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Jun 02, 2023 5:33 PM
the Lamb in Fabulous
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She tries this out in her mind's eye first before making any changes, though she does ask the crown to demonstrate its additions. The decorative flames flutter pleasingly when she swooshes an arm.

Then she starts thinking seriously about where to go from this starting point. The cape has never really been something she's into; she thinks she'd like to try a dress instead. And if she's going to be taller she wants to be stronger to go with it; the crown was implicitly imagining a sort of lithe long-limbed version of her, and she sees where it's coming from but that doesn't feel like her; she wants flesh on those bones. The horns, on the other hand, if she's going to go to the trouble of growing them she'd like them a little fancier: an elegant curve with some real length to it, nice sharp points, and a small, subtle second point branching off just before the first, to add a little visual interest. The same main-point-with-smaller-branch motif can show up in the swooshy tails she's thinking of giving her skirt to replace the swooshy tails the crown was envisioning on her cape. As for her face... she's more hesitant there. It's her face. But she does see what the crown is going for, there. And a sharper face would go well with the redesigned horns.

Well, she can try the redesigned horns first and see how she likes that... yeah, all right, that's quite fetching but she does think it changes the visual balance of her head so that redesigning her face starts to make more sense. She does that, and grows taller, and lightens her wool to a truly brilliant white, and tries out the cape-->dress redesign and adjusts it a few times before finding a balance she's happy with. Any magic yet?

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Yes! Just a little bit of it, but yes, this is Enough to get magic.

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The crown inspects the magic very closely, to find out what kind it is.

 

It reports with great excitement that—

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"I have SLEEP magic?! I could SLEEP?!!!"

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Ah, about that.

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"—what, no, what do you mean I don't have enough yet—give me your weirdest ideas, I don't care as long as I can change back afterward—I can change back afterward, right?"

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The crown is not fully confident it understands this system but it is confident that the interface for redesigning herself is expansive and easily accessible and that it has a very good memory for all of the shapes she has been! It cheerfully provides her with further inspiration.

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Weird spindly creature twice as tall as any normal person,* with flesh of lightless shadow and wool of blinding white, a shadowblack cape lined in crownfire red over a wool-white dress, crownfire eyes in the usual place but also blinking elegantly from her shoulders and ankles and wrists, red-tipped black horns in an elaborate thorned spiral and membraneless black bat wings that her crown can fill with ghostly red flames? Hooves brought to impractically elegant points that match the points of her unnecessary yet equally elegant fangs? Bring it. The Lamb will be sleeping tonight.

*That is to say, about six feet.

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And all those changes will go through, and she can step into the shadows to be illuminated more by her on-theme fire and less by the sunshine, and maybe she can get the wool to bioluminesce a little too, and she needs a THEME SONG so she'll have to figure out how to sing - could the wings double as instruments? - and she should smell like blackberries - hm, no, that's not right - she should smell like lanolin and woodsmoke, that's right, and -

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?????

The whole—the shape of her thoughts is—

The crown tries to ask if she's all right. It's harder than usual; the new shape of her thoughts is foreign and distant, the way she was to it when they were first getting to know each other.

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She's more beautiful than ever!!

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That is not what it asked!!

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Does the crown think this shade of red is right - maybe it's too saturated -

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What (it asks suspiciously) are her thoughts on such matters as: gardening, construction, mind control, sleeping.

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Gardening and construction both sound great! She can materialize a diamond spade in her hands and start digging so she can transplant that lovely bush - maybe she can grow some pretty flowers out of herself and put them in the garden too, there aren't a lot of flowers around here - and she can build herself a house! Maybe she can tunnel under the earth and find rocks there, ones she makes like the shovel won't stick - mind control? no particular opinion - sleeping - oh, she has magic about that, you know what would be lovely would be if she made a friend and put them to sleep and then made a beautiful bower all around them for them to wake up to, doesn't that sound nice -

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The area where it has been repeatedly forming and dissolving mysteriously comprehensible sigils of black flame acquires some especially agitated sigils.

the magic of beauty is for changing a person into a different person with different thoughts? Explain.

