Mar 24, 2019 3:41 AM
A Margaret in Fabulous
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Why is high school so bogus. She'll wear her gym clothes (actually a conjured set, laundry is for other people) instead of the dress. But she's keeping the boots and the jewelry and the tiara. It's not that much more than some of the non-magical girls in the class are wearing. . . . Well, all right, the tiara is, but it's an awesome tiara, so there. Hopefully the teacher has better things to do than watch everybody coming out of the locker room and complain about their jewelry.

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"Perry! What'd I tell you?" he barks, totally watching her come out of the locker room with jewelry. "Tennis shoes, and get the sparkly rocks out of here."

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Larissa and Sumiko should have warned her that Coach was as much of a hard case about outfits as he was about push-ups. Blue high-tops and no jewelry. And she'll adorn her chest with opals under her shirt, where nobody can tell unless they minutely inspected her boobs before and after. Pretty much just for fun, though; it's not like she expects to be capable of magic in this state.

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Indeed she is not. Dodgeball teams are assigned; she is on the smaller one but not by a huge margin.

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Then she will dodge some balls, and throw some balls, and do her usual tactic of sweeping ammo when it piles up in the back of the gym, and learn to keep her wings folded tightly to present a smaller target.

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The gym teacher does not otherwise give her a hard time about anything for the rest of class.

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Then she will revert to her previous level of gorgeousness the instant she exits the gym. Also, now she's really curious if her spell will do the prediction thing with arbitrary projectiles. Something to test at the next club meeting, if not sooner.

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When she gets home she has a message from the modeling agency asking if she'd like to advertise vegan coconut ice cream; this would involve chest-up coconut shell texturing on her skin and being posed as though eating a cone, and comes with money and also complimentary coconut ice cream.

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Well, that's about as awesome as gym class was lame! She'd be happy to. What's the time and place?

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To avoid having to squeeze the shoot into an afternoon, they propose Saturday at nine in Ricci's studio.

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Great, doesn't even clash with robotics club. She'll be there.

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The next day her stardarters appear in the mail. They're heavy when they're loaded - the ammo needs some heft to it to reliably squish a swarmling more than fifteen minutes old - but they're very pretty.

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Margaret is so! excited! to have a set of stardarters! Her wings actually provide a decent counterweight to the guns when she holds them at arm's length and sights down the barrel like the website says. Time for some backyard target practice!

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She has no supernatural aim improvements at all! Even if she goes looking for a swarm to take potshots at, the swarm sense is not actually any better than looking at things, only more omnidirectional and independent of light.

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She does not go looking for a swarm! She just shoots the trees a lot. She also gets her dad to throw baseballs skeet-style, which produces the interesting result that while hitting moving targets is very hard, she can in fact sense where they're going to go before they do! It sort of rides on her swarm-sense in a way that feels really weird for things that aren't swarm bugs.

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On Thursday, Larissa and Aaliyah wait for Margaret to join them. They have their bikes.

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Margaret also has a bike, albeit her bio lab partner's rather than her own. She has also tweaked her skirt to be a bit shorter and more generally bike-compatible, and put her stardarters and ammo on her belt and bandolier respectively.

"Hi Larissa! Hi Aaliyah, how's your week been?"

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"Doing good!" says Aaliyah, and Larissa nods. Aaliyah's in her silver-and-green getup. "Do you wanna pick a direction?"

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"How about east towards the library? It's pretty that way."

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"Sure!" says Aaliyah, and they head east.

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East is a park, and the elementary school, and a bunch of nice houses with really old trees in their yards!

And around the third block of nice houses, Margaret says, "I've got a bad feeling about this block. I think . . . that my magic thinks something bad's about to happen."

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"...like a swarm, or like a mugging?" asks Larissa.

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"Like something that could hurt me. Probably not a mugging? This is a pretty safe neighborhood. I think it's that way." She points into a cul-de-sac to their right and scrutinizes it for anything out of place, from a swarm to a mugging to a downed power line. Her magic keeps insisting that something over there is not safe to be around.

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And - there's a swarm! They appear under and around a park bench and start creeping around.

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"Okay looks like it was a swarm!" She points at them, rather redundantly since all three of them know exactly where they are. The predictive sense kicks in as soon as they appear.

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