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Tangled Vines-Origin to Madness
Chapter 3

Author's Notes: Finally, the chapter that I wrote this whole story for. This is also the first time Catherine's pet got an actual role in anything.

Two weeks had passed after the deal had been sealed between two madmen. Life remained normal, (or as normal as three islands occupied by mutant animals, crazy scientists, and things no one would expect possible anywhere else can be anyways) at the three tropical islands as they sat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. N. Sanity Island and Kong Island were still island paradises, both which contained a hidden lab hidden in some temple ruins, and Cortex Island was still a brooding island that seemed to tower over the other two islands with its darkness and gloom.

It was still morning at the three islands. The sun was slowly climbing up the sky and the activity in the three islands was starting to reach its midday peak when suddenly, a purple object flew out of one of the highest windows in Cortex Castle and gradually made its way towards Kong Island.

However, unlike most of the things that normally flew out of Cortex Castle, this creature intended no harm towards anyone, save for the ones that tried to interrupt its delivery. It was a condor, with striking purple feathers and a dangerous curved beak. Its colorations would've been its most striking feature if it weren't for the fact that a metallic peg leg replaced its right leg and steel, complete with a metallic red eye, were wrapped around the right side of its face. Finally, to top it all off, a small collar hung around its neck, with a small golden tag that said the condor's name.

Biscuit Chip.

A sweet name, lovingly given to it by its owner Catherine Gin when she was only twelve, which oftentimes lead people into a false sense of security. Sure, Biscuit Chip looked harmless enough, but he was once a trained minion that was once ordered to rip apart any orange rodents that got in its way. He was unsuccessful, and now his purpose in life was to be Catherine's pet and the castle's messenger.

And today, he had a special letter that he needed to deliver to the scientist that lived on Kong Island wrapped around his non-metallic leg.

With dedicated speed and accuracy, he flew down into the trees and followed a river dotted with the remains of ruins. He swiftly dodged the man-eating plants guarding the river, and stayed away from any of the patrolling lizard minions that started to guard the area close to the temple. Finally, just before he reached the temple, he fluttered over Petunia's head as she lay basking in the sun. Nothing could stop Biscuit Chip's mission, not even large plantsnakes designed to destroy large buildings.

He darted into the temple just as the clock in Brier's lab announced that it was 9 am. The condor flew into each room, past mountains of paper, tables covered in blueprints and stained coffee cups, and chairs converted into makeshift tables for more papers and scientific notes. Biscuit Chip was determined to find the lizard that he was delivering the letter to, and it didn't take long for him to finally find him.

Biscuit Chip landed on Brier's bed as he lay sleeping. Brier was tangled in his blankets and was sleeping contently in a weird position, with one arm dangling off the bed and his neck twisted so that his head was resting against the wall. The bird waited patiently a couple minutes for him to wake up on his own. Brier remained asleep for several minutes, snoring away, and the condor got impatient. Spreading his wings dramatically, Biscuit Chip hopped onto the plantlizard's head, brought his beak close to his ear, and squawked as loud as his voice could muster.

The resulting scream from Brier was loud enough to be heard from all three islands.

Biscuit Chip quickly flew out of Brier's reach right as the lizard tried to grab a hold of him. The only thing that kept Brier from killing the bird was his grogginess. Rubbing his eyes and yawning, Brier managed a half-hearted growl before his initial surprise dissolved into grumpiness.

"You could've waited until after I got up, you good-for-nothing buzzard!" Brier yelled, rubbing his head. The bird seemed to smile from its safe perch on top of the bookshelf. The lizard glared up at Catherine's pet, sighed, and went to get himself some coffee. If Biscuit Chip was that urgent in sending him a letter, it was bound to be important. Biscuit Chip watched Brier as he brewed, poured, and drank his daily dose of morning coffee.

Brier soon got sick of the bird's eyes on him as he poured himself a bowl of cereal. "Alright, birdbrain. Hand over the letter and I'll promise not to eat you." The grumpy lizard snapped, still holding his aching head in one hand.

Biscuit Chip immediately obeyed. He glided onto the table and offered his foot to Brier as he stuck a spoon full of Cheerios in his mouth. The bird waited patiently as Brier unrolled the letter and read it out loud.

"Dear Dr. Benjamin Brier Thorn, please come to my lab immediately. The elixir is now ready and I need you to try it out. I hope this finally gives you what you want and I sincerely hope that nothing goes wrong. Your friend, Brio." Brier read out loud, pausing every so often to eat more of his breakfast. He rolled his eyes. Brio was always a sucker for friendly formalities and this was no exception.

