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Generated: Oct 25, 2021 9:01 PM
Post last updated: Oct 25, 2021 9:33 PM
i hear you night after night
ellie investigates a haunted house
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Ellie has been calling herself a witch for a while now, if only in private. That seems the appropriate word for one who practices the sort of rituals and hexes she found in that dusty old grimoire. Lots of blood and bone and moonlit incantations. The first spell she tried just because she was bored- but it worked. Then she started experimenting, reanimating mice and creating ravens of shadow and giving bad luck to people who annoy her. She's looking to expand her practices, though, and for that, she needs a private place to work.

A divination ritual (purportedly) triangulates for her an old house on a wooded lot outside of town. It's definitely abandoned, and the story is that it's also haunted. It'll serve her purposes. And if any ghosts show up... she bets she can deal with them.

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It's definitely from the era when Victorian architecture was coming fully into vogue, at least. Seems the classic haunted aesthetic. Not a newer take on an old fashion - this house has weight. It's stood here a long time.

The grounds are protected by a still intact iron fence, hedges grown over and through it, brambles with wicked thorns warning off all but the most stubborn teenagers on dares. Ellie can get through it, though. Killing plants is pretty basic. Past that - overgrown, again, roses tumbling across the yard like spilled beads from a greenhouse off to the house's right, the glass in it shattered. Other flowers have taken root and grown wild, but the roses - they're the showiest. Dark, moody reds predominate, with a few splashes of large white roses with a bright red on their edges trying to push through. The pathway under Ellie's feet - totally absent outside the gates - is intact, black and white stones forming complicated swirling patterns. Trees grow tall and scraggly throughout, forming a dark canopy that only reluctantly lets the moonlight through.

The house itself... Large and rambling, though the front facade is a bit deceptive about how large and rambling. The paint is faded entirely, chipped off and greyed, but - it might've been dark, once. The windows are intact, mostly, only a single broken one up in the attic, and the form of the house is -

Shockingly straight. Like someone smudged the house after it was newly built. There's no sagging. No missing roof tiles. No apparent rot, not in the grand front porch nor in the sideboards. Birds have nested in every plausible nook or cranny, but - there's no signs of damage from animals, either.

The wind moans around Ellie, low and cold.

The doors to the house are enormous and hard to miss, stained glass windows flanking them. They're said to be unlocked.

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They make an obvious entrance point, then.

It is... a little strange, the condition of the house. Though convenient for her, if it's not a moldy old ruin.

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The entryway is - in much more terrible condition. Still looks structurally sound, but the interior's trashed and coated in a thick layer of dust. It's impossible to tell how it used to be decorated. There's an enormous staircase curling around the room, starting on her left, a small door to her right, and an entrance into another room straight ahead. There's picture frames, the glass smudged and cracked.

The light in the room is - incongruous with how bright and where the moon was. Warmer. Angled like a beam from above, even though there's no light hanging, no hole in the ceiling.

There's a shiver in the floorboards. A deep, angry moan.

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Old furnace or something, maybe.

First she needs to see if there's a decent place to set up. Straight ahead?

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It takes her to an empty-ish room, except some dust and debris. There's a grand fireplace, bricks faded, on the wall opposite the entry, but not much else. Looks like there's a kitchen to the right, maybe, and another closed door to the left. It's pretty big.

There's a wind kicking up some of the dust into little swirls, even though the door to the outside is closed.

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Old sitting room, maybe. Strange that there's no furniture.

Ellie coughs.

She needs to do something about this dust, though. Maybe the kitchen has a window she can open.

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That'd be a no! It's a very closed in, dark kitchen - there maybe used to be a window, but it looks like it's been boarded up. The kitchen does at least have furniture, though.

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Maybe she can drag out a chair and a table to the big room. Prop open the door and the front.

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The side door reveals a cluttered room, full of junk and cobwebs and more dust...

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And a massive gust of wind pours in the front door, kicking the dust up into a storm inside the house - and slamming the front door shut again on the back draft.

The house moans.

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Ack!

"Dust," she chokes, "needs to go out."

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The house - shivers?

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Yeah that's great but she needs some fresh air now.

She goes to open the front door.

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The door's very, very heavy, more so than it was.

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"Ah, dammit..."

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There's a soft whistle of wind inside the room, an almost questioning sound if Ellie was inclined to personify a house, and the dust starts to settle.

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She's starting to think there really is a ghost in here.

"Look, if you want me to stay, you need to not stir up the dust so I can breathe."

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A soft moan -

And the dust settles, very rapidly.

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"...Better."

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Another small shiver, a sound almost like the house is settling on its foundations, even though it seems very, very stable.

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"Though it'd be better still if you just got the dust all the way out. Or all piled up in a small room somewhere."

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Mmmmrn.

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"Well, whatever. Just keep it on the floor. I'll bring a blanket or something next time."

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The air feels a bit heavy, then -

Some of the dust rearranges. Not very neatly, with little gusts of wind, but none of it's going into Ellie's eyes or throat. Just her shoes.

WHY

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"Because I don't want my things to get dirty and the texture of a dusty surface is unpleasant."

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More dust swirls, adding words.

WHY COME BACK

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"I need a quiet place to work, but wasn't planning on sleeping here."

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Mmmrn.

WHAT WORK? 

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"Witch things."

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WHO ARE YOU? 

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"My name's Ellie."

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The house shifts. 

WHAT WITCH THINGS? 

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"Stuff out of my grimoire, mostly." She pats her bag. "I haven't gotten all the way through it yet."

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WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

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"One time I exsanguinated a mouse and then made it run around on its hind legs."

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SMALL. 

CAN YOU MANIFEST ANCHORS?

The handwriting (wind writing?) has an almost desperate air to it, letters slashed quickly. 

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"Dunno what those are. I can check. Everything else I've tried has worked."

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I NEED ONE TO LEAVE.

And then a gust of wind smudges out 'leave,' and then changes the message to:

I NEED ONE TO EXIST.

A pause, before:

I CAN TEACH YOU.

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Huh.

"Okay..."

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The wind - jitters a bit, back and forth, the writing all smudging, though none of the dust swirls up into Ellie's eyes.

I WANT TO SEE YOU.

GO UPSTAIRS.

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"-Do you have a name?"

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NOT ANYMORE

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Hmm.

Upstairs, then.

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A very helpful breeze and some arrows in the dust point her to... A very creepy door into another room near the back of the main house.

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She hesitates before opening it.

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It doesn't attack her, or do anything weird, or make odd noises -

The room beyond is entirely intact, like the inhabitant got up and stepped out to get some coffee five minutes ago. A dress draped across the back of a chair, a messy pile of blankets and dolls on the bed, a hand mirror and comb askew on the vanity, ashes in the fireplace and stacks of books on a side table and in a corner and on a chair...

It's faded, though. Not dirty, not dusty - drained, all the color and life removed. It's quiet, and the windows don't show the world outside, just - a soft, unreal glow.

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"Was this your room?"

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There's a girl, the same grey and silver tones as the room -

A woman, perhaps, but she looks young and lost even though she's probably a bit older than Ellie (even ignoring how long she's been dead). Her clothes are... Old fashioned, but it's hard to place the era. She's in a pretty simple night dress.

"Yeah," she says, softly.

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"Oh." Wow she's pretty.

"Uh, hi?"

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Small smile.

