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A Photographic Novella in Twenty Episodes 1

Text and Makeup by Jennifer Broome

Photography by Allie Mullin

Š2012. All Rights Reserved 2

The Alchemist’s Tale


“Despite what you may think, it really is true that things are not as they seem. I was a traitor, but not in the beginning, and not for the reasons you think. I did truly believe in your cause, you know. But I’m also a scientist, and knew— know—there must be a cure, or at least a vaccine to keep people from contracting Philomorphism. None of you have had an easy life—separated from your parents, fighting every time you left your houses, hounded and persecuted—why would you want to live like that if you didn’t have to?” “Because—” growled Hatter. “Margaretha, don’t interrupt if you want to hear this tale.” Hatter fell dangerously silent. 4

“To continue,” said The Alchemist, “I knew that this condition couldn’t have sprung from nowhere. There must have been something—a miasma, a congenital predisposition, something that morphed people in the Realm. For every action, there is a pre-existing action. While everyone in the Realm was tearing each other apart, no one thought to ask why this transformation was happening in the first place. Why should people who didn’t want to…well, to morph, have to endure it? It’s like any disease— you experiment until you find a cure.” “I am not diseased!” Tatter screamed as Hatter overlapped with “You’ve really been experimenting on us? How? Have you been kidnapping us?” 5

“You misunderstand,” said The Alchemist. “My research so far is purely theoretical. It is my belief that if we can understand the transmuting of base elements into noble ones, we can attack the mutation from its origins. We can transmute whatever’s causing this. People would have a choice—a choice of whether to become a Philomorph or not. I haven’t gotten as far as I’d hoped, but my experiments have yielded some interesting negative results. The null hypothesis—” The Alchemist was cut off by Tatter’s menacing growl. “I don’t care about your theories. I care about the fact you betrayed us.” The Alchemist’s sang-froid deserted her for a moment and she snapped, “I am trying to find a cure! Not one of you understood that! All you 6

wanted was information that you would use to kill people! I was the only one trying to stop the war; you just wanted to win it!” Mina was confused. “The Philo army shut down your lab so you betrayed them?” The Alchemist shook her head. “No, it wasn’t like that. None of the Philomorphs knew I was doing this research. It was a project unrelated to my intelligence work. I really was on your side, Margaretha.” She looked at Hatter beseechingly. “YOU LEFT ME TO DIE!” screamed Hatter. She had lost all control, and even the Derkling Queen looked frightened. “Yes, I did. I admit that. But I didn’t lead them to your door; you were careless.” 7

“Leave no one behind,” spat Hatter. “We agreed, and you violated that oath.” “What I don’t understand,” Mina broke in, “is why. If no one knew you were doing these…experiments, then why did you turn on the Philomorphs?” The Alchemist sighed, and Mina saw a haunting grief flit across her face. She bit her lip and then said, calmly, “Because I became pregnant with you, Mina.”


Read the story behind The Alchemist’s shocking revelation in our next episode, “Dénouement.” It goes live tomorrow at 10 a.m. EST on


Mina: The Alchemist's Tale  

mina, episode 18

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