Become The Vampire 31
You cradle the empty cup of ramen in your hands and gaze into it. Fenright has been going on for the past few minutes about the fundamental principles of golems, how they're a seamless blend of science and magic, right down to the most basic clay forms that inspired the stories from the Jewish faith.
“It's pretty fascinating, right? I mean, even the crudest understanding of biology and they managed to make simple muscles using lumps of clay.”
You nod your head slightly.
“It's pretty impressive, yeah. Hey, so... I've decided that I want to go with you to the Bizarre, just to be on the safe side. I mean, I'm the one who caused all this, I want to see it through. Plus I want to be there for her, I don't want her to think that I abandoned her or anything.”
You look at Fenright, who seems puzzled by something.
“Alright, you can come with us if it'll satisfy you, but I have two conditions. They're easy ones though. I'm guessing Meliora took you to the Bizarre, so that's how you know about it. Try to keep it a secret if you can, it's not the sort of thing we want everyone knowing about. I'm sure you've seen why, and if you haven't already, you probably will today.
My second condition is that no matter what happens, don't stop it. The person we'll be visiting only has a limited amount of time to see us today, just long enough to do his work and help Athena. If she's in pain or struggles or anything of the sort, let it happen. If we miss this chance then we won't get another shot for a week, and by then her core will be toast.”
You set down the cup and get to your feet.
“I can agree with that.”
You're not sure if you really can, but you know that if you don't say it then there's no way Fenright will let you go along. He smiles and grabs your empty cup, disposing of it along with his own.
“Then let's get moving. She should be ready to go now.”
He pulls out a remote and presses a button on it, and the clear plastic cube slowly dismantles itself, receding into the floor. Athena sits up on the bed and looks over at you, waving weakly. After the suit adjusted itself to her older form it's flopping around again. She gives you a little smile, and you walk over to her while Fenright grabs a fresh lab coat.
“If you wouldn't mind carrying her, that would speed things up a little. We'll be using a transporter pod to get there faster.”
You walk over to Athena and stroke her hair, and she latches onto you for a few moments.
You nod and hold her.
“Rest for a bit. We're gonna make sure you're all better.”
You scoop her up and hold her to your chest as she curls up against you, and when Fenright opens up the capsule you climb inside with her. It's actually pretty roomy, which is strange considering that it looked a lot smaller from the outside. Fenright smiles at you expectantly, like there's some reference that you should be getting that you're missing entirely. You sit down with Athena and Meliora climbs in, moving next to you. Fenright presses a few buttons by the door.
“The process is almost instantaneous, but you might feel a slight tingling sensation. That's natural, it just means that some of your proteins refolded incorrectly during transport and they're being refolded so you don't get poisoned or have a stroke.”
You don't really have a retort for that, so you let it slide. He's obviously survived the process before, because really, who builds a teleportation device and then doesn't immediately test it out? You close your eyes and relax, giving Athena a gentle squeeze. There are a few beeps, and then a sensation like you're being sucked through a straw like your body is a great big juice box, and as your outermost layer turns inside out you see a flicker of darkness and a pale man in a hood that obscures his face.
“Mr. Spencer. What a pleasant-”
Right as you fully register his presence you come to in the alley above the Bizarre. Athena is standing by Fenright while Meliora opens up the passage down. Fenright smiles at you.
“We'll get teleported back automatically in about an hour or so. It's a little bit hard to set precisely. It's like a yo-yo. We conserve energy by tunneling back exactly the way we came. Try to be right around this spot when it happens or you'll be out for a while.”
You nod a bit and brush yourself off, trying to come to grips with what just happened. As Meliora slips down the passage, Athena right behind her, Fenright helps you to your feet.
“And hey... I appreciate you doing this. I mean, it's not exactly a sign of emotional stability or health, but who am I to act like I'm a paragon of... that kind of thing. I get where you're coming from. I just hope that you'll be able to see things the way that I do too. Now try not to get seperated from us, alright?”
He turns and descends, and you head for the ladder when your phone goes off. You check the screen. Jennifer's calling you.
Same system as Become The Dragon Quest. If you don't know what that is, it's best of three d20 rolls. I name a stat that sums up what you're trying to do, and if I don't name a relevant skill, you try to fill in the blank based on what you're trying to accomplish. “Break open the door” might be Strength based, but if you've been playing baseball after school and there's a lead pipe nearby, you could apply your Baseball skill to the roll. A 20 on the die is a crit threat, and if either of the other two rolls is 20 or higher after mods, it's a critical. A crit fail is when you have two or more 1s. So far this system has worked out well enough. We'll get into combat rules as needed, but in basic terms you have wounds, not HP, and the worse the wounds, the more penalties you accrue while doing other things.
Most Important Rule:
You send Jennifer a quick message letting her know that you're in the middle of helping save Athena's life from your own mistake and follow Fenright down, contemplating whether or not you should have called it a “spelling error” or something along those lines. Usually Jennifer would just text you, so you know it's probably something important, but you've got something to take care of right now. When you reach the bottom you follow the same path as last time and find the door wide open already. Meliora glances at you before walking inside, taking Athena's hand. Fenright follows along behind them, and you bring up the rear.
The Bizarre is frantic and busy today, more so than usual, and you almost lose sight of Fenright a few times as you walk along. The shops are all different today, either that or you're in a completely different part of town. Things seemed fairly normal in the last area you went to, but now the paths are full of strange and curious monstrosities that look more like Lovecraftian horrors than the monsters you're used to seeing. You get the nagging feeling you're heading somewhere deeper and darker than before.
Sleuth roll plus Perception, +2
You keep an eye on Fenright while trying to take in the sights and sounds around you. It slowly gets harder and harder to keep track of Fenright around each winding turn and down each twisting passage, and you lose track of him around a sharp bend. When you reach it he's nowhere to be seen, and you curse under your breath.
>Hunt around for him, catch up with the group
>Give up and shop, they'll find you when Athena is alright
>Double back and head for the exit, this isn't a safe place
You glance around quickly and try to remember how you got around last time. When you needed to find Meliora, you just closed your eyes, focused on a path to her, and took a step. You do the same thing, this time focusing on Fenright, Athena and Meliora, and take a few steps. When you open your eyes again you come to a stop outside a strange store. It looks a little like a video game store from the outside, which makes it stick out like a sore thumb. You step inside and find the group talking to a... brain in a jar?
“...so we'd like a rush job before she explodes.”
The liquid inside the jar bubbles and Fenright nods.
“Right, but that just makes it more interesting. And we both know you can't resist a challenge.”
The liquid bubbles again, and Fenright grins.
“Sure, I don't mind at all. You'll be working on her anyway. Just make sure that she's not in any pain and it shouldn't be a problem.”
The jar turns slightly on the counter, the brain shifting a bit and “facing” you before bubbling for a few moments. Fenright looks over his shoulder at you.
“I don't think that's a good idea. He's barely a novice at magic. Plus he's the reason she got damaged. I-”
The liquid bubbles violently as if boiling, and some of it splashes onto the counter. Fenright sighs softly.
“Oliver, C-37 wants to know if you'd like to participate in helping restore Athena. It's probably going to result in you losing a limb in the process, there's a reason he's just a brain in preservative fluid now. He doesn't exactly practice safe magic.”
The brain glows and Fenright is lifted into the air by several inches before being tossed towards the door. He lands with a thud, tumbling a few feet before groaning softly.
“I'm alright, I fell on my science.”
He slumps against the door frame, adjusting his crooked glasses. You get the feeling you don't have much of a choice.
>I'll help, what are we doing?
>I'd rather not get something chopped off
You turn to the jar.
“I'll help. What are we doing?”
The brain glows again, a deep purple color that permeates the liquid in the jar, and it slowly slithers out of its container. The fluid swells and forms into a crude body that makes you think of a swamp monster, and its outer layer turns opaque.
“We. Operate. Extract. Core. Dismantle. Repair. Put. Together. You. Cut. Learn. Understand. I. Teach.”
He turns and heads for the door behind the counter, leaving a series of sticky, slimy footprints in his path that hiss quietly. Meliora walks over to Fenright.