"...P.S. Bring pants." Brier raised an invisible eyebrow at the message scrawled out at the bottom. He was wearing a rather tattered looking labcoat to show the world that he was still a scientist, but the pantslessness was pretty apparent.

"I guess he's pretty confident that this thing is going to work." Brier said to Biscuit Chip. The bird's only response was to preen its purple feathers. Without another word, Brier scurried off to his closet in search of some pants. It didn't take him long, but he didn't like the look Biscuit Chip was giving him when he returned with just pants.

"I'm not going to risk ripping any of my shirts or lab coats on a project that may or may not work." Brier said. "And why am I even explaining myself to you? I know you can't talk back." He added as he pulled the pair of green pants up a little higher.

Biscuit Chip, as usual, said nothing.


The trip from Brier's ruins to Cortex Castle was uneventful. The only thing eventful about the entire experience was that Andelina happened to be in the area and happened to comment on Brier's new "friend". That was the only time Biscuit Chip made any sound at all, because other than that, he remained silent the entire trip. The only reason he even stuck around the lizard is because he was the fastest way to get security clearance in the castle. After all, the scientists disliked Brier, and without Biscuit Chip, Brier was going to be assaulted by everything they had at their disposal.

Walking through the front door and through the halls in a normal matter, even with a condor on his shoulders, was a relatively unsettling experience for Brier. Old memories of when he worked there kept coming to mind and it took all of his willpower not to scream in anger. When he was human, he wanted to get revenge for them firing him, but look how well that turned out.

When he finally entered Brio's lab, he was greeted both by Brio and Catherine. Catherine Gin, still holding a mop from when she had to clean up the aftermath of Tiny's pizza party, smiled happily and waved.

"Hi Brier!" she said, happy to see, in her mind, the cool lizard from the ruins again.

Brio also smiled, but his greeting was more reserved. "Ah, I see you made it and I see Catherine's letter reached you-"

"Enough with the friendly greeting crap, Brio. Just hand me the potion so I can leave." Brier yelled, still on the edge on account he was in the lair of his worst enemies. Catherine held out her arm and Biscuit Chip flew off towards his master. She stroked the bird and spoke to him in a soft tone as Brio walked closer to Brier with the elixir in hand.

"You're pretty impatient." Brio answered, his expression calm, yet proud of his accomplishment. He seemed happy that he was helping one of his peers out, even if it was someone like Brier.

"Well, yeah. Of course I'm impatient! Why do I have to come all the way to Cortex Castle just to drink the elixir? You could've had the condor send it to me by air mail!" Brier demanded. Brio sighed, and for a split second, Biscuit Chip looked offended.

"Well, Ben, this elixir IS untested and could have some...unpredicted results. It'd be better if you drank it where I can help you in case anything happens rather than you drinking it out in the wilderness and have no one helping you." Brio replied calmly. His speech was surprisingly free of stutters, a sign that Brio was nervous. The sudden chill of fear started to radiate in Brier's body. He was deadset on it before, and even after Brio said that nothing could go wrong, but his words of caution made Brier picture the worst. He shuddered.

" made your point." he said as calmly as possible, pretending he didn't notice Brio's hidden fear. Brio handed him the elixir, and slowly, Brier raised it to his lips.

"Oh! Don't drink it here!" Brio said urgently. Brier quickly lowered the drink and gave him a questioning look.

"Enter the explosion-proof test chamber and THEN drink it." The scientist then added, pointing to a large door that looked like it could protect a federal vault. The words "explosion-proof" didn't help Brier's uneasiness at all. Only stubbornness kept him from dropping the elixir and running.

"...your confidence in this experiment is stunning, Nitrus." Brier sneered, hoping his sarcasm would disguise his budding terror. He walked towards the door, and a shiver went down his spine as he did so. Brio reached the door before him, and he opened it for Brier in a polite gesture. Brier couldn't help but roll his eyes. Even in the face of untested experimentation that could have horrible results, Brio was polite to him.

"Now, remember, Ben. If the experiment is going wrong, just scream loud enough for me to hear." Brio said as Brier walked in, elixir in hand.

"Hah, hah. Very funny, Nitrus."

"...who says I'm joking? Seriously, if something's going wrong, scream." Brio insisted, his voice suddenly taking a serious tone. And with that, the door closed behind him, leaving Brier alone with nothing but the glowing glass beaker.

Brier looked around at his dimly lit surroundings. The wall's ceiling, floor, and walls were all made with reinforced steel. The room was huge and barren, probably to have enough room for Brio's more monstrous transformations. The only sound in the room was the sound of Brier's breathing and the small clicking sounds of his claws traveling across the floor. He finally stood on the only thing decorating the room; a fuzzy lime green rug that looked like it was built to be tacky.

