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Generated: Jan 07, 2021 9:17 PM
Post last updated: Nov 19, 2019 8:42 PM
Hot off the press! One step ahead!
Out in the open
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The following day, after school, Sadde waits for Alistair.

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Alistair arrives. 

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With company.

"Good to see you, firestarter."

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"Hey Kit. Doing alright?"

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"Stellar. I hear you and Alistair have something planned?"

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"Yeah. A date, actually, not sure he mentioned that part. As in, there will be lots of kissing. And I will be enjoying the view of him exerting himself physically."

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"You're really something. I'm mostly just here to make a point to his parents, I'll get out of your hair soon."

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"Sorry about him," he says to one of them, probably.

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"A point?"

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"I'm showing them I can be a responsible adult by escorting a pair of unruly teenagers."

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"...have you met your nephew? He's the least unruly teenager I've met and I'm in school."

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"I can be unruly."

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"I'm not the parent here. Hands-off, that's me. But darling Christopher wants to trust me, so we play the game."

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"I see," he says, then turns to Alistair to say, "I'd enjoy seeing you be unruly tremendously."

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"I'd love to show you."

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"That's my cue to leave. Have fun, but not too much fun."

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"We'll have exactly the correct amount of fun."

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And then they're alone.

"I'm sorry, I tried to talk him into just dropping me off."

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"Next time might be a better idea to fly invisibly. I'm not sure I want your parents to think he's a responsible adult, though."

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"I'm not sure I want that to be your problem. They're adults, they should be able to handle themselves."

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"I'm in the habit of making everything my problem, but that is perhaps not the best priority."

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"We have magic, we have the whole world. Save my family for later."

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"Yeah, fair enough. Anyway, let's go?"

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"I could drive us there, or we could use magic frivolously."

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"Ooh let's use magic frivolously!"

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So they do. 

Alistair equips his handy bow, and offers Sadde the Jump card.

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He can jump.

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They arrive at the planned spot soon enough.

It's the start of a well-trafficked trail.

"Ready?"

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"Yeah!"

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Hiking! Alistair leads the way, offering tips. He's assuming Sadde hasn't done much of this.

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Sadde has not done much of this, no. He follows Alistair's lead.

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Well, this is the most efficient way to climb, this is how he should regulate his breathing, this is what he should do with his arms- most of the demonstration involved requires Alistair to emphasize various parts of his body.

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He might need Alistair to demonstrate more than once. Just to be sure he's getting it right.

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Such demonstrating!

They eventually make it to a cliff, overlooking their town.

"I didn't really bring anything to do, but I thought you'd like the view."

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"Oh I'm liking the view alright."

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"Is everything you say innuendo?"

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He laughs. "No, of course not, some of it is magic nerding. But I can stop."

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"It's fun, just a little much. I think I'm more coquettish and gallant than flirty."

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"Fair enough. The view here​ is really pretty, this was a good idea."

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The view is pretty.

Alistair finds a comfortable place to sit and look out over the town and the woods.

"You can decide what we do on the next one."

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He sits by Alistair. "I'll think of something nice."

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"I'm surprised we haven't been interrupted by a card yet."

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"This is probably not a badly written anime, it won't necessarily happen."

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"If I get anything good when I go hunting, how would you feel about me cooking dinner for us?"

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"Ooh that'd be really cool."

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"I always feel bad coming out here right after a hunting trip, like they know what I did."

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"- who?"

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"The animals. I don't actually think that," he hastens to add.

"I just feel guilty."

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"If you feel guilty, why do you do it?"

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"I don't know. I feel bad about it sometimes but I don't think it's wrong."

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"I don't think it's wrong either. You don't have to feel bad."

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"Thanks."

He stands.

"That's enough emotions for one day. We should keep walking."

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He laughs. "Lead the way."

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They walk away from the cliff and deeper into the trees.

"I used to be really nimble. I loved to climb trees. It was the one thing my dad really let me do alone. Even after this nasty fall, I was in the hospital for a few days."

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"'Used to be'?"

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"I'm still athletic, I guess. I don't climb trees anymore."

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"Why not?"

