1. Due to issues with external spam filters, QQ is currently unable to send any mail to Microsoft E-mail addresses. This includes any account at live.com, hotmail.com or msn.com. Signing up to the forum with one of these addresses will result in your verification E-mail never arriving. For best results, please use a different E-mail provider for your QQ address.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. For prospective new members, a word of warning: don't use common names like Dennis, Simon, or Kenny if you decide to create an account. Spammers have used them all before you and gotten those names flagged in the anti-spam databases. Your account registration will be rejected because of it.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Since it has happened MULTIPLE times now, I want to be very clear about this. You do not get to abandon an account and create a new one. You do not get to pass an account to someone else and create a new one. If you do so anyway, you will be banned for creating sockpuppets.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. If you wish to change your username, please ask via conversation to tehelgee instead of asking via my profile. I'd like to not clutter it up with such requests.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. Due to the actions of particularly persistent spammers and trolls, we will be banning disposable email addresses from today onward.
    Dismiss Notice
  6. We have added another rule, please check the Rules post for more information.
    Dismiss Notice
  7. Due to some issues with Freenode, the QQ IRC Channel is moving. See here for more information.
    Dismiss Notice

Will Work For Food[ZnT/Accidental Magical Girl CYOA][SI]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by JadeKaiser, Mar 1, 2017.

Loading...
  1. JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    A young man-turned-magical monster girl is summoned to act as a familiar when the closing of a demonic portal goes wrong. That's fine though; she's more than happy to have someone else to foot her grocery bill.

    This fic uses the Accidental Magical Girl CYOA, version 1.51 and the optional patron module for it, version 1.2
    Here is a link to the CYOA
    Here is a link to the patron module

    Here is my original character sheet, with a fair amount of flavour text included:
    Background: Emergency
    As in, the "oh-my-gosh-I'm-about-to-die" sort of emergency, on my end at least. I had the misfortune to have the local magical girl get thrown headfirst into the pavement less than two paces from me, and the thing that did the throwing was eyeing me and my 3-year-old niece speculatively. Now I'm not overly scared of dying, but the monster in question was of the soul-eating disposition, and I would rather like to be able to make it to the afterlife if death is in the cards. More importantly, I wasn't going to let the thing get my niece. Seeing bits of an 8-year-old girl's head splattered over the sidewalk probably made me a bit less eager to think things through as well, even if she got better later.

    Name: Esther Enns(changed from Ethan Enns post-transformation)
    Aliases: (Magical Girl)Bullet Hell, (The)Touhou, (The/That)Bullet Dancer(Girl), Big Sister Drill Sergeant
    Age: 14 (1d20=8+6)
    Body: Average (1d20=14)

    Stats:
    STR: 7 (4+1+1+1)(+1 remains in disguise for a total of 4 instead of 3)
    AGI: 13 (4+2+1+1+1+1+1+2(1 Silver coin))(+3 remain out in disguise for a total of 6 instead of 3)
    VIT: 6 (4+1+1(2 Bronze coins)
    MAG: 10 (4+1+2+2+1(2 Silver coins, 1 Bronze coin))
    LUK: 7 (4+3)

    Patron: Solo
    Patron Benefit: Magical Overload(Mandatory drawback: Monstrous Body)
    Yee-ap, I'm technically a monster. Puchuu wasn't happy, but at least I managed to minimise the damage to myself. Mostly. The Puchuu refuse to support me directly, but they're willing to hire me on sometimes. Frankly, that suits me just fine; I'm not overly fond of them, either.
    Mutations:
    Body: Wings
    Yeah, I've got wings. Fortunately, it's the only issue I have which can't be passed off as an eccentricity of some kind. Since they're nice and photogenic, I generally manage to pretend I'm just a solo magical girl who's initial transformation went a bit wonky because I was too old and the wrong gender to start out. The best lies are mostly true, after all. Puchuu's kind are grudgingly willing to go along with it, since I help them and theirs more than not.
    Mind: Devourer
    I eat and eat and eat, and I'm never really full. I managed to keep it from making me hunger for human flesh like I'm pretty sure it was going to, but the hunger is all the worse for being mundane. It was really bad early on, though nowadays it mostly just puts a big sinkhole in my pocketbook and sometimes drives me to steal from the grocery store. Thank God for bread runs.
    Soul: Weakness(Spirit), Second Specialization(Metal)
    I don't like dealing with ghosts. Iron helps keep them from coming on their own, and being a ranged/evasion specialist help a lot, but there's at least one magical girl I've had to turn away from my lessons because she was a Spirit user. I wish I could have gotten something like a more difficult reincarnation process instead; I'm apparently really damn good at dodging, and I'm also pretty lucky so I haven't died even once yet.

    Specialization: Lightning (1d20=8)(Gifted perk taken)
    I like my power. I mean, who wouldn't? Lightning is one of the most primal forces of nature, and yet it is easily harnessed to do such amazing things! Electromagnetism is power in it's purest form, the only form of energy that is not derived from motion in matter. Even light is technically a form of electromagnetic wave! I mean, I'm balls at faking Light magic, but I can mess with the stuff by knocking it off track sometimes. What's more deadly is adjusting the bolt just so to make it strip away subatomic particles how I want and shatter intermolecular bonds directly. Lightning already ionizes the air it passes through, after all. And there is sooo~ much that you can do with computers data networks when you control the very medium they use to function. Hee.
    Metal: (+3 to LUK chosen)(Mutation)(Gifted perk taken)
    Electricity and metal go hand in hand. Without this, I have no idea how I would have gotten my gun to the peerless level that I have. I mean, it was a damn good gun when I first transformed, but now? Plus, it really lets me get the most out of my hammerspace since I can carry secondary weapons and gear that I've made.

    Weapon: Ranged (1d20=6)(Enhanced Weapon perk taken)
    Imagine a gun. Then, imagine that the gun was the perfect gun. Then, imagine that it was not only 'your' perfect ideal of a gun, but also mine, and your best friend's, and the old man's next door whom is actually an ex-sniper or marine from the days "back in 'nam." That's my gun. She's my baby, and she can be whatever gun I want her to be. I mostly keep her as an 18-inch pistol gripped coilgun, but I have a favoured sniper form for her too. I feed her a balanced diet of hollow points, explosive rounds, four-inch ferrous spikes, and those nice, extra-lethal variant hollow point rounds that frag themselves into seven mini-bullets and fan outwards when they pierce the target, depending on what I'm dealing with. I love my gun, and she loves me back.

    Outfit: Flowing (1d20=5+4(Bronze coin))
    Yeah, I wasn't going to take the half-bikini thing that the marshmallow jerk tried to stick me with. I would never have been able to respect someone wearing that to a fight even if it was theoretically just as effective. Heck, not even outside of a fight. Nor would I have expected anyone to respect me if I wore it, including myself. The hooded cloak and classy loose shirt deal I got instead is just so much better on every count.The brown, green and white medieval-adventurer theme contrasts nicely with the high-tech silver-grey look of my gun. Plus, y'know, It makes me look a bit like Utsuho Ryeiuji. A bunch of the colours are wrong, there's no eye on my chest, and I may not have power over nuclear fusion, but I've been making progress towards some weird atomic shenanigans with my ionization experiments. Again, it's the wrong colour, but I can do a pretty mean-looking plasma ball if I have a few seconds to concentrate on it. Lightning is awesome like that, even if I can't pull it off in combat.

    Power: Barrage (1d20=10)
    You know bullet hell games? Touhou? Yeah, I play that with real bullets and bolts of lightning, and I'm both the player and the one making the pretty patterns all at once. Who says lightning users have to stick with just being low-endurance single-target types? Not me, that's for sure.
    Hammerspace(Gold coin)
    This was just far too useful to pass up when the opportunity arose. I tend to collect stuff and use it years later, and you never know when you might want something. I'm not proud of it, but it lets me steal things in mundane places easily too. I mostly restrict that to necessities though, and I (usually) just pay when I can. Being a magical girl didn't pay very well until I got used to things a bit more, and even now it can be hard to keep up with my diet. I'm practically always hungry, after all.

    Perks: (5d20=13,2,14,6,9)
    Combat:
    Healing Artifact(rolled)
    Martial Training(rolled)
    Flexibility(rolled, free category swap with Emergency background)
    Enhanced weapon(background: Emergency)
    Gifted(STR chosen)(background: Emergency)
    Wings(Mutation)
    Support:
    Overcity Shift(rolled)
    Big Damn Hero(last rolled)

    Esther Enns, or Magical Girl Bullet Hell as she jokingly calls herself, has a marked distrust of the Puchuu. This distrust is not helped by the forcible deaging and genderswap that she experienced or their role in creating what she in many cases considers child soldiers. She does hunt monsters, but she tends to do whatever she wants rather than focusing on it and will sometimes try to talk them down instead. In her opinion, the deal she was offered was that she would take care of things in her area for the short term, particularly the monster attack during which she first transformed. Puchuu seems to agree with her.

    Upon being told that the magical girl who had died in the attack would recover with time and/or assistance, she is thought to have held out hopes that she would have a senior to help her learn the ropes. Instead, she found that the girl in question was also a newly minted magical girl and badly in need of a teacher herself. Esther, being much more combat-capable and significantly older, did her best to fill the role. Over time she became known for apprenticing other magical girls for varying lengths of time, giving them demanding training and holding them to a high standard. Despite her attitude during the training itself however, Esther is caring towards her students to the point of sometimes literally taking them in for a time, earning her the nickname "Big Sister Drill Sergeant." Esther's high standards stem largely from a protective streak towards the younger magical girls and her own high degree of talent. Despite this protective streak however, she operates on her own much more often than not. To her, the best help she can give is often to teach someone to stand without her.

    Due to her oddities, namely, eating large amounts of food almost constantly, having a crippling weakness to the Spirit class of magic, being seemingly more comfortable in her winged magical girl form, and not getting along well with Puchuu, some magical girls suspect that she may actually be a monster. Esther claims most of these issues are a consequence of her unusual origin as a male in his early twenties, and Puchuu does not say anything on the subject one way or the other.

    Here is the updated character sheet as of chapter 3, made to account for two years of active Magical Girl-ing and with an updated patron section.
    Background: Emergency

    Name: Esther Enns(changed from Ethan Enns post-transformation)
    Aliases: (Magical Girl)Bullet Hell, (The)Touhou, (The/That)Bullet Dancer(Girl), Big Sister Drill Sergeant
    Age: 14
    Body: Average

    Stats: Updated to account for two years of active combat and training. (In-disguise stats in parentheses)
    STR: 9 (4)
    AGI: 18 (6)
    VIT: 8 (3)
    MAG: 14 (3)
    LUK: 7 (3)

    Patron: Solo Void Mage
    Patron Benefits:
    -Familiar Runes(Gandalfr: grants the ability and skill to wield any weapon you can grasp like only the most dedicated of masters in its use, within only a few limitations. To qualify, an object must have been made with the idea of it being weaponry in mind. +1 to all physical stats when holding a weapon.)
    -Void-Mana Font(May work somewhat differently to the ordinary mana of the generic Mana Font benefit. Drawing on this benefit must be a conscious decision, and your patron WILL notice you doing so.)
    -Magical Overload(retained)
    Patron Drawbacks:
    -Demanding(As a familiar there is much less freedom of action available than an ordinary magical girl might have, as your patron will want you near them almost constantly.)
    -Precocious(A human is much more prone to change than another patron might be. What is expected of you will change as they do. This can be a good thing, however, as it means you can influence them to fall more in line with your own views.)
    -Monstrous Body(retained)
    Mutations:
    Body: Wings
    Mind: Devourer
    Soul: Weakness(Spirit), Second Specialization(Metal)

    Specialization: Lightning (Gifted perk taken), Metal (+3 LUK)(Mutation)(Gifted perk taken)
    Weapon: Ranged (Enhanced Weapon perk taken)
    Outfit: Flowing
    Power: Barrage, Hammerspace

    Perks:
    Combat: Healing Artifact, Martial Training, Flexibility, Enhanced Weapon, Gifted, Wings(Mutation)
    Support: Overcity Shift, Big Damn Hero
    As they were effectively an extended prologue, the first two chapters of this story were first posted in the thread for the AMG CYOA itself.

    As a note for anyone else who wishes to use the CYOA, I later found out that the Emergency background that I used is worded poorly. I took it to mean that it gives two free non-artifact combat perks, which is disproportionately good compared to the other backgrounds. It is supposed to allow you to choose two of your existing perks out of the non-artifact combat perks, instead of rolling for them.

    By the time I found this out however, I was already well into the story. As a result, I decided that it matched the fluff behind Magical Overload and Monstrous Body, and that Puchuu gave the SI more juice in her trasnformation than was strictly safe due to the extremity and immediate nature of the emergency.