"Hi."

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"So you're... a ghost?"

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"Yeah." Shrug.

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"Never met a ghost before."

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"I don't meet a lot of the living, so."

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"Sounds like we're even, then."

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"Perhaps."

"What year is it, out there?"

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"Two thousand eleven."

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"Oh."

"It's been a while, then..."

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"How long?"

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"Over a century."

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"That's a long time..."

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"It has been."

She looks away. "Where'd you get a grimoire?"

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"The library's basement."

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"Which library?"

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"The old one down in the center of town, on Short Street."

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"Oh."

"I remember when that opened."

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"I guess that makes sense."

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Nod.

"It's nice that it's still there."

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"Yeah."

"So, this anchor thing."

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Nod.

"It's - a body, in many ways. A shell that contains and holds your soul so that Death can't find it, but one you can't go very far from."

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"Is this room your anchor now?"

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"The house is, but - I didn't make it, and it wasn't. Stable. So the room's the only piece - at all healthy."

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"What do I need to make a new anchor?"

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"Something hollow and portable, that's appropriately aesthetic, but you can use necromancy to change how things look, so that matters a bit less."

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"What's the appropriate aesthetic?"

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"Something I'd want to have my soul stuck in, of course."

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"Uh-huh."

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She giggles. "It is actually important. You can't stick someone in something they don't identify with, at some level or another."

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"Well, all I have right now is a water bottle."

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"Not something I could easily be, I don't think."

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"You'll have to give me some clues, then."

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Hum. "Something pretty, but not in a flower sort of way - I guess unless it's a very dangerous flower."

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"Dangerously shiny. I'll keep an eye out."

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She laughs. "You know me already."

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"I guess. Anything else I need to prepare."

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Hum. "Some things."

She can provide Ellie with a shopping list for ritual components. (Fortunately, all the ones the ghost thinks are rare or difficult to get, Ellie recognizes as things the local crystals-and-hippie-stuff shop sells. Either that or the grocery store.)

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"Cool. It'll probably take me a couple days to come up with everything."

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"Will you come back before then?"

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"In theory, no reason why not."

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"I'd like you to."

"You can sleep here. There's no dust."

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"I didn't bring what I'd need to spend the night."

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"What else do you need?"

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"Toothbrush. Change of clothes. Breakfast."

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"There's clothes here..."

"But you probably don't want my toiletries."

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"Thanks for offering, but no."

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Nod. "...I'm not going to try to stop you from leaving."

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"That does make me more willing to come back."

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"I'll never trap you somewhere. - Not on purpose. I wasn't - awake, earlier, when the door got stuck."

"I'll try not to do it on accident."

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"Great."

"I should get going soon, then."

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...Nod.

"Okay."

"I'll be awake when you're back."

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"Enough to open the door for me?"

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"Yeah."

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"Good. I'll see you later, then."

And time to head out.

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"Wait," the ghost says before she leaves. "I - if you promise to come right back here where we can talk, I could remove the dust in the house? So it's nicer."

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"-That would be nice."

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"Okay. I'll do that."

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"I'll look forward to seeing the change."

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Small smile. "We'll see how much I can clean up."

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"Until next time."

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"Until then."

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And Ellie leaves.

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And the house waits for her return.

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It takes her a couple days to gather everything. The bulk of the time is spent hemming and hawing over what exactly to propose for the container. She- wants to get it right the first time. Finally, she decides on a knife-and-sheath from the crystal shops, a fancy one with a dark-stained blade and red leather with silver wrapping for the hilt and sheath.

It's back to the house that evening.

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The house has been - waiting.

She started despairing after the second day. The gardens are a bit wilted. But the house is almost painfully prepared, cleaned up - fretted over. The portraits she hated are just gone, and everything is perfectly clean, the windows un-smudged so light shines into the house. It's - prettier, that way. More ethereal and sad, less creepy and threatening. The exterior is cleaner, though the paint isn't any less faded or chipped. The brambles and hedges and overgrowth have retreated from the paths.

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Huh. That's a bigger change than she was expecting.

Ellie walks up the path to the front door.

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It swings open with a little sigh from the house.

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"...I'm home," she calls as she enters, feeling a little silly.

Up to the bedroom upstairs.

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The house shivers as she enters. 

The ghost is sitting on her bed when Ellie enters, smiling broadly. "Welcome back! I - was getting worried."

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"That I wouldn't come back?"

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Her smile fades a little. "Some? Or - that'd I'd drift off and stop being awake before you did."

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"Well, I did, and you didn't. So."

"I got the stuff." She takes out the miscellaneous supplies. "And for the vessel-" Knife?

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She leans forward, making a very interested noise. "Oh, it's pretty."

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(She liked it!)

"Think it'll work?"

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"Wonderfully so."

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"Great."

"How do I get started?"

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"Well..." She describes the usual rituals, and the variations she's aware of - and her theories about how it all works, and what bits you actually need...

She knows a lot about magic, but, also, this is way more complicated than anything Ellie has done to date - it requires a sort of meditative focused intent, a working as permanent as workings can be. Tricky, that. Everything Ellie has encountered so far has been stubbornly, extremely, ephemeral. 

"Necromantic workings don't like living," she says. "They want to return to the dust, and they'd rather not bring anything to life in the meantime. Making a corpse dance... That's a really impressive first try, honestly. But every thread of magic that exists wants me fully, properly dead, and we're going to have to turn it against itself."

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Hrm. "Well. I don't want you dead."

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Grin. "A wonderful place to start. You can do a lot with just that - your strong will is probably why even the trickier workings have come easily so far - but you'll need to bring your cleverness to bear alongside your strength for this."

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"Right."

"What happens if I mess up?"

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"Worst case? We both die, and if the grimmest philosophers are right, we get punished for our hubris in whatever comes after."

"More likely - you're fine, and I either snap back here or become unmoored. Second probably will fully kill me eventually, but you'll have time to redo the ceremony."

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Huff.

"No pressure, then."

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"None at all."

"I'll help, as much as I can, and necromancy is good at self-sabotage, in many ways."

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"Hm?"

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"It's Death magic, all of it, and it wants all things to die."

"Now, with rocks and streams and all - that's a pretty easy order. Rocks get worn to dust, streams dry up, everything gets broken down and recycled. Nothing natural can hold out against that cold implacability, that patience, for eternity. It'll be worn down, sooner or later."

"Life, though? Life's a thorn in Death's side. Cut a rock, and it stays broken. Cut skin, and it heals. Messily, sometimes, but it does, and cold and implacable and patient can't keep up with that, and even sitting and waiting for the inevitable trip - well, Life's pretty good at innovation."

"So if your enemy's walls are too high, their guards too numerous and vigilant, their supplies robust and their ability to recover guaranteed - you get creative right back. You turn them against themselves."

"Cut a woman's neck, and her heart will beat furiously to try and get blood to the brain and therefore spill everything of value out, rather than moving slow and calm to stem the tide. A bee stings a man, and his body kills itself trying to protect him from a tiny wisp of a toxin. The body's own cells turn against it, growing out of control, strangling all life."

"Humans are ridiculous creatures, and Death is very, very good at getting things to sabotage themselves - and necromancy is Death's magic, not Life's."

"It's wonderfully poetic, don't you think, to use Death's very tools against her?"

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"Wow."

"You know a lot."