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"People usually stop that when they grow up. I might not even remember how."

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"Let's do it now! Plenty of trees around here."

Any climbable ones?

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If they try hard and believe in themselves!

There are a few trees with low branches.

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He picks one at near-random and makes a beeline for it.

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The tree fails to resist him. It is thoroughly climbable.

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"Come on, you, too!" Sadde calls.

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He's hardly going to say no. This is mostly his fault.

No reason not to make it competitive. He tries to climb faster than Sadde.

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Well Sadde's fit but Alistair's probably fitter.

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Probably.

Does he get some sort of prize? He looks like he wants some kind of prize.

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Does he? And what might this prize be?

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It's anyone's guess.

Maybe Sadde should lean in. He might whisper it.

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Oh he can do that, he's very curious.

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Alistair kisses him like a dehydrated man given a sip of water. 

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Oh so is this how he gets Alistair going, hm? He kisses back quite eagerly.

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Alistair does purr, nor moan. He's better than that. That would be undignified. Whatever humming sound he's making is definitely indicating enjoyment, though.

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Sadde will contain himself and only make soft similarly hum-y noises.

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What a symbiotic relationship they're forming.

They can carry on like this for some time. It's quiet up here.

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If Alistair doesn't have anywhere else to go, yes, they can.

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They spend quite a bit of daylight like that, then.

Eventually, they ought to get back.

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Awwwww. Yeah, he supposes.

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Back down the mountain.

"So, how did I do?"

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"Splendidly. But you know, this was only once, I might need a larger sample size to properly conclude anything."

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"How about this weekend?"

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"Sounds like a date."

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"Want to risk frivolous magic to get back?"

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"But what will our parents think?"

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"I won't tell if you don't."

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"My lips are sealed."

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Alistair equips his handy bow.

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Sadde does not have a nice magic implement like that.

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Well, he can have the Jump card. They'll become fast friends at this rate.

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Maybe they will.

Jump!

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Back to Sadde's house.

"I think this is where you get off."

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"Probably. It was lovely."

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Brief kiss?

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It'll be exactly as brief as Alistair wants it to be.

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Slightly briefer than he intended, but briefer than either of them would like.

"Good night, Sadde."

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"Good night, Alistair."

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Soon enough, the time comes for them to put on a show. It isn't hard to find a street corner and set up. Scott and Stiles are there first, a result of Stiles' eagerness. Scott shuffles his available cards nervously as he waits for the others. 

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Stiles is recording all of this, as much for personal use as for submission.

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A few people pause to look at the street performers (?) that seems to be setting up there but most ignore them.

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He considers meditating just to check in, but he wants to be ready when the others arrive.

He's not very good at patient, but he is better than Stiles. He distracts him.

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Sadde lands in front of them.

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"What, the boyfriend felt like making a separate trip?"

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"Hey. Here, take them so we don't have to waste time once Alistair gets here."

He hands Sadde the cards they discussed, pocketing the rest.

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"Oh we are very much wasting time, here. We're doing a show."

He takes the Cards anyway.

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"So what exactly did I miss while you guys were replaying the day?"

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"Stiles, we already went over this."

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"Yeah, I didn't ask you."

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"Not a lot, we spent most of the time planning. I never asked, how did you ever manage to get captured by the Erase so close to midnight, that second time?"

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"I was thinking we could just avoid that. Discretion is the better part of valor."

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He rolls his eyes. "Of course it is. I think we managed to make Alistair hate you guys a bit less."

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"We talked things out. We're basically best friends now. Sorry, Stiles."

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"You wound me. I'm totally broken inside."

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Alistair takes the opportunity to arrive.

"Are we ready to get the ball rolling?"

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"Ooh yes. Stiles, how's the technical side?"

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"Technical? I'm handling it."

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"Okay. I think we're ready then?"

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"Alright. Change!" He holds the Card up high and it glows and turns his clothes into a stage magician's suit. "Ladies and gentlemen!" he calls out. "We are gathered here to prove to you that magic is real!"

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Most continue passing them by, but a few ladies and gentlemen and assorted others stop to watch.

