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Generated: Apr 06, 2020 2:49 PM
Post last updated: Feb 07, 2020 7:24 PM
blessings from above
Amentan Silvers and Vivids continued
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The security reports of the event 00301 starts thus:


Preliminary report of events is:

The night before the event, Liarae Aradin arrives at her apartment building, she has been blacklisted from doing her security work after being fired by her blue employers.

Isteri Moro arrives at her new home with a security detail after the place was cleared. Isteri requests to have the house for herself for a few moments, this was deemed an acceptable risk.

Zofin Watari enters her work place the archives of Iund University for physical copies of literary works, she inputs the security code, but does not lock the door behind her. 

Patiri Kered arrives at the apartment building she resides in with one (1) roommate Kiren Band. 

Istevi Garon and Mura Zura arrive at the former’s place of residence and work.

At around the forty to sixty minutes mark, residents of Istevi Garon’s building report sounds of struggle and distress. They enter Istevi’s residence and wrestle Mura away from Istevi and call emergency services. The two involved claim to have become polluted by unknown means. Mura claims that the attack was motivated by jealousy.

At the request of Istevi, a call is made to Isteri Moro, who answers it. Contents are currently undisclosed as per the Blue Privacy Law. Request for the records of the call have been made.

Isteri Moro contacts her security team and reports that she has become polluted and thus needs a decontamination shower. Thus she spends the required five decontamination.

Around six hours after the event, Liara, Zofin and Patiri are next seen together, at the Overflow Street, which is an interest area because it’s close to secret emergency exit to Isteri Moro’s new home.

 


That is all there is to the report. Case closed on the orders of High Judge of Blue Affairs Janon Jonoro.

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Isteri Moro sets up a meeting with her father Janon Jonoro. The first time they have seen each other face to face since she abruptly left. As per request, the bulk of their meeting is done privately, with their security in shouting distance and alert to any electronic signals that they send. The windowless office of their meeting was checked over and over for bombs, traps, surveillance and hidden weapons.

Even taking into account that Isteri's father is known for sentencing blues to death for a living, it is a bit much for what amounts to a father and daughter talking to each other.

They ask Lia to wait outside, and then they ask her to come in. After a second search.

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Lia is used to blue security ridiculousness, but this really is a bit much. She submits to the search, though. No reason to make things hard for the security staff. 

Once inside, she crosses to stand behind and to the left of Isteri. "You called for me, ma'am?" 

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"She did," Janon answers instead. He looks less composed than when he walked into the room, but still fairly composed. "She claims that you have an explanation for what happened two weeks ago. And extraordinary evidence to prove it."

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"She does. Lia, dear, would you mind starting with the evidence? Something showy, but not loud, please?"

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"Showy but not loud? I can do that." 

A twist of thought, and she starts to glow, a form-fitting second skin of luminescent magicka covering her from head-to-toe. 

"Oakflesh," she explains. "It's a defensive spell." 

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Janon holds very still.

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"C'mon, old man. She said it was defensive."

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Janon shoots his daughter a look. "Okay, do you mind to... tell the version of events as you know them?"

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She releases the Oakflesh spell, nodding.

She explains what she knows of the events which took place at Milliways before she arrived - noting that all this is second-hand information from the others involved in the incident. 

"-and this was the point at which I arrived. I encountered Istevi Garon immediately upon entering the bar, getting an explanation for the displacement and the bar itself from him. I then proceeded to sign on as Security with the Bar herself, and spend - from my perspective - 6 hours on shift at the security desk. Istevi replaced me and suggested I speak to Isteri once I returned upstairs." 

She continues through the rest of the events of that 'day', meeting Gaemir along with Patiri and receiving skyrim magic from him, the witch tattoos Stephania gave them, Henry and the crystal magic they received from him, the Gemini pair, a side note on the continuing personal drama in the form of two new pregnancies... And then eventually she reaches the final 'day', explaining the blessings they received from Farienne, and the horrifying ending to their stay at Milliways. 

"Istevi called us shortly after we returned with the news of Mura's attack on him. While Isteri sorted that out, myself and Zofin and Patiri exited her home through the emergency tunnel, and returned to our own homes, where we took our decontamination showers. Since then," she adds, "we have been preparing for this meeting."

And that concludes the report. 

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"I gave them those plastic foot covers, and then I anonymously called the relevant services. I didn't want to explain them at my home."

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"I see. Isteri mentioned that the other people involved have been sent away into an undisclosed location while we negotiate... whatever this is. Well, how much do you want so you may give me their location instead of me having to deal with my unreasonable daughter?"

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Her eyes narrow, "I will not be bribed, sir," she tells him. 

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"But I will have the information soon enough. You might as well trade it for... say, five credits? Not counting the ones for your current pregnancy."

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She grits her teeth, wincing a bit, but - "No." 

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Isteri sighs. "He is just testing you. Not a very good test. Both in capacity and taste, dad."

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"Forgive me," he does sound honest and contrite. "It was not meant to be a perfect test, but imagine the cost to our nation if you were the sort that could be swayed that easily. I will do further checks, but that was the quickest one I could think of."

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She relaxes a bit, though still eyes him warily. "Understandable, I suppose," she says after a moment. Not appreciated, though. 

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"But, in a non-bribe way, what do you want?"

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She glances at Isteri uncertainly before answering. 

"...I do need a credit," she admits, "And... to no longer be blacklisted from security work." And of course she wants three or four more children and the guarantee that they'll be able to have just as many, but everyone wants that. 

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"That much Isteri mentioned. Sticking up to Arel Eteo will be delightful. I will submit your... group to a battery of tests, but I am not a Green and I want to think carefully about tests, but if even half of what either of you are claiming is true, it will be worth purchasing the current credits. And then I will see what to do about fixing the accreditation adjustments regarding twins and triplets and other incentives to keep you around."

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"Oh." Her eyes widen, "Thank you." 

She glances at Isteri, "If you're going to have greens test us, we should take the time to draw blessings for ourselves before we see them. It's not a perfect system, but it should give us some hint about whether they're trustworthy or not." 

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"Don't thank me, but you're welcome. I will figure out how to ask the question as a hypothetical, first. Then we will see from there. Isteri wants to spearhead the thing."

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"You're too busy and too under scrutiny. I can just be an erratic heiress with more money than common sense."

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She nods in agreement. If Janon Jonoro started throwing money at strange projects people would pay far too much attention to those projects. 

"We're going to need more trustworthy people than we have than just those greens," she points out. "Security, at least, and good service staff as well. And we really do need to find out whether other gemini are going to be born, now that we've brought this magic here."

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"Our preliminary tests didn't imply that any of our magic is contagious, but we will check." Isteri says to the benefit of her father.

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Janon nods. "The benefit of having such huge targets on our backs is that we got really good at background checks." He says dryly. "But I will send you some options . I think something like this should start small for the first season or so."

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She nods, "We've already pulled my brother in," she mentions. "He's not technically a security grey - he's a combat instructor - but he has the basic training. His girlfriend Ibrae is, though she hasn't been told yet." Starting with qualified people they can trust seems the best way to go about this, before they expand to others. 

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"Okay. We are going to do a background check on him anyway, just on principle. Is there anything you'd need or want besides the credit and general safety," he waves, "I would advise to not involve your childrens' father in the situation and your lives. At all."

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"I wouldn't want to even if this hadn't happened, if it were at all avoidable," she agrees quietly. 

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Alright. In that case they can do foreplanning, Janon is pretty convinced this is not stage tricks or new holographic technology. But he still wants at least three days to think of more conclusive tests, then perform said tests. And he wants to know what else they will need by then.

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Isteri has some suggestions, some from herself, some from Lia and the others. They prepare things and make arragements.

Overall, it was a very productive meeting.

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Should they call the others back, or does Isteri think they need more leverage before it will be safe to do so?

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Isteri will wait until they perform the tests, just to be sure. But her parents have never... well, they are blue, they are not beyond pretending nice, but they always had a blindspot about doing that to her and her brother. The fact that he made important promises to Liarae will also help him keep his word and be nice.

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...Well, that sounds terrible. Lia can see why she would have wanted to leave. (She mentioned a death in the family - the brother? Lia doesn't ask.)

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(Isteri doesn't say anything about it.)

They meet again and the second wave of tests goes without a hitch. Isteri's mom and husband are also there and suitably shocked. Things are set in motion. Adon, Patiri and Zofin were called back to Jakav and Eleseo. 

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Mura trial requires some string pulling, specially to keep her children alive, but she ends up serving house arrest. No child custody, but Istevi will let her see the kids... as long she is supervised around him.

Which he considers very forgiving given that he lost his ability to walk and to spring. Some interaction between the anti-magic crystal and the fertility tattoo. Officially, Istevi's paraplegia is temporary, because they expect to get him to walk again one day.

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At least all of his six future children are growing healthy, Patiri's one, Mura's twins, and Zofin's triplets.

They all move closer to Isteri's new home and there is small unassuming facility for magic testing and development to be expanded as their research yield results.  

There is no hurry, or at least there is no hurry that is worth taking risks while they are pregnant with magical children. Most of what they do are the safer sort of tests and preparations.

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They can still test if multiples born after their return from Milliways do not show signs of magic. No magical multiples. Nor do any other Multiples, even the ones that turned 4 or 16 already. Which is a relief. 

Still, they draw the blessings for all newborn twins in Jakav and Eleseo (Isteri and Zofin are the only ones to have triplets in the entire country). Not to mention a few thousand non-twins as well, because you need a sample size to do experiments of any sort and it will take years until any blessed grows up.

They make note of all Powers, Surprises, Travel, Hopes, Wealth and other blessings of interest. For similar reasons, Blues and Greens are over-represented in the sample. 

(It goes without saying that they don't draw for any Reds.)

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Isteri's triplets are born halfway through summer. Even without springing they are small, soft and wonderful.

Farienne told them that, as long blessings are drawn a few days after birth the magic takes hold.

Still, in case her country tradition originated from some obscure or unknown benefit, they find prudent to follow it, and it makes for a fun moment. Liarae, Patiri and Zofin are invited over for a visit and to draw the babies' blessings.

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Lia is more than pleased to take some time to visit Isteri and her triplets. Three tiny babies! They are perfect and small and delightful. Lia can hardly wait to meet her own, who will surely be just as small and soft and even more perfect than Isteri's. 

When the time comes to draw blessings, each of the three visitors draws one for each of the three babies. Lia goes first, and from the bowl of coins she draws-

Determination, for Dasenifer, the eldest;

Love, for Dakarofels, the second;

and Honor, for Dateovont, the youngest. 

-She giggles. "That's almost my blessings." 

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Patiri takes the next turn.

Dasenifer gets Power. Dakarofels gets Kindness. Dateovont gets Power again.

"Huh, I already have the information of who drew which birth blessings, but I didn't consider checking." She makes a note of this in her pocket everything.

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Zofin draws the third blessings.

For Dasenifer she draws Innovation.

For Dakarofels she draws Power.

For Dateovont she draws Loyalty.

"All three got Power."

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"They did, it's a wonderful set of blessings." Holding the tiny Dasenifer in her arms. "Isn't that right, my cute little tiny powerful determined innovator son. My powerful kind and loving son. And my powerful loyal honorable son. So good, three times three blessed babies."

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"They sound wonderful," Lia agrees, smiling down at the itty bitty baby in her arms, "You're wonderful, Dakarofels," she coos at him, cuddling him gently. "Kind and loving and powerful, you're going to be a delight, aren't you?" 

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Little Dakarofels makes a delightful baby sound, which one might take as an agreement.

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!!! 

She melts, snuggling him close.

(Baaaaby!!!)

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Babies! Babies are so great!!! Everyone agrees.

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Yes!! 

 

It's a terrible tragedy that they can't spend literally all their time cuddling Isteri's babies, but they do in fact have other things to do. Lia is officially part of Isteri's security, but in actuality she spends the majority of her time working on her magic. Being one of the only two people with this kind of magic (for a few more months, anyways) makes her something of a scarce resource. 

She spends most of her time on increasing her skill with her spells, particularly the ones with defensive applications, but a fair fraction is spent on enchanting, as well. She's been making simple wire jewelry for fun since she was a child, and it's easy enough to make ones which, according to the books Gaemir gifted them, will hold an enchantment well.

Enchanting itself requires only a few things - an enchanter's table, which is simple enough to make with their resources, the item to be enchanted, a charged soulgem for power, and the desired enchantment itself. One can learn enchantments in three ways: by using an enchanter's table to rip the enchantment off an already-enchanted item; by spending an extended period of time studying an enchanted item to gain an understanding of it; or by creating your own enchantments in the same way one creates spells. Having no desire to destroy any of their few enchanted objects, nor having the experience or training to build her own, Lia starts by examining the Ring of Luck.

