Vorkath was the cleanest and most eco-friendly city in the Over-realm. Home to creatures known as Chimeras, an individual was a mix of many animals with human features. The Endeavor made its way to Vorkath without any further hinderance. Falnii rushed over to Arsha when she left the ship and practically tackled her in a hug. “Easy, Fluffy!” chuckled Arsha. “I’m happy to see you too.”
“I heard all about the pirates from Lardeth!” replied Falnii, not letting go. “Are you okay?! Are you hurt?! Do you need a…?!”
“Falnii, I already got a once-over from Marshii,” answered Arsha. “I can assure you, I’m fine.” Falnii then let go and released a sigh of relief.
“Thank goodness!” she said. “Life would have been empty without even one of my fiancés.”
“I understand,” assured Arsha.
“Oh, Belnki and Father Barath want to talk to you and Marshii!” relayed Falnii.
“The Abbot of the Vorkath Monastery himself?” quizzed Arsha. “We shall see him immediately. Where is he?”
“He’s at the Monastic Hospital right now,” replied Falnii. “I’ll take you two there.”
“Thank you, Fluffy,” bid Arsha. She then pulled out her communicator. “Marshii, I need you here. King Belnki and Abbot Barath want to talk to us at the Monastery. Falnii has offered us a ride there.”
“On my way,” called Marshii. “I need to see how the place is run anyways.” Marshii arrived and Falnii used her cloud powers to expand the cloud that made up her dress so Arsha and Marshii could sit on it. Once they were on, Falnii lifted herself into the air and started flying towards the large, ornate Vorkath Monastery. She landed at the steps and left her passengers off before shrinking her dress back to its normal size. A human, raven-haired male in brown robes with a red cross on the front, glasses, and a bowl haircut stepped was at the door with Belnki, the Chimera King. Belnki had a rattlesnake’s tail, lizard-like arms with claws on each finger, a unicorn’s horn protruding from his human head with cat ears as well as human ones, six small, black orbs under his two cat-like eyes, a pair of spider legs coming out of his back, a mermaid’s fin-belt, and a set of eight teal octopus legs with a mint-green underside. His fangs came out of his mouth from behind the upper lip and he had a stern look directed at Arsha.
“You’re late,” muttered Belnki.
“I got here when I could,” said Arsha. The two stared at each other for a while. Eventually, the façade started crumbling as they both started grinning, then laughing before rushing to meet in an embrace. “It’s wonderful to see you again, Uncle Belnki!” cheered Arsha.
“You didn’t think I’d miss a chance to see the Endeavor’s current Captain, did you?” asked Belnki.
“Welcome to the Vorkath Monastic Hospital,” greeted the human, the Abbot of the Monastery, Barath.
“The pleasure is mine, Father Barath,” returned Arsha. “What did you need Marshii and I for?”
“We may be witnessing the cure,” replied Father Barath, “to the Hardfin Virus.”
“Are you serious?” asked Marshii. “Realmfleet’s believed it to be cured 50 years from now.”
“Well, we hope to astound Realmfleet once again,” chuckled Father Barath. “The final test is in Ward 53, on the upper levels. Please follow me.” Father Barath then led the quartet into the Monastery and directed them to a set of elevators. “Just take these elevators straight to the ward,” he instructed as he entered one. “Ward 53, please.” The door closed as the elevator went upwards.
“Ladies first,” bid Belnki.
“Thank you,” replied Arsha.
“Just watch out for the disinfection procedure,” warned Marshii.
“Sorry, the what?” asked Arsha.
“The disinfection procedure,” repeated Marshii.
“How bad is it?!” yelped Arsha, a little worried. At that moment, a wicked grin crossed Marshii’s features.
“You know what, you’ll find out,” she chuckled.
“…Er, Ward 53…please,” gulped Arsha. Her elevator doors shut and it went up. A green light bathed the box’s interior.
