Become The Vampire 33
The trip to the spell foundry passes in relative silence, mostly because Stephen doesn't seem to have much to say. He looks a little weary, like he's drained of energy and vitality. Being the alpha seems to be wearing him down a bit, and you almost feel sorry for him. It's clearly not the position he wanted to be in. He does offer a few pieces of information as you drive along, mostly to answer your questions of where and what.
The spell foundry, he explains, is outside of town, a few miles away and disguised as a nuclear power plant, mainly so that the local forest folk have something they can get suitably uppity about. It's about as damaging to the environment as a nuclear reactor if something goes horrifyingly wrong, so it's not as though their ire isn't justified. It's far enough away that most people don't know it exists, but close enough that it's easily accessible to people in the know when they need something made.
The foundry itself is “as close to the Wonka factory as you can get in real life”, but with real magic you're pretty sure it's going to be exactly like the Wonka factory. The workers are all various races, but the majority of the staff are a race referred to as Tinkers, a kind of fey who focus on combining spells into objects. Originally they would enchant farmer's tools to help them or play pranks, or make a knight's sword flop about like rubber in the middle of a battle, but a steady supply of their favorite food and drink keeps them working feverishly under the command of the head of the foundry rather than dabbling in their own projects.
The foundry is run, owned and managed by a man known as The Steve, an eccentric man known for his spontaneous musical performances, strange clothing choices and inability to sit still. The current rumor is that he's a fey king, lord of the Tinkers and master of magical devices, but no one has been able to get him to make anything of his own so it's merely a theory.
As you arrive at the foundry, the first thing you notice is how drab it looks on the outside. It really does seem like just a nuclear power plant, dull gray tones all along the exterior and a column of smoke rising from the main chimney. As you reach the parking lot and begin to approach you feel as though something is off, and you focus on the building for a moment, trying to peer through the illusion surrounding the place and briefly glimpsing the whimsical, colorful structure lurking behind the veil.
“Well, here we are. We'll drop this stuff off and be on our way, unless you'd like to roam around a bit. I remember my first time here... There's always something new to see, but after a while it can get to be a bit much, and The Steve is always wandering around getting in everyone's way, and if he finds you he won't leave you alone until you buy something or sing with him.”
>Let's just drop stuff off and go
>Explore the magical mystery factory
>Let's chat for a bit, I wanna ask about a few things
“Let's have a look around.”
Stephen nods and moves to the back of the minivan, pulling out a large cardboard box that he seems to be struggling with just a bit. He looks at you and gestures with his eyes towards the factory.
“Go on then. I'll be right behind you.”
You shrug and nod, heading towards the foundry and adjusting your bag a bit. As you draw near the factory it becomes easier to pierce the illusion, although it doesn't stop it feeling weird as you walk through the security barrier and head for the main entrance. Once you get past the fence and to the main doors you don't even need to focus to dismiss the illusion. The foundry stands before you in all its strangely colored, misshapen brilliance. As you move to knock on the door it suddenly swings inwards, and you hear a cheerful female voice.
“Welcome to the foundry! I'm Doory. How may I assist you today?”
Stephen calls out behind you.
“We're here to drop off a few things for recycling and I need to pick up an order that I placed. And Oliver would like the grand tour.”
The door wiggles a little bit.
“Do you mean the super-maximum fun grand tour, or the regular grand tour?”
>The regular one
>The super-maximum fun one
>Maybe just a quick look around
>Nah, I'll stick with Stephen
“The one with all the bells and whistles, the super fun one.”
The door slams shut abruptly and the ground under you shifts slightly. You look down just in time to see the trap door open beneath your feet while a gruff male voice says “watch your step”. You plummet down into the darkness as the door closes above you, and after a few terrifying seconds you feel a tingling sensation followed by a twisting of the air around you. The darkness is replaced by light and glass all at once, and you find yourself falling through some sort of tube.
Spread out beneath you is the factory floor, a massive expanse full of tables, workers, forges, cauldrons and bookcases lined with tomes. As the floor rushes up to meet you your momentum vanishes, and you land gently on the ground as the tube disappears, leaving you in the middle of the workshop and surrounded by people you don't know. A line forms on the floor, starting at your feet and leading towards an ornate door off to one side.
>Follow the path
>Wander around and talk to people
>Look around at what they're making
You walk along the path, glancing around at the various items being put together. Most of them look mundane, like bath tubs and beds, but a few of them seem rather obviously magical, like a strange contraption being tested a few tables away. One of the workers inserts an egg into it, and with a flash and a whirring noise the device closes down around it for a few seconds before opening up. He cracks the egg and empties the contents into a glass. It looks like blood, which makes it some sort of drink dispenser for vampires in all likelihood.
As you make your way along you can hear the faint sounds of some sort of music a little ways away, getting closer to you by the second. The door is fairly close, and you could make a break for it and try to get to it before whatever is coming reaches you. You can hear the workers starting to hum along with the music, their movements beginning to fall in line with the beat and the sounds of their labor adding to the song.
