Jun 22, 2018 5:24 AM
White Wishes
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Rockeye's new character meets Gem
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"Saving the world tends to be, I hear. So should I tell you what I can do, or you tell me about the end of the world first?"

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"...short version is that there are evil aliens using human emotions as a power source and their preferred way of doing that is an artificial ecology of despair monsters kept in check by magical girls who are recruited with selective truth and one wish apiece. A very big despair monster eats the world in a couple weeks. I'm trying to track it back to where it is at the start of the loop so I can kill it smaller."

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"These aliens sound like a big problem even outside the more urgent end-of-the-world problem. Which needs solving first. I'm quite powerful by our standards but I have no idea how they measure up to yours. I can stabilize people, prevent them from dying. It's not the same as actually healing them, but it buys time. I can fly and create barriers and beams of destructive light. I can create servant constructs, I can provide a power boost to other Spirit Bearers, I can purify things of pollution factors and pathogens, I can convince electronics to work without electricity for a while, I can boost my senses, particularly as regards living things..."

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"The flying and servants aren't achievable with the standard powerset of locals. You might have better efficiency on the other stuff."

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"And Kaff - You still owe me a little bit even outside of your obligation to get me home."

"Only a little."

"Right. But it's a little. And you know I'm good for my word if I promise you a favor."

"Yes."

"So Bella, what's the most limiting restriction you have, that a wish might get around?"

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"What do your kind of wishes usually cover?"

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"Common themes are magic items of various kinds from eternal waterspouts to necklaces with defensive magic to singing statues, items that give magic powers, de-aging and resurrections - resurrection is expensive - 'good luck' which is a sort of proto-magic that has subtle and vague effects, empowering one as a Spirit Bearer which is probably not an advisable experiment to make with you having your own magic, assassinations, gold if you're feeling lazy. Ensuring that all your children were healthy males was popular a few hundred years ago. I've never heard of a genie causing or interacting with a time loop but it wouldn't astound me. Though it sounds expensive."

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"What governs expense, how do you pay for it?"

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"Broadly, how big an effect is, plus how permanent it is. It's hard to generalize. Kaff can tell you how 'expensive' something is if you ask. Uh, I helped arrange permission for him to observe a hospital when he was curious, and I called in the favor to help at the monster attack. So you pay for it with favors, either in advance or by making a deal for later."

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"...favors like 'opportunity to observe hopsitals'? Is that typical?"

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"Genies are insatiably curious. Sometimes it's - rare South African frogs. Sometimes it's ocean currents. Or what a nurse does. Or how to drive a car. Or the layout of the San Andreas fault line. Or any number of other things. Helping them out with their curiosity is the number one way to get a genie's debt. What are you curious about now, Kaff?"

"Steel alloys."

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"...huh. And they need help with this even though they have wish-granting power?"

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The genie speaks, "I can not wish for information. I must investigate and think or find someone who has investigated and thought. Humans are good at finding information. It is usually faster to ask humans."

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"Huh. Well, what do you want to know about steel alloys and how much do you want to know it?"

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"I already have a meeting with workers at a foundry. I will be late."

"Ha. Late. You're going to miss it by at least a day, you'll have to reschedule. I can't even call them from here."

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"Does that mean you can't be traded with at this time?"

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"I do not think you can help me learn what I want to learn at this time."

"You still owe me a bit, and I can owe you a favor not exceeding forty hours of work or needing me to do illegal things."

"Yes."

"I might ask you to do something for Bella. Please answer her questions with what you still owe me, besides the obligation to return me home, and the favor I may promise in exchange in mind."

"Very well."

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"Why can't you wish for information?"

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"I don't know."

Tara turns around and starts summoning up a figure like the genie's, but made of light.

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"What are you doing?"

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"Making a light construct. It will probably come in handy sooner or later and if I do it now I'll have more strength later."

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"What do they get used for? You recharge over time?"

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"Eyes and ears, fetching things, I can use some of my other magic through them. They're very handy little things, I like 'em! And, yes, we recharge over a few days."

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"Lucky."

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"You have some kind of finite supply? Kaff might be able to help with that."

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