    TL;DR, I cheated on accident and didn't find out until it was too late to change it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 1: Prologue (part 1)
    JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    Chapter 1: Prologue (part 1)

    A roar like that of a lion, accompanied by a scream of terror. An young girl in an elaborately frilled cross between a ballroom gown and some kind of black toga smashing headfirst into the pavement. Blood and bone and bits of... NO! A green and blue monstrosity covered in spines, a sickening pink glow as its eyes turn towards myself and my little niece.

    'Well, she was a disappointment, chuu...' A light red ball of fur, looking like someone had taken the general shape of a stuffed bear and made an actual creature based on its design. 'I can give you what you need to kill that creature if you're willing, chuu. You won't be the same as before, but your little girl will be saved. If you're chuu than she was that is, but you will be.'

    Helpless anger. I pick up Sasha and try to run, but the monster is faster and I know I can't get away. I answer the floating bear-thing out of desperation. "Not the same how?! I'm not going to sell you my soul, if that's what you're asking for!"

    'Oh, you keep your soul. Your body will change, chuu, you'll be a magical girl, chuu, but your soul is only in danger from the monster. Chuu! It eats them, you know. Not all of them do, but if this one catches you there won't be an afterlife waiting, chuu!' Don't sound so happy about it, you little... fine.

    "But Sasha will be safe if it is killed?" I duck around the corner and set my niece down. "Run, Sasha! Get to Andr- your daddy's car and tell him to get out of here!" I turn to the care-bear reject. "Fine! I'll take your deal!"

    'I was hoping you would, chuu! Here's some things that will help. Best to use them now, chuu, they won't help you much later.'

    Coins are thrust into my hand: bronze, silver, and gold. A flood of light as I change. Something goes wrong; too many changes and too much power, but not so much that I can't run damage control. There is hunger, but the most insidious parts of it are straightened out. There is a part of my being that becomes weak, but another part is made far stronger in its loss. It is done.

    The monster rounds the corner. Leap up, assisting jump with a wingbeat. Fire weapon into skull, grasp side of building. Weapon insufficient; larger projectiles needed. Weapon adapts to any form of ammunition; current format uses magnetic coil to accelerate projectile. Switch ammunition to four-inch iron spikes. The monster lunges upward in an attempt to grab and tear me. The previous projectiles got its attention. Good. Dodge by jumping out away from building, using wings to gain air and distance. Fire weapon. Rate of fire less than ideal. Change weapon format; reload issues nonexistent, three barrels can fire faster than one.

    Another roar, of pain this time. over a dozen iron spikes are lodged into the thing's body by the time I land. Perfect. Power surges out from my left hand, and the thing writhes as electricity courses through it. Not enough. I jump back, stowing my weapon elsewhere to free up my other hand. Coruscating streamers of lightning play between my palms as it scrambles towards me. Thrust hand forward. Lightning connects with the iron spikes. The earth-shattering blast of sound does not affect me. Of course it doesn't; it's my power. What kind of lightning magic would break the hearing of its caster?

    What is left of the monster lies still. I approach it cautiously, but the smell of charred meat does not lie. It is dead.

    'Humph, you went wrong, chuu. You were supposed to become a magical girl, but you chuu into a monster instead. That isn't supposed to be able to happen, chuu!' The care-bear thing is back.

    I laugh somewhat bitterly. "A monster, huh? I suppose you're going to try and get someone to kill me then? You clearly don't care about me. You didn't care about the other girl."

    'Chuu, that depends on you. I might. I won't help you, but you are still human enough that we might be able to let it slide. If you make yourself useful instead of getting in the way or attacking people.'

    "Figures." Sasha got away. I saw Andrew getting her into the car and driving off. That's good. I'm still alive. That's also good. I'm... a fourteen year-old... girl... with wings... I sit down abruptly. "There's no going back, is there?" NO! Stay out of shock! I force myself back up to look for the little girl that got her head caved in. Even if Doesn't-Care Bear doesn't care about her, at least I can try to do... something. Give her a proper burial, maybe. Or just... be on site when the cops show up? No, bad idea. Take her body and get somewhere else so I can grill this creature for information.

    Retracing my steps, I find that someone is already there. A young woman is crying over the body, but when she sees me she runs over ad grasps my hands with a look of manic, desperate hope. "You can heal Marie! You can, right?! You have to be able to! Please!" She drags me towards the body, and I can't really find it in me to stop her.

    "I'm... sorry ma'am, but... she's dead." I really don't know how to break it to her more kindly, but considering the condition of the body? Anything less blunt could encourage her to go outright mad or something. Probably. I don't know this sort of thing.

    She takes a deep breath and dashes away her tears with the back of one hand before letting it out. "Yes... yes, she's dead. But if you can fix her body, she can come back. Magical girls like you and Marie... even if your body is destroyed completely, you can come back eventually. Your soul can't move on, and it will make itself a body. If you can fix Marie's body now though, she might be able to come back right away." Her speech gets steadier as she finishes and looks at me hopefully.

    I don't have any healing spells, but something tickles the back of my mind. I know something that could help. I have something that could help. My hand goes up to my neck, where a red pendant rests. Part of my outfit? No, not quite. I grasp it, and know. I can heal her with this. It can heal anything, with enough time and power. "I do have a way to heal her, but I can't do it here. It'll take too long."

    The woman's face shows relief, then she begins to shrink. White fur covers her, her hands become paws, and in moments a cat sits in her place. "You'll need to do the carrying. I'm sorry, but I can't maintain human form for very long yet. Marie and I are completely new at this, miss...?"

    "Ethan. Well, I suppose not anymore. Esther, maybe?" I can do this. Someone else needs me to stay strong, so I will. I can deal with the existential crisis later.

    Gathering the body up in my arms, I-

    *thump thump thump*

    Wh-
    ---------
    -at?

    *thump thump thump thump thump*

    I roll out of bed with a groan and start toward the door. "Hold your horses, I'm coming!"

    Unlock with off hand, ready gun under cloak in the other in case of hostiles. I open the door to find an older than average magical girl that I don't recognize carrying a black and green puchuu shaped like a cartoonish squirrel on her shoulder. The girl doesn't have a weapon out or anything, so I stow the gun elsewhere. "Eh, come on in."

    I sit on the bed and motion to the single chair next to my little table. "Pull up a chair, whadd'ya need?"

    'We would like to hire you for a job, chuu. I'll get right to the point. Someone managed to chuu open a portal into one of the netherverses, and there's a bunch of demons spilling though. My last partner died when she failed to stop it from opening, chuu, and Christa is far too new for this. Especially against that many demons, chuu! I heard that you could handle large numbers chuu, and I'm willing to pay."

    "That's a first. One of your kind that cares about our lives?" I raise an eyebrow at the girl when she looks almost ready to break her silent streak in order to object, but after a moment she still doesn't say anything. "Just how many demons are we talking here, and how tough? Will I have backup?" He seems fairly friendly already, for a puchuu. Normally they don't tell you more than the absolute minimum, and often not even that.

    'I've contacted a chuu others. The one they call your first student, Marie will be there. Chuu, there's a lot of demons though, and I'm not willing to risk losing. We're talking chuu somewhere in the fifties, at minimum.'

    "Fun times then." I nod sarcastically and take out a cigarette from elsewhere. No way would I have started smoking before I changed, but now I have an artefact that can heal away the damage and the chemical dependency, so why not? It helps some of the other girls to think of me as the adult that I am, and after the second time one of my students died I needed another outlet. My and Marie's lingering, self-incarnating souls are by far the exception rather than the rule. When most magical girls die, they're dead.

    Placing my thumb and forefinger on either side of the end, I light my cancer stick with a *pop* of lightning arcing between them. Way cooler looking than the thumb lighter trick that one fire-specialist uses, even if that's just my own opinion. "My standard per-monster rates won't work for this. That would be four bronze each or a silver for every five, based on how many I kill personally and with a minimum paid up front. This time make it three bronze for each one opposed whether I kill them or not, all payed afterwards. Boss demons are double at minimum if there's any around. For up front pay I want a gold now on top of that for the extreme hazard." A girl's gotta eat, especially one with my appetite. If I give an inch it could ruin my reputation for the rest of forever.

    This is going to be a delightfully large paycheck though. I don't think I've gotten a job this big in... ever, really. Still, my money grubbing seems to have finally set off the girl, Christa. Pretty badly, too. "How do you expect puchuu to pay you that?! That kind of money is insane! Think of how many people will die if you don't help!" Oh, she's glaring at me now. Whatever shall I do? "You're the 'Big Sister Drill Sergeant?!' Some big sister you are!"

    I stare back at her for a minute. "You're new, right? I'll teach you how not to suck once we're done here, if you survive. I don't charge for that. That's helping out a magical girl so she doesn't die when her puchuu sends her out to fight as a child soldier. This is helping out puchuu, the little furry guys who made you one in the first place. They've got a lot more money than you think." I look back at Puchuu. "Add another two silver up front for trying to guilt-trip me by proxy." You would think they would have learned by now that it only makes me stubborn.

    'Chuu, Christa,' Puchuu sighs. 'I told you to let me chuu this. Esther is very expensive, but she is also the strongest fighter we have available by a chuu margin.' It looks at me. 'Christa will not be joining you. As you chuu, she is too new to send into such heavy combat. I accept your terms on behalf of the puchuu in this area, chuu, though we likely will not be able to chuu hiring you again for some time.'

    "Huh," I consider. "You're by far the most decent puchuu I've ever encountered. I'll knock off one of the extra silver for not sending the new girl on a suicide mission like the others would have."

    'I appreciate it, chuu.'

    ---Chapter 1 End---
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 2: Prologue (part 2)
    JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    Chapter 2: Prologue (part 2)

    The meeting place for the job is on top of a small wooded hill overlooking the small country estate that apparently houses the portal. If you could get any more stereotypical, I'm not certain how. I was the first to arrive apart from Christa and her puchuu, who was sitting on a small box. Christa may not be fighting, but she can learn a bit from seeing us plan things out.

    "Here you go, Esther." Ah Marie, my first student has arrived, and by far the one that I am closest to. My other students call me their big sister, but only Marie really feels like a little sister to me. It figures that she would get here second, and carrying a delivery for me, too!

    "Thanks a bunch." Hum, one of these boxes is opened. I narrow my eyes at her. "You didn't keep any, did you?" Her slightly guilty look is answer enough. I hold out my hand with a sigh. "Hand 'em over."

    "Fiiine." A single pack of cigarettes is placed into my hand, and I shake it at her reprovingly.

    "No smoking. Not until you're at least twenty. Even then, not unless you have a way to heal the damage it'll do to your body and purge addiction before it starts." I ruffle her hair for a moment before leaning down a bit and giving her a hug. "Why do you keep trying to imitate me on things like this? I'm a horrible role model. I cheat, lie, steal, and generally make a mess of my life. I'm overly harsh when I'm teaching people, and my fighting style doesn't even suit you. You should find someone better to be like."

    "Give yourself some slack, Est." Marie pulls back and gives me a grin. "Being like you isn't such a terrible thing as you seem to think." Ah, she's growing fast isn't she? Two years of the magical girl life will do that, I suppose. Especially when I probably am actually the best role model she has. I open the pack and take out a single smoke before putting the rest elsewhere, getting a pout from Marie.

    "Need a light?" Ah, the next arrival is here.

    I give a little smirk to the grinning girl with the flame dancing over her thumb and light it up myself with a pop of lightning. "Nah, I've got it." Anne Ericson, or Annie for short. She might look young, but she's been a magical girl much longer than I have. "Puchuu's going for something of an all-star team, it seems."

    She fakes a scowl for a second before her grin returns. "Showoff. Yeah, looks like it. This is gonna be fun!"

    Puchuu clears his throat, and I notice that another person has arrived. Odd, you don't see many males in our job. That's why it's called being a magical girl. Judging by the way he carries himself, he isn't the five or six year-old he looks, either. "It seems you are all here, chuu," Puchuu informs us. "These will help you stay in chuu with one another." It jumps off its box and Christa opens it to reveal several of what almost look like jeweled earplugs. "Each of you should chuu one of these in your ear, and you'll be able to hear each other speak, chuu."

    Annie lets out a little whistle. "Don't think I've ever seen one of you guys hand out this sort of thing for a job before."

    "Indeed." Yep, as far as I was concerned the other puchuu could make this guy their sole liaison with me from now on. "So." I look at the group that had gathered for our little raid. There are only four of us, plus Christa and Puchuu who were sitting in on the planning phase, but I was feeling pretty good about this. If the boy was as competent as the rest of us, we might actually get out without losing anyone. "I know two of you already, but we should all introduce ourselves and give a basic description of our strengths and weaknesses before we make any plans. I'm Esther Enns, aka Magical Girl Bullet Hell." My lips quirk upwards. "As my name implies, I'm best at maneuverability and putting out lots of dakka at range, though I can do melee if I have to. My specializations are lightning and metal." I nod to Marie.

