This is the final update of this serial, the first part is HERE
Chapter 60: When the exception rules
Serpents are evil.
Isn’t this something everyone knows?
It is in the nature of a serpent to lie, to cheat, to swallow whole.
Unicorns are good.
Isn’t this something everyone knows?
It is in the nature of a unicorn to heal, to reveal truth, to sanctify.
Phoenixes are undying.
Isn’t this something everyone knows?
It is in the nature of a phoenix to burn, to revive, to burn, to revive, to burn, to revive…
A serpent can be good, a unicorn profane and a phoenix can truly die, ashes never more to rise.
Some would say then that there is no absolutes, that all things can be as other things. Some would say the absolute is that all of them die. Some that all of them live.
Yet, when does the exception ever overtake the rule?
White serpents, as a rule, have great healing properties, thus, they become a symbol of medicine in many worlds.
Unicorns, as a rule, have great healing properties, thus, they become a symbol of medicine in many worlds.
Phoenixes, as a rule, have great healing properties, thus they become a symbol of medicine in many worlds.
If all three would cry over your broken body, your scattered spirit, your ruined Record, would having experienced true death, would you experience true resurrection?
“The tears would need to be willing, and when has any serpent, virtuous or not ever cried for anyone?”
How many phoenixes, unicorns and white serpents would you deceive, how many would you lead to a path of sorrows, just to see the answer? Or perhaps if one’s heart is not so twisted, wandering the dimensions until you see such a sight would more… palatable.
Warping flesh and spirit, there would surely be some who would do such a thing to those three unfortunate beings. Would the tears of such a mockery bring anything other than vengeance? Than retributive plague?
How could monstrous deeds ever lead to true resurrection?
Despair and desperation, those ancient serpents devour many who seek Miracle.
An old question of Doctors and many else;
“What does it mean to save a life?”
Much later, an arrogant and unwilling genius wondered if such a thing was even possible.
As if limited could decide the limits of possibility. Such is often a snare ’round the neck of those burdened with talent.
Doctor Bones once more could see and and think. Once more he had returned from what many consider a little death.
“Isn’t losing consciousness very bad for undead, Doctor?” Miss Fern asked with no small amount of worry.
Indeed, undead shouldn’t be able to fall unconscious at all. Restless dead and all that.
-Isn’t it safe to assume I’m quite irregular? Ugh, how am I back in the coffin? This is the coffin isn’t it?-
Doctor Bones looked around and sure enough, he was in the control room of the coffin, the rocks were occupying the throne of operations and bickering nervously about something or another. On the mirrorscreen was the view outside the coffin.
A great flower of many colours, not yet bloomed, the petals pierced into the very space of Necrobyssal and surrounding this flower were brambles arranged as if the flower was a jewel, and the brambles a crown. It did not rest in the rotted detritus of Necrobyssal, but was ascending as if to pierce through the layer it was in, as if it hell a unyielding will and burning desire to escape the dimension of final ends.
Such vigour, such life it had that the very nature of Necrobyssal was rejecting it, that the unfortunate oncedead could not approach it.
Doctor Bones was silent.
“You were spat out like a bolt, the rocks just managed to catch you before anything dreadful happened to you. There… there was a lot of death essences clinging to you, real nasty ones, I cleared them all off, the knowledge you gave me…” Miss Fern trailed off, seeing that her babbling was failing to distract Doctor Bones.
A low sound like the creak of an ancient mausoleum resounded in the room, startling the rocks and Miss Fern. It was a sigh from the dead, from Doctor Bones.
-Ah, so it was a failure- he stated, falling to the silence of the grave once more.
Heavy did this silence weigh on Doctor Bones’ companions. Several times, Miss Fern attempted to say something, but the words died before they could even come close to her mouth. As for the rocks, even beings as dense as they did not dare speak up in such heavy matters. Doctor Bones stared at the flower, the many coloured light, the light of dimensions flickering across his skull from the mirrorscreen.
-It is a beautiful flower though- he said sadly.
Even a ruined city can hold beauty, how much more can it be said that a flower can hold such? The life of flowers often hold death. If nothing else, no matter how beautiful a flower is, are many not composed of deadly poison.
Images of life and death.
Miss Fern perhaps for the first time in her life as a potted plant, felt a crushing sense of inadequacy.
For a moment, Doctor Bones felt he was on the verge of understanding something, but sorrow shrouded his mind, and the thought faded away, as the Record of the patient had faded.
-We should watch it bloom, we owe the patient that much at least… yes… we’ll leave after it blooms fully- Doctor Bones said.
With a pain that pierced into her very spirit, Miss Fern nodded. The rocks grew utterly still.
The petals of the corpseflower slowly unfurled, coming to full bloom, shining a light like that of dawn, but cast through a rainbow. The centre of the flower could not be seen for this blinding light. As Doctor Bones was about to command the rocks to depart… something unexpected happened.