"Well, I made it this far..." Brier said to himself as he gazed at the glowing orange liquid. He saw no harm in drinking it now, so quickly, he downed the elixir in one giant gulp.

The first thing he noticed was that the elixir was warm. It was flavorless, so the main thing he noticed was the soothing warmth that traveled down his throat and into his stomach. Once the warmth entered his stomach, it started to spread throughout his entire body. Brier had to sit down because the warm sensation turned into a numb, tingling sensation. He closed his eyes, both from the sensation of his entire head filling with a tingling numbness and because he didn't want to see what was going on with his body. He knew seeing himself change would only make him feel ill.

Unlike the change from human to lizard, this change didn't have any pain. He felt large tingling parts like his tail, his large frills, and his wings slowly disappear into his body. He felt his body reshape itself, gently, like giant hands were molding him into a new shape. Claws reshaped into hands, scales melted into smoother, softer skin, and his snout reformed into a human face. The only unpleasant sensation was the growth of hair, as it sent an irritating itching sensation in the areas where hair grew.

And then, it was over. He stood up shakily, expecting for something to go wrong. He couldn't see as well in the dimly lit surroundings as he did when he walked in, but he could feel the humanity inside of him. Benjamin grinned so hard that he felt his lips hurt. It worked! Tears of joy flowed down his face. Brio's experiment worked! Ben wanted to jump for joy, but first thing's first. He used his hands to check below the waist.

Good, his pants managed to stay on.

Still grinning to himself, he pulled them up a little higher and walked out to show Brio that Dr. Benjamin Thorn had returned.


As Brier was "changing" in the other room, Catherine and Brio had waited patiently. They didn't hear a scream of agony, but they were having some lingering doubts. Just when they were about to get up and check to see if Brier had exploded, a half-naked man wearing nothing but pants slowly walked out.

"Well, guys. How do I look?" the man said in a voice that was a lot like Brier's.

Catherine was in no room to respond. She was too busy noticing how handsome the former lizardman looked. Mentally, she was cursing Brio for suggesting that Brier should bring pants.

Brio, however, was noticing something odd about Benjamin. He knew Benjamin had a thing for dyeing his hair green, but he knew his colleague's hair was naturally blonde. And yet, Benjamin's hair was now completely white save for two green stripes that ran through it. The colorations brought the lizard form's frills to mind, and already, warning alarms were going off in Brio's head.

"Uh, Ben? You might want to look in a mirror first before we could declare this a perfect success." Brio suggested. Ben's grin instantly vanished when he heard that. Curiosity overwhelmed his mind, and slowly, he held up one of his hands in front of his face.

He had a human hand, but each finger ended in green coloration. His breath caught in his throat when he saw his nails were long, pointed, and had the same shade of red as the claws on his lizard form. His good mood disappeared altogether.

"Wait...claws?" Something was not right here. He could feel it.

"I have claws! Why do I have claws?" he asked Brio, his voice taking a panicky, whiny tone.

"I'm sure it's a minor side effect, like your facial markings." Brio answered. He finally produced a hand mirror, one that he normally used to see if he was making any progress growing any hair.

"WHAT facial markings?" Benjamin whimpered. He instantly snatched the mirror away from his colleague and looked at himself. Ben froze when he saw his reflection. He recognized himself, and saw that he was human, but at the same time, he saw hideously wrong things reflected back at him. His hair and sideburns were bone white save for two giant green markings that ran where he lizard ears used to be. His eyes were dark red instead of blue, and around both eye was a green eye marking, just like his lizard form. He ran his tongue around his teeth and opened his mouth in front of the mirror. His teeth were sharp and pointed, like lizard teeth.

The mirror was flung against the wall. Benjamin trembled as he wrapped his hands around his chest. He was trying his hardest not to scream.

"Like I said, minor side effect." Brio said, but he was having major doubts himself. "Don't worry, Benjamin. We can go purchase some hair dye after lunch, and I'm pretty sure there's makeup and contacts to cover up the markings."

"I'm a freak." Ben said at last. He looked like he was about to cry.

"You still look better than my dad, if that helps anything..." Catherine pointed out in hopes of making him feel better.

She didn't mention that pretty much everyone looks better than her father, but somehow, Catherine's half-hearted reply did some good. Ben gradually started to smile. He may have some problems with coloration, but if all he had to deal with were his hair and eyes, then he had no room to complain. He was human again, at least. He took a deep breath, calming his thoughts. Everything was going to be perfectly okay after all.

