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Sep 29, 2022 3:07 AM
an explorer enters a library mimic
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"Yes, well, I agree that parasites are generally bad, but...you're sort of framing the issue like there's something we can do about it. I don't think there's any way for them to be all exterminated unless all the magical scholars and every leader from the Red Queen to the Auran Emperor decided to do that. And even then, the Wicked Mother wouldn't allow that – she's the goddess of parasites."

She's a librarian and wizard, not a therapist. She has no idea if this is what she should be saying.

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"You can't kill an idea, anyway, and the idea is the dangerous part of my problem, here.  It'd require someone far too dedicated, but eventually, any infinitesimally probable thing happens, so now I need to figure out how to inoculate people against having their bodies turned into vectors of attack against everyone they so much as happen to pass by..."

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"Huh. If you progress in your research, then let me know." She doesn't understand what the slimegirl is so worried about, but it's unwise to just dismiss things just because they seem strange.

She stands up, pushing the chair back in.

"Do you want to set up in one of the bedrooms? If you need food, I can get you some, but all we have here is fungi to eat. We have a herbarium, but it does not have the capacity to grow crops or vegetables. I can also point you in the direction of where the nonrestricted mind magic and magical theory spellbooks are. We have a lot of those! I'm a wizard, after all."

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"I'd appreciate that; I've been working mostly on instinct this entire time.  Getting a grounding in magic as it's practiced by anyone other than me should probably help with everything.  ....you know, I don't actually know if each of my cores needs individual nutriment yet?  I should probably figure that out, actually, that's pretty important...Also I can maybe make some stuff to expand the herbarium into a proper garden; it's not something I've done before but I know the general theory of hydroponic gardens and I think it should be easier than dirt-based farming to actually install that here..."

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Beatrix talks as she leads the way to the bedrooms on the second floor.

"Ah, magic tutoring will require pay of some sort. We accept information as payment though, and it seems like you know a lot." Even though she kind of has to sort through it. Like a messy library, hah.

"There's fungi to eat in the Entertainment Room. Alternatively, you can go to the basement pit and have Certu feed you if that's more your thing. We...do actually have something similar to hydroponics in the herbarium. Certu manages the nutrient solution to be suitable for plants rather than animals. The limiting factor is his energy and resources, really. It takes energy for Certu to expand – he used to be a chest mimic before – and then maintain that form indefinitely. It also puts a cost on his consciousness. The other reason he has me talk to people is because he has to shard his consciousness into a hundred little pieces to manage everything. It takes more energy to focus enough of them in one place to be able to talk."

One of the bedroom door opens and she gives Myria a mundane key. The bedroom has two queen-sized beds, a bathroom, and a small table with chairs. Most of the stuff is wooden or metallic. It has the same aesthetic as the outside.

"Hm. I've had Certu join two of the bedrooms together so you have enough space, although there's only two beds, which wouldn't be enough for you. Do you want me to bring extra mattresses?"

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"Oh, goodness, please don't go to the trouble, no, I'll sleep with myself."  She giggles at the double meaning.  "And maybe a couple of me will help out Certu with the power problem sometimes, ifyaknowwhatImean."  Wink wink fingerguns oh no - huh, where'd her social anxiety go?  "But yes, information for information sounds like the sort of trade I quite like!  It leaves both parties richer for it, after all!"

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She nods, and laughs too. "Yes, he usually just has me around. It would be good for him. If you want magic tutoring, either me or Certu can give it, depending on what you want tutoring in. What runenodes do you have? I should say that we can only tutor you if you already have them implanted. We don't make runenode scrolls here."

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"I think the most likely answer is approximately 'yes', but I have no way of actually knowing for sure whether my instinct is correct, there?  I've yet to meet a magic I haven't recognized, though."

