"Test number... 167..."
The air in Erica's study was heavy with magical energy as she leaned over a reinforced workstation, staring unblinking at her test subject. The blob of ooze pulsed with Void energy as it meandered around the the table's surface. On her desk, Paradox the Infinite Whelp eyed the ooze carefully from the cushion he laid upon. An enchanted quill scrawled words in the notebook next to him, recording the results as Erica called them out. When the marathon of experimentation had begun, the quill had rushed from page to page, barely keeping up with its master's words. Now, far into the early hours of the morning, it barely moved for minutes on end.
For her part, Erica doggedly continued. She had almost reached the bottom of the newest crate to enter her office, which had been filled to the brim with glowing shards of golden-blue power. Azerite, the blood of the very world, and what Erica was convinced held the secret to undoing her plight.
Growling softly, Erica pulled out a tiny shard of the precious material with a pair of tweezers, a sliver barely larger than her nail. Slowly, she slid the shard into the body of the ooze, and the reaction was immediate. The purple energy began swirling violently, the shard beginning to decompose among the volatile energy. Not missing a beat, Erica grabbed an orb shining with a warm yellow light, one of very few left in her stock. Releasing the spell held within, a golden light burst forth. Erica knew that for most people, it would have a refreshing, warming sensation, but she couldn't help but cringe as the mere presence of the force seared her hand somewhat.
She refused to let simple pain hold her back, though. The Light streamed towards the Void-infused ooze, swirling about it and eating at its surface just as the blob ate at the crystalline substance within. Quickly, Erica slammed her palms down on an enchanted circle surrounding her test subject, rapidly chanting the words of the spell she had revised time and time again. Months, almost a year, had gone into the research she now conducted, and that time had not been just hers. Alice, to whom she owed her life for helping her keep her own sanity. Nythellas, whose own work had inspired the potential she now worked to realize. And Cynnus, the one who had been working towards a cure herself long before Erica had been Forged, and whose notes had finally let Erica put the pieces together.
She wouldn't let them down.
Staring closely, Erica watched as the circle lit up, sending streams of crackling energy towards the crystal, caught in the middle of a tiny war between Light and Void. The Azerite reacted to the new source of power, adding its own illumination to the chorus of lights shining forth. And there, to Erica's awe, Light and Void both began to flow towards the crystal, returning the ooze to it's natural sickly green hue, rather than the dull green with violet streaks it had been before. The breath caught in her throat as she watched the process unfold.
"Come on, come on..."
The flow of power steadily increased, eventually drawing in the last of both energies. Erica didn't even try to contain the smile that broke out on her face. That smile quickly vanished, however, as the crystal began to crack rapidly, soon splintering completely. With a curse, Erica activated her wards, throwing up an extra barrier around herself for good measure. The magical shields managed to contain the resulting explosion of power, though the ooze had not survived. Green slime coated the table's surface, but still, Erica was elated. The slime had remained its natural green coloration.
"I've got it..."
Erica scrambled to her feet, rushing to make sure the important data had been recorded in her notebook. Thankfully, everything was there. A few figures would have to be changed; increased size and stability in the Azerite crystal compared to mass and energy levels, strengthening of the protective enchantments on the components, but the principle was sound.
She had found it. Erica had the cure.
Eagerly, Erica prepared the next batch of materials to begin fine-tuning the procedure. It would be a few days of repeated trials with increasingly-complex test subjects, but her confidence had been renewed. Just a few days. A few days, and the procedure would be ready for its first use on a sentient. And she could think of only one good subject. Soon, she could present her findings. Soon, she'd be free.<!--/data/user/0/com.samsung.android.app.notes/files/clipdata/clipdata_201013_153345_156.sdoc-->
"Test number... 167..."