It takes her months, but, within two weeks of the triplets' birth, she manages to enchant her first Luck Ring. She can tell immediately that it is very weak, compared to the one Gaemir gave her. However, it's better than nothing. She gifts her first attempt to Isteri, and keeps working on it. 

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Isteri is very delighted with her ring. And not only because it's practical and promising. Everyone is very impressed with her.

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And people congratulate her, Patiri claims jealousy over the achievement, but she is clearly proud.

 

 

They meet regularly at Isteri's house, to keep her updated and also to hang out around the cute little babies, but that last one goes without saying.

Today, they decide to multitask and do an experiment, under the pretense that Isteri is looking to hire some people and - being an eccentric blue - is specifically interested in people with twins or expecting twins. Blues sure are weird sometimes, right?

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She is equally pleased and embarrassed by the praise over her Luck Ring prototype! It certainly makes her more resolved to get better at the skill. 

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Blues are, in fact, very weird sometimes, but Dasi isn't going to argue if it gets her a job in a household as nice as this one once she's had her twins. She shows up respectably early for her interview, and then waits patiently to be seen, resting on the furniture provided for those applicants who are, like her, pregnant. Five months into a multiple pregnancy, she really can't afford to spend too much time on her feet. 

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The interviewees are treated very nicely and served tiny fruit cakes and juice while they wait.

The blue has a security gray (Lia) and a green friend during the interview.

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 The interview goes normally, except for the fact that the green is clearly one of those weird Art Greens that dress weirdly and do some arcane kind of performance like looking at Dasi through some weird crystal thing the entire time.

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Well, a Weird Art Green or two isn't going to stop Dasi from doing her best! The advertised benefits and pay for this job are really top-notch, and she'll soon have two new mouths to feed! She presents herself as friendly, yet respectful and competent - all of which she is - and hopes that her obvious qualifications will help carry her through. 

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They are impressed. Suddenly, Isteri's husband walks in with one of the triplets, and turns to... Patiri. "Sorry, I think."

"Okay, okay, I shall sacrifice my beautiful green hair. To entertain your little prince. Lia, could you take this and keeping looking at her through it?" She asks like this is the most normal thing in the world. And hands Lia the amulet.

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"Of course," Lia agrees, crossing the room to take the amulet. She smiles down at the little one as she lifts it to cover her eye, and then pauses, staring. Her head turns, slowly, to look at the purple they are interviewing, watching something unseen to the rest of the room. 

Then, acting as if nothing had happened, she hums and moves back to her place by the door, continuing to watch Kadasi Holir through the amulet as Patiri had been before. She can bring up this result once the interview is complete. 

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Kadasi is busy smiling at the smol blue baby, and only barely notices anything odd about Lia's movements. The interview can continue without any interruptions from her.

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Thus, the interview is concluded, and they promise to contact her shortly about it.

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And home she goes, feeling optimistic!

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And Lia brings up what she saw through the amulet, passing back to Patiri as she does so.

"It looks like we'll have to hire her. She and her children have the Gemini magic - it passed from Dateovont to her while I was watching," she tells them, "It took a moment - it was just doing it when I looked through the amulet."

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"Oh dear."

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"That didn't happen to the ones before her."

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"The babies' room is two floors above, they could've been just too distant. ...We should take Dateovont back, through the side door, and check if any other interviewees got it as well."

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She nods, "We should - I could take him back while Patiri checks? There are still more interviewees for you to see." 

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"True and while I want to come off as weird, I don't want to be rude."

They hand the baby to Lia.

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And Patiri checks.

Yup, the magic got one other pregnant woman, it was even the one closest to the door.

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And Lia takes Dateovont back to the nursery. 

Eventually, she rejoins the other two. Once the interviews are over, she speaks up. 

"This changes things," she points out. "If gemini powers pass from the children to unborn twins, we can't take any of the children - besides yours, Patiri - around others during spring and early summer." 

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They nod. "We could take them to the south hemisphere? At least when they are young. Which... is by far not an ideal solution."

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"It would be hard to move around that much, that's at least a third of the year in a given hemisphere and some weird accident might happen. A pregnant tourist from the North could happen to come near them or something. Even if the odds are small." She shakes her head. "...We need to test this, figure out if the distance by which the spread happens is constant, or by what factors it might change. Which means a serious risk of it spreading further."

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"We can do our best to screen for good candidates there," she points out, "We're already doing that, it's just more urgent now. As for moving south whenever it's spring, there's also the effects on us to consider. Swapping hemispheres like that so often - I'd expect at least some of us to start permaspringing. We're going to need to raise them somewhere more isolated than we originally thought, either way - somewhere out of the cities, at least. Even if the range is small, and we return to the city during late summer through winter, we can't keep them locked up somewhere for most of two seasons." 

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Isteri really wishes she had a small bundle of comfort and joy in her arms. "Maybe a protectorate island or remote mountain district? I think I can rent a yatch or something for now and be out in the sea..."

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"There aren't that many unborn twins around this much into summer. The upside is the low risk of spreading further this season. Downside is that if we want to test anything we will have to hurry up to do any test, or import. Or wait until southern spring and import."

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"Do we have the influence to import mothers with twins? It would look very strange, wouldn't it? And, is there some estate out in the agricultural areas we could use while we wait, instead of a yacht? Taking probably six pregnant women, assuming we take the two purples who were exposed, out onto the open sea sounds like a disaster in the making." 

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"We do have some influence, but it wouldn't be trivial to import mother with twins, not at this point. And it would look very strange, we would need to allege some twin specific experiment and likely need to negotiate around the international treaties by having them count as separate credits. I was specifically talking about myself and the triplets staying in the boat, I think we will have a place the time yours come along. And I was also thinking of avoiding places with underground tunnels where... Reds come and go." She fidgets uncomfortably.

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"We checked, over and over, and there aren't Red twins, not any already born I mean. We really should re-do all our tests."

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"If you think a few months on a boat won't bother you and Natanen and the triplets too much, that does sound like a good solution, in that case. It's definitely necessary to recheck, at this point," she agrees with an unsettled frown. "One could have gotten close enough, and we really can't be too careful about preventing Red Gemini. We'll have to make sure they account for that in the plans for the place we have built, as well."

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"We can sail to the equator under the excuse that we want to hold babies while springing. We would have done that if this project of ours wasn't keeping us busy. We could see what robotic research facilities in other country do?"

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"We don't want to look too much like a robotic research facilities, those were eventually found out, but I will make a note of it."

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Hm, "I'm not sure what we have in the way of fertility drugs which could cause multiple pregnancies, but... If we can make arrangements for it, I'm sure Adon, Ibrae and Asara would be willing to take a trip long enough to spring if they got their own babies out of the deal. And other people already in the project, too - the less we have to screen people, the better, after all."

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"I have researched some, it's not a really well funded subject, but there are things that are likely to work."

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"They have been screened," Isteri reasons, "but it's pretty late in summer and I don't want to make hard promises for this year."

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"Hm, and if we follow this plan we can wait until next spring to find out the exact range at which Gemini powers pass on," she points out. "So long as we all move before the other babies come. The range can't be that large, unless it's growing, in which case we could only buy so much time before it was out of our hands entirely."

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They both nod gravely. Then Patiri makes a face. "I had an idea on how to test the range between springs, and I absolutely don't want to implement it. Gah."

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"Well, you can't keep us in suspense like that. If it's truly that terrible, we can at least share in your horror."

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She sighs. "Okay, please don't judge me, thinking about terrible things is important," Isteri makes an impatient gesture, "we - in theory - could use criminals sentenced to death as test subjects, pumping them with fertility drugs and impregnating them..."

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Isteri makes an undignified noise of horror.

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Lia flinches, "Yes, that... seems like a few steps too far," she agrees, voice gone a bit high. 

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"Sorry!" Patiri quickly adds. "Sorry! It absolutely is."

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"It's okay," she reassures, "It is your job to think of all the possibilities - and I did ask." 

Now that plans are settled, though, they should begin preparations for them.

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They set things in motion, Isteri goes a long lovely cruise with her triplets and if she avoids populated areas, that's not that remarked upon by tabloids.

She does keep in touch and is setting things up and going around obstacles as much as she can.

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Some obstacles can't be overcome, like how people under house arrest being unable to get up and leave to whatever location, specially somewhere remote.

Mura... she has her bad moments, but she has been really contrite over her actions, so she doesn't complain... much... not where the others can see. Her babies will have to go, but she will have to stay when the time comes. And that's her life now.

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Istevi is not particularly glad about that part of this development either. Though, he currently cares more about uprooting his life again. Also uprooting his mother's life - Asilei - who is in on the secret too and has moved in with her soon to help him while he recovers the use of his legs.

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Speaking of uprooting. Where are they are going to move to?

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A small island village, connected by a bridge to a larger mountainous island with all amenities they might need in short notice, but where they stay will be miles away from any reds or anyone whose comes and going they can't control.

The village itself was originally a military fort, with a blue state atop a steep hill. It's quite a picturesque space.

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Despite all the good that will come of the introduction of these powers to their world, they come with a lot of complications, especially in these early days. (Interpersonal drama, also, continues to be a feature.)

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The island, however, is lovely. Lia hopes all the space for the children to explore will make up for the isolated upbringing. She would have loved to grow up somewhere like this. 

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Kadasi agrees that the place is lovely, however confused she might be by the change of plans. Still, she can hardly complain about the opportunity to move out to a country estate on a beautiful island. Her husband quite agrees with her, as well - it will be a lovely place to raise their children, and with so many others who will share their status as twins, as well. 

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It really is a very lovely place, it's even worth all the nondisclosure agreements that one - might assume - were typical in any situation that involves working with blues.

This is meeting is the only important event scheduled for this week, blessings are blunt instruments, but with some fiddling they figure out what must be an optimal path. Or at least as optimal as they can make it.

Dasi, sans her husband, is invited over, they already drew as many blessings as they figure it is useful to draw, but... Isteri gets Honesty and Contentment.

Dasi is invited in and to take a sit.

So, being mindful that one does not upset pregnant woman too much, Isteri and the others tell the future-Gemini mothers about the actual purpose of this entire thing. With reassurances about the safety and future of their kids. And practical demonstrations of magic as necessary.

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The reason she was invited without her husband becomes clear quite quickly. The revelation that magic exists is quite the stunning one, and that her children will have it more shocking still. Adevon is not the most calm of persons, and would likely find all these shocks quite upsetting - and not even Dasi is certain of what he would do, then. 

Once given time to absorb this new information, however, Dasi is quite willing to accept her childrens' status as an excellent reason to move out to the country. While happy to live in the background, she is of the opinion that adding a little excitement to your life is only a good thing. She swears to keep this information quiet, even or perhaps especially from her husband.  

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(Before meeting Istevi and his former girlfriends she would've found this kind of situation unnecessarily dramatic, given how it might have affected national security, but her sense have been re-calibrated since.)

She is happy that Dasi is being so understanding. They have hopes that the situation will be more manageable one day. But caution is absolutely necessary for now.

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Zofin, has mostly doing background work, the sort of thing necessary for research that isn't innovative but is necessary for any scientific project. She goes to the meetings, but has yet to strike the level of familiarity the other three already achieved. Oddly enough, she feels closer to Istevi and his mother now than to them.

It felt very odd for the coins to think that the meeting between Zofin and the purple couple would go well, but they struck a chord.

(Or maybe she is confident because the blessings said it would all be fine, she has been reading research on that, done on fake divinatory methods.)

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Revealing the truth to them was a mood breaker and still a major shock.

But Zofin eventually manages to reassure them. They have a lot of questions, and Zofin is surprised that she manages to answer them all. By they end of it they are actually happy, and the mother hugs her.

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Luckily, her husband has worked with security conscious Blues before, so all it takes to convince him not to ask is the word 'confidential'. Of course, it might not be so easy, if he notices anything odd of his own accord. 

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The plan is to keep any obvious magic to the innermost section of the village, the original buildings and walls are long gone, but it was easier to work with the existing layout, making it easy to isolate the area, which is why they picked the location in the first place.

It's pretty late in summer for pregnancies so there's hurry. They scheduled several parents of gray twins to get Gemini magic. It's the caste that most benefits from basics, even if the individual powers don't turn out good. Besides, sex workers turn out to be the profession with the most likelyhood of late pregnancies. Who knew.

