The story moves forwards a little more, revealing that the threat is more than it seemed at first…
Temptations XXXVIII – The Grotto – Part VI
By TeraS and Thamior, Cyprusmage, and Darkwalker’s Shadow
Then she said, “But John… Understand this… If you cannot free her safely… I want you to stop your efforts… I do not wish to see her die… I know that this is agony enough, but breaking my heart to watch her pass into nothingness…”
She rubbed a hand along her arm and then said, “I’ve watched too many people die over the eons… I would rather not watch her die as well… Please?”
Then Tera walked into the jungles behind them. A few moments later she returned with the small log John had requested. She smiled a bit and said, “No magic used to find it John… And none from my touching it…. I was careful of that…” She offered him the log and smiled thinly before saying, “May you cast well and true John…”
“Transmuting organic matter isn’t really my field,” he explained, “but what I can do is exorcise that parasite, leaving you free to try and bring her back without it exploding inside of her.”
He left, wordlessly, to fetch the glass jar. A minute later, he returned, and sat himself down a few feet from the statue. There, he opened his bag and removed some chalk, a tape measure, and what appeared to be several rather odd wood carvings; they seemed to be different sorts of geometry equipment.
He spent a good half-hour preparing the ritual; he had to be careful, balancing getting it done quickly with getting it done right. Every minute or so, he would check the book, using what information was there to point him in the right direction.
When finished, he had drawn several concentric circles, with the statue at the center. Between each circle were unusual writings, markings in some ancient language. The outer circle was broken in three places, the gap filled with smaller circles, also with added writing. All three smaller circles, which were arranged in the formation of an equilateral triangle, were joined to the statue by lines of writing, with John being careful not to scuff the chalk; he had plenty of experience. In one circle he placed the log, and in the other, the jar, which now appeared to have markings of its own. Once finished, he closed the book, set it aside, and stood in the third, empty circle.
“Here goes…” he muttered, and took out a small, wooden rod. The tip of the instrument had a small, roughly-cut gemstone set into it, which gave the faintest of glows. He waved the rod around slowly, muttering in a forgeign tongue; most likely the same language written on the ground. He hissed the last few syllables, and struck the ground before him with the rod; a spark of light travelled swiftly along the line joining his circle to the statue. The spark reached the statue, which glowed for a moment, then the spark seemed to split in two and travel down the other lines, to the jar and the log. When the spark reached the jar, a creature, small and repulsive, appeared inside, and screeched loudly. At the same time, the other spark reached the log, which suddenly burst into flames. John heaved a sigh of relief, and mopped his brow.
“There you go,” he said, “all done. Not a bad idea, splicing an extraction with an energy conversion ritual. Might have figured it out for myself, but it woulda taken me at least a week. She’s safe to change back.”
Then she raised her hands to Pamela’s breasts. As Tera spoke in a tongue that John and Darkness would understand, the glow flooded over Pamela’s form. Soon the glow became a fire and then a small green sun surrounded the two women.
From within the globe of energy, Tera could be seen chanting the spell and pressing her hands against Pamela’s nipples. Then she leaned forward and their lips touched… The ball of magic was sucked into Pamela’s form in an instant. Tera’s eyes were closed as the spell ran it’s course…
It began from the bottom of Pamela’s feet and slowly, so so slowly moved upwards turning stone to flesh again. As the magic passed over Pamela’s hips and warm flesh appeared there it all seemed to be going well…
But then as John watched, Tera’s tail began to turn white and then harden as he watched….
She just continued to kiss and touch Pamela…
He only had about a minute before Tera would be lost…and if she became petrified, no-one would be able to save her. No-one there, at any rate. Leaping to his feet, John considered his options; one idea presented itself. It was dangerous, and a great risk to his own life, but it was the only thing that sprung to mind. Dashing past Tera, he muttered a brief incantation and picked up the still-burning log, thankfully unharmed.
“Sorry to interrupt,” he said. John dropped the log at his feet, knelt down, and put one hand upon it. His other hand reached out and grasped Tera’s tail.
It was not something he had ever attempted before; as he said, transmuting flesh was not something he had any experience with. But in a pinch, if forced, he would attempt any spell. He began chanting, a quiet murmer that grew steadily louder in time with his desperation. Closing his eyes tightly, he called upon his reserves of Quintessence, pumping as much as he could into the impromptu arcana.
The spell on Pamela continued to lift, as Tera was transferring the spell. Thanks to John, as Tera transferred the spell from Pamela, he was transferring the spell from Tera, and hopefully beyond. The spread of stone gradually stopped, and even began to slowly recede. John felt a horrible, chilling sensation as the petrification spell passed along one arm and down the other to the burning log, which slowly began to turn to stone, just as Tera had been.
She felt her spell end and then she took a step back from Pamela.
Pamela opened her eyes…
And they were all silver…
She didn’t speak…
She didn’t move….
Tera swore in a most unlady like fashion before saying to John, “She has a body but her mind isn’t there… Damn it all to hell…”
Then she turned and walked from them to where Darkness waited with a worried look upon his face..
John scrabbled along the dirt, got to his feet and dashed off down the hillside back towards the pool. There, he plunged his hands into the water, which bubbled and boiled as the built up heat energy of the flames was expelled into the water. John’s hands stung now, as if the water had been hot before he’d put his hands in, but it was better than having them suffer serious burns.
Breathing slowly to calm his heart, John stood and wandered back up the hill, regarding the still-inert Pamela with a critical eye.
“Tera…” he said, carefully, “Can you track her spirit? I could try to do it myself, but you know her better; you’d have an easier time finding her than I would…”