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Generated: Nov 07, 2018 3:30 PM
Post last updated: Nov 07, 2018 3:31 PM
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Promise and the Master
Permalink Eye

Sequel to "No one knows my name".


The TARDIS lands next to a coastal road. 

A wall, at least 20 feet tall, follows the road into to the horizon in both directions. 

The road is not empty, but there is no one close enough to notice when the wall gains a new addition. 

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"Sunlight!" 

The Master steps out into the waist high grass that fills the space between the wall and the road. 

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"Were you missing it particularly?"

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"I've got to maintain the good looks. If I get any paler, you'll start seeing through me."

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"Is that actually how Time Lords work?"

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"If it did, I would never go outside. Imagine being translucent and then eating in front of people. It would be so much fun."

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"Our ideas of fun differ."

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"Don't tell me you're just figuring that out now?"

The Master walks to the road.

 

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A group of travelers is now close enough to see them.

They wave. 

"Hey! Do you want to battle?" one shouts.

Another one shoves her, not too gently, with his shoulder. 

She stumbles and whacks him on the arm.

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"Do we want to what?"

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They're now close enough to hold a normal conversation. The three stop in front of the pair.

"Battle!" the girl says enthusiastically. She looks about 18. All three of the travelers are worn and dirty. They're all a little banged up, with the worst injury being a black eye on the boy. Despite all this, they all seem cheerful. 

"We'll put up 2,000 bills," the other girls adds. 

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"We're from really far away, I'm not sure what you mean."

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"If you don't want to battle, just say so. We're not gonna make you."

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"Battle with what?" the Master asks. 

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"One pokemon each. It's only 2000 bills."

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"We don't have any."

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The other girl speaks up.

"That's really stupid. The road's safe, but that's like, relatively. What're you gonna do if something flies over the wall?"

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"Flee."

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The girl scoffs. 

"Yeah, right."

"Mei, that's mean," the other girl says. 

"It's honest. 

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"I'm pretty fast."

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"You can't run faster than a pokemon can fly."

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"But I can fly."

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"No way. Don't even pretend those are real."

She reaches forward and tries to pinch Promise's wing, but her fingers slide right off.

She stares at her hand, puzzled. 

 

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The Master grins at Promise, looking proud of himself.

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"Thank you," she says to the Master, and, "I won't," she says to the girl.

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"Are you a pokemon?" 

"Oh my god, Mei, don't be an idiot," the other girl says.

"Are you guys going to Slateport? You could stick with us, so you don't get killed."

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"I'm not a Pokémon."

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"How do you know? You could be."

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The boy laughs.

"We should get going, want to hit the next village before dark."

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"Sure."

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Everyone starts walking.

"I'm Isao by the way," the boy says.

"Mei."

"Kotori."

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"Harold."

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"Promise."

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"I've never heard those names before," Isao says. 

"I bet their parents were high," Mei says. 

 

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"It's self-chosen."

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Mei has the decency to look a little embarrassed. 

"Umm, so, you guys visiting family?" Isao asks. 

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"Business. The offer's almost too good to be true, but if it is, it's more than worth the trek."

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"I'm along for tourism!"

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"Didn't get your fill during your pilgrimage?" Isao asks. 

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"My what?"

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"You know your, pilgrimage, journey, year apart? You did have one, right?" he sounds a little nervous. 

"That'd explain the lack of pokemon," Mei mutters. 

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"Obviously. We call it something else."

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"What?" Kotori asks. 

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"The, um, great endeavor."

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"You're supposed to acquire Pokémon then?"

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Isao nods. 

"I have no idea how you didn't. I was assuming you sold them after."

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"I have never found it difficult to avoid acquiring Pokémon."

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"I guess that could work, if you stayed on the main roads," Isao says.

"But, then what's the point! You can't test yourself like that," Kotori says. 

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"How many pokemon did you catch?"

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"We actually just started," Isao says.

"I caught one!" Kotori says.

She holds out a white and red spherical object. It opens.

An animals appears. It's similar to a rat with dark purple fur and two large protruding teeth.

It leaps at Kotori and then squeals loudly, collapsing to the ground. It twitches a few times, still squealing softly.

"She hasn't trained it yet," Mei says.

"I only caught it yesterday! I haven't had time."

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"...what happened to it?"

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Kotori returns the pokemon to the pokeball.

"That? That's just the pokeball punishing it. It's not hurt or anything."

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"You may be using the word 'hurt' differently than I'm used to."

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"I mean, it hurts, but it doesn't cause any damage or anything."

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"Why does it do that?"

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"Cause it's a pokemon? It's not gonna listen on its own."

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"I really don't follow. Try explaining as though I have never heard of Pokémon before."

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Mei sighs. 

"Pokemon," Kotori says, "all kinda hate humans right? Well, maybe not hate, but they'll attack you if they see you and won't be gentle about it. That doesn't change if you catch em. They'll try to attack you even harder the second you let them out. So the pain teaches them that's a bad idea and then they get rewarded if they do what you want. A trained pokemon isn't never gonna attack you and you barely have to punish trained ones at all."

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"And you have to do this because..."

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"Maybe you can prance around inside the walls not worrying about a thing, but someone has to keep the pokemon out," Mei says. 

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"Again, like I've never heard of them before. And am from someplace where there's only people and plants."

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"Are you supposed to be a sociologist or something?" Mei asks. 

"If we didn't have our own pokemon, we'd all be killed by wild pokemon," Kotori says.

"That's a bit dramatic," Mei says. 

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"Does anybody train them without punishing them?"

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"A few people, but it's dangerous and only really possible when you have other pokemon to protect you," Isao says. 

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"But people in general do own Pokémon so it's possible now."

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"Someone else's perfectly trained pokemon might try to eat you, if you can somehow scrape together the insane amount of money to afford it," Mei says. "Haven't you ever been in the real world before?"

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"No. I appeared fully grown in a tree and now wander in search of basic facts."

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Kotori giggles. 

"There are a lot of people in cities who never really see pokemon," Isao says.

"The pilgrimage is supposed to fix that, but not everyone takes it as seriously as they should."

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"And you're talking it so seriously."

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"We will!" Isao says earnestly, "but we have to be smart about it. We have to be stronger before go off into the wilderness. They say that's the most common cause of death on a pilgrimage."

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"Do a lot of people die?"

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"Nah. Some people do, but its mostly weeding out the idiots," Kotori says.

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"You must be very worried," the Master says.

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"About how many?"

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"Twenty, thirty percent. Depends on the year."

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"That's really a lot."

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They look at each other and shrug. 

 

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"That means there's a 97% chance at least one of you will die."

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"No there's not!" Mei says. 

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"Math doesn't lie."

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"We're not going off on our own! We're sticking together and we're not being stupid about it."

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"How do you catch the Pokémon?"

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"Really? You're really pretending you don't know what pokeballs are," Mei says.

"It's probably an experiment!" Kotori whispers, "don't mess it up!"

"We use pokeballs. It's easiest when they're unconscious, though it sometimes works if they're weak or paralyzed or something. But, it's not smart to risk it. If it doesn't work, you're out a poke ball and they're so expensive."

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"They're not reusable?"

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"If the little, whatever they are, don't get inside the pokemon right, you can't really gather them back up. You can resell the shell though."

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"Huh."

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"Lemme see one."

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"I only have two left."

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"Come on. I won't break it."

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"You can look at one in a store or something," Promise tells him.

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"But then I have to wait."

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"Oh no!"

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Kotori pulls out a map.

"We'll be at the next village soon. They'll have a pokecenter there where you can probably look."

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"Cool."

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"Where did you guys say you were from?" Isao asks.

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"We didn't."

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"I said I was from a tree, actually."

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"We're from Winden town," Kotori says. 

"It's up north. You might have passed it? Can't really see it from the road though."

Kotori starts talking about her town. It's primarily a farming town. Her families raised chickens. Mei's family are farmers. Her mother is always trying experimental vegetables and Mei tells a story about the time an untested batch of seeds blew away and for the next year, you could find tiny melons growing all over town. 

They reach a gate in the wall. 

"Rootfield village," Isao says, looking at his map.

"We can stop here tonight."

 

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"There's somewhere that'll take you in?"

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"It's too small for a hotel, but someone will let us stay the night for money or chores."

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"Makes sense."

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"Try not to be a statistic."

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"You're not coming?"

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"Not in a chores mood."

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The three split off and head down a smaller, less maintained road that leads to a just visible, enclosed village.

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"Well. This place is vaguely troubling."

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"Think they'll make it?"

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"Not sure. I suppose the odds aren't terrible and unless I want to babysit them and watch them torture things I don't have a way to improve them."

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"We could always check."

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"If they survive? I suppose."

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"Wanna bet on it? I'll do two boring things of your choosing if they all make it. You do two morally questionable things of mine if they don't."

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"Underspecified."

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"You can have a veto."

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"Just one?"

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"Two and morally questionable, not evil. Come on."

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"I dunno. I'm not that entertained by gambling in the first place and the TARDIS can always skip you ahead of boring things you want to pass on."

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"Fine. You pick what I'm betting."

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"I can't think of anything good."

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"I know. I'll make you something. You like that bracelet right? I bet I could figure out something even better."

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"Yes, but I notice I didn't have to win a bet to get it."

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"You're no fun."

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"Maybe if I could veto as many times as I wanted and pick ideal questionable things."

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"If you veto ten times I get one more."

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"...fine."

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"Yes!"

He calls the TARDIS and rushes inside. 

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She follows.

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"A year they said?"

He goes to the terminal. 

"Feel like finding three kids for us? It's very important."

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They appear in the middle of a city. It's a cool autumn day. 