    "Right. Marie Hurley, or M.G. Night Raid. I'm a darkness specialist with a focus on stealth and assassination, so I can scout and take out any runners or stragglers."

    "Annie, better known as her royal burnyness or Magical Girl Burnination. I burn stuff and Tibbers breaks stuff." I stifle a snort of laughter. That would be one way to put it. That teddy bear of hers is a walking nightmare in a fight.

    The boy gives a lazy salute. "Hello then, I guess I'm last. Name's Scott Miller. Puchuu called in a favor with my patron so he could have a good reinforcement spec for this. Speaking of, do any of you want to hear the word of our lord and scammer Arrenji, god of gambling? No?" He shrugs. "Didn't think so, but I'm supposed to try. I've got a big hammer, am tough as hell, and I have healing spells so I guess you can call me Paladin." Hearing the mannerisms he used from such a little boy is weird. I guess he probably wasn't exactly the age he now looks like either when he first transformed.

    I take the floor. "Alright, planning time then. I know from working with her before that Annie is a glass cannon." She nods in acquiescence. "So," I continue, "you're with her, Paladin. The two of you are the center of the assault. You focus on keeping her in one piece. Kill stuff when you have the time, but that's more her job than yours, got it?"

    "Sure."

    "Good. Night Raid, you're our assassin. You scout things out when we start, then cull any stragglers like you were saying. I work best when I'm free to dodge around and shoot things without having to worry about anyone else getting in the way, so I'll act as the hammer to Annie's and Paladin's anvil. Sound alright with everyone?" I get a chorus of assent. Ah, it's nice when we don't have to deal with any arguments over who is in charge. That always ends badly.

    "Good then. I think it might be best if we could do this in two parts. For the first part, the two of you can move in slowly from the edge of the area, starting by attacking the main gate. Night and I can come in from the sides and start clearing the area around the building. I'll take care of any larger groups that come out from the mansion and either drive them into you or cut them off from reinforcing your opposition if you're being overwhelmed. Night will pick off singular targets. Once the grounds are cleared, we can start on part two, where things get dangerous. The building." I stop there, waiting for suggestions.

    "Too bad I can't just burn it down," Annie contributes. "It would save a lot of heartache, but if we mess up the magical array that's holding the portal open in the wrong way..."

    "Bad idea, yeah," Marie interjects with a grimace.

    Paladin raises his hand with a sigh. "I can bust down the door easily enough. I should be able to take whatever they hit me with for it, too."

    "Wonderful. Well, fact of the matter is," I say, "Night Raid is going to be our best fighter once we get inside, so someone else needs to do cleanup for any runners at that point. I would do it myself, and I'm probably the next best of us for the role, but Annie should probably stay outside anyway or she might set the place on fire by accident."

    "'strue." She doesn't even make a token denial. "I'll cover that then. Hopefully we will have been able to lure out most of the ones inside during phase one."

    I clap my hands. "A'right then, anybody have anything else to contribute here and now? Let's get kitted up."

    "Just a sec," Paladin states as we each grab a communicator, taking out several copper coins and holding them in his upright palm. An array flashes under his feet, and the coins light up before streaking outwards towards each of us. I feel a light weight , and reaching up to feel it reveals the presence of a ribbon-like choker with a small gem at my throat. A quick glance reveals that a similar choker has appeared on Annie and Marie, and I glance at Scott inquiringly. "It'll make your outfit a bit tougher than normal for the next hour or so," he explains. Useful.

    -----------

    ...Five hostiles approaching from the side opposite me from the main attack. Quadrupedal, three eyes each. Spines on backs, possible ranged weapon based on positioning. Fire three fragmentation rounds into eye sockets of the largest. Target goes down, others alerted to my location. Dodge thrown spines, fire spike rounds into three of the remainder. Blast with lightning. Spikes allow lightning to bypass hide, remaining target is only mildly affected. Spiked targets turned to dust when killed just like previous enemies. Initial target did not.

    "Any trouble at the gate?"

    "Burn for the burn god! Ash for the ash throne!"

    "Wonderful, she's paraphrasing Warhammer now. Yes, we're doing fine."

    "She does that." Initial target getting up. Lack of dusting indicated it was still alive. Jump over remaining active hostile as it charges, riddle initial target with spike rounds. Initial target dusts. Swing gun around to train on remaining target as it turns around, adjust ammunition for larger caliber. Fragmentation rounds tear its head apart. Target dusts. The head is still a vulnerable point if sufficiently demolished. I'll keep using the larger caliber for the duration of the fight. "Any issues for you, Night Raid?"

    "Not yet. I've caught a few hostiles alone already, not all of them the same variety."

    That matched with my own experience. "Good. From what I've been seeing, Puchuu might have underestimated the number of hostiles, or not counted the more animalistic ones." I see a group of fifteen coming out of the mansion and starting towards the gate. Three different kinds, all humanoid. Humanoid demons are usually the smarter and more dangerous ones. "Group coming out to reinforce the gate. They look tougher than normal, I probably won't get them all before they get there."

    "Works for me. We're running out of things to burn."

    "Engaging." I spread my wings and take to the air, unleashing a hail of bullets at their rear. Two of them go up in dust immediately, and I get another two before I have to start dodging blasts of hellfire. Drop chain from elsewhere. Manipulate using metal control, using bushes to hide the movements. Wrap around ankle of closest demon, then climb and constrict. Blast with lightning. Target bites the -heh- dust. The others raise some kind of barrier that begins to deflect my bullets. Concentrate fire on one of them; barrier unable to handle concentrated fire for long, target dusts.

    I begin to pick them off one at a time, but then I find myself being chased through the air by a chain. Shit. I should have retained control of it after I fried the one guy, or retrieved it altogether.

    "New group of five coming from the mansion," Marie voices. Double shit. I need to pull something drastic.

    Or not. A thunderous detonation and a roar marks the sudden appearance of Tibbers in the middle of the first group of demons, and the chain that is chasing me drops very suddenly away. I grab control of it again, lashing out to catch two of the demons with the ends as they scatter, and crush. That's all I have time for before I need to deal with the new group, but with Annie's bear tearing through them the remainder won't last long anyway.

    Neither does the new group. I drag one down with the chain and riddle it with bullets, but then Marie appears in mid-swing of her kama and beheads the lot of them. Dust on the wind. Damn, I almost forgot she was that good. I'm proud of her. Glancing back I see Paladin smash the last one of the first group into a paste using a hammer that must be as big as he is, while Annie picks up Tibbers' doll form from where it reverted.

    Coming down for a landing, I address the others. "All clear outside the building?"

    Marie's eyes go unfocused for a moment before she reports. "Yup, not a one left. Inside we've only got eight more to clear out, and they're separated. No bosses that I can see."

    "Huh, looks like I got to take part in most of the fun then." Annie grins. "We might even all get out of this intact!"

    Marie just vanishes with a smirk, and I stand aside to give Scott access to the door. He gives it an experimental push, and it swings right open. It wasn't even latched. "Guess I won't have to bust it in after all, then."

    He enters cautiously, and I trail in behind him with my gun at the ready. There is a crash from deeper inside, and a particularly large minotaur demon comes bellowing towards us from down the hallway. My bullets rip its head apart before it gets three paces, and it dusts. Another noise, this time an inhuman shriek that lasts for only a split second before it cuts off. Marie is hunting, it would seem. She walks out from one of the doorways, starting towards us. "Well, that's the last of th-" She isn't wearing a choker.

    Before I can blow the demon's head off, the real Marie appears behind it and bisects it from shoulder to groin. Poof, dust. "And that is the last of them," she announces smugly.

    "I would be tempted to complain about you taking all the kills," I start dryly, "but the one who taught you that was me, so it's kind of my own fault. Let's go shut down a netherverse portal."

    The portal doesn't take long to find. It's right in the middle of the largest room in the mansion. My, what a charnel place it is. At least a dozen dead bodies litter the area around it in various states of dismemberment. Most are cultists dressed in what look like robes of some kind, but one of them is a teenage girl in an elaborate black and red lolita dress. She is crumpled up against the wall opposite the portal itself. A giant axe thing is lying on the floor next to her. Judging by all the blood on it, it was the thing doing most or all of the dismembering of the others. Girl shouldn't have had to do that.

    A glance at the portal confirms that it isn't really doing anything for the moment, so I make my way to the dead magical girl. She looks like she might have been trying to get something out of her satchel -a healing artifact, maybe-, but she died just before she managed. I pick up the axe and the bag and put them elsewhere. Her old puchuu seems like he might actually care enough to tell me who she would want to have her stuff. If not, well, after two years of seeing girls die I'm not going to let her stuff go unused out of some kind of misplaced sentimentality. Wasting resources for a reason like that is practically criminal in our work, and if she had a healing artifact like my own in there I want Marie to have it. "Paladin, could you take care of her body while I see about shutting this thing down?"

    I turn to the portal without waiting for an answer. Hum, blackish crack hanging in midair, or rather stretching between the centers of two runic arrays drawn in now-dry blood on the floor and ceiling. Those arrays are what has to go, then, so let's see what they've got. Looking over them I have... some idea of what does what at least. That part is for indicating where the other side of the rift should lead to, that one is there to keep it from spontaneously swallowing the general area before disappearing because the arrays were swallowed as well, and that part which is damaged already was supposed to limit the number and power of the demons that could come through at any given time. Most of the rest might as well be written in Sanskrit, and for all I know it might be. I'm better at this sort of thing than most magical girls, at least.

    After considering for a minute I move to the section on the floor for the location of the other side of the rift. Of what I can understand, it's the safest part to remove that would shut the thing down. If the portal doesn't have another end, it can't exist at all. "Might want to stand back Marie, this is the dangerous part." I wait until she has obliged before I start to smudge it out, holding my breath as I do so. The rift starts to fizzle and weaken, but it doesn't suddenly turn the house inside out or anything so I let my breath out. Good, I picked right then. I move on from the floor to the corresponding part on the ceiling, and it begins to close up altogether. Yes, this might just work out!

    Then, just as the last of it is about to finish disappearing, everything goes wrong. The black crack expands suddenly into a glowing green ovaloid shape, and my hand gets caught. "SHIT! MARIE, GET OUT OF HERE!" I try to pull my hand free, but something else is pulling on it from the other side. A blast of lightning doesn't solve the issue, so either I'm being grabbed by something particularly tough or the portal itself is doing the pulling. I feel a tug on my other arm away from it, and I look to see that Marie is trying to help pull me out. It isn't working, and my little girl is crying. I'm already up to my elbow. "OUT, Marie! OUT!" I shout at her. "I'll find my way back eventually, you get out of here before it gets you too!"

    She shakes her head violently, and damn it if she isn't just bawling her eyes out. It looks like the portal isn't pulling her in after all though; just me. At least so long as she lets me go before she touches it. "I'll see you later sis," I tell her with a smile. "You keep up the good work of teaching the newbies while I'm gone, 'kay?"

    She seems to figure out that she isn't even slowing it down, and her grip on my arm goes slack as she looks down at her feet. "O-okay." She looks up at me once more, a look of challenge in her eyes. "If you don't come back eventually though, I'll kill you myself!"

    I give her hair a quick ruffle. "I wouldn't have it any other way, kid. Banzai, and all that." If I'm going through this thing, I'm going to do it properly. I step the rest of the way through myself.

    I come out in the middle of an explosion.

    -----Chapter 2 End-----

    I did make character sheets using the CYOA for the other three Magicals that fought alongside the SI here, which can be found in the last few pages of the AMG CYOA thread. If people want, I can post them here as well. Just like with Esther's original one though, they aren't really adjusted to account for growth in the time since they first transformed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
    Sydonai, Mennelon, Vault166 and 52 others like this.
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 3: Settling In (part 1)
    JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    ZnT trivia: In the ZnT manga, Saito does not have to get hit with a "silence" spell before he can understand and speak the local language.

    Chapter 3: Settling In (part 1)

    Travelling through the portal is rather bland, all told. I find myself moving through an empty abyss for an indeterminate amount of time, and then I 'm out. Well, I assume that I was moving. It was kind of hard to tell. Now that I'm out though, I still can't really see much of anything. Hear things, yes, it sounds like there are people saying something, but my vision is blocked by a thick cloud of dust and very black smoke, as if a smoke bomb or something just exploded a second ago right where I am standing. Well, there's an easy solution to that; I spread my wings and give them a mighty flap, dispersing the smoke and hopefully making myself look sufficiently awesome to whomever might be out there. The sight that meets my eyes is about as far from what I expected as might be imagined.

    -----Louise POV:
    That was it. I had one more chance to prove myself, and I literally blew it up. I let the jeers of my classmates wash over me, and- what? "What?" A gust of wind disperses the cloud of debris from my... failure?... from within.

