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Jul 03, 2020 11:49 AM
a Cameron is the demon lord
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The ABB thugs close in as Ame dives for the end of the alley, leaving her clothes, her money, and her last john behind. She has her shoes, and she has her knife, and she has to hope that will be enough.

She'd gotten complacent, not paying as much attention as she should to where she was. The ABB seemed to think they owned the concept of prostitution in this city, and how dare she spread her legs for cash without giving them a cut? (In the sense of them cutting on her.) Fuckless fuckers.

A lean guy in the gang colors lunges at her, but she slashes with her knife, scoring a cut on his arm, and just barely manages to slip through the figurative net. Ignoring the agony in her wildly bouncing bare tits, she breaks into a full sprint.

She makes it to the street. And then there is a truck, glimpsed for an instant. Then there is pain. Then there is nothing.

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Time might be passing, or it might not. Nothing can be felt or heard. There's no room for thoughts. There is simply a sense of vastness and eternity. It's peaceful.

Suddenly enough that one might blink in surprise, Ameron is sitting in a comfortable chair on an elaborate rug which is resting on some kind of tower. She's wearing whatever would best be described as her usual outfit, less any damage or grime. The landscape all around is bucolic - rolling green hills, pastoral rivers, and friendly-looking forests. An old woman in a bright floral dress smiles warmly and gestures to a fancy porcelain tea set on a round table between them.

"What kind of tea would you like, dearie?"

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Ame is a (rather successful) underage homeless street prostitute. Her usual outfit isn't much 'better' than being naked, and she's a little more preoccupied by

TRUCK!

FUGUE?

This is definitely not Brockton Bay.

This is... not anywhere near Brockton Bay.

Also, she distinctly remembers a massive tire separating her leg from her hip.

"Oh fuck..."

"...my brain's in a jar in some tinkerlab right now, isn't it."

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Tea Lady shakes her head. "Unfortunately, you are dead. Are you sure you don't want tea? I find tea helps when it's time for these conversations."

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Ame just stares at her flatly for a long, awkward moment.

"No. Thank you. I don't want..." she makes air quotes, "tea."

"The way you're using words, words like 'dead', fuck knows what you think 'tea' is."

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"Mm." She pours herself a cup of something that steams and smells very tea-like and sips at it. "I suppose if death means oblivion to you, then you are not dead. You've simply been moved by the loss of your previous body. Regardless, you are not a usual case. Instead of whatever normally would have happened, you are soon to enter a world that is likely quite different from your own. I am here to help with that. Answer questions, offer explanations and advice."

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Ame blinks at this shockingly reasonable concession.

"Uh, alright. What world? If I'm not hallucinating in a brain jar, where am I and how did I get here, and more importantly, why did I get here?"

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"The universe has no specific name. The planet, like Earth, Terra, Země, Aarde, Bhūmi, goes by many names. 'Damen' is currently a common one."

Sip.

"You are entering a less orderly world, and by world I mean 'universe', with different underlying rules and systems that pose certain challenges. The laws of physics, such as they are, are quite different. One effect of this is that occasionally, appropriate souls- those who are likely to be at least passingly familiar with relevant concepts, with an outside perspective, with strong drive and a certain indefinable spark- Will find themselves drawn to this world from others. Such souls receive a chance at a new life, power, and advantages compared to the average person in exchange for accepting a duty - to grow powerful in their new home and defend it against the forces that would destroy it."

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"...that sounds super fake. Alternate universe are supposed to have all diverged from the same..."

Ame trails off and sighs.

"But what do I know, I'm just a homeless kid and a whore. So, I'm supposed to be 'passingly familiar with the relevant concepts' and have 'a strong drive to save the world'? I mean, I guess you could say I'm a... driven sort of person, if you squint. What are 'the relevant concepts'? And, again why? And also why me? I'm a criminal."

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"I don't know all the details of the selection process. It selects based on intangibles. It does prefer young people who have met untimely deaths."

Sip, sip.

"The most important concepts are the Winds of Magic, Skills, and Dungeons. It's inadvisable to have me tell you too much about these things, as your perspective as an outsider is valuable. The Winds of Magic are a metaphorical cornerstone of this world. They are a topic as complex and deep as any other world's physics, but the key thing is that they have a mutable and sometimes metaphorical nature. This is what I mean by 'less orderly'. Skills are specific groups of actions or tasks bundled together in intuitive ways. After one practices, oh, let's say cooking, the long way, one earns a level in the cooking Skill and can broil steaks, scramble eggs, and bake bread with passable competence, even if they practiced only with soups and vegetables. Dungeons are magical entities that produce both monsters and valuable materials or objects, and it's a common career to enter dungeons and fight the monsters in order to retrieve the objects."