Three figures are eating a dinner in the outdoor seating of a restaurant across the street. 

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The Master crosses the road. 

"Come on! At least one of you should've died!"

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"Hey, I remember you. You're that guy," Isao says. 

He's acquired a few scars on his hands and is wearing considerably nicer clothes than on their previous encounter. 

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Giggle. "Hi."

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"Hi! You were wrong. We all made it," Kotori says with a grin.

"I'm surprised you're still alive," Mei says. 

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"How did your pilgrimage go apart from nonfatally?"

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"There were some close calls," Isao says. 

"We rented a boat to go to Mossdeep and a gyarados surprised us."

"We did good though!" Kotori says. "We made it to some unexplored areas and caught some rarer pokemon and made so much money."

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"How does one make money at this occupation?"

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"We got it by selling pokemon. You can also battle, but that's way slower," Kotori says.

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"And then people who want to have some but not catch their own buy them? Do they get to skip training them that way?"

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"Still just as clueless, huh?" Mei says.

"You always have to do some obedience training, but you can skip strength training that way," Isao says. 

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"Let me see one of the rare ones."

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"Not here! And we sold most of them."

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"We actually learned literally nothing the entire year we didn't see you! Why not here?"

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"City people aren't used to pokemon. Everyone would freak out," Kotori says.

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"They don't go on pilgrimages?"

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"Fake ones," Mei says.

"They all have, but you don't normally see pokemon on the streets. For all they know, someone's messed up and let it loose," Isao says. 

"And most of them won't be carrying pokemon. I'd be scared if I wasn't," Kotori says. 

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"I guess that makes sense."

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"Right. They're alive. Are we done?"

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"I suppose we can be."

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"Were you looking for us?" Mei asks. 

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"We just have better things to do."

He sets off down the street. 

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"Bye!"

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The city is built for pedestrians. Occasionally, a vehicle will pass by very slowly, usually carrying cargo, and everyone will shuffle out of the way. 

They are in the commercial district and there are a lot of people bustling around. 

One store takes up almost an entire block. It is blue with a sign that looks almost like a pokeball, but is also blue.

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"You wanted a look at a ball."

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"I did."

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The store is busy.

There is a line at both the checkout counter and the pharmacy. 

Most goods are available to be freely browsed, but a few are locked away in glass cabinets behind the checkout counter. A variety of pokeballs are visible behind the glass. 

 

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The Master goes up to the counter.

"Let me see one of those," he points at the pokeballs.

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"Sir, there's a line."

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"There is," agrees Promise.

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"You could hold my place."

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"Sure, why not." She stands in line.

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He wanders to the other side of the store and passes the time by picking things up off shelves, occasionally shaking them.

When it's their turn, the cashier refuses to turn over a pokeball unless they pay first.

The Master metaphorically pulls Promise outside and asks, "Opinion on stealing?"

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"Not a huge fan. You could go find a dead pilgrim with one on them, maybe."

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He walks back to the streetside cafe.

The three are still there.

"Where do most pilgrims die?" he asks, with no preamble. 

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"What?" Mei asks.

"All over," Kotori says, "but the deserts maybe the worst. Why?"

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"I feel like taking a field trip."

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"You're going to die," Kotori says. 

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"He's done it before."

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"What? Been to the desert?"

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"Probably that too."

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They go to the desert.

The Master expresses the importance of finding bodies to the TARDIS. 

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Sand stretches into the distance.

At the edges of the horizon, great cliffs are visible encircling the desert. 

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The Master steps out, onto the sand.

"You coming?"

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"Okay." She flutters out.

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There is a foot sticking out of a nearby sand dune. 

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The Master tugs on it.

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It cracks slightly in his hands. He won't be able to pull the body out of the dune without it coming off entirely. 

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"You could get a shovel."

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"That would help, yes."

He goes and gets one.

Freeing the body is rather time consuming as the sand shifts to fill any hole that's been dug, but if Promise is willing to help tug it free as he digs?

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"You remember that I weigh thirty pounds, right? I'm not going to be any use."

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"It's practically a mummy. It's hardly going to weight anything."

But, he manages to clear enough of the sand away to reveal most of the body and then tug the rest free himself. 

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The body is mostly mummified. It's hard to tell, but there don't appear to be any obvious wounds that could have caused the death.

The body is still wearing a backpack, faded but intact. There are two pokeballs attached to the belt. 

The backpack has an odd, dark, almost metallic lining inside and contains a completely empty water bottle, an electronic device with a screen and several buttons, and another pokeball. 

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"I wonder if there are Pokémon in the balls. And if they could still be alive. I'm going to go fly out a ways away so they don't hurt you and try letting them out."

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"If you're not back in an hour, should I assume you've been eaten?"

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"Yes. Check my tree to see if I've respawned."

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"Bye. If you do die, try to drop the pokeballs."

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"Of course."

She flies off. She tries to open one, aiming at the ground so if it can't fly it will have a hard time getting her.

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A pokemon appears. 

It strongly resembles a snake. It stares at her with unblinking eyes. 

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"Hi. I hope you can survive in this environment. Go be free."

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It continues to stare at her.

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She tries tossing its ball to the sand.

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It goes over and pokes it with its nose. Nothing happens.

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She tries releasing the other one.

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It releases a large cat-like pokemon.

It is unconscious and doesn't stir when it is summoned. 

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The other pokemon nudges it with its nose and, when the larger pokemon doesn't move, slithers on top of it and curls up.

It is still watching Promise. 

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Promise hovers long enough to heal it.

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It wakes up and stretches and then gives Promise a disinterested glance. 

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She descends slowly.

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The snake slithers off its back and farther away from her. 

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It's watching her now, but doesn't move.

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She retrieves the ball. She goes aloft again.

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If she flies away they will both start to follow her.

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Oh dear.

Hm.

She puts them back in the balls and rejoins the Master.

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He's leaning against the TARDIS, messing with the device from the backpack.

"You're not dead!" he says. 

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"I'm not. They won't leave, they followed me when I flew away. I may need to ask for advice about how to release them or give them to someone so they don't languish under a sand dune forever."

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"Sell them. As fun as looting dead bodies is, buying pokeballs would be faster."

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"If you're not getting anywhere with the spare in his backpack, sure."

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"One isn't enough for my purposes."

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"What purposes would these be?"

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"I'll tell you when I know it will work."

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"I guess we can sell them, sure."

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If they go back to the city, they can find a buyer. 

There's one near the gate to the city. The shopkeeper identifies the pokemon as an ekans and a persian. She's more impressed by the persian, but will buy both. 

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"Do you evaluate buyers at all before you sell them?"

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"We don't sell to Team Phoenix, if that's what you're asking."

She sounds slightly offended. 

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"I don't know who that is, I mean do you try to find out if they'll be nice to the Pokémon."

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"No, but if you've gotten attached, some places will help you rent out pokemon?"

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"I'm not attached to them individually, I just think people should be nice to them."

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She shrugs. 

"You could try to find a buyer yourself."

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"I can't spare the time. You can have them but I'll take a reduced price if you'll vet buyers a little."

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"Honey, I don't have time and people could lie as easy as tell me the truth. Sell them or don't."

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She sells them.

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It's enough money to buy 28 pokeballs. 

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The Master can have most of it.

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He buys the pokeballs and a packet of something from the pharmacy aisle that claims to be a non-addictive positive sensory-enhancement drug.

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She browses.

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There are a selection of bags that claim to digitize and store items for you. The volume they offer varies based on price. There is a small selection of waterbottles that have similar claims.

The pharmacy aisle has many other drugs that do not require a prescription. There are memory and performance enhancing drugs as well as ones that claim to cause a variety of positive emotions ranging from contentment to confidence.

There is clothing and other supplies designed for those on their pilgrimage. It is tough and relatively cheap compared to the other items in the store. 

There is a sign on the wall saying, "We sell replacement and upgraded dextech. Ask at the counter."

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The bags might be handy. How do they work?

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The bags automatically digitizes any items placed inside unless told otherwise. Digitized items can be retrieved with a dextech for the cheaper bags. The more expensive bags come with their own interface.

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Is a dextech any of the things that they got off the dead guy?

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It's the electronic device. It doesn't turn on, but repair is much cheaper than replacement. 

Promise can afford to get it repaired and get one of the cheapest bags. 

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Do digitized items not weigh much, is that the idea?

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They weigh nothing at all while digitized. 

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Are the bags nice-looking and themselves not too heavy?

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The bags are slightly heavier than a bag of their size should be, but only slightly. 

None of the bags are unattractive, though they seem to be designed for functionality over style. 

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She gets a light cheap one and the 'dex fixed.

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The Master wants to play with it as soon as he sees it.

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"If you break it you have to get me another one. A better one."

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"Fine. Lemme see it."

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She hands it over.

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He plays around with it for a few minutes then gives it back.

"It's just a computer and not a very good one. There's a map though."

He opens it.

"Anywhere look fun?"

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"We could go look at the volcano."

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"How close?"

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"Not close enough to cook."

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Not close enough to cook ends up being a platform carved into the side of the volcano. 

The fence that used to surround it and the wooden steps that brought visitors here are both long decayed. 

You can see into the heart of the volcano from the edge of the platform. Far below, magma glows a vivid red. 

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"Ooooooh."

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"Do they have these in Fairyland?"

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"Probably, but I never saw one in person."

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The Master flops down on his stomach so his head his sticking over the rim. He stares down at the distant glow. 

"You could fly down and get a closer look."

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"I want to look at it long enough that I can do magic to it if I need to."

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"What, do you want to turn it into a bird?"

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"No, but if I found myself falling towards it I'd want to be able to cool it off!"

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"She'd pick you up too, you know."