    Two mighty, splendorous wings full of gold and red feathers sweep slowly back again, spreading to their full span as the last of the dust disperses. A loose white shirt made of some unknown, yet incredibly high quality fabric, with some kind of brown leather straps running up at angles from the centre of the belt to some unknown attachment point on her back. Loose green breeches of only slightly courser cloth, tied at the waist with a long reddish brown sash with trailing ends. A brown cloak draped over and spread wide upon the wings. A haughty look that screams superiority over all that she beholds, as if to declare to all who see that this is one of noble blood indeed.

    "Wah... girl? Wings? Waguh?!" I only half realize that the one to choke these words out is myself.

    Then the girl blinks in surprise, and the moment is over. "Well, I can't say this was at the top of what I expected, but sure, I'll take it." Her voice drops. "Beats the alternative, that's for sure." While I and most of everyone else stands open mouthed, the wings behind her close and fold against her back. Her cloak covers them so completely that I am left almost wondering if I imagined them as she glances around curiously. "I don't suppose that anyone can tell me what's going on here?"

    "Ah," Professor Colbert comes to the rescue, "the students were just conducting their Springtime Familiar Summoning ceremony, and it would seem that the young Lady Valliere's," he motions to me, "summoning brought you here. While such a thing is unusual to the point of being unheard of, I would like to welcome you to Tristain Academy of Magic on behalf of the staff."

    "Familiar summoning ceremony? Hum, that's... interesting." A calculating edge appears on the girl's face. She reaches under her cloak, bringing out some kind of white and orange stick thing that she puts in her mouth before cupping her hands around it. I hear a *pop*, and her hands drop to reveal the end, glowing with coals. Some kind of odd alternative to a pipe? "I'm guessing that there are some differences in what exactly a familiar is around here compared to where I came from, but I think I can get the basic idea. You want to become my patron, huh?" She looks me up and down, waiting for an answer.

    "I... what?... wings... patro-... What are you?!" It's just too much to take in, and I don't understand any of it! Professor Colbert dismisses the rest of the students, which is good because I really need to figure this out and having them breathing down my neck isn't helping any. He stays nearby himself, but he seems to be giving us some space.

    "That's... complicated." Thankfully, the girl seems to understand my need to understand as well. "I'm human. Ish. Sort of. Not exactly. It's probably easiest if you think of me as a magical girl, which is apparently something different from being a girl with magic." That... works, I suppose. "I'm good at killing things." That however, seems like a rather odd thing to bring up. Especially as she seems to to be implying that it is related to being a 'magical girl,' whatever that might be. Almost like she is using it as an explanation of what it might be.

    "I... You are to be my familiar, correct?" I have to get myself together. A Valliere must never lose control of the situation, and if she does she must regain it as soon as possible. "What might your name be, familiar?"

    "Esther. Esther Enns. As to whether I'm going to be your familiar, what does being a familiar entail? What do I get out of it? I'm more than some animal, so give me an idea of what I'm looking at, here." She sits down, apparently perfectly content to negotiate here in the open field. I follow suit without thinking, before a bit of heat rises to my cheeks as I realize the implications of having followed her lead and let her pick the place of discussion. She might not even have noticed, but I cannot afford to let myself slip like that. I resolve not to do so in the future.

    -----Esther POV:
    I'm learning a lot about my potential new patron here. Louise, her name is. Normally I'm not all that great at getting to know people this way, but damn it if she isn't a wide open book to even me. Maybe it's because I'm treating this as a business deal, poking her and seeing how she reacts and taking every advantage I can like I do with the puchuu? They're generally a lot harder to read than a person is, so that might be it. She clearly has some training, because she clearly realized after the fact what I did by dictating the scene of engagement, but she just as clearly hasn't internalized all of it completely. Something to work on if she convinces me to stick with her.

    "A familiar is expected to serve and act as an extension of the master, to aid them by gathering reagents, and to help protect them should there be a need." Hum, sounds easy enough. She's really taking to this well, even if her current professionalism is probably something she's doing to try and get a grip of things. "In exchange, the master provides for their familiar's needs. I... do not know if you have any... unusual needs, but if so I would attempt to meet them if they are reasonable."

    Ooh, that's interesting. This might actually be a pretty good deal for someone like me. "I assume that you are able to provide food and lodging, then. How far does this extend? My nature requires that I eat more than several grown men put together would normally need. Would such a thing be a strain you could handle?" If I can get her to foot my food bill, that alone could almost make this worth it.

    "Of course!" She seems almost insulted. Enough so that it completely overcomes any surprise she might have had at my Hunger, even. "The house de La Valliere is among the wealthiest noble houses in Tristain!"

    "Alright then, that's good. That's very good!" I smile, perhaps a little over-widely as it earns me an odd look. That might be the way I'm rubbing my hands together in evil anticipation, though. "I assume that, as I am an intelligent being in my own right rather than the animals that your fellows have summoned, I would be free to act to my own ends so long as you do not require me and it does not run contrary to your own goals? Would it perhaps be reasonable to expect that I might even have your support in such a case, so long as it is not too great a burden? I have a sister where I came from, you see, and I would like to be able to see her again and possibly to bring her here. If I can manage it."

    "I suppose that would be reasonable," Louise says cautiously. "Just so long as it doesn't get in the way of your duties as my familiar." Heehee, this is looking better and better! Limited freedom of action, established!

    "Alright then, based on your description and your apparent status as a noble of this place, my duties would primarily consist of acting as your elite bodyguard and Hand." In response to her inquisitive look, I explain. "By your Hand, I mean an elite, trusted servant that you can send to carry important messages, act for you in your absence, and generally act as an extension of yourself. As a sophont being in my own right, I can do a lot more for you there than an unintelligent animal ever could."

    "Yes, that sounds roughly correct." She is still rather cautious, probably wondering what I'm getting out of this that I'm not telling her about. Too bad you won't figure it out, my friend, because the truth is that this really just sounds like as great a deal for me as it is for you!

    "Excellent!" I clap my hands. Someone like Louise, I highly doubt that I will have problems with serving which can't be resolved. She's still young enough for me to shape away any issues that do arise, and I've gotten quite practiced at training out bad habits from younger girls. She's kind of cute, too. Like a puppy. "What does this contract entail then? I assume it's of the 'lifelong until one of us dies, at least somewhat magically binding' sort?"

    "You assume correctly. Um, to make the contract I say the incantation, k-kiss you,-" Oh wow, she looks absolutely adorable when she's blushing like that. Maybe I'll be able to survive without getting a kitten to provide my daily dose of diabetes after all? "-and then the familiar runes brand themselves on you and it's done."

    "Can't say I like the idea of being branded with anything," I scowl lightly for a moment, "but it's not a deal breaker. Might as well get it done."

    We stand, I take the remains of my cigarette out from between my lips, and Louise begins her incantation. "Pentagon of the Five Elemental Powers, grant your blessings upon this creature and bind it as my familiar." She doesn't dwell on the kissing aspect of it, just giving me a quick peck on the lips and backing away a couple of steps with a bright red blush. The runes brand themselves before I have time to make any sort of witty comment.

    The branding is... well, "MMGHKKK! FFFU!" it's a branding. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but damn it that HURTS! And then... then... oh, holy heck that... an ocean. An absolute ocean of magical power, empty and full and untamed; power eternal yet limited, and almost completely untouched. This girl... either I greatly missed my guess as to the power level of the mages around here, or more likely Louise is packing something so far beyond the rest in power that it isn't even funny!

    As the pain of the branding fades suddenly to nothing, the second, sharp prickling sensation next to it becomes noticeable before it too fades. It takes the awe-inspiring sensation along with it, though I can still feel that it is there, available if it is needed. A glance at the back of my left hand reveals a set of branded runes in a script that I have never seen before. That much, I expected. What I didn't expect was below them; a tattoo rather than a branding, and one that I already know the significance of.

    "Well, heh, wasn't expecting that. It looks like my own nature piggybacked off your familiar contract and made you my patron for real." I look at her in a little bit of wonder. "You're something else, you know that?"

    "What?" Her confusion is plain to see. "What do you mean?"

    "It's sort of like the same thing as your familiar binding but, uh, set up from my end of things," I explain with a shrug. "It's complicated, and I've never had a patron before so I don't really know the details." Like how it is even possible for a human to act as a magical girl's patron, much less how said human has that kind of inherent power.

    "Pardon me," Gah! When did the teacher dude get back here?! "But may I see your runes, now that the two of you have come to an agreement? With how unusual and interesting the situation is, I would like to have as full a record as possible."

    "Uh, sure." I hold up my hand for him to copy them out. "Please, don't sneak up on me like that." 'It's dangerous,' I leave unsaid.

    We go inside once he's done, to discuss things in a more comfortable setting. It may be a nice day out, but grass and dirt does not a good cushion make. Now that I've assured my meal ticket for the foreseeable future, it's time to find out about this place I've landed in.

    I foresee fun times ahead.
    -----End Chapter 3-----
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  5. JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    You may now post if you wish.
     
  6. Ryven Razgriz

    Ryven Razgriz Know what you're doing yet?

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2016
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    1,262
    I'm guessing that SI doesn't know ZnT then?
     
  7. JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    When doing something like this, I generally find it most realistic if the setting that the SI gets dropped into does not exist in the version of Earth that they come from, yes. It's one thing when knowing the setting is a plot point. It is quite another when you are doing a crossover and/or exploring how a version of yourself would act in a canon character's place. The last, because it really isn't an equal contrast between your personality and that of the canon character if you give yourself foreknowledge.

    Of course, the SI's personality is a bit different from mine due to 2 years as a magical girl. Particularly with the way she forced herself to adapt from the word 'go' so that she wouldn't break down while others needed her to be their strong, badass teacher.
    EDIT:
    Basically, first it was "Can't panic now, I need to get somewhere safe and do something for that poor girl's body." Then it was "Can't panic now, I need to get somewhere safe and heal her body up." THEN, it was "Can't panic now, I need to be a pillar of strength for Marie until I can make her strong enough to stand on her own." By the time that was finished, it was pretty much "Why should I panic now? This is my life. Life happens, it happened, and I'm used to it at this point."

    It helps that I'm pretty good at taking things as they come.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 4: Settling In (part 2)
    JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    Chapter 4: Settling In (part 2)

    At my request, a large platter of food is brought up to Louise’s room for me to eat as we talk. Eating and talking can get in the way of each other though, and I believe I've been focusing too much on the former. “You’ve been looking at me for a while now,” I tell Louise as I strip the meat off a chicken leg. “Anything in particular that you’re wondering about?” Good food they have here. It certainly beats my cooking; I never really bothered learning more than how to follow a recipe.

    "Yes, I suppose there is. I was wondering, what element do you represent? I mean, you have your wings, which suggests Wind, but then you go and do... that, which is definitely an Earth thing." She motions vaguely with one hand. I glance down. Ah, yeah, I've been tweaking the metal of the platter a bit to make eating off of it more ergonomic, haven't I? I better fix that. First things first though, I should listen to what Louise is saying. "-is proof of the element of the mage who summoned it, and I've... well, I've had some issues figuring out my element up until now. Getting something definite about that was one of my main hopes for the summoning."

    "Hum," I swallow, "You mentioned Wind and Earth, so I'm guessing your magic uses the four classical elements based on the four states of matter? Fire, Earth, Water, and Air or Wind?"

    "And the lost element of Void, yes. Together they make the five points of the pentagram."

    "Huh. That's interesting; the four states of matter plus Void for pure energy, or for the space between?" I muse. "Anyway, thanks for correcting me, but Void is probably not relevant right this moment if it's a lost element," I tell her. "We should come back to it later, but let's focus on the four for now, and how they compare to my magic. Where I come from, we don't use an elemental system like that. Well, not exactly like that. Instead, we've got about nineteen different main categories or 'specializations,' plus an oddball category for stuff that doesn't fit the mold."

    I raise a finger to stop Louise from interrupting. "There's overlap between a lot of them insofar as what they can accomplish, but they generally do it different ways. A Reinforcement specialist might heal someone by strengthening the reality of their 'healthy' or 'uninjured' state until it is more real than their 'injured' one, while Light spec might 'purify' them of harm and a Beast spec might temporarily grant some of the regenerative ability of, oh, a starfish. A magical girl like myself is focused into one of these categories, though we can learn stuff from the others if we put in a lot of extra time and effort. You following me?"

    "Yes," Louise nods, "but what does this have to do with my magic? What magic do you use?"

    "See," I lean back in my chair, "that's the thing. I actually have two specializations, due to something that's hard to explain, but they don't really match with the same thing in your system. One's Metal, and the other's Lightning, so that's points to both Earth and Fire on your end."

    "Wind," Louise corrects distractedly. "Lightning is a highly advanced form of Wind magic."

