Chapter 56:

sceNe 56 - sʜouʟᴅ ɪ ʟiᴋe ɪᴛ﹖

ᴋraCᴋeᴅ ᴍooN / Kracked Moon

In less than two weeks I had successfully made the shrinking potion. Unlike the ice cube test, Koko taught me how to use pool water testing strips to verify potion quality. Now that is the type of stuff a Silly Witch would do. She had a whole reference guide that would tell you potency and even certain quirks to the potions she had instructions for. I guess this is what she spent so much of her time on while we were kids.

“Never forget that the shrinking is temporary. There are counter-potions you can make that should nullify the potion almost immediately, but otherwise you have to wait for it to wear off. Try not to let things get trapped in a small space. The results are often ugly.” Koko said this while showing me where to store the potions and how to label them.

“What should I do with the old potions?” I asked, trying to make room.

“Just pour them down the drain. Or maybe like a sewer drain in the next town over. It should be fine.” That sounded much more like the Koko that raised Cryztal.

Koko explained that while the potions could work as alternatives, Cryztal needing to eat someone is inevitable. When I was a child she presented this like Cryztal was going to get sick and die, but now I understood how desperate Cryztal will get when she needs to eat. I wanted to fix my body, but I really did need to remember that the important part was making sure Cryztal could stay happy and in control of her body.

Once the potions were packed away, Koko began like she had before by giving me a list of materials to buy. The weirdest one this time was earthworms. They could not be fishing bait worms. They had to be local worms plucked from the dirt. It was the first time I noticed a symbolic relationship to the potions. Worms could regrow some of their body

Koko then spent a good amount of time emphasizing that the potion she had designed was very different from the one in the book. While the one in the book was called Dragon’s Tamer, and the intent was to give the user multiple chances to win the favor of a dragon, this version was called Dragon’s Feed. The only intent and purpose of the potion was to feed Cryztal. It would grant the user a sort of invulnerability to pain for maybe half a day, which is how Koko was able to chop up people and feed them to Cryztal, often cutting off the head first to make the experience less traumatizing, though she phrased it as “quieter”.

“With how big she can get now, you can probably just fit into her mouth, right?” Koko said this like it was no big deal.

“Yeah. Though last time she bit me a few times, and it really hurt…” I tried not to think about it in too much detail.

“That is because the potion was expired. You shouldn’t feel any pain this time. And since she should be in control, she might be able to just get it over with faster.”

There was a strange air after discussing this. A sort of awkwardness, or maybe a moment of silence. Koko just hovered there for a moment before she picked back up. She realized she forgot an important step: setting up the resurrection itself.

She preferred the term “reassembly”, but I didn’t really see a difference. She explained that the reason I came back in my bed at my apartment is because that’s where the most “me” was, meaning all my dead skin and hair that were likely in my mattress. To deliberately relocate myself, I would have to tie myself to Cryztal in a sense. Dragon’s Tamer used scales and the user’s hair, but Koko said Cryztal’s hair works just like the scales. Tying my hair together with hers, or putting them in a small bag together would be enough to make a charm and set the location. Koko recommended I use her bed, since Cryztal’s bed would be in-frame if she was streaming while I was coming back.

“Normally the destruction of your brain will be enough to start the link, but your body will be somewhat vulnerable when being constructed. So please don’t try this on a camping trip or something. Only use it here at the house.” Koko seemed very wary of this aspect. Maybe she’d seen some people come back weird.

Now I was curious. “How did you test this originally? You didn’t have to kill anyone, did you?”

Koko gave out a hearty laugh. “No! I’d never test it on a living person first!” Then a creepy smile filled her face. “I used feeder mice back then. My friend Shu kept some reptiles for his kid, so mice were a good start. Don’t let Cryztal know she ate some too.”

“But don’t mice take a while to digest in reptiles? There’s no way your potion would last!” I was actually shocked.

“That’s the weird thing! The potion didn’t seem to care. Like it declared the mouse dead once it was inside the snake or lizard or whatever!” She was getting excited. “What mattered was that it worked, and I had the same few mice take that trip so many times!”

While the enthusiasm was appreciated, it was starting to make me feel uncomfortable. I made sure to note down some of the details, and had a few more readings to do before I could start brewing, but I actually asked to end the session myself. It definitely caught Koko off guard, but she accepted my request. While I took what I needed with me out of the study, I was definitely taking a break for the day.

I watched Cryztal stream from the living room like normal. Laying on the couch, I was thinking about the feeder mice. I was just like them, right? I was going to see Cryztal eating me again and again and again. Did the mice just accept it? Maybe I should have asked that. But I guess it would be different, since it isn’t like the mice were being eaten by friends. They just saw big hungry monsters. Am I going to see Cryztal the same way?

The biggest difference is that the mice didn’t have anything to gain. I’ll be able to fix my body. And Cryztal will have more energy. She already seems happier than before. She’s a bit more active, and cleans up after herself. Just getting to see her smile makes me so happy. If eating me can do that, then maybe it isn’t so bad after all.

It was silly, but a part of me thought about when we were kids, and how we would play our games together. Maybe when she’d pretend to be the bad guy, and say she was going to eat me, it wasn’t just because that’s something she knew. Maybe it was special to her. And maybe it should be special to me.