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"I know, I just feel more comfortable when I can perform magic on more objects in my environment."

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He stares into the volcano for a few moments longer, then hops up and wanders to the other edge of the platform. 

To the south, it overlooks a valley and the tiny town nestled inside that valley. As he watches, a pokemon that largely resembles a balloon takes off from inside the village. A human can barely be seen riding on top of its head.

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Huh.

She gazes at the volcano, and finally flies off the platform.

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He runs back to the edge and watches her fly down. 

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There are caves on the inside of the volcano, carved out of the stone by past eruptions. 

 

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Ooh, are they cool enough to go peek into?

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They are. 

They vary in size from tunnels she would have to squeeze into to tunnels that could easily fit a bus.

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She goes into a comfortably sized one.

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She surprises a pokemon that's in the middle of trying to break a dark rock off of the tunnel walls. 

It raises its head and huffs at her. Two clouds of smoke come from its nostrils. The holes in its shell glow with the same light as the magma. 

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"Oh, pardon me." She backs out.

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It watches her leave and then goes back to biting at the rock.

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Maybe it would have attacked a human. Hard to be sure.

More caves?

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Closer to the lava, one of the larger caves contains the remnants of a lab. 

Whoever used it left behind the furniture, a cot, a table and a few chairs, some heavy storage boxes, and a single large piece of equipment that is humming softly. 

The machine is enclosed in a thick steel case, but the case is damaged. Several bites have been taken out of it.

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Huh. Any writing anywhere?

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Inside the storage containers. They aren't locked, simply held closed with a complex latch that sits above pictures depicting how to open the latch. 

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Peek!

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A tiny pokemon sits on a crumpled pile of folders and paper. There's a rough hole at the back of the crate, where it looks like the metal has been chewed through. It's just large enough for the small pokemon. 

It blinks up at her with large blue eyes and lets out a soft peep that reverberates slightly before fading away.

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"Oh hello. Are you comfortable in there?"

Permalink Eye

It peeps at her again and rests its front legs on the rim of the container. It can barely reach. 

Permalink Eye

She opens another.

Permalink Eye

It is uninhabited. It contains a large stack of uncrumpled folders. Most are readings from various instruments, but one sheaf of papers in a separately colored folder offers an interpretation of the readings. 

The volcano is likely to erupt in the next hundred years. It summarizes the various factors at play and offers several potential ways to postpone or hasten the eruption. 

Permalink Eye

She opens more boxes.

Permalink Eye

She finds dried food and water, pokeballs, repels, other pokemon related equipment, a few novels, geology reference materials, and a portable ladder with the equipment to anchor it in stone.

Permalink Eye

How's the Pokémon doing?

Permalink Eye

It has scrambled out of the hole at the back of its container and has come over to nose at the newly revealed items. 

Permalink Eye

Aww. She shuts the containers it's not nosing at.

Permalink Eye

It walks over to the humming machine and takes a few bites out of the steel casing. 

Permalink Eye

Huh. Can she pick it up?

Permalink Eye

She can. It will wiggle its legs and stare up at her while she's holding it. 

Permalink Eye

Aww. She sets it down again.

Permalink Eye

It will follow her around while she stays in the tunnel. 

Permalink Eye

...maybe it would attack a human. Or just violently object to a Pokéball.

She heads out and peeks into more caves.

Permalink Eye

Many of the caves have beautiful rock formations, where the lava cooled and hardened into rock. 

One of the tunnels has a rusty railing across the mouth and a plaque set into the wall describing how volcanoes work. 

Permalink Eye

She reads the plaque. And then flies back up to the Master.

Permalink Eye

He's sitting, feet dangling over the edge, leaning against one of the rotted fence posts. 

"That was a lot of time to be staring at rock, melted or otherwise."

Permalink Eye

"I found a couple Pokémon and an old volcano laboratory. Although some of the rocks were pretty nifty."

Permalink Eye

"They try to viciously murder you?"

Permalink Eye

"Not at all. I picked one up. It was totally fine with it. Followed me around for a bit. I think they might dislike Pokéballs or humans in particular. That or everyone's blowing things way out of proportion..."

Permalink Eye

"What? Blowing things out of proportion? Humans have never done that before."

Permalink Eye

"It'd be a pretty impressive blowing-out-of-proportion, with the walls and everything. And the one Pokémon did try to attack its owner before the ball hurt it."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe we're not tasty enough. Or maybe, these aren't the ones they're afraid of, maybe there's something bigger out there. Some of these walls are pretty tall."

He sounds delighted by the idea. 

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal is. I suppose if we're really curious we could follow some pilgrims around and see if I can pick up the Pokémon they run into, too."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not that curious, not unless we can find some interesting pilgrims."

Permalink Eye

"Where do you suppose interesting pilgrims go?"

Permalink Eye

"Depends on the type of interesting."

Permalink Eye

"Up to you, they'll all have Pokémon."

Permalink Eye

"Lemme see the map."

Permalink Eye

Map.

Permalink Eye

He pokes at a tiny crescent island at the very edge of the map. 

The map informs him that is it named Crescent Island. 

"Let's see what lurks out there."

Permalink Eye

"Okay."

Permalink Eye

They land on a beach made of black sand. The air has a cold bite and a strong wind blows, whipping the waves into a froth. 

The beach slowly transitions to an old forest. The space between the trees is vast and their roots crowd out any undergrowth. 

 

Permalink Eye

"Cool forest."

Permalink Eye

"Yes, thrilling, look at all the trees, and oh look, even more trees, and,"

He gasps.

"Is that a tree?"

Permalink Eye

"You could describe anything that way."

Permalink Eye

"Look at all the giant monsters who want to eat you, oh look, there's another giant monster who wants to eat you. Has a little more bite to it, doesn't it?"

Permalink Eye

"I was thinking more, 'building, building, another building... person, person, another person...' - if you start throwing in threats to bodily integrity you're playing a different game."

Permalink Eye

"You can only be impressed by so many forests. Well, I can only be impressed by so many forests, you may have an infinite capability."

Permalink Eye

"It would be sad to get bored of forests in general even if they were special!"

Permalink Eye

"I am a very sad person."

Permalink Eye

"I'm sure you find compensatory interest in things but wouldn't you like to keep finding those things interesting?"

Permalink Eye

"Sure, but it's not gonna happen."

Permalink Eye

"Are you planning to eventually be bored by everything?"

Permalink Eye

"I've accepted the inevitability. Though, fortunately, I'll be dead before I actually get to everything."

Permalink Eye

"I suppose if you were going to be bored all the time that might seem fortunate."

Permalink Eye

"You're lucky you really like trees."

Permalink Eye

"I like lots of things, you just find the trees particularly amusing."

Permalink Eye

"They don't do anything. They just sit there, and occasionally gain a millimeter."

Permalink Eye

"And blow in the wind!"

Permalink Eye

"That's the wind. Don't give them credit for that."

Permalink Eye

There's movement in the trees. 

A pokemon lands on a branch near the edge of the forest and watches them. 

 

Permalink Eye

"Hello!" Promise says to the Pokémon.

Permalink Eye

It flutters its wings. They vibrate against each other making a trilling almost-chime. 

Permalink Eye

"Hey!" a voice calls. 

Permalink Eye

The pokemon takes flight and vanishes into the trees. 

Permalink Eye

"What are you doing here?"

A woman strides out of the tree line. 

She is fit and heavily scarred. What looks like burn scars cover most of her left arm, extending up over her shoulder and onto her back. Four thick raised scares cross her face, extending from her forehead to the opposite jawline, twisting one eye and the shape of her lips. 

Permalink Eye

She's accompanied by a pokemon. It flies behind her and lands when she stops. Its metal wings glint in the light. The edges look sharp. 

It screeches and the sound is as painful as nails on chalkboard. 

Permalink Eye

Wince. "Wandering around," Promise says.

Permalink Eye

She crosses her arms.

"Don't bullshit me. You didn't get out here by accident."

Permalink Eye

"It seemed like a place interesting people would go."

Permalink Eye

"And I like forests."

Permalink Eye

"You like forests? That perfectly explains why you came to an island in the middle of the ocean. Wait, no, it doesn't. You're here because you think you're the super special trainers who will finally catch the legendary dragon. You're not."

Permalink Eye

"We could catch a dragon!"

Permalink Eye

"Let's not!"

Permalink Eye

"I've been trying for years. I figure the only way to catch the thing is with government tech."

She glances at Promise's wings.

"Which, maybe you have, but even if you've got a fancy pokeball I'll still be scraping you off the rocks, as likely as not."

Permalink Eye

"We don't have a fancy Pokéball. It might be nice to see a dragon but I do not hope to possess one."

Permalink Eye

"Are you actually tourists? My god, I knew government brats were sheltered but this is taking it to a whole new level. If it so much as sees you, it's going to carry you a mile into the air, drop you, and eat your crunchy remains."

Permalink Eye

"...I can fly."

Permalink Eye

"Those flimsy things? It'll tear them off, if its grip alone doesn't crush them."

Permalink Eye

"You've been trying for years huh?"

Permalink Eye

"I know what I'm doing."

Permalink Eye

"We'll avoid provoking it. Well, I will, anyway."

Permalink Eye

The Master grins. 

Permalink Eye

"Your ghosts better not come whining to me. I tried to warn you. My conscience is clear."

Permalink Eye

"Yup! Have fun!"

Permalink Eye

She gives them a look that could be interpreted as concern and vanishes back into the trees, her pokemon noisily following along behind her.

Permalink Eye

"She was fun," the Master says.

 

Permalink Eye

Giggle.

Permalink Eye

"Now, if you were a dragon, where would you hide?"

