Author's note: Apologies to anyone who was following this story. Nothing was quite inspiring me on how to get DG out of the corner I had wrote her into (aka working around her mother) except for lame convenient things such as the Queen leaving the palace herself for some important business or other. Anyway, finally something occurred to me, and here we go…
DO NOT give the doppelganger an exact copy of your brain (two heads are indeed not better than one). They will try to usurp your life (see Double, Double Foil Trouble)
DO NOT substitute any of the following ingredients, especially Black Flarn for White Flarn, or you will end up with an evil doppelganger (Note: Not an 'evil twin' for twinning, see Sibling, lack thereof and substitution for)
DO NOT keep beyond the expiration date.
DO NOT fall in love with your doppelganger. That is just plain conceited.
"What?!" DG exclaimed, looking up from the book she had been reading, only to catch her sister giving her a particularly bug-eyed expression. The goggles with magnifying lenses did not lessen the bizarre effect, rather it accentuated the comical nature of the entire situation.
"Az, take those off! You look ridiculous," DG commanded of her sister.
"I don't think I shall," Az resisted.
"And you should wear yours properly," she added, indicating the pair being ineffectually sported on the top of DG's head.
The younger princess huffed and rolled her eyes at the elder's 'mother hen' routine.
"Don't roll your eyes at me, Deeg," she snapped "Or have you forgotten what happened the last time we were down here."
She had to admit that her sister made a valid point. Thinking they were finally ready (meaning DG-whom always seemed several steps behind her sister), Toto had brought them down to one of the palace's basement laboratories (why the palace possessed such places, she couldn't say-maybe if she had paid more attention to Ambrose's lectures) for a lesson in more advanced magic.
It was odd magic, DG had concluded after much consideration. Not in that it felt unnatural or strange. The Light was a part of her and felt as normal as possessing an opposable thumb. It was only odd from the perspective of the Other Side. Nothing like the magic of the fairytales she had learned in school.
In fact, as far as she could tell, the OZ treated magic like the Other Side viewed science; fact of life, potential source of wonderment, beyond some people's capabilities, but generally considered beneficial. Actually, there was science and research in the OZ, only its base was magical energies rather than the interactions of atoms and their components.
Thus, a laboratory in the OZ was not all that different than the one she had spent a solid semester trapped within for Chemistry class or the numerous glossed over and exaggerated ones she had seen on television. She glanced around at the bubbling liquids, luminescent jars of suspect substances and bizarre, lengthy twists of tubing that buzzed eerily.
Okay, so it was a little more sci-fi than your basic Other Side high school chemistry lab. And /much/ easier to cause explosions...
"DO NOT use in a juvenile attempt to fool your mother into believing that you have not run away. Especially if she is the Queen," Az pretended to read over her rebellious sister's shoulder.
"What would you recommend, then?" DG responded sarcastically. "Stuffing pillows in the shape of a body under the blankets in my bed?"
Az laughed genuinely. Apparently, kids in the OZ had never discovered the oh-so-not-clever cover. Or maybe it was just that Azkadellia had no real adolescence. Her teenage years had been stolen from her. DG shook the sad thought off, simply making a note to include her deprived sister in more of her insane schemes. This one was probably a good start...
The reason for including the older princess had been out of necessity rather than the sisterly concern and affection DG held for her. To be honest, and she had to be for this to at all succeed, Azkadellia was much more adept with magic and its practical application. Whether it was a natural ineptitude or a result of living so many years as the 'Sorceress' was uncertain, but DG preferred to think it was a result of her sister's innate intelligence, composure and skill. On the other hand, DG possessed intense emotions, and thus a significantly deep well of raw, unharnessed magical energy, while lacking the discipline to properly apply it on a daily basis, much to Toto's chagrin.
She had been surprised that Azkadellia agreed to participate in such a contrary plan, but she knew that she could trust her not to tattle even had she not consented to being a party to it. Perhaps, she, too, were not as thrilled with their mother as they both were upon first being reunited with the Queen. God knew, DG loved her mother. Things were just...different than she had expected. And she had a terrible, nagging feeling that she, too, was different than they had expected.
"What's the next ingredient?" Az queried, interrupting DG's considerations upon the complexity of family relations. While she had been daydreaming, her sister had been carrying out her dubious scheme on her behalf, smartly adorning a white apron as not to ruin her dress (which she of course looked smashing in) and rubber-like, elbow-length gloves as she poured creepily glowing liquids into a beaker.
"Red Flarn" DG announced, adding, "But not Black Flarn because apparently that will make my double turn out with a goatee and gold sash."