>Run for it, it's The Steve
>Stick around to see what happens, this should be good
>Wait by the door to watch the musical number and then bolt before The Steve catches you
>Wait by the door to watch the musical number and then bolt before The Steve catches you
I don't know. It would solve quite a few of our problems, in the way that time always does
I'm still here, I just got caught up in something briefly. In short, my stepbrother continues to be a carefree idiot.
When I first wrote this part, Bowie was still alive. So yes.
As the music comes closer you finally catch sight of him. The Steve. You can tell that it's him from his gaudy robes, oiled, muscular chest and his messy hair. He's singing something about working in unison and harmony, but you get lost in his words. The next few moments are a blur, but you come to your senses with the whole crowd staring at you, and The Steve kneeling before you, looking at you expectantly. At least, you presume it's expectantly. You haven't got a clue what to say.
>Yes. To whatever you said.
Depending on which myth we're running, giving them anything that isn't your true name can fuck you over, as can refusing or accepting generosity, and given name may not equal true name.
You give him a little wave.
The Steve jumps to his feet and smiles at you.
The crowds around you echo his jubilant greeting with greatly reduced enthusiasm, and you pause for a few moments to try to work out what's going on.
“Welcome to my foundry, child. Always a pleasure to have a guest, don't you agree?”
Before you can decide between nodding or shaking your head he begins to walk around you in a broad circle, taking long, slow strides.
“Your voice could do with some work. I could teach you to sing like the most magnificent... Oh!”
He spins on his heels to face you, hands behind his back.
“You're here for the tour. Of course. Of course you are!”
He smiles at you, advancing rapidly.
“I'll conduct it myself, show you everything, and in return... you must do only one thing for me. You must enjoy yourself. You must hold nothing back, claim every adventure that you seek to experience, take risks and chances and trust that within this place, you are safe and under my protection. Can you do that for me, child? Can you be, in every way, wild and carefree?”
>I can try
>Wild and free are my middle names
>I'm having doubts about this
Thank you very much for the offer, but I would be unable to repay such a kindness in a way I felt appropriate. As such I think I'll remove myself from your home before I disgrace myself more as your guest.
Leave, he just gave the terms of the deal as accepting everything offered. Do not accept things from the fey!
And QM said he has a bunch of notes/was excited for this part. So let's do it.
Do we have our bag with us, QM? If so, we should tell him he has two guests, just so Presence falls under the same protection.
You pause for a moment.
“I can... try?”
There's a series of collective groans from the crowd, but The Steve's smile doesn't even waver.
“You will try? For me? How lovely. That's all I ask. That you try.”
He bows low, hand gesturing towards the door.
“Beyond that door is the passage to the main factory floor, the place at the heart of the foundry. This is merely the assembly room, the real magic happens below. Shall we proceed?”
>I want to look around some more
>Sure, why not
>Can I just go home?
I don't think you know what that word means.
The paranoid son of a monster hunter using fae lore to avoid the tricks of a possible fae is not metagaming.
This guy wanting to go along with the fae because the QM has notes and is excited is metagaming.
Personally I abhor anything that removes my agency.
His deal was that we take every opportunity to experience new things, he can produce a (near)unlimited things "new" for us to experience and in the end death is always new.
By holding nothing back we would give him everything.
And being a kept pet falls right and square withing being "safe" and "under his protection"
By putting the onus of us not believing we have anything on the same order as what he is giving puts us on the higher ground in the negotiation. He would have to convince us politely or else he is forcing us and we would not be taking the deal of our free will.
I dunno, this is what came at me when I read that. Maybe i read too much Dresden Files
I mean, you're not wrong.
Plot twist, encouraging metagaming leads to people assuming the opposite is true, and the big reveal is that The Steve was the feys all along.
Run like a black slave, that stole something after deflowering the taskmaster daugther
On the monster hunter thing, we've never taken the time to study fae lore. All we knew details about when we came to school were vamps and werewolves, and we've only consulted the journal for dryads, and i think one other niche monster.
So we can't just say we know all the tricks.
QM, can we have a monster lore twst to remember what we do know about the fey?
>>Reveal Presence is with you
Breaking hospitality is a terrible terrible thing if he is fey. If certain mythologies are followed we might not actually be in the real world anymore, we might be in his plane of existence, the heart of his power where he controls literally everything. Being a guest is about all we have going for us.
>All we knew details about when we came to school were vamps and werewolves
Actually, we only knew details about vampires. Werewolf and dryad lore have both fallen under general monster lore so far, and the latter was recalled from memory, not the journal.
“Sounds like fun. Sure, why not. Let's see the heart of the foundry.”
The Steve heads for the door with a flourish before opening the door slowly and carefully. It creaks ominously, and the space beyond it radiates with a strange magic. It's almost tangible, thick and slimy and cloying, and you can feel wisps of it sticking to your skin before fading away. The Steve gestures through the door.
“The energy condensers are working at maximum capacity right now, I do hope you'll pardon the aura. We had a bit of a leak earlier on level six that we're still cleaning up, and eldritch magic is very hard to clean up.”
You look at the door for a moment. You can already tell that the moment you walk through, weird stuff is going to start happening, and not just the regular kind of weird that you're slowly getting used to. You'll need your wits about you at all times to avoid having strange visions or succumbing to whatever madness lies ahead.
