As they prepared to go, Erehwon was trying to dispel her nerves. All Maddox could think about was getting this over with. This was her mission and she needed to make this count. She was on her mission to put her family back together. Whatever deity that dinosaur believed in better help those metal dinosaurs if she found them. If she did find them, she’d have more chance of finding Arnold. That was jumping ahead, though. She cleared her mind as best she could and looked up to the door that Piper had sketched out in cavorite dipped chalk, the blue glowing softly in the evening light. He reached out and took hold of the handle, opening the door. “Ladies? If you would take the lead?”
Maddox steeled herself for nausea or disassociation with reality and stepped through. When she felt a very slight lurch as she crossed over into the asylum, she shook herself and made it go away. Erehwon came next and then Piper. The door shut and sealed itself shut, the blue light fading to be quickly replaced by a heavy feeling and early evening light filtering through the asylum windows. Maddox didn’t like this. She didn’t like this at all. Something felt off here. It felt like a clear oily ink had settled on the place and they were here, trudging through it. The place was a mess, with pictures everywhere having fallen off the walls. There was furniture broken and the pieces strewn about like broken toys waiting for their owners to return. At certain points along the walls there were huge scratches, as though someone had come through with dual wielded and sharpened tools to slash at them. Then Erehwon asked the question that Maddox had been avoiding. “Are those mechanical raptors around?”
Maddox sighed and shook her head. “I have a feeling if they were here we’d know. I want to look around first, and then finding my husband is key.” They looked around for a bit, moving as fast as Maddox dared. She was getting tired as it was, but she had to find Helio. Arnold could take care of himself. Besides, she felt traces of Arnold’s energy all around the place, but nothing solid. She couldn’t trace him properly here anyway. A headache was starting at the back of her eyes and that, along with what made the headache, made it nearly impossible to trace anything in this mess of broken chairs and slashed walls. She would find Helio, and that would be that for tonight. She could work on tapping into Arnold’s energy another day. Ereh stumbled on something and called to the others.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: What is this? A hammer? One end is covered in blood…
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I have no idea, but I will find out as soon as I find Arnold. Which, knowing him, will be hard to do at this rate. When he wishes to hide, hide he does.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Let’s stick together. Piper, did you see anyone?
Piper: Not yet.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: If you do, be careful. The cells maybe be full of babbling people.
Erehwon Yoshikawa looks at the painting, “The Doctor?”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart looks up at the wall. “That was not there the last time I was… That is not normal. Let’s continue to look. Helio should be here.”
Erehwon Yoshikawa: It is a fine painting, it captures the vigor of Dr. D.
Had Maddox been thinking, she would have caught on to that sentence. Her mind being on other things lead her to searching her office, which was a worse mess than any of the other rooms. “Oh what a mess…When I find those raptors, they’re history.” She couldn’t help muttering threats. She was tired, she was worried and her husband was apparently in a coma and she hadn’t been there to help him. Besides that, she was in a place filled with endless moans, groans, screams, and rattles coming down from the patients upstairs. The place was overcrowded and unattended. That never made for a good combination. She wished that old curmudgeon would meet up with those metal dinosaurs himself. She’d love to see him get out of that altercation unharmed. The slippery old man seemed to have an out for everything. Having him meet with these metal pains in the hind end would at least show her if he had any visible weaknesses, aside from the obvious.
As they made their way back up the stairs, Erehwon pulled out a revolver to arm herself and Maddox passed some of the cells with babbling patients in them. She shuddered, “We should tread carefully.” Some were muttering about horses and some were muttering about raptors. Some were shouting about either and pointing off in various directions, thinking they saw what was plaguing them. Either way, Maddox did not want to stay here any longer than it took to find Helio and go back from whence they came. As they went farther, she noted the door that looked as though a bomb had blown through it with shrapnel. “This door is off of the hinges… This must be where they broke through.” She ran a hand along the ruined wood and kept looking. This expedition was odd, that was for sure. But she knew pressing on was important.
Erehwon Yoshikawa shakes her head. “Ow, damned Babbage headaches.”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I am sorry, Ereh.
Piper: The room on the other side of the bars at the top of the stairs we just came up doesn’t seem to be typical of what’s behind the other barred doors.
She nodded to Piper and that was when she saw the dinosaur fountain in the surgical arena. They all agreed to look into Piper’s allegation about the door and she opened the bars to go through. Somehow Erehwon didn’t make it through before they closed and she had to go back and let her in. When they were coming back into the room from the doors, Maddox spied a couch overturned near one of the walls. There was a familiar hoof trailing out from underneath it… She had to hurry. She did not know the severity of Helio’s coma and she wanted to be sure she could handle treating it. “In here!”
Erehwon Yoshikawa: You found him! Piper, help me move this sofa.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart knelt next to her husband carefully, touching his leg. “Helio, can you hear me? Please tap your foot if you can hear me.”
Erehwon Yoshikawa puts down the revolver.
Piper: I thought there was something different. The other barred doors had other doors beyond them. This didn’t.
Heliotrope Lionheart isn’t moving except for a twitch of ear now and then.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Perhaps Ereh is right… Move the couch, if you can.
