Oct 28, 2021 10:13 AM
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"Switches the centimeters and inches on you but otherwise all right."

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"You can have the wool and two spools of the copper for it."

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"Deal." She hands over the measuring tape.

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Cool. She passes over her wool and spools and tests the measuring tape against her forearm, and then her desk. 

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Her forearm is apparently 12 cm and her desk is apparently sixty inches.

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Good enough. And means that El didn't lie, notably. It'd be a stupid thing to lie about but some people like seeing how much they can get away with. "What's your affinity?" she asks casually while she measures all her books just for practice.

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"What's yours?"

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"Weapons!" It's about as convenient as affinities come. Some people have skills that'd be wildly useful on the outside, like infrastructure-building, but which nearly ensure they won't survive to see it; Annie's affinity won't be incredibly useful outside, but it won't be terrible either, and in here it's practically worth her weight in alchemical supplies.

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"Is the divining rod also a Swiss army knife?"

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"The end is pokey and I make a point of stabbing some grubs with it every day I'm working on one. When I was a kid I thought it was only knives, and my tutors were working really hard to get me to extend it to swords, but one day I woke up and built a slingshot and ever since it's been pretty flexible about form. The divining rods are the farthest I've ever pushed it."

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"Pretty good affinity."

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"I'd trade your boyfriend but I'm not sure there's anyone else in our year I'd trade."

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"If I knew anybody with an affinity trading affinity..."

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"Did you get something crap?"

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"A bit crap, yeah."

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"Well, you know, there's always the option of sailing Orion's coattails right out of here and then maybe you can find someone with an affinity for affinity trading." It probably doesn't exist. It's hard to put definite bounds on what magic can and can't do but altering fundamental features of people while leaving the people still in any sense alive and themselves is not the kind of thing you often run across. It'd leave holes in you bigger than malia does.

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"Wouldn't that be exciting."

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Sure, that's about par for a conversation with El, they can drop it now and pick up their assignments.

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El incants over her artifice a lot in half a dozen languages, and she often builds the mana for it right there in class, with yoga stretches she has clearly practiced a lot.

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One of those is Marathi, which Annisa learns the next evening when she asks her desk for spells. The Scholomance will only give you spells in a language you know. But its threshold for 'knows' isn't very high, and it will definitely give you spells in a language where you barely know four sentences. Annisa is not an idiot, and she knows languages are her weak point, so she tries very hard not to glance at anyone's writing in different languages, or pay too much attention to El's incanting, and it's really not fair, to decide she knows Marathi, when scouring her mind she can only think of three words of it, and only those because they're similar to the Malay (which is probably pure coincidence).

"Fuck you," she says to the wall, but she really needs the spells, and you can get yourself in serious trouble if you start ignoring spells the school thinks it instructed you to learn, so she marches on down to El's room and raps on the door.

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"Oh -" says El, opening the door, "- it's you. What?"

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"I apologize for not being your boyfriend, I'll leave if he comes unless you're looking for a third. I just got a fucking spellbook in Marathi, which, I am going to guess, is what you were laying the incantations in this morning. I'll trade you some spells for help deciphering them. And also for recommendations if you know who I can hire to do worksheets on it in language class, I'm shit at languages and have not got time for this -"

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"Ah, I hate it when that happens. I'll do it for a divining rod, but you know it'll just keep giving you the spells, you might as well learn it. I guess if you're particularly shit Marathi's worse to have it after you about than French or something."

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Annisa does not care to admit exactly how shit she is at languages. "It'll take you three hours, the divining rod'll take me two weeks. You can consider it a down payment, if you want, but not the whole package."

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"I'm native-enough in Marathi, I can do your worksheets in it all year if you like for it."

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