Book VII Ch 2: Mutants of a Feather
Giovan straightened his tie needlessly as he rode in the unicorn-drawn carriage with his employer and lord, watching the light dance through the glassy blue leaves of the trees surrounding the tiny road.
Vivid color in all directions threatened to overwhelm his vision. High above, the twin suns set the sky alight in a strange violet fire, deepening to cobalt blue as the skyline met with the trees below.
Shining white creatures broke away from the clouds, falling like comets into the forest or soaring gracefully just above the canopy, where the trees themselves had transformed into striped and towering wooden oddities perhaps better suited for other planets.
All things considered, Chimre was far more beautiful than the brown-and-grey smog of Gier and Axl.
Something in Gio's head buzzed anxiously, pulling him out of his reverie.
Furrowing his brow and clenching his teeth, he pressed a hand to it to try and soothe the discomfort away.
"Almost there. You feeling alright?" Nefirian asked, concern furrowing his brow.
"It's just the thing acting up again, no biggie. It'll pass in a second," Gio insisted, folding his arms back behind his head and trying his best to relax.
It-- the thing the Lord-Doctor had put in him with the assistance of theskeevy old man-- was, for the most part, rather amicable for a monstrous parasite from another universe.
Apparently happy enough to have found a way out of its homeplane (Gio refused to consider the implications of that for long, and it was perfectly content to let him change the subject), it had immediately set terms for their mutual benefit which the human scientist saw as perfectly reasonable, all things considered.
He could think of no better situation than to be possessed by an alien being which understood the importance of keeping its host alive and well.
Unfortunately, there was the odd side-effect, though most of them were hardly worth worrying over.
The headaches were the most frequent, minor though they were, and a small nuisance to bear in exchange for proper telepathic power. Who was he to complain about that? It certainly beat the consequences of the failed mirajin experiments, and the Lord-Doctor had fulfilled his long-time promise with that alone.
His marked increase in strength meant he often broke things around the house and laboratory when he forgot himself, but those sorts of things were to be expected.
He'd grow more accustomed to it before long, and that'd be the end of it. On top of that, he'd never have to worry about ruffians trying to mug him in the city streets again-- easily worth a few ruined specimens.
The eye thing was a little...unexpected, but also minor, explained off atSplitchaas an experimental ocular installation for a bit of extra cash.
He knewLyricandDidierwouldn't buy that fib, but they were the boss's sons anyway, so that was no big deal.
He kinda missed his old, dull grey eyes a bit, but the bright-ass blue was kinda growing on him.
But the big thing-- the one change that put Giovan on edge-- was his sudden and unshakable anxiety around certain people.
He wasn't sure exactly what set that off, but it was severe enough that he feared for his sanity.
Suddenly, the old man was an object of revulsion to be avoided at all costs, and the dim but regrettably lucky kidmost of his recent research involved had become overwhelmingly infuriating.
Gio had done his best to explain the sudden mental shifts to the Lord-Doctor, hoping he would recieve some sort of pardon.
He had, in a way-- theChapterhad gone out of his way to keep Gio and the strange man away from each other whenever they were both on theCathedralgrounds.
But it seemed as though his assignments with Gabriel Gaunthier had only become more frequent, much to his irritation.
It took every ounce of will not to smear the bio Doc's face against the nearest wall whenever they met; It was all Giovan could do to curb his irrational rage by putting the poor idiot through increasingly more strenuous testing.
If he was so damned lucky, he'd come out of it just fine, after all.
Of course, the fact that he had had done little to soothe Doctor Giers' anger.
"Gio, we're here. Feeling any better?" The Lord-Doctor's voice was gentle.
"Yeah, a bit-- son of a bitch!"
Climbing out of the gilded carriage, Giovan found himself surrounded on all sides byiicarn, tall and sleek with spears, swords and bows coated in gleaming gold.
They leered down at him from behind their porcelain masks-- some plain half-masks, others in the shapes of various animals and beasts-- as they stretched and slowly beat their iridescent wings.
They were hardly a matter of concern to Gio, however.
Just behind them, a great and gaping hole had been torn through the mountain ridge itself, revealing the long-lost continent of Mimore to the world once more.
Beyond the rubble and the towering Ranpa leupaks working tirelessly to clear the debris from the forest's edge stood more miracrystals than he could count, leading off into the horizon as far as the eye could see like mountains in their own right.
Each of them was enormous, pulsing with a familiar magenta glow.
"Nef," Gio whispered, all formalities forgotten. "What the hell ..?!
There has to be enough energy here to power every city on Valenth for ages!"
"I won't need ages, Giovan. Just a few minutes, when the time comes.
There's much that needs to be done in the days to come, preparations upon preparations. For your part, I'm having you moved out of Splitcha permanently. "
Gio laughed nervously. "Permanently? Have I done something wrong?
If I'm mishandling subjects or something, just say the word and I'll--"
But theAeneskiput a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"C'mon, Gio. You know I don't do things that way. I'm promoting you."
"Pr..promoting me? I thought--"
"I need every brilliant mind I can get right now. I brought you out here for a reason-- some things I can't do or say in the public eye, after all."
"Of course, milord." Gio was taken aback. "What would you have me do? And what about Galv?"
"You'll have all the time in the world for your music very shortly, " Nef reassured him.
"For now, I'd like you to become overseer of a few of my special projects, if you'd be so kind as to accept."
"How could I refuse?" Giovan paused. "And how "special" is special, exactly?"
Nefirian glanced pointedly at the iicarn.
"...Wait, hang on, what?!
How would I-- it's really, really freaking awesome for you to offer, but what could I do with these guys that could possibly be worth your while?"
"You're still thinking like a human, Gio.
They can help you with that-- and in return, I'd like for you to train new additions, and help them protect our fair countries, plural.
But you won't be working with just the iicarn. Some things, I can't trust to just anyone; I'm asking you to care for my children while I'm away from home, Giovan.
It's a favor I'd ask from no less than family."
Giovan furrowed his brow, watching in thoughtful silence as the Dreamwaker turned to feed shiny blue apples to the unicorns.
He did have a point.
Gio had finally gotten the supernatural powers he'd been promised years ago, but left to his own devices, he was ready to continue his mostly uneventful career as a psionics researcher and music mogul as if it'd never happened.
Whatever working with the odd, winged mutants involved, it was almost certain to be an interesting new experience, and put his new abilities to some use as well.
He wasn't sure what to say about the family bit, but it had always been common knowledge that the Dreamwaker was prone to grow close to his... projects.
"Alright, boss. I'm your man."
"Excellent! I'm sure you'll do just fine," Nef chirped, gathering Giovan up in a strong hug.
"Besides-- I just sent Starle out this morning to deliver a few messages. You'll have some time to get yourself settled in, and in a few weeks, you'll be working with a few familiar faces again. Sound good?"
Giovan admired the way the wings of the iicarn shimmered in the sunlight, throwing a thousand colors against the two Docs' white labcoats and the unicorns' hides.
He suddenly burst into hysterical laughter, reaching to push his glasses back upon his nose.
"Yeah. That sounds fuckin' amazing."
He couldn't wait to see the look on his face.
Next Chapter: Book VII Chapter III
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