Jul 23, 2019 2:20 PM
A Margaret in Fabulous
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"Oooh, that worked great! You were right, I just needed to commit to it." She admires her newly opal bits from various angles. "Doesn't seem to have made my magic any less shy, but it did do something."

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"Maybe you just got a really passive power theme," says Hattie.

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"It's definitely starting to look that way! I'll just have to get into a lot of different circumstances and see if anything happens."

Does anyone else have aesthetic ideas?

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They continue to troubleshoot - has she tried many hair options, how does she feel about belts, she could do a pretty stardart ammo bandolier, she could have a few of her scales inlaid with gemstones -

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Any form of hair would look weird coming out of her scales and she doesn't want to add spines, but how about a pair of wraparound earrings shaped like tiny silver Japanese dragons holding opals in their claws?

She feels good about belts! She'll add a wide blue belt-and-bandolier combo with silver embroidery and a totally unnecessary silver buckle, and ask to borrow some of Larissa's darts to make sure it looks good loaded. 

Inlaid gemstones is a difficult question. First of all, her scales are already very shiny, and second of all, she's not sure whether sticking gemstones into what's already metal will push the mental changes any farther. But after a bit of dithering in which she makes more belt buckle tweaks than is really productive, she'll add a single opal in the center of her forehead and a smaller one on the back of each hand.

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The earrings help! Sumiko lands and critiques the authenticity of the dragons.

Larissa loans her some darts. They're pretty, though hers are in the wrong color for Margaret's color scheme.

The opals help!

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Margaret's family is sufficiently long-assimilated that she'll happily take dragon authenticity advice from someone who sounds like she knows what she's talking about, as long as the result looks good and doesn't fall off her ears.

If the belt doesn't help she'll ditch it and just have the bandolier. Also now she's impatient to get her own darts. And her own guns, she didn't pay any detailing and still doesn't have an emblem but she has a couple ideas involving masking tape and spray paint.

She makes a couple dramatic arm gestures that show off her hand-opals and grins.

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The belt helps a bit. Josephine advises against DIY alterations; it's easy to screw up and make them look dumb.

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That's reasonable. Better to play with things it's easy to revert than to mess with a nonmagical gun and risk permanent damage. If she was as comfortable with a paintbrush as she is with a soldering iron--but she isn't, and between cardio, target practice, and actual swarm fights on top of her existing schedule she doubts she'll have time to get there any time soon. Maybe a thing that clips to the gun and can be trivially removed if it doesn't work out, or maybe she'll just give herself a pair of really cool holsters. Yeah, the belt's going back on so she has something to attach eventual holsters too.

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"You don't actually have to fight swarms, and it might be a bad idea if you don't know what your magic does," says Sumiko. "Not everybody gets combat relevant magic, and we can only sort of cheat at self-healing."

"I have healing spells," says Aaliyah. "But they can't fix everything."

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"I want to try it at least the once, though! I won't know how well I'll do until I try. And anyway sometimes you don't get a choice, if a swarm starts at my house I want to be ready to do something about it."

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"Evacuating and calling the emergency responders is always an option," says Hattie firmly. "One bug isn't very intimidating but if there's a thousand of them you really want a team, with experience, not a solo novice."

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"Oh, definitely. And I'm not planning to jump into fights until I have my stardarters and some sort of usable combat magic and other people to watch each other's backs. But it never hurts to be prepared, if only so I know what I can and can't accomplish."

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"Sometimes me and Larissa run around to see if we can catch any swarms before they get nine-one-one'd," says Aaliyah. "You could come with us sometime and we'll be able to cover you."

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"I'd love to! I bet I'll learn a lot that way. Do you have a next time for doing it planned?" 

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"Thursday after school," says Aaliyah.

"Do you have a bike?" says Larissa. "We usually bike, not literally run."

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"Thursday works, I should have my stardarters by then. I don't have a bike but I bet I can borrow somebody's."

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"If you're hurting for money there's modeling gigs," says Josephine, "they love hiring magical girls, you might want to take a bunch of photos of your current look so you can get it back after you do looks they want though."

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"That would be great, I kind of spent most of a year's allowance on weaponry last night. Do you have any particular agency you'd recommend or for that matter anti-recommend?"

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"I used to do Ricci's," says Josephine, "they're fine. Modeling's a skill, though, don't try to totally phone it in, you've got an advantage not a push-button-to-win."

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"I've never been a fan of phoning things in", she chirps. "My skills-to-pick-up list sure has gotten bigger in the last 24 hours, though!"

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"What's on there?" asks Hattie.

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"Cardio, stardarter use, patrolling and battle tactics, healing myself and my outfit in a hurry, modeling, fashion theory, and if I still have time after all that I should probably learn to run in heels."

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"Not worth it," says Larissa, "just have two shoe versions."

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"Yeah, I've already got two wing versions for similar reasons." She adds "selfies" and "look up Ricci's" to her phone's to-do list and tries making her boots stilettos for a few seconds.

"Does anybody ever, like, practice healing with magic? Because on the one hand it seems good to do it in not-an-emergency before doing it in an emergency, but on the other hand, yikes?"

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