Sep 25, 2020 8:07 AM
Testing treeability of vampires in the Unknown
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It proves fairly easy to find a volunteer. There are lots of witches at her disposal, and witches, more than any of her other followers, are excited by opportunities like this.

Finding a vampire volunteer is more difficult, but she finds as close as she's going to get.

After a few hours of searching, the witch is sure he has the right world.

He sends himself and the vampire to their new friendly neighborhood hell dimension.

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It's evening in this section of forest. The ground and trees are covered with brown and yellow leaves.

After a few moments, a gentle "Hello." comes from the shadows of a nearby clump of trees.

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"Okay, that's nice. Voice coming from nowhere. Hello?"

The witch approaches the talking clump of trees. 

The vampire waits behind him, looking around the forest. 

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A figure in the shadows turns to face them, and two lights become visible.

"Hello. I did not intend to alarm you."

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"Nope, not alarmed! Just curious. Jasmine said you might have an option for uh, special vampires?" 

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"I may be able to preserve vampires, or a subset of vampires, yes. I do not know the specifics of the situation, though."

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"See, the thing about us vampires is that we don't have souls. Or maybe we do and the demon that sets up shop is holding it hostage? Chris, is the science in on that yet? Probably not, you'd need a guy without a soul running the experiment." 

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"The things that we call souls might not be what you mean, exactly. Is there any way to check? It should be something that I have and he doesn't or something we both have but his is...weaker, or angrier, or something?" 

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"Hey man, not cool! I'm kind of insecure about that." 

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The shape in the trees is silent and still for a few moments.

"I do not know if we mean the same thing with the word 'soul', but both of you have the quality I need to preserve a person, although I would be able to preserve you more quickly and easily than him."

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"Are you serious? Chris, hear that? You finally beat me at something."  

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"Is there anything else you wish to test? Would either of you like to be preserved now?"

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"I'm feeling pretty preserved right now. Fresh, alive even. Maybe later." 

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"Very well. But you do understand that I cannot preserve you after you die, whenever that happens? Once there is nothing left, I cannot help."

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"What about him? Can you get who he was before he died? Is he still in there?" 

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"He is still alive. I do not know by what mechanism the souls of some of the people from your world are effected, or how it would interact with preservation."

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"What, I'm not enough? Yesterday's Josh was boring, this one is much more fun." 

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"We're interested in seeing how it goes."

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"Yeah, whatever, fine, we're interested." 

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The arborist nods. "Very well. Is here an acceptable place to preserve you?" He turns to Chris. "Please be warned that it may be distressing for you to watch."

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"It's cool. Play with your phone. Do you even get service here? You should switch networks." 

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"What network offers multidimensional coverage?"

He does, in fact, take out his phone. Might as well pretend this is like waiting for Josh to get his wisdom teeth out, and not basically an exorcism. 

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"Lay it on me, tree keeper." 

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Josh may notice that it's a bit cold. He's rather tired, actually. Or maybe just bored?

...

It's cold.

Chris doesn't even like him anymore. He's over there, on his phone, waiting for him to die in case it brings him someone he actually wants to be friends with.

A small stem, with a few leaves sprouts at his feet. He might as well sit down. Or lie down. Not that it matters.

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Josh hasn't felt this morbid in months, not since his soul renovation. He knows Chris liked him more before. But he's been having so much fun, lately. No thinking about deadlines or obligations, just doing whatever he wants to do.

So why is this so tempting? 

The human tries to sit down. The demon tries to stand. The vampire hisses, and they kneel. 

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Has he really been having fun? It seems so far away now.

Could anything actually be fun?

It would be too much effort to try to do anything now though, besides kneel or sit or lie here while the sapling's branches grow around him.

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