The twins, Parik and Ita, are born healthy and helped contributing with the magical scientific endeavor by showing at what point the magic considers one to count as born enough to leap into an unborn twin pair. They then did some experiments to figure out range. The triplets do have a larger range (about two feet), which appears to be related to age.

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That the range is growing is... a little concerning. Unless the range starts reaching beyond the island, though, they should be okay. 

Eventually, the time comes for Liarae's twins to be born, as well. It's a harder labour than is usual, but nothing the doctors can't handle. Soon enough, she has two beautiful babies, itty bitty Alesin, with a tuft of soft blue hair, and small, wonderful Mika, with the lightest dusting of pale grey. 

Her choices for picking blessings are the same - Patiri and Zofin, and Isteri, of course - though also present are her brother and his girlfriends, and Isteri is more than welcome to bring along Natanen and the triplets. 

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Patiri surprises her with a set of brass bowl and blessing coins (etched by laser), in celebration of the twins' birth.

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Zofin had an idea. Which she approached Adon about before hand.

Zofin draws two blessings. One of which she hands over to Adon and whispering in his ear. And other she holds up and proclaims "Mika got Change."

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Isteri and her family do come along, and she draws... "Talent for Alesin." before handing over the other coin.

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Patiri draws the blessing, but looks over and picks one to announce. "Mika got Luck."

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Adon is delighted by this chance to be involved! He takes the coin from Zofin, and once the others have made their announcements, he reads off his:

"Honesty, for my delightful niece!" He proclaims quietly, mindful of the baby in question sleeping in his arms.

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Asara took Patiri's, and reads out the blessing next, smiling softly.

"Resolve, for Alesin."

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And Ibrae completes the circle, taking the coin from Isteri with obvious amusement, at all this ceremony. 

"Joy," she announces, "for Mika."

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"Resolve, Honesty, and Talent, for my little stormcloud," Lia recounts, pleased, "Talented and honest, and never backing down, just like mama." 

She smiles down at Mika, "And for you, my precious moonbeam, Joy, Change, and Luck. You'll be keeping us on our toes, won't you?" He waves a little fist in the air, making her melt against her pillows from the cute and snuggle him close.

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"They are going to be delightful and only get more so." Patiri says petting Mika's soft hair.

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Mika wiggles a bit, making a little squeaking noise. 

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So cute!!!!

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It's just a few days later when it's Zofin's turn. Not surprising, giving how large her belly has been. Triplets are tricky pregnancies and deliveries, but after an exhaustive day they welcome Lakini, Migah and Aden to the world. The girls with tiny tufts of pale green hair and the boy with a few dark-green strands.

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Istevi is literally driven to tears by how wonderful they are. So small, so soft. Between himself, Zofin and his own mother there is no shortage of arms to hold the triplets, but one might think Istevi is a single dad by the way he won't stop holding two babies at a time.

They perform another draw "ceremony" with their friends. And the final tally is.

Lakini gets Joy, Kindness and Hope.

Migah gets Health, Endurance and Power.

Aden gets Serenity, Contentment and Beauty.

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They... are a little worried about that Endurance, the closes blessing there is for "bad luck". But they love their little Migah just the same.

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Istevi loves them all just the same, which is to say: lots.

Even the ones that have yet to be born.

Even...

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Even the ones with more complications attached.

Mura is not stupid, she knows that the only reason why they were so nice to her was the assumption that her kids had unique potential. And the potential is even less unique now, so she will just... keep all her emotions inside.

Her therapist (they assigned her one once they found a trustworthy one) says this is not a good habit. Her therapist says a lot of things.

There isn't much that can be done, except soldier on and focus on the small blessings.

(the coin blessings she has draw lately often feature Patience and Endurance, she does not pretend she just drew Luck.)

She delivers at home, too risky to got to a hospital, and she has a full day with just her little babies. And she hugs them and forces herself to stay awake, fearing that they will take them in her sleep.

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They don't take the babies when she sleeps. Istevi and his mother go there and stay for an entire whole another day... but it's not actually in his hands to decide when they have to take the babies. He makes sure she is awake, but he is not sure it's very merciful.

There is not much he could've done, even if he still could walk around without a wheelchair...

Ovali has almost-white hair and his blessings are Grace, Luck and Beauty. Tani got dark-green curls and her blessings are Time, Patience and Endurance. Mura picked the names and drew the blessings all by herself, Istevi doesn't context this.

When the screams of his babies are not the cause why he is awake at night.... Mura's screams are.

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Patiri has a perfectly normal and drama free delivery, as far those go. And her beautiful Tepam is by herself the reason why the universe has light and beauty in Patiri's objective opinion.

Tepam's blessing are Luck, Travel and Power, which only reinforces Patiri's opinion on the matter.

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Patiri is absolutely correct.

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There are so many babies around right now! Not just from the original five mothers, either, as all the twins brought to the island to test the range of the Gemini magic are born as well. It's almost a shame none of the adults are springing right now, so they could fully enjoy it. 

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Between all the births and despite the wonderful distraction of having dozens of small babies around at once, they keep working on magic. By the time of her twins' birth Lia can reliably craft a Luck Ring which gives the wearer a noticeable boost in luck, if not an extreme one. There are a lot of less useful ones in her collection by then, alongside the one she'd given to Isteri. She outfits everyone in the know with a ring of their own before moving on to the other three example enchantments they have on hand. She's very nervous about the next step in this - crafting her own enchantments - but with only two people capable of this kind of magic, it looks like a Grey doing a Green's work is going to be necessary, for now. Spell and enchantment crafting are too important and time consuming to leave all of it to Patiri alone.

Her first attempt at building her own enchantment takes what she knows of Illusion magic after two and a half seasons of using Clairvoyance, Muffle, and Calm as much as she could with her magicka pool. (She's picked up a bit of a reputation for scaring the wits out of people due to how silently she walks.) The goal is to create an enchantment which will direct those around the wearer to ignore anything odd, like, say, crystals growing out of their arms, or eventually, the kinds of abilities the Gemini might manifest. 

It's a difficult project. By the time the next spring starts, she's still nowhere near done. 

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Spellwork is really Green work, but no one - or at least no one working in this project - is going to complain to Lia about her dedication. The two of them try to explain the Magicka manipulations and how they should work and all the complicated equations to describe them. And the other three Greens, one of which should be far more intelligent than Patiri herself, just looked at them like they just talked insane gibberish. Oh, well. Patiri finds useful to have them as a soundboard. But they are assigned other parts of the project.

While Liarae researches enchantments, Patiri focuses on spells, with an attention to transportation. They don't have a convenient Teleport to look upon, but they have the spell to Summon Familiars, it's costly in Amenta. It wasn't as much in Milliways and Patiri believes it tells things about the nature of the multiverse which ought to be fascinating. But they are more interested in figuring out a way to get to planets and/or solve springs (Illusion magic might affect the mind the right way, but it's an intensely complicated project).

She is also raising Tepam, who takes a liking for the cat familiar called Tama that Patiri prefers to summon. Even with the familiar and a nanny of the more typical kind, a new child takes a good part of your time.

And on top of all that, Patiri is coordinating the entire Research aspect of the project, overseeing everything and having a sense of what everyone is doing. It's good to have something else to occupy herself to, because the progress on any of her spells is very slow.

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(Istevi would provide more help with Tepam, but he... well, is a bit stretch thin. He absolutely does not voice that as a complaint.)

Having a personal interest in how one can use crystal magic for healing, Istevi throws himself into that between the times he is not with a kid in his lap (or sometimes even then). His mother helps, and Istevi is not sure that crystal magic is a Gray thing he is definitely sure that pain tolerance helps a lot to maintain the necessary mental focus.

It's slow progress, as he learns how to absorb small pure metallic samples and covert them into crystal, then revert them back into their original matter and then figure out how to duplicate the samples. And then repeat the thing with more complex molecular structures. Climbing ever so slowly all the way to organic tissue.

When the next spring rolls over he has made enough progress to move his weak legs. He cries in relief over it, but somewhat - to his surprise - he is more relieved that he can just not deal with springing, his children are a joy even this way.

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Mura feels weird calling what her do research, but she explores another aspect of crystal magic: the crystal with powers, specially the ones that do anti-magic. It's pain and slow, and making an empowered crystal grow takes forever.

But ultimately she is doing this for her children, so she soldiers on, she can be a mother this way.

Anti-magic might be the key to allow the Gemini to move around freely, if they can find a way to manipulate the crystals just so, then the danger of Gemini magic spreading might be nullified.

It's something that everyone is interested in, and Mura is the only one with that much time and a gaping absence to fill. But she is the only that is away from what she is trying to protect.

At least, until next spring, when they finally manage whatever political maneuvering that allows Mura to move and live with her children again.

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(Isteri is extremely glad that she invested as much in therapeutic counseling beforehand and congratulates herself on her blue foresight.)

Isteri's work is entirely behind the scene sort of management: hiring the right people, getting supplies, all extremely necessary. But nothing that she can show to the world.

In fact, the world - well their small island nation - thinks she is a crazy blue doing a Weird Social Green Experiment because her Daddy felt guilty. The same daddy that rewrote the twins and triplets laws so they don't count for their country's credit benefits in a Clear Display Of Nepotism.

And she can live with that. She has her powerful little princes and wonderful husband to bright up her day.

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Zofin did not expect that the original Milliways visitors to end up leading any part of the project once it started to contain a non one-digit number of people. But she finds herself oddly comfortable in her role. Her primary niche ends up being primarily blessings and the relevant research, collecting and comparing data. Inventing a machine that records the sorted blessings. She even creates An Experimental Art Blog with computer generated art based on the blessing symbols, the point is having an opaque, but public record of draw blessings. It's probably not going to amount to anything, people are going to want data of their own, but she is glad to have figured it out in the first place.

Of course, this is only one part of the blessing business, the other is interpretation. And she is surprised that Asilei is the best at interpreting them (she does double-blind checks, of course). The other greens are good at it, enough to be a possible Green Skill, but as the grandmother of her children puts it "this is something of instinct, you can try to rationalize it, but you have to feel it."

Her secondary niche is, well, this entire thing with an island full of twins is supposed to be a weird social experiment with twin children, right? The best cover for that is an experimental school. So Zofin works on that. It's ultimately a good school with some extra art and facilities, but just the fact it's mixed caste makes it look experimental enough.

Her blog even gets hatemail.

Zofin ignores it, she is quite busy between her work and her three wonderful kids.

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Between the forming of the school, the experiments, Mura's arrival to the island, and raising their children, everyone is quite satisfyingly busy. Spring rolls around again as spring does, and with it and the help of the fertility drugs one of their teams has been looking into, another round of Gemini are born. Parents are selected from those already involved in the project - such as Adon, Ibrae, and Asara, who between them have a set of triplets and another set of twins - as well as some newcomers carefully screened for the opportunity. The Milliways visitors themselves don't have more children this spring, however. Credits are still expensive, and the project's money only goes so far. 

Lia doesn't mind. She has two wonderful children who may not be itty bitty any longer, but are certainly still small and soft and perfect. Little Mika is always trying to climb anything within reach of him, pulling himself up onto coffee tables and couches, and mystifies his caretakers by escaping every playpen he's placed inside of. Alesin is more willing to stay where she's put, so long as she's given something to occupy her attention, but once she notices that Mika has wander off she's after him like a shot, hardly ever letting him out of her sight. At three seasons old, both of them are insatiably curious, toddling all over and getting into everything. They're a handful - two handfuls, even - and Lia loves them with all the intensity of all the stars in the sky. 

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Mika loves his mama, too! But at the moment, he's not thinking about that. He is, instead, thinking about how badly he wants one of the candies in the bowl on the table in the daycare center at the place where mama works. It has been a really long time since he last had a candy. Hours, maybe!

The table is too high, but he has cleverly realised that if he stands on one of the chairs he can reach the top of it, so he is determinedly dragging one over from across the room. This would be easier with Lesi's help, but she's busy reading in the other room, and he doesn't want to ask her and make her stop. 

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Ovali runs over to see what Mika is doing, racing around the other kid to look the operation from all angles. He even tries to look between Mika's legs. "What are you doing?"

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Mika pauses in his chair dragging to watch this, giggling when Ovali bends down to look underneath him. 

"I'm gonna get some candy," he tells him, pointing at the table. "It's tall, so gotta be taller to reach." He pats the chair, and then resumes tugging on it. 

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Ooh, I want candy. Ovali starts pushing the chair so it gets to the candy faster.

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"Thanks!"

They will get the chair there faster, then!

Once they do, Mika scrambles up onto it and reaches for the candy bowl - but it's too far! His arms are not long enough! He pouts, and then crawls up onto the table, too, making it wobble a bit. 