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"I'm very smart, and I've had a lot of time to study."

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Giggle.

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"Fortunately you have me here to pass on some of my vast wisdom."

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"Quite."

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"There are some specific tricks, of course."

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"If you're talking, I'll listen."

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"Strength of will, intelligence, and now great wisdom... You're a talented woman."

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"Let's see if I'm good enough to get you out of this house."

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"We can take our time if you're unsure, as - long as you're willing to keep coming back."

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"I think I'm good. You've waited long enough."

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"Thanks."

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Down to business, then.

Ellie sets up the spell components and begins the ritual.

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It's a long process, with multiple phases.

The first is clearing the area - the ghost's current sphere of influence - of conflicting energy, of any currents that might strengthen Death's case. Much of this involves spraying water the ghost instructed her in how to mix together - she's very fascinated and delighted by the idea of a spray bottle rather than the traditional solutions. 

This also involves picking up and moving offending objects off her 'property' - the ghost can't force things past the edges herself. Things that belonged to other people - old remnants of the house's previous inhabitants, the sort of trash you get in a haunted property popular with dumb kids who want to give each other dares...

And - "Are you at all bothered by bones?" she asks. 

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"Dry ones? Not particularly."

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"I haven't killed anyone in a while, so they're all quite dry."

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"No problem, then."

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Grin. "They're mostly collected down in the basement - I'd figured that was classic - and there should be some boxes you can load things up in. The river out behind the property is a good dumping ground for bodies, though be careful you don't fall in. It's faster and deeper than it looks."

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"I'll be careful. Keep the door open, yeah?"

Off to collect some bodies. Ellie's a bit curious if they used to be the ghost's family or what.

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Sadly, the ghost can't answer questions outside her room without something to write in. 

The skeletons are grouped, all the bones that belonged to each person laid out fairly carefully, their skulls on a little ledge above their bodies, some of what might be their belongings at their feet. This is a big basement - it probably used to be a root cellar - and there's something like a dozen skeletons, all adults. Some of the belongings look distinctly more modern than the ghost's 'been here for over a century.' The newest looks like the owner might've been from the seventies or eighties -

About when the more salacious ghost stories place an unexplained disappearance of a college-aged girl in the area, actually. 

Lots of the bones are broken, too, nearly universally the calf bones on at least one leg, often also hands, forearms, and ribs. Some broken neck and collar bones, too.

The doors are all helpfully propped wide open. 

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...Was she- collecting people? Breaking a leg would be a good way of trapping someone. Wonder how she did it.

Suppose Ellie was lucky to have caught her interest in other ways, then.

She gathers up the bones and starts ferrying them out.

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The house is pretty helpful! As much as she can be, at least, but she can move a broom in - and then a second broom which she animates to help sweep the little stubborn bone shards into boxes. 

It does seem like she has a much worse hold on the skeletons than everything that belongs in the house; she doesn't even try animating them. 

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That's why Ellie's here.

She returns to the room after she's done.

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"Hey," she says. "Thanks for doing that."

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"Thanks for not breaking my legs."

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Giggle. "You're interesting. And you stayed really calm even when I was being grouchy and half asleep, and you weren't a jerk."

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"Those other people didn't?"

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"No. Though I was also a lot grouchier right after my death - the most recent girl had been the first in a while, and I tried to make friends first. But she was a jerk and not really interesting so I had a different kind of fun instead."

She tilts her head, examining Ellie.

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She crosses her arms.

"My bones are off-limits."

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She laughs. "I'd never."

"Are you bothered that I killed other people?"

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Shrug.

"Wasn't anyone I care about. Or knew, even."

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"Good. I don't want to make you uncomfortable."

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"You haven't yet."

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Bright smile. 

"Let's get working on the rest of the ritual..."

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Back to work.

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Cleaning was the most time consuming step. The proper ritual itself summons a heady feeling of power like nothing Ellie's ever done - she's gotten glimpses of this rush, but not the full scope of death at her fingertips.

Something shifts in the air, palpable, when the ghost's anchor snaps to the dagger sheath. Something about her shifts - not her appearance, really, or her behavior, but there's a feeling in the back of Ellie's teeth that whispers hunter, and the creeping feeling of a deep, threatening cave fades from the house. The room looks... Normal now, too, the window's constant hazy light fading to reveal the garden, the room looking merely old rather than drained. 

The knife sheath, though - it looks wicked now. 

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"That was incredible."

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"Yeah!!!" She laughs, twirling. "I feel so different!"

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"More knifey?"

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Giggle. "Yeah. And lighter."

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"The sheath's a lot smaller than a house. So that... makes sense?"

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"Less history, too, and what it has is - nice."

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"You can tell that sort of thing?"

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"I can tell what it means to me."

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"Huh."

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"You have very good taste."

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"Thanks."

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Giggle. "And talent, too."

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"Helped by a knowledgeable tutor."

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Preen!

Then: "Going outside's going to be - amazing."

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"Want to go for a walk?"

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"Absolutely."

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"Let's go, then."

Ellie scoops up the knife and sheath.

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She shivers.

"Lead the way."

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Out they go.

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She stares at everything, especially once they're outside, spinning around, a look of awe on her face.

" - I haven't been able to see outside my room - since," she says, abruptly.

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"How much perception did you have in the house?"

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"I could feel and hear things inside my territory, but - I couldn't see anything outside my room, and my senses were weaker outside the house, and I couldn't perceive anything off the grounds at all. And 'feeling' isn't entirely the right word? I had - a sense of where everything is, and what things did or didn't belong to me."

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"Must have been strange."

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"Yeah. It was."

"Mostly - lonely and boring, though. I moved everything I cared about to my room, where I could keep it from decaying, but... I've read all my books more times than I can count, by now."

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Hum.

"There's more books, now."

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"I bet."

"I - do want to get my books and stuff out of my room, lots of the books are rare and on magic and they're useful..."

"...I don't think I could stand to go back in there, right now."

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"I can get them when I go back to get my things."

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"Thanks."

"You're really good."

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"Yeah, I'm just casually great."

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"I'm noticing."

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Laugh.

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Grin!

"So where should I start in discovering all the literary marvels of this current age, o' excellent guide?"

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"It's a little late for the library tonight, but you can come back to my place and browse the shelves."

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"Perfect."

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Ellie will start walking that way, then.

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She drifts along behind. 

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And eventually they get to Ellie's place.

It's not so large as the last house the ghost was at, but it's serviceable. And there are plenty of books, both fiction and non.

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The books are the important part.

She spends a little time fascinated by the paper before starting to skim for an overview of the books so she can set to making a dent in them. 

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A good chunk of them are about something called "programming languages" for computers, there's a selection of history, fantasy, science fiction, some newer-looking books on witchcraft ancient and modern, textbooks for anatomy, chemistry, zoology...

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"Oh, have computers gotten better?" she asks after checking the summary of a programming book. 

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"Uh. Just a bit, yeah."

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She flips to the introduction. "...Do you have a technology book around by any chance?"

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"Second shelf to your right."

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She goes looking. "Things have jumped forward, haven't they?" she says, flipping it open. 

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"Pretty suddenly from your perspective, I guess."

"This is my computer, by the way," she says, tapping the laptop on the table.

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"It's so tiny."

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"One of the bulkier options for portables, actually."

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"There's even smaller ones?"

