Jason, reforged. (excerpt from book 3: A Recipe for War)

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Three separate cauldrons poured acrid fumes into the air. Lit from within, a bloody red glow illuminated The Professor’s face.

The golem glanced to Jason, who knelt nearby, desperately trying to remain calm.

“Are you ready?”

“Do you mean I can back out?”

“No.”

“I guess I’m ready, then,” Jason extended his smoothly scarred stump towards The Professor and averted his eyes. “Will it hurt?”

“Oh, no. Not even a tickle,” The Professor glanced at Althea and winced, nodding.

Althea, looking a bit panicked, swooped across the room and took a place behind her fiancée, then gave her golem a thumbs-up.

The Professor cleared her throat, pulled a wand from her lab coat and tapped the lip of the first cauldron. A large ball of molten titanium rose, glowing brightly. A second tap on the next one, caused a ball of molten gold rise to float next to the first.

The Professor stuck her wand behind her ear, and extended both hands outwards. Her eyes closed, she drew the two balls of liquid metal towards each other. As they neared, each released a tendril of material towards the other. As they touched, a dramatic sparking began crackling between the two, and they married, flowing into each other, becoming a large ball of magically charged metal.

“OK, Jason. Here we go. The prep spell I put on you earlier will facilitate integration.”

Retrieving her wand, The Professor muttered a short incantation and with small precise flicks of her wand, the molten metal sphere moved slowly towards Jason, who flinched from the heat.

The Professor reached towards Jason, palm down and wiggled her fingers, as if operating a marionette.

Jason straightened his arm out more and stiffened, held sway with magic. “Babe, I’m scared.”

Althea stroked his face and kissed him on the top of the head. “I know,” She nodded to The Professor.

Nodding back, the golem urged the sphere towards Jason with the wand. A tendril of radiant metal gently reached out and touched the scarred stump that was the remains of his forearm. Foul smoke and the smell of burning flesh erupted from the interaction.

Jason screamed as the molten metal found the severed ends of his radius and ulna and began working its way into and around them.

“Don’t worry. The spell is making sure your body isn’t being damaged.” Althea hugged him tightly from behind.

As the metal worked its way into his body, Althea jerked away with a shout of pain. The pajamas that Ooedo loaned him burst into flame, tracing the metal’s progress through his body until only ashes and scraps of cloth remained. The last bit of metal formed a cap around the stump, still glowing brightly.

The Professor began inscribing magical script into the metal with the tip of her wand in a fast but meticulous fashion. As she finished, she held up her left hand and touched the tip of her index finger and thumb, as if saying “OK” and blew through the hole, causing white frost to pour through.

Jason’s screaming subsided into ragged breathing and whimpers as the frost cooled the metal that had coursed its way through and around his skeleton.

The Professor released her spell on him and nodded. “Good. Lay him on the futon. It’s time to make the arm now.” She gestured to Hikaru,  who scurried to her side, carrying something wrapped in cloth.

Tapping the cauldrons again, she brought another pair of molten metal balls up, fused them, and moved them to the third cauldron, where it sank out of sight, save for the glow from within.

Hikaru unwrapped the package revealing Jason’s severed arm, now covered in runes and markings. He placed the arm before The Professor, who inspected the work for the hundredth time that day.

“Well. This is it. Hikaru.” She gestured to her assistant.

Hikaru nodded, picked up the forearm with a set of tongs and lowered it into the cauldron. Black and foul smoke poured forth and was fanned away by The Professor. Standing on some books, she peered inside and nodded with a smile. She blew frost into the cauldron, cooling it down, and beckoned for Hikaru again.

Hikaru reached in and pulled out the forearm, which besides having swollen somewhat, seemed unchanged.

The Professor grinned “Gimmie.”

Taking the arm, she began pulling off the skin, revealing bright gold metal.

“It’s beautiful,” Hikaru blurted.

“Yeah. We do good work.”

Hikaru blushed deeply at her praise. “No, it was all your work.”

She turned and approached Jason who lay naked and whimpering. “It’s ready.”

“He’s out of it for a while, “ Althea said, stroking him.

The golem nodded and held the golden forearm’s flat end to the cap that covered the end of Jason’s arm. The two of them snapped together like magnets. “At least he’s whole again.”

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