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"Hey, I want to grab some candy too!" Ovali says crawling up the table and making it wobble more.

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"I coulda grabbed some for you-" he squeaks, grabbing hold of the table cloth and waiting for the wobble to stop. It never really does, but after a few seconds he grabs for the bowl anyway, tugging it over to the two of them. Candy!

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Candy! Ovali wants to have some candy and tries to reach for it... and oops.

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"Oh nooo!"

The candy spills all over the floor! The plastic candy bowl bounces a couple times with a loud clatter and then rolls off into the corner. 

Mika stares at Ovali with big eyes, "Bet someone heard that," he says, and then scrambles for the edge of the table, sending it shaking again. 

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Ovali stays gets out of the way and grabs Mika's hand. "I know where to hide!" And he takes Mika through a door.

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"-but the candy-" he says as Ovali pulls him through the door, before going quiet as a big person walks in. 

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The big person is a daycare worker, who looks around the room and sighs ruefully on seeing all the candy on the floor. He goes over to a cupboard and pulls a broom out to begin the process of sweeping up. He's probably going to be a while. 

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Awww. Ovali doesn't say. Instead he holds very still.

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Mika quietly offers him one of the three candies he'd grabbed before the bowl fell.

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!!! Candy!!! Candy is good.

Waiting here is not good and Ovali looks around and notices another door handle. 

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Mika notices it too! He tiptoes over to it and opens the door, letting the two of them out into a hallway. There are many more doors here, and an elevator at the end, as well. Mika peers around, not sure which way to go.

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Ovali walks around, the doors are the type that have small windows in them, but they are too tall for them to look at. He makes way to the elevator. "Let's go up and look around!"

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He trots down the hallway after Ovali, "Okay!"

Elevator! Mika stands up on his tiptoes and just barely manages to reach the call button. When the elevator doors open, he goes inside and looks up at the wall of buttons. There's a lot of them! One has a phone on it, and two of them have little arrows, and then above them is a bunch of numbered buttons. He pushes one of the arrow buttons and the door closes behind Ovali. 

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Ovali jumps up and down excitedly (the elevator only slightly wobbles, it's a high quality elevator). And he runs out the moment the doors open. "Come on, let's see."

They are in an entrance hall, it's large, but part of it is being renovated with a new floors and wall paneling. So it's cluttered. Ovali explores around.

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"Yeah!" So much stuff! Mika climbs on top of a box and then back down again, circles around a few piles of wood, and pokes through an open box curiously, deeming it uninteresting after a few seconds. There's a doorway at the other end of the hall, and after a bit more exploring Mika wanders towards it, peering inside.

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Climbs inside a few box, but decides that they aren't that good of a pretend fort, then he follows Mika.

The other room has a clutter of relocated furniture from the previous room, one television, and two adults. Mika's mother and one Ovali's half-siblings' mother, Patiri.

There is an emergency broadcast with the footage of firefighters and the yellow-haired announcer reporting. "...downtown and surrounding districts. The property damage caused by reds is unlikely to spread much further, but there is a stipulated likelihood of permanent injury and loss of lives. We will now talk to chief of police-"

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"At least it's not actually near here."

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"Yes," she sighs. "Was this our doing? The broadcaster hasn't said, but the new policy for red multiple pregnancies only came into effect this spring." 

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Patiri frowns. "I don't think so? This year was just seven pregnancies, even less than the expected average. Sounds like an overreaction, but you never know."

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"Who can tell with reds? They'll riot for the smallest reasons, sometimes." She frowns at the screen, now showing a series of shots of the destruction from above.

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Bored by all of this, Mika tugs on Ovali's arm, taking his hand and leading him over behind a bunch of furniture to the other doorway in this room. 

There's another hallway on the other side, with lots more doors, but no elevator this time.

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Ovali picks a door at the end of the hallway, taking a peek inside before walking.

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It looks like someone's office, or maybe a storage room, or a small library, or a workshop. Or all of those things. There's shelves on every wall filled with books, a shelf covered in labeled boxes, a couple tables covered in piles of paper and a few necklaces, one of which has fallen on the floor.

On the other side of the room from the door is a small, round table, the top of it giving off a pale blue light. There's a chair in front of it. 

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Mika slips inside after Ovali, and immediately makes a beeline for the glowy table, climbing up on the chair to peer down at it. On top of it is a slate of stone etched with glowing symbols. There's a crystal ball at the other side of the table, and a pretty pinkish-purple jewel sitting next to it. Mika grabs the jewel and looks around for Ovali to show him. 

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Ovali picks up the floor necklace and looks at. "Pretty." He says of the jewel.

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"Yeah!" He peers at the floor necklace, "So's that! The table's glowey, too, come see!" He shuffles over so Ovali can fit on the chair.

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Ovali climbs the chair and watches in wonder.

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The necklace lands on the table and Mika blinks at it. It looks... weird, now, like there's a bunch of coloured layers on top. He reaches out to poke them, and it feels like his fingers almost catch on something, before passing through them to touch the necklace. 

"Hmmmm." He pulls back and tries again.

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Ovali notices the layers too, but when he tries to poke them his fingers just go through. It's still pretty.

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It is! Mika's fingers go through it again, too, but he is determined (though not Determined, like Seni is). He keeps poking at it, and after a few more times, he manages to catch the coloured light, holding it between two fingers. It feels slippery and smooth, like glass.

...He's not sure what else to do with it except tug on it. 

 

The tug seems to unravel it, sending the light flaring in a flash of brightness. Suddenly, his head hurts a lot!

Mika stumbles back, covering his eyes, and falls off the chair. 

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Ovali shrieks and also falls, though he lands on his knees. "Ouch. Mika!?" He scurries over.

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Mika is on his back, staring wide-eyed at the air, seemingly in shock and not yet crying. When Ovali calls his name he snaps out of it, tears gathering in his eyes as he turns to look at him. 

"Ou-ouch," he agrees, hiccuping, and then starts to cry. His back hurts and his bum hurts and his brain feels stuffed and he doesn't like it. 

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Ovali stares a bit helpless. "Uh, uh. Do you need a band-aid?"

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"Nuh-uh-uh-ooo," he gets out between sobs, "Head huurts!" He curls up on his side with his head between his knees. 

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At the sound of crying, Lia rises from the couch in the reception area and comes running. 

"Mika!" She gasps as she enters her office, going down on her knees in front of him and pulling him up into her arms, "Shhh, oh no, what happened, baby?" 

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Patiri follows.

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"The table attacked him!"

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"The table- oh no," she gets up, still cradling the whimpering Mika in her arms, and turns to look at the enchanting table. 

There's a misshapen tangle of half-melted silver wire on it, a cracked gem stuck in the middle of it. 

"I think he disenchanted one of my necklaces," she tells Patiri. She peppers light kisses on his forehead, "Does your head hurt, moonbeam?" 

He nods.

She turns to Patiri, "Your Restoration is better than mine, can you heal him?"

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"Of course." She takes a deep breath to concentrate and perform the complex Magicka manipulations in her mind. Then her hand glows with a golden light.

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All it takes is a few moments' touch to make Mika's bruises melt away. His crying winds down a bit, reduced to hiccups and whimpers. 

"Head still hurts," he tells mama. 

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There's nothing to be done for that. Lia pets his hair gently as she goes down on one knee to get closer to Ovali's height.

"Are you okay, Ovali? Can you tell us more about what happened?"

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"I am okay. We saw the glowing table and it was pretty, and there was that necklace on the floor and I picked up because it was also pretty and then Mika put the necklace on the table and we pocket and it and I think the table didn't like it and attacked Mika."

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She sighs, "Definitely a disenchantment. Patiri, can you take Ovali? I think I should go get Alesin and take this one home for today."

She looks over at the table, "I think we're also going to have to decide when our children will start learning. This is obviously too young, but a year from now?"

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"Okay, I will. And... a year, maybe."

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"Can I learn magic?"

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"Let's talk to your parents about it."

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Two is definitely too young to learn the crystal magic. This was always going to be something of a problem - that Mika, Alesin, and Tepam would have access to magic the others don't.

A problem for later, though. Right now Lia needs to fetch her daughter and take her babies home. 

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Alesin... may not be quite so easy to find as her mama is hoping. She'd noticed Mika had vanished a few minutes earlier. He's always doing that! It's really annoying! So now she is sneaking out through the daycare doors to find him.

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She is not the only one sneaking out. Dakarofels, son of Isteri Moro, the second born triplet, and "world's greatest hugger" according to his family, follows behind her. "Where are we going?" He asks mischievously?

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She jumps, "Eep! Karo!" 

She freezes, looking around to make sure no one heard them. The coast is clear, though, so she turns back to Karo again. 

"Mika's gone again," she explains, exasperated. "So I gotta find him." 

She peers out into the hall, "I dunno which way to go, though."

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Karo looks around and decides to go this way, because he is blue and just one year old. Which means he knows he should make decisions for other castes but not how.

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That's okay, Lesi would have picked at random too. She follows after him, trying all the door handles as they go. Most of them are locked, the only one that isn't leads to a bathroom. She checks, but no Mika. 

Eventually they reach the elevator. 

"He must've gone up," she concludes. The ways of Mika are not complicated: if there's somewhere up high to be, look there first. She presses the button for the highest floor. 

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That lands them in the garden's terrace Karo leaves and looks around, making sure he is being sneaky.

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They can spot two adults around the terrace, Zofin and Istevi.

"It still is amazing progress. The kids may not be able to just walk around wherever, but we can line a vehicle with that and transport them anywhere without fear."

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"And she thinks we can reduce the size even further, maybe to a piece of jewelry, or things under their clothes in the worst case scenario. It's more a manner of time working on it than developing something new."

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Lesi sneaks after Karo, reaching out to tug him behind a bush when they get close to the adults. 

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Karo follows her and is very quiet.

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Istevi parks his wheelchair and with an effort starts standing up.

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Zofin helps him stand, which means he is leaning on her.

During spring.

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Istevi notices this, he is not sure what he says next is the result of him not being springing, but... "So, how is your dating life going?"

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Zofin strongly considers let him fall to the floor and that looks is plain on her face.

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(???)

("Aren't the green triplets mama and their papa dating?" She whispers to Karo, confused.)

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Karo only mouths "Spring." at her.

(He is never quite sure what is weird about adults, but apparently spring is to blame for lots of it.)

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"You're my dating life. Or the closest thing I have to it, these days."

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"That's my concern. Look, I know this is not comfortable to hear, from me of all people, but... you should get out and find someone. Don't be stuck with me. I was and I am terrible for you."

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Zofin does not push him back in the chair, but is not particularly gentle about depositing him back. "It's hard to find time or even find someone to date. Not with this place limited options."

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"I knew you are going to say that. That's why I have a suggestion. Remember that firefighter crew that I visited to test my crystal healing on others? There was one called Kui, he is heavily scarred, but if you want to wait until next spring when I think I will have that fixed."

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Zofin just makes a humiliated and strained noise. "You are evil."

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"The most evil. So evil that I decided to try to find a new love for the mothers of my children. Well, Mura flat out refused. And Patiri considered and said she will get my help if-"

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"Gah." Then again because she doesn't know what to say. "Gah." Pause. "I will think about it, just to not flat out refuse like Mura did."

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"Great. Sorry, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind."

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Lesi watches this whole conversation in wide-eyed silence. Once they finish talking she looks over at Karo. "Are they sad?" She asks quietly, guessing based on the words she understood. 

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Karo isn't sure. "I think he was mean to her."

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She hums, "Should we go hug her? Hugging us makes adults really happy, right?" 

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"We should!" Karo says and he leaves their hiding place.

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"What? Uff." Zofin says when she is tackled by a small child.

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She is shortly tackled by a second small child, as well! 

"We thought you were sad so we came to hug you so you would feel better," she informs Zofin solemnly. She squints at Istevi, "You shouldn't make her sad," she insists.

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"Yeah!" Karo says pointing an accusatory finger at Istevi.

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"Yes, I shouldn't." Istevi agrees.

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"This is the most humiliating moment of my life." Zofin says, picking up both children - with effort - but she needs hugs now. "What are you two doing here?"

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Hugs!

"Looking for Mika. He's gone again." 

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"And then you looked like you needed a hug."

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Sigh. "You should have asked for a teacher. Istevi could you make a call?"

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"Sure, sure." He takes out his pocket everything and calls.

 

"Okay, Lia and Patiri found him and Ovali. The little rascals."

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Oh good. "Ovali makes it worse," she sighs. "Can we go to them?" In the meantime she will focus on hugging Zofin so she feels better. 

