Part 58: Joana Lio and the Bullys DanceAnedius 8-12
Good morning, Iliana. First you surprise me by being later than usual, and now I see you first thing in the morning? Arent you supposed to be in school right now?
Yeah, but I got a really busy day today and I wanted to get the rest of the Revision stuff out of the way. So what else is there about Revision Methods you didnt talk about yesterday?
Yesterday was giving you the grounding to understand advanced Revision Methods. I believe I shall illustrate by using vocal Revisions to change the voice; this makes Mimicry quite simple. And, mm, we shall round things out with some basic Enspell practice. Posture means a lot even in spellcasting, you know
You are surprised to see Joana Lio y Rossollo waiting for you as you return for lunch, though her look of I want to beat someone up and steal their lunch money is quite typical. Its really her default expression. You only hope you arent the target of her ire.
Ive decided Im going to the dance on Sunday. And Im going with Philippe Marchant.
You cant help but feel worried. Everyone knows Philippe is Joanas bully crush, the boy who has inspired her to such heights of schoolyard nastiness as threatening to squish Emilia Strolins spider unless she did her homework for her (naturally, you and Rui helped her get even for that one; to this day Joana has no idea who filled her pack with self-igniting fireworks that spelled out rather rude comments about her weight).
But Philippe is certainly a prize, even though Joanas the only one to enter the competition, and she goes on and on about him all the time. Youd say shes done at least half her bad deeds just to impress him, but you dont think hes even noticed. He certainly hasnt shown any interest in her, and its a bit of a shock to hear hed agree to go to the dance with heror anyone, really.
Joana, I didnt know Philippe had asked you to the dance.
Well he hasnt. But he will! Were gonna make him.
Well get to that later. First, we need someone to teach me and Philippe how to dance.
Joana isnt really up on who would make a good dance instructor, for fairly obvious reasons. Still, after some brainstorming, you come up with a couple of viable options.
Option alpha: flee. I like that. Still, we came here to help, so how about Badcrumble?
If theres anybody who can get the decidedly unladylike Joana ready for a dance, its Professor Kate Badcrumble. Shes a busy woman, what with being the regent of College Avila and all, so you dont know how willing shell be to help, but you think its worth a try. You run the idea by Joana.
She agrees to the idea after she finishes stuffing your head into the rubbish bin. Apparently, she didnt like being called unladylike. Who knew?
Afternoon, Raoul. I dont see you much back at the college anymore.
No, you wouldnt. The older kids have made it clear Im not welcome there anymore. I mean, most of First Years been pretty nice to me, you included, but the pranks are getting out of control. Thats why Im gonna hire a bodyguard.
Yeah. First tryouts are tomorrow. Basia put an ad in the school paper. Im not gonna get picked on anymore.
Basia? Id heard youd formed a Clique with her a while back. Still, Basia?
Shes actually pretty nice once you get past the whole competition thing. I mean, she knows I cant study as hard as her, so we get along pretty well. Anyway, Ill let you know tomorrow how things went.
Now that the invisible ink has been taken care of, Zoe needs to develop a drop-off and delivery system for her product that cant be tracked. She cant use single dead drops, because eventually someone will learn where they are and track them back to her. They need to be stealthy, and they need to be mobile. Delivery people are fallible, too; they could get distracted or turn and tattle on you, plus theyll demand a fee, and thatll cut into your bottom line.
You need to find a more reliable method. After all, its important to avoid getting caught in Zoes scheme. Well, it may be your scheme too, but you definitely dont want anyone hearing you take credit for any of it. Perhaps something zany would be the best way to throw off any investigators?
Passing the Persuasion investigation should make those red options effectively black.
So which one do you want to do, Zoe?
I want your opinion. I dont want to influence your answer.
Uh huh. But were going to need to work together to get this to work. Youll need to approve whichever we go with if its going to succeed.
Well the animal route seems easier.
She does nevertheless seem pleased that you consulted her. Even if you pick the other option, you think simply letting her voice her opinion will make the mission go more smoothly.
Yeah, yeah, however you want to justify it, game. Clearly the only correct answer is to turn the dorm building into a flying pirate ship.
