Within the Lab - Part 2Date Posted: May 3, 2020
This chapter was written in collaboration with Scylla.
He must have said something right because just as oddly as Scylla had been acting a moment before, she’d calmed and composed herself. That regal air she usually held with him. That hint of demand to her voice.
Usually, this would have irked him. But this time, Amon listened to the words rather than the tone.
His eyebrows lifted and his eyes flicked over to the device. There, just as she said was her family seal upon some of the age-old metal. The seal that signified this material had been salvaged from her father’s workshop. It had once belonged to his mentor’s lab.
How had he not noticed it before?
He’d been so caught up in his calculations and focused on how the pieces fit together. Whether they still worked. If this would work at all. He’d not seen the details.
“Ah… well… aye,” the Elezen admitted, rubbing the back of his neck. He was still at a loss for words, which was unusual for him. “I guess I hadn’t really noticed. I was pretty focused on…”
He flipped the parchment and notebook open, leaning it slightly towards her. It contained a sketch for the device’s concept and all kinds of scribbled notes and calculations around it.
In times past, he would have never chanced show one of his designs to any living Allagan. For fear of stolen ideas. Fear of being upstaged. Fear of having his own creations used against him.
But this wasn’t Allag anymore, was it? And this was Scylla… someone he’d known since childhood. It wasn’t like she could do anything… aside from destroy his work… and…
He started to get a little anxious about that train of thought, and quickly flicked the notebook back to his chest, closing it.
Scylla had started to read at the notes, squinting at the tracings and diagrams, only to find the book shut in her nose.
“Hey! What was the meaning of that?” The healer pulled at the notebook at his chest with a frown, before giving up and putting her hands on her hips.
“Look, Amon… I’m not going to force you. But if you expect to get through this, we’re going to need to do something we haven’t done in a few thousand years.”
She put her palm out in front of her, as if to receive the book.
Amon reached to grab his notes back, a motion borne of pure fearful reflex, “Don’t… don’t… I spent all month on… I have no time!”
Then he paused, the sounds of Scylla’s last words translating to words in his ears.
“W-we?” the Elezen stammered. Despite all of his desire to cover the anxiety that welled in him, he just wasn’t able to muster enough energy to cover it with his usual calm mask. Instead, he echoed, “Cooperate?”
He found himself doing something strange and out of character. He slowly withdrew, allowing Scylla to have access to his notes. That’s when he realized how badly his hands were shaking. “Are you saying that you intend to assist me, Princess?”
“No… I think not.”
Scylla looked at him, taking the notebook from his hand and putting out on the desk, keeping her eyes on Amon before turning her head to the scribbled notes.
“I intend for you to assist me.” Scylla said in an uppity tone as she flicked through the pages. “I have been charged with your health issues, by the authority of Gridania.”
Amon’s ramblings were as if looking back in time… part of the writings were in the old Allag script, others in a more scratchy Eorzean lettering. His notes were frantically written, reminding her back when they were forced to work together as students thousands of years before.
“Amon… how do you expect anyone to read this?” Scylla groaned and brushed her hair, squinting at the writing. “Who ever knew that your handwriting could get any worse?”
“I didn’t intend for anyone else to read this…” he murmured. “Or do you not remember that I worked alone? If I’d known that poor handwriting was all I needed to deflect prying eyes, perhaps I would have endeavored to reduce my legibility even more.”
He pursed his lips and leaned back, studying her for a moment.
“What is this about me assisting you, now? I’m the one on borrowed time at the moment, Your Highness.”
He let the final two words hang with a hint of his own disdain, intended to match hers. It was petty and dumb, but he couldn’t let himself be outdone by her. Not even now.
“But that’s just it.”
Scylla gave a sour look as she traced her fingers along his sketches.
“You’re talented and creative, no doubt, even when on your own. Talented beyond any my father had seen, according to his own words.”
The white mage grabbed a pen, and connected a couple of the sketches, crossing out runes and replacing others.
“Amon, you did not do your best work by yourself.” Scylla mused. “You did your best work when you were working together with someone who cared about you. Everything that made you so successful and famous had a basis in the work that you did with others… like my Dad… like Clio…”
Her words trailed off…
“I didn’t mean to bring the past up… it’s just easy to think about them… with all this…”
She took a breath and pointed out her revisions to his work on the page.
“And besides, you’re still making the same mistakes on the charge/flow ratio that you made in Academy. Last time you made this mistake in your calculations, you covered the student lab in bio-slime.”
She poked her finger in his chest.
“This time, you would have blown yourself into the sky with that much aether-charging.”
The white-mage then gave him a frown.
“It won’t help if you give back that borrowed time only to explode into a pile of bits and ears.”
Amon sucked in his breath a bit at the mention of Clio. Every time he thought he had those emotions in check, it took so little to spark the pain again. It had to have something to do with the weakness of this infernal cloned form.
He shook himself out only to see Scylla scribbling all over his very sound and absolutely perfect theory! The Elezen opened his mouth, brows furrowed in frustration.
She WAS going to try to ruin it!
One hand reached out and snatched the paper away from her, looking completely horrified.
“What are you doing? I had this all measured and balanced! There was a reason that I set the frequency to that length!” Amon began to rant furiously, hoping he’d be able to remember the original designs well enough to undo what she’d just done. His hands splayed wide in dramatic frustration, words springing from him, chiding her for daring to touch his absolutely flawless diagram…
Then his eyes briefly brushed over the second set of handwriting, so different from his own, and he stopped. Looking at Scylla’s additions, he… had to admit… that… they actually had merit…
That was all he could bring himself to say.