    My eyebrows shoot up. "Really? So, not entirely based on the states of matter, with Fire being plasma then. Symbolic elements then, or maybe a bit of both..." I interrupt myself from going off on a tangent by grabbing a bread roll and biting down. Yum, garlic! "Anyway," I continue after swallowing, "I might not be a good reference point for your element in the first place. I was doing something very stupid and unfortunately necessary with a damaged portal just before, and your summoning spell probably ran into the damaged parts of it. You probably would have summoned something else, otherwise."

    "Wait, you mean... I didn't summon you on my own ability?" The sheer heartbreak and depression on Louise's face at that comes at me completely out of the blue. What happened to the proud, elated girl from before? It's like all that pride and confidence came purely from... oh.

    "NO! No, no, you definitely DID summon me on your own ability!" I consider, "Well, mostly, at least. If your summoning wasn't powerful, there is no way it could have interacted with the portal that way." Yes there is, but she doesn't need that truth right now. "Besides, even if you DID summon me through luck, it can't have been all luck! I mean, what are the chances that you would get something willing to become your familiar after your spell was interfered with like that? Almost nothing, so..."

    Louise is crying, and through the tears and pain there is anger. "S-stupid familiar! Do-don't patronize me!" She raises her wand, and I've had enough of letting things go wrong. In but a moment I reach her, pluck the wand from her hand and wrap my arms around her. My platter skids to rest atop the desk behind me. Louise sits stiff as a board for several seconds, so I pick her neatly out of her chair, carrying her with me to sit us both down on her bed.

    Finally, Louise relaxes into my hug. "Just one spell," she murmurs. "The most important one, ever. I thought I finally showed everyone I was a true noble, and it still went wrong. It went right because it went wrong. How does that even work?!"

    I rock her back and forth slowly. "It's fine, it's okay. Let it out, I'm here for you." I am such a sucker for crying girls younger than myself. "Nobility belongs to those with magic, right? You told me that on our way up here. Well I can tell you right now, you definitely qualify by that standard. I felt it when you contracted me; you have a lot of raw magical energy. Enough that you might be having trouble just because there is too much of it for you to use it the same way your peers do. You literally couldn't have contracted me as my patron if you didn't, I'm pretty sure." That much is true. The very idea of any human having enough power to act as a patron would have set me off laughing if I had heard of it yesterday.

    We sit in silence for some time before Louise slides out of my arms, and I give her wand back. "Thank you. I... just thank you."

    "Any time. It's got to be part of my new job description anyway, right?" I give Louise a quirky smile, then stand up and follow with a bow. "Speaking of which, is there anything I can do for you milady?"

    "Hmm, yes I believe there is." My attempt at lifting her spirits seems to have worked, because she is matching my smile with one of her own. "Just let me get changed for bed, then take my laundry to one of the maids to have it cleaned." She starts to strip, and I rapidly refocus on finishing off what remains of the food, putting what I can't eat quickly elsewhere for later. "While you are at it, you may as well get them to provide you with a place to sleep for the night. I had some bedding readied for my familiar beforehand but, well..." I see her motion to a pile of straw on the floor to one side of her bed out of the corner of my eye. Yeah, that makes sense. "We can request that another bed be brought in tomorrow morning," she finishes.

    "Righto. I'll give them back the tray while I'm at it." Speaking of which, I straighten out the shaping I did to it earlier. It wouldn't do to hand it back bent out of shape, even if the new shape is objectively better when you're eating from it directly.

    "Mmm. Wake me up an hour after dawn," Louise yawns, burying herself deep under the covers. I slip out the door, her laundry under one arm and the tray under the other.

    Finding a maid isn't too hard. I politely ask some random kid in the middle of flirting with a girl where to look for one, and after a bit of posturing for his flirtee he directs me to nearby a hallway where he saw one dusting. I catch her as she is finishing up.

    "Ah! Milady, what can I do for you?"

    "Not a lady," I inform her. "At least, I'm pretty sure not. It probably depends on just how closely the whole 'magic means nobility' thing is actually tied together around here, I guess. I'm Esther Enns, summoned familiar of Lady Valliere."

    She bows quickly. Down and up in a moment. "My mistake, milady Enns. I am Siesta, one of the maid staff here, as you can see. I had heard that one of the students summoned a winged girl at the ceremony this afternoon, might I assume that was yourself?" She looks behind me. "I don't see any wings..."

    Very professional, yet also personable and outgoing; I like her. She seems a bit familiar as well, but I can't really put my finger on why. "You may. You can also just call me Esther. My patron asked me to give you her laundry to be washed, and that you find me a place to sleep for the night until a second bed can be set up in her room. I also have this tray here to give back."

    "You already finished it with just the two of you?" Siesta's eyes widen as she takes the items. "You must have quite the healthy appetite!"

    "Um, yeah, you could say that. I ate most of it myself actually. Due to my nature, I have a rather extremely large diet. I figure I should probably tell you now so that the staff can be ready."

    "Oh, it will be no problem at all! Will you be alright sleeping in the staff quarters tonight mila- Esther?" Siesta begins to lead me through the halls. She is apparently comfortable with working as she talks now, since I seem to be fine with it.

    "That sounds fine," I assure her. "Just so long as you're alright with me coming in relatively late. I'm a bit of a night owl."

    "That won't be a trouble. Some of the staff are up at odd hours anyway, so just don't make too much noise and no one will mind." Once she's shown me where the staff quarters are, Siesta leaves to take care of Louise's laundry and I make my way outside. Looking into the sky, I see two moons of different sizes and colors. Fascinating. I knew I wasn't on the Earth that I came from, but seeing such an obvious difference adds a certain wonder to it. I'm not overly worried about getting in contact with Marie again even so; so long as there are humans and human cities, the Overcity is a link that I can use to reach her eventually. I just need to find the right Way.

    Now though, it is time to go flying.

    -----End Chapter 4-----
     
  9. Mizu

    Mizu Software Developer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2015
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    6,896
    to a nearby hallway

    I confess, I'm enjoying your take on ZnT so far. You've skimmed over the first meeting with Guiche most fanfic tend to follow, indicating either you or Esther find it unimportant enough not to recount, and Louise is coming off as both reasonable and suitably depressed at the news her portal spell was a tad wonky in execution. You get major points for her being embarrassed and apologetic about the bedding scenario, too - it seems to be an odd trend for the familiar to end up there the first night, or at least ordered around by Louise.

    Feeling depressed and lost at being on a new world kinda falls flat when one is aware of interdimensional travel as a thing, I guess. Particularly if it's something they've commonly done, as is the case with Esther and the Overcity. Would she be quite as calm if she needed to find entry/exit portals into said city manually, I wonder?
     
  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 5: Settling In (part 3)
    JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    Hoo boy, this chapter fought me most of the way. I'm still not overly happy with most of it. Still, I don't think I'm going to manage a better version any time soon, so this is what you get.


    Chapter 5: Settling In (Part 3)

    Flying is one of the things that I have enjoyed most about my transformation. The sheer joy inspired by moving freely in three dimensions, the sense of unfettered freedom as I go wherever I wish, the breathtaking view of the land beneath me as I navigate under my own power, altering direction with the merest twitch of a feather to catch the next thermal or beating my wings like a hurricane in the face of an uncooperative wind… This alone is possibly worth the loss of my original gender. There truly is no comparison between the feeling of flight through an airplane and that of the flight of a bird, and I have the incredible privilege of the latter.

    I wind my way around the tallest tower of the academy, rising effortlessly on the updraft that its sheer face presents me with. I couldn’t have done this when I first transformed. I expended an entire Gold and two Silvers before I was satisfied with how well I made physics and weight go cry in a corner when I fly. It was worth it.

    “Kuu!” Something big flies by me as I reach the top, brushing me with a leathery wing. A dragon? There’s someone on its back. One of the students, it looks like. Her hair looks like it’s blue under the moonlight. Well, far be it from me to deny someone else the joys of flight.

    The dragon flies around, keeping a short distance from me as I land on the roof. “Kyuu?” What? What is it looking at me like that for?

    The rider moves her staff, first indicating her dragon, then me. “Tag.” Ah. Sounds fun!

    My wings reshape themselves, rearranging feathers to take a form factor better suited to the quick maneuvering of a robin instead of the wind riding of an eagle. “I’m it, then?” At the dragon's eager "Kyuu!" of answer I leap towards them, and the game is on.

    ------

    Morning shows its dreaded face when the bulk of the serving staff get up, and I force myself out of bed with the knowledge that my new patron wanted me to act as her alarm clock. Why did she want to get up at such an ungodly hour anyway? From what the servants are saying, she doesn't have classes today. Something about the students having the day off to "bond with their familiars." Then again, I'm probably just cranky because I stayed up too late playing aerial tag with a dragon. I'm going to have to find out their names at some point. That was one of the best times I've had in the air outside of a fight in... ever, really.

    Once I’m feeling sufficiently alive, I make my way back to Louise’s room. She didn’t lock the door, which is something I’m going to need to train out of her, but right now it works out. Looking at her there, half-covered by her blankets, I am struck by just how small she is. Oh, I’m only a few inches taller, but I’ve got a bit of meat on my bones. Another thing to correct in the future.

    "Wake up." I poke Louise. She doesn't respond. "Up! Up, up, up!"

    "Mrrgle..."

    Okay, that's enough. I hold two fingers veeery close to her ear, and then I blast lightning between them. Repeatedly. If anyone ever tells you that sparking electricity is anything even resembling quiet, they've pulling your leg and you should laugh in their face.

    "GAAH! What kind of-!?"

    "If you're gonna make me get up at an ungodly hour to wake you up," I interrupt, "you better be willing to get up when I actually do it."

    "Huh?" Louise squints at me for a second before rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. "Oh, right. I summoned you yesterday." A small grin slowly works its way across her face. Good to know she's still happy with the idea. I turn around as she dresses herself, which is why I am slightly unprepared when she speaks up again. "I should probably punish you for disrespect, familiar..." She doesn't sound very certain of the idea, which is good because I'm not going to take that kind of thing sitting down.

    "When I was following your express orders? Besides that, from what I understand you didn't contract me to act as a sycophant. A familiar by its very name is supposed to be more of a subordinate companion and aid than a simple servant, right?" Got to stroke her ego correctly at this point if I want us to be able to get along. Get her to form the right opinions on how we relate to each other, and all that.

    "Yes," she sighs, apparently happy to have the out. "I suppose so. You have magic, too, so in a sense you are a noble in your own right anyway." She seems to be thrilled at the idea. "Take that Kirche," she mutters to herself, grin back in full force as she walks past me to the door. "You can keep your stupid lizard. I've got a noble retainer!" Looks like she's done dressing.

    “Well, if it isn’t the Zero!” We don't make it very far down the hall before Louise is accosted by a redhead with... well, no better way to put it, she's stacked. From what I gather in the following minute of conversation, her name is Zerbst and she isn’t exactly Louise’s bestie. Ultimately, I tune her out for the most part in favor of her companion, the girl with the dragon from last night.

    Seeing the dragon girl now, I’m surprised to find that her blue hair wasn’t a trick of the moonlight after all. Maybe I shouldn’t be, with my patron’s hair being pink and all, but still. It looks surprisingly natural, too. “Esther Enns. Good to meet you.”

    She looks at me from over her book and gives me a nod. “Tabitha.” And back to reading she goes. Eh, antisocial, but I used to be kind of the same. Not to that degree, but still.

    We make our way to the dining hall from there. “I don’t want you associating with Kirche von Zerbst,” Louise tells me, and I mentally file away the busty girl’s full name. “Her family and mine have been enemies for generations, ever since one of them stole a De la Valliere’s lover. Their estates are also just across the Germanian border from ours, so our families are always the first to fight each other when war breaks out.”

    “I’ll keep it in mind,” I acknowledge with a nod. “Do you mind her friend, Tabitha? I met her last night after we were done talking, and I had a fun time playing tag with her dragon.”

    It takes a moment of thought before Louise answers. “No, she’s alright I guess. I think the two of them get along because they’re both foreign. Zerbst is Germanian, Tabitha comes from Gallia. They’re too different otherwise.” She half-turns her head to look at me. “How do you play tag with a dragon, anyway?”

    “You fly.” I point into the air.

    “Ah.” Oh, we’re at the dining hall. Fooooood. “A commoner would not be allowed to eat in the Alviss Dining Hall, but you’re basically a noble as it is so I don’t… think there should be a problem. Familiars normally eat in the courtyard, but…”

    “Mmm, I see.” Foooood! I sit across from Louise and begin heaping my plate high. “What? I told you, I eat a lot.” Louise shakes her head in bemusement. Hey, I did tell her. Eating is serious business.

    My meal is briefly interrupted by a commotion over at a different table. “Of course not, my love! You alone can make my heart beat so!” Oh, it’s that kid who pointed me to the maid last night. He’s with a different girl this time. I might be slightly tempted to interfere, but honestly it’s none of my business. Besides, his flirtee from before is heading towards him. You reap what you sow, kid. I turn back to my food.