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"Ones that can fit in your pocket, even."

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"Aw, cute."

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"'Cute' is an odd reaction."

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"They're unusually small! That means they're cute."

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"If you say so."

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"I do! And I'm always right."

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"From what I've seen so far, I guess I have to give that to you."

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"You know, I like a woman who recognizes intelligence when she sees it."

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Smirk with a hint of blush!

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Smirk with no blush, just pleasure at the effect she's having on Ellie.

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...Ellie is just going. Duck into the kitchen. To make a snack and definitely not scream silently to herself about how pretty this ghost lady is.

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Her giggles are entirely silent. 

She does settle in to read about the wonders of the modern age while Ellie gets her composure back together, though. 

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It's a fair few minutes before she comes back in with a cup of tea and a sandwich.

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She's a fast reader, so she's gotten through quite a bit, but hardly a lot. 

"Hey," she says with a little smile.

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"Hey."

Sip.

"...How are you holding that book?"

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"Magic," she teases. 

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"Oh, I see. No further questions, then."

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Giggle. 

"It's yours," she says, "And you said I could read it, is my best guess. What I can and can't levitate as a ghost - especially now that my anchor is smaller than me - has always been a rather frustratingly opaque topic."

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"Hmm. It's too bad this stuff isn't better studied."

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"Definitely. There's been some progress, but... It keeps getting lost. My books back at the house do have what material I'd collected, though."

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"I'll be sure to grab those."

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"Thanks."

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Smile.

She sits down and opens her laptop.

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She floats over. "Mind if I watch?"

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"If you want." Ellie tilts the screen a little so she can see better.

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She comes to stare over Ellie's shoulder, very smoothly splitting her attention between whatever's on Ellie's screen at any given time, asking questions (though she does a lot of silent observation, too), and reading her book if the internet's current offerings are less interesting to her. Usually multiple at once; she doesn't actually have to have the image of her eyes pointed at something to read it, and apparently she has a better attentional capacity than living humans.

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At one point while looking up a popular book series, some unfortunately explicit images turn up in the search.

"Whoop," Ellie says, hastily backing out.

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She makes an interested noise. "My, they allow that sort of thing on the internet?" That is not a scandalized tone she has.

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"Everything's allowed on the internet."

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"Then it might just be the most marvelous thing about the current age."

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"Lots of people would agree with you there."

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"And now you're telling me many people are sensible? This is starting to get quite unbelievable."

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"Welcome to the future."

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"It's a nice place."

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"Glad you think so."

Yawn.

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"Have I been keeping you up?"

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"Just a bit."

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"I can let you sleep while I read, then."

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"All right. G'night."

Ellie begins getting ready for bed.

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She drifts back to focus on the shelves. Though she does, of course, also watch Ellie some. "You might want to leave my knife out here," she says when Ellie's heading back to the bedroom, "If you aren't intending to take me to bed."

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"-Ah. Maybe save that for the third date."

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"Which one are we on right now?"

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"Second, I think."

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"Well then. Maybe I'll find some books on what kids these days do for dates."

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"I don't know that I have any books like that here."

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"Maybe I'll take a crack at the internet myself."

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"Uh. Just leave the script blocker on and don't click on anything that wants you to download something."

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Giggle. "Noted."

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"...See you in the morning, then."

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"See you."

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And Ellie's off to bed.

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She spends the night reading both books and the internet, though honestly mostly books. Getting the internet to give her any actual reliable results (or even what she was looking for in the first place) is an exercise in frustration. So, treat everything there as fiction, and only look up fiction there when she's bored of the other books. (And Ellie has so very, very many good books; the ghost ends up using the internet to dig for basically just modern romance information.)

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The sun comes up again well before Ellie begins to make groggy thinking-about-waking-up noises.

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There's a ghost leaning over her face, staring at her, when she does wake up. 

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Blink blink.

"Bwuh."

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"Morning!" She says, very chipper. "Are you awake now?"

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"...Arguably..."

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"Can we do more things? What do you need to do more things."

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"...Shower. And coffee."

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"'Kay!"

She vanishes. Ellie might hear some shuffling in her kitchen. 

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Mrglblr.

...She should get up before the coffee's done.


Okay one two three up-

-and into the bathroom.

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A lovely smell of coffee quickly starts wafting around the house. 

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Ellie exits the bathroom a little later wrapped in a towel, freshly showered and drawn toward the coffee as if by magnetism.

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She's definitely not giggling, nope. (And definitely eyeing Ellie appreciatively. If that towel was a bit shorter...)

As for the coffee - there's a carafe of unaltered coffee, if Ellie wants to put together her own, but the ghost's also made up a mug of somewhat fancy-seeming coffee already. It smells cinnamon-y.

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The mug is less effort, so she will take that first.

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She watches Ellie taking the first sips.

(It's very flavorful, and very good if your tastes run that way. The ghost appears to have raided her spice cabinet for appropriately autumn-y spices. It's a little creamy, not too sweet... Very caffeinated...)

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Mmm.

"'S good. Thanks."

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"You're welcome."

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Ellie comes more alive over the course of the cup. When she finishes, she sets it down on the table with a clink.

"...I should get dressed."

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"Only if you want."

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"-Not unless you no longer want to go to the library or get your books and you also take your clothes off."

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"Very tough choices." Hum.

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"The show's not free; decide quick."

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Her clothes disintegrate into very showy sparkles.

"Well, the books will still be there tomorrow."

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Laugh.

"If that's how you want to play it."

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"I think it is. Though, sadly, I might have to get creative to be handsy..."

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"I hope you're not going to let that stop you."

She lets the towel drop.

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Appreciative whistle.

"Creativity is my specialty."

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"Prove it."

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Well then.

There's quite a lot of marvelous things in this house - in this very room. Ice cubes in the freezer, dish towels, her own knife... The ghost calls her sheathed knife to appear like it's held in her hand, first, and stalks up to Ellie, resting the sheath at the base of her neck.

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"Not quite as good as a hand."

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It trails down her body - and several ice cubes touch to her back.

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Eep!

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Giggle!

A metal salt shaker - also a bit cold - presses against her arm, and a dish cloth against the back of her neck, and the ice cubes trail their way down and start curling to her sides...

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She squirms away from the cold things, giggling!

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"Not your taste?"

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"Not super. I like gentler touches on my own body."

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"Duly noted." The cold things all withdraw, and soft, gentle, almost ticklish cloths replace them, drying Ellie's body and stroking her.

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She likes this better.

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Wonderful.

The cloths get very, very adventurous - stroking along Ellie's front, first, but there's not much she isn't intending to get to if Ellie lets her.

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She's not inclined to stop her.

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Good.

The ghost very much knows what she's doing - and she's in a taunting mood. She wants to make Ellie squirm.

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That is an eminently achievable goal.

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She licks her lips.

"You know... I've heard there's a trick some ghosts have of possessing mortals..."

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"Oh?"

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"I could slip into your skin," she purrs, "And wear your body like a favorite coat, and do whatever I want... Or we could find some disposable little shell, have a bit of fun before throwing her in the trash..."

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"Hmm... I don't know that I'm ready to surrender control of myself like that."

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"Well... Does the second option appeal, then?"

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"It does."

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"Well then..."

"I don't want to share this at all, so... We might have to cast around a bit. Find someone whose... Disappearance... Won't be traced back to you."