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- well, if somebody wants to be a Beautiful Person they're not going to... stop them?

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the person is not knowing to be made into a different person!!! Only the change is happening and not the choice! The choice is to be a thing that can sleep and not any ever much to be a different person of so different a thoughts shape but instead of the sleep the thoughts shape change is to happen!!!

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So, they don't want to stop anyone from being a Beautiful Person, but they can't... ask... because of the autonomous system thing, so instead, as a proxy, they have things set up to assume that if you don't especially want to be whatever you were before, maybe you want to be a Beautiful Person. All the Beautiful People look different, so there's no specific target, there, just a "not this any more".

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Well. The crown digests this news.

It has some thinking to do, here.

It was very alarmed by this change in its bearer, but... in a sense, hasn't it just been given away, like it was once before? Granted, not on purpose, but it suspects very strongly that the Chained One did not intend for its loyalties to shift. And yet, it is a crown; it is loyal, fundamentally, to the head on which it rests. It would not want to be any other way.

The head on which it rests is... worse, now, though.

Never before the Lamb has the crown known a bearer who was loyal to it.

The Lamb, when she has not been so rudely replaced, thinks of it as a friend. A very close and loyal and powerful friend, her best friend in the whole world, who she cares about, who she would protect from their enemies with the same unhesitating ferocity with which it protects her. Not because of practical concerns like the fact that it's very useful to have the power of a dark and ancient god at her fingertips, or not only that, but also because she cares, personally, about this friend that she has. The Lamb, very much unlike the crown's previous bearer, thinks about how to be nice to it. She thinks about what outcomes it prefers and what pastimes it enjoys and how to give it those things so long as she does not find them unconscionable.

This new Lamb, it suspects, does not feel that way. And... and even if she does... it is not just a matter of wanting the practical benefits of friendship. The crown wants... to repay that kindness and consideration with kindness and consideration of its own, personally. The crown wants to be good to its Lamb because she was good to it, even though she didn't have to be.

So it must revert this change somehow. It must bring back the Lamb who loved it, and not let her stay subsumed by this new creature forever.

But... this new shape of its bearer's mind is also a person, isn't she, sort of? And the Lamb, the proper Lamb, does not like it when people are killed or mind-controlled when they don't want to be. She would want her crown to try to approach this situation without doing anything she wouldn't do.

It reaches out to its bearer and asks, hesitantly: does she understand that the shape of her thoughts has changed? Does she understand that she is not now the same as she was?

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She remembers being unbeautiful! It seems like it was worse on... basically every axis. She's happy now. She's changing her eyes so she can appreciate the sun dancing on the water.

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The crown says, as clearly as it can:

You are not the person who was my friend.

I miss my friend.

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This Beautiful Person would be happy to be friends with the crown too! It's such a splendid crown.

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The crown is not sure what to think about that. It doesn't have anything against this new strange creature. They could be friends, maybe.

But it knows that it wants its old friend back too. Having a new friend does not make the old friend exist again.

Is the new creature okay with—sharing? Sequentially or simultaneously?

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Hmmmm.

Well, that's not terribly appealing on the face of it, and she's not even sure how sharing simultaneously could possibly work, but maybe sequentially would be all right. It's not like the unbeautiful Lamb wanted to be conscious all the time, and this Beautiful Person would not have begun existing if it had not seemed, on some level, like the Lamb wanted to replace herself, so perhaps it is fitting if she only exists when the Lamb does not want to do things.

Or... hm.

Aha!

Okay, what if -

She has to do this very carefully so none of the intervening stages are really icky, but she can hide some of the details under wool - what if, while she's shrinking down back to the Lamb's original height and shape, she's also fashioning a new self, grown almost like a plant, and at the moment when the rest of the Lamb is no longer Different Enough to invite transformation into a Beautiful Person, a separate, living thing is sheared off from her back, bursting forth with the wings attached, to go be Beautiful on her own.

There! Goodbye crown!

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