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Jan 27, 2023 1:26 PM
the ordeal
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And a few weeks later, Wen Ning has leveled up to level 6, and he has five stat points to allocate.

He also is at 19 WIZ.

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...He does not need to put that last stat point into WIZ. He could put it off for longer, get more prepared. He still has quests he hasn't done! He could still get stronger, better at everything except magic.

But. At some point he is going to have to do it. It's necessary. And-- he doesn't feel ready, but he can't see a way he could get more ready. He is something resembling a functional human. He is, he hopes, more than just resembling a functional sex wizard.

He puts two more points into ART, because that's falling behind a bit. And two more into NOV, so as not to disappoint the dolphins.

And that last point--

-- He still has some more prep to do.

He tries to call his sister, but he can't face dialling the number, and getting stuck like that is happening less but it's still happening, and it's a bad habit to avoid it but right now it just isn't happening...

...he writes a letter to her. One to Wei Wuxian too. They're different, but similar in tone and content.

He needs to do the Ordeal. He can't keep putting it off any longer. He is definitely going to try not to die, but he can't make any promises. He loves them so much and he doesn't want to even risk leaving them, but he made a promise to the world and he has to keep it.

Chris Parker gets a letter to.  It's emotionally easier to write-- he loves him, but they're not as close-- but logistically harder. Reverend Parker definitely humours him about the wizard stuff, but he can't exactly explain the ordeal to him. And he would like to not worry him and make him call the police?Especially because it seems... mean... to make the police look for you when you might not even be on this plane of existence. But still. He deserves to know. The letter says there is something he has to do, and it's hard to explain, but it is deeply important to him. It probably won't kill him, and he'll be doing his best to avoid dying, but... it's a possibility. And if he stops showing up to his session and he can't be called or texted or whatever... that's probably why. He gives it Wen Qing, to give to him if he misses his next scheduled session.

And once all the letters are in the hands of the right people...

...he goes up to WIZ 20.

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Nothing happens. 

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...He was honestly expecting something more dramatic. (Still not looking at the floor,  just in case.)

He starts cleaning his counters, because they may as well be clean for his Ordeal?

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The counters are clean!

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did you get eaten by the Lone Power yet

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So far, no?

...I'm kind of scared to open my door, though.

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is the Lone Power a vampire? are they repelled by doors

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I mean, everything is normal in my apartment now, but maybe it's waiting for me outside? Or on the floor. The manual did say to not look down.

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I think I should get to do it with you. if you're a love wizard. you love me

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I love you, and so i would feel bad if you also died?

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I guessssssss

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...I do wish you could help.

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Well when I become a wizard I won't let you help on my Ordeal either. So there. 

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I'll just have to send you a care package.

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A spell has been created by a special action! Accepting the Ordeal has created the spell Pentex Sight.
Manual//Spells//Pentex Sight

Active. When you cast this spell, products manufactured by Pentex Corporation will be lit with a purple glow. You may touch them to discover how the Lone Power has influenced them. 
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The name 'Pentex' tickles his brain.  He's definitely heard it somewhere before.

...I think I might have to find my own ordeal. I have a Lone Power detection spell.

He casts the spell. ... please tell him his doorknob has not been corrupted by the Lone Power.

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His doorknob has not been influenced by the Lone Power!

...there is some purple wafting from his mailbox though. 

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He is a functional human being he will sort through his mail, even if it has an aura of evil.

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The aura of evil is, specifically, drifting from a bill from his insurance company and mailers from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Parents 4 Freedom. 

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Okay, he can see how insurance saps the world of joy,  but... an AIDS charity?

He texts Wei Wuxian: the AIDs Healthcare Foundation has an aura of evil?

...for context I have a spell now that can detect the Lone Power's influence. On AIDs charities.

He pokes the envelope.

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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation advocates against prep, calling it a "party drug" which encourages people to have anonymous and unprotected sex. It also campaigns for laws banning unprotected sex in pornography, despite protests from porn actors that using condoms poses health and safety issues. Their pro-condom advertising encourages serophobic stigma against HIV-positive people. Further, they overbill the government for HIV treatment, underpay and overwork their staff, use their power to shut down smaller HIV/AIDS organizations, and threaten to sue people who disagree with them. In recent years, it has shifted towards advocating for NIMBY housing policies.

Most of its funding comes from Pentex. 
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... thank you Pentex. Real helpful activities there.

Very ginger finger poke of Freedom 4 Parents. It's... probably worthwhile knowing...

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Parents 4 Freedom is a group of "parents' rights" advocates. Their causes include:

-Abstinence-only sex education
-The removal of all potentially controversial books from school libraries and curricula
-No mention of LGBT+ people in schools
-No access to social or medical transition for trans youth
-No medical or psychological confidentiality for youth

They plan to roll out a free "character education" program in schools which contains subliminal mind control intended to make children obedient and joyless. 

They are mostly funded by grants from the Pentex Foundation. 
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...Okay. So, magic being real means that the mind control is not a surprise, as such, but. Uh. That's definitely a problem. That he might have to fix on his own.

Also, mind control is real. So that's. Something.

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The universe has a vague aura of "the fuck did you expect, dude."

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