The fey, collectively, are beings attuned to nature, though the connection between a given fey and their natural aspect might only be as an analogy for their behavior. A storm cloud might provide water for a farmer's field, or knock over his windmill, for instance. Fey creatures always follow a king or queen, a leader who embodies a neutral aspect of the natural world with both fiercely destructive and powerfully restorative properties. Such beings are usually mistaken for humans aside from their whimsical qualities and their unusual ability to command lesser fey.
With regards to their social customs, a given fey respects only one of the three high laws of Fairyland. The first law is that creation is more important than destruction. The second is that fun is more important than labor. The third is that words are more important than their meaning. The high laws divide the fey into three main categories, Helpers, Breakers and Lawmakers.
>Let's soldier onwards
>Is there another way down?
You advance towards the door slowly and peer through it at what's beyond. There's some sort of elevator platform hanging from a rope, which leads up into the ceiling. Something pushes you forwards, and you tumble into the next room, landing on the elevator. The floor is padded, which is nice, but you look back at the door to find that it's vanished without a trace. The platform begins to lower as a railing forms around the edge, and you can hear whistling behind you. You turn and spot The Steve relaxing on a couch that wasn't there moments ago.
“Mind your head.”
His voice seems to be coming from far away, and you look at your hands. It's like they're ten feet from your face, and you realize that your perceptions have already begun to warp. You sit down, take a deep breath, and focus your magic, trying to push the twisted eldritch energies out of your mind with your own magic. After a few moments your senses return to normal, and you keep concentrating until you feel like you're moving away from the source instead of towards it. The Steve sits up a bit.
“Curious, is it not? A mere child, a human, yet you didn't go mad. Was that my doing, or your own? Is there a difference, so long as you feel like the accomplishment was your own, and the danger my own?”
He smiles coyly at you and turns away, curling up on his seat before jumping up suddenly. The platform rocks and a rope snaps, followed by another, the platform starting to tilt.
“We have but one choice. We jump, and hope to fate that we will live. Do you believe in fate, child? I do. And I see a future in which we survive this fall. Now jump!”
>Cling to the platform
You brace yourself as you watch him slide down the platform as it tilts, easing over the edge and dropping down, and the chair follows suit a moment later. You sigh softly, crouch down, and rest a hand on the platform before jumping towards the widening gap and down the shaft. You land rather abruptly on the ground, taking a few unsteady steps and turning around to find the platform is already on the next floor, tilted slightly and slowly balancing itself out. The walls are moving upwards, giving the impression that the elevator was moving down, and when you look up you can see the next floor is only about ten feet up.
The Steve claps slowly and walks towards you, grinning from ear to ear.
“Brave enough to take risks. Good. Good! Another point in your favor.”
He grabs you by the wrist and pulls you towards a narrow passageway, leading you through a few tight turns before you finally step out onto a platform overlooking a chamber that, at minimum, must be a mile in each direction. At the very center is some sort of giant crystal, with root-like structures spreading to the ceiling and floor and covering almost every inch of space along the outside of the chamber.
“Welcome to the heart of the foundry, an enormous magical bomb! Its continuous explosions and destructive force are harvested, converted into other types of magic and used for manufacturing all my devices and goods! A single wrong move and it would destroy everything for miles, the greatest gift of the fey to mankind in centuries! Destruction that forever more must be used to create, lest its true destructive force be released!”
He gestures dramatically to it.
“What do you think?”
>I've seen better
>Can I take a picture?
>It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen
>HOOOWWWWW?! How does it work?! What sort of Rune magic did you pull? Or is it Eldritch? Some sort of sustained Elementalism? Did you trap a deity in there and are feeding on its constant rage?
You slip Miniora from your pocket and gaze at the crystal.
“It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, and I'd like to take a picture of it if that's alright with you.”
The Steve nods and smiles.
“That's fine with me.”
You snap a few pictures of it, but each one is pure white. Your camera lens is being obscured by some sort of magical energy that prevents it from actually taking the shot. You shrug a bit and turn to The Steve, who is rubbing his hands together.
“So now you know about it, child. Now you are ready to face destiny. Fate has led you to my doorstep, tasked you with watching over the heart, protecting the city. At last, I'm free! Haha! A new caretaker at last! It's been so many years, but I've found one!”
You take a step back.
“What do you mean by that, exactly?”
The Steven points a finger at you.
“You will become a fey king, child! You will live forever until a child comes to the foundry, one who is brave, one who can endure dangerous magic on their own. This place will be your home, your prison, your kingdom! You will be ruler and slave both! Such beautiful irony!”
He removes his robes, standing there in a set of plaid boxers, and holds them out to you.
“Take it, child, claim your destiny! Become king of these fey and lord of an empire, shackled to the throne! Release me from a century of suffering!”
>Nope, not happening, see ya
>I see absolutely nothing wrong with this plan
>Can I test drive it before I commit?
>Ah...see, I kinda had other plans on my route to almighty power. An adventure I'm already on. This, while fun, was never meant to be more than a diversion. A sight to see on the journey. I'm going to have to respectfully decline.
