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Jan 30, 2023 12:47 PM
[Redacted] lands in Crystalsky via magic book
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"I feel compelled to be nervous on your behalf. What exactly is written in there?"

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"I mean, you're not wrong, but it's not like either of us can do much about a hypothetical malicious not-crystal-magic book.

"And it is giving me coauthor credit on the travelogue.  Can't be all bad."

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"It has a travelogue."

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"It's trying to have a travelogue.

"Claims to be an artifact made for that purpose that was then left in a vault for umpty-umpt years."

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"That is... weird. But I guess not that much weirder given everything else?" Pause. "Does it say why someone would do that?"

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"Probably a bad spontaneous case of death, if I had to guess."

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"You know what, that was obvious in hindsight. Anything informative on the travelogue?"

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"You're Henry-5?"

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"Does... do you know how it assigned the numbers? Am I the highest?"

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"..."

She'll page through the list.  "I don't know.  I'll...see if I can check that."

Pageflip!  Frenetically!  "Should've been more...Sensitive about that whole thing.  Too.  So um.  Sorry, Henry."

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"It's okay." He looks around helplessly at a Gabe, then looks down.

She might also notice that the camp until now has been just passively listening in on them while busy with their own tasks (mainly the tools they have been working on earlier).

Another Henry approaches. "I think. You should take a break. Hi, again Lucy. I was talking to you before."

The page flipping, while dutifully frenetic, is failing to produce a new page. Though, she might notice that it has updated to include the fact that "Henry-3" just came by.

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"C'mon, give me a cast of characters at the top of the chapter or something," she mutters.

 

"...which of us are you recommending take a break, because I've got a lot of nervous energy built up and may as well do something useful with it.  What're y'all working on, anyway?"

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Henry-3 says. "I meant mostly him," He points at Henry-5. "Though, if you want to pause to calm down."

Henry-5 is still looking down at his feet, but he nods.

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Okay... Vera-2 will just escort him away, in case he needs space to process.

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The books eventually deigns to add a list of "relevant people" which lists all the four varieties of clone she has met so far. Henry 3 to 5. Gabe 3 and 4. Vera 2 and 3. Claudia 2 ad 3.

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"...The adrenaline's already dumped; may as well make use of it while it's here.  What's the camp working on, anyway."

She is changing the subject, now.  "This is why I don't social..."

 

"Um.  Do you want to know the - situation about clone-numbering."

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"Barriers against animals and shelter. We tried settling down a nearby cave, but we kept being harassed by hogs-things."

Then after a pause, he says. "Whisper to me?"

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"There's...These are only the people I've interacted with, I'm pretty sure.  But..."  She leans in, and murmurs the number-names.

"...You should maybe excavate?  Crystallize the ground and shift it?  I'm not sure exactly how the 'can't get it to be calorie-positive' thing works, here."

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"Volume matters. For calories spent. We have just been attaching things to each other with magic." He says quietly, absently thinking. Whispering he asks. "Do you have a guess if the book would think that our original selves count as the first versions?"

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"...absolute volume, relative volume, does material composition matter whatsoever to perceived expenditure?"

 

"...I've no idea how the book's counting."  Pageflip?

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"Absolute volume. However, much total crystal you had to create in the process, you can get some back if you unmake it right, but it is a lossy process."

The book isn't producing a text that goes 'and this is the magical reasoning for each assigned number' after a while of page flipping it adds a note saying "these numbers are estimations".

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"...Is crystal you create by absorbing material different than freestanding crystal, calorie-expenditure-wise?"

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"Yes. In that case, the density of the absorbed material tends to matter too, haven't done enough to figure out how much."

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