Previous Update: The Beginning of the End
A Scientist’s Decision
Zaun’s tournament victory has brought Merricurry to its side.
Shutting the steel door between her and the nattering reporters, Merricurry collapsed against it, running eager eyes over the laboratory. My laboratory, now, she thought with a smile.
Her studies in Shurima had lasted months, months in which she had remained stubbornly neutral despite the constant emissaries from various “interested parties” trying to sway her to one side or another. Demacia’s white-clad messengers had admonished her for meddling with “forces beyond her control.” Well, they had stopped coming after the last one accidentally slipped into an activated patch of pyrikhos. That reaction had been quite interesting, though unfortunately fatal to the prattling twit.
The other three factions involved in the dispute in Shurima had been rather more persuasive, but she had to make sure that her theories were correct. It wouldn’t do to be proved incorrect in front of that overly cautious fool, Heimerdinger.
As it turned out, refinements had indeed been necessary. Her initial theory, that randomization was a core component of effective Pyrikhos matrices, had been essentially correct. However, extensive experimentation had been required to establish exactly what constituted appropriate randomization, and within what bounds it could be operational. After all, a random matrix could well be fatally imbalanced, with…explosive consequences. At last, though, mere weeks before, she had perfected the formula and the proper rune combinations. As it now stood, of the approximately 16 quadrillion possible combinations which her Rune Assortment Matrix could produce, only one would result in a cataclysm-level event.
So she had announced that she was fielding offers for her services. The bidding had been fierce, with even Demacia desperately begging for her to lead their research program, if only to keep her from the others. Finally, the League had had no choice but to hold a tournament, with the winner gaining the ultimate leverage with which to to negotiate for her services, pyrikhos Field 14.
Zaun, of course, had emerged victorious. Their offer had been…impressive, and she knew without a doubt that none of the other factions had the resources or the intestinal fortitude to offer what they had. By the Mothership, she had hardly believed the offer herself. A research budget so large as to be practically unlimited, subsidized by a full dozen of the largest consortiums in the City of Industry. A laboratory fully equipped with all of the best and newest hextechnical equipment. Her pick of members for a full research team, and an essentially unlimited scope to research whatever she desired. Of course, the Zaunite emissaries had made it quite clear that results would be expected, but she had no particular problems with that. Now that she had all of this, she’d show exactly how productive she could be.
A knock sounded at the door behind her, and Merricurry realized that the pounding and chattering of the reporters had ceased while she was deep in thought. She opened the door, to reveal two hunched figures, the one in front wrapped in bandages, the one behind hulking and covered with matted fur. Singed and Warwick.
The Mad Chemist ran bloodshot eyes over her head, across the equipment which filled her laboratory, then looked down at her. “I trust your accommodations are…acceptable?”
“Quite. Would you like to come in?” The Yordle scientist maintained a cool expression. She couldn’t help but be impressed by Singed’s contributions to Zaun’s Hexkorp, but his undeniable genius also made the chemist her primary rival in the scientific establishment.
“Indeed,” he said, and strode into the room, followed by Warwick and an acrid stench of chemicals. “I understand you have already begun selecting your associates?”
“I have. I hope there are no hard feelings?” Her associate director of research had been collected from Singed’s own staff, and Marietta was brilliant as she was ruthless, well acquainted with the treacherous landscape of Zaunite research and development. Her skills would be difficult, if not impossible, for the Mad Chemist to replace.
Warwick growled behind her, and the hairs stood up on the back of the Yordle’s neck, but she thought her face remained impassive. Singed stared down at her for a moment, then chuckled slightly. “None at all, Ms. Sweetshot. I’m certain that my former colleague will be of great aid to you in your research.”
“She was in ours,” growled the Blood Hunter.
“Yes…on that point…” Singed began to pace around the perimeter of the room, running his chemically stained fingers over her new equipment. “I’m afraid that Marietta had been the leading researcher in attempting to discover a cure for my friend’s…condition. We would both take it as a personal favor should you allow her, perhaps encourage her, to continue this research.”
“Perhaps,” Merricurry said cooly. She quivered slightly with the urge to slap his hands away from a delicate pyrikhos percolator, but held her peace, for now. “There are many other projects which require our attention, as I’m sure you know.”
The Yordle scientist felt hot, fetid breath on the back of her neck, and a rumbling growl, and she spun to face Warwick. The wolf-man’s eyes had taken on a red glow, and his teeth were bared as he reached for her. She backed up until she hit an unyielding barrier. Singed stood behind her, looking down impassively, then raised his head and hand towards Warwick. “Now, friend, I’m sure we can reach an…accommodation with Madame Merricurry. I find negotiations both distracting and unnecessary. Tell me what you require for your assistance in this matter. Should I find them acceptable, we will have established an excellent basis for further cooperation. Should we find them otherwise, Warwick will, despite my urgent requests, most likely remove your internal organs via your mouth. He is quite upset by these developments, you understand.”
“I’m sure there will be no need for that.” Merricurry’s eyes were tight at the edges, but the Mad Chemist was impressed by her otherwise calm demeanor. The Yordle was undeniably either very courageous or very insane. He found himself equally impressed, either way. She continued, “All I’ll require is access to all documentation and notes regarding the HexKorps project, Pharmakon, and the Warp Gates. Understood?”
With no hesitation, Singed nodded and paced towards the door. “Indeed. A fair price, as you say. I look forward to working with you in the future…my esteemed colleague. Fare you well, and say hello to Marrietta, when you see her. Warwick, come.”
Warwick growled one final time, then stalked after Singed, slamming the door behind him. Once she was certain they had gone, Merricurry collapsed to the floor and curled into a ball, shuddering against the work table at her back. Those teeth… After some time, she collected herself, and grasped the table’s edge, pulling herself up once more. She had known the risks of coming to work in Zaun. She gritted her teeth, determination once again filling her eyes. She would prove herself here, against the best Zaun had to offer, and her name would eclipse Heimerdinger’s throughout all of Runeterra, whether she had to defeat Singed, Warwick, or all the madmen of Zaun together. Suddenly, she smiled, a slightly manic look in her eyes. It might even be fun.
Merricurry, the yordle scientist, has joined Zaun!
Next Update: Shield of Light