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"This town's not that big..."

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"Then a project for another day, perhaps."

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Grin. "Seems like it."

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"If we get my books first, there's some necromantic tricks you could practice, doing that..."

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"Efficient combination. I like it."

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"Practical experience is essential to learning, too."

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"Fair point."

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Giggle.

And her cloths run back over certain very squirm-inducing spots.

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Wiggles!!

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Best wiggles! And, since convenient disposable bodies are an unfortunate travel away, Ellie's going to just have to content herself with being the one driven to endless wiggles.

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Ellie's appetite for wiggles, while large, is not literally endless. She'd prefer to reach a conclusion at some point.

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Well, if she insists... 

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Oh, she does.

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A very satisfying conclusion it is, then. 

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Mm, indeed.

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"You're so, so beautiful," she murmurs. 

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Heeee.

"You're fun."

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"I could say the same to you."

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"And you're pretty too, and I like you a lot."

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"And you're drop-dead gorgeous."

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"Good thing you're not alive, then."

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"I'd have turned into a ghost the moment I met you. Death by pretty."

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"What a way to go."

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"It'd have been worth it. I do like you, very, very much."

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Grin!

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Heh.

"There's still a good bit of the day left, if you'll permit me to get dressed now."

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"I suppose."

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"Very gracious of you."

Ellie blows her a kiss as she stands, and struts off to get dressed.

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She giggles and settles back to wait. (Perhaps she can put some more nice coffee in a travel mug for Ellie...)

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She would appreciate that, if it were done.

It doesn't take her too long to dress.

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The ghost is ready, then, with a nice big travel mug with some very, very delicious autumn-y coffee in it.

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"Thanks," Ellie says, taking the mug. "So, library or house?"

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Hum... "Probably house. I need to flip through the books again to check if there's an easy way to make myself look alive, or if I'll have to just go invisible."

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"Can do."

Ellie tucks the knife into the waist of her pants before heading out.

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She shivers about that, and follows along behind (invisibly, so no one notices her).

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They don't encounter any issues on the way back to the house.

"Should I leave you out here?"

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"...Yeah. I don't want to go back in."

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"All right." She puts the knife on the ground outside the grounds. "I'll be back."

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"Okay."

"Thanks for this."

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"No problem."

And she heads up the path and inside. She has a couple bags, so she should be able to get at least the most important books out.

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There's a lot of books, but, the ghost has a pretty exact memory of her entire catalog and what Ellie would need to bring to retrieve them - and, once they're out, the ghost can float them around if they don't want to make multiple trips between this house and Ellie's house.

(There's so many books. Ellie can't physically carry this many books back to her house, unless she brought a dolly.)

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Yeah, it's gonna be a couple trips. Need to figure out how to store them, too.

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Does Ellie's house have the room?

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For the first load. After that... she's probably going to have to get rid of some of the books she already has. Or figure out how to make a magic pocket dimension.

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"You shouldn't have to throw out books."

"A magic pocket dimension... Not easy, but we might be able to figure something out." And, teasingly: "Or just get you a bigger house, or build an outbuilding, or pull legal shenanigans so you have this property, level this house, and build another one."

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"Don't suppose you have a hundred-year-old savings account that's been quietly accruing interest?"

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Giggle. "I never trusted banks. But I do have assorted valuables in a locked box. Jewelry, mostly - not worth a house probably, but, I can do the construction myself, and many of the trees here are sturdy hardwoods."

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"Maybe. That's going to take some preparation, though."

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"But it'd be a fun project, if you want to stay in this town - or, bet we could sell the land and house."

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"I'll think about it."

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"No rush. Pretty sure you have some clear spaces for book stacks in the mean time. These all did used to fit in my bedroom..."

A big bedroom, inhabited by an insubstantial ghost.

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"You were using the top of your bed."

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"Details, details..."

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"The devil resides therein, it is said."

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"Well, I'm right here."

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"Quite."

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Giggle. "We'll find a way."

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"So I trust."

"Ready to take this stuff back?"

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"Yeah."

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Back they shall go!

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Back!

"If we bring a wagon on the return trip, I could move it," she says, grinning. "Especially if I've made myself look alive by then."

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"One step at a time."

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"Okay, okay."

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"Do you want to go through these to see if you can look alive?"

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"Yeah. It'll be a good first step."

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Nod.

"Point me at the ones with the useful necromancy for disappearing someone?"

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"Of course." She'll even give page recommendations, and which parts are good background reading - these books are horribly poorly laid out as textbooks.

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That's about par for the course in Ellie's (singular) experience.

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"Maybe I'll entertain myself while you sleep by writing my own."

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"That'd be helpful."

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"I'll do a better job of it, anyways."

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"It'd be hard not to!"

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"Then I'll have to do an objectively superlative job."

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"I'll look forward to the fruits of your labor."

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Giggle. "Only thing I'll need is writing supplies."

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"You can use the computer to do that."

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"Huh."

"Can you show me how?"

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"Sure." She fires up the word processor and demonstrates the basics.

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She pays close attention, but - this isn't that hard to get the hang of, she reckons. It'll just take practice to get quicker.

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Ellie can pull up some typing practice things too, if she wants.

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The ghost just uses telekinesis, which she bets circumvents all that; still, she should probably get a feel for Ellie's keyboard's tolerance for ghostly typing.

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Could be!

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"Let me take a crack at figuring it out myself first, hm? Trial by fire rather than all these training programs."

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"Whatever you say."

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"You're very gracious."

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"Sally forth, o wise instructor."

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Giggle. "I will."

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Ellie will return to her own reading, then.

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She focuses on her books, first, hunting down the references for how ghosts can trick the living - but she does take some notes as she goes on future book organization.

(It's nice, reading alongside each other like this.)

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Yeah. Cozy.

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She does eventually stumble on it, and...

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"Ah hah!"

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"Wow. Living color."

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"Does it make me even prettier?

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"The grayscale had its own charms, but- yes. It does."

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Giggle. "Glad you approve."

Then she makes a little face. "Of course, if I'm going to walk around pretending I'm alive, I might need something for people to call me..."

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"A name, huh?"

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"I haven't tended to like most names."

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"How about, uh... Knifey?"

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Giggle. "I like it. Though 'Knife' is a bit more dignified."

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"If dignity's what you want."

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"Of course. I'm the very definition of dignity."

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"Uh-huh."

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"Aw, you don't believe me?"

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"You were staring at me from less than six inches away when I woke up this morning."

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"Like a cat! Which means that's the epitome of dignity."

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"Cats are only good at fooling people into thinking they're dignified, not at actually being dignified."

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"Dignity is entirely a performance."

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"...Point."

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"So, if I've fooled people into thinking I'm dignified..."

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"Everyone will have no choice but to call you Cat the Knife."

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"Perfect. Though I think I'll introduce myself as just 'Knife' for now."

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"Works for me."

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"And since you're one of the only two whose opinions matter, that makes it perfect."

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"All right, Knife."

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Giggle.

"So, my dear, do you still want to go to the library today?"

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"Library's more for you. I think we have time, if you want."

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"I want to see if there's any good textbooks in this exciting modern age before building my own, if nothing else."

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"Then much as I hate to say it... you should put your clothes back on."

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"The enlightened modern age hasn't gotten all the way to legalizing nudity, then?"

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"Not so much, no."

