Oct 23, 2019 7:14 PM
Jaime in Fabulous
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Good! - she takes a moment to thicken and lengthen her eyelashes, recolor the skin around her eyes in an imitation of understated gold eyeliner, and experiment with how her magic responds to changes in her skin tone, on a range from sleek white to metallic silver to her ordinary hue.

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The eyeliner is a small positive. Changing her skin color doesn't do much, but of the three its favorite is silver.

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She keeps it silver, then.

After a few more minutes of contemplation and sketching, she adds a brooch, on the left side of her chest - a flower, in the style of the ones in her hair, perhaps two inches in diameter, with each petal made from a continuous, faceted diamond and backed by a thin layer of gold, and with a feather in the style of her earrings poking out from the gap between each petal.

After an additional ‘oh, duh’ moment, she removes its associated pin and has it attach directly to the dress.

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The changed attachment doesn't affect the magic's opinion, but it likes the brooch.

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Having her aesthetic opinions immediately validated by an otherworldly intelligence, and immediately implemented, is really viscerally satisfying.

She adds a smaller, similar brooch to the back of her right wrist, attaching to its corresponding glove, and implements a choker around her neck. The base of the choker is black, with swirls of silver and gold matching her nail polish; in lieu of anything so traditional as a pendant, she adds a burst of fake feathers on the front side of it, golden feather-bases fading to silver feather-tips, matching the style of the feathers on her shoulders. They splay out on her neck and upper chest, looking almost like a miniature peacock’s tail feathers in terms of arrangement, and stop just short of her cleavage.

That done... mmm. She turns the black shoes into black boots, and gives those boots glossy gold-fading-to-silver-fading-to-gold laces, and decorates them with little silver and gold diamond-flowers, and gives her gloves little dots of gold - and faint swirls of silver - to match the freckling of the flowers in her hair.

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The brooch is good, the choker is great. The boots are all right. The freckles on the gloves are okay. Each change she makes after getting all the aesthetic low-hanging fruit seems to have a smaller effect; this must be why to eke out any more performance advantages Paladins have to pay top dollar for experts to come up with ideas and trial hundreds of subtly different options.

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Yep, that seems likely.

She gets rid of the freckles on her gloves - and the ones on her face, while she’s thinking of it, she doesn’t like them as much as she thought she would - and de-starscapes to look up which wing models work best for aerial dance and fit within her current point budget.

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She has room for wings, though not for those and extra arms at this point. There are thousand-page forum arguments about the details, but only a few specific competitive models under all the chatter, each favored by different sorts of specialists and the subject of different controversy about the correct way to lay feathers over them and their ability to perform in the rain.

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Oh, thousand page forum arguments. Joy.

She looks at the four top models favored by aerial ballerinas, discards the one which seems primarily useful for flying while wet - she lives in Arizona, it isn’t going to come up that often - and picks a set from the remaining three which she thinks will work well with her existing look. 

Sketch sketch sketch, a thoughtful pause, sketch sketch sketch, more thoughtful pausing, minor tweaks to her existing feathers so they’ll jive better with her new ones -

Wings. 

They stretch out from her back such that the existing feathers on her shoulders can remain; the feathers at the each wing’s tip are identical to the features on her choker and her shoulders, but they acquire metallic black flecks just a bit further in, and those flecks become denser and denser moving inwards, until - near the base of each wing - they become almost completely black, with only small hints of silver and gold, serving as a dark background for the feathers fluffing away from her shoulders.

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The magic approves!

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She’d otherwise be rather unimpressed with its taste.

She tries throwing darkness at her laundry hamper, again.

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The previous darkness dissipated quickly. This is a bigger blob - it covers about a third of her room - and much, much darker; she can't make out the contents at all except for anything which is actively shedding its own light, dimly visible.

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Damn.

She tries nudging the blob a little to the left, first with her mind and then by gesturing vaguely at it. 

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Thinking at it doesn't work but gesturing does, pretty intuitively.

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She approves.

Now, onward to additional tweaking, now with a blob of darkness filling up a third of the room - fiddling with the flowers growing from her scalp so that each petal has a base gradient from rose gold to silver, instead of just being silver, and adding similar rose gold gradients to her brooches, and adding shimmery rose gold flecks to her feathers, and fiddling with the gradient on her curlicues so they go ‘rose gold-silver-regular gold-silver’ instead of just ‘regular gold-silver-regular gold-silver’? Adjusting her dress length and amount of exposed cleavage upwards and downwards? Tinkering with the length of her earrings and her feathers? 

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The rose gold doesn't help at first, but does once she's added more of it. More skirt and more cleavage seems weakly helpful. Earrings should be... yea long, feathers work best if there's a slope of how long they are depending on where they sprout.

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Figuring out how to get the feather-slope right takes a little while, but she manages it; her dress lengthens, her earrings dangle, her color scheme becomes less monochromatic.

She checks on the blob of darkness, and on whether she can gesture it away into nonexistence.

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She can cancel it easily. The room brightens.

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Good, that’s much less inconvenient than the alternative. 

She turns a smattering of the little flower gems dotting her shoes and dress rose pink, and starts taking pictures of herself; she hears the door open. She promptly gets rid of her wings - the shift between states is a little strange, but she can deal - and goes to greet her uncle.

He blinks at her from behind full moon glasses; the lines on his face crinkle a little.

”I starscaped,” says Jaime.

”... damn, good for you. I feel like I should be frowning and talking about how you shoulda talked to me first, but, actually, dudette, more power to you. You look bada bing bada boom, I like the feathers - you’re a lesbian now?”

”I think that there’s another technical term, I’m only attracted to magical women - and I was already attracted to women, I just hadn’t felt the need to tell you about my sex life.”

Blink, blink. He takes off his glasses, polishes them on his shirt, puts them back on, and peers at her.

”Works with me, kiddo, I voted blue for the last four elections and I’m gonna keep on doing it - you’re not gonna get religious or anything, right -“

”No.”

“Cool, cool. You doing dinner tonight?”

”I thought that we might go out.”

”- yeah, dudette, fair. You want Italian?”

”Yes.”

 

They go out for Italian. Jaime is passively attentive to whether people treat her much differently.

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She gets more people looking at her and one asking if he can get a picture.

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The person asking for a picture does not get to have a picture. Shoo, amateur photographer.

She eats; she and her uncle make minor chatter. She goes home; she adjusts her shoes until she feels comfortable dancing in them, and she dances, tight little practice routines that she can manage within the confines of her house. 

She sleeps; she wakes up, fixes her hair and her outfit, and goes to school. 

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There's a note on her desk at homeroom that she's qualified for membership in the magical girl club, which lists its meeting time, and a couple of pamphlets on (1) how not to turn into a cryptid and (2) lists of useful books and websites for new magical girls with various magical girl interests.

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She skims the pamphlets, and writes down a little chart in her notebook - one column for resources with fashion advice, one column for resources on swarm hunting, and one column for resources on money-making opportunities.

Class periods pass. She looks generally apathetic, refrains from suggesting that occasional gawkers go fuck themselves, doodles, and sits in a corner reading about the history of Mauritania during lunch.

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A magical girl a grade behind her who has a long luxuriously furred tail and cat ears comes to sit with her. "Hi! I'm Nina! What's your name? If we've met you look too different now for me to place you now!"

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“Hello. Jaime. I recognize you, vaguely. I’ve kept my face, but people never pay attention to that once you bring out the feathers and the diamonds - I could bedazzle ‘god is dead’ across my forehead and go on a date with a religious fundamentalist, and they would never notice.”

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