Permalink Eye

"Hmm. Am I a large dragon? I suppose I must be. Maybe a big cave. Maybe one that's a ways up a mountain and hard to climb to."

Permalink Eye

"Tell me if you see any."

Permalink Eye

"Will do."

Permalink Eye

There are no mountains on the island.

But, as the trees recede from the shore, they began to grow. 

At the outer edge of the island, where there is no beach and the forest gives way directly to water, the trees are giants.

Their height rivals the skyscrapers of this world.

Near the top of one of these giants, a cavern has been carved into the bark. 

Permalink Eye

"Tree cave!"

Permalink Eye

"Where?"

Permalink Eye

Point.

Permalink Eye

The Master returns to the TARDIS.

"Let's see what's inside."

Permalink Eye

"Okay."

Permalink Eye

The TARDIS appears just inside the mouth of the tree cave, blending in to look like a lump in the wood. 

Permalink Eye

The Master slowly opens the door and sticks his head out.

Permalink Eye

A pokemon is curled up in the middle of the cave. 

It is not large enough to eat the Master in a single bite, but it could probably do it in two.

It carries the scars of old injuries, poorly healed. Its tail ends abruptly, neither tapering to a point or ending in a fin. A trio of thick scars, as if from claws, run down its side. 

Permalink Eye

"Neat."

Permalink Eye

When Promise speaks, it opens its eyes.

 

Permalink Eye

"Hi," the Master says. 

Permalink Eye

It snarls and uncoils enough to smack the TARDIS with the end of its tail. 

Permalink Eye

"Rude."

Permalink Eye

"Well, we are trespassing in its tree cave. Sorry. It's a lovely tree cave."

Permalink Eye

It shifts its gaze to Promise and becomes completely still. 

 

Permalink Eye

"Hello."

Permalink Eye

It uncoils further, and then jerks forward, so its head is only a few feet from the TARDIS.

It does not take its eyes off Promise.

Permalink Eye

When it moves that quickly she startles enough to trip, and buzzes a few inches into the air rather than fall.

Permalink Eye

It reaches out a clawed forelimb and attempts to grab Promise. 

Permalink Eye

She zips back into the Tardis.

Permalink Eye

The Master jerks back as well. 

Permalink Eye

The TARIDS slams her doors. 

Permalink Eye

"Well! We saw the dragon!"

Permalink Eye

"We did. Sure you don't want to catch it?"

Permalink Eye

"It wanted to catch me. No, I do not want to store it in a ball and torture it into doing my bidding."

Permalink Eye

"Fine."

He peeks outside again and immediately reslams the door. 

"Nooope."

 

Permalink Eye

"It's waiting for us?"

Permalink Eye

"It literally could not be closer to the doors."

Permalink Eye

"I guess we look really tasty."

Permalink Eye

"Or it's enraptured by our beauty."

Permalink Eye

"Sure."

Permalink Eye

"Wait, wait, okay. When that woman said dragons, what did you picture? Ignore the giant green monster."

Permalink Eye

"...scaly scary creature of some kind? With wings probably."

Permalink Eye

"Right, okay, close enough, but what do dragons do?"

Permalink Eye

"...fly with the probable wings?"

Permalink Eye

"Tch, no. How many of my hilarious jokes are you missing? Okay, so in my universe, dragons..."

He cuts himself off.

"You know what, no, you need to see for yourself."

Permalink Eye

"...what do I need to see for myself?"

Permalink Eye

"A dragon, or to be more precise, a dragon hoard. We'll go see one I know. He won't try to eat you. Might try to eat me, but he has a thing against hurting innocents."

Permalink Eye

"If you like, sure."

Permalink Eye

"Just, don't take anything."

Permalink Eye

"Okay."

Permalink Eye

They arrive and the Master throws open the door. 

Permalink Eye

They are in a cavern. The walls are smooth stone and the floor is coated in things that shine.

Gold is present in large quantities, as is a bright white metal. Some of the metal is raw, much of it is coins or jewelry set with precious stones. 

Tunnels lead off from the main chamber, through them, glimpses of more treasure can be seen.

In the center of the treasure, there is a dragon.

He is smaller than the pokemon and covered in glittering bronze scales. He sits on his haunches, two large wings folded behind him.

"You," he says. 

Permalink Eye

"Me," the Master says. 

Permalink Eye

"He wanted to introduce me to a dragon," says Promise. "If we're intruding we can go."

Permalink Eye

"Of course not. I would never let the rudeness of one guest prevent politeness to another. I have no name, but many call me the Dragon of the Sihn. It is a pleasure to meet you."

The dragon inclines his head. 

Permalink Eye

"I'm Promise. It's nice to meet you too."

Permalink Eye

"Come on. Don't tell me you're still holding a grudge. It's been years."

Permalink Eye

"Has it? Or did you merely skip ahead, hoping time would cool my anger?"

Permalink Eye

"What'd he do?"

Permalink Eye

"He stole from me."

Permalink Eye

"Come on. It was only a ring, a tiny ring. I don't know how you even noticed."

Permalink Eye

"A ring crafted 4000 years ago from the first painite gem mined from the Treval Mine. The mine which tipped the balance of power and ended an empire. It is not only a ring."

Permalink Eye

"...did you get it back?"

Permalink Eye

"No."

Permalink Eye

"I lost it!"

Permalink Eye

"And you can't find it? Even with the TARDIS?"

Permalink Eye

"Nope."

Permalink Eye

"How does that happen? Did you lose it in her somewhere?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah," the Master says slowly.

He turns to the dragon.

"Look! Why do you even still care? I said I'd bring you other treasure! I can get something way older than 4000 years."

Permalink Eye

"I do not want other treasure. I want my ring."

Permalink Eye

"Is it okay if I look around and pick stuff up if I don't take any away?"

Permalink Eye

"Yes, as long as you are careful."

Permalink Eye

"I'll just avoid picking up anything fragile." She flits about.

Permalink Eye

The floor is covered in the type of treasure that can withstand dragon footsteps.

There are coins showing the faces of important people from a thousand different civilizations, bars of rare metal, uncut gems, simple jewelry. 

The more delicate and interesting pieces reside in nooks in the walls. 

There is a set of animals made of precious metal and stones. There is a bird with spread wings whose every feather is carefully detailed, a tall slender beast whose horns are made of an almost translucent mother of pearl, an insect whose fragile wings change color depending on the angle of light.

There is jewelry.

It is not made for humans or fairies. The rings are too small. The necklaces have multiple loops. There are many bracelets that are too long and too narrow to fit on a human forearm.

Many of the necklaces have pendants that contain flowers preserved and encased in glass. 

There is clothing as well, adorned with jewels or bright threads of metal. Its shape suggests a short species, their many jointed arms longer than they are tall.

Permalink Eye

Oooh. "This is all really pretty."

Permalink Eye

The dragon turns to look at Promise.

"Thank you. If you wish, I can share the story of any piece in my collection."

Permalink Eye

The Master stares at her and attempts to subtly shake his head.

Permalink Eye

"You may find history boring, time lord, but not all share your opinion."

Permalink Eye

"You have two eyes. Two!"

Permalink Eye

"Maybe you're predictable."

Permalink Eye

"Predictable?!"

He glares at her and the dragon and goes back into the TARDIS.

 

Permalink Eye

"Sorry! Maybe he saw your reflection in something shiny!"

Permalink Eye

"May I inquire as to your species?" the dragon asks.

"I admit my curiosity has been piqued."

Permalink Eye

"I'm a leaflet, which is a kind of fairy."

Permalink Eye

"I have not heard of your kind, though my knowledge of current events tends to lag behind. Has your species recently entered the galactic scene?"

Permalink Eye

"No, fairies have our own dimension inhabited only by fairies."

Permalink Eye

"Fascinating. You should consider extending an invitation to a dragon. I am quite settled, but that seems the type of thing to interest the young ones."

Permalink Eye

"Why would a dragon want to live there?"

Permalink Eye

"We dragons exist to collect objects of beauty and significance. A new dimension is likely to hold many such things and there will be no other dragons whose territories may begin to encroach. Many civilizations find a dragon to be a useful guardian. Yours should consider it."

Permalink Eye

"It's not a very... safe place. But not for reasons I think a dragon would help with necessarily."

Permalink Eye

"We are difficult to harm, but it is merely a suggestion. You may do with it what you will."

Permalink Eye

"Thank you. What species wears those?" She points at the odd ornaments.

Permalink Eye

"The achrear. They are this planet's native species, though others have joined them in recent years."

Permalink Eye

"What do they look like?"

Permalink Eye

"I will show you."

The dragon flies up to a nook near the ceiling and carefully withdraws a tapestry.

He unrolls it and lays it in front of Promise.

"This is an artistic depiction and they are slightly larger than is displayed here, but otherwise the image is true."

The tapestry shows a pale creature, their color somewhere between pink and white. 

The core of their body is a mound, only slightly taller than it is wide. It is mostly featureless, with the exception of a closed mouth at the very top. 

From the core extend four arms, equally spaced. Each arm is long and divided into four segments. 

The arms are partially folded, the first two segments held close to the body, only the outer two extended.

The arms end in slender fingers. The fingers are also divided into four segments, though this is more difficult to see. 

Every arm holds a small bowl. The bowls are filled with different color liquids, grey, blue, purple, and red.

"It is a religious ceremony," the dragon says.

"Each high priest must imbibe the four liquids of the body of the priest that came before them."

 

Permalink Eye

"Why must they do that?"

Permalink Eye

"Originally, it was believed to pass on the virtues of the predecessor. Now, it is simply tradition."

Permalink Eye

"Huh. What's the religion like?"

Permalink Eye

"In what sense?"