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"How about if we take you back to your caretaker, and then we can meet Mika and Ovali there?" She says already moving, she deposits Karo on Istevi's lap.

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Annoyed huff, "Fiiine," she says. Going back to the daycare is okay if Mika is coming, too. 

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Zofin smiles at her. Moslty because she is so soft. They take the two of them back.

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When they get back, Liarae takes Alesin with great relief (considering what Mika had gotten up to on his little adventure, returning to find Alesin gone was very worrying). They return home for the night so Mika can get some rest to deal with the headache from having the instructions for a notice-me-not necklace imprinted into his brain at such a young age. 

 

They decide on two as a reasonable age to start the three children with magicka on learning magic, despite the interest all three show in the subject once Mika is no longer in pain from it. Not all kinds, though. Just enchanting, which is difficult to mess up, and easy to supervise given there are only two tables in the small settlement.

There's quite a long time between now and then, however, and many more things to focus on. Lia completes the notice-me-not project in late summer, and from there moves on to physical shielding - a reasonably straightforward translation of the oakflesh spell into an oakflesh enchantment. This one she completes before winter, allowing her to move on to a series of even simpler enchantments in the hopes that understanding how to make glowing, heating, and cooling objects, and things in that vein, will speed up future enchantment crafting using those elements. 

This, along with her twins, whenever they aren't at the new school which is finally up and running for the residents of the island, occupies her time quite handily until spring comes around again.

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It will take a long time until they have teleportation, so Patiri spends a lot of her time working her ability to perform Conjuration, she creates soul gems, she summons familiars, and invents lesser conjuration spells for both herself to train (and in the future) the three small Magicka users. She learns more crystal magic from Istevi too.

That's very time-consuming, and even thought she tries to have long-lasting relationships when the Tepam's second spring comes around none really became something serious enough for have a kid with unique magical powers together.

She decides to try a donor combined with fertility drugs for twins.

It doesn't work. It actually fails badly.

And it is the worst experience of her life.

But she has to survive, so she does that. Her daughter needs her, so does the world.

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People give her the best support they can. Which is a lot. They don't have infinite resources, but their progress makes people very interested in throwing money their way. Even credits their way, though the international treaties mean that they have to make adjustments to distributed credits to account to the wacky fertility experiments.

He finally fixes his spine and can walk again, he can duplicate plants and small animals, but have not (for obvious reasons) tried the ability on actual people. His new project is figuring out how to use crystal magic to duplicate magical items.

Of course, his main join in life is just watching his children grow up.

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The last year was a major improvement for Mura, she met someone and married them. The fertility drugs do end up working on her, and she has beautiful twin girls.

She also figures out how to make her own empowered crystal, pale blue almost like an opal, that creates a protective effect around it. Not quite a force-field, more like a haze that prevents things from becoming too hot, too fast, or other kinds of dangerous.

Life. Is. Wonderful.

(She can even see Istevi walk again without feeling like there is something deeply unfair about the world. Most of the time.)

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Kui is wonderful, a gray firefighter but very humble and good-natured. Always with a charming smile.

They don't use and end up not having reason to use the fertility drugs. She ends up expecting twins.

That's not all that she does, of course, the Deosikuri School is officially open, and she has social experiment reports faking, while also doing her real work.

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It's good that everyone is enjoying the new twin sets, because it took so much negotiating to make those drugs legal.

Not that Isteri complains, after all, she ends up with twins herself this spring. The world is about to change, and now is the time to take opportunities.

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Lia doesn't intend to use one of the credits allocated for the project when spring starts. Unfortunately intent doesn't necessarily mean much when you have a fertility tattoo which works on what you want, instead. She spends a night with a cute blue she meets at a party she goes to as part of Isteri's security, and shortly afterwards discovers that her birth control has failed. Again. 

And she's having twins. Again.

Not that she's complaining. Far from it. With the project's resources she doesn't have to worry about buying a credit for her babies, so she just gets to enjoy the experience. 

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Sigh. They will do their best to track down the blue, the only problem with this is that they have to be extremely careful about filtering blues.

 

But people are glad on her behalf for the babies. And the triplets make a point of visiting her and Zofin's twins (who have already been born but are still at the hospital at this point).

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He's not that hard to find. All it takes is a bit of asking around to get a full name - Raeka Moro, son of the infamous Aeris Irien, one of the most publicised executions of Janon Jonoro's career. Incidentally, also a cousin of Arel Eteo. It's a small world. 

Despite how different his behaviour is from that of his father and cousin, his support of charity and reluctance to enter the public eye, approaching him is still something of a risk

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She checks, but there is no reason to suspect he was there at that Blue party with a purpose. Which, does not mean they should not be paranoid. Maybe, Lia just has a type, maybe he was spying. They will keep an eye on him, from a distance.

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...It is a reasonable precaution, no matter how regretful Lia is that he can't know about his own children. He hadn't treated her anything like Arel had, but if he spilled any secrets to his cousin it would be... unfortunate. At any rate, it's not as though she's raising her kids alone, with all of the childcare staff as well as her friends. Four small children at once would be a bit much for one person. 

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On the day that their new siblings (!!!!) are being born, Mika and Alesin are left out in the waiting room with everyone else waiting for the birth. Both of them find this extremely unfair! At least they're not the only ones waiting, though. 

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Yes, it takes forever, Tani and Ovali already had to wait a whole day for their younger half-sisters, they shouldn't need to do more waiting!

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Migah is very nervous, what if something goes wrong like what happened to Tepam's mother?

Asilei is currently the main adult minding the kids while the others are taking a break or watching from a distance. "Why don't you draw a blessing to see what it will be like? How about if each one of you did that?"

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Alesin is suspicious. She knows what a distraction looks like. This does sound better than sitting around waiting for ages, though. 

"We can use the bowl Aunt Zofin brought for the new babies," she suggests. 

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Mika, pleased to have something to do, volunteers to go ask her. 

"Auntie, can we use your blessing bowl?" 

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Zofin is a comfortable chair breastfeeding one of her babies (babies!!)

"Ah, of course. Just be careful with it." The blessings have chips which they can use to track down, but it's always good to have the kids being mindful.

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"We will!" 

Blessing bowl: acquired. He takes it back over to the play area, setting it on the short kids' table there.

"Who's gonna go first?" He asks, poking through it. 

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Everyone wants to go first. Asilei decides that Lesi can go first, and then they can go counter-clockwise.

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So Lesi leans over the table to draw her coins. It's a full set, which means it has three each of all the coins, plus three each of each kind of ghost coin, all with chips inside them so you can tell which one it is.

Lesi draws Joy, Love, and... Endurance.

"That's bad, right? Endurance is bad."

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"Endurance means you need to be strong, but there is Joy and Love there, so things will be turn out to be good. I bet that when it turns out to be Lakini's turn she will draw Hope."

"That's because I am Elay! And we draw the best blessings!" Lakini proclaims.

She is growing up to be like a green-haired copy of the Elay prime.

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However, before it's Lakini's turn it's Migah and then Aden's, the first draws Resilience, Love and Endurance. "Resilience is like Endurance?"

To which Asilei says. "A bit, but not bad, it means that you can change to fit the situation better. Endurance is also not bad, bad." The grandmother says to the daughter that has that as a birth blessing.

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Aden draws Beauty, Joy and Kindness. "That's good, he comments blandly. The babies are going to be that?"

"You can't draw birth blessings for them yet. But they might be."

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Lakini turns. She makes a show that she is not looking at the bowl and draws the blessings Hope, Hope and Joy. "See? Everything is going to turn out alright!"

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Lesi gives a sigh of relief, "Oh good."

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Mika is also relieved! "Lakini draws the best blessings," he confirms, hugging her. 

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Hug!

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Dasenifer, or just "Seni" is next, the blue-haired firstborn triplet draws Determination, Love and Endurance. "Determination really likes me."

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Dateovont, the thirdborn triplet of that set says. "It does, you like it too much, too." And he draws Loyalty, Joy and Resilience.

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Ovali and his sister happen to be between Teo and Karo, so it's his turn to draw Endurance, Joy and Change.

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Tani gets Patience, Resilience and Kindness. "Your blessings are always better than mine," she says to Ovali.

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It's Karo turn and he draws... Love... Love... and also Love. Which causes him to burst out laughing.

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Tepam giggles so much that she needs to hand out her blessings for her grandmother to read. Resilience, Fertility and Joy.

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Mika is still giggling about Karo's draw when it's his turn, too. "I think Love likes you even more than Determination likes Seni," he tells Karo. 

He leans in to draw his blessings, pulling out Joy, Love, and Resolve.

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"I guess it's definitely gonna be ok," Lesi says, looking over the list of blessings pulled. 

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Asilei nods, Tepam goes up to hug her leg, because being reminded that things will be okay for Lesi's siblings reminded her that things didn't for her own.

"That's right."

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"We will be able to fix everything eventually."

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Oh no Tepam is sad. Mika will hug her too. If hugs from one person helps, hugs from two people will help more, right?

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"We will," Lesi agrees, running a finger over all the Enduraces and Resliences on the list with a frown. She's not sure how to fix a lot of things, but she's sure they'll be able to figure it out, between all of them. 

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Tepam appreciates hugs, though she might need some more space to breathe, specially when Karo takes the opportunity to pile on the hug as well.

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Oops! Mika will pull away a bit before she suffocates, then.

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She is more in danger of giggling too much.

And then the nurse says that they may come in, the immediate family first, then a handful of people at a time.

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!!!

He gives Tepam one last quick hug and then runs off through the door. New siblings!!!!

(Lesi follows in just slightly less of a rush.)

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In the room there are, in fact, two new babies, both being held by their mother in her hospital bed. She smiles at her older twins, her face lighting up despite the obvious exhaustion. 

"Mika, Alesin. Come meet your siblings. These are Raeni and Aekon." Raeni is the elder, though she is noticeably smaller than her brother, and has an IV attached to her arm. Both she and Aekon are hairless, so whether their hair will need dyeing once they're old enough that it's safe to do so is yet to be seen.

The twins marvel over their siblings for a bit, asking concerned questions about the IV (Raeni is sick, but the doctors say she'll be fine, Lia tells them, hiding her own worry) before Lia sends them out, having decided that they will get to pick who draws the blessings this time. 

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Adon and Ibrae have arrived while the twins were in the room. Their kids are elsewhere in the hospital with Asara, all five of them having come down with some sort of mild sickness. The two of them look a little run-down, but offer tired smiles when Alesin and Mika pass them, and then go inside the room themselves for a short visit.

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He waves at his aunt and uncle and then turns to try to make his decision. This is a hard choice! Mika doesn't want anyone to feel left out, but there's only six blessings to draw.

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Alesin finds this difficult, too, but after a moment of thought she picks Migah, Tani, and Teo. Three of the people who got Resilience, and Teo because he got Loyalty, too. 

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Oh, that's a good idea. Mika picks Tepam, Seni, and... Ovali, because he got Change.

And of course the other kids can come in too, right nurse? If they're very good?

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The nurse will let them in if they are very quiet and don't crowd the bed. Specially around baby Raeni.  

Which, they decide to start with.

Tepam draws Vision.

Migah draws Endurance.

And Ovali draws Time.

 

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Then they move to Aekon.

Tani draws Power. 

Seni draws Certainty. 

Teo draws Charm.

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Lia shares a speaking look with Ibrae and Adon, who are still in the room, while the latter notes down Raeni's blessings. That set suggests an interesting Gemini power. Assuming she makes it, which... there's every reason to believe she will. The doctors in the Gemini village's small hospital are top-notch, and many trained particularly in the area of neonatal care. Raeni will be fine. They'll draw blessings every day to make sure of it.

As for Aekon, "Another Power," she kisses his little head, "And charming as well." Though Certainty could be good or bad, depending on what Aekon is so certain of. "Endurance, for Raeni," she murmurs then, her worry showing more obviously now.

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"Migah has Endurance and she's okay," Lesi points out.

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"I am! I bet she... she is... going to be strong when she grows up."

"Shhh," her grandmother says. "Hospital, remember?"

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Mika nods a bunch, "Yeah, she's sick now but she's gonna be fine. That's what Enduring means, right?"

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Lia smiles, "Yes, it is. Strength through adversity," she smiles at Migah as well, "I'm sure she'll grow up to be very strong, just like you will. And in the meantime, she'll have her twin and her older brother and sister and all these friends to help her on her way." And eventually she'll have her Basics, which should fix anything they can't fix without magic. Everything is going to be fine.