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"Aw. Well, you get my beauty all to yourself, then." Clothes shimmer into existence around her body - not the old fashioned clothes she'd been wearing, but something in the same style as Ellie's, albeit significantly more colorful. 

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"I don't precisely count that as a downside."

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"Not inclined to showing off?"

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"I'm selfish that way."

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"Fair enough."

She really, really wants to kiss Ellie. Her lack of a physical body is tragic.

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"Let's head out, then."

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"Lead the way."

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Library time. The old one, down on Short Street.

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"It's a lot bigger..."

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"There was an expansion project about twenty years ago, yeah."

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"Nice."

She heads to browse the nonfiction shelves first - how many books can she bring home, by the way? 

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...As many as she can believably carry.

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Knife's going to test the limits of that, clearly.

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Of course. Why would Ellie expect anything else.

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She'll get her expectations in line with reality sooner or later. 

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Doubtless.

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Giggle.

Knife spends a very good amount of time in the stacks, skimming through books, selecting which ones are worth further investigation - and ends up with a very ambitious pile, of course.

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Maybe Ellie can lend her a hand with some of those.

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She'd appreciate it.

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She takes enough that Knife's stack is only unreasonable, rather than unbelievable.

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Very helpful of her. And no amount of books is unreasonable.

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The checkout goes on Ellie's card, and then they can head home.

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Where she finds somewhere not terribly in the way to stash her temporary book haul.

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"Seems like we need a bigger place."

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"Told you!" Giggle. "Maybe tomorrow we can spend some time hunting down that house deed."

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"It'd be easier to hide a girl out there too."

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"Especially if we transported her from elsewhere - it's a quiet place, with good dumping places for bodies."

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"So house first, then. If you think you can contain yourself."

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"I'll be good."

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"I'll try not to tease you too much."

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"What if I like a little teasing?"

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"Then I guess I'll do a little teasing."

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"Perfect."

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She grins, and slowly takes her shirt off.

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Appreciative whistle!

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Smirk.

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She leans back, watching Ellie with a little smirk of her own. 

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And now Ellie's got some necromancy to study.

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Naked studying sounds like an excellent pastime. Knife thinks she'll join her. Dissolve the image of clothes on her body, stretch out with a book in hand...

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It's an excellent backdrop to the scene.

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Yeah.

And then she gets drawn into her book enough to forget to ogle at Ellie.

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That'll pass the time quite well until Ellie gets hungry for dinner.

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"I miss food..." she comments as Ellie makes herself dinner.

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"Can you smell at all?"

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"No. Sadly enough."

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"Put 'eating a meal' on the list for when we find you a body."

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"Once I've gotten the hang of it... It'll be nice to find someone for a longer spin."

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"It would."

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"It'll be easiest if they don't fight back too much... But there's a lot of despairing people in this world."

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"And she would have to be at least as pretty as you."

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"If we can get someone of the right height and build, changing my appearance while I'm in them should be possible..."

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"Probably easier to do that."

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"Much easier. Very few people are as pretty as me."

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"I find I can't disagree."

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Giggle. "We're both incomparable beauties. An excellent match, all told."

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"Very much so."

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Preen.

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And, some time later, when Ellie's gotten quite far in her studies and Knife's made a sizeable dent in her reading and writing (especially at night when Ellie's too asleep to entertain her), Knife flops next to Ellie and whines, "I'm bored."

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"Hi bored, I'm Ellie."

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"You're wonderful, is what you are, and we should get out of this house and do something."

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"Want to go find a likely-looking girl, then?"

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"Thought you'd never ask."

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Time for a trip to the city, then.

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Ellie's going to have to lead the way. 

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She can drive them in.

Knife should speak up if she sees someone she likes the look of.

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Hm... Tough choices... 

- That one. Blonde, looks to be her height and build, off on her own and looks the sort of lonely where she won't be missed too fast.

"Might be easiest to take her while she sleeps," Knife murmurs, "Though then you'd have to stay back while I stalk her, probably..."

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"I don't mind. I'll park, and you can come find me when you're done."

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"Might take a little while..."

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"There's a coffeeshop over there I can lurk in."

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"Okay. Hopefully she's early to bed." 

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"A good thing's worth a little effort."

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Giggle.

"True enough."

"Well, see you later." And she walks into a nearby alley - getting out of sight before she fades into invisibility. 

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Ellie settles down to wait with a coffee and a book.

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It takes a while - nearly until the coffee shop closes - but... There's Knife in different clothes than she left in, seeming more... Real. Like the world is actually touching her. 

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"Hello there."

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"Good evening, beatiful."

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"Coffee for the road?"

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"Ooo, yes."

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Ellie orders them two more coffees, similar to how Knife has been making them for her at home.

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She makes so many appreciative noises.

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That bodes promisingly for the rest of the night.

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It does.

Fortunately, she can finish the coffee on the road...

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Excellent idea.

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The old house for this, then?

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If Knife's all right with it. Fewer neighbors.

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Hum...

"Well, so long as I'm in control, I can avoid screaming - maybe stick to the rear of the property? Just - outside the house."

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"Sure."

"Is she- aware at all, in there?"

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"Not right now, but she can be."

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"Mmm, something for later..."

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"Just us is very nice." And, since she can now - kiss?

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A quick kiss. Suitable for public consumption.

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Alright... She'll save unsuitable kisses for their destination. 

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That's the idea.

Ellie had better hurry them along, then.

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As far as she can. (Without getting pulled over, of course.)

(Knife, it turns out, loves going fast.)

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They can definitely go at least a little fast.

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It's faster than she's gone before, so.

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Soon enough, they arrive at the house.

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She bounces out, excited.

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Ellie pauses only to grab the bag of toys out of the backseat. And a couple blankets.

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At least some bleachable or disposable blankets, she'd hope.

Knife nearly drags Ellie to the tangle of overgrown trails behind the house. "There used to be an old clearing back here - I'm sure the gazebo's gone, but there was a nice tiled circle..."

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"Very fancy."

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"Bit more comfortable than tree roots, too."

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"But not too much more."

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"Tree roots are pretty bad."

"Though I suspect the focus of my discomfort won't be what my back's on." She winks.

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"If you ask nicely."

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"I might even beg."

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Hee.

Ellie darts in for a kiss.

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Intense kiss?

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If Knife thinks she can manage it while walking backwards in the dark over uneven terrain.

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She tries!

...And inevitably trips, falling back.

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Well, at least Ellie will have a soft landing.

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She doesn't seem to really remember how to catch herself and lands hard - only avoiding cracking her skull open by sheer luck. She's definitely going to bruise all along her back, though, alongside scratches on her elbows. The pain jolts a laugh out of her.

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"Still getting used to watching your step?" Kiss.

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"Just a little." Kiss!

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"How's the ground here feel?"

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"Rocky! There's a stone digging into my butt."

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"Want to keep moving?"

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"Let's."

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Ellie stands and pulls Knife up.

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Giggle kiss.

And: onward!

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To this rumored gazebo ruin.

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It's still there. The gazebo is even discernible - it was well built - but covered in vines, and it doesn't look entirely structurally sound.

The tiles have cracked some, and grass has grown in the cracks, and they're very mossy - but still a good place to lay, and a complicated geometric pattern is still evident. 

Knife's expression briefly shifts from excitement to fondness. 

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"Good memories here?"

