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Feb 23, 2019 12:01 AM
A new Val and Mica meet the happiest Maki and Valan
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He doesn’t need a demon. There’s nothing in his life, the cycle of quick sex and quick cash, that would be changed by having one. They’re just baubles for the kind of people who have baubles.

He doesn’t want a demon. He just wants to find a way out of this maze of a house before someone finds him instead. It’s still dark but people will be waking soon, and he’d rather not have to deal with an angry wife or scandalized parents.

It’s still dark and he rests his hand where it shouldn’t be and suddenly his head is full of sparks and numbers and dawn is already peeking through the windows by the time he forces his eyes back open.

There’s a dot of blood on his hand where the damn thing must have pricked him, and that means it’s bound to him now, right? Or something like that? Fuck, he’s never even seen a demon up close. How does he even know this is one?

We don’t have time, a voice in his head says. I was meant for someone else and they’ll kill you to get me back, and then I’ll be bored forever. And you probably don’t want to be dead. So we don’t have time and we have to go.

”Go?”

Go. Leave this universe. Go hide somewhere else. Tell me to take you away from this universe.

”I—“

Tell me, or you’re going to die here today.

”Okay. Okay. Do it.”

And that seems to be enough, because suddenly they’re nowhere he can recognize, which is good because in the instant before they left he could have sworn he heard a gun being cocked somewhere near.

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They seem to be in an orchard. There's a fence nearby. On the other side of the fence there are cattle grazing.

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At least they seem to be somewhere with people. Which could be good or bad but there’s no sense trying to figure out which it is before he meets them.

Presumably someone has to feed the cattle at some point. He’ll look for a gate and sit by it for a while.

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Someone does come by. She has questions.

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The demon tells Micah not to say anything yet, listens carefully.

Okay, so what’s happening here is, you’re going to use me as extra information storage. You’ll be able to speak and understand the local language as long as we’re together. It’ll take some time to get a full vocabulary, though.

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He repeats the stranger’s questions back at her in a tone he hopes communicates that he doesn’t understand yet.

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"...This is Clear Spring and I live here but I don't know who you are..."

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“I don’t here,” he tries. 

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"...Do you speak Ayakoem?" she asks in a language that isn't the one she was just speaking.

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“Ennish,” he says, and recites a short couplet to demonstrate.

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That is unfamiliar and surprising. She looks around and looks questioning. Hopefully he'll figure out that she'd like to know which way he came from.

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...Not any of those directions. Not up or down, either. Will she get it if he points in each direction while shaking his head?

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Then she will look more closely at that thing he's holding and ask about it.

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“Demon,” he says in Ennish. “Came I from here else.”

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"Demon," she echoes. "Artifact," she says in her own language. "Tell me about your artifact?"

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He doesn’t really know that much about demons. Doesn’t even know any party tricks.

He does have his bag, though, and there’s a notepad and a pen. He writes ‘I + II = III’ and then a more complicated equation beneath that and then the simplified formula for making a basic demon, though he has to recite the mnemonic poem under his breath to remember it all. He points at the formula and says “Demon” again.

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...Yeah, she's totally lost. She hesitates, then changes gears. She mimes drinking. "Do you have water?"

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“Water,” he repeats, nodding.

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"Good, you'll need it. Other people are that way." She points. Whatever is off that way is hidden behind tall plants on the nearby farms.

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He thanks her politely in Ennish and hopes the tone translates even if the words don’t, and starts down the direction she’s pointing out.

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It's a bit of a walk through a hot desert. There are a few other people out, all of them carrying at least a little water.

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He does have some water but he didn’t think to refill his bottle before trying to leave the house earlier. It’s okay. He can deal with this.

Except that he hasn’t had anything to eat in...probably a day, now, and he hasn’t had anything to drink since he got up this morning, and it’s not like he slept at all anyway.

Okay. He can’t deal with this. He’s going to sit down and be overwhelmed and die probably.

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Someone going the opposite way spots him. "Where'd you come from?"

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“Here else,” he says, even though that didn’t make any sense to the other person. “Artifact.”

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"Are you okay? Do you need some water?"

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“Water,” he agrees. 

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