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"Hmm... how about this." He grabs a few pieces of paper from a backpack and says, "By the power of the Wind, under the Moon's guidance, let my Voice carry steady and true! Let me be heard, let me be noticed, let not a word be misunderstood! There, this is better," he says, his voice amplified. "Ladies and gentlemen! We are gathered here to prove to you that magic is real!" he repeats, his voice much more audible and clear even though it's not coming from an electronic amplifier or anything like that.

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A few people begin laughing and stop to watch the show.

One guy flips him off.

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He winks at the guy and grabs a Card: the Change, his own. "First of all I'm gonna do a variant of that trick everyone knows where people change clothes extremely fast behind a screen. This variant will have no screen at all!"

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Oooh.

Aaah.

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Someone has come to watch!

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He winks at Kit, too, and says, "Change!"

His clothes start glowing and now he's wearing a gorgeous pink frilly dress.

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Kit claps, and a few surprised audience members join in.

The man from earlier has apparently elected to be personally offended by these proceedings and shouts, "Looking good, princess!"

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Alistair looms vaguely in his direction but doesn't go any closer to him.

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"Thank you very much! I think I'm dashing in this dress, myself, but maybe something else..." And his dress glows and changes into motorcycle leathers, complete with a helmet. "Ooh, sexy."

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There's some nervous muttering and awed gasps. A few begin to move on, but others start taking out their phones to record them.

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"Hmm but is this magical enough, I wonder? Kero, is this magical enough?"

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"Well, I don't know," says the winged bear, emerging from a backpack somewhere, his voice just as amplified. "Maybe you should get volunteers to make sure this isn't just a trick?"

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This random NPC wants to volunteer to hug the adorable bear!

She is a very excitable young girl who is trying to run towards them. Her father seems reluctant to let her.

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The adorable bear kinda does not want to be hugged.

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"Sure, why not," says a volunteer from the audience.

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The girl pouts, but continues to watch with her father.

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"Hmm, what do you want to look like? I somehow think the dress is not your style..."

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"You don't think I could pull it off? Let's go for something obnoxious. Powder blue tux with a neon green tie."

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"You got it. Change!"

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The audience oohs and aahs as Kit transforms from dressed normally to dressed like a young man attending prom without receiving input on his outfit.

One of them starts heckling Sadde.

"Weak, anyone can do that with a plant in the audience. Do something really impressive."

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"Change!" he casts again, and the heckler is wearing a much more tasteful suit. "Although this may not be impressive enough to your tastes, since you could be a plant, right?"

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He sputters and desists the heckling. More people start to stop.

One cranes her neck, looking for wires. Another is recording the events with her commentary.

 

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One of them walks forward through the crowd for a better look.

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The Card returns to his hand and everyone is wearing what they were wearing at the start again. "For my next trick I'm gonna teleport! No, I lie, I'm not. I'm gonna stop time and walk. Who wants to bet I can't do it?"

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A few of the audience members chuckle. One claps and hoots, apparently enjoying this turn of events.

One woman waves a five dollar bill in the air, smiling.

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"No hard feelings when it works?"

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"If it works, he can have the five dollars and coffee, on me."

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He grins, holds up a Card, says "Time!", it glows, and then he's standing right in front of the woman, holding her five dollar bill and grinning.

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The woman gasps, blushing.

"Well, there we go. I guess it's yours."

A few more people take out their phones as they chat excitedly.

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"It is. As for the coffee, it will have to be strictly platonic, I haven't had the nonmonogamy conversation with my boyfriend yet," he says, hiking a thumb in Alistair's direction.

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She blinks.

"Alright, whatever cutie. If you change your mind..."

She starts to check her purse for something to write with, but pauses.

"You don't have magic to write down my number, do you?"

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Alistair elects not to interrupt.

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Interesting.

"Naturally. Not as handy as crying out a word but it works just the same. What is it?"

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She rattles it off, smiling. She eyes the aforementioned boyfriend curiously.

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He speaks a ridiculous incantation and is now holding a piece of paper with her number on it.

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She claps.

"Have whatever talks you need to. I'll expect a courtesy call if you can't do it."