    At least, I try to. My attention is brought back to his table only moments later with a loud *smack*. His girlfriends are walking away in a huff. “That’s what you get, Guiche! You should have known it was only a matter of time.”

    “Shut up, Malicorne. You! Maid!”

    “Yes, milord?” Oh, Siesta!

    “If you had left that perfume on the ground, this would not have happened. It is your fault that those two fine ladies are now in tears. What do you have to say for yourself?” Okay, this is a problem. I start to stand, ready to go support the girl.

    I needn’t have bothered. She does… something. “My apologies, milord.” Siesta bows low. “Please forgive me for any trouble I have caused you.” That… as she said that, I felt something. What did she do? It felt… I know that feeling.

    “Hmph,” Guiche’s expression changes to what I can only assume he thinks is that of a kind lord, pardoning some great offense offered by one of his vassals. Really, it just looks like he’s trying too hard. “See that it doesn’t, and do not waste my mercy. Carry on.”

    “Yes, milord.”

    Something is going on here, and I want to know what. “Just a minute, Louise,” I excuse myself, picking up my plate so I can eat as I walk. “I want to talk with that maid.”

    "What? Why?"

    "It's hard to explain," I prevaricate, "I'll tell you later when I've figured it out myself." Now, where did she go? There, she's walking out the side door. I follow her, and it doesn't take me long to catch up. "Hey, Siesta!"

    "Hm? Oh! Milady Enns! What can I do for you?" There's that same familiar feeling from both last night and just a minute ago. It doesn't feel... active right now like it did when she was talking to Guiche. It's more like the way it felt last night.

    "Just a sec, I want to see something, if thats okay?" I focus, and look at Siesta. Times like this, I wish I had the third eye of the mind. I would have known what was up the moment I spotted her last night. As it is, it takes me almost a minute of trying to puzzle out what I'm feeling before it hits me. "You're a... half djinn, or something?"

    Siesta looks at me uncomprehendingly. "Fae?" No dice. "Youkai?" That gets recognition. Really, they're all just different names for the same kind of thing in different languages.

    "Yes, milady. Through my grandfather. Is there a problem?"

    "No, no not at all!" Nothing wrong with djinn, generally. Some can be troublemakers, but as a whole they're pretty much people like anyone else. Much to the contrary, this is an opportunity. If she's part djinn, she might know or be related to some merchants in the local Overcity that I can deal with. "I just didn't recognize what I was feeling at first. I'm surprised to find one of you working here." As a rule, djinn don't work for humans. Like, ever. This is also the first sign I've seen that there is anyone with Overcity knowledge in the area. The local mages don't seem to have even the faintest idea it exists.

    She blinks. "It pays well? Dealing with nobles isn't so much of a bother, and it lets me send good money home... I can get things that the rest of the staff can't, as well." Well, she is mostly human. That trick she did to get Guiche to stop harassing her was probably about the limit of what she can do, magically.

    "Well," I tell her, "thanks for letting me sate my curiosity. I'll let you get back to work in a moment. I would like to talk some more later though, if that's alright with you? I would like to know a bit about the Overcity in these parts."

    Siesta nods her assent. "The Overcity? Ah, you mean the Allway, and Upper Square. I do know some people there who will be glad for any business you might offer. I will be heading into Tristan City next day of the Void, and I usually stop there for some of our more exotic ingredients, so I can guide you then? Do you have the right sort of money?"

    "If I can convince my Patron, sure." I take a Bronze from elsewhere. "And yes, I have Overcity currency. Though a lot of what I want to do is selling, not buying." She nods approvingly. "One last thing then, in your job as a maid here. My Patron wishes for a second bed to be brought up to her room for my own use. If you could arrange for that to get done sometime today, that would be great."

    "I will see to it, milady." She bows, and I return to Louise.

    "What was that about? Did the maid burn your food or something?"

    "No, actually. I was checking into something unusual I noticed about her." I look Louise dead in the eye. "She's not an ordinary maid. If you can manage it, it might be worth trying to get her to work for you personally before you finish your studies here." I break the intensity of my stare by turning upon a large salad bowl and beginning to refill my empty plate. "Exactly why, I can show you next day of the Void, whenever that is. If you're willing to head into town at least."

    "I don't see why not. The Day of the Void is three days from n- How are you still eating?! You've already eaten almost as much as the rest of the table put together!"

    "What?" I stuff a forkful of salad into my mouth before looking up. Louise just looks at me incredulously. "I did tell you yesterday that I eat as much as several grown, active men put together. That platter they brought up last night barely took the edge off, and it's been a whole night since then."

    My patron opens her mouth, then closes it, then sighs and rests her head on her hand, propping herself up with her elbow on the table. "I'm starting to see why you were so eager to get me to pay for your food." Oh, you have no idea, Louise.

    The remainder of the meal is spent with silence between us. I don't stop eating until the table is effectively bare.

    -----Chapter 5 End-----
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
    Sydonai, Mennelon, Vault166 and 61 others like this.
  11. Rathmun

    Rathmun Is kink-shaming someone's shame-kink still wrong?

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    7,704
    Likes Received:
    203,515
    I wouldn't be surprised if she's as expensive to feed as Irukukwu.
     
  12. TheAkashicTraveller

    TheAkashicTraveller 0_o

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    395
    Flying tag is best tag.
     
  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 6: Projects and Productivity (Part 1)
    JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    Chapter 6: Projects and Productivity (Part 1)

    "What are you doing?" With the day free from classes, Louise and I were out enjoying the sun and done some bonding. "And where do you keep all this stuff? I know I would have seen that bag if you were carrying it under your cloak." Well, the bonding was more or less on and off; at the moment I was working on something else.

    "I'm going through some of my things to see what I have that I might be able to sell when we head into town." I set down a six-inch steel replica of FMA's Alphonse(with enchanted mechanically moving arms and legs! Made by yours truly, of course.), and looked up at Louise. "Judging by what you were saying last night, and the nickname I've heard people calling you, you've got some issues with using your magic, right?" I waited for her reluctant nod before continuing. "Now, I know it isn't because you don't have enough magic, but until you can get a handle on actually using all that power you have, the best stopgap is to make you a physical juggernaut. Then if you can't blow your enemies to smithereens, you can still punch them into ludicrous jibs. That means Coins. Lots of Coins, since you're not an MG."

    "I- What? Enemies? Coins? Punching people? That's how a commoner fights! Besides, where are you getting the idea that I would be fighting anyway?"

    I blinked. Then I smacked my forehead. "Duh! I'm stupid. Sorry, I'm used to others like myself. For us, magic and combat go hand in hand. Oh, we use it for other things, but ultimately we're made for war. I started thinking of you like one of my students, and the main thing I teach them is how to kill the other guy before he kills you first. Still," I looked her up and down, "enhancing you physically is a good idea anyway. It's never something that won't be helpful."

    "...Okay," Louise conceded after a second, "I guess that makes sense if you can actually manage it. I have no idea what your magic is capable of." She paused, as if debating whether she really wanted to say her next sentence. "Also, blowing things up is the problem. Any time I try to cast a spell, it explodes." And you don't see that as useful?! Wait, right, your magic isn't primarily used for combat. "You still haven't answered me about where you're keeping your stuff, Esther." Huh. I think that was the first time she's called me by my name.

    "Right! You'll have to show me one of your spells later, though. Explosions are good. Explosions are love; explosions are life." I chose to ignore the look Louise gave me for that, instead explaining to her the concept of hammerspace and some of the leading theories as to exactly where things kept inside of it went. Including my own theory that it stored them literally inside my soul somehow. I had to put a few things into it right in front of her and pull them back out before she was mostly satisfied. The idea seemed to fascinate her, and I frankly agreed. Hammerspace was awesome.

    Eventually though, I had to finish looking through the things I had for salable stuff so I would know exactly how much I needed to make myself. The next thing was to check that bag which I retrieved from the body of the MG who failed to stop the portal from opening. I looked inside it and whistled in appreciation. "Ni~ice, this bag alone is worth a fair amount."

    "Really?"

    "Yep. See," I showed Louise, "on the outside it's not all that big. On the inside though..." Really, it was larger than a fair-sized suitcase of the sort that you might use for checked baggage with an airline. "I salvaged this thing just before you summoned me, so I haven't had a chance to see what's inside it yet. It looks like it's a full on extradimensional pocket, like my hammerspace but tied into the bag instead of a person."

    What was inside it consisted of several changes of clothes in a gothic lolita style, a couple of brown paper bags which revealed themselves to be contain decently put together and surprisingly fresh lunches sized in normal-person portions, a wallet containing a few dollars and some Copper Coins, a mostly full bottle of... was that vodka? I do hope that girl was older than she looked. A few souvenir shot glasses in a wooden case, clearly having seen some use, an odd, egg-shaped gem thing that practically radiated magic of some kind and glowed slightly from within besides, several large packages of crystallized fruits, a smart phone with a damaged screen and a dead battery, a photo album, and a few other odds and ends.

    Obviously, I went straight to the gem once I had everything out in front of me. It didn't feel like a healing artifact, which confused me. Did I guess wrong about what she was reaching for when she died? She was trying to get hold of the photo album for her last moments, maybe? Heck, maybe she decided she didn't want to die sober and was trying to get at the vodka. Something about the gem felt important though. It felt like... well, like myself, but different. I held it up to the sun, looking into its many-faceted surface. What was I missing?

    "Well, you just gonna keep lookin' at me? Do ya' wanna talk or what?"

    "Gah!" Well, I knew what it was now. No selling the bag or anything that was in it, then. Or the giant axe. "Geez, I almost dropped you!"

    "Eh, my soul jar is plenty tough enough ta take a two foot drop onta grass. Name's Rhetta Sandwith. Yours?"

    "Esther Enns. Sorry to tell you, but your body is kind of unavailable. I got pulled through the portal as I was shutting it down. We're on whole a different plane now."

    "You're talking to rocks, Esther?" Louise interrupted snarkily. "Is this going to happen regularly?" Well, if she felt comfortable treating me somewhat like a peer or a near-equal, that was pretty much exactly the best situation I was hoping for anyway.

    "Probably just this particular rock," I told her, packing the bag back up. Obviously, I left Rhetta out.

    ------

    After talking more with Rhetta, we came to an agreement. I would make her a temporary metal body until she could self-incarnate a copy of her old one. She would pay for the materials I used, and would stay in the general area until she could pay off the boatload of favors she was going to owe me for it.

    Unfortunately, that meant that I was going to need more Coins than ever. A fully functional body for a magical girl was an immense project; even a 'temporary' one. It was going to take significantly more power and permanency than even a Gold Coin could provide, and I would be pushing my not-insubstantial skill in enchanting and mechanical engineering to their very limits and beyond. That meant preparation, and it meant that I was going to need to have some worthwhile things ready to sell when we went into town in a few days. In turn, that meant that Louise got to see me at work on my favorite hobby ever since I transformed.

    Or she would have, if she actually took any interest in it. How anyone could find it boring, particularly considering the implications of molecular scale control over the metal being used, the ability to create frictionless surfaces and to seal the mechanisms perfectly against the intrusion of foreign materials, allowing for a completely lubricant- and maintenance-free... well, you get the idea. I didn't understand her attitude towards it at all, but maybe that was just because I was a bit of a mad scientist deep down.

    That was yesterday though. I could get back to it later. Right now, I was sitting in on one of my patron's classes and trying not to fall asleep. Oh sure, this was important knowledge if I was ever going to fight a local mage, and that was pretty much guaranteed, but it was sooo boring! Who cares about Earth having an affinity for constructing things and working them into new forms? I could have told you that. That was like saying that Wind was good at keeping up good air circulation so the room didn't get stuffy. I mean, duh!

    Letting my concentration lapse, I tried poking at the well of power that I felt coming from Louise. This stuff was weird. I pulled just a little bit of it out, and my patron's head snapped away from the teacher and onto me. She could tell when I drew on her? Interesting, but it made sense.

    "What was that?!" Louise hissed at me quietly. "No wait, don't tell me now. After class." She turned her focus back to the teacher, though I could tell she was distracted.

    Hum, what to do with this odd bit of mana now? I could try to use it for a spell, and it might work. I could also just let it go and see what it did. I remembered what Louise said about her spells exploding, and scrapped that idea. Maybe later, when I could do it outside. Work it into a shape, then? Start to try to use it for a few things, and see what clicked? Better than nothing. If I figured anything out, it could be a huge help for getting Louise to be able to use it right herself, eventually.

