Lemma the Librarian: Op-arrrr-ant Conditioning, Part 2

Why oh why did I have to challenge
the universe?
I thought, not for the first time,
as I leaned over the railing and heaved. There was nothing left to come out,
but my stomach wasn’t about to let that stop it from trying.

I collapsed back onto the deck and
moaned. “How long is this storm going to last?” I asked the world.

Iola looked up at the blue,
cloudless sky, then back down at me.

“Shut up,” I snapped, or
tried to. It came out a lot weaker than I’d prefer.

“I said nothing,” she

“You didn’t need to! Not all of
us are Sea People, all right?”


I glared at her. “Don’t snark
me right now, I will fry you.”

“Not on a wooden ship in the
middle of the ocean you won’t.”

Grr. She was right. I couldn’t set anyone
on fire, not without drowning us all. “Whatever, what are you doing here,

“I came to see if you were
well, and ask if you wanted dinner.”

“Ughh, no, I can’t even think
about–ulp–food right now… oh gods…” Scrambling back to my feet, I
managed to lean out over the railing just in time. Apparently my stomach had
found something after all, somehow. Had to admire its dedication, I guess?

When I collapsed back to the deck,
Iola was gone. I lay there for a while, feeling sorry for myself, until a
shadow fell over me.

I looked up to see Milos. Oh no,
please not another stupid joke

“Arr, I be hearin’ ye have the
sea-stomach, so I be havin’ me crew whip up a cure for ye.” He held out a
lump of something white.

Hesitantly, I took it from him.
“What is it?” I asked suspiciously, bracing myself for a lame
“arr” pun. It smelled delicious, which made my stomach lurch.

“Ginger soaked in oil o’ th’
peppermint,” he said kindly.

“Oh. Uh… thank you.” Especially
for passing up those two opportunities for puns…
I popped it in my mouth
and chewed it. The taste was incredibly strong, but not bad, and I was
able to swallow it down. I felt better almost immediately, as my stomach
stopped heaving. Relieved, I found myself relaxing… actually, I felt really
relaxed and really good, and everything seemed to be getting farther away while
staying in the same place. “What… what’s..?” I managed to ask.

“Oh, and val-arrrrrrrian
root.” Milos grinned down at me while the world went dark.

(To be continued…)

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