I couldn't. I'm more likely to destroy everything with that bomb than create. I could never live to the perfect standard that you have set. Also, in general, fuck that, that's too much work, I've got fun to get back to.
>Dracula has eight daughterus from demon mothers
>Oliver has eight daughterus from making extremely powerful fonts of magical energy into blood magic homunculi based on his genetic information and soul
You look at him for a moment.
“I like that you trust me and all, but I'm more likely to end up destroying everything with that thing than actually creating anything useful. Plus I have my own life to live. I get that you're trapped here, I really do, but do you really think that forcing someone else to take up that mantle is going to make things better? You seem to have fun here, right? Sure, you miss your old life, but it's gone now. This is what you have. This is who you are now. I could never match the standard that you've set with your century of work. Plus I've got this whole dinner thing coming up, and... Yeah.”
The Steve regards you for a few moments. The robes slip from his hands, and he just stares blankly at you. When it starts to get creepy you glance around, but there's no sign to indicate that you're in an illusion or some sort of trick.
>Back away slowly and leave
>Check to see if he's alright
>Inspect the robes
>Check out the heart
You back away slowly and carefully and make your way back to the elevator, which has been replaced with a set of stairs. You head up slowly and after a few steps realize that every few steps the stairs are sliding you down slightly. Either that or the staircase is growing longer. You need to come up with a plan for getting around this one and getting back to the main floor somehow.
It seems like magic, and the magic of moonwalking, are the options we're working with here.
>Try to rune magic your way out of this
>Investigate the magic stairs
>Investigate the magic stairs
>Try to rune magic your way out of this
In that order.
I don't recall them being mentioned as unholy like that. Slightly sacrilegious to make, sure, but that's different from being unholy.
Rolled 11 + 3 (1d20 + 3)
Yeah, there's not really a lot in the way of actual biblical sources on whether or not they're bad, but presumably they'd inherit the power of free will from their human side and that'd override any other factors, or they'd be free willed but biased towards good.
I thought the apocrypha talked about them being a major factor for why the world got bad enough it needed to flood?
And I know it says they're forbidden, so probably up there with homunculi in terms of unholiness.
You turn around and take a moment to gather your thoughts. The stairs make you go down when you walk up. You take a step forward and end up off the stairs, so going forwards always makes you go down. You nod to yourself, limber up a bit, and attempt to moonwalk along the stairs. The moment you start the stairs become a ramp, and with each step you take backward you find yourself moving a little higher up the stairs until, at last, you're moonwalking your way out the door and into the workshop once more. No one is paying you any mind at all, though some are muttering about “another child rejecting The Steve's job”.
>Get out of dodge
>Find someone to tell you more about the collars
>Drop the collars off to be destroyed and floor it
Could just be that the nephilim were as fallible as mortals with the power of their angelic parentage, I could see that contributing a hell of a lot to a descent into general awfulness. Not necessarily all nephilim being inherently bad.
Are we talking about unholy in the "they're biased towards bad stuff" way (i.e. demons) or unholy in the "self-righteous pricks want to kill them" way (i.e. Athena)? Because I fully expect the latter.
Depends on if fallen angels = demons in this canon. Sometimes fallen angels are a higher class of being with demons just being aggregate sin. But Sloth is definitely the sin she represents, yes.
You wander around a little bit until you find a table surrounded by bearded men who, when standing, would barely come up to your chest, if that. They're working on various pieces of jewelry, some working with metal, others with precious gems, and one with leather and fabric. You pull out one of the collars and its corresponding rod and clear your throat.
“Excuse me, but I was wondering if someone could tell me about this? I was in a shop recently and acquired this, but I barely know what it does or how it functions, and I think it isn't working properly.”
One of them looks over at you and scoffs.
“Well of course it isn't working right, it's a shoddy piece of second-rate garbage. I can tell just by looking at it that it's junk. How much did they charge you for it? Whatever you paid it was too much.”
He snatches the collar from you, along with the rod, and squints.
“Hmm. Interesting spells, not the like I've seen before, but the pattern is familiar enough. Slave collar with a control rod. Cheap garbage, but effective on feeble minds or those who have been enchanted to be receptive to it. What do you want doing with it? Fixing up, or what?”
>If it's cheap trash then scrap it for parts, with my thanks.
>Actually, I was looking to learn to make magic items myself.
>What do you mean by cheap garbage if it works?
You shake your head.
“I was actually looking to learn to make magic items myself. I figured I'd find someone knowledgeable by waving that piece of trash around and seeing who gave it the deepest disdain.”
The man looks at you before laughing.
“Well, I can't fault you there. My name is Soot, and these are my brothers, Ash, Dust, Smoke and Cinder.”
He snaps the collar in half, and a series of sparks fly up into the air before crackling and popping. He smiles at you.
“Consider this your first lesson.”
He jabs you in the chest with his finger.
“A spell is a spell, and a magical device is a magical device. The difference between them is that a spell is free and mobile, like a wild pony. A magical device is a tamed horse. You can really put a spell to work if you can tame it and take care of it properly. The world of magical craftsmanship is all about creating the finest spells and then nurturing them within items until they can sustain themselves and do what they're made to do. Every magical item is a little bit sentient, you know. Crude, like a fly, just enough awareness to respond to basic input.”
