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Sep 24, 2019 5:00 AM
A Margaret in Actualization
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"Always meant to come here at some point. Might stick around, you're interesting."

Akeri swooshes through the air, long snakelike body drawing a spiral around Mariga's approximately-straight-line flight. No part of their body is ever still, even relative to Mariga. 

"Met the local group yet?" 

(Mariga has now used more than half of her charge.)

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"Thanks! I haven't met the group, but I definitely plan to."

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They nod. 

"Got time to learn some tricks?" 

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"I need to be back on the ground in twenty minutes, but if it's faster than that, sure!"

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They nod. "Watch!" 

Turns out you can do all sorts of cool swoopy acrobatic tricks when you're a dragon. 

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Margaret copies them. "Whooooohoo! So much better than gym class." 

But all too soon: "I really have to land before I fall out of the sky. If you'd rather keep flying, it was nice to meet you!"

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"Likewise. See you around." 

Akeri hangs around long enough to make sure Mariga makes it safely to the ground, then they flap their wings and soar away. 

 

Mariga's time in magiform is about to run out. She can change back early if she wants. 

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Nope. She will start walking home, bracing herself for the crash, then continue walking home while readjusting to human shape again. At home she works on blueprints so intensely she sees them inside her eyelids while she's trying to fall asleep.

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The crash is a little harder this time, probably because her magiform is now even further from human than before, but she was expecting it and could brace for it. 

Working on blueprints is a good activity for recharging, about as good as playing with magiforms earlier after accounting for the drain on charge while she was transformed. Better than sleeping, but that's also important. By the time she wakes up, she's around two-thirds charged, but that's still only enough for less than an hour in magiform. 

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If she doesn't use her charge now she'll hit full during class and not be able to use it efficiently, so she'll scarf her breakfast on the walk to school and spend the time thus saved on the practice field again, trying to figure out what her power does. Does an undirected attempt to "do some magic" produce anything?

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At this time of day, the practice field has a few other kids around. A small group of teenagers a few years younger than Mariga are tossing a ball back and forth at one end of the field, but they stop to stare at her when she transforms. 

Trying to "do magic" without directing it at anything in particular does...nothing.

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She waves at the staring people, then picks a blade of grass and tries doing magic at it.

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This does...something? Mariga has a little bit less charge than she did a second ago, and the blade of grass now appears to be glowing faintly blue. 

(One of the staring people tentatively waves back. The ball she was holding falls to the ground, forgotten. The rest of them seem to be keeping their cool, but there's some whispering going on.)

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She did a thing she did a thing! Does the grass seem to be at all different other than the glowing? Can she make it glow brighter? Can she make it glow purple instead of blue?

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When she inspects the grass closely, she gets a sort of sense that it's magic, kind of the same way she can tell that about herself. It's still grass, and still behaves exactly like normal grass other than glowing and being magic.

She can totally make it glow brighter and change the colour! This takes a tiny bit more of her magic but not as much as making it glow in the first place. 

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What if she tries something completely different, like making the blade of grass more rigid and difficult to bend?

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It doesn't seem to want to do both "rigid" and "glowing" at once, and trying will take a fair amount more power than just one on its own, but it's doable. Now Mariga has a tough glowing blade of grass, and...half an hour of magiform left.

Unlike transforming, the effects on the grass don't seem to be costly to sustain, just to create in the first place. 

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There are a lot of blades of grass on this field, and her magiform doesn't really fit at a desk anyway. (She'll look into accomodations for that once she can hold more charge.) She tries making one just rigid, and one not glowing but pink, and one persistently cool to the touch.

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Changing something's colour is relatively easy. Making something persistently cooler to the touch is harder than making it rigid, but the overall drain on her magic is still pretty small since it's only a blade of grass. She's got the charge for a few more of these. 

One of the ball-playing kids comes up to Mariga. "Hey, uh, what are you...doing?" 

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"I'm figuring out what my magic can do! I'm really new to it. Apparently I can change the properties of things!" She shows him her handful of slightly unnatural grass blades and starts working on one that toggles between pink and blue when poked. Also, which of these are persistently draining her and which were a one-off expenditure, she should revert any in the former category before she runs out of charge in case they make her accumulate it more slowly.

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"Whoa, cool!" 

Most of her magical grass isn't draining charge on an ongoing basis, although the first few test subjects are starting to fade a little and she could spend some more charge to make them keep being magic. The new one drains a little bit of charge every time it changes colour, but that's it. 

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"Thanks!"

Okay, so she can't do "programmable" without ongoing charge use. Can she de-magic that one entirely? Can she then transfigure it into plastic?

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It turns out de-magicking something is easy and costs nothing to do. Turning something into plastic, on the other hand, is surprisingly difficult! It'll take most of her remaining charge. 

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Well, that makes sense, it's a much bigger and more fundamental change than the other stuff. She can already think of loads of applications for transmutation and temperature changes and she can probably increase the tensile strength of materials and maybe their electrical conductivity too. What an excellent power for an aspiring engineer, not that it's at all a surprise that her power is something she thinks is excellent. She makes one more piece of grass start glowing, then grits her teeth and lets herself go human again. At least she gets to see whether either the material change or the glow lasts through the switch--her guess is that the former will and the latter might or might not.

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The magical grass continues to be magical, even once Mariga detransforms. She now has several glowing and otherwise oddly-behaving blades of grass, and one tiny sliver of plastic in the shape of a grass blade. 

Also, she should probably get to class. 

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