“I'm gonna keep him out of trouble.”
You nod and look at Athena, who quietly takes your hand. She looks nervous. You pat her on the head gently and lead her to the back. The stock room is dimly lit, and C-37 moves a few boxes around revealing strange carvings on the floor. His body melts, filling the etchings, and his brain sits in the center. As the goo glows, the brain levitates, growing a spinal cord, then a crude skeleton, and over the next few seconds the rest of a true body. He stares at you blankly, naked, slightly overweight and balding.
He points to a knife on one of the shelves.
>Get carving, it's for her own good
>I'm not comfortable taking a knife to my own daughter
>Athena, can you expose your core for us?
Well yea. Really, we learned Location and Quantity, and that the lesser runes that set the definitions for the spell write themselves according to what pur subconscious feels is right.
My immediate thought was an impact triggered spell that teleports a liter hemisphere of whatever we hit 3 meters straight up.
You look at the knife for a moment, then at Athena.
“Athena, can you expose your core for us?”
Athena nods and unzips the front of her suit a few inches, closing her eyes tightly and plunging her hand into her chest. She whimpers quietly as her chest slowly opens, revealing the metallic core within. C-37 looks at you without a flicker of emotion, before levitating the knife over to you and attempting to force the handle into your hands.
“Athena. Deactivate. Limp. Stabilize. Oliver. Extract. Manually. Now.”
You look at the knife, then at Athena. She opens her eyes and looks at you, turning towards you.
“It's alright, Daddy...”
Her wound closes slowly and her eyes go dull as she slumps against you, core glowing a bit brighter as it slowly vanishes from view.
“Safe. Harmless. Extract.”
>I can't do this to her
>There's got to be another way
>I'll do it. To save her, whatever it takes.
You ease Athena to the ground and look at C-37. He's just watching you, staring blankly, like he connected just enough nerves together to be able to see but not enough to express actual emotion. You grip the knife tightly and carefully make the first cut. There's no reaction from Athena, not even a trickle of blood, and you struggle your way through the rest of the process, slowly removing her core from her chest. Her body turns to red, rotting goo in moments. The suit does an admirable job of containing the odor, but it still leaks through.
C-37's eyes glow brightly and the core is ripped from your hands, hovering in front of him. Slowly it begins to come apart into sections, layer after layer of interconnecting components. At the very heart of Athena's core is a glowing sphere, barely an inch across, that resembles an orb of sputtering electricity. C-37 looks at it for a few moments.
“Irreparable. Hopeless. Discard. Replace.”
C-37's arm raises slightly and the orb drifts towards you.
“New. Required. You. Make. Now.”
His arm lowers again. You have no idea how to make one of these things, or even what it is.
>Try your best to fix it
>Ask what the heck it is
>Admit that you can't do it
>See if you can buy a replacement
You use your telekinesis to pull the orb closer and sit down, looking at it.
“I have no idea what this is or how to make one, but I can try... What is this, anyway?”
C-37 stands there for a few moments in silence, before shuddering slightly.
“Primary reaction chamber. Converts magic into other forms of energy and fuel. Leaking magic into other spells, overloading them. Needs to be replaced, cannot be repaired. New body does not require fuel or electricity, only calories. Incompatible with new form.”
You cradle it in your hands for a moment, trying to get a feel for how the spell works, but he's pretty accurate. It's like a black hole, drawing magic in to process it. There's no telling precisely what spells go into making one of these, or how altering them will affect any other part of her core. No wonder your rune magic caused so much chaos.
>Rune magic time
>Couldn't we just buy a new one from someone if this is what needs replacing?
>I don't know where to begin. I can't do this.
Rolled 14 (1d20)
Mom doesn't have the power for this, And I doubt Dracula would care enough to intervene. We've haven't broken the big G's laws so he miiiiight help us out if we're lucky.
>We've haven't broken the big G's laws
Why do you think Athena will be reaped if she leaves town?
We created false life, why would he help us with that? Zeke works for big G, he's not an ally in this quest
>Why do you think Athena will be reaped if she leaves town?
Because as Angie put it, Zeke is an overzealous asshole who enjoys his work too much. He LIKES killing monsters which is why this place is a no fly zone for him. Remember the devil was an angel too, he just twisted his purpose too much.
You bite your finger gently and place your hand on the ground.
“I'm gonna be using rune magic, just so you know.”
C-37 just stands there, expressionless as usual, and you focus on the task at hand. You don't know how to make it from scratch, so step one is trying to work out what makes this thing tick. You let your mind wander, focusing on covering as many bases as you can, and you cast the spell. The sphere comes apart all at once, releasing a cloud of blue mist, but as it collapses and breaks apart you spot a few important details. There were layers to it, magic being drawn in, made denser and pushed outwards before being converted into other things.
You crack your knuckles and focus on the first layer, something to draw magic in. Then the next one. Then the next. It takes time, and you're pretty sure you're running on luck more than skill, but when it begins to spark and crackle, leaking out a constant trickle of gooey, sugary syrup you smile to yourself. It's incredibly crude, probably inefficient as hell, and you have no idea if it'll remain stable, but you managed it without burning yourself out. Who said this rune magic stuff was difficult?
“Pathetic. It must be larger and produce more energy. It's also too unstable, it will explode in approximately five minutes.”
C-37's eyes glow and the sphere crackles a bit before shattering into pieces.
You look at the fragments of the spells you made as they dissipate into nothingness. Alright, so rune magic is still difficult and you're still in the 'potentially blowing yourself off the face of the planet with every other spell' stage, but that was uncalled for.
>I had it right, you're the one who broke it. You fix it.
>I just wasn't finished. Let me do it again.
>What's the reason you're making me do this? Didn't Fenright hire you for this?
You sigh softly.
“I just wasn't finished with it yet. Let me start over, I can do this.”
C-37 steps closer.
“Can you? Are you able to do this simple task? It is a fundamental transmutation, magic into matter. Conjuring substances from nothing but pure energy. An apprentice can create the reaction chamber of a golem core in moments. You use rune magic spells that would kill you without a second thought and blindly fling your energy around. You succeeded, for an instant, because you made it just stable enough to not collapse the moment the pieces fit together. I will ask again. Can you do this?”
There's a hint of expressiveness in his voice, derision, smug superiority. But right at the end he sounds almost concerned, curious about your capabilities, as though he's worried about your development, or perhaps your confidence.
>Throw in the towel, let him handle it
>Ask him for guidance, try again
>Make one last attempt on your own
>Ask him for guidance, try again
I've never done this before and I started practicing magic like a few weeks ago. I'll keep trying but some help from a true master would be wonderful.
You look at the drifting components of Athena's core for a moment before turning to C-37.
“I want to do this myself, but I need some help. Please.”
C-37's eyes glow brightly and his eyes dim slightly. You suddenly feel a pressure inside your head, and it's as though your sight is drifting further away from you, like you're watching something on a screen.
“Observe. Feel. Understand. I will guide the head and hands, you will control the flow of energy. Feel the way that I move it and sculpt it. There is no need for a rune spell.”
You watch as your hands weave through the air, and you match the flow of energy with the pressure. When C-37 squeezes your mind, you push the magic hard, feeling the way that he manipulates the energy. It's like he's running your magic through a filter or something, each pass transforming it into something slightly different. With each pass he takes a portion of it and forms the next layer of the core, until at last a glowing orb dripping with honey is hovering between your hands. It looks almost like a tiny sun, except for the fact that you're not blind.
C-37's eyes glow and the orb moves to the center of the core, and they slowly reassemble themselves, locking into place. You sit there watching for a few moments, trying to readjust to the strange sensations in your body. It's like how when you learned fire magic for the first time you suddenly felt like you could do anything, except now it's conjuring stuff. You know that if you try you'll probably just pass out, but it's a good feeling. Progress.
As Athena's core floats back into the suit the odor begins to fade away, her core drawing in all the sludge and forming a new body. She sits there for a few moments, breathing and staring up at the ceiling. She smells vaguely of honey, along with a faint, familiar odor that you can't place. She sits up and turns to you.
She smiles and tackles you, hugging tightly.