Thanking Brio for all of his hard work, Benjamin started to walk out of the room when he passed by an open window with the morning sun illuminating the room. A sudden jolt of fiery pain coursed up through Ben's body and he fell to the floor screaming in agony.

He didn't even hear the other people in the room shout out in fright and run to his aide. All he could hear is the sound of his own bones snapping and cracking. It was the complete opposite of changing into a human. Instead of soothing warmth, it was red hot pain burning through all of his nerves. It was all over in half the time it took to change into a human, but it felt like eons. When it was finally over, Ben went limp, physically exhausted.

"...what...happened!?" he said between breaths. Neither of them said anything, but when Catherine helped Ben back up, exactly what happened became apparent. He felt his tail swish back and forth, he felt his wings help him stand up, and worst of all, he felt the itchy sensation of scales. Ben suddenly cried out in agony.

"I'm so sorry, Ben, but I told you it was untested." Brio said in a heartfelt way. He motioned for Catherine to get away from the plantlizard in case he decided to lash out in anger.

" could it run out like that?" Ben said. Strength was gradually returning to his body, but for once he was not angry at the injustice. He was sad and shocked at how quickly he got humanity and how quickly it got taken away. "I WAS CURED!" he shouted, clenching his fists.

Suddenly, a light bulb went off in Brio's head. There were no signs of him regressing back into his lizard form when he was standing in the room, but the moment he walked in front of the window...

"You're part plant, right?" The bald scientist asked as he walked towards the window. He could feel the sunlight raining down on his face. Sunlight. That had to be the trigger.

"Yes? What does that have to do with-" Ben stopped himself when he too saw the correlation. Benjamin was a botanist, after all, and even the most basic botanist knew the process of photosynthesis. Suddenly, Ben felt ill and about ready to cry.

"'re telling me that this stuff only cures me TEMPORARILY?" He shouted at Brio, his voice mixed with sadness and anger. For a split second, it looked like Ben was going to attack Brio as he stood there, trembling with disgust. The other scientist took a step backwards automatically, but when he saw that Ben remained in his spot, his fear of an attack disappeared slightly.

"I guess you're supposed to take the elixir like medication." Brio concluded. He continued to watch the monstrous lizard in case he decided to attack him or Catherine.

However, instead of going on an anger-filled rampage, Ben walked over to the window that caused the painful switch back and looked out. He pressed a hand to the glass, looked at the hideous, scale-covered claw that greeted him, and sighed in defeat. He felt the sunlight on his reptilian face. So this was the only way, he thought to himself. What did he do to deserve this?

"Medication. You mean to tell me that I can only be slightly human until I enter sunlight." Ben said at last, his voice flat and almost completely devoid of emotion. He thought of the weird facial markings he saw in the mirror. A reasonable part of his brain told him that any person on the street would see the markings around his eyes as some sort of makeup, and the claws as simply long fingernails. No one would dare think that he looked inhuman. He'd just look weird. Still, it frustrated him more than ever, especially after feeling the pain that came with changing back.

"Then take the elixir, take the instructions to make it, and as long as you stay out of the sunlight, you'll be passably human." Brio said, a twinge of sympathy in his voice. He gathered up all the notes on the elixir, including the ingredients and how much he needed to take to cause the change, and the giant container that contained the rest of the batch he made.

"Passably." Ben repeated. He accepted the things without looking at Brio.

"Passably human some of the time is still better than no humanity at all." Brio said at last.

For the longest time, the creature known both as Dr. Benjamin Thorn and as Brier looked out of the window, watching the sun reflecting off the water below. Catherine and Brio watched him, both of them unable to say anything, both of them too crestfallen by what had happened. That feeling that they were so close and yet so far hung in the air, dampening the mood.

Then, finally, Brier got up, gathered up the elixir and the notes in both hands, and walked off without another word.


When Brier returned home, he took another dose of the elixir.

As soon as the transformation stopped, he set to work. He remained in his lab, away from any sunlight, and he worked diligently, only stopping to quickly eat lunch and dinner.

The first thing he worked on was his clothes. He saw how fast the transformation was when sunlight fell on him, so he was determined to make a labcoat that was easy to rip off should the need arise. He made a labcoat with long sleeves to cover up as much skin as possible, with large, easy to open straps instead of the buttons he was used to. He even made the straps for his arms to keep the spikes on his lizard form's arms from getting tangled in the fabric.