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"For sure. Time!" And he's back where he started. "Hey who wants to see the famous handcuff trick?"

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Little girl raises her hand reaaally high!

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Other audience members watch in anticipation.

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"Alistair, would you like to give me a hand here?" He offers his wrists.

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Alistair does. He places them around Sadde's wrists, slowly, watching Sadde's face as he does.

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Sadde can make faces at him while he does it then.

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And after a certain point, he'll back off, letting Sadde handle the dramatic portion.

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"Now this one is fairly straightforward, considering. Love, help me grab the Through Card from my pocket please?"

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He helps.

His smile is more photogenic now, although it's unclear how much of that is acting and how much is enthusiasm.

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Who knows.

After grabbing the Card he says, "Through!" The Card glows, disappears, and -

- doesn't do anything.

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Um.

"Kero?"

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"You use cards for some of your magic? That's interesting," says one of the audience members near the front.

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Kero floats over there. "...the Card is not here."

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"Some of it, yeah, although it usually doesn't - fail - well, I don't need the Card, anyway, I can just do -" a ridiculous incantation that makes the handcuffs go through his wrists like they were intangible.

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Scott is going to be here meditating.

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Politely awkward clapping!

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Stiles continues filming because honestly, what can he do?

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While Sadde continues doing some more magic and recovering from the slight slip, the Cards start becoming visible to Scott.

The Through is gone. So is the Maze. He can find them both but they're in opposite directions and hiding, a lot like they were before he'd captured them and a lot unlike the Cards in his/Sadde's/Alistair's possession.

...well, actually there's a difference between his and the other two's Cards...

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Uh huh.

He starts signing his other cards, trying not to think too hard about it.

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Some of the audience members begin to leave, thinking about what they've seen.

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There are some still in Sadde's possession though.

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There are.

It's probably not smart to wait for the show to be over, in case any more get out.

"Sorry to interrupt," he says between tricks, "but I need to talk to our magician for a minute."

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The audience thinks that's really dumb!

Although some of them should probably get back to what they were doing.

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"I can stop time, remember?" he says wryly. "We'll be back in less than a second. Time!" Their surroundings turn green and everything except for the two of them is frozen. "What's up?"

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"Remember when I decided I objected to magical card slavery so I didn't sign my name on my cards? I should do that before more get loose."

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...he hands over Scott's Cards.

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That about sums it up.

He writes his name on the available cards.

"I'll get started on tracking them down. You finish the show."

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"I will."

Time resumes.

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Scott will wander off towards the Maze, then.

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The members of the audience that haven't realized they have things to do will watch eagerly.

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Sadde can continue to play the host.

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Meanwhile the Maze isn't too far away. Right over there, in the middle of the sidewalk.

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Great. Sadde the Magnificent doesn't mind if he borrows some rope, does he? The Maze probably isn't smart enough to learn from its mistakes.

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There is rope available! The Maze is probably not that smart.

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Scott retrieves and applies the rope, tying it to a fire hydrant. Into the Maze.

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The Maze has made quite a bit of a mess of this city. There are twin houses over there, and Scott can see the neighborhood bending Inception-style in the distance.

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He's done this before. His key becomes his absurdly pink staff.

"Maze, return to your power confined."

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Nnnnewp.

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"Could you please turn into a card? I could help you turn all kinds of places into mazes that you can't even imagine?"

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Nuh uh.

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Yup. He tries calling out.

"Hello? Is anyone in here?"

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"In here?" asks someone rounding a corner. "We're outside. Freaky outside," he admits, "but outside. I'm pretty sure I'm dreaming."

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"Probably. Is there anyone else here?"

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"Where's 'here'?"

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"Oh, I don't know, did you see anybody in this area? Around that corner? Maze, return to your power confined."

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"...no, what the hell did you just say?"

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"...amazingly girl power Wi-Fi? Song, attract the others who are trapped, release."

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Here she is. She starts singing - an enchanting sound, beautiful and moving in a way the mere notes composing it shouldn't seem to allow. It echoes and gets compounded in a way sound shouldn't be, spreading much farther than normal.