You embrace her, holding her close, and C-37's body turns to purple mist, the brain floating back towards the front of the store and the slime flowing out of the cracks in the floor, following behind it. Athena giggles.
“I'm all better now. Thank you.”
You smile to yourself.
“Yep. I fixed you up. I had some help, but...”
Your vision becomes slightly blurry. That spell put you right at the edge of burning out, and being in the Bizarre, with all its strange magics, probably isn't going to be the wisest choice right now.
>Let's shop a bit before we leave, somewhere less strange
>Let's head back up and kill time while we wait for the teleport
You slowly get to your feet with Athena's help and smile at her.
“Let's head somewhere a bit safer... I wanna browse around a little bit.”
Athena nods and smiles, walking out to the front. You follow behind her and spot Meliora and Fenright. Fenright gives you a funny look, smiling after a moment.
“Huh. So you didn't blow up. I should probably trust you more. Then again, knowing C-37, he probably took over your part too, right? He's really hard to please.”
He laughs a bit, even as he's lifted into the air, and stops right as he's being pulled back for another throw.
“Take a joke, will you!?”
Meliora grabs his wrist and pulls him back towards the ground.
“If that concludes our business then we should leave.”
You shrug slightly.
“I wanted to shop a bit, we've got a bit of time, right?”
Meliora sighs softly.
“If you're shopping then do it alone. We need to get Athena somewhere safe and away from prying eyes before anyone gets a good look at her or her spells.”
You nod a bit and look over at the jar, giving a half-bow. The liquid bubbles gently in response.
>I'll go it alone, I'll meet you up top. I just want to have a look around.
>Let's go up then, we can kill time in the alley
>One of you should come with me so I don't get lost. Meliora?
You sigh softly.
“Let's head up then. We can kill time in the alley while we wait, right? I don't want any unnecessary risks right now.”
“See? He can be taught.”
She chuckles a bit and Athena giggles.
“Daddy's like a puppy then?”
Meliora shakes her head.
“More like a cat. You need to spray him with water when he gets out of hand or gets into trouble.”
Athena nods and looks at you before puffing out her cheeks a bit. Then she sprays water out of her mouth at you, knocking you to the ground with the force of the stream. She laughs and prances around you.
You sit there for a few moments.
“Yes. Yes, you did.”
You stand up and the water vanishes almost instantly. Athena grabs your hand and pulls you towards the door.
She drags you along, Fenright and Meliora walking behind you, and you smile to yourself. Today hasn't been so bad after all. You sigh softly and look up from Athena just in time to see the person she's about to collide with.
“Come on, Daddy, this way!”
She thugs into Stephen, who looks you in the eye.
“I see that not paying attention to where you're going runs in your family, Oliver.”
He chuckles and crouches down, patting Athena on the head. She looks at him warily, moving behind you and peering around you at him. Stephen rises to his full height once more.
“It's a good thing I found you. I could use an extra pair of hands with somehing.”
>Sorry, I have family matters to take care of
>Meliora, get Athena somewhere safe for me
>What do you need, Stephen? I'm more than happy to help the pack.
You pat Athena on the head gently.
“What do you need, Stephen? How can I help the pack out?”
Meliora and Fenright move to your side, and Meliora gently takes Athena's hand. You look over at them and nod a bit.
“I'll be right behind you guys.”
Meliora smirks at you.
“You better be.”
She turns and walks off, leading Athena away, with Fenright right behind them both. Stephen points down one of the passages.
“There's a store down this way that I take issue with. Trafficking in humans is one thing, they're a food source for certain species of monster. I can't exactly take issue with that in this town. But I take issue with someone trying to sell a pair of werewolves as pets. I'd like some additional help bringing this shop down. I've already gotten support from the other clans, representatives will be arriving shortly, but I think that every little bit counts, don't you agree?”
>This sounds like a 'you' problem to me.
>I'm on a time limit before I get teleported away, but I'll do what I can
>Can I say that I'll help in the way that means I support your idea but don't actually do anything?
>What are we waiting for? Justice must be served.
You nod slightly.
“I'm on a time limit that I can't control before I get snatched away by a spell, but I'll do what I can to help out.”
Stephen nods and smiles at you.
“Excellent. The most important task falls to you then. The owner of the shop has a number of items meant for controlling, commanding or manipulating werewolves, which are being used to enslave the pair that are in there. We can overwhelm him with numbers without issue, but if you can destroy or get rid of any of his tricks, it'll make our job a lot easier.”
>You want a thief? I can be a thief.
>I get to break magical things? Awesome.
>Maybe something else would be better suited for me
>Couldn't I just walk into his shop and miscast a rune magic spell?
“You mean I get to steal things, break magical stuff and sneak around? Stephen, you've picked the right man for the job.”
Stephen laughs heartily and guides you along by the shoulder.
“Perhaps. I had a feeling that you'd enjoy the challenges involved.”
After a brief walk he leads you to a shop that looks fairly plain and ordinary, aside from the cages out front. A man stands at a podium, pointing with his cane at one of the cages, which contains two people, a man and a woman, with thick black collars around their necks and nothing else on.
“Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, a one-time, exclusive offer! Live and in captivity, get your very own werewolves! Ideal guard dogs, hardy torture victims or simply entertainment, get your very own today!”
He snaps his fingers and you can see black gemstones on the collars turning pale silver, the color of moonlight. Both of them shudder and squirm, before howling, transforming completely and clawing at the cage, growling and barking at people passing by. You can almost feel the anger radiating off of Stephen.
“Take whatever approach you see fit.”
He turns and walks off, leaving you to figure out the rest on your own.
>Walk right up and buy them, problem solved
>Go inside the shop and look around, scout the objectives
>Sneak into the store and look for stuff to swipe
>Talk to that man, distract him and lead him inside
You walk right past the man and into the store itself. It makes you think of a furniture store, or one of those arts and crafts stores with all the weird stuff everywhere, except for the fact that there are cages along every wall with people locked up. Most of them look at you vacantly, broken inside, while others shake the bars and call out to you, pleading for help. You meander around, trying not to let their cries get to you. It doesn't work as well as you'd hoped.
Most of the items on display seem purely cosmetic. It's like the people being sold are merely ornaments waiting to be bought and put on display, either alive or torn apart and sculpted into something else. You find a book on making skull thrones, and another on properly carving a roasted human for the most appealing presentation.
Finally you make it to the back counter, where a short man in colorful clothing sits on a stool, presiding over a glass case full of various items. Most of them are for controlling humans, but there's a section on the end with a full moon symbol on the front, full of collars, a few rods similar to the cane the man out front had, and a necklace of some sort.
>Ask him about the items
>Smash and grab
>Talk to him about acquiring some slaves
You peer into the case, admiring the different items on display, before looking at the man.
“So what do all these things do? I'm guessing they're for the slaves or something?”
He nods, smiling.
“Correct. There are three important factors to consider when dealing with slaves. Escape attempts, violence, and obedience. We have a wide array of tools to meet every need. Unfortunately our selection for our new werewolf department is still small, but I'm devising new and interesting control mechanisms for their malleable minds that bypass their resistance to physical magic.
For now, we have standard control collars that can also force them to change forms on command, control rods for remote manipulation, and a necklace crafted from lunar rock that force a werewolf to act as though it were the full moon. After all, what's the fun of buying a bitch if you don't get to ravage her, right?”
He laughs, and you laugh along with him, trying to make it sound genuine.
>Can I see the necklace and collars? I was considering getting a werewolf.
>Mind showing me a few of your favorites?
>Deck him, swipe shit, run
thank god we can still start fires like an idiot
I like that, the moment Oliver knows he doesn't have time for this shit, he'll solve it in the simplest way possible.
You look at him for a few moments. Lots of fabric. Highly flammable. You pull out your lighter and make a motion like you're about to light a cigarette when he holds up his hand.
“No smoking in the store, sir.”
You light the flame.
“No? That's a shame.”
You sigh dramatically, focusing as you inhale and pointing the lighter at him. You let the magic flow down your arm, emptying the rest of your reserve and pushing yourself to the brink of burn out. The flame leaps forward, swelling and forming a crude cone of flame. You don't have nearly enough magic to burn him to a crisp, but you did manage to light his robes on fire. He screams and bats at the flames, shrieking in pain. You feel pretty dizzy now, but you're still conscious.
