57 - Where They Progress

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57

      The first thing I wanted to do when I woke up was to check on Beatrice’s vision. But for that, I would need Jacoby, and I would certainly need Beatrice, which was unfortunate, because I didn’t quite feel like waking the sleeping dragon.

      I rubbed my eyes and stared blearily at the alarm clock next to me. The numbers still read hazily to me, but after glancing around at the bunks around me, I realized it was early—very early, in fact.

      My cell phone lay just beyond my alarm clock, and I used my headphones to lasso them.

      Once I’d successfully obtained it and turned it on, I ducked under the covers, forming a lumpy tipi shape with my body. I scrolled through my numbers until I came across Jacoby’s, and called him, on the off chance that he would be awake.

      “Hello?” He answered on the fifth or sixth ring.

      “Are you awake?” I whispered, forgetting for a moment that I sounded like a diseased toad whenever I spoke right after waking.

      “Uh, yeah. Are you awake?” he said with a laugh. He sounded so full of energy already, and it was only just past eight.

      “Just woke up.”

      “That explains a lot.” I could hear the smile in his voice when he said, “So you decided to call me, first thing after waking up?” He was teasing, that much was clear, but underneath that was a hint of smugness.

      “Yeah. Where are you?”

      “I’m at Tweed’s. If you can’t fall asleep, he says you’re welcome to join us. We’re just running some tests.” He sounded excited about it.

      “Okay. I’ll be there in…well, I’ll be there sometime before eleven or something.”

      “Jasslyn, that’s more than three—”

      I hung up with a giggle and swung myself out of bed, gasping at the sudden cold. I rushed into the bathroom to get ready, and was out of the dorm in record time, with a note explaining where I was sitting on Beatrice’s side table. Like I’d said, sleeping dragon.

      I hummed as I walked. Jacoby had sounded optimistic, and if he was being tested, surely, that had to mean something good?

      “Hey,” he said, once I was let into the room. He was sitting at the same table, a plate of freshly sliced fruit sitting in front of him. He nudged the plate closer to me.

      Tweed tapped the paper the image was printed on to get Jacoby to focus again.

      I didn’t want to interrupt, so I slid an apple off the plate and went to go stand beside Mrs. Campbell.

      “What’s going on?” I whispered.

      “Tweed is running a series of tests to see which flower yields the most Demophide.”

      “Demophide?”

      Mrs. Campbell smiled. “Yes. Tweed came up with it. Demo means to take away, or subtract.”

      “Fitting. So Jacoby’s looking at images that evoke certain emotions. And Tweed’s going to…harvest the flowers?”

      “You put it perfectly. So far Tweed has tried bringing out sadness, anger, unrighteousness, panic, suspicion, paranoia… We’re worried different flowers will yield different versions of Demophide,” she explained in a brisk, low murmur.

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