"...wow," the guy breathes, taking a step forward. "What's that -?"

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"She's Song. She loves to sing more than anything else."

If he decides to wander through the Maze as far as his rope will take him, does he find anyone?

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Yeah, some people are drawn by the song. Even the first guy seems to not have anything to say anymore in the face of that.

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And if he leads everyone he's collected with the music out of the Maze, and then tries to capture it again...?

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This time it goes!

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The Maze card returns to its power confined, and he signs his name on it.

If he leaves them alone the group of people will sort themselves out, right? He tries meditating on the Through.

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That depends; is the Song still out?

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It is. Scott is too busy meditating to fix that.

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So no, people will mostly just stay there transfixed by the Card.

The Through... is that-a-way.

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In which case he can stop meditating, and return the Song to her card, and run thataway.

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People are extremely confused! Some of them call after him.

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"Glad you enjoyed the show!" shouts obviously-a-stage-magician.

 

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People are very confused by this, or at least confused for long enough that he'll manage to get away.

The Through is inside that 15-story apartment building.

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That does seem like a place for the Through to be.

Into the apartment building he goes.

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It's... somewhat hectic. The Through has been through (heh) every apartment and left a mess. It is currently in floor 11.

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Any reasonably thick objects lying around?

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The apartment building contains an assortment of object typical of apartment buildings. Like floors, walls, plants and other decorative pieces, mail, furniture, and people.

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He's already shot subtlety to Hell. He runs until he finds the room with the Through currently in action.

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It is between floors, making short work of a refrigerator.

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Dramatic action pose! Twirling, twirling, twirling...

"Move, trap the Through by surrounding it with food!"

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Awww yisssss moving shit! It starts merrily gathering food and bringing it towards an initially unsuspecting Through.

It tries to slip through before enough food has been gathered.

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Can he just close the door? Refrigerator doors are thick, right?

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The doors are not thick enough to stop a free Through. A whole refrigerator, though...

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And for his next trick...

Move, do the thing?

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Thing is done! Through is trapped!

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"Through, return to your power confined!"

And now can he sign his name on this card?

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He can. He can also have an incredibly baffled and angry lady wanting to know why he has just ruined every single food item she possesses with witchcraft.

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"Oh, sorry, ma'am. I can replace all of that for you, if you want!"

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...well she's not going to refuse.

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"Um, where can I find the nearest grocery store? I usually don't come down this way."

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She has directions but looks suspicious.

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He leaves one of his signed cards on the table (the Flower) and promises to be right back with her food.

He retrieves groceries.

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He'll return to a bewildered lady in an apartment filled with flowers.

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"Here's everything you asked for, ma'am."

He proceeds to put everything away for her, unless she'd like to say something about witchcraft again. 

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No she's good thanks please go away.

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Great! He'll just take the card and go.

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Yes please go away and never come back.

The crowd has mostly dispersed by the time he returns to where the magic tricks were happening.

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Convenient. He waits for Sadde to finish up.

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"And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the end of it. Don't forget to like us on YouTube, and leave your comments and feedback!" He bows, makes a sweeping motion with a cape (where did he even get one?) and disappears. The crowd applauds and starts dispersing.

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Others do not disperse.

"You put on a pretty good show."

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After everyone's gone he reappears. "Thank you. I do try."

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"Did you find the Cards?" Kero asks Scott.

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"Yeah. I met an old lady that thinks I'm into devil worship and witchcraft. Hopefully it won't be a problem."

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"You- you're so- it's probably fine as long as she wasn't one of us."

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"You're sure you got all of them? What was that about, anyway?"

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"She saw the Flower in action, and she saw me catch the Through. She seemed nice, besides the witchcraft comment."

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"Well, if we're throwing secrecy out the window, let's do it in style. I think I like Sadde's sense of style better."

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"Thank you," he says, grinning. "So now I think we should edit this and upload, yeah?"

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"I'll take care of it," says the otherwise useless party member.

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They make the news.