He holds out the control rod.
“Like this, see? The collar reacts to the rod.”
He sets the pieces of the collar on the table and begins to tinker with them.
“So if you want to learn to make magic items, first you've gotta learn how to make a spell smart enough to turn on and off when you mean it to. Then you need to give it a suitable habitat, feed it well, and teach it how to feed itself.”
He reconnects the pieces of the collar before bending the rod into a ring, offering both to you.
“There. A ring of command, and a collar that will enhance the wearer, not just command them. What good is having help if they're not combining their strength with your own, eh? Stronger, faster... That kind of thing.”
He grins at you.
>Thanks a bunch. I'll be back some other time, mind teaching me more then?
>See you around, Soot. Thanks for the lesson.
>I can't accept these, sorry. The person who brought me here would object.
>I have others, actually, can you do that again? I wanna watch that more closely.
You know, just because it's capable of giving commands doesn't mean we have to use it to do so.
If someone trusts Oliver enough to put the collar on willingly, it's a non-issue as well, and I don't see Oliver forcing it on someone.
Also, the command portion of it protects whoever's wearing it from other mind control effects, that's part of why Jennifer has to wear that one.
You nod and pocket the collar with a smile.
“Thanks a ton, Soot. I'll be sure to do my research on it. Would it be alright if I came by for another lesson sometime, once I've got the basics under my belt? I could do with a proper teacher for this kind of stuff.”
Soot waves dismissively and grins.
“Come now, I'm just a humble laborer. But yes, I'll gladly teach you some more, so long as The Steve permits you to return. He takes rejection quite hard, you see. But I'm sure you'll find a way to smooth things over.”
You nod a bit and slip the ring into your pocket before glancing around.
“Where's the door out of here, by the way?”
“No idea, never needed it. But if I had to guess, I'd say it's where you least expect it.”
He gently taps his nose with a wink before turning back to his work.
>Attempt to open the door that's right in front of your nose
>Clearly this is a riddle of some sort without an obvious answer. Extrapolate.
You take a step back and smirk. Clever. Where do you least expect to find a door you're looking for but can't locate? Right in front of your nose. You reach up a bit and grab the handle, which forms in your hand an inch from your nose, and you open the door as it forms and step through. You find yourself in a gift shop of some sort. There's memorabilia of The Steve everywhere, and elevator music playing over aged speakers set into the ceiling. You can see Stephen outside by the minivan waiting for you. There's a box for donations, discards and drop offs near the door leading outside, the perfect place to ditch the spare collars and rods you brought with you.
>Dump the collars and rods and keep the spiffy one Soot augmented for study
>Dump the lot and go
>Take it all with you, Stephen doesn't need to know
Honestly though, do we want to curse anyone to that? Bradley might have fit in there, but I think Tobias would be out of his depth. He's just a normal human, and he's more or less our friend.
You dump the collars and rods in the box on your way out, making sure that it's in Stephen's line of sight so there aren't any questions later. The collar Soot modified looks different now, but it's still a collar, and it still has the same control stone set into it to control a werewolf's shifting. As you leave the foundry and head for the van you briefly consider using it to try to force Sammy into human or werewolf form, but you don't know if it would break her in the process. Probably not the best plan.
“Well, that's finally finished... Thanks again for your help, Oliver.”
Stephen smiles at you.
“I mean that. I couldn't have done it without you. You've helped the werewolf clans deal with a threat we would have had a lot of trouble with otherwise. I'd like to mark the occasion with a formal ceremony to make you part of the pack, if you still want to be a member of our clan. The new moon is coming up, but how about next full moon? We can celebrate things properly and have a wild time.”
>Sounds good to me
>I don't need a ceremony to be a member of the pack in my heart
>Are you sure it's alright?
And we decided on that because becoming a full member means we have obligations as part of the pack, including submitting to Stephen's authority.
We can't do that and meet all our other obligations.
You nod and smile.
“Sounds like a plan to me, so long as no one bites me. Honorary member and all that. I'm pretty sure that I don't want to be an uncontrolled werewolf, right?”
“Correct. There won't be any biting, nipping or nibbling, I assure you. We've all had our fair share of experiences with our less fortunate kin, and we wouldn't wish that fate on anyone. No, this is merely a ceremony letting people know that we accept you as one of our own, as a brother and member of our family. You've come to our aid when called upon, and we will do the same for you. Something a bit more official than Patrick's boon.”
You chuckle softly.
“I don't really think distracting people in a store really counts for much, but sure, sounds good.”
Stephen gets into the car and turns it on.
“Let's get going then. I'm sure you've got big plans for a Saturday night, I won't keep you from them.”
You climb into the car and immediately try to figure out what you want to do next. You've still got the whole evening to make use of. Maybe more time with Athena, or hanging out with someone?
>Chill with Athena
>Hang out with Sammy for the evening
>Head into town with some people
>Tutoring with Meliora
>Work on History stuff with Catherine
>Organize a party
You text Sammy and ask her if she wants to hang out in town for a little while, and after a few minutes she texts back a yes, asking you where you want to go and recommending a karaoke bar that she went to with Andrea a while back that was “pretty cool”. You're not that confident in your singing, but a karaoke bar is a place to goof off and embarrass yourself, so you guess you fit the bill on that one.