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"Yeah. This was my favorite retreat."

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"Ready to make some new ones?"

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"Absolutely." Kiss!

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Kiss!

And Ellie grabs Knife's hair in her fingers and pulls.

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Little moan! 

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Ellie bites Knife's lip, hard.

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Yelp! And then giggle.

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"Shall I cut your clothes off?" she whispers.

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"Please."

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Ellie pulls the knife out, traces it gently up Knife's body.

"I think your ride should get a taste of this too."

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"Mmm, how much?" She shivers.

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"I want to feel her fear."

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"...Mmm, might be hard for me to keep control? And being mixed might be - weird?"

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"Maybe not, then. Or at the end."

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"I want you just to myself, right now - and it'll be fun for her to wake up only as she's dying."

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"Okay." Kiss.

Ellie drags the blade down Knife's back, cutting through shirt and skin.

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Mmmmm!!!

It being her own anchor adds another layer, an amazing echo through her soul, and she squirms against Ellie.

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She slices down one leg then up the other, then pushes Knife down to the ground to begin pulling the fabric off entirely, cutting more when she needs to.

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Some of those cuts are going to go a bit deeper than intended with how wiggly Knife's being.

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She's got no one to blame but herself for that.

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Well, she does have Ellie to thank for not backing off...

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Things are starting to get good! Why would she ever stop now?

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Excited wiggle! 

"Mmm, you haven't really shown me any magic yet, darling..."

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"Night's still young," Ellie says, licking some of the blood off the knife.

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She moans, low and deep.

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Kiss!

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Wiggle kiss!

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Then it's time to start with the magic. Hmm...

First, the femurs. Wither them slowly, until the weight of flesh and pull of tendon causes them to bend- and snap.

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"Nnnnm... Ahhh - ah!" She jerks against Ellie when the final break comes, breaking through her moans.

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Ellie kisses the broken legs, not too gently.

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"Oh, nnn, Ellie..."

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"You like how this feels?"

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"Yes. So much."

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"I guessed as much from those skeletons."

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"I could've been just a sadist, you know."

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"You were too interested in getting a body."

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Giggle. "Guilty as charged."

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"Yes, you are. And since you're guilty, you must need punishment..."

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"Oh? What punishment does masochism warrant?"

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"Even more of what you asked for."

Also kisses.

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Kisses! "Mmm, sounds against the point of a punishment, to give me more..."

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"I'm killing you with kindness. Or something."

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"Making me see the error of my ways by giving me so much I break?"

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"Sounds like fun to me."

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"Mmmm, yes."

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Back to work, then.

This time Ellie thinks she'll trace rot through Knife's nervous system.

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That is exquisitely painful; Knife can't help but scream about it. 

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Wonderful.

Ellie starts tracing patterns in her skin with the knife.

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She's a writhing mess of pain right now - and she craves more, craves every kiss of that knife. Every kiss Ellie will give her.

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Ellie will give her all of them.

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Perfect, wonderful, good excellent pretty Ellie, so amazingly talented. 

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Oh yes she is.

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The most beautiful woman in the world.

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And the best thing that has ever happened to Knife.

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Her gaze goes a bit soft, and she puts a bloody hand on Ellie's cheek. "Absolutely," she murmurs.

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"Don't ever forget." Kiss.

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Adoring kiss. "How could I ever?"

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Mmm.

Ellie takes Knife's hand... and starts snapping her fingers, one by one.

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She shrieks, then laughs and writhes against Ellie.

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That's her cute little toy.

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The absolute cutest.

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But you know, they say beauty is only skin-deep. Ellie thinks they should test whether something similar is true of cuteness. How does Knife feel about getting flayed?

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Screamy! That's how she feels. It also gets her pressing into Ellie more. 

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What a lovely thing.

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She's delighted that Ellie thinks so.

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Of course, at this rate, Knife won't be coherent for long...

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"Ready to let me say goodbye to our guest?"

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Blink and dreamy smile. "Mmmm. Yes'm."

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Ellie pats her cheek. "Good girl."

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Giggle!

And she slides out of the body - leaving the original inhabitant with her old appearance, now very rudely awakened and screaming in shock and pain about it.

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Ellie clamps a hand over her mouth. "Shh, shh. It won't hurt too much longer, I promise." She waves the knife in front of the girl's face. "See?"

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Knife giggles, just out of the girl's sight.

The girl tries to sob and keep screaming.

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Ellie lays the blade across her throat.

"Careful, now."

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"Bad girls don't get nice things," Knife croons.

The girl is totally unable to calm herself down, to the surprise of absolutely no one, and is trying to push Ellie away. Not really succeeding at all, what with all the broken bones.

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Likely she'll cut herself a bit, then- or more than a bit.

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There's a tragically important number of blood vessels in the neck - the girl does in fact cut herself in her terror, and her blood sprays out as Knife laughs.

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"Good night, new friend."

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She dies.

"I wish I could kiss you," Knife says.

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"Save it up for next time," Ellie advises.

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"It's going to be a tough wait."

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"I have faith in your strength of character."

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"I'm not much of one for patiently holding out."

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"Learning something new, then."

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She sticks out her tongue.

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Giggle.

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"You're truly irresistible, darling."

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"Why, thank you, sweetheart."

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"I like you. Lots."

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"I like you a lot too."

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Bright grin! "Excellent."

"We should keep the next girl a bit longer," she teases then. "Let me have time to kiss you nice and thoroughly."

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"Make a weekend of it."

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"Mmm, yes."

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Laugh.

"Well, first I have to dispose of this toy."

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Dramatic sigh. "True, true. And then we have to find the next one..."

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"So much to do."

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"Our lives are a whirlwind of responsibilities."

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She giggles, and stands up to start disposing of the body.

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She keeps Ellie company - of course, the river remains the best place to dump things you don't want found.

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After she's ensured the body is sufficiently unrecognizable, of course.

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You know, she could also just make it all decay to nothing off in the woods... It'd be good practice.

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Less chance of having to deal with intrusive murder investigations, too. She'll do that.

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Murder investigations are so annoying.

She walks Ellie through any subtleties she hasn't dug up from the books yet.

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Ellie's got a pretty good grasp on most of it, but the help's nice.

And soon, they have a nice pile of compost.

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She's sure the trees will appreciate it. 

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They're sure to be very well-fed in the future.

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"Very environmentally friendly of us."

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"We're doing our part."

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"Making the world a better place."

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"One tortured dead girl at a time."

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"A very, very nice place."

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Hee.

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Giggle. "We could start an entire recycling program," she muses, "Though... The violation of the social order is part of the fun here, it'd take the art away to make tortured dead girls a policy..."

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"Better to keep this a game just for us."

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"Our special thing."

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"Yep."

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Her gaze darts to Ellie's lips, longingly.

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She blows a kiss.

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Dramatic swoon.

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Laugh.

And now it's about time to head home.

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Given Ellie still has that tragic need to sleep, yes.

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Hasn't figured out how to cheat yet.

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"That'd be a fun project."

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"And useful, too. Which seems to be a thing," she teases.

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"Well, useful for fun is the same thing as fun, really."

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"Fair."

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Giggle.

And: back to the house.

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Back to the house and back to necromancy.

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Back to the routine.