Or, not them in particular, and not even, like, breaking news or anything, but a lot of people in the city are reporting surprisingly internally consistent reports of actual magic. Stage magicians is, of course, the natural conclusion, but the video goes viral pretty quickly anyway, especially due to the fact that lots of other people were recording it on their phones too and can corroborate the sheer improbability of all of that having been staged.

There is a knock on the Argents' door the next day.

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An Argent answers.

"Hello. What can I do for you?"

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There's a girl, not much older than Chris's son. She's holding a phone, which she immediately shoves in Chris's face. It's playing a certain video.

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"...Victoria, dear, I think we may have a problem."

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A woman emerges from the kitchen, walking until she stands behind him.

She looks at the phone as well.

"I see. Who do we have the pleasure of speaking to?"

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She withdraws and pockets the phone. "I'm Monica Beatson. But Nica will do. My family was informed by a mutual acquaintance that your family seems to think it's funny."

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"I think you've been misinformed. Our son may have been...misled, by some new friends. We weren't expecting things to be this bad, or we might have put a stop to it entirely. We assumed they were merely reckless, not dangerously so."

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"We don't want any trouble," he claims.

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"This is on YouTube. That boy, the one with your son - who is he? He's not from any families we know of -"

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"Someone hasn't done her homework," another voice calls from above. Standing on a tree branch is a different girl, about the same age as Nica.

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"Must you always do that," she mutters.

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She drops down from the branch. "I'm Megan. Tsukuda. It's a pleasure to finally meet the Argent clan I've heard so much about."

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"I wish it were under better circumstances. Maybe we should all go inside. Victoria can make us some tea."

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"Actually -"

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"Sounds good," she says, walking past Nica and into the house.

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"- oh why not."

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Victoria makes tea.

"Alistair, dear, could you come down here?"

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Mr. Argent leads them to the kitchen table.

"So, let's discuss what comes next."

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Alistair hurries downstairs, pausing halfway as he sees the guests.

"Hello."

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They both sit.

"You're the one I saw on the video!"

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"...I am."

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"Was this her idea?"

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"We all supported it."

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"And what exactly was the decision there?"

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"The Cardcaptor, chosen by Clow Reed himself, decided that the status quo needed changing. I wasn't going to say no."

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"Oh, cool, I'm in."

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"- you what."

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"I can understand that you're concerned, but we could do a lot of good if rich, old sorcerers didn't try to hoard their power."

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"Alistair, I don't think you understand at all."

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"It's selfish and stupid not to use our magic to help people, and this is a first step in that direction."

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"Is this your girlfriend talking, or your uncle?"

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"Neither. It's me."

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"Look, that's all nice and fine but there are consequences, there's a reason this has been a secret forever."

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"Are they better reasons than my parents came up with? Their reasons were 'because it's tradition'."

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"Alistair, please give this up."

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"It's because there's a lot of people with magic but who don't have the magical tradition and if everyone knows magic is real then who knows what they'll do? It'll be chaos!"

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"Nah, that's fearmongering, it'll be fine, people who start practicing don't get that scary for a while."

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"Just whose side are you on?"

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"You need intake procedures. We could establish an embassy, and schools."

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"You and what organization? What power? There's people with magic all over the world."

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"Me, the Cardcaptor, and you. This is something we both want to control. I don't want chaos. I want to see more people using magic because the world needs that, not because of the rare case which might be a little dangerous."

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"And a YouTube video was the best way to do it?"

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"We're open to critiques. The goal isn't to destroy everything you care about, but things can't stay as they were."

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"I can't help but notice no one's talking about that Clow Reed thing. What's that about?"

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"I don't really know the whole story yet."

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"I didn't even know the Clow Cards were real. Have you seen them? Do you have one?"

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"Megan for the love of -"

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“I have some. Do you want to see?”

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"- really?"

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"Is that the reason you wanted to tell everyone? That they're gonna blow everything up anyway so you might as well? This city's been on the news, you know."

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"We're hoping we can stop it. Nobody wants the end of the world."

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"And you can't stop it with less in the way of fireworks?"

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"Like I said, we're willing to listen if you have a good argument. Why does it serve us, and humanity at large, to be subtle?"

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"Alistair, if nothing else, you realize that this makes you a target for other sorcerers! To say nothing of the government and their interest in exploiting magic, with no care for us and our traditions."

