“I’ve done it, I’ve done it! I’ve devised a way to help Sylvia eat again!”
Deigen, V, and Ian turned from their conversation to find Uncle Albert bounding out of the castle’s kitchen and carrying a platter that bore several small oval tablets on it, organized into piles by color. Being a zombie, it seemed highly unlikely anything on his platter could be edible.
Deigen rose a brow while Uncle Albert placed his platter on the dining table where they sat. “Aren’t those the little appetite suppressants you used to make for yourself back in the desert?”
“I’ve done some tweaking to the original recipe.” Uncle Albert gingerly pushed tablets that became out of place during the platter’s travel back into their appointed groups. “My original appetite suppressants did just that, they relieved hunger and nothing else. But these”—he plucked one of the pinkish red tablets from their pile and held it up as though it were a priceless jewel—“these have both better flavor and the added benefit of nourishment.”
“Nourishment?” V picked up an orangery brown one from the other end of the platter. “How?”
“I’ve surmised for a long time that different foods must contain something living things need to stay healthy and I don’t quite-”
“You mean vitamins and minerals?” asked Ian.
Uncle Albert turned to him. “Do you always interrupt people by blurting out strange words that make no sense? Anyhow, as I was saying, I don’t quite understand how it all works but I believe I’ve developed a way to put some of those needed basic components into these!” He tossed the tablet he held and attempted to catch it in the air. Instead, it ricocheted off the table before being caught by Deigen. Uncle Albert pointed at him. “And they certainly don’t taste like chalk anymore. Try it!”
Deigen gave the tablet a long gaze of uncertainty before popping it in his mouth and chewing. His face took on a look of childish delight. “Why, it taste like strawberries!”
Uncle Albert hopped with glee and motioned for the other vampire to try his. “Yours has a different flavor!”
V scrunched his face in confusion while chewing. “Chicken. You put chicken in this?”
“No, no, no! It’s still mainly just a mixture of grain and sand but I changed the flavor of them.” Uncle Albert picked up a bluish purple tablet. “This one, for example, tastes like blueberries. There’s no actual fruit involved but it still provides sustenance for the body as if there were.” He cradled the tablet in his hand. “My niece may not be able to stomach real food but I’m certain, absolutely certain she’ll be able to eat these. If she starts getting some rest and replenishing herself, they just might make her feel a little like her old self.” He lowered the tablet while letting out a sigh. “And hopefully keep Sylvia alive until either myself or that queen of yours can figure out a cure to her ailment.”
“So you’ve basically created chewable multivitamins, that’s great,” said Ian while munching on one of the tablets. “I was starting to feel a little under the weather myself and”—he immediately stopped chewing—“Albert, what flavor is this?”
“Oh dear.” Uncle Albert cast a guilty glance at the platter, noting one of the gray tablets in the center was missing. “Ian, I’m so terribly sorry. Being a zombie, I naturally made some of them with a particular taste that I don’t imagine you’d find very palatable.”
Ian blinked several times. “You gave me a brain-flavored vitamin.”
“Well yes, but not on purpose.” Uncle Albert wagged his finger at the pile of less delectable vitamins. “You see, there’s this little gold circle here in the middle and I thought that was a good enough barrier from the other tablets to-”
Before Uncle Albert could finish his defense, Ian turned slightly green and raced to the nearest window.