When Lorry stepped into Dr. Burnes’ house, it was everything he expected it to be. There were flowerpots everywhere, with plants of all sorts growing from them. Haphazard stacks of dirty dishes occupied the gaps between the pots. The smell of soil filled the house.
“You’ll have to forgive the mess,” said Dr. Burnes, trying to smooth the wrinkles on his dirt stained lab coat.
“It’s fine,” replied Lorry, “A little mess never hurt anyone. Right, Michael?”
“Uh, yeah,” said Michael, eyes fixed on a plant with large purple plumes, “Perfectly harmless.”
“Now, you wanted to take about Beggar’s Sickness?” said Dr. Burnes, “Did Dr. Harvey send you?”
“No, we don’t know a Dr. Harvey,” said Lorry, “But we are here to talk about Beggar’s Sickness.”
A desperate light burned in his eyes, “We need the cure!”
Dr. Burnes sighed and shook his head sadly, “You and most of western Castille. Beggar’s Sickness has become more and more common with every day. You are southern, yes? It’s spreading.”
“And the cure’s not effective?” asked Morrigan, “The one from the Katiyan Mountain flower?”
“Oh, it’s effective,” answered Dr. Burnes, “The only problem is-”
“You don’t have the flower,” finished Eric. His face was grim. Lorry felt his heart plummet into his stomach.
“No, I don’t have it,” confirmed Dr. Burnes, “Not yet. There are parties out looking for it as we speak. Until we have the flower, my colleague, Dr. Harvey, and I are trying to synthesize a cure from similar flowers.”
“And you’ve had no success?” asked Lorry. His mind was racing, and his mouth felt very dry.
“I’m afraid we haven’t,” Dr. Burnes shook his head again. Then he looked at Lorry with curiosity, “Why are you so interested in the cure?”
Lorry clasped his jittering hands together to steady them. “I- My mom -She-”
His voice faded into silence.
“I’m sorry,” said Dr. Burnes, “That’s hard to go through. Give me the name of her hospital, and I’ll have the cure sent there, when we either synthesize it or procure the flower.”
After they left Dr. Burnes’ house, they found an inn for the night and got a set of adjoining rooms.
Lorry’s mind was a million miles away at dinner. Until Morrigan stabbed him with a fork, that is.
“Come on, Lorry,” she said, “You’ve got to eat something. You won’t be doing your mother any good by fainting of hunger.”
She deftly stabbed a french fry off her plate. “Eat something.”
Lorry sighed and took a bite out of his hamburger.
“Why are you eating your french fries with a fork?” asked Michael.
“A better question is why aren’t you?” replied Morrigan. She took a defiant bite of her french fry.
“‘Cause I’m normal.”
“Are you saying I’m not?”
Lorry didn’t catch the rest of the argument because his mind drifted away again. He stared out the inn’s window absentmindedly, not really seeing what was outside.
Perhaps if Lorry had been focusing on the present, if Eric wasn’t breaking up a french fry fight, if Morrigan hadn’t been distracted, if Michael had glanced outside, one of them might’ve seen a glimpse of canary yellow and been forewarned of what was to come.
That night, Lorry was awoken to darkness by the creek of floorboards. His tired brain came to the conclusion it was just Eric or Michael heading off to the restroom. His eyes slipped closed, and he was almost asleep when someone had a hand at his neck. Lorry yelled out and kicked at his attacker.
Eric and Michael sprang from bed as a hand locked around the Amulet. Eric knocked the attacker back away from Lorry. The Amulet’s chain snapped, and the attacker was out the window in a flash. Eric flew to the window after the attacker.
Morrigan burst in from her room. “What’s wrong?”
“Lorry, are you ok?” asked Michael. His face was pale, and his hands were shaking.
Lorry nodded, “I’m fine. I’m ok.” Lorry fingered the remains of the broken chain around his neck. The blood in his veins turned to ice as the realization set in.
“The attacker got what he came for,” said Lorry. His voice quivered with fear. “The Amulet. It’s gone.”
“Not ‘he’, Lorry,” said Eric, from his place by the window, “She. It was the Yellow Woman. She’s going to release Glassheart.”
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