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"Oh yes, my family has a magical sniper pointed this way," Megan says cheerfully.

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"She's joking," Nica explains. "At any rate, you've presumably seen what happens when we run out of magic essence..."

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"Mana," she says under her breath.

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"...so something bad is bound to happen if a bunch of people try it!"

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"I try to avoid running out."

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"Yes, because you know to. They won't. So it's just a matter of time until someone tries to do something big, fails, and blows up a train station."

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"All they need is good teachers. I've never run out, and neither have my parents. One of our allies did, and the consequences were strange, but not life-threatening."

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"You never even tried? Even out of curiosity?"

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"Not everyone is as okay with self-destruction as you are. And yes, they're strange until someone tries to do anything big, then -"

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Megan makes an explosion sound with her mouth, accompanied by visual effects played by her hands.

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"It's mostly silly? I thought it must be riskier than that, based on what grandfather always said."

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"How risky it is depends on how big a thing it is you're trying to do and how much magic you have left," she says, didactic despite herself. "Small things have small, mostly random effects. Big things have big, mostly random effects, which usually means -"

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Explosion sounds again.

"So your grandfather was right. Still weird you never tried, but I guess he must've put the fear of the devil in your family."

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"That's Gerard. If what you're worried about is lack of tradition, we can share that. There has to be room for outreach, for some kind of education process. If you think we've been too reckless, then give us an alternative."

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"Alistair, be reasonable. The alternative is to keep to ourselves. You can't tell me you trust the average person with the kind of power we have. Any kind of education would need serious vetting procedures, and I wouldn't trust just anyone with that authority."

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"So you also think people shouldn't teach quantum physics to AP students? 'Cause you could build a nuclear bomb with that, you know."

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"Not without a lot more money than most people have."

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"Knowledge is power, and power corrupts. Why were you sent to speak to us if you aren't interested in keeping this secret?"

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"The amount of good we can do outweighs a lot of other things. Does it get as bad as nukes?"

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"I'm interested."

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"I'm not but I didn't know I wouldn't be when I got sent," Megan shrugs, then looks at Alistair. "No, not as bad as nukes. Usually. You'd have to be pretty creative to get as bad as nukes and want to do something really big? And even then I guess nukes are very big. Not as bad as nukes."

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"If you're interested in sending conflicting messages, by all means, continue. I'll be upstairs."

And she goes.

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He watches her go.

"If you want to help make everything go smoothly, I would really appreciate the help."

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"What is your clan's position on this?" Nica asks Megan.

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She shrugs. "They gave me permission to make this judgment call."

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"I am surprised and unimpressed." She looks at Alistair. "With the understanding that this was a rogue action and not one taken with the full consent and understanding of your clan, we will not impose immediate sanctions. Further such actions will however be treated as hostile to the status quo."

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"The status quo is boring, if Clow Reed is real and as powerful as it seems he was he probably was onto something here and we might as well get in on ground zero. You can count on the Tsukuda clan to help."

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"I'll keep that in mind. Is there any way for me to contact your clans? Obviously, I haven't been educated very well."

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"I have email!"

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"Email works, yes."

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He gives them his email.

"If that's all for now, I think I need to answer for my choices with my clan."

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Then they can get up and excuse themselves.

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Alistair has a very long, very fraught conversation with his parents.

It doesn't go well.

He goes to his room, and calls Sadde.

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"Hello?"

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"We had some visitors from another sorcerer clan. Two representatives, from different clans. One of them, Megan, seemed interested in the radical ideas we're promoting; the other one decided that since my parents didn't approve of what we did, it wasn't worth imposing sanctions. They gave me their emails."

He shares those, and looks at his cards.

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"...well, we did know we'd ruffle feathers. What kind of sanctions, though?"

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"They really couldn't seem to agree on anything. Apparently, any further actions like this will be treated as hostile. We should reach out to Megan's clan and establish some kind of alliance. The other clan might give us peace, if we're lucky. This will have to go through our clan, but you should be a part of the decision process. I can't trust the rest of my family with this."