Permalink Eye

"I don't know hardly anything about religions in general, you could start anywhere and it'd be new."

Permalink Eye

"Like most religions, it has positive traits and negative. Of course, my judgement on what these may be is not without bias, try as I might to be impartial. You have not seen much of this world I presume?"

Permalink Eye

"None at all besides in here."

Permalink Eye

"This world is a honeycomb. There is no true surface. Instead the surface is a mess of ravines and small holes that break up the ground. Everything that lives here, lives in the cracks."

The dragon begins to roll up the tapestry.

"The religion of the achrear believes in a god of spaces. In their mythology, the world was once a smooth stone ball surrounded by fire, on which nothing could survive. Their god lived in the heart of the world for a very long time, but eventually, she grew lonely. So, she burrowed out of the heart of the world to look for others. She found nothing but fire, but when she turned back, she found life growing  in the tunnel her escape had created. But, the tunnel had already begun to close. She knew she must act. So, she took a piece of herself and put it in the tunnel to forever hold it open. She then filled the world the stone world with spaces, putting a piece of herself in each. They say she is still there today, in every open space."

Permalink Eye

"Aww, that's kinda sweet."

Permalink Eye

"Perhaps it is, though those same beliefs slowed their development for some time. They believed, and some of the most devout still do, that any new space carved from the stone would close, or would require the Lady of the Spaces to stretch herself further than she intended, therefore putting the whole world at risk."

Permalink Eye

"Huh."

Permalink Eye

"The achrear's religion was part of what drew me to this world. I would happily speak on it for days, but I do not want the time lord to abandon you here."

Permalink Eye

"I don't think he will but days might be a bit much anyway. Where were you from before?"

Permalink Eye

"Gallifrey. I left before I was fully grown, far before the war, but I suspect the connection is why your time lord insists on bothering me."

Permalink Eye

"May be."

Permalink Eye

The dragons flies up and returns the tapestry to its nook.

"Do you wish to know anything else?"

Permalink Eye

"Are most of these things from this planet?"

Permalink Eye

"They are. Some have been brought by visitors from other worlds. A handful arrived with me."

Permalink Eye

"People just show up and give you stuff?"

Permalink Eye

"In return for protection, I receive a yearly tribute from the rulers of this nation. I also receive many relics on the death of their owners. Others give their treasures to me for safekeeping."

Permalink Eye

"I assume the last category are allowed to take their stuff back."

Permalink Eye

"I allow the items to be taken from my immediate possession. They still belong to me, though I'm aware the object's current holder may not hold that belief."

Permalink Eye

"What does that imply - they can't give them to someone else?"

Permalink Eye

"It is simply a way to avoid the less civilized parts of my instincts. I would prefer not to discuss it further."

Permalink Eye

"Okay."

Permalink Eye

The dragon lies down.

Permalink Eye

"How do you keep things safe?"

Permalink Eye

"I know every object in my hoard and every object has its place. If something is taken, I know. No one wants to deal with the wrath of the dragon."

He pauses.

"I am unwilling to cause the extinction of a species. If this was not true, the time lord would not have left here intact."

Permalink Eye

"I see. You just bite people who steal stuff?"

Permalink Eye

"That is one way to put it."

Permalink Eye

"As opposed to turning them into rocks or something."

Permalink Eye

"Some of my kind are able to breathe fire. Unfortunately, that trait disappeared from my line several generations ago."

Permalink Eye

"Oh well. It might damage the treasure anyway."

Permalink Eye

"Teeth are more easily aimed."

Permalink Eye

"Do you have to attack people often?"

Permalink Eye

"It has been seventeen years since it was last necessary." 

Permalink Eye

"Who was it? What'd they want?"

Permalink Eye

"A devoted follower of an offshoot of the local religion. I am in possession of a set of bowls that are believed to be the original bowls by which the Lady of Spaces passed her virtue to the first priest. The offshoot believes that putting them in my possession was heresy. The devotee was attempting to reclaim them."

Permalink Eye

"Who gave them to you?"

Permalink Eye

"The high-priest of the time. There had been several attempts to steal them and it was believed some remnants of the Lady of the Space's virtue remained in the bowls. She was afraid that they would be used to anoint a new high priest who would challenge her."

 

Permalink Eye

"Did she mean for you to keep them indefinitely?"

Permalink Eye

"In return for the bowls, I promised to let them be used only by her direct line of religious successors. I have kept this promise. Things are exactly as she intended."

Permalink Eye

"Huh." She flies around a bit more, looking at the neat stuff in the wall alcoves.

Permalink Eye

There are many examples of what could either be representations of the Lady of the Spaces or artistic maps of the caverns. They look as if someone filled the caves of this world with metal, removed the metal, and then shrunk it so it was small enough to sit on a shelf. These representations come in many types of metal. Some are engraved with words, mostly prayers, or beautiful patterns. Some have no markings. If Promise taps one, she will find that it is hollow, the metal only a thin shell over emptiness.

There are stone tablets that contain lineages, the words written in tiny gems. The species that lives here seem to have at least six children or none, with only a few examples in-between. 

 

Permalink Eye

Huh.

"It's like a museum in here."

Permalink Eye

"Our purpose is not dissimilar." 

Permalink Eye

"Anything I should be sure not to miss before I go?"

Permalink Eye

The dragon nods towards one of the tunnels leading from the room.

"It has its own chamber. It may mean less to you, but it is the most visited piece in my collection."

Permalink Eye

"Religious artifact?" she asks, following.

Permalink Eye

"Yes. The life's work of one of the achrear's best craftsmen. Part of its purpose was to spread the belief that excavating stone added to the Lady's purpose, instead of destroying it."

Permalink Eye

"Cool." She looks.

Permalink Eye

This cavern is as a big as the one they came from.

The room is filled with a model of the achrear's world. It is made of shimmering threads, that from one angle look solid, but when looked at in slightly different light, vanish and can not be seen at all.

When first entering the room, the model is red and featureless.  As one begins to walk around the world, the red fades and inside networks of silver can be seen through the red, revealing the networks of caverns that make up the heart of the world in almost perfect detail. As one continues to walk around the planet, the grey threads begin to be joined by strands of purple. They join the grey spaces, enlarge them without subsuming them. 

Finally, when you have completed the circle of the planet, the red fades away entirely, leaving only the spaces within. 

"It is less impressive now," the dragon says, "It could be easily replicated in weeks. But for many at the time, this was their first time truly seeing their world."

Permalink Eye

"How do the colors work?"

Permalink Eye

"The lights in this room are part of the design. The threads, by themselves, are difficult to see. They are designed to reflect light at some angles and reflect nothing at others. When no light is reflected, they are effectively invisible unless you are looking very closely."

Permalink Eye

"Cool!"

Permalink Eye

When she is done, the dragon will lead her back to the main chamber.

Permalink Eye

"Thank you."

Permalink Eye

Back in the TARDIS, the Master is waiting for her while pretending not to wait for her.

The moment she enters, he attempts to dramatically leave.

However, the door to the hallway fails to slam or even close completely, and he is left tugging futilely at the doorknob.

 

Permalink Eye

"You okay?"

Permalink Eye

"You tell me."

Permalink Eye

"If I knew I wouldn't ask."

Permalink Eye

"Not so predictable after all."

Permalink Eye

"It was a joke, I'm sorry."

Permalink Eye

"You're not wrong. I have been predictable. But that's enough of that I think. Time to show you how unpredictable I can be."

Permalink Eye

"Well, I have no idea what you're going to do, so there's that sorted."

Permalink Eye

"Come on. Haven't you had enough of bouncing around, moving on before things get really exciting? Let's do something."

Permalink Eye

"Like what?"

Permalink Eye

"Have you ever taken down a government? Of course you haven't. It's fun. There are so many ways to do it. A little push here, make them trust you there, or maybe just a lot of fire."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not sure I'd take to it."

Permalink Eye

"I was gonna pick an evil one. But fine, no global destabilization. I somehow doubt gladiatorial combat is your thing. We could find a new species. That's always fun. Unless you'd be terribly responsible about it."

Permalink Eye

"Why is finding new species less fun if you're responsible?"

Permalink Eye

"Because then it's less, 'I am a god' and 'Look! Lasers' and more 'Follow these blueprints for scientific development in this exact order while I explain all the technical details to you' or if you're really responsible 'watch them for ten minutes, say nothing, and leave'."

Permalink Eye

"I mean, I don't have any blueprints."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know what you being responsible would look like."

Permalink Eye

"We could go find out!"

Permalink Eye

"Alright."

Permalink Eye

Giggle.

Permalink Eye

The Master spends a few minutes typing to the TARDIS. 

"She never helps me find the really interesting ones, but she'll help us find someone."

Permalink Eye

The TARDIS deposits them on a river bank. The water is slow-moving and murky.

A short ways downstream, a handful of small buildings rest by the riverside. 

 

Permalink Eye

"What qualifies one as really interesting?" Promise asks, stepping out and peering around.

Permalink Eye

"There was an alien species that interacted with the world by eating it. All their sensory organs were in their digestive system. New technology? Eat it. New territory? Eat it. New species? Eat them and yank memories from their brain matter. But for some reason, the TARDIS won't introduce me to anybody like that."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe she'd miss you if you were eaten."

Permalink Eye

Drawn by the sound of their voices, a being emerges from one of low buildings.

The being's pear shaped body has perfect quadruple symmetry. Four sensory stalks sprout from the top of it's head, all four rotate towards the two intruders. It brandishes a tool at them, a crude thing made of stone and wood that might be a hoe. It's large, more than a meter across at it's widest point, but it seems more intimidated than intimidating. 