“Occupant is a Kitsune/human Blender,” droned a feminine voice. “Occupant is wearing a ballroom dress and is wearing a ribbon and rose hairpiece with hair in a bun. Disinfection parameters set. Commencing disinfection procedure.” No sooner had the voice stopped speaking, a cold shower of non-toxic disinfection chemicals was sprayed on Arsha. She shrieked at the sudden surprise of cold liquid being dumped on her. She scrambled for a method to turn it off, but it was no use. More disinfection liquid then sprayed from under her dress. Soon, she had a white powder dumped on her before fans started blowing all around her. The fans stopped when the elevator did. She came out with her hair disheveled and her hair adornments hanging limply on the remains of her bun. Her dress was wrinkled as well. She saw a kiosk labeled “For clothing readjustments and cosmetic touch-ups.” She figured out the purpose really quickly and took advantage of it, smoothing out her dress and redoing her hair. She came out of the kiosk looking better than ever, but still feeling violated. Falnii’s elevator opened to reveal her in a cloud dress that wasn’t as fluffy and her hairpieces hanging limply from her hair. Arsha showed the readjustment kiosk and Falnii took advantage of it. She soon came out, then hugged Arsha, her dress cloud enveloping Arsha’s skirts. They hugged for a bit to try and calm each other down from the rather invasive disinfection procedure. The elevator then released Belnki as he noticed the two hugging it out.
“Oh dear,” sighed Belnki. He then hugged the two, wrapping an octopus leg around each girl to reassure them. After a while, when Marshii arrived, the girls relaxed and Arsha turned to Marshii.
“That was WAY too invasive!” she snapped. “Why didn’t you warn us?!”
“Technically, I did,” giggled Marshii.
“I apologize if the procedure caused you discomfort,” called Father Barath as he approached the group. “Come. The test is being conducted here.” He led the group to a room where a mermaid was moaning pitifully. The Hardfin Virus attacks a merperson’s fins, causing the cells in them to become rigid and thus, not give the merperson the necessary guidance for swimming. It is painful and essentially paralyzes the victim. The mermaid’s condition was bad. Pain flooded her tail from the fins up. A monk then loaded a syringe and stuck it into the mermaid’s tail. She was too busy concentrating on the pain in her tail, she didn’t notice the needle enter her. The onlookers waited for a minute. Eventually, the mermaid was tired of twitching in pain and let her body go limp. It was then that she noticed something. She looked down her tail and moved it. She then pointed the tip of her tail to her face as her fins bent in that same direction! She was no longer in pain and could move every bit of her tail, even her fins! She thank the monk profusely and was told to wait in a large water tank for a few days to exercise her fins until she could swim normally again. She was then placed in a water wheel-chair, similar to Shalvey’s, and taken to another room.
“Another victory for modern medicine,” cheered Marshii.
“The cure will be uploaded to our database,” answered Father Barath, “in an hour.”
“I know many a merperson,” sighed Marshii, “who would love to have the cure.”
“Your mother had the Hardfin virus, correct?” asked Father Barath.
“She did,” replied Marshii. “As does one of my grandsons.”
“Then we shall make sure his doctors get the cure,” assured Father Barath.
“Thank you,” bid Marshii. “It’s his birthday tomorrow. To be cured of it would be a fantastic present.”
“One of the reasons you joined the medical field, if I’m not mistaken,” recalled Arsha.
“That’s right,” confirmed Marshii.
“And yet, you’re still squeamish about using tech,” muttered Arsha.
“There ARE reasons for that!” snapped Marshii.
“It HAS helped people before,” replied Belnki.
“And there’s always the potential,” argued Marshii, “of it being misused!”
“Hence why the Monastery and its monks are so secretive,” remarked Father Barath. “We cannot let those that would cause harm to the Realms use our secrets to carry out their goals.”
“Well, just tell me what you can,” answered Marshii. As soon as she said it, a crowd’s collective voice could be heard. Belnki rolled his eyes.
“Protestors,” he muttered. “They think that there’s a dark secret here, in the catacombs below the monastery. Excuse me. I must address them.” He headed off to the elevator. “Ground floor, please,” he directed. The doors closed and he came down.
“Protestors?” asked Arsha. “At a hospital?”
“These particular Chimeras,” replied Father Barath, “are demanding we close down, that their science can get faster results with mindless clone bodies. We’ve tried that, but the results don’t come fast enough.”
“They can’t demand a hospital to close down!” protested Falnii. “What about the patients?!”
“That’s what Belnki asks the protestors on a frequent basis,” remarked Father Barath. “However, public opinion is mounting against him. I fear our means of support will evaporate without help.”
“You’re not alone in this,” assured Arsha. “We won’t allow support to be cut off from you guys.”
“With all due respect, your father already did that when he was in command of the Endeavor,” remarked Father Barath. Arsha realized what he was talking about. A previous adventure from her father had said that the Hospital must gather resources alone.