>Grab stuff and run for it
>Flee now and give a signal to Stephen
>Finish him off
>Investigate behind the counter, look for a back room
Well, if we could use air we'd choke him out, but fire is all we know.
Boss, would you rather we just punch it out? Cause that's plan B
>Failed to secure the magic items like we were supposed too
Nah, we were just told to do our thing. Stephen Just wanted us to cause havoc and help destroy this place.
>Not burnt out
>We were tough before the suit, chico
>We'll see, it hasn't been that long yet.
You look at the man for a moment as your laughter dies. You've had a hell of a day, and this place is the icing on the cake. You jump over the counter and grab him by the collar, punching him in the face. It feels visceral and a little cathartic, and you smack him around as the fire spreads across his clothes. You watch for a few moments, panting hard and staring at his bloodied face as he struggles to try to douse himself or snuff out the flames. For a brief moment you can see clearly through the sadistic glee, through the knee-jerk desire to punish the wicked.
You tear yourself away from him and stare at your hands. It had been a thrill to beat him, to enact justice on even the shakiest of grounds. He's a slaver, he sells people for a living and comes up with ways to control him. It's not like it was a bad deed. But the delight you took in smashing his face in makes you shudder. You didn't kill him, or at least, you didn't beat him to death, but the fire will take care of that at this rate. You don't know how much time you have left.
>Grab what you came for
>Look for a workshop, try to find his spellbooks
You rush to the case with the collars, necklace and control rods and kick the glass, shattering it. Alarms start going off and you grab the lot, stuffing the rods into one pocket, the collars into the other and putting on the necklace. Nothing happens right away, and you pause to consider that maybe you've got more time than you thought. Fenright did say it wasn't necessarily accurate.
>Run out of here before you get caught by security
>Head for the back room and barricade yourself in while you wait
>Resume senseless violence
we were fucked from the start, boys
You run into the back of the shop, looking for a workshop or something similar. You find a concealed passage that leads further into the shop, and you follow it until you reach a workroom filled with tools, books and vials of various fluids. You rummage around a bit and try to find something heavy to push in front of the door before settling on the desk. You give it a shove and manage to hurt your shoulders, before setting the chair in front of the door knob to prevent it from being turned.
The table along one of the walls is covered in various stones, crystals and carved totems, and there's a shelf full of various books. Most of them are in other languages, but you can make out a few titles. “Draconic Magic and You”, “Arcane Tattoo Design”, “The Practical Guide to Artifice” and a few nonsense titles like “Pants”. You can take only what you can carry with both arms, and even then you have to be careful what you teleport back to the others with.
>Books are always handy. Grab a few random ones
>Crystals for deep magic and some carving tools
>Grab some vials, they could be useful for stuff
>Search for secret treasure
You load up with a few of the titles you can actually read, as well as a few in Latin in the hopes of good fortune, when you feel the tug of the teleportation spell. You can feel the pile begin to slip through your fingers and you make a desperate grab for two of the books as you're ripped away from the store.
You see a brief glimpse of the pale man again, except this time he doesn't speak. As you crash back into reality you hit the ground with a thud. The teleportation capsule is empty, and you look around. The room is dark, and there's no sign of Fenright, Meliora or Athena. You check your phone, and after taking a moment to sync with local time Miniora informs you that you spent three hours in transit due to the strange geometry of the Bizarre.
Damn it all.
>Inspect your loot first and foremost
>Check in on Jennifer
>Try to contact Stephen
>Try to find Meliora and the others
You carry the books over to one of the tables and sit down to look over your haul. You set out the collars, a good half dozen of them, along with the control rods. Each rod is marked, and the marks match to a different collar. One of them is missing a control rod though. You've also got the necklace that makes werewolves act like it's the full moon, which you set by the collars. Then you turn your attention to the books.
The first one is about making arcane tattoos, a school of magic all about making spells similar to rune magic, except that the runes are applied to the skin and made permanent, so that the spells can be recast over and over again with ease. It's a lot more flexible and interpretive than rune magic, with more room for being creative to conceal the spells more easily, and the sigils and glyphs are all listed in the book itself.
The second one is a battered copy of something called “Witch's Brew: A Guide to Potions and Party Drinks”. It's some sort of recipe book for mixed drinks, alchemical concoctions and weird party tricks relating to magic. The inside of the cover lists other titles in the series, including one about making potions into candies. The title is scratched out, but it could be fun to make a chocolate bar that mends wounds.
You sit back in your chair for a moment and take out your phone while trying to figure out what to do with all this stuff. On the one hand, you should probably destroy most of this stuff before it falls into the wrong hands. On the other hand, it could prove useful if ever you need to take out a group of werewolves. There's probably a way to make the collars attach themselves to werewolves from afar or something.
You send a message to Sammy to pass along to Stephen that you made it out alright and to ask about what happened, before calling Meliora up to ask her about where she is. After a few moments she picks up, and you recline a bit further.
“So where are you guys?”
“I'm at the room with Athena right now, we've been waiting for you to emerge from the teleporter. All your limbs intact, I hope? Jennifer's stuff is gone, and there's no sign of her.”
You blinks and look at the stuff on the table for a moment. No, she wouldn't have had time to call if she were being kidnapped. Would she? You sigh softly.
>Search around for her
>She'll turn up eventually, it's fine
>Get back to your room and drop off your loot before you get caught with it
>Stash the stuff somewhere safe that isn't your room
“I'm gonna give her a call and check in on her, make sure that she's alright.”
“Fair enough. See you later.”
You hang up and dial Jennifer's number, but after a single ring a recorded message tells you that the number has been disconnected. She got a burner phone, but those don't just die spontaneously. Do they? You're not sure. You hope that she got the job and just moved out, that the burner phone expired, and that you're not about to go from one panicked situation to another.
You pack up the collars, control rods, books and the necklace into the nearest tool bag, slipping it over your shoulder and adjusting the strap a bit. A glance at your phone tells you that it's mid afternoon, which gives you a few hours to try to figure out what's going on. Maybe Fenright knows where she is if she's a new member of staff or something. You nod to yourself, trying to stay reassured about the situation.
>Head back to your room to drop off stuff and get Fenright's number
>Call Meliora back on your way to drop off the bag somewhere hidden
>Head back to the room and trust that things are fine
We should talk to Stephen about getting off campus dorms near school. We could move all our allies in, and build our own magic lab. I'm starting to think our dorm room won't be big enough, unless we can figure out a way to make it bigger on the inside.
>Head back to your room to drop off stuff and get Fenright's number
If Jennifer was kidnapped by anyone, it'd be the Wolfes. It's more likely she just moved out as part of her job though.
You head back to your room and head inside to find the place is a bit of a mess. The couch looks like it's falling apart, and the various cushions that went with it are now integrated completely into a fort. You set the bag down on your bed as quickly as you can, tucking it under your blanket, and look at the fort. You can see the vague shapes of Meliora and Athena under one of the blankets, and you walk over, slipping under to join them.
Athena tackles you, smiling broadly. Meliora blushes softly, setting down the plastic tea cup she had been holding.
“Hi there. Did you manage to call her?”
You shake your head and hug Athena, turning her so she's sitting on your lap while you hold her.
“Nope, which is why I'm here. I think she might have left because she got the job, so I need to talk to your dad and see if he knows anything.”
Meliora's eyes glow and your phone dings.
“Well, you've got his number now. Have fun with that.”
You nod and take out your phone.
>Call here and cuddle Athena
>Head off for a bit, in case you need to have a private talk
>Call here and cuddle Athena
Daughter just got better. No reason to just up and abandon her. Jennifer probably just realised how crowded our room is now and decided to give us space
You dial Fenright's number and wait. He picks up on the second ring.
You smile a bit.
“Hey there, Oliver here. I was calling to see if you knew anything about the new math teacher? Apparently the position just got filled or something?”
There's a pause.
“I mean, it did, but how in the world did you know that?”
You sigh and nod to yourself.
“A hunch. Do you know who it is?”