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And everything is fine. Raeni's health continues to be worrying, but the blessings always come back hopeful, and she keeps pulling through. Soon, the first generation of children on the island start turning 2, and with this milestone it comes time to teach Tepam, Mika, and Alesin how to enchant. 

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Tepam is the most EXCITED CHILD EVER!!!

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Mika and Alesin are not as excited as Tepam but only because being as excited as Tepam is about learning magic without being Tepam is probably not possible. They are Pretty Excited, though, despite Mika's lingering memories of how it felt the last time he poked at a magic thing. 

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They are all very excited and very cute.

Lia has left Raeni and Aekon with Adon for the day, so she can devote all her attention to helping the trio safely learn one of the simple enchantments she'd built over the past three seasons. 

She brings them into her office and points them towards one of her tables, where nine plain rings are set three to a pile for them to pick from. 

"These all have warming, cooling, or glowing enchantments," she tells the three children. "Today you can pick one. You'll be disenchanting the one you pick to learn the enchantment, and then I'll be helping you enchant your first rings. These three enchantments are simple, so they shouldn't be dangerous for you to learn through disenchanting. After you've learned them, however, you'll have to learn the rest the hard way."

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Tepam pays a lot of attention to all of this. "I want to pick glowing!"

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"You can pick glowing," Lia says with a laugh. 

They're all pretty simple-looking, just metal wire twisted together to make plain rings. Lia hands Tepam one of the rings from the left pile and then waves Mika and Alesin forward to pick theirs.

"Don't get too attached," she tells them, "disenchanting wrecks the item, that's why they're all plain."

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Lesi picks cooling, because it is summer and that means it is really hot, all the time. 

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Hm, Mika wanted to learn the glowing one, but... he'll take warming, then. 

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"You don't have to pick different ones if you don't want to," Lia laughs. 

  "Oh!" Mika decides to pick the glowing one after all, then. 

"Alright, you've all got one? To the enchanting table, then." She leads them over to the table, which has a wide step stool in front of it so the kids can all see. 

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Tepam gets on the stool, left to Mika. "What do we do with it? Wait, was that the one that attacked Mika?"

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"It didn't really attack me," Mika tells her, climbing up on her right while Lesi stands on her left. 

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Lia pets his hair, "Mika disenchanted a very complicated necklace by accident, and it hurt him because it forced too much information into his brain. That's why you'll have to learn the more complicated enchantments the long way until you're older," she explains.

"Now, put your rings on the slate, between the symbols." 

Mika and Alesin do so.

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So does Tepam. "How much older?"

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Once the rings are on the table, the magic of the table itself shows the layer of magicka which surrounds them. All three rings have pale blue auras, though Alesin's is a slightly different shade.

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"Four," Lia tells her, amused. It'll give Tepam something to do while the others are figuring out their Bonuses, at least. "Mika, you've already done this once, do you think you can tell Tepam and Alesin what you have to do to catch hold of the magic?" 

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"Hmm," Mika nods, reaching out to try to catch the enchantment between his fingers. It takes him three times, but he manages it quicker than he did the last time. "Um, try just touching the magic before you try to grab it? It's slippery, but if you know what it feels like, it's easier." He lets go to poke at the magic of his ring, stroking it a couple times, before grabbing it again. 

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Tepam follows these instructions with crystal sharp focus. Poke. Poke. Poke. "I think I can grab it?" She tries a couple of times before managing it.

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Lesi takes a bit longer than Tepam did, but she gets it eventually.

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It feels like fragile, slippery glass, and the pale light seems to shine more between their fingers.

"Good job you three," Lia tells them.

She steps around behind them so she can catch anyone if they fall down, "Okay, now let go." Once they've done so, she continues, "When you pull the magic away from the item it will release a lot of energy, which will melt the ring and cause a bright flash of light. So I want you to do this one at a time. Tepam, you first - catch hold of the magic again, and then give it a tug."

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She feels vaguely bad over destroying a magic item, but she does that, gently pulling until it's tugged.

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There is a bright flash of light, and then the information hits her, leaving her knowing exactly how to make another object like the ring. The glowing enchantment is a complex work of alteration magic, which requires that she manipulate magicka and the energy of a soulgem to tie something like the magelight spell to an object, along with the ability to turn it on and off with a word. 

She can also feel her magicka, now. A cool pool of energy which she can reach at any time, though what she can do with it, besides the only enchantment she knows, is not so clear.

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Oooh. She is stares awed at nothing in particular. 

"Can invent new spells with this thing?" She points at her head.

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"Eventually, yes. It will be easier if you know it better, first. We're going to start you on crafting enchantments once you've learned all of these three enchantments, and know them well enough to make apprentice-level rings. You'll be learning the spell Clairvoyance then, as well. That will teach you how to write what you make down so other people can understand it."

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Tepam does not bounce because she is a stool, but she practically vibrates with excitement. "I want to learn everything!"

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"Don't worry, we'll teach you all we know," Lia tells her, chuckling. 

"Okay, Alesin, you next, then Mika." 

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It takes Lesi another few moments to grab hold of it again, but once she does she gives it a tug, producing another flash of light. Afterwards she stands there blinking at the air, and then down at the second lump of flash-melted silver wire on the table. She pokes her lump - it's cool - and picks it up, rolling it between her fingers. 

"My head feels very weird," she tells Tepam as her brother takes his turn.

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"I know! It's magic and it's great!"

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There's another flash of light. Mika shakes his head and blinks hard, and then nods in agreement. 

"It is! And it doesn't even hurt like last time."

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"That's good," Lia tells him. "You're all doing very well." She catches sight of Alesin playing with the remains of her ring, "And you can all keep those lumps of silver if you want them," she adds. "Or we can send them out to be melted down for new rings."

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"I want to do that and enchant it myself!"

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"Sure, that sounds like a fun project," Lia agrees. "Let's just put them over here with a sticky note with your name on it, so we know which one is which." She herds them over to her desk so they can do just that.

"Alright, now we'll try actually enchanting."

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Mika bounces over to the enchanter's table excitedly. 

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Followed by Tepam, she wants to do more magic!

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Lesi follows them with only slightly less obvious excitement. 

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Lia brings a small basket of rings over - plain silver wire with pretty, semi-precious stones, purple and blue and gold and all colours of the rainbow - and tells them all to pick one. Then, she takes down four purplish-pink gems.

"These are soul gems," she explains, "They hold a lot of energy, which we can use to power enchantments. Disenchanting those rings should have shown you how to move that energy, but I want you to watch me make one first, so you can see it for real. Here, though," She hands each of them a soul gem. They feel smooth and hard, and the edges and points are rounded, so they aren't dangerous for the two-year-olds to hold.

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Tepam picks silver with a green gemstone that does not quite, but is closer to her hair color. And watches Lia like her work is the only thing in the world.

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Lesi picks one with a gold-streaked dark green stone. When she gets her soul gem she squints at it, then holds it up so she can see the light bounce off of it, covering a wall with a splash of watery pink light.

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"Ooo," Mika does that too, for a moment, then puts the gem down so he can watch his mom enchant. 

(His ring is silver and blue - he was looking for a stone the exact same colour as the hair of anyone he knows, and eventually found one which he thinks matches the blue triplets' hair. He'll have to check in person, but he's got a pretty good eye for colour.)

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Once they're all paying attention, Lia leans over the table and begins enchanting one of the two plain silver rings she'd pulled out of the basket. The magic of the table makes the stream of precisely controlled magicka from her hands, and the slightly differently coloured energy from the soul gem, visible to the three childrens' eyes. She uses her magicka to pull the energy into a pattern around the ring, and then locks it in place. The process should look familiar and simple, to Tepam and Mika especially - the end result is a glowing ring like the ones they had disenchanted. 

Once that's done, she enchants a cooling ring as well, as an example for Alesin, and then steps back from the table. 

"Alright, who wants to try first?" 

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The twins glance at each other, then to Tepam, in perfect agreement, "Tepam wants to try first," Lesi says for both of them, stepping out of her way.

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"Tepam does want to try first!" She agrees, she bounces once, while not on the stool. And then she mimics what Lia just did.

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It feels both perfectly natural and very strange! Her attempt isn't as controlled as Lia's was, and the pattern is a fair bit looser, but the end result is a glowing ring just the same. 

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Tepam hugs it and lets out a excited shriek.

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Lesi and Mika both jump and then start giggling. 

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"You did it!!"

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"I did it!"

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"You did! Let's give it a try! Just put it on and say the trigger word, 'aglimmer'."

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Tepam puts it on and then punches the air as she says. "Aglimmer!"

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And the ring is all a glimmer! The light is greenish, like the jewel on the ring she picked.

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Excited bouncing! 

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Tepam hugs it again. "Best day ever!"

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Mika wants to go next! He steps up to the table and goes through the same process, coming away from it with a glowy ring (which he turns on immediately) and an equally glowy grin. 

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Lesi goes last. It takes her a bit longer than either of them, and she almost gets frustrated, but manages to make the cooling ring after about half again as much time as the other two. 

"That was hard," she tells her mother, "I knew how much I needed but I kept taking more?" 

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"Hmm, we'll work on it," she tells Alesin. She turns to look at all three, "Good job, all of you!" She tells them. "I think that will be all for today, but tomorrow we'll get started on practicing. It's going to be pretty much the same thing over and over again," she warns them, "But you need to do it to get good enough at enchanting to craft your own."

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Tepam is okay with this, she wants to show her magic ring to EVERYONE. She runs out of the run to do that. Then back at the room to ask if that's okay and if it's the same time tomorrow.

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Yes and yes, same time and place, and she's allowed to show anyone in the inner village (where this facility is, and she, her half-siblings, the blue triplets, and Mika and Alesin live, along with a few other families and individuals who are all in the know) but she needs to turn it off before going out the gates to the rest of the village. The security will remind her if she forgets.

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"I can do that!" And now she is running again.

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So is Mika! 

"Where are we going?" He asks Tepam as he follows her down the hall.

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Lesi follows a bit more slowly, turning her ring on and off as she leaves. She doesn't really feel the need to show off. She's busy marveling at the magic she made all by herself.

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"To find people to show our things!"

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"Oh!" Hmmm... "Do you know where the blue triplets could be? I wanna see if I got the colour right," he waves his blue-glowing ring in explanation. 

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"Ooh, I know where Seni is." Tepam calls in the elevator. "I think he will be at the library. I think."

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"Ohh, probably," he agrees. He gets into the elevator with Tepam and Lesi when it gets there and presses the button for the right floor. 

On the floor with the library there are more people wandering around, who will ooh and aah at Tepam and the twins' rings of glowyness and coolness. Then, there is a library! There's a bunch of people inside, most of whom they know, but Mika looks around for Seni first.

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Seni is in that reading nook over there, doing pronunciation exercises. There is a tutor nearby, but she is assisting some Yellows.

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That's a bit too far, Tepam will just approach the nearest person and... she is spots a purple watching her and approaches. "Hi! I did a magical thing!"

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Mika bounces over to him and quietly starts peering between the ring and his hair. It's a pretty close match! Maybe just a hair off? That might just be the light, though. He shifts over to look from a different angle.

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The purple's eyes widen when Tepam moves over to join her, and then further when she speaks.

"...Hi," she whispers (they're in a library, you've got to whisper in libraries). "It's pretty? How'd you do it?"

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"It's magic!" Another students shushes them. "Aunt Lia taught us just now, you look at an enchanted ring at an enchanted table and then you destroy the ring and then the instructions get into your brain and you know how to do them and you can then do them." She is whispering, but that's sure a lot of words. She catches her breath.

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Seni notices he is there. "Mika? What are you doing?"

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It is a lot of words! Her eyes are very wide by the time Tepam finishes. The visible part of her face - the lower half is hidden behind a book, and her forehead covered by pale lavender bangs - looks about half-eyes.

"You gotta breathe more," she tells Tepam, worried. She peers at the ring, "It's very pretty. Is glowy rings the only thing you can do with the magic?" 

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Mika pauses in his comparing, "I'm trying to figure out if the ring gem is the same colour as your hair," he tells Seni. He holds out his hand, adorned with the glowing ring, to let Seni get a better look.

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"But why?" Seni says pulling a strand of his own hair to compare.

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"People tell me that. And you can do lots of things with magic, but that's what I learned today."

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"Cause that's why I picked it! Mum let us pick our first rings to enchant from a big basket of them and I wanted to pick one that matched someone I knew, and I thought this one was the same as yours and Karo's and Teo's so I picked it." 

He holds up the ring to get a direct comparison, squinting between them, and then whispers 'aglimmer' to turn it off. He grins, "I think it is the same!" 

