Dec 03, 2021 3:00 PM
a trickster in amenta
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"Oh..."

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"Do you want learning English?" he offers again. "Faster than plumbing."

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"Faster than plumbing? I don't know if I'm any good at languages, red school doesn't really cover them..."

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Hmm.

He searches his vocabulary notes until he finds a relevant word: "Build," he says, constructing a little box out of folded paper. Then he unfolds and scatters the pieces, takes his hands away, hums thoughtfully to himself, and... the paper reassembles without outside intervention, pulling together into the shape of the box. "Build faster."

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"Do you mean you can teach me English by magic?"

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He nods, but also asks, "Magic? New word."

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"Magic is - what you're doing with the paper. I think. Maybe it's not magic. But Uncle Nelen said your pocket everything looked kind of old. - can't you teach yourself Anitami by magic?"

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He shakes his head. "I learn by magic slow. I you learn by magic fast."

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"...I think I have to ask a grownup about this."

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Agreeable nod.

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Tosu sends Nelen a message on her pocket everything, but he's at work, so she doesn't get a reply till twenty minutes later. Then she follows his instructions to delete the messages entirely, and then she asks Samfek, the retired organizer, to come over soon please.

Samfek is over a few minutes after that.

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Friendly smile. "Hello! I'm Eden."

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"Hello. I'm Samfek.

Tosu, you can go."

Tosu gathers up her things and skedaddles.

"Is the magic dangerous?" Samfek asks, speaking slowly and distinctly with pauses between words for his benefit.

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...hm.

"Learn by magic not dangerous."

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"Is it obvious? Can someone tell who has had this happen to them?"

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His vocabulary is not exactly up to this task but he is going to try his best.

"Magic person can tell who has had magic happen. Soon after magic, can tell easy. Later after, harder. Long after, very hard."

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She thinks about this very gravely, and then says, "You may magically teach me English."

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He nods.

He concentrates for a moment, then says in English, "There, that should be a start. It won't be perfect but you'll at least understand what I'm saying, I hope?"

(The words are perfectly comprehensible, but trying to answer back in the same language leads to a sort of tip-of-the-tongue feeling, like she could remember the words for what she's trying to say if only she thought about it for long enough but they just aren't coming to her.)

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"- ah. Yes. Thank you."

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"The type of magic I'm using for this works better the longer I've known someone, and I can use it in reverse but in that direction it only barely lets me understand what someone is saying to me in the moment. Still, it should let us have a conversation, and the longer we spend at it the better you'll pick up English. The traces are obvious to magical senses for a few hours and fade out to the point where they're completely undetectable after a few weeks, but as far as I can tell there isn't any magic of a kind I can detect on this planet, so I don't think you need to worry about anyone noticing them."

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She nods along. She looks very concerned, but fairly chill about it. "What brings you here?"

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"I didn't exactly mean to come here," he admits wryly. "I was experimenting with magical transportation and being rather more reckless than I should have. I did not expect to end up on another planet. If I'm right about what happened I should be able to travel back and forth at will eventually, but it could take me a while to work out a reliable method and I'm not eager to repeat the experiment anytime soon lest I land somewhere less hospitable."

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"And being in - this neighborhood - was coincidence?"

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"Yes, entirely. I'm lucky I didn't land in an ocean. Why?"

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"Just checking.

Does your magic let you read Anitami?"

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