“Jennifer Wolfe...? I'm gonna be showing her around the school tonight to help her learn her way around once she gets done with her orientation. Ah, I remember mine... The screaming, the maddening torment of having my entire life laid out in front of total strangers to see if I was a danger to students... I still have the scars.”
>Mind if I tag along for the tour? Let me know when it's going on.
>That's all I needed to know. Thanks, Fenright.
>I wouldn't bother, she already knows the school well enough
>Wait, what? Screaming? Scars?
>The screaming, the maddening torment of having my entire life laid out in front of total strangers to see if I was a danger to students... I still have the scars.”
....perhaps...we should have seen what all being staff at this school entails before we just threw her out there.
I'm gonna be pissed if we just sent her into magical slavery.
“That's all I needed to know, actually. Thanks Fenri-”
You pause for a moment and glance at Athena.
“What was that last part? Something about... screaming?”
Fenright chuckles a bit.
“Yeah, standard protocol is half an hour of intensive torture and mental conditioning so that you can stand up to some of the worst things a student can do to you. If you can't hold yourself together but they still want to hire you then they might just put you under special protection, otherwise you get canned right off the bat. I've got a spell etched into the flesh of my back that makes me immune to mind control, for instance. It's just below the skin and then healed over. Or they just find a way to make sure that their control of you can overwhelm whatever control a student might get.”
You feel that sick sensation in your stomach again. Jennifer is tough in terms of her physical stamina, but you have no idea if her mental fortitude can hold out the same way, and she'd heal any spell scarred into her skin to protect her mind.
>Can I come along for the tour? When is it gonna be?
>Thanks for the heads up
>Athena, daddy needs to go play hero for a bit. Be back soon.
>Focus on Athena and Meliora, trust in Jennifer to endure
....i told you all we needed to come up with a way to shield her mind.
>Focus on Athena and Meliora, trust in Jennifer to endure
We didn't force her into this, and she likely knew what she was getting into. We'll just comfort her after the fact. We're completely on fumes rn, no way to play hero successfully
>Can I come along for the tour? When is it gonna be?
>Focus on Athena and Meliora, trust in Jennifer to endure
Yeah, I really doubt our ability to oppose...whatever runs the school. It'd probably just result in death or expulsion.
Well the only way to do that that we know of right now would be the absolute loyalty spell...which would be a student's control they couldn't overwhelm, automatically disqualifying her from the position and possibly resulting in further bad shit.
“...When is this tour going to be, exactly? And can I come along? I mean, she's going to be my new math teacher, I should probably meet her.”
“Hmm. I don't see the harm in it. It'll be in an hour or so, give or take. I'll be meeting her at the library once she gets out of her orientation and they have a chance to make sure that she's properly secure.”
“Thanks. I'll see you there.”
You pocket your phone and turn your attention to Athena and Meliora, trying to relax. You join in the tea party and goof off, trusting Jennifer to endure, or at least hang in there long enough to pass. You'll comfort her after the fact, you decide. The next hour passes too quickly for your liking, both because of what you might be facing in a few minutes and because time flies when you're having fun. Your phone buzzes to let you know it's time to go right around the time that Athena is beating you at a video game without you holding back for the first time.
>Time to go see what's up with Jennifer
>Grab the necklace on the way out
>Snag a collar, just in case
>Bring something silver
>Let her go do her thing with Fenright, see her tomorrow
That's partly because we never researched ways to do it.
But being mind controled is Jennifer's fetish. I don't think they're going to accept her.
We should get the Wolfes to give us a building for magical practice & research, and gets Stephen to assign her as our assistant, she's better than us at the book stuff, after all. (assuming the job falls through)
It makes a wolf act like the moon is full. Yes, she'll be horny, but all her other powers will peak too, healing, vicious killer strength, etc. It's a double edged sword of a gift, but something she could use as a last ditch tool.
Yes it has, by QM. Full moon is when they're closest to their wolf half, new moon is when they're weakest and at their most human. It was...thread 8 or 9 i believe. Hunter's info on werewolves
You pat Athena on the head and give her a kiss on the forehead before heading out to meet with Fenright. He's by the library, but there's no sign of Jennifer. As you walk over he waves and smiles.
“Hey there. I guess we're just waiting on her now. I've heard some pretty awesome things about her from the other members of staff. Apparently she's really pretty, and clever too.”
You nod slightly.
“I've met her before. She's my friend Sammy's mom.”
Fenright looks at you for a moment.
“Uh... Hey, not to alarm you, but they don't normally hire the parent of an enrolled student without special circumstances. I built Meliora specifically to be a student and had to sign all kinds of forms that I wouldn't give her special treatment, and part of her core programming is to reject any handouts from me on principle unless there's good reason to accept it. I think that might be part of why she... Anyway, the point is that-”
The sound of heels clicking against the floor begins moving toward you, and you look down the hall at Jennifer as she walks over. Her suit is crisp and clean, her glasses look different and she has a small notebook in one hand. The most striking thing is the necklace though, mostly because of the jet-black stone hanging off of it and the curious symbol that seems to be etched on it. The rather familiar symbol.
“Professor Fenright, I presume. Is this a student of yours?”
She looks at you, icy and impassive. There's not even a hint of recognition in her expression, even by her standards. Her gaze drifts back to Fenright, who coughs discretely.
“As I was saying, Oliver, lab safety is very important. Sometimes you can't just sign paperwork and hope for the best. Sometimes you have to be absolutely sure there won't be any accidents. I'm sorry, but a piece of paper won't be enough.”
>See if Jennifer has really forgotten you.
>Play along, maybe it's an act.
>Point out the necklace, ask about it
>Walk away, can't deal with this
A werewolf's powers stay fairly consistent regardless of the phase of the moon if they can control when they shift. Uncontrolled curses are dependent on the phase of the moon, for obvious reasons.
You nod slightly.
“I get it, professor, but I still don't like it. I mean, it's way too restrictive.”
You turn to Jennifer and smile.
“Hi there. You're Professor Wolfe, right? Professor Fenright was just talking to me about you. Nice necklace. It kinda suits you. Where did you get it? I kinda wanna get one for someone I know.”
Jennifer blinks, peering at you as though a speck of dirt came to life and started speaking to her.
“Pardon? My necklace is a one-of-a-kind gift, I have no idea where it came from. It's a memento of the person who gave it to me, since they've long-since passed away. You'd have better luck searching the internet to find someone to make you a cheap imitation.”
She turns back to Fenright, who withers under her gaze a bit.
“I believe you're my escort for my tour of the school. Do you intend to stand here all night long, or shall we proceed?”
Fenright tries to brush it off with a chuckle, but he winds up choking up a bit and coughing.
“Right this way.”
He turns and walks off, giving you an empathetic look as he leads Jennifer off.
>Tag along, you did ask if you could come
>Try to find the main office to find the rod
>Swipe the necklace from her
>Head back to your room for now
I'm not normally the guy that's pessimistic. They probably have all kinds of magical wards for detection and blocking physical matter and a killswitch on the rod itself if it's used by anyone outside of the higher ups. It seems like a sensible assumption to me.
>when it's meant to protect the teacher
It's more meant to ensure that the people who run the school control them and, just as importantly if not moreso, that none of the students can. Doesn't seem like they care as much about the actual teacher as their own stranglehold.
You watch them head off for a few moments before heading off on your own, following the route Jennifer came from to try and find the control rod for her necklace, or at least someone who you can talk to about this mess. As you meander through the halls, heading for the central office, you try to run through the vague plan in your head. Obviously the control rod will be under heavy guard, or at least some kind of security, so just storming in won't help, but maybe you can get a decent idea of what happened so you can try to reverse it.
When you reach the main office you spot Kim standing guard outside a door that, aside from her presence, doesn't strike you as particularly important. You use Miniora to check the map of the school but there shouldn't be a door there at all, and if there is, it leads to the small gap between the principle's office and the main office itself. You pause for thought and check the floors above and below. There's a space in the basement right around that spot, so perhaps there's a stairway leading down. You just need to find a way past Kim first.
