The Neovian Misadventure of Will and Biggs: Part Six
The moon peeked out from the clouds and Biggs got to his feet after putting the remaining contents of Ms.Wisp’s satchel together. “Do you suppose she lives at the soup kitchen?”
“Perhaps.” Will yawned as he got up off the forest floor. Together they struggled through the trees, back to the rough dirt road just outside of town. Will started to scrape his claws up against a tree, ”Does everywhere have to be so filthy?!” A faint cry in the distance caused him to cease. Biggs looked at him, his pale green skin going a shade paler. The cry wailed again. They crept to the bridge and stood still until someone shrieked once more. They looked down river. Along the sloped dirt and sheer rock faces stood a tall violet figure. They watched as the figure threw up their arms and yelled out, “Help!”
“That’s-” Will stopped.
“Odd. What is Ms.Wisp doing out there?” Biggs put his claws together and started to fidget.
Will climbed down the sheer slope and started to make his way over to the old Buzz. Biggs flew up to his shoulder. “What are you doing?!” hissed the young Buzz, “We don’t know what else she can do!” Will furrowed his brow and ran up to her using all fours. Still, she idly rocked back and forth, shrieking for help, not seeming to notice her visitors. Will got to his feet and tried to catch her eye. Her usually gleaming red eyes were a dull milky white.
“What did they do to you?” he muttered.
She took a few paces while keeping her arms out in front of her. “Help!” she yelped again.
“Ms.Wisp!?” Will yelled.
She put her arms down. “Hello! Please help me dear, some ruffians took off with my potions! My vision serum has worn off and my hearing is starting to go!”
Will looked at Biggs who immediately began scrambling his claw through the bag. He pulled out a couple of empty bottles and dropped them.
“Are you still there?!” She screeched.
“Yes.” said Will.
“Yes!” They yelled in unison.
Biggs held several bottles up to his eyes before proclaiming, “Aha! Here it is! Oops!” The bottle tumbled out of his claw, tinkled to the cliffs and rolled down the slope before disappearing into the river with a ‘plunk!’
“Ahhhh!” Will groaned.
“What’s that!?” Her flowing violet robes twirled with her as she twisted around.
Will stepped towards her and said, “We will take you home.”
“What!” Biggs hissed at his Lutari companion.
“Where else would her recipes be?” Will smiled back.
“Ohh dear.” Biggs pulled down on the tendrils on his chin.
“Uh! Well! We will help you home Miss!” Will boomed with gumption.
“What’s that…? I don’t have any ticks!”
“Oh, come on.” Will tilted his head at the small Buzz.
“I’m sorry! The very idea that any Buzz would suffer from the likes of ticks is in itself amusing!”
Will rolled his eyes and carefully approached her. ”We will help you home!” He yelled. Ms.Wisp put out her arms once more. Will reached out to her and touched her furled claw. Immediately she grasped him and pulled herself to his arm putting her arm under his.
“Oh! Thank goodness! Do you know the sweets store?! I live near there!”
“Yes! We’ll take you!” Slowly, Will trudged along with her in tow to the sheer cliff by the bridge.
“Aw, geeze.” Biggs shook his head as he helped lift her up to the stony bridge.
“We can try to make this right at least. Poor thing.” Will sighed.
“I thought for sure IIere would have come for me! She’s after me you know?! She’s mad that I’m better!” Ms.Wisp cackled menacingly. Will and Biggs gave each other a look, took her arms once more and guided her into town. The streets were dim and empty save for an errant petpet here and there. “Keep me hidden! They might come after me again!” her old voice rasped.
“The thieves?!” Biggs piped.
“The terrible townspeople!” She shook her head violently, sending her feathers into a frenzy.
“Shh!” They both hushed at her.
“Are we in town!?” her voice cracked.
She sunk her head and remained quiet until they came to a stop at Sufir’s Sweet Shoppe.
“Is this the shop!?” She yelled.
“Take me to the alley!” barked the old Darigan Buzz.
They walked her to the alley where she shook off their arms and hobbled over to a wall. She put her claws flush up against it and began to slide herself sideways down the alley walls.
“Um…” Biggs cocked his head at her, as Will raised a brow.
She fell through a seemingly solid brick wall, her clawed feet sticking out of the brick.
“AAAAH!” They yelled. Biggs clutched at Will’s arm.
“Found it! Help me up please!”
They walked over to her feet and carefully walked through the wall. They faced a small staircase that led up to an iron door. Ms.Wisp collapsed over the first few steps.
“Oh! Are you alright?!” Biggs gasped.
“Nothing I can’t fix!” She cackled as they helped her up and guided her up the stairs. She blindly grasped for the handle until Will opened the door for her. “Thanks sweetie!” Will gave Biggs a deep frown before following her inside. The roomy musty apartment smelled of lavender. Garlands of herbs and spices hung from the walls and ceiling. Low burning candles flickered to life as she carefully shuffled through the room. An angry Kadoatie howled and zoomed out of the room. “Hah! I heard you Smelliot!” She cackled as she made it to the back room. Biggs looked up at Will.
