Chapter 1: Prologue
The moaning thistle was not something to be taken lightly in the Society of Arcane Sciences. After a few mishaps, this had been firmly established.
First of all, this iridescent blue species of flower, though certainly beautiful, was exceedingly dangerous, most specifically its pollen. If one were to touch the pollen or the flower, they’d be reduced to a rather, well, horny state. This is because the only way to treat the victim is to have sex with them until the pollen wears off. Otherwise, they’d die by the toxicity of the pollen.
And, being a society that dabbled in more “insane” and “mystical” areas of scientific research, it was only natural that crypto-horticulturalist Mr. George Bird would want to research such a curious specimen. When he’d first gotten ahold of the damned thing, he and Mr. Christopher Archer, the botanical clockwork engineer, understood he risks and took care of it with extreme caution, making sure to establish to everyone that it was a highly dangerous plant. Archer even made “Do Not Touch” signs around the roped off section that separated the pot from the rest of their shared laboratory.
Funnily enough, neither of them had specified the exact effects of the moaning thistle, which disastrously resulted in an all-too-curious Dr. Henry Jekyll ignoring Archer’s flustered attempts at warning him of the precise hazards. He touched the plant, and Dr. Robert Lanyon, who’d been visiting, was unceremoniously roped into the fiasco when he hastily rushed to the side of Jekyll, who’d fallen faint as the pollen began to take effect. Archer panicked, but things began heating up and…
Without getting into the embarrassing details, Archer had to sort out that whole mess. And a few more messes afterwards.
But with that out of the way, we return to the present. All the society’s members knew full well what would happen if they touched the flower, but a few mysteries about the specifics of this remained uncovered. For instance, what would happen if a certain phlogistonic pyrologist were to make contact with the thistle with his metallic, prosthetic hand? Would this result as simply informing, or as informing and chaos-inducing?
Either way, Mr. Edward Hyde was bored, and he wanted some mayhem.
Chapter 2: Carrying the Torch
Sinnett's not up for Hyde's shit. He's got magma samples to study, dammit.
Sorry about the short chapters; I promise the chapter after this one will be longer, as well as much more eventful. I have big plans. Big, evil plans.
It was a serene, sunny afternoon. The society, though quite lively in nature, also held this atmosphere. The lodgers were all contentedly working away, a few carrying impressive or bizarre objects off to be researched, some chattering amongst themselves about a discovery or a particularly interesting piece of gossip, and perhaps one or two escaping from their laboratories as a disastrous noise was heard inside. All seemed at peace. But Mr. Anthony Sinnett paid this no mind, as he was too busy blinking in confusion.
“It’s just a little dare!” urged Hyde, practically jumping up and down in excitement. Sinnett stared at him.
“Wait, why would I have any reason to even go near that flower?” he asked, genuinely perplexed by what Hyde was asking of him. He needed time to process whatever was going on. Hyde frowned.
“Because I’m bored and this could be useful, science-y information, obviously! If you’re scared-”
“I’m not scared!” Sinnett protested. Hyde smirked and folded his arms.
“Okay, maybe I am scared,” Sinnett sighed. “But I really don’t see why I should cause so much unnecessary drama. I mean, sure, you’d be amused, and this could certainly provide informative data for Bird and Archer, but how would I benefit from this?”
Hyde stopped to take a moment to think, tapping his chin as though he were evaluating a very important decision. The tapping halted, and his face lit up. He practically looked like a lightbulb.
“How about I convince Rachel to give you full access to the kitchen? You could make plenty of toast sandwiches without getting in trouble!”
Sinnett’s eyes sparkled briefly, but he shook his head.
“First of all, that’s assuming you can convince Rachel to do such a thing,” he began. Hyde growled at this. “And secondly, that is a kind of lame reason for me to go and risk my life. So no.”
“Listen, I can be very persuasive! Besides, I’m not asking you to do anything that risky. Look, if it’s just your metal hand, then I highly doubt anything would happen. And even if the pollen somehow did get to you, someone would HAVE to step forward to, you know, take care of you~.” Hyde wiggled his eyebrows at this last part, giggling, but Sinnett wasn’t having it.
“Sorry, but I have to decline,” he answered, really only a tad sorry to have ruined Hyde’s fun. He just wasn't up for this right now. “Er, please excuse me!” And so, Sinnett turned and began to walk away. He had recently obtained some magma samples, and he couldn’t wait to study them. He knew that he was silly for worrying about the samples, but he couldn’t rid himself of the nagging voice in the back of his head; what if they cooled? That wouldn't do. He hummed to himself, giddy to return to work.
Hyde huffed in frustration, and was almost ready to give up, until he was struck by an idea. A devilish grin plastered on his face, he inhaled loudly for dramatic effect, catching Sinnett’s ear, and he raised his voice to a highly audible volume.