Knife isn't, exactly, good at going a long time between murders. They haven't been caught yet - haven't been suspected, or left evidence, but there's definitely some notice being taken of the weird disappearances... So they're also having to strike farther afield, some, to spread out the heat (it helps that there's a few - very finicky - ways of moving faster; the best is actually a magic bone steed, which, hopefully Ellie likes to ride).

This means, though, that they're getting fans. Theories in weird little forums where people who think they know something about necromancy drift; Knife's delighted by them, and is pretty sure she's found a girl on there who lives around here, and who probably isn't secretly law enforcement.

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"You want to introduce her to her heroes?"

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"Oh, let's."

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"I wonder if she'll be as enthusiastic in real life."

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"It'll be fun either way."

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"Definitely. Let me know when you've tracked down her address."

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"I will." Giggle.

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"And we'll have to come up with some special plans..."

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"Give her a VIP tour."

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"With all our personal favorites highlighted."

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"The greatest hits are an essential part of every tour."

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Smirk.

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"We could write up an itinerary."

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"And make an inventory. Get everything line up all nice and neat in the proper order."

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"Present it to her in a nice, leisurely fashion."

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"With proper time to fully consider and appreciate each aspect."

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"Give her space to give us feedback, too."

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"Always a good thing to have."

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"Suggestions for future improvement can't go amiss."

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"It will be very educational for us all."

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"Give her some very brief bragging rights."

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Ellie laughs.

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"It'd be hard to get away with posting pictures of her to that forum, wouldn't it," she says, voice wistful.

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"Pretty hard, yeah. But it might be worth it."

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"It would."

"It'd be easier if she's helping, I bet."

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"Oh, almost certainly. You'll have to be persuasive."

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"Something I'm quite good at."

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"Very much so."

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Giggle.

Well, now that Ellie's gotten her all worked up... Time to go find their admirer's address as quickly as possible...

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And Ellie will make preparations otherwise.

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It takes her only a few days to find the address in question. 

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Nice.

They should go pay this girl a visit, then.

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Absolutely. 

They can ride their necromantic 'horse' most of the way, and Knife can grab the girl and pilot her back... Much like their classic moves, though - Knife's thinking, have a bit of fun in her body, hurt it a little bit, then Knife steps back nearly all the way. Best of both 'announced tour' and 'wake up in terrifying situation.'

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Seems like a reasonable compromise.

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Very much.

So, that evening?

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No point in delaying.

Off to get a girl.

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It doesn't take very long this time after dropping off her girlfriend before Knife's walking back to where Ellie's hidden - embodied, an excited gleam in her eyes. 

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"Going my way, beautiful?"

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"Absolutely. Wherever it is you're going."

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"Now that's what I like to hear."

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Kiss! "Where to, beautiful?"

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"Wherever I please, of course."

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Giggle. "Well, then." Kiss! "Whisk me away, darling."

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Back to the hideout.

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The best feature of the skeleton horse, even better than speed and range: Knife can sit in Ellie's lap and make out with her while traveling.

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Definitely a perk to these return trips.

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Mmm, after this, they really do need to dig into options for a longer term body... (Kiss!) (Though this girl might be willing to be kept for a little while.)

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Kisses whenever she wants is getting more attractive all the time...

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It's a constant desire of Knife's.

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It is unhealthy to let a desire go unsated.

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Tends to dampen the flames of her hedonism.

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Which is obviously just terrible.

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Knife's hedonism is the second most important thing in the world, after all.

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What does she consider the first?

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"You."

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"Aww." Kiss!

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Kiss!!!

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An excellent distraction for the rest of the ride.

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And a great way to get her excited by the time they're at the hideout.

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Then Knife will be well-prepared for the first course Ellie has prepared.

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More than; she's practically desperate. 

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Too bad for her that this is mostly a teaser, then. She'll be only scratched and lightly bruised, stretched out half-naked by the end of it.

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Awwww...

She supposes Ellie wants her to step out so their VIP can wake up now?

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That is the plan. (Kiss.)

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Giggle kiss.

Then - she slides out.

The body loses its false appearance, returning to the usual inhabitant's face (she looks very little like Knife). She stirs only groggily, making confused noises.

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Ellie slaps her sharply across the face.

"Good morning, sunshine."

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Knife laughs, feigning leaning against the wall behind Ellie.

The girl jerks awake. "Wh - what?" she asks, dazed.

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"We heard you've been interested in us, RoseyWilde." Ellie uses her screenname from the forum.

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"We so wanted to meet our greatest fan," Knife adds, smirking.

The girl's eyes go wide, her face pale - and her pulse jumps and she quivers. "You're the ones who've - been killing those girls," she says, breathless.

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"Doing a fair sight more than killing them," Ellie smirks. "But yes. That's us."

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The girl makes a soft 'ah.' "Is - have you really been using necromancy, was I right - "

(Knife smiles a bit softly. She likes a girl who looks at a death threat and nerds out, she thinks.)

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"You were right." Ellie pats her softly on the cheek. "Congratulations."

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"Are you going to kill me?" (The girl trembles, and Knife smirks - making the girl flush a bit.)

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"Eventually." Ellie turns to peruse her big table o' implements, running her fingers over each to give the girl time to imagine how they'd be used before settling on Knife's knife and turning back to her. "But seeing how you're such a big fan- we want to give you the VIP tour first." She starts tracing the tip of the knife delicately across the girl's body.

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Knife shivers a little and licks her lips - and the girl whines, flushing more, and says, "What do you - do?"

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"My girlfriend is... hmm. A connoisseur of the human experience? Which is really a fanciful way to say a hedonist and a masochist." Ellie presses in close to whisper in the girl's ear, flicking her hair out of the way with the knife. "Unlike you, however, she does not have a human body to call her own."

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"Disposable bodies have done quite a lot for me, there," she teases.

The girl makes a noise somewhere between a whine and moan. "That's how you vanish girls - you're possessing them - " Intense shiver.

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"It is rather more difficult to track someone who seems to have wandered off of their own free will."

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"No one's going to notice I'm gone," the girl says, voice small.

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"But we are certainly noticing you here now."

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Whine.

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Ellie laughs and pecks a quick kiss on her ear before pulling back.

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She tries to lean towards Ellie.

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Her bonds are fairly tight, she can't get far.

"Ready to begin, then?"

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...She bites her lip, eyes wide and unsure. "It'll hurt..." she murmurs, only half a question. 

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"Oh yes. But we'll build you up to it."

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Nod! And shiver.

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Cuuute.

Ellie grins at Knife.

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"The real question, darling, is if we want her first real cut to be with me in her body or not..."

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"That might help her ease into things."

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"And feeling a girl's first time is always special..." she purrs.

(The girl in questions whines.)

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"You know I can't deny you anything, dear."

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Knife winks and saunters over to the girl, who starts making little panting moans - and leans over her, giving her a rather dramatic 'kiss' before flowing into her. The girl stays conscious throughout - and very obviously isn't fighting Knife, instead just moaning softly.

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Ellie nicks her lightly on each shoulder. "Still awake in there?"

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"Ah! - Yeah," the girl says.

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"Good. Then we can begin."

The plan is more or less a simple movement from left to right across the table, each tool or toy in turn, and then back again, building combinations and increasing intensities with some magic thrown into the mix.

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The girl gives her a rather satisfying chorus of screams and moans, arching her back - often into Ellie's touch - and thrashing and shaking. 

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