“We gotta go! Now!” He whispered.
Will bit his lower lip. “We have to get that recipe. If it is anywhere it would be here.”
“I’m not going to steal-“
“Oh curses!” she shrieked. “ My potions! I’m out! All out! Oh Jhudora!” She shuffled back to the front room. “I need Copperkettle! He can make me more! Oh, all my dark faeries! Please kind sirs! I hope you are there!”
Biggs put a claw to his mouth as his eyes went wide. Will shuffled his feet and looked down at him.
“Sirs! Hello?!” She put her claws up on the doorframe.
Biggs cleared his throat, ”I work for him! I can make them! Show me to your alembics! “
“Do you now?!” Her mandible hung open as her neck craned upward. “Why do I have lavender here?!”
“You either have sleep problems or moth problems!”
“Good! Now what would I use Kreludan dust for?!”
“Desiccating tough fleshed fruits or -ugh- petpets. Also rarely used in explosive muffins, bombs, and elixirs used to fortify intellect.”
“Hah! Good, good! Follow me!” She disappeared through the doorway once more, Biggs and Will followed suit. A small kitchen with a kettle and a fireplace lay beyond the door. An open cupboard hung on the wall, its interior empty. The tall violet Buzz put her hands to the wall and shuffled her way to an ascending staircase. She slowly hobbled up the steps up to a room with a geodesic glass dome roof. Potted plants lined the walls, kept up by curled irons built into the walls. A water spigot stood to the far side, and a knobbed wooden table lay in the middle covered in papers and small piles of desiccated who knows what. An alembic, a mortar and pestle and any other alchemical device one could want lay on another table made of stone. Ms. Wisp put out a gnarled claw and grabbed Biggs. “Take me to the table! You should know the one!” Biggs led her to the stone table. She put her claws out onto its cool surface. “Good. Good. Now to find the recipe!” Biggs turned to Will who was already flipping through the many papers.
“What would she call it?” he hissed.
“Probably just Transmogrification.” Biggs whispered back as he slunk the recipes out of Ms.Wisp’s satchel. “I found your hearing recipe! Ear Drainage is it!?”
“Yes! Brew that up and let me smell it first! Then get me a bucket!”
Biggs turned his head and made a silent gagging face. Will chuckled at him, ”I’ll find one.” He slid away from the table, surveyed the room and found one under a potted plant. He dropped it next to Ms.Wisp and went back to the pile of papers.
“There are some more papers on that cabinet over there.” Biggs said as he lit the flame under an alembic.
“Ah. Thanks. I’d think it’d be on top of it all. Messy old Buzz. “ Will shook his head.
Ms. Wisp turned her purple head to a random direction, “Don’t use the fresh purple poppies use the desiccated ones on the shelf!
“Of course!” Biggs chirped.
“Sorry, I thought I heard you pulling my plants! Don’t pull my plants!” She shook her head at the glass dome above.
“Wouldn’t dream of it!” Biggs flashed a false grin.
Will shuffled over to the cabinet as Biggs scurried over to the shelf. On top were more soup recipes. Will scowled as he flipped through them until he came across an unlabeled one. He perused its contents, “Screaming tree, settra, screlon…No soup I’ve ever heard of.” he thought. “Biggs? what would bark from a screaming tree be used in?”
“Nothing good.” replied the Buzz. Will lumbered back over to Biggs and handed him the recipe. The Buzz held it up and scrutinized it. “Some of these are morphing potion ingredients.” He whispered, “ It could be it, but a lot of the other reagents make me think no one would survive such a potion!”
“It’s done! Or it should be! Don’t burn it please!”interrupted Ms.Wisp.
“Yes!” Biggs grabbed a small glass and put it under a spigot on the side of the alembic. Bright green liquid trickled into the glass. He put it up to her mouth and she took a deep breath.
“Aha! Good! Hand me the bucket, and give me some privacy!”
“Oh, I wouldn’t have it otherwise!” Biggs squeaked as he handed her the bucket. She grabbed it from him with one claw and took the glass in her other. She downed the potion and stuck her head in the bucket. Biggs ran to the stairs and hissed at Will.
Will shook his head and walked back to the first wooden table, scraping the little piles of ingredients aside and examining the papers underneath. Biggs pulled at his mandible’s tendrils as Ms.Wisp withdrew her head from the bucket.
“Looking for my vision recipe I hope?” She cocked her head in Will’s direction. ”You won’t find it. I had it on me. But I know it by heart so this isn’t a problem. But get out of my recipes please.”
Will stared at her and gently placed the papers in his paws down.