 

Permalink Eye

"Hello."

Permalink Eye

"Take us to your leader."

Permalink Eye

The creature drops the tool and suddenly deflates, water gushing out of four vents in its sides and flowing back into the river. 

Now half its original size, it hurries back into the building. 

Permalink Eye

"They love us already."

Permalink Eye

"I think we scared it."

Permalink Eye

Another being emerges.

It is smaller than the first and studier looking. It is holding a rudimentary spear, but not pointing it at them.

Permalink Eye

"Oh, wow. You've got a sharp stick."

Permalink Eye

"Hello?"

Permalink Eye

The creature slowly lowers its spear to the ground and then pushes it into the earth, point first.

It releases the spear's handle and steps forward twice, then pauses. 

Permalink Eye

The Master walks up to it.

Permalink Eye

It watches and doesn't move. 

Permalink Eye

He reaches out a hand and pokes it. 

Permalink Eye

It leans forward, a single tendril with a shimmering tip extends from the very crown of its head and touches the end of the Master's finger. 

All of the eyestalks stare at the Master.

Permalink Eye

The Master stares back.

Permalink Eye

Nothing happens.

The tendril withdraws.

Permalink Eye

"...did it poking you do anything?"

Permalink Eye

"Nope. I'm missing the right bits I bet."

Permalink Eye

The creature starts to walk away, two sensory stalks still pointing at the Master and Promise.

After it has taken a few steps, it pauses and a third sensory stalk swivels towards them.  

Permalink Eye

Promise waves at it.

Permalink Eye

It lifts two of its arms and waves back.

It takes a couple more steps forward and pauses again. 

Permalink Eye

...she steps toward it.

Permalink Eye

It starts walking forward again. 

It approaches one of the buildings and two larger beings come out to meet it.

They all extend the tendrils at the top of their heads. The tendrils touch. The two larger beings hurry inside and emerge carrying a raft and two long sticks. 

They bring the raft to the water. The spear-carrying being climbs on board. 

 

Permalink Eye

The Master hops onto the raft. 

Permalink Eye

Promise lifts into the air.

Permalink Eye

The creatures all quickly touch their tendrils together.

The two larger creatures push off with their poles.

The raft slowly begins making its way upstream.

Permalink Eye

She flies after it.

Permalink Eye

The raft picks up some speed as the creatures get into a rhythm with their poles, but still travels relatively slowly.

They pass by several more groups of low buildings. In-between the buildings there are fields of ferns, grown in neat rows. 

Permalink Eye

"Let's play a game."

Permalink Eye

"A game?"

Permalink Eye

"Have you ever heard of the question game?" 

Permalink Eye

"No."

Permalink Eye

"Do you know that you've already lost?"

Permalink Eye

"...well, I guess I do now. Are you going to explain it?"

Permalink Eye

"Can you have a conversation that has nothing but questions?"

Permalink Eye

"Hmmmwhat makes you think I know that?"

Permalink Eye

"Whose else would know?"

Permalink Eye

"Why should anyone know?"

Permalink Eye

"How does anyone know anything?"

Permalink Eye

"Are you saying you don't know things?"

Permalink Eye

"Would I ever say anything like that?"

Permalink Eye

"Who would?"

Permalink Eye

"Oh, are we picking the easy questions now?"

Permalink Eye

"Is that forbidden by the nature of the game?"

Permalink Eye

"Doesn't it kind of defeat the point?"

Permalink Eye

"Is there a point?"

Permalink Eye

"Can you think of a better way to pass the time?"

Permalink Eye

"If I could, would I be playing this game?"

Permalink Eye

He laughs.

"Why don't you try asking more interesting questions?"

Permalink Eye

"Why would I, when you aren't asking interesting questions?"

Permalink Eye

"Do you sneeze?"

Permalink Eye

"Have you ever observed me to sneeze?"

Permalink Eye

"Have you noticed the TARDIS's exceptional resistance to dust?"

Permalink Eye

"She has exceptional resistance to dust?"

Permalink Eye

"Would you want to keep dust inside your skin?"

Permalink Eye

"How would it get in there?"

Permalink Eye

"Have you ever accidentally pissed off a colony of dust people?"

Permalink Eye

"When would I have fit that in?"

Permalink Eye

"With a time machine, how much time would you really need?"

Permalink Eye

"Don't you think I'd have mentioned?"

Permalink Eye

"You don't find it fun to collect the occasional secret?"

Permalink Eye

"Okay, what are you hiding?"

Permalink Eye

"Careful, do you want to be here all day?"

Permalink Eye

"Didn't you notice we're moving?"

Permalink Eye

"Can't you appreciate the use of a good metaphor?"

Permalink Eye

"How long would it take to tell all your secrets?"

Permalink Eye

"Depends, would you want all the secrets or the ones you'd actually care about?"

Permalink Eye

"Which set is bigger, ones I'd care about or ones I wouldn't?"

Permalink Eye

"The latter, unless you'd be delighted by the details of schoolboy pranks?"

Permalink Eye

Up ahead, there's a structure much larger than the others they've passed so far.

Part of the river has been diverted to flow through the building. The beings push the raft inside and dock it.

Inside the building, there is a wide, shallow pool. 

In the center of the pool rests a giant creature. It is limbless and featureless, except for the sixteen sensory stalks and four tendrils coming from its top.

All of the beings move forward and touch their tendrils to the tendrils of the giant. 

Permalink Eye

"Oooh."

Permalink Eye

The Master starts walking over to the giant, but the spear-carrying moves to block him. 

"Come on, what do you think I'm going to do?"

Permalink Eye

"I bet they think you'll tickle it."

Permalink Eye

"Probably and, by the way, you lose."

Permalink Eye

"Oh no!"

Permalink Eye

He reaches into one of his pockets and pulls out a small stuffed snake.

He stares it blankly.

"Where?"

He tosses it over his shoulder.

"Do you have a pen or something?"

Permalink Eye

"Yes, actually." She tosses him a pen.

Permalink Eye

The Master catches the pen. 

He reaches into another pocket.

He pulls out another stuffed snake.

"Why?!"

He turns to Promise again.

"How about paper?"

Permalink Eye

A very small being who comes up to about Promise's waist emerges from where it has been concealed behind the bulk of the giant.

It picks up the stuffed green snake and touches it to one of its small tentacles. 

Permalink Eye

She has paper, too. She watches the small being handle the snake. "I cannot explain the stuffed items in your pockets."

Permalink Eye

"I am suddenly having vague and nauseous memories of a party with the most inadequate souvenirs. I may have grabbed the wrong jacket possibly. I should probably stop buying identical jackets."

 

Permalink Eye

The small being accidentally tears the snake in half. 

Its sensory stalks jerk up to point at the Master.

There's a puff of purplish dust that smells like melted sugar.

Permalink Eye

The Master reclaims the snake and pours a bit of the dust onto his tongue.

"Definitely the party."

Permalink Eye

"Weird party."

Permalink Eye

"I would agree with you, but I can't remember most of it."

He spreads the paper out on the ground. 

"They really better be able to see with those things."

Permalink Eye

She checks the structures around them for windows.

Permalink Eye

The walls of the structure have several holes built into them. The holes are currently blocked with wooden planks. 

Permalink Eye

Decorations?

Permalink Eye

The Master is busying drawing simple but fairly accurate sketches of himself, Promise, and the beings. 

Permalink Eye

The smallest being is watching him. 

The giant points several sensory stalks at Promise and then extends a tendril. The soldier goes to meet it and then begins removing the planks from the holes, letting in the sunlight. 

Permalink Eye

"I'm not sure if they can see, but maybe they can tell that you can? Maybe there are animals here that can see."

Permalink Eye

The smallest being goes and links up with the giant. 

When it returns, it attempts to carefully remove the pencil from the Master's hand. 

Permalink Eye

He lets it.

Permalink Eye

It draws a little tendril on top of its own head, then draws tendrils on the top of the Master and Promise's heads.

It then draws a line to connect the filaments. 

Permalink Eye

"Aww, it thinks we can do that. But we can't."

Permalink Eye

The sensory tendrils of all of the beings swivel towards Promise.

The little one grabs the paper from the Master. 

Permalink Eye

"Hey!"

Permalink Eye

And carries the paper over to Promise. 

It sets the paper down and draws a big circle over the Promise-drawing's mouth. It draws a tendril coming out of the circle and connecting to the being's tendrils.

Permalink Eye

The Master comes over to look.

Permalink Eye

"I am not going to lick your tendrils."

Permalink Eye

The creature goes to a blank spot on the paper and draws a blob with wings that might be Promise.

It draws another blob with a tendril on top.

It draws a circle on the front of the Promise-blob. It draws a scribble coming out of the circle and floating over to the alien-blob's tendril.

 

Permalink Eye

"Do you know what it's getting at?"

Permalink Eye

"Maybe your physics-doesn't-exist magic is getting through to it somehow. Tell it to do something."

Permalink Eye

"If you can understand me draw a triangle."

Permalink Eye

It draws a triangle.

Permalink Eye

"Oh, cool. If you have any writing I should be able to read that..."

Permalink Eye

The little one goes and connects to the giant. 

It comes back and draws three lines and a circle with squiggles that might be the sun. It doesn't translate automatically. 

Permalink Eye

"...that doesn't seem to count."

Permalink Eye

The little being hands the pen to Promise and then gestures at itself and then the paper. 

Permalink Eye

She tries writing This is writing.

Permalink Eye

The little creature slowly tries to copy Promise's sentence. 

Permalink Eye

"I don't think you can learn to write how I do; only fairies normally write that way."

Permalink Eye

The Master copies Promise's sentence in Gallifrean.