At the peak of its blossoming, the tips of the corpseflower turned a mottled brown. Rapidly the rest of the plant withered right down to its brambles and roots. Even as this happened before shocked gazes, the light that had been in the centre of the blossom ascended further, this light parted forming a halo of petals.
Nestled within the core of the halo… was…
Another flower bud.
-Impossible- Doctor Bones spluttered.
“What is… am I seeing things, is that really?” Miss Fern trailed off.
-Eh? It shouldn’t do that?-
-You mean this isn’t regular-
-Oh quit it already, it isn’t spooky at all!-
The rocks began to squabble.
Doctor Bones was standing up straight not a bit of his earlier gloom present.
-A second blooming, a flower consuming flower! It should not happen-
He said this, but what really had him shaken was the familiarity that the second flower gave him. Gleaming petals that were more like carapace than vegetable matter, petals that radiated a will of survival! It was as if he was seeing the patient’s Record hale and hearty in the form of a flower.
-I saw his Record vanish. I saw his true death didn’t I?-
-Maybe you mistook what you saw?- a rock doubted.
“Or perhaps we are going to see the magic of Miracle!” Miss Fern wondered, eyes sparkling.
-Mysterious, mysterious- a rock muttered.
-I… can this really be?- Doctor Bones said.
-Look! the new flower is blossoming!-
-It better not be something ghastly-
-How could you even say that?-
-You’ve doomed us all!-
“Shush!” Miss Fern hissed.
There was no blinding light within the new flowerbud, instead as it blossomed, what became clear was the shadow of a figure, knees to chest, like a baby sleeping in its mother’s womb. The petals began to pulsate with the breaths of this figure. A man of brambles and flowers, a man with a mask of carapace for a face, with little features other than two vertical lines that went from crown to chin. Amid a mane of fruits, horns like that of some manner of beetle sprouted forth nobly.
A flicker of red gold in the two deep lines on the beings face and it was clear that the lines served as eyes.
A long breath was exhaled by this being, sending out a black fog, a mess of necrotic energies, clearly the being had just expelled the last of the shadow of death from itself. Doctor Bones was gobsmacked as with his eyes he could tell that the being before them was not undead.
Then, a rumbling cry of triumph came from the flower-man and he stretched out his limbs wide, the petals and halo of petals resting at his feet.
“Praise be to the Salmon of Sacrifice! Glorious life from death!”
After that, it was as if he thrown from a slingshot, Necrobyssal itself was rejecting the presence of one filled with so much life. The undead had quailed at his cries
Doctor Bones stood there in abject shock.
What Salmon? What Sacrifice?
-What does an engimatic dimensional deity have to do with…-
He did not want to complete the thought, but had a faint feeling of having been played with.
-Well, that was something else- one of the rocks said.
However as it said that, a supreme presence made itself known inside the coffin, it was the shadow of the flower man! He looked kindly at Doctor Bones and all present.
“Do not think your efforts have gone unnoticed, I thank you, Last Doctor of Latent Corpentsis, here, take this…”
A shining flower within which was the emblem of a fish that was an eye sprouted in the palm of the flower-man’s hand.
“Bearing this, you have my and my Master’s favour, when you have most need, surely you will be delivered, if not by my hand, then by another. Take hope, rest not in your search for true, Last Doctor of Latent Corpentsis”
The shadow broke away into petals and those vanished leaving behind the floating favour.
Doctor Bones was not one to reject such things an grasped it, a feeling of peaced washed over him for a moment, but he just felt it was relief.
-Well, that was really something else- the same rock as the previous occasion said.
“It was Miracle! I’ve seen the third magic!” Miss Fern exclaimed, eyes sparkling.
-Well, I’m not sure you could call it a miracle that the patient managed to devour the corpseflower and revive. I must have been seeing things before-
-We finally leaving this deadend place Director?-
-Please say yes-
-We should leave even if he doesn’t say yes-
Doctor Bones almost laughed.
-Yes, we’ll leave, after all, we’ve done our job here-
So, under the gazes of those at the limits of limits, the coffin left just as the flower-man had left.
Miss Fern did not say so to Doctor Bones, but she still believed that she had witnessed the Third Magic.
That she had seen a Miracle.
Epilogue: The Last Doctor of Latent Corpentsis
Doctor Bones had two objects in his hands. One was the sugar cube from the Great Sugar Draggy, the other was the emblem of the mysterious flower-man who had dimensions within his body and as he knew now, served a being even more inscrutable than himself.
It wasn’t uncommon for healers to receive favours, indeed, some when healed would pledge their lives to the healer. Many believe that it is the natural order for one healed to serve their healer.
Latent Corpentsis must surely have gained the favour of many beings, of many organizations.
-I’ve received more of the beginning of answers than answers themselves- Doctor Bones mused.
How exactly was Latent Corpentsis reduced to a single undead member with sealed memories?
“Doctor, where do we go now?” Miss Fern asked.
Doctor Bones stroked his fleshless chin.
“It may be time to go to dimensional hubworld”
“Aye, Aye Director!”
“He’s actually a doctor and not a pirate though…”