After that was done, he tried to see if he could clip his claws. He only succeeded in drawing blood, for blood vessels ran through his claws just like any other reptile. With a sigh, he decided to once again make his red goggles a part of his daily wardrobe again. They still kept his eyes from getting clawed out by his experiments when he worked, but wearing them on his head gave him a sense of security. If the area around his eyes ever got itchy, he could just pull down his goggles to keep himself from gouging his eyes out.

By the time he figured out his footwear (boots several sizes too large for him to conceal the claws, and sandals whenever he was just relaxing at home), it was already night time.

But there was one last thing on his agenda.

Making sure his claws didn't leave scores in the plastic, Ben carefully picked up the phone and dialed the number that was written on a Sticky Note pasted onto his desk. He tapped his claws on the desk until he finally got through. Ben smiled for the first time since this morning, took a deep breath, and, in his most professional tone of voice, asked the Academy of Evil if they were still hiring...
I think I wrote 80% of this in one night. I just sat down, staring at nearly empty document, and suddenly, I was hit with inspiration.

This is the chapter I was writing this series for. It's the chapter that's supposed to explain a lot of things with this character. XD If you ever wanted to know what Ben eats for breakfast, this chapter will provide ALL the answers!

Not sure if there's going to be a Chapter 4 or not. I could leave it off here to be honest. Maybe I'll have a chapter where he finally finds Kuki and where she's working and maybe I'll have a chapter where it's his first day at the Academy, but like I said, I don't know. Both ideas are very tempting so I'm leaning on the "will write" rather than the "won't write".

At first, I wanted to make his transformation from lizard to human hurt as much as it did transforming back, but then he wouldn't do it that often if it hurt that much. I mean, Ben takes this stuff at the least once every four days (at the most it'll be several times in one day). I don't think his body could handle that sort of abuse, especially once he figures out a way to make turning into Brier not hurt so much.

And yes, Benjamin can tailor clothing. When you're surrounded by creatures that can rip your clothes to shreds with their long claws or their sharp thorns, you learn how to patch your own clothing pretty quickly. =P

Only one guest appearance in this one, but the guest appearances will jump to huge numbers if (or when) I write the Academy chapter.

Hope you enjoy it. I don't know how long or short this one is compared to the other chapters, to be perfectly honest. XD

Disclaimer: I own Benjamin Thorn, Catherine Gin, Petunia, and Biscuit Chip.
All the other stuff belongs to Sierra/Radical.
Andelina belongs to ~Sony-Shock
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juanito316ss Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You are so great narrating : D
I wish I was as good narrating (and as creative) as you : D
JenL Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lol Biscut Chip, that's a funny name. I like how he woke Brier with a loud squak. Poor grumpy Ben. =P

Lol hilarious pants antics. =P

This story keeps getting better. You got awesome story telling skills. ^_

Turquoisephoenix Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2008  Student Filmographer
Biscuit Chip is named Biscuit Chip because I was undecided between Biscuit and Chip for Catherine's pet condor and my sister suggested that I stick the two names together. Hence, Biscuit Chip.

He's wearing the pants strictly because of the Mature rating and because there's no telling what Catherine would do if she saw him naked. It's bad enough that she saw him half-naked. XD
silversister Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2008
The whole part in the Cortex Castle was both lovely and saddening... I could feel some serious emotion all happening after another with Bens transfromation back to human and the unfortunate discovery of his weakness. Listening to this while reading kind helped with that, too. 8D

And I dunno, it's kinda perfect left like this IMHO. :) That way, like with good movies that don't give away everything in the end, people can be left to ponder what'll happen next themselves. :D

Fabulous writing, which makes me all the more ashamed about your block...

Never-Ending-Donkey Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2008
Sony-Shock Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
"Mentally, she was cursing Brio for suggesting that Brier should bring pants" I TOTALLY AGREE!! :XD:

Wow! Amazing chapter =D I hope there's a fourth chapter, maybe the coming of Ben to the Academy, it'd be sooooooooo nice!! =D

Really awsome chapter, lots of emotions here, exciting and interesting, I couldn't stop reading this time!!! =D
Turquoisephoenix Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2008  Student Filmographer
And thus, the origin of the Ben/Catherine pairing. She thinks he's hot.

Yeah, I thought this chapter was an improvement over the last one in terms of actual action and excitement. =D
DoomsEye Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2008  Student General Artist
I hope you write an Academy chapter. That would be SO rad.

Just a little pointer on Slash and Ben's relationship: Slash doesn't care if Ben turns into a mutant thing at all. He treats him normally and calls him "Professor Thorn" no matter what form he's in. He simply treats Ben like a fellow human being. I'd like to think that Ben appreciates that bit of normalcy among people who think he looks like a freak.
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