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"Ohh... what kinds of things?" She kicks her legs a bit, finally lowering the book to show the rest of her face, "Are you gonna learn more tomorrow?"

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"Mama and aunt Lia do protection things, warming, cooling, healing, luck, a bunch of things." Pause. "Tomorrow, I will do more glowing rings and I think I might learn two different types or rings, but I will be crafting more rings because that's how you get better at magic."

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Seni nods. "Oh, and if you pick one that matches our hair you get to pick a colour that matches three people. That's clever."

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"...Uhhm I didn't think of that but that's true," he agrees, blushing a bit. That's a bit more forethought than he usually puts into things. "I didn't find any that matched anyone else before I found this one." Hmm, "Here," he pulls the ring off his thumb and offers it to Seni, "Does it work for you too? You say 'aglimmer' to turn it on and off."

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"That's a lot of things. Is it just you and," she looks over at Lesi, settled in a nearby chair with her ring, which isn't doing anything obvious to an observer this far away, and Mika, showing his ring to one of the blue triplets across the room, "those two learning?"

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Nodnod. "Mom said only we can do it. Because they were pregnant with us when they got the magic."

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Seni tries saying "aglimmer" and then tries something with a similar meaning in Voan.

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The first one works, the second one doesn't. The ring continues glimmering at him, the light the same shade as his hair is.

"It's a trigger word," Mika explains. "Mum picked that one since most people here will know what it means but we don't say it much." 

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"Oh... that's too bad. It sounds like it would be nice to learn. And that means there's only five people who can, right? That's not a lot." It'd be hard to be one of only five people who could do something special.

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"It really isn't." Tepam says, thinking it'd be hard to not be one of only five people who could do something special. "Maybe there is a way for magic to fix that."

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Seni thinks it's a nice color. "Oh, okay. Could it be any word then? Or something that isn't a word?"

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His eyes go a bit distant as he tries to pull the instructions to the front of his mind. It's hard, but... "I think you can make the trigger any sound, with not too hard a change to the... recipe?" He says the last bit uncertainly, not knowing a better word. "Movements would be harder, cause that's a bigger change." 

(It is a nice colour, it's true. Like the sky.)

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"Can magic fix magic?" Sefoni asks, thoughtful, "I guess we have other kinds of magic, right? I'm sure one of those can fix it."

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Tepam nods. "Dad is trying to use the crystals to duplicate magic things."

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"Cool, maybe we could set up things like underground farm lit with those? Or full-day farms. I don't know if plants need darkness too."

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Slow nod, "But this is magic people, right? We can't copy people, can we? That would mean less babies." 

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"I think maybe some plants do?" He hums, "I don't know a lot about plants. But underground farms... that would mean a lot more food!" He bounces a bit, "Aaand... if we could do warming magic things in peoples' houses we'd need a lot less power, right?" 

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Seni gives him a rare smile, he always takes his Determination blessing to mean being serious. "It would. We should tell the adults that."

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"I was thinking of copying the magic, not the person? The crystal can copy people, but it's like brain uploading, but with magic instead of computers, but you can still people." 

She asked if they could use that to give her a twin, it's unfair she can't have one. She is not literally the only non-twin among the children, but it sometimes feels like it.

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!!!! Seni smiled at him! Seni almost never smiles! Mika beams back at him, nodding. "We should! I'll go get Mum!"

He rushes off towards the library door, leaving the ring with Seni.

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"Ohh... I don't know much about the crystal magic. Or much about magic at all, really. Just the blessings, and what people talk about. Keolin and I were the first ones who caught the twin magic, but no one tells us much." She looks kind of sad about this.

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Sad is bad. "You were the first? You could learn? Not mine, but maybe the crystal magic and... I don't know what they tell you about twin magic."

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Seni wants to follow, remembers he is supposed to be studying and asks permission from the tutor claiming that he needs to return the ring. Then he follows.

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"Mama told us that we'll get magic when we turn four, and it could be almost anything, and we'll also be very strong and fast and tough, and we'll be able to heal each other and talk to each other no matter how far away we are from each other." She shifts in her armchair a bit, and then shifts over to make space for Tepam if she wants to sit, "What can crystal magic do?"

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"You can turn things into crystal and then the crystal remembers what it was and you can unturn the crystal and if you do it right you get two of the same thing. And you can heal. And there is a really difficult kind of crystal that you can make that gives you your own super-power."

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"More superpowers?" She hums, "I'd like to be able to heal," she admits quietly, glancing at the nearest tutor out of the corner of her eye to make sure she's not too close. "I hope my powers let me do that... or work with plants, maybe." 

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"Those would be great powers. I am hoping that they will let magic be casteless." She adds suddenly.

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She blinks in surprise, then smiles, "Yes, me too." 

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While all this has been going on, Lesi had moved on from playing with her ring to reading, though she still has it on, making the corner around her armchair pretty chilly. She's curled around a long book she's been working on for a few days, attention wholly consumed by it.

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Ovali spots Lesi and when she is close enough, he lets out a surprised breath at the cold. "Hi, Lesi. Why it's so cold here?"

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"Mom, said it would be silly if they didn't let it be, because powers are sort of random." Tepam says sagely.

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She nods, "It would be. If I do get a power that lets me heal, it would be very silly if I couldn't use it."

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She looks up at him, "Oh!" She holds out her hand, showing him the ring on her thumb (it keeps trying to slip off, so she's holding it on by keeping her fist closed), "Mama showed us how to enchant today. I made a cooling ring." She pauses, "Englacial," she adds, turning the ring off. The air rapidly warms. 

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"Oh, that is really cool!" Ovali says. "Hey, me and the other grays are talking about the elements, do you want to join us?"

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She pushes forward to the edge of her chair and onto the floor, "Sure, I guess. Which greys?" 

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"Me, my sister, Iti, Tey, Shen and Shen's brother." he points at a table, it's not particularly close, but there are no other greys between here and there. "Also Ita, who is purple."

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Nodnod, "Okay," she'll head over to the table then.

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Kasi - Shen's brother - looks up from his book as she approaches, nods, and turns his attention back to it. He's paying attention to the conversation (sort of), but anything he wants to say Shen will probably say for him.

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Shen waves. "Hey, did you ask her?"

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"Not yet. Hold on." Ovali takes a seat and offers the one next to himself for Lesi. "We are talking about the five elements from the worlds where the blessings come from. And if we match it or not."

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"I am very Torz," Ita announces. "But I don't know anyone else? And some are confusing."

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She settles into a chair, "Everyone says Mika is Coru," she offers. "But kind of Elay, too. Mama says I'm Sweela, 'cause I'm curious and I like reading and sometimes I get really angry." 

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"That's what I don't get. Isn't that Hunti the one that gets angry?"

"It's a different kind of angry. I think with Sweela it's louder? Because it's fire and it explodes. While Hunti it's... Iti is Hunti, and she gets angry like that."

Iti nods, with her usual serious expression.

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"You're not supposed to think the elements are... hard..."

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"Hard? Rigid?"

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"Yeah, that. Elements are not rigid like that. And I think Mika is more Coru. And you're more Sweela," Shen says to Lesi.

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Nodnod, "Me too. Sometimes it matches the blessings," she adds, "But mine're different elements. I've got Resolve, that's Hunti, Honesty, Torz, and Talent, Sweela. Mika's got two Coru ones and an Elay one, though." 

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"I have two Elay, Beauty and Honor, and I also have Patience and that's Torz. I think Torzs fits me better."

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"You're not Torz, Aden is Torz. I am Torz. I think you're Hunti?"

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"You can be both, you know. That's why I said Mika is kinda Elay, too. 'Coru with a crown of Elay'." 

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"That sounds like... cheating?"

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"Cheating how?" Staring at her.

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Ita blushes under the scrutiny. "Kinda like you can't be two castes? You shouldn't just be two elements."

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"Castes aren't personality, though. There's more than five kinds of people in the world. And I mean... lots of people like to do outcaste things, right? I'm grey, not green, but I also like reading and singing and learning new things." 

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"That's because we go to a weird school," Iti says "where we have to do green home work." She points at the barely remembered homework on the table, which turns out to be about interpreting blessings.

"This is the best school. And Lesi is right, caste aren't the same thing as personality."

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"I like this school," Lesi agrees. She makes a face, "I guess going to a grey school would be fine, but it wouldn't be as good as going here. And Mika would hate it," she says with certainty. 

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"Mika doesn't like school anyway," Kasi's voice is very quiet, and further muffled by his book. 

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"Yeah, but grey school would be worse. It would be boring."

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"I like the way classes are here."

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"It can be fun, I wish we could just know... our powers, so we could pick a track already."

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"Sometimes your birth blessings can tell a bit about that, too. Everyone thinks Raeni's gonna see the future or something, cause she has Vision and Time." 

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"That would be really cool. She could see what her enemy will do and stop all attacks."

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"Mhm! Most of us don't have that.... but you have Time, too, right?" She asks Tani, "Maybe your gemini power will be future stuff too."

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"Yeah, but maybe it's not like that. They say it can be more waiting and I already have patience."

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"Or you can be like the hero super-Moment and you can time stop, which would be cool too."

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"If it means waiting that could mean super patience. Maybe that'll be your super power. I dunno how you'd use that for superheroing, though." 

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"Ugh."

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"Or maybe not." Ita reassures. "People think mine will let me make a lot of money, but maybe it won't I will just be a good cook or something." Pout. "Parik is sometimes mean about it, he wanted to have Wealth."

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"He's mean about it? Why? We're probably all gonna have enough for a bunch of credits no matter what, 'specially when we figure out how to get to other planets with magic. What else would he do with money?" 

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"I don't know. He just wants to be rich, I guess."

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"Weird."

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"We can tell him to stop if he annoys you too much." Shen says indicating his brother.

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Kasi glances up and nods, "Your brother shouldn't be mean to you."

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"Yeah, we'll all tell him," Lesi agrees. 

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It doesn't take Mika long to find his mom - she's still in her office where they left her. 

"Mama! Come listen, Seni and I had some ideas for things to do with magic!"

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She glances up at him, also spying Dasenifer coming down the hall behind her son. 

"Oh? What kind of ideas?" It's unlikely they have thought of anything the adults haven't, but it's always possible they missed something.

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"We thought about using the magical lights to build underground farms or farms that are lit during the night and produce more food because of it."

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"Hm, I'm not sure the second one would work. We had thought of the first one, though. The biggest problem with it is that there are only five of us with the ability to make enchanted objects, and the two of us who are fully trained in it need to spend our time on other things. Istevi is working on duplicating enchanted items, but he's not quite there yet." 

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Seni thinks. "Maybe you could do a small test? A small garden underground lit by the kids lights so we can see it's works. It's important to run a small scale experiment before implementing anything big."

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That was Mika's thought, too! "We've gotta make a lot of things to get better, anyway, right?"

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"Well, I don't see why not," Lia agrees after a moment of thought. "That does sound like a good use for all of the light enchantments the three of you will be making. We'll need to see if your mother thinks it's a good idea before I make any promises, though," she adds to Dasenifer.

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"I will write a project proposal for her." Seni says seriously.

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(Adorable) 

"I'll let her know to expect something, then," she agrees. "You did a very good job taking initiative like this," she adds. "Let me know if you think of anything else." 

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Mika nods enthusiastically, "We will!" He agrees, bouncing in place."I thought of heating houses, too, but I bet it's the same problem, right?"

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"It is. Along with the fact that heating rings don't heat more than about five feet around them. It's more efficient to use the methods we use right now." 

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"Maybe Istevi will figure out how to multiply them and even if that's slow to teach..." Seni pauses to think of words. "they would be good for infrastructure disadvantaged situations."

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"They would. Though that sort of thing will have to wait until we're ready to go public," she adds."It shouldn't be too hard to change the enchantment to have a larger field, for when we do get to that point," she tells Mika. "You could make that one of your projects." 

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"Mhm! I can make other enchantments then, too," he tells Seni, "Some things will be harder but I'll have warming and cooling and glowing and the notice-me-not enchantment, so if we think of things that are like those I can try." 

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Seni was not slumped, but he does something like perking up upon hearing that. Which is practically bouncing for when compared to his baseline. "We should write everything down."

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Mika has got the actual bouncing covered, "Yeah! Let's... go write stuff down and you can make a proposal for auntie Isteri?" He starts bouncing door-wards.

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"Okay! Thank you, Liarae!" And Seni follows after Mika.

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"You're welcome," she calls after them, before turning back to her papers. 

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Mika is going to stop in the reception area to borrow some paper and pencils and then head for the elevator, "Wanna work in the rooftop garden?" He suggests.