Piper lifted the couch off the prostrate form of the person on the floor.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Oooh. Oh my love…
Piper: There are times being an ex-Jaeger is helpful
Erehwon Yoshikawa: He’s bandaged up, Arnold must have been able give him first aid.
Heliotrope Lionheart’s torso, arms, and hands are wound with thick bandages with non-recent blood stains in them.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: What next, Maddie, get Helio back to Mondrago?
Piper looks around for something useable as a litter
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I don’t know if moving him is a good idea, now that I see all of these wounds…
Erehwon : “Or should we find Arnold?” She mutters, “Arnold.”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: If Arnold does not wish to be found, he usually can’t be.
All the Doctor could think was, Finally. We found him. Thank everything. She didn’t notice Ereh’s slight swing in behaviors, but she did feel a rush of relief that she had found her husband. His bandages were stained with blood, dirt and small slivers of wood. She needed to get him somewhere safe. Perhaps after she got him out, she’d have Hono go and find Doctor Sonnerstein. Just to be sure that his wounds weren’t something to worry about in the way of them healing up. She wasn’t that kind of doctor after all… She only knew enough to change bandages and keep wounds clean. His pulse was faint and he didn’t respond to much of anything, except for a flick of his ear every so often. She was worried but what was more, she needed to think about how they would move him through the door that Piper would open. Suddenly, they heard a voice. “Hello!”
Erehwon Yoshikawa levels a pistol towards the voice, “Show yourself!”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart touches her husband and finds something missing about the way he normally feels.
Beatrixe: I’m right here! *Waves from the other side of the bars.*
Erehwon Yoshikawa glances nervously about.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart slowly rises. “That sounds like Bea. Bea is that you?”
Beatrixe: Hello Doctor! And miss pointy ears!
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Bea, can you come in here, please?
As Maddox rose, she saw Beatrixe wobbly walk into the room and she was somewhat relieved. She was worried that a more dangerous patient may have gotten loose. She would simply suss out what had happened from Bea’s usual chatter and they’d leave. It would be simple, or so she thought.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Bea, do you know what happened here?
Beatrixe: Happened here? When?
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: The last time you saw Arnold.
Beatrixe: Nothing really important happened, except for a barbeque.
Piper : “Miss pointy ears”? Piper looks at Erehwon with an amused glint in his eyes.
Beatrixe: That was the last time I saw him!
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Tell me more about this barbecue.
Erehwon Yoshikawa hisses, “When was the professor injured?”
Beatrixe: Well we were going to give Arnold to the raptor, and then he jumped off the roof, and then I felt funny, so then I went to my spot to feel better, and then I didn’t so I went find a new spot to feel better.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: You were what?
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Give Arnold to the raptor? Bea, don’t be silly. Arnold’s your friend.
Beatrixe: He is? Oh, well it made sense at the time!
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Maddie, one of the Doctor’s devices must have gotten to her.
So it seemed. Ereh was right. Anything Bea said now would be tinged with talk of the Dinosaur. The Raptor. Whatever it was. She shook her head softly and spoke to her sister urgently. “Helio feels off, as though the fire in him has gone out and there’s only a small light left…. Whatever it was made him this way after attacking him. I don’t like it.” Just as soon as the sentence left her mouth, her palm flared up again. She managed to smother the slightly bigger blue flame as Bea spoke again.
Beatrixe: The professor was attacked?
Erehwon Yoshikawa: If Arnold’s gone to ground, I don’t think we should waste more time here, let’s get your husband to safety.
Beatrixe: Oh right, I heard about that I think!
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I hope that we don’t injure him worse… What Bea? What do you know?
Beatrixe: A clock attacked him!
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: A clock?
Erehwon Yoshikawa: A clockwork?
Beatrixe: A clock with a raptor on it!
Beatrixe: Oh, that makes more sense!
Beatrixe: Like the ones we saw!
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart’s mouth was a thin white line. “I see. Do you know if there are any clocks with raptors around?”
Beatrixe: Hmmm…no! They stopped coming here. *pouts*
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Maddie, I don’t think we can trust her, if she’s been turned by Dr. Dinosaur.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Good. Bea, I want you to tell me one more thing. Did you see where Arnold ran off to? (crosses her arms.)
Beatrixe: Not after he jumped! I jumped after him too, but he got away.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: You said he jumped off the roof. Into the canal?
Piper takes the cover off the couch and begins to lay it out next to the Professor.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Then he could be anywhere.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Hm. Then I cannot follow him until he feels safe enough to come out. Thank you Bea. You’ve been helpful.
Beatrixe: *blinks* I have? *Looks happy and wanders off*
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Yes. Now go back to your happy place. You’ve done well. I’ll talk to you soon.
Damnation. Arnold would keep himself hidden until he was sure enough that danger had passed him. That would make physically finding him almost impossible. She would have to feel around for his energy line and then… She stopped shortly when she looked back at Erehwon.
Erehwon Yoshikawa sits on the sofa, breathing hard.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Are you all right, Erehwon?