    The more I messed with it though, the more frustrated I became. The closest feeling I could think of to compare the feeling of my patron's mana to was something in between my own ability to shift my surroundings into the Overcity directly and the feel of the portal that brought me here, but there was a lot more to it than that. It was almost neutral, but at the same time it was empty and full and it felt of spaces in-between and around. At least, that was the best description I could come up with. And that still didn't explain why it would make things explode when she tried to use it for anything.

    I sighed and let the mana dissipate harmlessly, turning my attention back to the lesson. That was odd, were those things on the teacher's desk made of bronze before? I could have sworn they were clay. "An excellent demonstration of an upper dot-tier alchemical transmutation, Mr. Gramont!" Oh, the womanizer from yesterday was walking back to his seat looking pleased with himself. Did he just change those into a completely different material, composed of an entirely separate group of elements from elsewhere on the periodic table? Maybe that whole 'affinity for reshaping things' had more significant implications here than I had thought. I should have been paying closer attention.

    Once class was dismissed, Louise pulled me aside and rounded on me. "What was that in class? You did something!"

    I raised my hands in surrender. "I was just drawing on a bit of your magic, to see if I could figure anything out about it."

    "You were WHAT!?" I winced at her volume. Well, if people didn't realize we were probably talking about something important before, they do now.

    "Geez, keep it down. Half the building must have heard you. Yeah, that's part of the deal of becoming my patron. I can draw on your power as part of the exchange for serving you. I was trying to figure out some things that could help us figure out why your spells aren't working."

    It took Louise several seconds before she answered. "I would have liked to know about that sooner. That wasn't what we agreed on when I bound you."

    "I didn't set it up that way on purpose," I shrugged. "It just sort of happened. Still, it's more of a good thing for you as well. I told you before, you've got a lot of power. Since you're having trouble using it, you can use me as a proxy and to try and figure out why it isn't working for you."

    That seemed to mollify her. "So? Did you find anything out?"

    "Not really. Not yet." I shook my head. "Your mana... magic is weird. About all I can tell you right now is that when we do figure it out, you should be able to do some really impressive and unusual things with it. What sorts of things? I have no idea."

    Louise considered that for a moment. "Well, at least that's something. More than I had before."

    Indeed. We would just have to keep trying new things for now, until we started to figure something out.

    -----End Chapter 6-----
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    Sydonai, Mennelon, Vault166 and 56 others like this.
  14. Par Tzu

    Par Tzu The Indecisive Procrastinator

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Messages:
    935
    Likes Received:
    2,343
    This looks very promising...
     
  15. Threadmarks: Chapter 7: Will Shop for Shinies (Part 1)
    JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    Chapter 7: Will Shop for Shinies (part 1)

    Making Rhetta's new body was a complicated project, but it turned out that I had greatly overestimated it. At least, in a manner of speaking. When confronted with the idea of creating a usable body on par with that of a magical girl, especially that of one who self-professedly specialized in melee combat, I had initially jumped on how difficult making such a construct would be. Allowing efficient channels for the use of magic, flexibility on par with a human body -which needed to be able to bend and flex in literally hundreds of ways for even the simplest of tasks-, and an easy interface that would allow a foreign soul to coordinate it as though they had been using it all their life... One would need to account for all of that and more, all without sacrificing the intense speed and monstrous strength that only a physically-focused magical girl had.

    The more that I tried to plan it out, the more I realized that it simply wasn't possible without years, possibly decades worth of intense study and effort. A construct like that was the life's work of a genius. At that point one would actually have an easier time creating an artificial soul just for the construct, rather than trying to make it fit someone why had lived for years with a different, flesh-based body.

    Therefore, I decided to cheat.

    The problem with my initial approach was that I was trying to make a body for Rhetta to use. That was stupid. I had Rhetta's soul jar. Under the mythical 'optimal conditions,' she could form a completely new body just like her old one in about a month without my help. Even if she had to literally create it from the aether of her own magic without using any ambient matter it might take two months, maybe two and a half at the outside.

    All I needed to do was to make a doppelganger doll of sorts, and then stick her soul jar in it and let her do the work. I could make it in maybe a week and a half tops using a Silver or two, and it would take her a couple of hours after that at most to shape it into an effective copy of her old self. A bit heavier and more durable perhaps, since it would technically be made of metal. Another month or two and she would be flesh and blood like the rest of us, save for maybe a partially metallic skeleton. The rest of the extra durability would probably get absorbed into her outfit or something.

    And it only took me almost three days to figure out this blatantly obvious concept. I blamed my inner mad scientist for getting too excited at the challenge.

    "Well, you're unusually grumpy today. You've been grumbling all morning Esther; not that it seems to have affected your appetite."

    I put on an affronted air, sniffing in exaggerated disdain as I picked the next piece of fruit off my platter. Why did I have a platter of fruit with me when I was on horseback, you ask? I ask, why shouldn't I have a platter of fruit with me while I was on horseback? "Food cares not for our petty moods, Louise." Then I sighed. "Just a bit annoyed that it took me so long to notice the obvious solution to a problem."

    "Right." Louise rolled her eyes. Or at least, I assumed she did. "The talking rock. I mean, it's a very nice rock. A very valuable rock, being a gemstone as big as it is. I'm even willing to believe that it's a very powerful rock, since you seem to think so. But it's still a rock."

    Okay, so maybe I should have explained the concept of a soul jar to her earlier. In my defense, it's kind of the sort of thing that can get you burned at the stake in a medieval society. At least, if you don't explain it right. "Okay, I suppose I should probably explain a bit about what makes this rock special."

    "Finally!" Louise threw her arms into the air. One arm. She kept the other one on the reigns. "Okay, so what is it?"

    "Well," I considered how best to tell her, "The first thing you should understand is that people like me aren't natural. We're made. There are these creatures where I come from that can turn pretty much anybody into a magical girl. Usually, they get the person's permission first, but most people don't really know what they're getting into when they make the deal."

    My patron frowned. "I'm really not liking the sound of this."

    "Good. Ultimately, they turn people, mostly girls younger than sixteen, into living weapons and point them at threats. It's really not as bad as it sounds just from that. I mean, the Puchuu, as the creatures are called, they do a lot of good with what they do. The threats they send their girls at are often very real problems that need to be put down. But it isn't all happiness and rainbows either. The fact that the threats are real still means they're taking girls as young as seven years old, turning them into weapons, and sending them to fight and die."

    "You're getting off topic. The rock?"

    "Right, I was getting to that," I told her. "See, while they don't take your soul or anything... how do I put this? Best be blunt. The rock is a girl's soul."

    Louise brought her horse to a sudden halt. It took several seconds for Siesta and I to do the same and to get back to her. "A... soul." Uh, wide eyes? Check. Horrified tone of voice? Check. Damn it, this was exactly what I was hoping to avoid. "You're lying to me. You HAVE to be lying to me."

    "Sorry, but nope. You get why I waited until we were away from the school to tell you about it, now?"

    "And you're just... you're okay with this?! And you!" Louise glared at Siesta. "Why aren't you... how do you hear this and not...?"

    Siesta glanced at me, uncertain of what to say. I shrugged. "Well, it's exciting, right milady?" she began slowly, picking up confidence as she talked. "I mean, it's like my grandfather's stories! I never thought I would actually meet someone whose soul was separate from their body."

    "Technically you haven't yet," I butt in. "Since you haven't talked to Rhetta. My soul is still where it should be. Though actually," I turn to Louise, "Rhetta didn't get off all that bad. For all that she's technically a lich, at least her body and soul stayed human. Not everyone's does."

    "I..." Louise looked between Siesta and I. "No. You're lying." Her expression hardened. "I thought you would at least tell the truth, Esther, but it seems that I can't rely even on my own familiar. What else have you lied about? Why should I believe anything you have told me up to now?" Geez, she keeps falling back on that sort of thing. I suppose it was rather hard to believe, but still.

    I rubbed my forehead for a second, before I looked straight up at Louise. "Okay, I think I need to clarify something." Be brisk, short, leave no room for argument. "An important thing about me, Louise? I'm a liar. I'm a liar, a cheater, and overall I'm just a scoundrel all around. When I lie though, I lie for a reason. I have no reason to lie to you here. I haven't lied to you yet at all. You don't want to believe me, fine! I will show you. You will see when I'm done."

    Okay, so maybe I was just acting ticked off. Because I was. I hated being called a liar when I wasn't actually lying. Something about the fact that I almost never got called on it when I was actually lying anymore, but when I was being honest... I still didn't, not very much, but it really got to me when I did.

    The rest of the ride into town was filled with a less-than-friendly atmosphere. Once we got there though, I mostly dropped the issue and pretended it didn't happen. Holding a grudge takes effort, and I haven't ever been able to manage it for long. Louise didn't seem to be of the same mind, but maybe seeing the Overcity would be enough to break her out of it.

    Before Siesta could show us this "Upper Square" that apparently contained the most central marketplace in the Overcity around here, she had some other things she needed to pick up. While I did have the ability to force an entry into the Overcity at any time I needed, finding one's way to a specific, relatively stable location within it would be a nightmare under these circumstances. We agreed to meet her at a certain place in about an hour and a half or so. Louise being still upset with me, she decided to stay at the inn while I went out to have some fun.

    And by 'fun,' I meant checking out what kind of weaponry was in fashion around here. I needed to know what I might run into. "Welcome noble customer! You will find that this shop is finely stocked with weapons of all kinds! There is absolutely nothing illegal here!"

    Did he really just say that? If I knew what the laws were... "I can't believe you just said that. That would just make people look for contraband when they wouldn't have, before." Possibly just to steal it in my case, since he couldn't call anyone legitimate on me over it, but who cared about that?

    His smile widened, a knowing glint in his eye. "Very true!" Why was... oh, nice!

    "Clever, tricking people into spending more time looking at your merchandise like that." I grinned back slightly in spite of myself. He might look like a rat bastard, and he probably was, but I had to admit that was a neat trick. "Anyway, I'm mostly window shopping today. I might buy something if I like it enough," which was highly unlikely, as I could make myself a better blade in about two seconds from a random lump of iron, "so let's see what you've got. What's popular these days?"

    "Well, if you're looking to buy a good sword for one of your servants, this fine blade-" The shop owner took a sword covered in golden filigree down from the wall. "-was made by the famous Germanian alchemist-" Blah, blah, magic sword. Barely. There was something coming from it, but it was pretty weak. Gripping control of the metal it was composed of revealed that it actually was rather better made than one might think, but the balance still wasn't the best. The fact that I could control the metal without any trouble spoke legions about the quality of the enchantment it contained. Or rather, the lack thereof.

    My boredom must have shown on my face, because the man rapidly came down from his shyster-like mood. "Not going to fall for that, eh? A lot better than most nobles, then. If it weren't for your age... You've been taught a fair bit about weapons from someone older, I take it? Someone who knew their business."

    "Mmm, more like I'm just a bit older than I look. It's a medical condition; I look younger, though I'm nearly as strong as I would have been." Would he buy that as easily as someone from the modern day did?

    Better, actually, or so it would seem. "Magic involved, I suppose? You'll probably be wanting to have a look around yourself, see what you like, rather than asking me."

    Not quite what I was hoping for, but I might as well see if I could find any hidden treasures. Anyway, just by looking I already knew that while guns were a thing here, the best they had seemed to be a wheel lock. At least in this store. The pistols in question were displayed prominently too, and there notably weren't many.

    "Heh, he was expecting an easy chump, but it was you, Dio!"

    "Who said that? And who knows that reference here, of all places?!"

    "Can't remember where I heard it. Someone or other of my past partners said things like that all the time, I think." The voice was coming from... there! The bargain barrel? Yes, getting closer I could feel it. It hurt just getting within two feet, a little. Geez that was strong Spirit magic. Goodness knows how bad it would be if I tried to touch the thing.

    One of the swords shifted at the hilt. "Name's Derflinger, the legendary sword! You wanna' take me outta' here, partner? I haven't had a good one in a while."

    "Maybe. I can't wield you though. I would probably just be reselling you in a place where you would hold more value."

    "Can't wield me? Can't wield me?! Girl, you're my partner! You can wield anything!"

    I shook my head. "Nope. I literally can't wield you. You're spirit magic. No offence to you personally, or to spirits in general; I'm sure you're just as legendary a sword as you say. Probably even moreso, since you can freakin' talk. I just can't use you. I would literally be in physical and spiritual agony every time I picked you up. Permanent soul damage, you see." I made sure to keep my voice down.

    Derflinger sighed, an odd sound like a rasping of smooth metal. "Ah, too bad. Well, even if it's just another shop, somewhere new would be nice. I've been here for too long."

    "Alright then, sounds like a steal for me." I brought out a heavy blanket from elsewhere and wrapped it around my hand, then around the sword as I pulled it out. It still hurt, but it was a far cry from actually touching the thing or getting that close without a physical barrier of some kind. Carrying it that way, I brought it to the front of the shop.