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"...well, you're not wrong. Those are... familiar... concepts..."

Ame rarely had the opportunity, but one glorious weekend one of her more unlikely and improbable 'clients' (he'd been closer to her own age, and had paid her enough she was willing to sleep over) had wanted the gamer girl fantasy. And he'd gotten something closer to the reality than the fantasy. She'd been completely engrossed in the RPG he'd had her play, but he hadn't actually complained about her as good as ignoring him the whole time he had his cock in her.

Is she taking this premise seriously? Apparently. That didn't take long.

"Alright, assume I believe you. Tell me about these forces that want to destroy, uh, Damen. And about why it's my problem, apparently."

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"Well, you will be living there. If the world were destroyed, your new body would be as well, and I know not what your soul's fate would be after that."

Sip.

"The winds of Dark have grown too strong, and a Demon Lord is soon to arise. Their powers, strategies, and goals cannot be known in advance - but they will be grand and terrible and destructive. Whole cities and kingdoms, perhaps even entire continents, will vanish before them."

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"Presumably, a lot more people than me will be living there, and will also die if the world were destroyed. Why am I supposed to be better at preventing that than a local? Unless you need someone sexed up I'm not that useful."

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"My apologies for overestimating your self-interest." She frowns slightly and swirls the half-empty teacup. "I admit yours is not a usual sort of heroic background. Regardless, you will have extreme potential compared to the average person, due to the nature of the summoning. Souls are... Hmm. This is an extreme simplification, mind you, but otherworldly souls are wreathed in powerful energies in the process of bringing them here, and I'm going to give you a little boost as well."

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"A boost? And, extreme potential? What kind of extreme potential?"

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"You will level faster, find learning magic far easier than average, and have a superior growth and advancement rate. And, when our time here is done - it's not infinite, alas - you will receive a Unique Skill. A powerful and unique ability that is beyond what is possible for ordinary people. Simply tell me what sort of power you would wish to have, and I will do my best."

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Did she really just say 'level faster' like this was literally...

"Wait. Power? You can give me powers?" Ame exclaims excitedly.

"Uh..." She pauses, her mind pulled in two directions: the things that immediately come to mind about living her life that suck, and the things that struck her as really annoying not to have when she played that RPG. "I really get to pick?"

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A grandmotherly smile. "I can influence what kind of Unique Skill you receive. You would be getting it even if I had not stopped you and spoken to you, though you wouldn't get to choose in that case. You should pick a general theme, or perhaps a goal. Neither you nor I can control the exact details, and things like 'the ability to return home', 'total unconditional invulnerability', or 'time-unlimited resurrection' are sadly impossible."

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Ame nods thoughtfully.

"What about conditional invulnerability? Like, uh..."

"I want... I want to be, or have the ability to, like, be immune to all the negative physical consequences of sex, prevent menstruation, and be immune to all the negative physical consequences of being naked in the wilderness, or uh, being naked in a fight? Is there a 'theme' that'll do that for me and also make it easy to keep my, uh, 'party members' alive and healthy?"

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The old lady sips her tea thoughtfully for a while. A pleasant breeze blows and windchimes sound from somewhere.

 

 

"...Yes, that should be doable. Which is more important to you, the health and environmental sealing effects on yourself, or the healing and buffing of others aspect? You'll get a good mix of both, but which is primary?"

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"That depends on details, I think. I'm not sure I can make that call unless you can tell me about, uh, my 'quest', in a lot more detail?"

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Tea Lady shakes her head. "The Demon Lord's plans are not yet clear. All else being equal, I suggest your self-focused effects being primary, but I will try my best to balance both aspects, of course."

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Ame bites her lip.

"I guess leave that to chance or fate or whatever."

She nods.

"What about the immediate, uh, vicinity, of wherever I'm going? Can you tell me about that? Should I be asking for, like, a map."

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She pulls a small paper map out from under the table.

"You'll find yourself within a day or two's travel of a town or village, not in a Dungeon or anywhere you're in severe physical danger. You shan't have trouble with languages. It would be a poor use of time to describe particular political units. There are too many to cover quickly."

The map shows one massive mostly-round continent with a few big inland seas like the Mediterranean that go quite deep into the interior, ringed by either small continents or large islands and snaky archipelagos on all sides. There are odd holes in the coastline and mountains here and there.

She gestures over to one of the pretty forests, where the trees are starting to turn orange and golden. "Our time here is growing short."

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Ame studies the map for a long moment. 

"Alright. Anything else?"

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"I would like to let you discover how to work magic or seek a local teacher yourself. There are nonhuman people of various kinds, some humanoid and some not. Overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer." Sip. "I think that's everything. Unless you've any further questions...?"

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