Permalink Eye

They, sloppily, copy him. 

Permalink Eye

"I can read that just fine."

Permalink Eye

The Master keeps translating Promise's writing in Gallifrean.

Permalink Eye

The aliens catch on quickly. Soon, they have learned enough to hold a simple conversation. 

Hello.

I am DriftingRiver. 

Who are you?

Permalink Eye

"I'm Promise."

Permalink Eye

I'm the Master.

Permalink Eye

Where are you from?

Why are you here?

Permalink Eye

Outer space.

And we're here because we had nothing better to do.

Permalink Eye

"I'm from Fairyland. We're exploring!"

Permalink Eye

What are you looking for?

Permalink Eye

"Interesting things. You're interesting."

Permalink Eye

You are also interesting.

Do you want to trade?

Permalink Eye

"Maybe. What sorts of things do you have and want?"

Permalink Eye

I have food. I know how to farm well so there is more food and the land does not stop making food.

I have wood. I have- 

There is not a word. 

 

DriftingRiver stops making a list and instead attempts to explain words that have no easy translation.

Eventually, they come up with a handful of words that are close enough.

This species is The Prime. The large being resting in the water is an immotile. The being who is writing and the beings who brought them here are all motiles. Both the immotiles and the motiles are DriftingRiver. 

DriftingRiver continues its list.

I have spare motiles.

Permalink Eye

"I don't need wood or food and don't know what I'd do with - motiles."

Permalink Eye

What do you need?

Permalink Eye

"Nothing in particular, or I'd be looking for it instead of exploring."

Permalink Eye

I want information. If you want nothing, what can I do for it?

Permalink Eye

"You can ask questions and we might answer them if we know the answers just for fun."

Permalink Eye

Are more of you coming?

Permalink Eye

"No."

Permalink Eye

How did you reach this planet?

Permalink Eye

A friend gave us a lift.

Permalink Eye

Would your friend give me a lift?

Permalink Eye

No idea. She's kind of busy though. 

Permalink Eye

"Is there somewhere you want to go?"

Permalink Eye

Somewhere where no one else exists.

Permalink Eye

"Why?"

Permalink Eye

So I can grow without challenge. So I do not have to fight or destroy.

Permalink Eye

"That's a major problem here?"

Permalink Eye

"It's a major problem everywhere."

Permalink Eye

There is room now, but there will not always be room.

Permalink Eye

"Would you eventually split up into different - agents - in some way? That must happen sometimes, mustn't it?"

Permalink Eye

Yes. 

I was originally ShadedValley.  I was created to claim this territory and stop an enemy immotile from moving too close. 

While I was ShadedValley, our alliance was strong and difficult to break. 

But we have diverged. I am ShadedValley no longer.

Permalink Eye

"So you think that wouldn't happen if there wasn't competition?"

Permalink Eye

All immotiles are different.

ShadedValley dislikes combat and betrayal.

I dislike combat and betrayal.

My children will also dislike combat and betrayal.

Permalink Eye

"Hm. How hard would it be to find them a new home?" she asks the Master.

Permalink Eye

He shrugs.

"Not hard. There are plenty of worlds that never got past the micro-organism stage."

Permalink Eye

"Well, then I don't really see why not."

Permalink Eye

"Sure. Why not."

He calls the TARDIS.

Permalink Eye

She appears.

Permalink Eye

"You convince her."

Permalink Eye

"...hey TARDIS, this immotile wants to relocate somewhere uninhabited, do you feel like helping?"

Permalink Eye

The door to the outside widens and a new doorway appears in the central chamber. 

 

Permalink Eye

"What I'm not sure is how you can get in. Being immotile and all."

Permalink Eye

I will send motiles to create another one of me.

Permalink Eye

"So this isn't going to be you, but your - child?"

Permalink Eye

It will be me. A new me.

Permalink Eye

"Your fork."

Permalink Eye

Yes.

Permalink Eye

"How do motiles do that?"

Permalink Eye

They will find a safe place with water. 

Four motiles will merge together to create an immotile. It takes five weeks. They will link their brains and their bodies will join. They will remove every that is not needed, such as limbs and muscle. Inside them, their brains will join to create a single brain that fills most of the space in their body. Their reproductive system will also grow. 

Permalink Eye

"Are they people or just detached parts of you?"

Permalink Eye

They are me. 

Permalink Eye

"Then how would you give away spares?"

Permalink Eye

Their minds are me.

I can wipe them clean so they are no one.

Permalink Eye

"And then someone else can - take them?"

Permalink Eye

Yes.

Permalink Eye

I want one. 

Permalink Eye

"What would you even do with one? Besides, you're not this species, maybe you couldn't use it."

Permalink Eye

"I could figure out how to, I bet."

Permalink Eye

"What's the procedure?" she asks the aliens. "For adopting one."

Permalink Eye

I remove myself from its mind.

The other Prime's motiles then put their own thoughts inside. 

 

Permalink Eye

What if there's no new thoughts put inside?

Permalink Eye

It would do nothing and eventually die. It would not eat or expel waste or avoid injury. 

Permalink Eye

"Can you take it back without it being a big deal if it turns out he can't use it?"

Permalink Eye

Yes. 

If I give you the motile, you will take me to another world?

Permalink Eye

Sure.

Permalink Eye

Promise giggles. "What are you gonna do with it?"

Permalink Eye

"See if I can program it's brain."

Permalink Eye

"Program it?"

Permalink Eye

"Tell it what to do, with a computer."

Permalink Eye

"Huh."

Permalink Eye

"You know, you should really learn how to use one."

Permalink Eye

"What for?"

Permalink Eye

"It's kinda weird that you don't. Also, you're always writing things, with a pen, on paper. That's so last century. You have to remember where everything is. With a computer you can be like, bring me my plan for world domination. Oh right, it's next to the recipe for fried tartles."

Permalink Eye

"You're not really selling me on this but I don't mind trying."

Permalink Eye

"Computers sell themselves. You'll see."

Permalink Eye

"Okay."

Permalink Eye

What type of motile?

Permalink Eye

There are types?

Permalink Eye

Yes, specializations.

I often make farmers, soldiers, builders, and scouts, but I am not limited. 

Permalink Eye

"What are the differences between them?"

Permalink Eye

Farmers can carry large amounts of water, seeds, or harvested crops in an inner cavity.

Soldiers are strong, have thicker skin, and have multiples of major organs, so they better survive injury.

Builders are also strong and are made to use a wide variety of tools. 

Scouts are small and fast and do not need as much food or water.

Permalink Eye

"Well, it's gonna be your experimental subject," Promise tells the Master.

Permalink Eye

A soldier, he writes. 

Permalink Eye

"Huh, I would've gone for scout if I were in the market."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know if I can program it well enough to get information out."

Permalink Eye

"Does that matter for which one you get?"

Permalink Eye

"A scout's useless if it can't actually report back. Maybe I could tie a camera to it, but then I could just send out a camera."

Permalink Eye

"But that's just what they're used for here. Well, whatever."

Permalink Eye

I need a week to make the motiles.

Permalink Eye

The Master hops into the TARDIS.

 

Permalink Eye

Promise giggles. "We'll come back in a week."

Permalink Eye

A few seconds later, a week has passed.

Permalink Eye

The Master hops back out of the TARDIS.

Permalink Eye

A large group of motiles is waiting for them.

Permalink Eye

"Hi."

Permalink Eye

"Hello," one of them says.

The motile has a new aperture near the top of its head, from which it is speaking.

The voice is not completely clear, but it is understandable. 

Permalink Eye

The Master whistles.

"You don't waste any time, do you?"

Permalink Eye

"Oh, congratulations!"

Permalink Eye

"This is yours."

It gestures at a soldier motile.

"It will be wiped when we arrive. Can we enter?"

Permalink Eye

"No."

The Master goes into the TARDIS and comes out with a welcome mat. He puts it in front of her door.

"Wipe your feet first. You're the door on the right."

Permalink Eye

Promise stands aside.

Permalink Eye

The motiles bring baskets of the ferns, seeds, and several, open topped, wooden barrels of water. 

 

Permalink Eye

"The planet does have water."

Permalink Eye

"It will be dead water."

Permalink Eye

"Uh huh. What's dead water?"

Permalink Eye

"Water that is not alive."

Permalink Eye

"...can you change one into the other?"

Permalink Eye

"Yes. Living water will make dead water alive."

Permalink Eye

The Master goes and grabs a cup and takes some of their water. 

Permalink Eye

"How does it do that?"

Permalink Eye

"Life makes more life until there is no more room or food."

Permalink Eye

"So it has something in it besides water?"

Permalink Eye

"The things that make us."

Permalink Eye

They arrive on an empty planet next to a river. There's no life here big enough to be seen with the naked eye.

Permalink Eye

The Master ushers the motiles out. 

They begin unloading their food and water. 

The Master turns to Promise.

"Why don't you get them set up and I'll be back in like, how long will it take, five hours."

Permalink Eye

"...why will you even be gone that long?"

Permalink Eye

"So I can skip five hours. I really don't want to watch them dig a pool or make a mud house or whatever."

Permalink Eye

"Okay. Have fun."

Permalink Eye

"I'd say the same but..." 

He gives the motiles a dismissive look.

Then he hops into the TARDIS and is gone.

Permalink Eye

The TARDIS lands in fairyland, once again disguised as a tree.

Permalink Eye

The Master exits the TARDIS, carrying something that used to be a pokeball in one hand.

He starts looking for fairies. 

Permalink Eye

Fairyland is pretty sparsely populated. This will take some doing.

Permalink Eye

He brought snacks. He's not in a terrible hurry.

But, after a while of unsuccessful walking, he will take out his laser and light a tree on fire. 