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Nothing a few cups of coffee can’t fix. I hope.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I will help you then. I will stay here and tend to my husband. You go back with Piper.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Maddie, I can’t leave you here alone.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I will not be alone. Helio needs tending and no one has been here to do so. His bandages are dirty.
Piper: I’ll pour you a whole pot when we get back to the barge. But, if I may suggest, we may be able to slide him through one of my doors if we can roll him onto this cover.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: I think that would be a good idea.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I don’t think he would want to go and besides, if his dreaming self is detached, he may not wish to go… But, you are right. Perhaps we should slide him through… Do you have bandages and clean washcloths?
Piper: There doesn’t appear to be any signs of neck or head injuries, so it shouldn’t be difficult to just slide him through.
She couldn’t argue with that. And perhaps Mondrago would be safer. When they got him to the barge, she would most certainly collapse. Her fatigue was getting worse… But to get him there first would be prudent. She couldn’t show them how tired she was or this might go badly. And then, Bea yelled. “GAH!”
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Bea! You okay?
Beatrixe: Everything will be all right!
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Did anyone else hear Bea?
Piper: Hearing Beatrix’s exclamation, Piper quickly dips the chalk into the glowing gel again and quickly sketches out a new door.
Beatrixe: Just as soon as the Raptor comes!
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Yes, everything will be fine.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: She always yells for things. Ereh, let’s go! We need to get him through.
Piper grasps the handle on the drawing and the door opens onto his barge.
Ereh had gone to investigate Bea’s yell and when she came back there was an odd look about her… “Oh, yes, it will be fine!”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I will work with finding Arnold soon.
Erehwon Yoshikawa levels her revolver at Maddox.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I have a string to tug. *turns* Ereh, what are you doing?
Erehwon Yoshikawa: No, we will wait here for that pernicious cat.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Not here. We have to get Helio to the infirmary, remember?
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Everything will be fine.
It was at this point that Maddox cursed herself for not noticing sooner. Ereh had been infected with this Doctor Dinosaur silliness. But there was now a loaded gun leveled at her chest, and that took precedent over the earlier problem. She had no idea how to talk Erehwon into putting that away… But soon, she didn’t need to. Piper had noticed something off with the Magistrate, grabbing her gun hand and spinning her through the open door. He said, “Shall we move your husband now? I suspect that will have disrupted whatever was troubling your sister.”
She nodded assent. “Yes. We should go now before anything more happens. Please, Piper, be careful with him…”
“I will, milady.”
“Then let us go before anything else happens.”
As they made it back through to the barge, Maddox automatically knelt to tend to her husband. Perhaps she should have sat, but that would ensure her not leaving the barge. At least this way she could get help off of her knees when it was time to move Helio, if at all. She patted his bandages, trying to see if any of the blood was fresh, when Ereh’s voice battered her like a battering ram.
Erehwon Yoshikawa looks at Maddox with a crazed eye, “Where is Dr. Dinosaur! You have taken my only hope away, sister, where is he?”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Erehwon, he isn’t here. Sit down.
Erehwon Yoshikawa stomps her foot in frustration.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Piper, if you will take her weapon.
Piper steps behind Erehwon and quickly, but gently, disarms her.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Ereh, look at me.
Erehwon Yoshikawa turns away from Maddox, clenching her fists tightly. “No. No. No. Bad!”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: If you won’t look at me then sit. I cannot have you stomping around. Please sit and keep calm.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Horrible Mondrago with magic and healing and weird genie lady.
Piper quickly goes to the coffee side of his dual dispenser and fixes the magistrate her favorite. “Here you go, Milady. You seem to need this.”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Piper, I fear you may have to tie her to a chair.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: What is this?
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: A drink. Take a sip.
Erehwon Yoshikawa sniffs and throws the cup and contents into the water.
DJPiper Steampunk: Your coffee, Erehwon. Just like you like it
Erehwon Yoshikawa: NO! NO! NO!
Piper: “Fortunately, I have more.” He hands her another cup, identical to the first.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Where is the Doctor?!
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: Piper, please. Sit her down. Coffee after she sits.
Erehwon Yoshikawa flings that one away too.
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: I cannot do it myself.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Take me to Dr. Dinosaur.
Piper moves in a way that betrays his military past and Erehwon suddenly finds herself in a chair without realizing how it happened, another cup in front of her. “Drink!”
Dr. Maddox S Lionheart: You will sit and drink.
Erehwon Yoshikawa shakes her head. “I don’t want it.”
Maddox: Piper, you may have to force her to drink. She will not do so willfully.
Piper: Making sure the temperature is not scalding, Piper quickly pinches the Magistrates nose closed. As her mouth opens to squawk, he pours the cup’s contents into her mouth.
Erehwon Yoshikawa: Augh!
Maddox was beginning to worry. She could not leave Erehwon like this. She ran Mondrago well, but that would not happen if her sister remained this way… There had to be a way to fix this. They would find it soon, or Mondrago would be without a Magistrate until all of this was settled. She hoped it would be sooner than later, but there was no way to be sure. She kept trying to think of other factors that would help them, but at the moment, she was coming up blank.