“WHAT??? MR. SINNETT, YOU WANT TO RUN AN EXPERIMENT ON THE SEX FLOWER???”
A flustered and disgruntled Archer poked his head out from behind a sarcophagus. “Hey! I told you not to call it that!” he called out.
Hyde ignored him. Sinnett turned to face Hyde, horrified.
“The hell are you doing!?” Sinnett whisper-shouted. He grew increasingly nervous as his colleagues paused their current activity and crowded around Hyde and him, all abuzz with curiosity.
“Really, I am shocked!” Hyde continued. “I didn’t think you’d be bold enough to try and touch the-” he looked over at Archer, “ORGASM WEED with your prosthetic hand!” In the background, Sinnett saw Archer briskly walking towards Hyde, sputtering angrily and waving his hands around. But his attention was quickly diverted from this, for his friends had begun to swarm him with comments and questions.
“Wait, really?” Bryson asked.
“You should’ve come to me first about this; I’d be happy to help!” Bird said, patting Sinnett on the shoulder.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” cut in Cantilupe, slightly concerned.
“Woah, go get ‘em, Sinnett!” Helsby cheered.
Luckett held a hand to his chin as he looked at Sinnett. “I didn’t take you as the type to do something like this,” he mused.
“Are you out of your mind!? No one should be doing something like this!” Chestro objected, frantic with worry.
Tweedy stammered in disbelief. “Y-You’re joking, right?” he asked, shocked. Lavender tried to calm him down. After placing a hand on Tweedy’s shoulder, she looked at Sinnett.
“Is this true, Sinny?” she inquired, cocking her head to the side. Beads of sweat ran down Sinnett’s face as he was bombarded with all this, and he struggled for an answer. Catching his breath, he managed to stutter out a response.
“No, I swear I didn’t-! I-I-I- Hyde was just trying to dare me to a-and-!”
Flowers spoke up. “You accepted his dare?”
Sinnett waved his hands as though he was trying to physically clear all these misconceptions away.
“Good heavens, no! No, I ref-refused of course!” he exclaimed. A few lodgers let out sighs of relief, but the rest of the crowd was still quite excited, though out of courtesy to their friend, they began to back off. Thankfully, no one seemed too disappointed, and the crowd slowly dispersed. Sinnett started apologizing to everyone for the miscommunication, laughing nervously as he did, but grateful to have gotten out of the whole mess.
Though, now that Sinnett was in a calmer state of mind, he began to think to himself; it wasn’t actually too bad of an idea. He’d be helping Archer and Bird, which would be nice, and he supposed he could enjoy the lively atmosphere of everyone cheering him on. And of course, the magma samples weren’t going to cool down; he knew this for certain. He took a deep breath and psyched himself up. He could do this.
“Actually… I might go through with your dare, Hyde,” he stated. Everyone’s eyes were on him again, and the crowd quickly reassembled, the gaggle of scientists once more asking a million questions. “Are you sure?” is what seemed to be on most people’s mouths, and Sinnett felt a slight rush of anxiety well back up in him. Was he sure?
“Well, maybe? I guess I could try, but I’m still not completely certain if…” his voice trailed off. Hyde pushed through the crowd, cackling in a wicked glee. Managing to navigate the sea of excited lodgers, he finally stood before Sinnett.
“Come on, aren’t you at least a liiiiiittle curious to see what happens?” Hyde insisted, smirking smugly at his successful persuasion of Sinnett. Sinnett sighed in resignation.
“Fine, fine, if it’ll get you to stop bothering me about it.”
Hyde straightened his posture at this, eager. “Is that a yes?” he asked.
“...Yes. I’ll do it,” Sinnett replied, and he attempted a brave smile.
The room exploded with whoops and hollers, and at that point, literally every inhabitant of the society had gathered around Sinnett, applauding him. Someone had begun to chant “Sinnett! Sinnett! Sinnett!” and so the rest of the scientists chimed in. They pumped their fists as they egged Sinnett on, some clapping to the beat of the chant. Sinnett reverted to embarrassment once more.
“Oh please, I-!” he said, but he couldn’t help smiling a bit. He blushed, chuckling flusteredly at all the attention. He scratched his head, unsure of what to do, but he undeniably felt emboldened by everyone’s cheering. As Hyde had said, it couldn’t be that risky… Right?
Suddenly, the crowd picked him up, eliciting a startled squeak from Sinnett.
“Wait, nonononononononononono-!” he protested, but there was no getting through to them. And so they began their small parade off to Archer and Bird’s shared laboratory, Hyde leading the way. Helpless, Sinnett curled himself up into a ball, slightly regretting his decision, but submitting nonetheless to the mass of scientists carrying him to what could quite possibly be his doom. He took a few deep breaths. He could do this.