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"I do! By the area where those two greens keep trying to invent a game using blessings?"

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He giggles, "I feel like it shouldn't be that hard, but they haven't made a really fun one yet." He nods, "Sure, we can use the table over there." Elevator! Garden! Table? 

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Table! Seni explains what blue kids are taught about this kind of proposal. There are Formal Steps, but Seni can cover that part. They just need to figure out the rest. Like, where the garden will be and what they will plant there, maybe they should recruit a purple?

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"Hmm, I think Sefoni likes gardening," he suggests. "Or, I bet the gardeners up here could help us, if there's any around right now..." He goes up on his knees in the chair to see if he can spot one.

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There are a couple of Purples around, but Mika can recall that they are not gardeners.

"We should figure out a list of things we need first. And I think Sefoni was at the library? We contact her with a pocket everything."

 

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He nods, "Though she might know some things we need that we don't? Um..." He checks through his pockets, before blushing a bit, "And... I think I left mine... somewhere." 

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Blink. "Okay, I have mine." Seni searches for Sefoni in Deosikuri School Chat Rooms.

blue-sky-thinking: Hello, Sefoni! Me and are Mika are drafting a project that involves garderning. Do you want to help?

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Her everything beeps at her from her pocket. She blinks, then tugs it out and checks her notifications. 

"...This is one of the blue triplets, right?" She asks Tepam, showing her the message.

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Tepam peers. "Yeah, Seni, the serious one. Why are they doing a project with gardening?"

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"I don't know... I'll ask." 

fields-of-violets: A project about gardening? Why are you doing something like that?

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blue-sky-thinking: We wanted to see if using Mika's lights work. Also Tepam's and Lesi's.

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"Oh." She shows this to Tepam as well, "Should I ask if you can come, too?" 

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"You should. Maybe we should get Lesi too?"

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She looks around for Lesi, locating her at a table with a bunch of other greys and Ita, "We can ask, anyway," she agrees. 

fields-of-violets: I'll help. Tepam would like to help, too, if that's okay, and we could ask Lesi.

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"Apparently Tepam wants to help. And they want to ask Lesi too."

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"That's okay with me. They'll probably have ideas, too, and if all three of us are working on this then we can all make lights for it." 

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Seni nods and messages Sefoni.

blue-sky-thinking: That would be great, more people to think of ideas.

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So Sefoni and Tepam can go ask Lesi.

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Lesi is interested! Do any of the people at the table want to help, too? 

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Ita wants to help with the gardening. The Greys still technically have homework.

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Technically, Lesi does too... The same homework, even. Oh well, she'll do it with Mika later. 

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To the garden, then! Sefoni becomes obviously more cheerful once they reach it. She still stays a bit behind the others once they get close to the table, though. Seni is a little bit intimidating. 

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"Hi, what are we doing?" Lesi asks, pulling herself up into a chair. 

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"We're going to make a place to grow things underground, but we don't know a lot about gardening. And we were thinking of things to do with the magic the three of us have," he motions to Tepam and Lesi and himself.

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"I can help with the gardening too, if you want." She is not sure if it's the sort of thing that requires two purples.

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Tepam bounces. "That sounds fun!"

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Seni nods at Ita and Tepam. "I think we need to figure out how many lights we are going to need? And how much space?"

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"Tools ...and kinds of plants?"

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"If you're making an indoor garden, especially if you're going to grow food, you're going to need soil with lots of nutrients. And you'll need to set up a system for watering them, too. And it's important to make sure the lights are the right kind of light, too. Are they full-spectrum like sunlight? Cause if they're not they might not be able to feed the plants." 

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"Yes, they are, just like sunlight. I think we can get good soil? And water?" Tepam asks looking at Seni.

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Seni nods. "We don't need to make lots of food right away, though it would be impressive. And we can get a place that has water. It's going to be a basement level, I think."

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"If we can get lots of water we could do hydroponics instead," she adds. "It's harder to set up but lots of our food gets grown that way cause it takes up less space, and it lets people control the crops better." 

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"Could we do some of both?"

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"Might depend on how much space we have available. But I will write that down."

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"It's also hard to say how many lights we'll need until we know how much space we'll have," Lesi points out.

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"Do we have somewhere that would work, or are they gonna have to build it? I know we've got basement levels..." 

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"Oh, we just need to figure out the ratio of light per floor space."

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"And the first step of any project is figuring all the things you need to know before you pick a location."

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Nodnod, "That makes sense. So what else do we need to know? I think we'll need to actually test the lights to see how many we'll need per square meter, right? So that should be something for later. For now... we need to know what should be grown, and what else we need to grow it, and probably who we need to do this... Do you know some of this stuff, Sefoni?"

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Sefoni knows a bunch of this stuff! If she were a normal purple in a normal purple school she would already be aiming for agriculture track. She can make suggestions for plant types and note down the tools they'll need and she can show them the right websites to find more information on the topic, too! 

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And Tepam knows how to check the light levels and how to set up experiments. They can do different light levels to check for efficiency too. And maybe see if their warming/cooling rings help with plants that need certain temperatures.

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Oh, that's a good idea! There's lots of plants that need certain temperature ranges, or don't need them but grow better if they stay inside them. 

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They can change lighting levels just by spacing the lights differently, right? Cause the enchantment only seems to have one brightness setting, though he can sort of see how they'd change it... it's too bad that they aren't allowed to change the recipes yet. 

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Spacing the lamps, shading and maybe some mirrors to redirect light.

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Cool! Maybe they could use one of the lab spaces in the building to do this? Though they'll need mirrors and stuff, they'll have to ask someone for those, probably. 

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Seni is writing everything down. A lab would be ideal, yeah maybe some storage area if they can't.

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They can ask! They can check aunt Patiri's office, she'll be able to tell them one way or another, if she's in.

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"Or we could just call her," Lesi reminds him, "We don't all lose our everythings all the time." 

(Mika pouts at her. Mean.)

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"She doesn't like when people interrupt her. I will text. What else do we need to ask her about?"

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"Besides lab space, we shoud ask about devices to measure light, and the mirrors, and I guess we still have to figure out water, seeds and soil?"

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Sefoni nods, "I have some we can use for experiments," she offers. "Soil and seeds, that is. We'll have to order a bunch more for the actual garden, though. We'll need pots and tools, too."

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Alright, with that in mind, they can move to the research stage of their little project.

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They figure out some light levels spacing and do research in hydroponics.

And they also discover an old bunker sort of thing from when the time when Oahk invaded everything. It's not the first thing one would think of for a hydroponics garden, but it's safe, has water, size and ventilation.

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And Seni writes a formal project proposal and presents to his mom, she was feeling down and that cheers her up.

(His brothers are jealous.)

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And then it's time to get down to work. Or, at least, for the others to, with help and supervision by some adults. Mika and Lesi and Tepam, meanwhile, get to make many, many lights, and they learn the other two enchantments and make lots and lots of them, too. 

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Sefoni does some research and picks out the best crops for their first attempt, hardy ones which easily take to this style of growth. Being in the middle of this kind of project is great fun! She spends a lot of time down in the bunker when they're setting up, and even more once the plants start growing. Luckily her twin is around to drag her back home every evening, if she didn't have Keolin she might just live there! 

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Ita is not taking much of a leading role in the project, but she is often there to help Sefoni around. The place does not look like an actual garden, but the green and the lights help a lot.

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Tepam often visits to check the progress or just watch the Purple's work.

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Of course, there's only two enchanting tables, so they have to take turns. Once his turn is done for the morning, Mika brings down the box of glowing stones, bounding through the big door to the vault and swinging it closed behind him. "Lesi's still on Aunt Patiri's table, but mum's is all yours, Tep!" He calls over to her as he sets the box down on a table near the door. 

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"Yay! I will go up there in a minute." Tepam says, taking pictures of a sprout next to a ruler.

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Ita comes close and looks inside the box. "How is your sister?"

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The box is full of cheap clear gemstones, which they've been using for enchanting practice rather than rings.

"Kinda frustrated." He shifts a bit, frowning down at his box unhappily. Lesi finds enchanting harder than he and Tepam do. It's not really something anyone else can help with, either. 

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Sefoni peers at the ruler from the other side of the plant Tepam is measuring, "That's more than it grew yesterday, isn't it?" She smiles, "You're doing a very good job," she compliments the sprout. 

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Tepam pats it. "Very good."

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"Because of Enchanting?"

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"Yeah. Mum says Lesi just isn't as good at controlling her magicka as me and Tep are."

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Sefoni giggles, "It must be all the compliments. You know talking to plants makes them grow up healthier!"

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"It does?"

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Ita nods. "It sounds very complicated when Tepam tries to explain it."

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He nods, "It's harder to explain than it is to do, I think. You've gotta control two different kinds of energy, and it's gotta be the right amounts in the right places, in just the right pattern, and you've gotta hold all that together at once. We know all the things we have to do cause we have the recipe in our heads, but actually doing it perfectly isn't so easy." 

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"Yeah! No one really knows why, but everyone says so, and I know some greens have done experiments on it, too."

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"How they don't know it's Amentan-kind of magic?"

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Ita nods in that intrigued way she nods when she thinks something is not purple-enough for her to understand.

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Mika notices this and smiles a bit sheepishly, "Sorry, that was kinda green for a grey, wasn't it."

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"I guess they don't! Maybe we should get your mom to use her magic stone look at the plants while we talk to them to see if it's magic." 

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"Oooh, we should do that." Tepam pulls out her pocket everything. "Oh, right, the wifi doesn't reach down here."

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"I mean, it's okay, grays can be really smart and you're half-blue..." she gets one of those looks like she doesn't know if she should ask what she wants to ask.

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"Purples can be really smart, too, you know." He notices the look - his head tilts, "Gotta question?" 

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"Oh, right. Well, you have to go upstairs anyway, you can just ask then, can't you?" 

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"Oh, right. I should go." She hugs Sefoni and goes towards the door.

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Ita doesn't notice Tepam approaching. "Huh, mom says that I shouldn't believe in rumors, but people say that you're the blue triplets' cousins and you are smart..."

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"I thought the rumor was that they are my dad's secret kids." Tepam says startling Ita.

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"I heard that Ms Liarae is Ms Isteri's secret sister," Sefoni adds quietly from the nearby flowerbed. 

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Blink. "Oh, those rumours," he giggles, "I don't think any of those are true! Mum doesn't talk about our dad but she would've said if it was Uncle Istevi, or if Seni and Karo and Teo were our actual cousins." 

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Ita blushes. "I know they are a silly, I know. But you get a long with Seni..."

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"I like Seni! I like lots of people. I think I get along with most of them? I'd have to be related to a lotta people if that was all it took." 

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"Yes, but Seni can be kind of scary sometimes, Mika. He's so serious..." 

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"Scary?" He is very confused by this, "Seni is really nice, though. He really wants to help everyone, and that's hard, so he's gotta be serious about it." 

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"Yeah, but Karo and Teo, like... act like kids sometimes."

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"They don't have to be the same just 'cause they're identical, you know. Seni just gets excited about different things. And... he doesn't really show it as much when he does, I guess." 

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"He doesn't show it at all. I don't think I've ever seen him smile," Sefoni comments. "If they weren't identical you almost couldn't believe him and Karo were brothers." 

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"I guess you're just not looking close enough, then," Mika tells her, a little annoyed. 

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"He is weird. Which is good, weird is interesting. At least he is not boring... or that sort of blue that is... all smiles. Not like Karo, the ones you know are fake?"

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"Yeah, like the ones that talk on TV. I don't like those ones much. It's like they think everyone else is stupid." 

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"Oh, so that's why that pair of twins, the ones with really deep blue hair are like that?"

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"Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's why." He shrugs.

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"Anyway, Mika help me open the door? I don't like tiring my arms before enchanting."

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"Oh, sure!" He joins her in walking over to the door. "Sorry, I know we're not supposed to close it during the day cause it's so hard to move," he tells Tepam, before stepping up to push it open. 

 

...That's not the hallway outside the bunker garden.

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"Wait, what?" Tepam says looking around and even touching the tables to make sure they are solid. Then she sees something on the same wall the door is supposed to be in and gasps. "Guys, guys, look!"

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Ita steps and looks and also gasps. "Are... those? Exploding stars?"

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"...I think they are," Sefoni agrees as she comes up beside her.

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"Exploding stars?" Mika asks, letting the door fall shut behind him now that they're all inside. He looks around the room, taking in the tables and the bartenderless bar and the extremely varied patrons, who are watching the newcomers with some interest. 

"Hey Tep..." He says slowly, turning to stare out the window at the exploding stars. "I think we're in Milliways."