“Thank you.” She mumbled while rolling her shoulders.
“Ms. Wisp-” Will started before Biggs zipped up and put a claw to his mouth.
“I don’t think this is the best time to ask!” He hissed. Will raised a brow at him and slowly closed his mouth. Biggs pulled away, gave him a nod and zipped over to Ms.Wisp.
“Hm! Another Buzz! Are you the alchemist?”
“Yes. Now, how can I get started on the potion for you?”
“Pickled Purple Carrots from the cabinet, half ounce of Meepit eye, and Nettle stewed for exactly three minutes.”
“Makes sense.” Biggs zipped off to work, as Will leaned back on his tails and sighed.
“And you sir?” Ms.Wisp turned her head towards Will, “What do you do for a living?”
“Not anything at the moment.” Will replied.
“I’m not feeling so well lately.”
“Oh? Well I can sure help you with your malady I’m sure. Sure there is Copperkettle but I guess there is a reason you haven’t gone to him yet?”
“Hah! Yes...” Will folded his arms tight, ripping his beloved tailcoat even more. “Oh, Drat!”
“What was that!? Did you break something?”
“Just my coat. Don’t worry about it.” Will huffed.
“You can tell me if you did. I owe you two a great deal. There’s not much you could break here that would mean anything to me.” She shook her head.
Biggs started staring at a clock. “Do you need to smell this one?”
“No, no, I trust you.” Her withered mandible curled into a modest smile.
Will sighed then asked, “What can you tell me about these terrible townspeople?” Biggs shot him a grimace then turned his attention back to the clock.
“Well…They likened me to Mr.Krawley or Sloth for what I did to someone. He deserved it by gosh! I don’t deserve that amount of disrespect!”
“Then what?” Will rocked back and forth on his tails.
“They chased me out of town! I ran until my vision left! I crept back through the woods by following the sound of the river then my dang hearing started to go too! I surely would have been captured by Ilere if it weren’t for you two!”
“Three minutes.” Biggs grumbled as he grabbed a fresh glass and drained the alembic once more. He handed the glass to Ms.Wisp and darted back to Will. “All right, now we should go.” He whispered as Ms. Wisp downed the glass.
Will shook his head and lumbered up to Ms.Wisp. He put his elbow on the table and his paw on his chin. A gnarled, toothy smile spread across his lips. A faint glow and colour slowly returned to the old Buzz’s orb-like eyes. She gasped, shook her head, and took a step back as she stared at Will’s grin.
“Hello.” He smiled.
Ms.Wisp threw up her arms, “No! It can’t be!” She stood speechless. She flinched when Will righted himself. Biggs sheepishly stepped up to her and handed her the satchel.
“I’m sorry Ms.Wisp. We had no idea how important these were to you.”
She clutched the satchel to her chest.
“Is there any hope for my malady?” Will stepped towards her.
She eyed him up and down, she opened her jaw but no sound came out.
“If you have the recipe I could work out an antidote.” Biggs muttered as he looked up to her.
“I- yes. I suppose an antidote could be made. But I didn’t bother to-”
“ I would do it. Is this the recipe you used?” Biggs pulled out the title-less recipe and held it up to her.
She snatched it up and glanced it over. “Yes.”
Biggs took a sharp breath and snatched it back from her. “You could severely poison somebody with something like this!”
“You doubt my skills at my craft?!” She sunk her head low to meet him at eye level.
“Obviously I can’t! But the… eeurgh!” He tucked the paper away and stormed away from her, exasperated and seething.
She took another step back and raised her head, she caught Will’s gaze one more. He gave her a faint smile back.
“May we have it? I’m sure he will be able to work out an antidote. If not him, Copperkettle probably could.” Will turned his wide fuzzy head to the side.
She hung her head, “Yes. I suppose so.” The old Buzz paused, “If you need any rare ingredients I-“, her voice crackled, “ -am sure I will be able to part with them.”
“Thank you!” Biggs shot at her glaring.
“I’m sorry for what I said to you.” said Will, turning his attention back to Ms.Wisp, “I should have been more professional about it all, and should not have taken my anger out on you. You do a fine service for Neovia with your soup kitchen.”
She shook her head, ”Thank you. And I’m sorry. I too let anger get the best of me in the worst way. I don’t know how I’ll redeem myself here though.”
Will took a small bow and swished his tails, “I’ve made a fool of myself on every stage in Neovia and no one knows my name. I think you’ll manage.”
“Hah!” She cackled.
“Thank you, Ms. Wisp. We should get going.” Will looked around, “Biggs?” Biggs put down the paper he had in front of his face revealing a scowl. He walked up to the cabinet and swiped a few bottles containing various powders and shapeless dried bits. Still scowling he marched to the staircase and trotted down. “He’ll probably forgive you eventually too.” Will chuckled.