Apr 11, 2021 3:17 AM
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He's clearly an alien compared to human Lilaina, a foot and a half taller and gray-skinned and wearing intricately patterned purple robes with a hood, and lounging against the bars of the cage like he hasn't a care in the world. (His mind is racing with ideas on how to escape, but for the moment he's really just watching.) "Clever of you to notice me," he says, mock-cheerfully. "How did you do that?" He ignores her actual question, but the answer's there: he couldn't let the World Guardian kill him! He can't see all the chaos he's wrought keep propagating when he's dead, obviously.

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"I really don't see how that's any of your business," she responds, entire being curiously bland - there's no emotion to pick up, not from her tone or her body language. "Given you were a leech in someone else's brain. Just to watch the chaos you caused? Really? No other defence?" She pauses. "Oh, and don't try to escape. If won't be pleasant for you."

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Sliske stills. He's not afraid, exactly, not with millennia of survival and power behind him, but this is new. This being can obviously read minds. "Leech is such an unkind term. I prefer... uninvited guest. She was trying to kill me, you know. I merely declined to die before all my plans had run through, and I have so many plans." More, now. What exactly is Milliways? Might it be useful to him?

He vanishes from the cage and appears before her, straightened to his full height, yellow eyes glowing. (Or appears to. Wouldn't it be interesting if she notices he's really still right where he was?) "You're an unfamiliar kind of face. What plane are you from?" Let the escapability of this cage be a problem for later. He can be patient when it suits him. (A stray thought of what escape might mean, if he's in the girl's mind right now; it gets as far as thinking about hiding in minds before he cuts it short.)

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"I told you not to try anything," Esch says, completely unintimidated, absently sending burning sensations at the mind that is definitely still in the cage. "Illusions counts as 'anything'. My mind is the one place I definitely don't miss illusions." She tilts her head about to-

She blinks at the stray thought, and just for a second, that blank facade wavers, and there is fear, and close on its heels fury, and this is her mind, and reality is what she makes it, and she is suddenly the only thing he can see, a righteous judge, with no doubt that what she does next is right.

You will not hurt anyone ever again. It isn't spoken, and it's strangely hard to tell if it's an ice-cold whisper or a burning-hot roar.

But the burning sensation intensifies, and along with it, crushing pressure. This mind will be extinguished.

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Well. That hurts like home. He pushes back against the pressure and grits his teeth through the flames; he's not done yet. And if illusions work, maybe--

Bloody red fire, leaping towards her from his real hand, a spell seeking to sap her life energy and make it his own. He's not done yet, and who is this child to try to kill him?

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This child has survived more in her life with people trying to fuck with her head than he could imagine.

(And this is still her mind, does he really think she can't just not be where he's aiming, and a solid metal wall (the hard shell instead of the soft underbelly) be in her place?)

This child survived an entire planet being wiped out, survived people reaching into her head and trying to twist her to their will. This...parasite isn't even a real danger. (But parasites have ways, could subvert her defences, make her think they're part of her mind, or try to, there's always the cold fingers twisting their way around her brain stem.)

The burning and pressure do not waver.

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He's grudgingly respectful of this child's power. Maybe she'd even be a more interesting host than the World Guardian. (He doesn't care, now, if she knows what he's thinking. This is all so fascinating, and he doesn't believe she actually has the power to kill him.) Now, where is she...?

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She's nowhere, and everywhere. Surrounding him, pressing down, pushing to extinguish him, and a distant, unreachable force.

He can try if he wants. (There's fear in there, subtle, but present, and a quiet chant of I will not lose (myself).)

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He cannot die here. He cannot!

A last desperate shove of his entire being to get somewhere else--

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There's screaming, but it's more angry than scared, and everything increases, the pressure, the burning and the you will die.

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The boy turns his head away, and brings a hand to his forehead. "Moment," he mumbles.

And then there's another mind there, adding pressure, adding hurt adding deathdeathdeath, and it is distinct, and yet somehow the same.

And it is implacable, and unavoidable, and deadly.

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"--What's going on?"

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And the snake was no more.

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The woman's eyes abruptly refocus, and she sways, but she has the content smile of someone who just won a gruelling battle.

'Dead,' she announces - her lips don't move.

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Trap gently steadies her, and steers her into one of the chairs, nudging a plate of salad towards her. "Hon, you're doing the psychic thing again," he says, his tone one of a person who's made this comment many hundreds of time. "Success?"

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"Uh-huh," the boy says, pulling a plate towards himself. "Dead leech is dead."

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Lilaina takes a shaky breath and lets it out. "He's dead. He's--" She's not sure if she'll be able to believe that until she hasn't heard him for a long while, but... "Thank you.

I think I need to sit down before I fall down." Her voice is only shaking a little bit.

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"No thanks required," the girl says, remembering to speak aloud this time. She looks exhausted, and is poking at the salad like it's not really appealing.

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Trap graciously pushes the third chair they'd pulled outside towards her. "D'you want a glass of water or something?" he offers.

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Lilaina sits down heavily and stares off into the distance.

"What I'd really like is a dragon bitter, but I don't think I'm on Gielinor anymore. So-- water's fine."

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He shrugs. "Worth asking Bar, she's apparently able to produce pretty much any non-weapon, non-living thing in the apparently vast multiverse? Be right back."

And he disappears off back inside.

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"Apparently he was listening when I explained that," the girl says, tone bland if you're actually listening, her almost-surprise being transmitted psychically. "I'm Escher by the way," she adds, seeming to remember that she had skipped pleasantries in her need to dispose of the unwanted brain leech. "Kid's Raef. I suppose Trap introduced himself before dragging you out here?"

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She focuses back on the people she's now sitting with. "--He did. I'm Lilaina." Just Lilaina. She doesn't even want to think about being the World fucking Guardian right now, no matter if that ends up biting her in the ass. "And I have almost no idea what's going on. Who's Bar, exactly?"

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"Exactly what she sounds like," Raef says, kicking at Ma-Esch underneath the table. "Sentient bar. Welcome to Milliways."

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Trap returns at that point and offers Lilaina a cup. "One dragon bitter compliments of the first drink is free, Miss...?"

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