even if she knows I’ll be back after?

I didn’t have answers for myself. All I knew was that I had work to do. I would have plenty of time to think it over, maybe even enough time for her to need the energy again, but I didn’t want to think about it. I just wanted to focus on all the stuff I had to do to get there.