>Turn back for now
>Strike up a conversation with Kim
>Commit a crime, run off and double back for the door
>Tell Kim you spotted some criminal scum somewhere
If that is true, we jave a moral obligation to taje the rod, at least long enough to insure that any and all changes were Jennifer's choice, and give her a backdoor command as a way out should she ever want it.
If they're as paranoid and preparative as I am, which they really should be, the leader would have a secondary killswitch to detonate in the event that a student acquires the rod but does not detonate the killswitch from one outside of the board of directors (or whoever 'they' are), or a recall spell that instantly teleports it back to them.
You stroll up to Kim casually and smile.
“Hey there, officer. Keeping everyone out of trouble?”
Kim turns and salutes you.
“Evening, citizen. Yes, I'm keeping a silent vigil on the halls tonight. This is my appointed station, for reasons that I can't disclose to you.”
You nod slowly.
“I see. Well, can you disclose things about that assassin from the other day?”
Kim sighs softly.
“Unfortunately my interrogation efforts were met with significant resistance on account of her being dead, but I was able to acquire some key evidence from the body that will crack the case wide open.”
Kim glances around briefly.
“By the by, since I recently lost my partner due to him being the worst kind of criminal scum and getting himself expelled, I'm in the market for a new partner. Would you be willing to interview for it? I could deputize you and everything, get you a badge, your own desk in the main office for handling student complaints, and even access to the teacher's lounge.”
>Can I be “Officer Spencer”? Or just “Deputy Spencer”?
>I'll have to think about it.
>It's not really my calling, sorry.
>Look over there, students behaving inappropriately oh no you just missed it
Or both, in case the rod is somewhere teleport-proof but Jennifer's brain could still be liquefied.
Who said they cared about consent after the orientation had begun?
If they do, then Jennifer did agree to this and everything that came with it, so we have no right to steal her control rod, which could cost her her job (as a student bypassed the safety precaution) and result in us being killed or expelled.
>I'll have to think about it.
>What was the evidence if you can tell me? Kinda need to know if someone's going to send more assassins my way.
>Look over there, students behaving inappropriately oh no you just missed it
“I'll give it some thought. I won't say yes right away though, mostly because I don't know for sure what I'm getting myself into.”
Kim nods slightly.
“A wise choice. Not everyone is cut out for a life upholding the law. Defending the innocent, stomping out crime with extreme prejudice, getting credit for all your classes while never attending a single one because you have a pact with the principle that lets you protect the law at all times...”
Kim blinks, then points a finger at you.
“You will forget the mention of my pact, citizen. Although it is a totally sweet benefit to being a hall monitor and you should definitely look into it. You spat fire at someone during a high-speed chase, and I commend your go-getter attitude towards taking down criminals.”
She clears her throat and resumes gazing down the hall.
>I heard some students were partying at the gym. I'll hold the fort here for you.
>Head off, nothing else to see here.
>Try to find another way into the hidden room
>What was the evidence if you can tell me? Kinda need to know if someone's going to send more assassins my way.
>I heard some students were partying at the gym. I'll hold the fort here for you.
>>I heard some students were partying at the gym. I'll hold the fort here for you.
Thank you for the compliment. I'd heard a rumor...(above)...if all you are doing is making sure that nothing happens in this area I can watch if for your while you deal with that EXTREMELY ILLEGAL GATHERING.
You nod and smile.
“You've given me a compliment, so let me return the favor. I was planning to keep this a secret from people because I didn't know if it was against the rules or not but I trusted the people involved. I heard there's a party tonight in the gym. An illegal one, against school rules. At least, I'm not sure if it is or not. But if it is, I'd rather come clean about it than risk guilt by association.”
Kim's hair stands on end and she looks at you. You can almost see her eyes sparkling.
She reaches into her pocket and slaps your chest, pinning a badge to you.
“You're officially deputized. Watch the halls.”
She turns and starts running off.
You look at the badge for a moment before poking it. You're an official deputy hall monitor, and it's exactly as thrilling as it seems. You look at the door for a moment.
>Open the door, go down a floor, everybody walk the... Just go downstairs sensibly.
>Stand guard, you are now the law
>Abandon your post
You turn to the door and wrap your hand around the knob. Your badge glows and you hear a soft click as the door unlocks. Huh. You push the door open slowly and gaze down the stairs for a moment before carefully descending into the darkness. There's no light or illumination, and no obvious light switch, so you take out your lighter and head down carefully. The stairs swiftly transition from wood to stone brick, and finally to natural stone, and the descent takes you several long minutes to traverse.
When you finally reach the end you find yourself in a large stone chamber. In the center sits a large basin of some sort with strange, squirming goo in the center, a mass that resembles bubblegum-pink flesh more than anything else. Around the edges of the room are a series of six doors, and there's a shelf with several bottles of various sizes as well as a few rods of various types. One of them looks like the control rod for Jennifer's collar.
>Snatch the rod and get out of here
>Investigate the goo
>Check the doors
>Examine the bottles
>Snatch the rod and get out of here.
>Quickly scribble a note "Honestly, what did you think was gonna happen?" and leave that in its place.
I honestly don't know what the schoolboard was thinking. It's US.
Because I hope it does something interesting so this 'mission' isn't just a clear shot to the rod with two easy passes.
Which is clearly just a way for the QM to insert Jennifer's shitty fetish into our hands after we voted not to use that one spell on her and didn't take the collar or necklace.
You walk towards the basin and peer at the goo for a few moments. It wouldn't be here if it wasn't important, and it's between you and your objective. You wonder idly if it's some sort of security measure, or a torture device. When eyes form along the entirety of its exterior, all pointing at you, you back away while considering the possibility that it's both.
The voice echoes in your head, a confident, masculine voice. It's almost fatherly.
“I don't believe we've had the pleasure of introductions. My true name would ruin what passes for human sanity, but I am the dean of this school. You may call me Dean Winchester. It's a joke. You're a hunter, and... Nevermind. I recently ate the mind of a female student who dug too deeply into the wrong sort of secrets and she had been writing nothing but Supernatural fanfiction for a week straight instead of her assignments before that.”
You feel a surge of magical energy pass through you, heading right for your head, but you manage to ward it off. There's a chuckle.
“Oh? Feisty. Interesting. Well, you don't need to tell me why you're down here, curiosity is reason enough for a human to do anything, isn't that right? But if you tell me what you're after, perhaps we can come to an arrangement. I'm more than happy to negotiate. It's the purpose of my existence, after all. I am the lynchpin that holds the town together through the primal pact that I formed with the various races. So, what do you desire, Oliver Spencer? I shall quote you my fairest price, if it is within my realm to grant it.”
>I want the control rod for Jennifer Wolfe
>Make me a vampire
>I want my parents back from the dead
>I want Jennifer Wolfe's memories returned to her
>Jennifer's memories. Making it impossible for her to show me or Sammy any academic preference is one thing, wholesale memory alteration is another. I mean, you were in her head, you know what I'm capable of, weren't you expecting this?
Yet every interaction with Jennifer has a fuck her option on every vote for six or seven simultaneous votes, and we've kept being offered ways to use or acquire her fetish. It's annoying and each instance makes me like the character less because it makes getting a decent interaction into a constant struggle against my own paranoia, I can't enjoy that.
>Why the fuck do we care about your paranoia?
I figured I should explain why I have such distaste for the character and things associated with the character.
>You and the one other anon who keep downvoting every romance option should just leave.
I actually like romance, I just don't like Jennifer due to that phenomenon.
You know what? I don't care. These constant slavery themes are starting to piss me off. If he doesn't restore her memories and we survive, we'll bring the Wolfes down on them Stephen feels stronger about slavery than we do.
>I actually like romance, I just don't like Jennifer due to that phenomenon.
Well if you worked with us instead of just blindly rejecting, something would happen.
Every single one of us denied QM's quick fuck option, after all. And now iur only 100% ally is enslaved by the Dean.
“I want Jennifer Wolfe to have her memories back. You've been inside her head, haven't you? So you know that I wouldn't take this sitting down. If I have to fight you for it then I will.”
The mass squirms a bit, several of the eyes seemingly turning mirthful.