>Let's go to the arcade again
>Let's hit the shops
>Let's go to a cafe
>she doesn't like our daughter
She was mostly surprised, which is pretty understandable. She's been coming around, playing with her and getting closer, and she got her that stuffed parrot she likes.
I feel like it's more that she doesn't like our daughter, and is trying to grin and bear it. It said she was still really uncomfortable around Athena. If you Sammyfags are so bound and determined to romance her, then you need to hash it out.
You let her know to meet you there and text you the address, and after getting dropped off by Stephen and heading back to your room, you remember something vital. You promised Presence you'd help her prank people tonight. You set your bag down carefully on your bed and consider your options. Making plans with Sammy and then canceling right away? Not cool. Bailing on Presence? Also not cool.
>Speed pranking, challenge Presence to a prank race and try to get it done before you meet with Sammy
>Cancel on Sammy, tough luck
>Bail on Presence, make up for it later
>Sneak Presence along, let her cause mischief while you're out with Sammy
Means those two choices are what we're okay with. Doesn't matter, since somehow we keep getting 3 identical votes within seconds of each other, as if someone's samefagging off multiple machines.
You open your bag and smirk at Presence.
“Remember how I said I was going to help you play some pranks? How about a race to see who can set up the most pranks in a time limit?”
Presence looks up at you from the bag.
“Did Christmas come early? Seriously, Halloween is going to be super disappointed, he said those herbal supplements were going to help him last longer and she totally bought it.”
You have a brief mental image of Santa nailing a sexy witch before shaking your head.
“Nope, just an idea I had. Something to make this more interesting.”
Presence floats out of your bag and begins to twirl and spin through the air lazily.
“How long do we have then?”
You check your phone. You've got about half an hour to an hour to get there, depending on if you want to make sure you're a little early or risk running late.
>We've got half an hour
>Let's make it a full hour so we can do some good ones
or we've just got a lot of posters on a saturday night, which happens. probably both.
anyways, pick one, using 'or' does fuckall for tallying votes.
>Let's make it a full hour so we can do some good ones
we owe her, Sammy will understand if we just explain it as "pack work, you know how it is"
nope, just an idiot. though, technically, it is nighttime on a saturday.
A group agrees! Clearly there is a conspiracy!
who has five separate machines to use for one quest vote?
You smirk slightly.
“One hour. Make them good ones, no repeats, nothing that's gonna kill or hurt someone too badly. Got it?”
“Of course, sir! Private Presence understands the rules of this mission, sir! We will prank the enemy, sir! We will make them look like they peed their pants, sir! They will be embarrassed, slimed and miserable, sir! And we will laugh, sir!”
“Oh, how we will laugh. So, one hour, prank race... Who's victim number one?”
That one gives you pause for thought, and you smile a bit.
“Do you have a way to find people easily?”
Presence sticks her hand through your chest and nods.
“Yep. Ghost. Walking through walls and stuff, plus I can sense souls. So, who's our first target?”
You've got just the victim in mind...
“There's this one guy, he's some sort of snake person. I think we should get him good first and foremost.”
“Alright. Got something of his so I can track him down?”
You fetch the fang and offer it to her, and Presence takes a moment to smooth her legs together and stretch them into a long tail before swallowing the fang. It vanishes inside her and she wiggles her hips a bit, concentrating.
“If I were a snake, I would be...”
She points with her new tail.
She grabs your waist.
“Do you trust me?”
>Do I get a choice?
“Yes, I do.”
“Aww, thanks! We're such good friends, aren't we? That's why I secretly jerk you off at night.”
Presence uses the brief pause while you try to form a response to what she just said to pour herself down your throat, and your lungs burn as you start to drown in ectoplasm. As you claw at her body, trying to extract her, she manages to finish wriggling her way into her mouth and the ectoplasm vanishes all at once. You can breathe again, and as you catch your breath you find yourself hovering a few inches off the ground.
“See? Trust! The best fetish. Now we can pass through walls and stuff. Your body is the ship, you're the captain, and I'm the... magical ghost girl who lets your ship pass through things. I didn't actually plan this out, sue me, I'm a comedy genius, not a miracle worker. Now then... Follow the trail!”
An arm made from ectoplasm emerges from your chest, pointing in the same direction Presence had gestured in before, and you attempt to steer your body in that direction with little success.
“I don't mean to be a backseat driver, it's your body and all, but maybe I should steer for a bit?”
>Works for me
>Wait, I think I've got it
>You said I was the captain, I wanna steer
Remember that for most of human history entire families lived in one room, and it's only in post-victorian times that we viewed sex as some shameful thing that needed to be hidden?
She's smarter than anyone else around us. And she's already pretending to be more innocent and cute than she really is, just because it makes us happy.
After a few tries to get your body to move the way you want it to, you try to manipulate the ectoplasm instead, and you use your magic to push some out of the soles of your feet. The jets make little sputtering sounds, but after a bit of a firmer push you manage to start moving. When you give your magic and the ectoplasm a shove you start to accelerate quite a bit, passing through the wall, Presence moaning in your head all the while.