    "Found something you like, then?" He seemed happy enough, though it faded into a look of distaste when I unwrapped the blade in question. "Oh, him. Fifty new gold. Stupid thing keeps driving away my customers. You would think a talking sword would be worth something, but..."

    Hum, fifty new gold was well within the allowance my patron had grudgingly given me before I left her at the Charming Fairy Inn. I forked over the cash and went on my way, Derflinger still wrapped up under one arm and secure in the knowledge that an artifact of its(his?) power and quality would fetch me an absolute mint in the Overcity. It was probably about time to get back to Louise anyway.

    -----Chapter 7 End-----

    And the train continues to stop at all the stations of canon. Just... a bit different. The seeds of change are very slowly beginning to sprout; the tracks are breaking slowly, and when the train reaches the right point it will fly so far off the rails as to make things almost, if not completely unrecognizable.

    Hoh boy though, this chapter did not go as planned. I was intending to get into the Overcity visit, proper, but then I started in on a conversation on the way into the capital in an attempt to balance my Tell at the start with a bit more Show. It ran away from me, and I didn't like how it turned out, but I really couldn't find a way to get rid of it. There was too much that needed to be told to the characters sooner or later(if not then, when?), too much Tell at the start that needed an immediate balance, etc. The transition between that Tell and the subpar conversation in question is ridiculously clunky too, but I couldn't seem to figure out a better way of doing it.

    The second part went a lot better though. I've had some variation of that scene in mind almost since I decided on what the crossover would be. I also had planned well before I wrote the previous chapter how Esther would ACTUALLY go about making Rhetta's new body. She needed to take a few extra days before she finished the project because reasons. Reasons related to the derailing of the train.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  16. Mizu

    Mizu Software Developer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2015
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    6,896
    meet someone whose soul was
    finding one's way to a specific
    of its (his?) power and quality
    I didn't expect Derf to recognize Esther as the Gandalfr right off the bat, I confess. The fact she decided to sell him for Overcity money due to being unable to use him herself made me chuckle, though; was pretty unexpected.

    Why's Louise disbelieving Esther about the soul jar? She knows that Esther comes from a different magic paradigm already, after all; has it not fully sunk in yet, perhaps?
     
  17. thelurker

    thelurker Experienced.

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    3,314
    Likes Received:
    15,230
    ...Oh god i just realized that elves are going to fucking MURDER you.
     
  18. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    3,270
    Likes Received:
    13,231
    If I guess aright, it's not a "that's impossible" issue but a "that's abominable" one. Becoming a lich is forbidden by the Brimiric faith, if I recall correctly, and sufficiently so that by helping one Louise would be in danger of excommunication. I'm guessing that the combination of not wanting to face that reality and the culture shock of Siesta/Esther not being bothered by lichdom has her engaging in wishful thinking and deluding herself into thinking it's all a big lie.

    Think someone from South-East Asia who accidentally married a drug dealer, or someone in the Middle-East who accidentally married an apostate or blasphemer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  19. Gindjurra

    Gindjurra I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Messages:
    599
    Likes Received:
    2,741
    Choosing to become a lich would be all kinds of wrong -- and it's hard to imagine a wronger wrong -- in Louise's religion. But having it done TO you instead of by choice? That's a bit different. Still horrifying beyond words, but the victim would not be considered evil for it. I could see a crusade against puchuus being launched, though.
     
  20. Threadmarks: Chapter 8: Will Shop For Shinies (Part 2)
    JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    Almost seven months of hibernation, but I've decided to pull this story out from the freezer. You guys have a few recent likebombers over on SB to thank for the revival. It may take a chapter or two to really get back into the feel of how it was before, if I ever do, but I do hope that this is to your liking.

    Chapter 8: Will Shop For Shinies (Part 2)

    “This way. Please follow right behind me milady, and do exactly as I do.” Without waiting for an answer, Seista turned into an alley. I checked to make sure that Louise was right behind me, then followed as she moved down the relatively small space, hugging one wall all the while. Halfway to the end, Siesta crossed over to press against the other side and went back along the way we had come. Finally, she crossed again, opened a small side door, and entered.

    The moment that we joined her, she shut the door behind us for a brief moment before immediately reopening it into a different alleyway altogether. Routes into the Overcity could be convoluted like that. Honestly, this one didn’t make my top five.

    Louise had been warned about it, so she didn't hesitate very long before following us out. On leaving the alley itself though, she stopped completely. Not that I could really blame her.

    "Welcome, milady," Siesta pronounced with a slight flourish, "to the Upper Square."

    Finding yourself on a major street of the Overcity for the first time... it was certainly an impressive sight for a newcomer. Houses and shops, mostly in styles similar to those of the city we had just left, appeared to be stacked on top of each other reaching up, up far above on either side of the broad thoroughfare. High over our everything the two sides seemed to connect into massive arches half the time, yet everything was lit perfectly well as if only one layer of ordinary buildings were there to begin with. Of course, that was possibly the least of the oddities.

    Certain streets and roads went up the sides of the buildings or even along the undersides of several strange bridge-like expanses, with people walking along them unconcerned as though gravity's orientation were a mere suggestion. Shops and stalls were set up at all odd angles, in some cases with the doors being set into the floor or a ceiling such that customers would make a short hop or an odd step in order to enter, before the new direction of what was "down" would take hold and they would once again walk about normally on the new axis.

    It was all the more disorienting to realize that we ourselves were on one of the strange sections of roadway. The main street for this "Upper Square" was actually a dozen yards or so of open space off to our left, oriented at a neat ninety degrees difference in gravity from that of our own position.

    There was a soft *thump* as my patron sat herself down dizzily. Not that I could blame her, really. It was enough to mess with an unprepared head even compared to most other parts of the Overcity, though at least it was still technically euclidean. A little time to get used to it was probably all that she needed.

    "What..." Lousie cut herself off, blinked, and looked about almost stupidly for a second before starting again. "What is this place?"

    Well, as her subordinate I supposed it was up to me to answer. "There's different names for it depending on who you ask. Where I come from it's called the Overcity. I think Siesta called it the Allway when I talked to her earlier?" I looked at the maid for confirmation, receiving a nod in return. "Exactly how it came to be is kind of hard to say, but it's kinda' like a collected idea of 'all human cities' mixed into a single place of its own. As such, you could in theory get to any human city on any world through the Overcity so long as you knew the way. There's a much better chance of just getting lost though, and in this place you'll probably never find your way back. Not when it changes while you aren't looking."

    "...I need a minute."

    I shrugged. "Sure, take your time. Anything particular about this area, Siesta? It seems pretty stable, no getting Lost so long as we stay in the market district?" Busier, more occupied parts of the Overcity were much more stable as a rule. Market districts like this one were generally very solid.

    "No, mil- Miss Enns. The Upper Square is quite safe, as much as the Allway can be. Just don't enter any other alleys or wander into the side streets too far."

    "Excellent."

    -----------

    "Three Silver."

    "Hahaha! Nice one, but don't fucking try that with me. Two freakin' Gold and three Silver." That outrage wasn't even feigned. Three Silver for a blade like Derflinger? Yeah, right.

    "Gold?! How do you expect me to fall for that?! I'm sure it's an excellent weapon. Quite magical, even. But Gold? Ha!"

    "Oi!" Derflinger piped in, backing me up. "My memory may not be the best, but two Gold and a bit for a blade like me is cheap! I'm the legendary Derflinger!" Why was I not surprised that he was familiar with the currency of the Overcity?

    "It talks?" A calculating look appeared in the merchant's eye, and she tapped the countertop with one claw a few times before leaning in to get a closer look at Derf once again. "Hrmm, it's at least sentient," she muttered. "Ah, I see. Magic absorption, and at an impressive strength too. No wonder it didn't look like much at first. Possibly Sapient then, maybe even sophont."

    She looked back up at me. "My apologies, the magic absorbing property made it look a lot less impressive than it is. I can pay you, oh... One Gold and a Silver for it."

    Much better. Still not good, but we were onto reasonable haggling prices now. "Two Gold, even. This guy is clearly ancient, yet if you look closely the rust isn't even part of his own blade. Some kind of self-repairing or regenerating steel, probably."

    "You make a decent argument, but I don't think your guess at his worth is right. Even if it were, I have to make a profit. I can't go buying him at a price like that; nobody would buy him back for what I would have to charge! One Gold, three Silver, and five Bronze."

    And so it went. The end price we settled on was one Gold and ten Silver, plus a couple of Bronze; a very impressive sum, if not quite the best deal I could have hoped for. Magical weapons on his level of quality were expensive. You normally wouldn't see something on that level outside of a very powerful magical girl's signature weapon, and those weren't the sort of thing that you could normally just up and buy. Mainly because if such a weapon was unattached it not only meant the girl in question was dead, but it also was useful for helping to transform new girls as well, so they were generally snapped up immediately when such a girl died.

    Frankly, I had all the coins I would need just from that one sale and thensome, but I sold a few other odds and ends to earn a few more Bronze while buying a few other things in return. Even if I kept most of my things in my hammerspace, or 'elsewhere' as I tended to refer to it in my mind, some things ended up getting used up and others just caught my eye.

    I was a bit of a packrat, so sue me.

    ---------Louise POV

    My familiar, Esther... I was sure that she thought I was disoriented by the odd angles, the floors on the walls and the ceilings. And truthfully, I was. It was something completely different from anything I had ever seen. Things were not as they should have been. Just being here made my skin prickle in a way that I had never felt before. Everything was wrong, and in ways that I would never have thought possible.

    It was so beautiful. I felt like I could have just sat there for hours, soaking in the feeling. I was able to tear my attention away from it and focus on the actual business going on around me eventually, when Esther started asking me about jewelry. She had gotten rid of the broadsword that she had purchased earlier at some point, when I hadn't been paying attention.

    Content as I was to follow her around that time, when we left I knew that I would have to come back. For now it was her place, and the maid's, just as the academy or the Valliere estate was mine in a sense. They understood the strange paths, they knew how to interact with the odd creatures and people with which we had done business. One day though, this place would be mine as well. It had to be.

    I kept that in mind as we finally took the path back to the city of Tristain, and the excited, eager feeling faded from just beneath my skin. If this was the world my familiar knew, if the things I had seen and felt were some small part of it... then perhaps the idea of someone's very soul removed from their body and turned into a living stone -as horrifying as that particular thing was- might be believable.

    I glanced back at the unassuming alleyway that we were leaving behind us, and made a vow. One day.

    -------End Chapter 8-------
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017
  21. Mizu

    Mizu Software Developer

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2015
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    6,896
    relatively small

    Seems Louise wants to be a regular visitor of the Overcity eventually. Or possibly rule it, it's a tad unclear.
     
  22. JadeKaiser

    JadeKaiser Procrastinates like a Boss

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,169
    Likes Received:
    28,309
    Thank you.

    And yes. Yes it is.
     
  23. badger.black

    badger.black Drunken Woodland Mammal

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Rejoice for it is a new chapter! I am very happy to see more of this delight. The discription of the Overcity is fascinating, but I have a love of Escher's work that makes this just tickle my fancy!

    Oh Louise, you have a bit of, what is the best word for it, Wanderlust perhaps? I'm sure if you ask nicely they will teach you the ways of navigating the Overcity so you can brave the twisted 'reality' of the place all on your own.
     
  24. Gindjurra

    Gindjurra I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2016
    Messages:
    599
    Likes Received:
    2,741
    Given Louise's Void attunement, the fact that she saw the place as beautiful, a place she had to be in, has interesting potential.
     
  25. Par Tzu

    Par Tzu The Indecisive Procrastinator

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Messages:
    935
    Likes Received:
    2,343
    Hooray! it updated!
    *does happy jiggly dance of fatties*
     
  26. Winged One

    Winged One Not the Simurgh

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Messages:
    10,328
    Likes Received:
    16,040
    This isn't dead? Cool.
     
    Par Tzu likes this.
  27. Malbutorius

    Malbutorius Xenophile

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2016
    Messages:
    4,203
    Likes Received:
    12,474
    You know, considering this story has a lich, it must have finally completed it's revival cycle.
     
    Prince Chrom, Mgunh1, Par Tzu and 3 others like this.
  28. moon so bright

    moon so bright Shining Light

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    1,958
    I really like the fact that you are including the Overcity concept into the story. I really liked what you did with Derflinger - it is so completely different from any other ZnT story I have read before. Will she be using those coins on Louise? Also, one must wonder just how Esther will get her sister to her into that world.
     
    Par Tzu and Least Devotee like this.
  29. Felius

    Felius Versed in the lewd.

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
    Messages:
    2,307
    Likes Received:
    15,225
    Kinda sad that Derf is going out of the story. Maybe Louise for have wielded him? :p
     
    Par Tzu and Prince Charon like this.
  30. Perney1984

    Perney1984 Getting out there.

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2017
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    3
    great share, i loved it
     
Loading...