First: A New World
She had almost finished the potion when the first “tourists” arrived. A “tourist”, it appeared, was a person with a flashing glass tablet held in their hand, clothing that did not seem appropriate for any time or era, and a habit of touching everything.
“It says here,” said the older woman, “that this is where Kael created her potions. And this woman here is represents Kael. She didn’t like visitors much,” she added in a stage whisper. “Hello, Kael.”
Didn’t like visitors much. That was an interesting way of putting it. But between the fact that she was playing a representation of herself and what Mr. Vibius had said, Kael knew how to act. “Shhh,” she hissed. “At this stage, you may disturb the potion, and if you do that, I may test the next potion on you, and I doubt you’d like that one.”
The younger daughter – not a woman yet, not even thinking about being a woman yet – stepped right up to the yellow line of tiles someone had installed. “Why aren’t you using the big cauldron? It’s got something boiling, too.” She spoke in a curious but quiet tone and ignore her parents’ attempts to pull her backwards.
“The big cauldron can wait. It is merely a distraction potion and will not be hurt by a little extra boiling. This one, though, this one requires careful attention, and for that I require a smaller cauldron. See, with this cauldron, I can see to the bottom. Careful, don’t breathe in the fumes.”
The girl stepped back another step and glanced over her mother as if looking for permission or reassurance.
“There won’t be anything here that’ll hurt you, honey, it’s a museum,” her mother tutted. “They’re not allowed to do anything dangerous.”
That was the sort of opinion that could get the girl hurt or maimed. “Actually, this is my potions-room, and in here, things could often be deadly, not just dangerous. Even a mild and curative potion could end up burning the nostrils and giving one visions or headaches.”
“Like hatters,” the older daughter put in. “Breathing in mercury fumes.”
Kael only followed a few of those words, but the meaning was clear enough. And the mother was tutting. “I can’t believe-”
“When this place opened,” the father put in, reading from a booklet, “several guests had to be hospitalized.”