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"Er, 'yes'? What do you mean?" Beatrix uses mind magic to examine whether Myria has runenodes. Fortunately, she also has sex magic, so the invasive sensation would feel nice rather than awful. She would normally ask for permission to do something like this first, but it seems like Myria would appreciate knowing that...

she has all the runenodes???????

What kind of soul does she have where you could just...have all of them? She recognizes the shapes from her studies. Her jaw is on the floor.

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Ophelia reaches out with the light touch of a velvet glove, and gently closes Beatrix's mouth.  "Do ask before touching, mmhmm?  It's polite, with human-acculturated folk, which Myria here is."  (Her voice is - Myria's, but reflected through a sexy mirror; where Myria radiates innocent exuberance, Ophelia insteads exudes powerful confidence.)

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Myria, meanwhile, shivers a bit because that did feel nice even though technically Beatrix should have asked, sees and feels Ophelia attempting to reboot her, and shrugs helplessly.  "A god did it?"  There's so much Myria.  A hundred cores running a hundred lightning-fast threads of thought, plus some to spare, leaves plenty of room for a few dozen pieces of specialty hardware like runenodes.

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"My sincerest apologies. You're correct. I shouldn't have done that. It's just that...I was very curious. That is just...I have never seen such a soul with that many runenodes. How are you alive? I'll need to check with some of the implantation theory books. There were parts of you that I failed to even recognize. Which is quite a shock, you know, for a being as old as me. Usually I can identify things quickly."

She sits on the chair beside the desk for a moment to compose herself.

"I'll have to check in with Certu whether he feels the same way, but for myself, I would happily tutor you to the best of my ability in any of my magical specialties if you permit me to examine you more thoroughly at regular occasions. Would that be a fair price for you? My initial specialties are earth magic and rune binding (and by extension, rune magic), but I also know mind magic, sex magic, scrying, utility, attack, and protect magic. Oh, and illusion magic. I used to help Certu with his shapeshifting via illusions, but that was a long, long time ago. He doesn't need it now."

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"I'll of course show you the results of whatever experiments or examinations I conduct, after I finish collating the data. And I promise that I will not do things to you that I believe might cause permanent harm, and that I'll take many steps to reduce the chances of that. I will also inform you beforehand of the exact process of each experiment, with the option for you to suggest alternatives or modifications if some part of it does not appeal to you. Do you have truesight? It's a very rare ability, but I might as well ask. You can use it to verify my sincerity."

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"I think that that's what this button does, it's hooked up to visual and the HUD...whoa, that's trippy.  I don't think I necessarily needed that assurance, but that you thought of it...does you credit.  Sure, it's a deal.  I'm looking forward to progressing the cause of reason, really.  And - how am I alive?"  Shrug?  "A god did it?"

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"Well, runenodes take up space in a person's soul, and a soul can only stretch so much to accommodate them. There are ways of making the soul more malleable, but at a certain point, there is no way to add another without causing irreversible damage through too much stretching. It makes sense that a god would be able to do it, since they are very experienced with handling souls, although if we're able to crack how they might do so..."

She rests her chin on her hand, and considers the implications. The limiting factor for most people seeking to become spellcasters is the cost of the runenodes themselves, but she knows of many people who are rich and are looking for ways to be able to accommodate more runenodes into themselves. 

She holds one of Myria's hand with both of hers, and looks her in the eye.

"You should understand that you are a very powerful – although you may not have realized that power fully yet – and frankly valuable person, and there are many factions in this world who would go to great lengths to acquire you and study you. I won't force you to do anything, of course, that goes against our values. If you choose to leave, that's fine with us. It would represent...a great boon to the library, and perhaps to yourself, if we are able to study you. If you do want to go your own way, then I advise you to learn how to utilize Protect Magic and perhaps Air Magic to ensure you can run away or shield yourself from anything that might want to get a hold of you."

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Annnnd Myria is blushing.  Why is she blushing this is not the correct social situation to blush in.  This isn't romantic at all, Myria's hindbrain!