“Yes! Give it to me! Just like that, you filthy little-pfftahahaha! I can't! I can't keep that one up!”
You chuckle a little.
“There's a joke about stiffs not being able to keep it up, if you can find it. Also, what were you talking about before? Were you being serious?”
There's a pause.
“I mean, yeah. I don't do it. Why, do you want me to? I can if you want. It's just a boring, repetitive hand motion, what else am I gonna do with my nights while you sleep? Just say the word and I'll make sure you sleep easy. It must be really stressful not having the time to jerk off anymore. And really, what are friends for? I totally won't take the opportunities to mess with you in the dead of night while you're recovering from a mind-blowing orgasm. Totally.”
As you head for your target, using your intangibility as a shortcut, you hesitate to consider precisely what sort of mischief Presence would get up to if you gave her your permission. You're pretty pent up, but that would be a true act of desperation. You decide to relegate that idea to the back of your mind for further consideration.
You cool your jets (a pun which Presence delights in quite a bit) as you near your target, and you sneak your way towards him. He's in the library, right next to a book shelf, and struggling with some sort of math problem. It doesn't look all that difficult, honestly, but he's taking his time with it and visibly annoyed.
>Knock the shelf over
>Mess up his homework
>Vomit Presence onto him
>I totally won't take the opportunities to mess with you in the dead of night while you're recovering from a mind-blowing orgasm. Totally.”
Honestly would not mind, as long as she stuck to the rules, nothing harmful and all.
Well keep in mind she'd be doing it in the room with our daughteru who may or may not be overprotective of *us* and the anti-lewd golem.
I'd mind it mainly for presence's own safety.
Think it just means part of her ectoplasm.
You head for the bookshelf and manage to creep behind it without him noticing, but the damn thing won't budge at all. It might be your lack of proper footing, but it doesn't look like it'll be going anywhere anytime soon unless you apply some magical assistance of some sort.
>Make another attempt to shove it
>Just mess up his homework and leave
>Ectoplasm jets to maximum, full steam ahead
You take a deep breath, brace for impact, and give yourself room to properly accelerate before you charge forwards and slam into the bookshelf, ectoplasmic engines to maximum power. Your shoulder aches a little bit from the force, but it wobbles a bit before starting to tip, and you keep pressing forwards, knocking it over onto the snake guy with a smile on your face. He screams as it falls over, and as the books fall off the shelves you can see him cowering under the table, hiding from the collapsing furniture. The table is creaking a bit, and if he doesn't get out soon it'll break, and the full weight will crush him under there.
>Mercy, no hurting or killing was the rule
>No mercy, leave him to fend for himself
>Add some more books to the pile and go
>Jump up and down on the shelf for good measure
As you watch the table creak you decide that the fear is enough. He's learned his lesson, vaguely, and he also knows you can kick his ass and off him at a moment's notice. You grab hold of the shelf and pull gently but firmly, enough to ease the weight off the table a bit.
“You better get out from under there before it gives way, moron! I can't hold this thing forever!”
You grunt for show, but the table is holding out admirably, and likely won't break apart dramatically for a minute or so. The snake guy gets out from under the table slowly and carefully, and he dusts himself off.
“Hey, man, thanks a-”
He looks at you and you let go of the shelf, smirking at him.
“You're welcome. When someone is in trouble, I help them. Remember that the next time you decide to pull a stupid stunt.”
You pause for a few moments before slowly and calmly sinking into the floor and out of sight. As his face goes pale and his eyes go wide you chuckle a bit, and Presence is cackling in your head.
“Classy. I love it. Another!”
>Another! Bigger, better! More slime!
>We're going for speed here, time for some rapidfire pranks.
So a few votes for Lily, one for Kim, and a few votes for "not vampires". Also one for random students. So that's going to end up as...
Lily, then Kim, then one random person based on the Speed roll result, unless there are other votes for specific people to take into account.
>Considering she was pranking us when we met?
By that do you mean mind-fucking our friend, tying her up and leaving her in a closet, disguising herself as her and subduing us with intent of forcing us into a blood pact?
We don't know what the vampires do or don't know about Dracula, and we never will until we ask.
And Presence told us she was killed by one of the vampire students at the school. So if it wasn't Lily, Lily probably can help figure out who it is. Can, not necessarily will, but it won't hurt anything.
>We don't know what the vampires do or don't know about Dracula, and we never will until we ask.
Then you shouldn't have said she has information. It's a possibility, but I highly doubt it to would something that's useful which we haven't heard before, to such a degree that I don't consider the question worth asking.
>And Presence told us she was killed by one of the vampire students at the school. So if it wasn't Lily, Lily probably can help figure out who it is. Can, not necessarily will, but it won't hurt anything.
If it is Lily, we're dead. If it isn't Lily, the killer might get a heads up since there's a non-zero chance they're from the same house or Lily owes them a favor or any other reason a vampire could have to alert another to a hunter looking for them. Also, if and when we find her killer, it'll make it harder to eliminate them with the pact in place without painting ourselves as their slayer.
