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Jul 06, 2022 9:15 PM
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"I mean, you can stay in the shitty little apartment in the zone where you can't use your magic freely if you want to, I don't judge."

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"—okay."

She wrings her hands, tightens her muscles. Somehow she feels the same amount of vulnerable in front of Penelope, even with scales and armor.

"Is there a cordon of internet public to all witches? Or is it more like, a bunch of private servers or something?"

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"There is." 

She pulls out an ominous-looking black cube out of nowhere and passes it over to Lily. "This is a HexVPN node. It will allow you to connect to the Witch internet quickly and securely, without anyone being able to spy on your traffic. You're the Academic, it should be instinctual to you how to hook up your phone or computer to it. Keep it out of sight of mortals."

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Lily hastily drains her tea and accepts the cube.

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"Thank you, Penelope." She stays firm for a moment longer.

"—would you mind giving us some privacy?"

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"Not at all. I'll just wait outside."

Her hat, dress and staff vanish, replaced by her suit from earlier. She walks over to the front door of the apartment and lets herself out.

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Lily looks seriously at Marianne.

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She actually meant for Penelope to fuck off, but whatever.

She holds out her hands for Lillian, palms facing the ceiling and fingers slightly bent.

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Lillian leans in and clasps them firmly, holding on tightly. 

Yes, this is real. They still have each other, even if everything they knew has fallen away.

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She lays her chin atop the very center of Lillian's head, and leans on it only slightly.

"Door-to-door salesmen these days sure have the moves. Or was she a Mormon? Do you suppose all that Hell business was an elaborate Mormon plot to get converts?"

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The corner of Lily's mouth turns up and she giggles softly.

"Hell of a scheme." She leans in and lays her forehead against Marianne's. Her breath is still. She's starting to go cold already. 

"... if this is true, we need to earn Witch Kisses so I can survive. That or start owning animals." She smiles, just a sliver. "That makes things simpler, in some ways. Harder in others. I wonder what the Witch job market is like?"

She squeezes Marianne's hand. "I have faith in us, come what may."

 

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"Are you thirsty? Let me check if I have blood and you check if you have magic."

Marianne wanders kitchenwards for a stabby item. Her scales looked kind of flimsy and she is quite sure her armor won't cut.

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"A little. Something's definitely happened to me, let me just -"

She gets to her feet, picks up her teacup, and then - something instinctual happens - and she's in the kitchen, holding her hand over the knife block. She barely processes the motion, it just happens, faster than any human could do it.

"Please don't injure yourself for me. I don't know how strong my - instincts, are. We shouldn't take the risk."

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"Pff, I could take you. Okay, how about we check if demons have bloo—"

No. Some distant, less playful part of her clamps down hard. She is not SUMMONING DEMONS on the SAME DAY that she discovered THAT DEMONS EXIST. Her eyes flit up to the ceiling with annoyance and her head rolls around.

"Let me take a minute and figure out what I have. Maybe I have a blood spell for my little blood god and this all ties up nicely, who knows? Go see Penelope off."

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She should be taking this more seriously, she knows.

But it's hard not to be happy. Straightforwardly uncomplicatedly happy.

Something good happened to her.

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"Alright."

Lily goes and opens the front door of the apartment.

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Penelope is leaning against the wall outside.

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"Thank you for all your help, but we'd like to handle the rest of this on our own now."

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"Fine by me. Enjoy your new lives."

She leaves.

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Marianne Belor is a well and around her sit eight empty buckets, which she had noticed. What she hadn't is the lack of rope.

There is no mental action she can take, no stimulus she can enter that will let her direct the power nested into her into doing anything. She is flipping through a jet console and none of the controls are working. If she could find a switch that blew her head off and it worked she would flick it just for the satisfaction.

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She feels like she has a hangover and she hasn't even gone to sleep yet.

"Lillian? The thing you did in the kitchen, can you do it again?"

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Lily closes the door and comes to Marianne's call. 

She still has the preturnatural speed.

"What is it?"

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"It's not working!! Do I need to call a number to activate it."

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"Maybe you just need training? It's not obvious to me how to use mine either, there's some instinct to it but I don't know how anything works or what it does. So I'm holding off for the moment."

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"Okay, grab your computer. Or sit in your room, I don't care. I'm going to research my problem, you go figure shit out. I don't care what shit it is you figure so long as it's out."

She fetches her laptop from her room, flomps on the couch with an elbow resting on the HexVPN, and tries to connect.

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