Pharmacognosy Quest (I didn’t quite expect that! – Part 2)

What follows is an odd adventure unlike any other. You won’t find dragons, elves, or any majicky things here. Neither are there any blue-haired Jesii with awesome monstrous/angelic/demonic spawns. You won’t also find yourself with candy people and a  magical talking dog.

For one, this probably isn’t anyone’s cup of tea, and only one person out there would find it remotely interesting.

Eight pesos paid for the ride back to the dormitory.

Seven hours spent in the university.

Six laddles filled with 7-11 Hot Pot soup.

Five copies of Form No. 4a to be signed and filled up.

Four hours before my phone’s battery died.

Three students on the verge of cross-enrolled.

Two people waking the protagonist.

One minute to remember the definition of “agonist”.

THIS IS PHARMACY– No, this is… Pharmacognosy Quest!

The unlikely protagonist, Pax, wakes up earlier than the median time she had been rising at for the past month, in anticipation of her pharmacognosy class. She checks that one virtual pet site she is still active in, replies to just two messages, then prepares herself for The Big Day. She realises that she is running late, however, and begrudgingly takes a tricycle ride, even if it is too rich for her blood (a little over US$1 equivalent.)

She runs to her class as quickly as she can, then slows down as she approaches Room 206. She has been under the tutelage of this professor in the past, and thus, she is very well aware of the fact that she doesn’t tolerate tardiness all that well. If that professor seemed to remember anything from handling her once in her Pharmaceutical Chemistry 1 class, she was almost always late by a few minutes, even if her class was not the first subject she attended. Oh, and she fell asleep way too much, often in the worst possible times, without any predictability (almost setting fire to her own hair by sleeping in front of a Bunsen burner, in one of these occasions.) Perhaps she even thinks this girl is lazy and high on some illegal drug. The student’s thoughts of her professor’s impression of her made her heart race wildly, panicking over her own anticipations of her mentor’s reaction to her arrival. A painful, acidic lump rose to her throat, at the thought of it.

Now, this was the worst time for a panic attack to occur, especially if she knew what lurked behind the door of Room 206 that morning…


The room was only illuminated by the tall glass windows on its left, the chairs in slight disarray, with a faint odour of musky perspiration, possibly a week old. This sight both scared and relieved her. Thinking that something must be amiss, she ran as quickly as she could, to the Department Chair’s office, which was on the opposite corridor–

No, someone did the work for her. It was the Department Chair himself, intercepting her half-way through the first corridor. He was quick to inform her that her pharmacognosy class was dissolved, because there were only four people who enrolled in it. The news was rather shocking to the student, who almost wanted cry upon hearing those words. Upon asking whether the fees she had paid would be refunded, she was instructed to get a “dropping form” from the office of the Dean, to have her status marked as “Officially Dropped”.

She was no stranger to having to drop and change subjects due to unforeseen circumstances, or even mishaps that were beyond her control, but this process appeared to be rather different, the moment that a “blue form” was mentioned.


Figure 1. Form 1 (Registration Form) and the student’s copy of Form 4a (Dropping of Course Form.)

Fast-forward to 2015…

Propelled by an odd impulse to check on social media accounts she had long abandoned, the unlikely protagonist stumbles upon one of her WordPress blogs. Intending to purge unposted drafts from her blog, she rummages through her “Drafts” folder, knowing that there is at least one thing worth publishing.

That’s right. It took almost two years for this post to be published. Pax suddenly thought that her prowess in creative writing may have been better back in 2013, even if a significant amount of time had passed since most of this post was written.


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