“Certainly. You have quite the spark, and a great deal of determination to help those around you. And it is because of that fact that I will set a fair price for you. I will violate school code as well as the contract that I arranged with Jennifer Wolfe, and return her memories to her, on the condition that upon doing so you live with the consequences.”
You pause for a moment to try to wrap your head around that one.
“And what exactly do you mean by that?”
Dean chuckles in your mind.
“She was so convinced that you wanted her to do this, that this was the only way to make herself safe so that you wouldn't need to worry about her, that she willingly submitted to the full suite of spells and terms associated with a teaching position. She's scheduled to teach math until the midterms, and the spring semester if, upon regaining her sensibilities, she chooses to continue the job. If I return her memories to her, you must live with the knowledge that she is stuck beyond your reach for the next few months, unable to be beside you as she once was, and burdened by the pain of being apart from you.”
>Fine then. We'll manage.
>On second thought, maybe fire her instead? I'll find a different approach.
>Can I just have a proper goodbye then? A 'see you later'?
Wait, there's a weird number of "if's" there. Does this mean that at the end of the semester she will get her memories back, be able to decide if she wants to continue as well as keep her memories?
>Then not me. Sammy's going through alot right now, and needs her mother. When it comes to academic things, I don't care, she can be as strict as you want. But outside of work, Sam needs to know her mom is as reliable as ever.
In the meantime, at least we don't have to explain to Jennifer that we may or may not have a better teacher, depending on if Darth Brain's lesson was a one-off or he expects us to come back sometime.
Part of the point of these quests is that I'm trying to become a better writer. Comparing me to someone else (whose name I don't immediately recognize so I'll have to look up their stuff later) doesn't really help. As for the fetish thing, that would imply that I'm getting off to this in some way beyond simply enjoying the odd compliment when I write something well.
Sure, but he also seemed to want to instruct us and help us grow, based off the impressions Oliver got. No harm in honing the lesson he gave us to a razor edge and seeing if he's willing to teach us more, right?
You pause for a moment.
“I want to hear it from her. I want... just a proper goodbye. I want to know she chose this.”
Dean's eyes blink out of sync, which is particularly jarring for a reason you can't quite pinpoint.
“Very well, although she should have done that before accepting. She stepped out to make a phone call, I presumed it was to you.”
The basin glows softly, and Fenright and Jennifer suddenly appear behind you. Jennifer is in the process of slapping Fenright repeatedly as he tries to defend himself.
“I said I was sorry, I didn't mean to- Oh.”
He looks around, failing to block a slap that knocks off his glasses, and he fumbles for them on the ground before looking at you.
“...Oliver, usually you have to do something terrible to get called to the dean's office. What did you do, and why are we here?”
Dean's eyes glow brightly and one of the bottles on the shelves glows brightly, the contents evaporating. Jennifer clutches at her head and screams, falling to her knees before panting and shivering. She looks at you, tears in her eyes.
“Oliver...? Wh-What's going on...? I... The last thing I remember is... eyes, and then...”
You walk over to Jennifer and kneel down in front of her.
“Did you agree to all of this...? We might not have much time. Did you agree to have spells placed on you to forget about me?”
Jennifer nods slightly.
“I had to or else I couldn't take the job. I remembered Sammy, enough that things would be vaguely normal, but they said that I had to forget about you or I couldn't have the position. I tried to call you, to ask you what you thought I should do, but you didn't pick up.”
>Make her forget again, dean.
>I'll see you in a few months, alright?
>Give her back her memories to keep. We'll figure it out.
>I don't want you to forget me.
We asked her to give us time to sort out everything, and that's what she's done, as effectively as she could manage.
Agreed, but i don't like how he just took over, despite our glasses. I know we invited him in, but still. I'd rather focus on our rune magic. And mayve using our blood to give ourselves temporary versions of the various arcane tattoos.
>>I don't want you to forget me.
But it's up to you. Do what's easiest for you. Hopefully by midterms I'll have a better solution.
Given the mixed sentiments in some of the votes, I'm gonna ask for a revote for clarification.
>See you in a few months
>It's your call, we'll figure it out from there
>I don't want you to forget about me
You shrug a little bit.
“We'll figure it out one way or the other, but it's your call. I want you to be safe and sound. The job gives us that. There are other solutions as well though.”
Jennifer nods and looks down.
“Like you becoming my alpha, which isn't happening. Or me going back to Patrick, which also isn't happening. It'll be easier on me if I forget about you for now. I'm sorry, but for now... I'd like to just forget. If you decide to claim me and have the strength to protect me yourself, or figure something else out, then come take me back.”
She looks up at you.
“That's my decision. I'll wait for you, in the way that hurts the least.”
>Dean, make her forget again.
>One last show of affection first.
>See you in a few months, Jennifer. I'll try not to disrupt class too much.
>Then I'll make you mine now and become strong enough. I'm not letting go.
You pull her in for a hug.
“See you soon then. And I'll try not to ruin math class too much, but you know how I am when it comes to acting out. I'll figure this out, and soon.”
Jennifer hugs back tightly.
“Don't expect any leniency... There's no physical punishment, but I can be very strict.”
You nod and stand up, helping her to her feet.
“Alright then, Dean... That's all.”
Jennifer's eyes glow and she shrieks as the bottle refills, and she vanishes along with Fenright a moment later. Dean's eyes fix on you once more.
“Well, that was suitably pointless. Mortal emotions confuse me. Do you feel better now? Nothing has changed, it's the same situation.”
You look at Dean for a moment.
“...not really. Now I have a goal. Acquire strength, find a replacement math teacher for the job, and get her back.”
Dean shifts in the basin.
“Perhaps. To avoid being caught in the halls, perhaps you'd like be to send you straight back to your room?”
>I'll walk, thanks. I have a guard post to return to anyway.
>Sure, why not. Can I keep the badge?
>Actually, mind if we chat a bit? I have some questions (write-in)
She also has a nonzero lovedom. And if he lets her do this, oliver gives up the only person he trusts completely.
The problem is we have anons that have said in past threads that they're here specifically to screw things up. It's frustrating. We make a decision, then next thread backpedal on it. Hell, there's a couple anons who want to abandon the whole theme of the quest. Like really, why play if you're just trying to keep others from having fun?
>She also has a nonzero lovedom.
So mixed feelings.
>And if he lets her do this, oliver gives up the only person he trusts completely.
We went over this.
Some of us don't trust Oliver, so he doesn't trust her completely.
Because we're his psyche.
My distrust hasn't waned, and never will, for her or anyone else. I've essentially taken the role of paranoid psychosis for myself.
>The problem is we have anons that have said in past threads that they're here specifically to screw things up
Eh, they probably left or calmed down.
>We make a decision, then next thread backpedal on it.
Side effect of long run times, different playerbases at different times of day.
> Hell, there's a couple anons who want to abandon the whole theme of the quest.
It is rapidly becoming one of many potential paths to power, to be fair.
>Like really, why play if you're just trying to keep others from having fun?
I'm sure there are several that feel what you want is keeping them from having fun. It's all about perspective.
“I'll walk. I'm supposed to be on guard duty anyway.”
You turn and head for the stairs, glancing over your shoulder at Dean as his eyes close one by one. You climb back up to the door and close it, leaning against it and looking around. No sign of Kim, or anyone else for that matter. You sigh softly and close your eyes, trying to figure out what to do next.
>Head back to your room for tea parties and relaxation
>Wait around for Kim and turn in your badge
>Head off somewhere to be alone and cool off
And you actually enjoy it? How?
>Side effect of long run times, different playerbases at different times of day.
No, I'd say it's a side effect of a lack of roleplaying skill. Once a character's made a decision, you've got to roll with it, or you start metagaming. Like the asshole ranting about how we were going to be killed by Fenright after we'd already critted the win.
>Wait around for Kim and turn in your badge
>Wait around for Kim and turn in your badge
>Text Sammy, inform her that due to not being able to show preferential treatment, her mom is under a geas. She might act differently. So she isn't blindsided.
>And you actually enjoy it? How?
It's kinda fun to roleplay as a the voice of paranoia inside of a mentally unstable teenager's head. I'm a strange person.
