Oct 28, 2021 9:45 AM
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"What do you want me to say I did for it, then?"

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"Your default solution of mocking them mercilessly seems fine."

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"Anytime!"

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Annisa crashes hard, that night, and has good dreams, which she always hates, and gets started on another divining rod in the morning.

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El makes very good advertising for the divining rod; she pokes everything she gets within three feet of in the cafeteria with it and when Chloe asks what she traded for it she says, "Have you tried telling Annisa that you're from New York? It works for everything else, right?"

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She's really growing on Annie, evil aura and all. 

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Chloe does invite Annie on a supply room run on the way out of the cafeteria.

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New York is the richest English-speaking enclave and Annie is very, very pleased with herself, though also contemplating various ways in which this might be a murder attempt, because she's not five. 

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It's not a murder attempt. Chloe wants to know what goes into the divining rods and how many she could make (and is subtly trying to figure out what she wants for them).

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Cedar, silver, obsidian dust, sirenspider silk (the ultimate limiting quantity, here, as she can't count on getting any more), mercury, polished steel, a couple dozen grubs to kill to convince the divining rods that they're weapons - "and I expect you'll want to keep using them as such once you've got them if you don't want them to resent you. With the shield they take me two weeks, without that I can do 'em in one. I want to make something big, senior year - probably flight-based - but I'll need a team to supply me, on the mana and materials front."

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"Flight-based?" asks Chloe.

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"I'm worried the graduation hall's going to be very full. Even Orion can only do so much if there's literally too much body mass of mals to press through. So- flight. When you kill things in the air, they fall."

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"That's very clever. Are you thinking, like, a reinvention of the broomstick, or - you could probably get together a decent mana building party if you wanted to make a carpet..."

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"Depends what I've got to work with? But in the doodles in my notebook, we've got jetpacks."

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"Ooh."

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"Affinity's weapons. And a jetpack is one, just one that happens to point you away from whatever you're broiling."

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"I'm alchemy track, you might need jet fuel or something along those lines..."

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ANNISA IS GOING TO SURVIVE TO SEE HER NINETEENTH BIRTHDAY FUCK YEAH

 

"I might. If you'll put up the mana we can collab on a prototype, see if it looks promising."

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"Yeah, we have plenty."

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Of course they do. New York. She went through a brief phase of being jealous, when she was thirteen, and then got over it, because sure, some people are much richer and more likely to survive than you, but does self-pity improve your odds, no it does not. And ultimately if you die it's your fault, not the fault of anyone who could've set you up for success and didn't. What do they owe you?

 

"I have free period Friday afternoons," she says, and then they're at the supply room and she can show off her divining rod checking for trouble while they grab notebooks and pens.

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The divining rod gets to stab an amphisbaena in the drain. Chloe ooohs.

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Really amateur flattery just works so well if you come from New York. She flashes a slight grin at Chloe and takes the half of it that didn't fall down the drain to butcher for parts later.

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"If you don't need all those I know Aadhya's affinity is making stuff with bits of mals, she's always good for a trade - you probably know that, you've been hanging out," says Chloe.

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"It's how we met. I usually kill things with a knife, which leaves more of a body than what most people get up to. Has anyone tried convincing Lake to leave more than a puddle behind? ...alternatively, we could see if the puddles can be used for jet fuel."

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"He gets mana out of them but they might go very well in a fuel potion if you could get them before they went down the drain."

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