You take a moment to lay out your plan for your remaining pranks with Presence, although tracking down your victims becomes a bit trial-and-error. You've got the badge to help you find Kim, but nothing to directly lead you to Lily or Catherine, but with a bit of luck and some advice from Presence you manage to find all three of your targets before the hour is up.
For Lily you stick with a classic sliming, simple, straightforward and something on her wavelength, or at least, the wavelength she purports to operate on. It'll fade away on its own over time, but her initial reaction, which involved denting the locker the slime poured out of, was worth the extra effort to cram it completely full. Your prank for Kim involves slimy footprints leading around the halls, a carefully constructed path involving a few puddles of goo, arranged so that she'll be following her own trail to find whoever is leaving tracks all over the floor for the next hour.
The prank you play on Catherine is more playful and less potentially devastating, since her books are made from water-resistant paper. When she's not looking you dump some slime into her bag and coat her books with it, and she's suitably revolted by the slime. It's more an inconvenience than genuine harm, although you do feel a little petty about it afterward. You resolve to come up with something more creative for your next pranking effort.
You return to your room mostly satisfied, although the fact that Presence has been making sex jokes for the last hour and not-too subtly asking you about the offer she made you for most of the trip back has left you decidedly unsatisfied in one specific fashion. She chuckles a bit as she vacates your body and reforms herself, adjusting her body a bit and making sure all her proportions are right again.
“Need a hand before you leave, big boy?”
Presence winks at you.
>it'll make it harder to eliminate them
But we never told Presence we would, we just told her we'd help her find who killed her. Presence hasn't even said she wants her killer killed. It could just be she wants resolution.
We need more information. They might have it. It won't hurt us to ask.
>No time, run to meet Sammy before you wind up being late
>A quick one, no sense running around half-hard all night
>Turn the joke around on her, try to make her uncomfortable
>Ask for her help later on when you get back, unless things take a turn for the sexy with Sammy
You head for the bathroom for a quick shower, smirking over your shoulder at Presence.
“Only if you think you can manage it. I mean, I'm working with a two-hander here. And I'm a bit pressed for time, so you'd have to really pull out all the stops for it.”
Presence giggles behind her hand, acting coy.
“Why good sir, whatever do you mean by that? Are you implying that I'm some sort of street harlot who cranks out handjobs in seconds? I'm simply not that kind of girl! The mere implication alone... Seriously, you're so backed up I bet it would take me less than a minute.”
She hovers behind you, following you into the bathroom as you get the water running.
From her tone and expression it's almost like she's playing a game of Chicken with you to see who's going to cave first and get laughed at.
>Ride this out to the end, don't yield, your dignity is at stake
>Refuse, endure her laughter at her victory, get moving
>Push back a bit, but there's no time for “fun and games”
It does again when you consider we've refused to do that sort of stuff on many, far more tempting occasions.
Whatever, it doesn't matter, it's happening and Presence is now a character I want nothing to do with.
I'm not disagreeing with you about any of that stuff with Jenny, but that doesn't mean you should hate a new npc.
Do you want a hug? Athena will give you one when she gets back from patrol with Mel. Mel might give you one too.
You start stripping down, tossing your shirt to the side.
Presence points at your crotch and smirks.
“Are we doing this or not?”
You take off your pants next and smirk right back at her.
“Are we? Because I don't think you'll be able to handle it at all.”
Presence moves closer and chuckles a bit.
“Is that a fact. We'll see about that!”
She grabs the waist of your underwear and yanks down, grinning as she looks you in the eye before finally looking between your legs. She pauses, looks back up at you, then down again.
“Huh. Somehow I was expecting something different. No kidding, huh? This is the real deal?”
She grabs you. No foreplay, no warning, she just wraps her hand around you and give you a tug. Her slime, as usual, gives you the shivers the moment it starts to ooze onto your skin, only now it's making you shudder, and not in a good way. Presence shrugs a bit and releases you, but the slime remains. You're not sure you'll be able to wash it all off.
“Meh. Bored now. Going back to my bag.”
She floats away, leaving you standing there covered in goo and feeling vaguely unsettled about the whole thing. You can't imagine enjoying her touching you like that, unless she's purposefully sliming all over you to mess with you, which you can't deny is a possibility. You get into the shower and scrub, hoping you can get enough of the goo off of yourself that you won't be walking funny in town.
Ending here for now, resuming tomorrow.
Anon, relax. We got a collar for Jenny. We just need to get a place she can stay at before the end of the semester. I guess being formally part of the pack means we'll have the resources to get our own place, with a magic lab and all.
I feel like Oliver shouldn't be settling on anyone yet, so the various dates and flirting are fine with me. It's like 10 days or so since we got to the school.
I sorta want to find a lust vamp. Might be fun, and once we can produce new blood fast (new moon, new seals, etc), having a little bit sucked now and then wouldn't be a big deal
Well, part of that whole deal was that there wasn't going to be any sort of actual romance involved with Presence. I'm surprised QM had her call our bluff, but look at how meh it was. Totally expected, since we didn't romance her at all. I betcha how her slime feels is directly affected by how she feels about us.