"I mean.  I kind of intend to do a little bit of both?  Not all of me is here in the first place...but I'm glad that the first, human civilization, that I met, was you two.  Because no, I had no idea just how bullshit I was, even if I had some idea that most people are not anywhere near as likely to be, well, me.  I tend to try to be good at chasing things down and I think that the goddess who did this took that into account when she..." Oh, that's definitely the expression of someone remembering a Very Good Time they had, "formed me into, this shape, because if I can learn all the magic I am obviously going to try to, it's magic, and magic is all kinds of bullshit, y'know?  It's - generation ex nihilo!  And it gets to be extra fun because of how you power that, and - we had so much technology, where I'm from, but not a single speck of magic known, and...it's a wonder, and a blessing, and a gift, and if I can share that with others someday, I want, I want to share as much of that wonder as I can.  And I'm almost certain that my social scripts are all tangled up, but...apparently I want to kiss you?  Not, with, expectations, but...to sincerely express gratitude?"

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"Technology! You can really do it all, it seems. Certu especially would love to be able to learn various technologies from you, especially ones that would help running the library easier. And no, I don't mind it if you kiss me." She smiles widely. Myria is oddly charming, in her own way. She's very...sincere and candid.

"Yes, magic is great. We teach literacy, but in the far future, we thought about making runenodes available for everyone too. Definitely Vin, for the utility magic. That's more like a distant dream, though. Crafting runenode scrolls is very expensive and time consuming."

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Then Beatrix gets a kiss!  The kiss is - sweet, and alive, and also full of magical energy like she's somehow made of the same fluid that Clear Hearts make, how is she not blazingly brilliant to mage-sight under normal circumstances, (it's Ophelia), and achingly tender, as if Myria has found a shining thing that is beautiful and true and is oh so hesitant to do anything that might dare break it or break this pure moment that she is right now streaming directly into her archives in bit-exhaustive detail because this moment is important, as she's holding Beatrix close...

And, after a timeless time that Certu might estimate as about a minute of Myria just...sensually, but somehow still chastely in a way that would be very uncharacteristic for anyone naturally of a tentacle-y species, kissing and cuddling, the moment passes, and Myria's bodies resume idly browsing the stacks, and the Myria who is speaking to Beatrix thinks about runenode implantation scrolls.

"You know, where I'm from, the reaction to something annoyingly time-consuming and fiddly is automation.  I wonder how much of that can be done by magic for magic, and not even in an extensive physical footprint because, magic!, ?  I think if you want mass runenode implantation, that's where you start, because nothing artisanal works to supply societal-scale demand, and if there's the concept of factories and labor-saving as a field here, it's not yet in your books; I think it's probably quite possible to - shift the burden of thinking about so much of what he's doing off of Certu, free him up to pay more attention to being-a-library, instead of having so many shards of attention focused on things that're fiddly only in their mechanics rather than the amount of actual thought needed; how attentionally-involved is he in day-to-day - environment maintenance, exempli gratia keeping the gardens appropriately-watered, for example?  ...Say, do you not have magic for plants?  I don't think I have that as a rune but I have - an instinct that moves the same way as I could do - fire, or water, or air, that seems to point in a plant-feeling direction - there's a couple other weird things like that actually, I swear there's one for sugar except that's not quite - if candy is an archetypical element I'm going to be so bemused - anyway how do you normally do magic, so far I've just been sort of - threading my will through the runes that feel right, then methodizing them, focusing mostly on - constructs and portals and I'm doing a little bit of practice with water and flesh and air as elements just on account of, environmental conditions, but I almost feel like that's, hard mode?  At least for human minds which, I still sorta count myself amongst?  I sort of 'cheat', the way I've been casting so far, by using brain-compute to make reflexes out of solutions-I-found-once and consider things at hyperspeed.  So I imagine there's an easier method but I don't think I'm going to figure out how to wiggle my hands around the right way just by wild mass guessing?"