If he can't find them, maybe they'll find him.

Permalink Eye

The tree burns slowly. A neighboring tree catches. It burns itself out after a while. No fairies are attracted by the smoke or flames.

Permalink Eye

He sighs.

He goes back to the TARDIS.

"Come on, obviously I didn't come to fairyland to take a nature hike! Why'd you pick the middle of nowhere?"

He slumps against the console.

"Fine, sorry. I'm just saying, why bring me to fairyland at all then?"

He runs his fingers down the column of amber. 

"I'm not going to get mind controlled by a fairy. I'm prepared and everything!"

He stands there for another moment.

"Please?"

Permalink Eye

The TARDIS moves.

Permalink Eye

"Yes! Thanks. You're the best."

Permalink Eye

There is a little fairy village over thataway. There are beetle-winged fairies who'd come up to his hip at the tallest, all the same kind, flitting about their business.

Permalink Eye

He tries to find one or two fairies on their own, away from most of the activity. 

Permalink Eye

There's one over there tending to a lavender-like plant.

Permalink Eye

He tries to approach without calling too much attention to himself. 

He presses the button on the no-longer-pokeball. 

A swarm of nanobots emerges and heads towards the fairy. They were designed to enter and subdue pokemon, but with a slight tweak they instead attempt to enter the fairy and inject their small payload of food.

The Master gets ready to run, just in case. 

Permalink Eye

The fairy looks up when he gets closer and takes off, flying back villageward.

Permalink Eye

That means he should probably run, right? Right.

He runs back to the TARDIS.

The nanobots chase the fairy

Permalink Eye

The fairy is going about twenty miles an hour.

Permalink Eye

The nanobots do not go twenty miles an hour. They turn around and attempt to return to their no-longer-pokeball.

Permalink Eye

And beetlewinged fairies come looking for the mortal en masse.

Permalink Eye

He makes it to the TARDIS and peeks out the door. 

 

Permalink Eye

Beetlewinged fairies noticed the extra tree and are frowning at it.

Permalink Eye

He opens the door a crack and says, "Hi!"

Then he releases the nanobots again.

Hopefully, they are less noticeable than him. 

Permalink Eye

"Are you a mortal?" asks a fairy. "What's with that tree?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm mortal-ish," he says through a crack in the door.

"And the tree's a friend."

If any of the fairies stay mostly stationary, the nanobots will enter them. 

Permalink Eye

Some fairies are mostly stationary!

"The tree is new. How did it get here?"

Permalink Eye

"Are you sure she's new? Maybe you just forgot she was here."

Permalink Eye

"Yes, I'm sure."

Permalink Eye

"Why don't you come and take a closer look?"

He tries to make the last part a command. 

Permalink Eye

The fairy drifts forward, and screams.

The others scatter.

Permalink Eye

"Get in here."

He opens the door wide enough for the fairy to fit. 

Permalink Eye

The fairy puts a hand in and then flies away as fast as he can.

Permalink Eye

"Come back," he shouts.

Permalink Eye

The fairy zips back a little, then zooms on.

Permalink Eye

He closes the door. 

"It works," he says cheerfully.

He goes back to the central console. 

"I should probably try bribery now. Much less attempted murder with that. Didn't Promise mention they had libraries..."

Permalink Eye

The TARDIS takes him to a library. 

Permalink Eye

The library is full of handbound, handwritten books, many whimsically decorated, in mismatched shelves. It is quiet and dim.

Permalink Eye

"Hello," he calls out.

Permalink Eye

A blue fairy less than a handspan high comes around a shelf at about shoulder level. "- hello."

Permalink Eye

"I want to learn things everyone here already knows. Can I trade you for a book you absolutely do not have?"

Permalink Eye

"...go away and come back when your master has taught you to sound less stupid."

Permalink Eye

He laughs.

"Here's the thing. I don't have a master. But see, I was trying to do this the nice way. Offer you something you wanted, you know?  But hey, thanks for the insult. Now I don't have to worry about it." 

He reaches into his pocket and grabs his laser. 

Permalink Eye

The fairy zips forward and punches him in the face. In a surprising turn of events considering the fairy's size, this lays him out.

Permalink Eye

He laughs harder. 

Without trying to rise, he flicks the laser on with his thumb and lets it burn a hole into his pocket and tries to angle it towards the fairy.

At the same time, with his other hand, he tries to reach the altered pokeball.

Permalink Eye

The fairy is a little too quick. It grabs him by the sleeve and hauls him to the exit.

Permalink Eye

He has two hands. He'll use whichever one the fairy isn't grabbing to try and fumble for the button.

Permalink Eye

He gets knocked around a bit on the trip through the tunnel to the door. Then thrown off a cliff.

Permalink Eye

The TARDIS catches him.

She is not pleased.

Permalink Eye

He keeps laughing for a few minutes, holding his bleeding nose.

Eventually, the laughter trails off and he's sitting on the floor of the TARDIS, staring at the ceiling. 

"Feel like taking me back for revenge?"

Permalink Eye

The TARDIS does not. 

Permalink Eye

"To another library?"

He sighs.

"No?"

He leans back, resting his head on the console. 

"I didn't die! And besides, I have plenty of regenerations left."

He stays there for a while, until the bleeding stops on its own. Then he goes and gets a washcloth and cleans up the blood.

Permalink Eye

When he's finished, the TARDIS goes to pick up Promise.

Permalink Eye

Promise is supervising the motiles and taking notes!

Permalink Eye

The motiles have made good progress.

The builders made a pool next to the river big enough for the future immotile and now are making several buildings for storage.

The farmers have begun ejecting fertilizer from themselves and begun preparing some nearby ground for farming. 

 

Permalink Eye

"How's it going?" the Master asks, walking up to Promise.

Permalink Eye

"It's going well. What happened to you?"

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"What? Why would something have happened to me?"

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"You look a bit beat up."

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He touches his face and winces.

"I fell," he says.

A pause.

"Off of a cliff."

 

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"Why did you do that?"

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"I didn't do it on purpose!" he says indignantly. 

Permalink Eye

"How did it happen that you fell off a cliff?"

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He sticks his hands in his pockets.

"You know how I promised I'd make you a thing?"

Permalink Eye

"Making me a thing involved falling off a cliff?"

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"No. You already have wings. Anyway, I was making you a thing so you don't have to be controlled by random people, but I don't actually know how fairies work and asking you would have ruined the surprise, and you said fairyland had libraries, but it turns out that the librarian didn't like me very much..."

Permalink Eye

"Oh dear. Are you okay?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, yeah. You do need to tell me how fairies work though. The TARDIS won't take me back."

Permalink Eye

"...okay, what do you need to know that I haven't already explained?"

Permalink Eye

He pulls out the no-longer-pokeball and tosses it to Promise.

"The practical details. If someone does try to order you, will you be able to activate that? Do I need to set it to activate automatically?  Is there a way to detect orders and get it to respond to those? If it does activate automatically, but you've been ordered to do some shitty thing, is that worse than it not activating at all?"

Permalink Eye

"It depends what they tell me. Orders don't sound different from unenforced commands. Activating to do what?"

Permalink Eye

"Two things. I made the little robots into mini-neuroblockers. Set it off and everyone the robots can reach will forget about you. And, if you want to go on the offensive, the robots will deliver little pieces of food into your target. It's still manually activated though, has terrible targeting, and is probably useless if you eat something, so don't count it yet."

Permalink Eye

"It also won't work if the first thing they want is my name, food from vassals is safe."

Permalink Eye

"Even if you wipe their memories first?"

Permalink Eye

"I can't do that if they have my name, it would constitute harm."

Permalink Eye

"And that's why you need automatic activation."

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"If they can be precise. It'd be possible for a mortal to accidentally vassalize me under sufficiently bad circumstances, I don't want to destroy big swaths."

Permalink Eye

"Who are you destroying? They don't hurt, I checked!"

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"...if there's a thing that automatically erases the memories of anyone who vassalizes me, I want it to be precise enough to get my name and not other things."

Permalink Eye

"It's already only erasing memories of you, but sure, you can make it more specific. You just have to tell it your name."

He grins.

"Another reason for you to learn how to use a computer."

Permalink Eye

"This is a computer?"

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"I told it what to do by using a computer."

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"...cool. Okay. I will learn to use a computer."

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"We need to work out the details of the automatic activation. And I'll work on better targeting."

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"Thank you."

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"If I found someone who was really really excited about getting magically ordered around, would you be willing to do it? So I can try to detecting orders?"

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"...I guess?"

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"I know just the person to ask. Are you done with them?"

He gestures at the primes.

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"Yeah, I think so."

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The primes say goodbye and ask them to come back in a few years. 

Permalink Eye

"Sure!"

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When they enter the TARDIS, Promise's garden is where it normally is, but the doorway to the other hallway is missing.

 

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The Master winces.

"We may need to put off those tests."

Permalink Eye

"...is she mad at you?"

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He crosses his arms.

"She shouldn't be! Nothing happened!"

Permalink Eye

"You did fall off a cliff."

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"Okay, well, yes. But this is still petty! Extremely petty!"

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"Is it only about falling off a cliff?"

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"Well, getting thrown off a cliff. And possibly antagonizing the librarian, but they were rude to me first!"

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"...rude how?"

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"Go away and come back when your master has taught you to sound less stupid," he says in a poor approximation of the fairy's voice. 

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"You realize they didn't think you were acting on your own, right?"

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He shrugs.

"That doesn't mean they needed to be rude about it."

Permalink Eye

"I suppose not."

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"So, I think she's kicking me out. She's not kicking you out, but you should come with me anyways."

Permalink Eye

"Come with you where?"