It is a truth universally acknowledged that all students are food-motivated. Even when they’re studying alchemy.
“So if I titrate this solution with the asp venom, it should turn bright blue,” Margeaux finished.
Emmeline raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Or you could blow up the lab like you did last time.”
“…Or I could blow up the lab like last time. I admit, it’s a possibility.” Margeaux adjusted her goggles on her nose. “But I figure I’m due. I was getting used to having eyebrows.”
“At least she’s doing it in the fume hood this time,” Jasper put in. The hood was both specially ventilated to carry away dangerous chemical vapors and heavily warded to contain ‘happy accidents’.
“Okay,” said Margeaux. “Enough criticism, please. I’ll have you know I was in the alchemy library for a week reading up on this spell and the literature is quite definitive. So I’m doing it now.”
“All right,” said Jasper.
“And I’m going to get it right this time.”
Carefully, Margeaux reached out one double-gloved hand and carefully eased open the stopcock. A single drop formed on the tip of the buret tube and slowly, slowly began to pull downwards. All three of them held their breath.
It dropped into the flask, and a puff of smoke rose out of the flask and dissipated.
Jasper let out a huge sigh of relief. “Looks like it’s working, Marge.”
Margeaux turned, a sunny smile lighting her face. “Yeah! I told you it would.”
Emmeline, though, had her eyes on the flask, which was slowly but surely changing color. “Uh, Margeaux?”
“I thought you said it was supposed to turn blue?”
“It’s turning pink.”
“What–” The liquid in the flask suddenly turned hot pink and exploded, leaving behind a scorched bench-top and a pile of half-melted glassware.
Margeaux started at it, mouth hanging open.
“Damn,” said Jasper.
Emmeline hopped off the stool and put her arm around her friend’s shoulders. “It’s okay, sweetie. No one finishes their Ph.D. on time. Clean up and come to the lounge. We got you conciliatory donuts.”
That galvanized her. “You just assumed I’d blow it up again? I– I– you–” she sputtered to a halt.
“If you’d succeeded,” Jasper put in, “we’d be calling them celebratory donuts.”
“DONUTS!” Emmeline and Jasper exclaimed together.
“Okay,” said Margeaux. A smile tugged at the corners of her glum expression. “Donuts.”