>No, I'd say it's a side effect of a lack of roleplaying skill.
Well that too, but it's an open collective game, not really unexpected or malicious, just not always going along with decisions the previous block made. Frustrating, but eh, what are you gonna do? The only solution for that would be whitelist voting, and at that point you may as well just give the few approved voters their own characters and break out the GM screen.
You sit around and wait for Kim to get back, and spend the next half hour passing the time messing with your phone settings and coming up with more and more elaborate plans to secure Jennifer's safety and freedom. As the time drags on you start to grow increasingly bored and worried, until you see Kim walking down the hall alongside several people chained together, each wearing handcuffs and anklecuffs connected to the same line.
“March, criminal scum, there's a detention slip in this for each of you!”
Kim walks over to you and salutes.
“Anything to report, deputy?”
>All clear, nothing to report.
>Here's the badge back, I'll be seeing you around.
>Been busy, I take it?
>I wanna help process this lot so I can see how detention works.
You shake your head and smile.
“Nothing to report here, it's been silent as the grave. I see that you've been busy though.”
Kim nods slightly and gestures to the students in chains.
“A simple anonymous tip and I found a whole slew of them organizing a secret party. Catching them all took some effort, but I managed it using my cunning, my wits, and a net launcher. I'm off to go turn them in. You've done an admirable job for me though. As thanks, you can keep the badge for a little while. Consider it an unlimited hall pass until I take it back from you. Don't turn into criminal scum and it won't be an issue.”
You nod and salute to her with a smile, and Kim resumes forcing the students to march down the hall. You pocket the badge and sigh, heading back towards your room. You're not looking forward to the next few days while you try and adjust to everything that's going on, but at least some things are safe now. Athena is alright, Jennifer is protected and Sammy is slowly coming around. Maybe things will finally begin to settle down for a bit. You open the door to your room, walk inside, and spend the rest of the evening relaxing with Athena and Meliora while trying not to cry.
Ending here for now. There's going to be a bit of a time jump between now and the next thread now that curve balls have stopped being thrown, barring people clamoring to do a certain thing or explore a certain path. With that in mind...
>Mostly fire magic
>Mostly rune magic
>Mostly blood magic
And are there any specific special goals to keep in mind as I prep?
>Mostly rune magic
Knuckle runes that yrugfer when we hit things
And recasting the telekinesis spell so we can continue developing control.
Talking to Stephen about getting space near the school where we can continue developing magic.
Find a way to reverse the spell on the necklace.
>>Find a way to reverse the spell on the necklace.
The one we got from that slaver?
That's actually kind of a good idea, if you intended it to be a stopgap that'd let Sammy stay in control of herself much more easily until we fix her curse properly, but I can't think of anything else to use a new moon necklace for.
>things can start improving!
If by improving you mean we can finally focus on our goal, instead of being distracted by the side drama, then maybe? There's going to be more side drama, don't doubt it.
>mentally unstable teenager'
But we've been playing Oliver as the most well adjusted person possible, all things considered. So you're breaking with character when you rage and push paranoia more & more.
Alright, awesome. Can I get some rolls?
Spirit roll, +2
Smarts roll, +0
These won't all be for the same thing, as a heads up, just a general overview of the span of time we're skipping over.
Maybe...? She still might be dead, if not, she's running around, NOT being our Mom, and Dad's still dead. Necromancy seems only feasable if we can actually manage to become a vampire, outside of reaper purview.
Rolled 8 (1d20)
We've never cared whether or not we're under a geas, that itself might be part of the geas btw, so yes, it is. But we want to do it in a way that won't require sacrificing anyone.
I can almost guarantee she won't tell us.
Besides, we alter his point of view with blood magic, then he'll stop caring and can actually focus on being the father and husband he never was.
>I'm fine letting him rest
But the premise of this quest is that Oliver's NOT fine with that. He wants them back, and doesn't care if it's a geas or not. Please, take part seriously or leave.
Different anon, but stop taking our extremely long term goal so seriously and asking anyone that isn't as into it as you to leave. It's much more annoying than the people that actively want to not do it.
>But the premise of this quest is that Oliver's NOT fine with that. He wants them back, and doesn't care if it's a geas or not. Please, take part seriously or leave.
>Nothing can change based on character growth and new information.
>Stop doing things I don't like! Leave now!
At that point we might as well make a golem to be dad instead since it wouldn't be him, Just his meat suit we're puppeting.
Vampires are perfectly fine if someone stakes a family member that isn't them. Remember the coven we made a NAP with? She's keeping us around to increase her own power and standing.
nah, besides, we barely know anything about our father. Better to actually have him and just make him incapable of hating us for being a vampire than just a surrogate hug-puppet.
>Vampires are perfectly fine if someone stakes a family member that isn't them.
Some of them, but we don't know how much of that is vampirism itself and how much is vampire culture. Mom might still have her humanity, so to speak.
It's the exact same thing at that point, and the hug puppet is easier given we don't have to fight Angie for him.
She was applauding us killing dad and making him suffer anon. She doesn't.
just strong suspicion. She made eye contact and, if she was as powerful as we think, she hit us with a whammy, because it's lasted a fucking while.
Do we even know anything about curses or geas?
>Do we even know anything about curses
Yes Angie explained them to us which is why we know Patrick's is exceptionally fucked up. Magic can change a grow to fit new parameters, Look at Athena and Meliora.
But how far could we stretch a spell that compels us to resurrect our parents?
And what would the backlash be if we push too hard?
And what if there ISN'T a spell, it's all just Oliver's fucked mental and emotional state?
>But how far could we stretch a spell that compels us to resurrect our parents?
Considering Werewolves got their curse to fear the wild and most of them embrace it and use it to be ubermensch? Pretty damn far.
>And what would the backlash be if we push too hard?
Likely forcing us to blood sacrifice someone to get it, which since we'd have to do a favor for a vamp or recreate Dracula's Ritual would happen anyways.
>And what if there ISN'T a spell, it's all just Oliver's fucked mental and emotional state?
Then it's player choice, not immutable and you can stop saying it MUST be done.
The werewolf curse only changed because it's primary purpose was to instill fear in the people who have it.
IF we have a geas on us, it's primary purpose is to drive Oliver to bring mom & dad back. It doesn't have any reason to change yet, as we're still trying to accomplish that. If we try to abandon it, that's when it'll mutate. But part of the geas, according to the opening thread, is that oliver doesn't careif it's a geas, he wants them back anyway. So there's literally no in game reason to go against it, just out of character reasons.
That's easy for us to say, but someone doesn't just drop a major obsession like that overnight. It's literally been less than two weeks, and only a little under a day since Athena's birthday (which we need to remember for the next one). It seems kinda... lame to just drop the whole reason we came here so quickly.
>So there's literally no in game reason to go against it, just out of character reasons.
Mom still being alive and manipulating him while she's been shown to enjoy making her former husband(dad) suffer is one. The fact we'd have to become something Dad HATES to do this is another. Then there's the whole Having Angie after us and sacrificing all our friends bit.
It was half-joking, but I do think that Oliver's obsession with regaining his parents is going to at least partially shift into an obsession with protecting Athena and making sure she has a stable and happy childhood.
And daughteru hugs have been proven by science to have extremely positive effects on the mental and emotional health of individuals.
If we have a geas, we won't be able to vote against our motivation properly anyway. If we don't, you have no argument. The character has, in fact, changed from thread one, so his thoughts in thread one are not absolute authority either.
I feel like, if it was just something screwed up in Oliver's head, QM would have left us subtle hints by now. Occasions where he doesn't allowa write in because Oliver is incapable of jumping the rails in certain situations or something.
>Mom still being alive
Complete guess. We don't know if she's alive or not. Angie wouldn't be after us, we'd be a vamp. If you're willing to accept the premise of this quest(you know, THE WHOLE FUCKING REASON TO PLAY IT) then you accept that Oliver's already done whatever mental gymnastics he needs toto justify doing it despite what dad might think.
And since we're currently looking for ways to do this without sacrificing anyone, your last point has been dealt with too. Rune magic is capable of anything, assuming the practitioner is skilled enough. That's why blood magic is only our 3rd focus.