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Jun 28, 2022 4:52 PM
the dunwich horror and an endarkened Ges in Kappa's Villarosa
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"Really? --I should've noticed you didn't ask for anyone when I did. Did you not have anyone at all you'd want to keep? Even not family? What was your family like?"

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"...I suppose it would not be going far wrong to say that I have not, in fact, ever met anyone I could trust."

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"Oh. I'm sorry. You can be my sister if you want."

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...she looks genuinely surprised, and after a moment, smiles a more uncertain smile than has yet been seen on her face in this room.

"I... thank you. I'm... not sure. For now, let's both be Princesses, and we can discuss the details of the arrangement later when we know more?"

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Tabitha makes some notes with her pencil.

"Next is your choice of love interest—which is, technically, separate; one of you could choose to romance the Dark Rival and the other could choose to romance the Noble Prodigy, and then you would not be in direct conflict with each other. However, the villainess would then have a different heroine to contend with, and the heroine would have a different villainess. You two seem like you might be able to work out your differences peacefully; that will tend to be harder with people you haven't met, who haven't met you, who don't have the shared context of this conversation."

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"I want to work out our differences peacefully. What are the love interests? You said Dark Rival and Noble Prodigy, but there are three villainess options and three heroine options, so I bet there's a third love interest option. Plus I wanna know the details. If we work out our differences peacefully, are extra villainesses and heroines going to fight each other, or are we the only ones who definitely have to have a plot."

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"If you choose the same love interest, there will not be any other villainesses or heroines in your story unless you explicitly take options that add them. The third love interest is the Prince Charming, who, if you decide to be sisters, would most likely be your brother unless you decided otherwise, and in my experience most people prefer not to marry their brothers, though the option is provided for those who choose it."

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"I don't wanna marry my brother! I have a brother, and I don't wanna marry him, and if I had an extra brother I bet I wouldn't wanna marry him either. Let's pick not the Prince Charming."

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"Let's not," Raivethrani agrees, though she seems mildly perplexed by the turn the conversation has taken. "But what are the descriptions of the others, then?"

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"In short—the Noble Prodigy is a little older, somewhat reserved, has distinguished himself considerably and is a desirable match because of his talent and acclaim; the Dark Rival would be the Prince Charming's friend or rival, who is of lesser rank and lesser skill and less upstanding reputation, but may be more appealing to those who don't want to marry the Prince Charming for whatever reason."

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"I have a good reason," Lucy grumbles under her breath. In a more normal tone: "How much older is the Noble Prodigy? Reserved like how? What kind of talent? What is the Dark Rival less skilled at?"

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"The Noble Prodigy is usually a few years older, and not very emotionally expressive or open about his thoughts, feelings, and past. The Dark Rival is less skilled than the Prince Charming at some socially appropriate and valued talent, often a sport, sometimes a martial skill if the Villarosa is a warlike one."

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“Let’s not make it a warlike one,” Lucy says with distaste.

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"Oh? Why not?"

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”When wars happen, people die,” Lucy says carefully.

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"Hmm. I suppose you're right," she says. "I hadn't thought of it that way; I was... considering aesthetics more than practicalities, thinking of combat skills as a hobby one could practice as one practices sculpture, that could be valued by a society in the same way a society might value dance or poetry."

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“There are ways to do fencing or like kickboxing as sports that don’t involve anybody dying, but wars involve, like, guns.”

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"What is a gun?"

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"Do you know that thing where, when things in bottles ferment and get bubbly, sometimes the cork shoots out real fast?"

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She shakes her head slowly.

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"Oh. Drat. Well--do you know what explosions are."

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"Let's suppose that I do."

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"Okay, so if you put something really solid on one side of an explosion, all the force that would have gone that way gets put into the rest of the directions. If you put something solid in the way of all but one side of an explosion, all of the force goes out that one side. And then if you put something in the way of that side that isn't firmly attached to all the other sides, it gets blown out with a lot of force. A gun is a sort of tube that's closed at one end and then you put something flammable in it and then a bullet, which is a piece of metal designed to hurt people, and then you explode the flammable thing and the bullet goes real fast."

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"I see," she says. "Inelegant, but effective. If I were designing a society to live in, I would not include those. I'm not especially attached to my vision of a 'warlike' Villarosa, but it goes something like... their culture remembers a time when it was very useful to know how to kill each other with swords, so now they still practice those skills, as a game or an art form or both, and valorize them in memory of a less peaceful age."

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Thoughtfully: "If I used to have to kill people, and now I didn't, I would look back at the past with mourning, not valor. I don't...think I understand how killing people could be attractive at all."

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