Az gave her the blank look she oft received when her humor fell flat due to lack of common referential material. She really needed to make a trip to the Other Side and retrieve some DVDs. Needless to say, any sort of popular culture or entertainment did not exactly thrive under the Witch's rule, and DG was starting to really miss plunking down on a sofa with a good, possibly mind-numbing movie and a giant bowl of popcorn.
"And then what?"
DG jumped, once again startled from her internal reveries by her sister's generally smooth voice, which was presently developing an edge of impatience. She really needed to focus upon the task at hand. Or for a better result...
"Here," she handed 100 Recipes Every Sorcerer Should Know over, passing off the responsibility entirely to her sister. She was doing all the work, anyway.
"You're never going to learn, if I do everything for you."
It was a line DG had heard a dozen times before she had lost her sister all those years ago. And it was probably true, but that didn't stop the compassionate woman from taking the tome from her hands and continuing on without futilely consulting her sister every other minute.
DG simply watched as her graceful and apparently extremely talented sibling carried on mixing the...potion? Yeah, that was probably the appropriate term. It was like watching an expert chef prepare a meal. Perhaps, she should've been concerned about the lack of precise measuring, but it was too beautiful and graceful a process to disrupt. Her sister even seemed to have little flourishes in the way she poured, stirred, sifted, and distilled ingredients. Besides, she trusted Az, knew how much more instinct went into magic, and that her sister had an ingrained intuition for brewing potions and casting spells.
Finally, the elder princess took a step back from the table, releasing a hefty sigh, removing her goggles to rest upon her forehead and wiping the sweat (like it were at all possible for her sister to ever be in any sort of disarray) that had supposedly accumulated there. And then she picked up the little glass vial that somehow contained a much smaller amount of liquid than any one of the single ingredients that had done into its manufacture. Had she even been paying full attention the entire time, DG was certain that she still would not have been able to account for the whereabouts of over half the substances within those measly ounces of putrid green fluid.
AZ held it out to her, and DG plucked her from her fingers as if it were radioactive, keeping it at an arm's length and eyeing it suspiciously.
"This was your idea, Deeg," Az chided.
"But what...What do I do with it?" she asked, venturing a sniff, which made her thrust it away from her face once more. "Jeez, that's awful!"
"You drink it, but don't swallow," Az directed. "Swish it about really well, and then spit it in here."
She offered what DG recognized as a Petri dish.
"Seriously?" DG tried to get Az to reconsider her instructions, as if willpower would make the process somehow lest disgusting.
"Or you could act your age and have a conversation with our mother."
The sisters locked eyes and looks were exchanged; simultaneously scolding, resistant, and sympathetic.
"So this must do what? Collect a genetic sample?" DG observed, looking back to the vial of sketch-tastic fluid.
"Precisely," Az said brightly. "And Toto says you never pay attention."
And then what? DG mimed as she swished the surprisingly not-as-vile-as-it-appeared potion around her mouth. Had it been any one else, she would've received a blank stare. But sisterly bonds overcome confusing primitive gestures.
"Then we put it in the incubator," Az responded, walking over to something that looked like a cross between a cryogenic pod from a 50s B movie and a iron-maiden. DG was leaning toward the former, what with the chartreuse viscous bubbling contents visible through the glass pane in the front. The elder princess deftly held out the Petri dish for DG to spit in without looking away from the crude readouts on the little panel of incubator. She played with a couple knobs while DG looked on, but the younger princess could not for the life of her figure out what adjustments she was making.
"So what if I had a piece of chicken caught in between my teeth?" DG asked, partially because she couldn't resist joking, partially because she was genuinely curious.
"It shouldn't take to anything but human genes, but we might end up with a very interesting version of you," she answered, adding with a smile, "But no one will probably no any different with all the clucking."
DG swatted her sister playfully.
"Hey, watch it!" she said, placing a cover on the glass sample and inserting in the slot. "You don't want your Doppelganger spilled all over the floor."
"How long?" DG half-whined.
"A few hours," AZ replied. "And since this whole thing is your scheme, you get to baby-sit the incubator."
"You're really leaving me down here alone?" DG asked of her sister's back as the woman removed her gloves, goggles and apron, returning them to the precise locations from which they had been taken.
"In this very creepy laboratory?"
Az looked over her shoulder before disappearing through the door.
"You're the mad scientist here," she commented with a grin. "Besides, I have some appointments and you wouldn't want mother to come looking for us."
And with that, DG was left alone amongst the gentle glow and bubbling noises of the laboratory to await the birth of her means of her escape.
A/N: I do not own the only made-up ingredient I actually referenced by name (not good at making up fantasy names that don't sound off-the-wall) 500 points to anyone who knows where I pulled it from :-)
A/N 2: Don't worry. We'll get some more Cain/DG goodness soon…