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She feels the intense rush of magical energy flow through her, and she almost topples in the chair were it not for Myria holding her. She was definitely not expecting that! She leans into the caresses, and halfway through, she runs her hands down Myria's forearms. It takes her two minutes to compose herself into a state that can process information coherently. Even then, her voice is breathless.

"Making runenode scrolls requires making very precise, often microscopic, etchings of runes. Such precision is not found on any machine in our world. I can assure you of that, because if there were, the inventor would have enough money to buy the whole continent. I have also tried to find ways to automate what Certu does, but he prefers that things be organic, or be made of organic-like materials. It's unpleasant for him to integrate with large machines which are made of metal. Wood is better, and something like chitin is best, although those materials do not have the best characteristics to be used in machines.

Sadly, no, there is no runenode to manipulate plants directly, although you can get close with water magic, since plants love water. Sugar and candy are not runenodes, no. I wish they were.

Usually, people cast spells by uttering the runenodes they want to invoke, and the manner in which the mana derived from them should be manipulated. They also use particular gestures to guide the mana where it needs to go. Tentaclepeople who are incapable of speech substitute with more complex gesturing, which is easier for them on account of having tentacles.

That's actually extremely difficult, by the way. It takes an expert spellcaster to be able to cast spells without gesturing or speaking, and often times only the weak or simple spells they can do like that. I can do many spells still and silent, but I've had three hundred years of practice."

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"...Microscopic precision...What we need, is lathes.  Lathes that build lathes that build lathes that then etch runes, I remember reading someone upteching to precision work that way...or maybe just sufficiently precise construct enchantments...I was thinking of making basically fleshy bundles of instincts for Certu to occasionally check in on, yes, rather than mechanisms; gotta know the client..."

A couple of the Myrias in the study room are already starting to test the fidelity of their construct magic,

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, and it is Ophelia that they tap as a resource on minds and on fleshcrafting, because she knows so much more on the down-to-instinct level that they need to design limbic systems that can, nonetheless, do magic and complex craftswork...

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...Myria's ~skin, the surface membrane that's...probably Ophelia, actually, because Beatrix can be certain she'd notice if she was touching Myria, is...surprisingly, textured, to the touch?  It's still a squishy gel, but it's shaped, in a way that provides just a bit of friction against surface contact, a small bit of cling if she pulls her hands away.  (The Myria in the room with her certainly doesn't want the cuddling to stop if Beatrix wants it to continue, either, but she's less...found-an-oasis-in-the-desert...about the touchy-feely-ness she's doing.)

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"Yes, I have no expertise in working with organic machines. Certu would likely prefer those. If you want to talk with him, you can go to the consultation room in Basement 1. It's easier for him to talk to people there."

She feels the oddly-sticky-but-not-sticky surface on Myria. That must be her living clothing. She doesn't initiate the touching...but she also doesn't resist it. It feels good.

"Now that I think about it, I should probably have introduced myself to you. Not to you, Myria, but your living clothing. They are sapient, yes?" 

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"I am indeed," purrs the voice that spoke earlier.  "A pleasure to officially meet you, Beatrix, for all that in most ways of looking at it, it is not inaccurate to say that you've been introduced to me already, albeit not vice-versa.  You may call me Ophelia; it is, once again, a pleasure.  You're...kind."

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"Nice to meet you, Ophelia. Of course, as a representative of the library, it behooves me to be polite. Despite your form and connection to Myria, you are still a sapient entity and worthy of consideration." She smiles widely, which kind of ruins the professional vibe she was going for.

She stands back up. "I usually have lunch at this time, so I must go for now. Do you have something planned for the afternoon?" Her body language implies she means 'you' in the plural sense.

"I can tutor you in my magical specialties, take you to meet and talk to Certu in the basement, or unlock the workshop for you so we can experiment on the possibility of organic machines, or something else entirely." She wanted to just ask what her planned schedule was, but what came out made it sound like she's asking her for a date.

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