Avast! Wait, thats stop. Er, go!
Late at night, when all of your classmates are asleep, the two of you sneak up to the observation deck of Hedis girls dorm spire, lower the coat of arms from the flagpole, and hoist the Jolly Roger. Next, you plant a nautical steering wheel on the balcony. Spiffy! A sprinkle of magical dust and a few extra phemes get her moving; Zoe breaks a bottle of apple cider over the stern for effect [I did not add these details myself]. Within moments, the tower lifts smoothly off its foundation and starts floating off, although you do chip the perimeter wall on your way out.
Flying a dorm spire is harder than you had imagined, but with Zoe at the wheel and you controlling the speed, you are able to float your deliveries of notes, essays, potion samples, and test answers to the various colleges without waking anyone up. And, at the end, you manage to land the tower without troublealthough the door out may be a few inches to the left of where it used to be.
You and Zoe have managed to build a trading empire singlehandedly! Well, four-handedly.
The first run of Homework Helper Heroine was a stunning success, but the sheer volume of new requests pouring in is starting to overwhelm Zoe, and the professors are getting suspicious. The new requests are also getting more demanding: students want Zoe to write their end-of-term papers for them, and some are even pressing you to develop a potion that would allow Zoe to take a test for them by borrowing their appearance.
Im good, but Im not that good. Not only do I have to keep up with every subject and every class now, but Ive got to watch out for the professors. And I know theyre catching on to me after everyone turned in such good grades today.
You had thought that this business venture would boost Zoes confidence, but shes only looking more tired and pale than ever.
I dont think I even want to do this anymore.
Each of the three exits gives a different payout, depending on how you handle things. Negotiate gives you half of 500 pims, Conversation pays out 150, and giving up only provides 100. While Id normally go for Negotiate (using Character Study to get a 50% Success boost), Id rather give Iliana the point in Charm that comes with giving up. Besides, whats she need with money at this point?
From the look on Zoes face, you know that she wants you to end Homework Helper Heroine. Is the extra income really worth the stress, to Zoe and to you? Its not like youre short on other ways to get pims.
Just then, a repeat client walks up to the two of you. Zoe sighs.
I told you before, youre supposed to write a note, not meet us in person. Just because you know its me
Dont lead him on, Zoe. Listen, Legate Orsi came to us at lunch. He told us if we get caught again, hell expel us both.
Ah, gotcha, the older student replies. Thats a shame.
HHH is officially over. Spread the word for us, will you?
As the older student nods and leaves, Zoe smiles.
Nice lie. Oh, and thank you. I wasnt expecting you to be so understanding. I know this business meant a lot to you.
Your friendship means even more.
Well, we did make 200 pims so far. Thats good too, right?
There you are. So howd it go?
Well, we had this maze set up for the candidates to weed out the weaklings. I thought we could go for dragons and lava and castles, but Basia told me we couldnt get any on short notice. Still, we spent a long time building a maze full of spiked traps, enchanted statues, and all sorts of booby traps. It was exciting watching them go through all our hard work! Only three of them got through, so I think we did pretty good. After that, Basia gave them a quiz, and then she picked the older girl. She starts tomorrow. I cant wait! Mostly because I got picked on four times already today.
Joana remains a bit skeptical about your choice, but you assure her its for the best if she really wants to learn how to dance and conduct herself at the party. As for Professor Badcrumble, shes as busy as youd feared, but she is willing to help Joana and Philippe. After all, shed be doing the school a great favor by civilizing the two biggest bullies in the First Year even a little, plus any time they spend on each other is time not spent terrorizing the school populace.
Between classes, Avila, and my own research, I have a lot of work to do. However, if you can run some errands for me, I should have enough to spare for lessons.
The Professor hands you a long list of needed supplies and books to be returned to various professors and libraries.
Oh, and can you replace the flower arrangement in the common room while youre at it? The one there now is looking a touch weepy, and we mustnt have that.
First, lets Reason this out.
You take a quick look over the list to see if maybe you could get everything in order more quickly or efficiently, but you dont gleam anything useful from it. It just looks like a lot of work.
Drat. Well, what are friends for?
Whenever theres something that needs doing, youre the one your friends go to for advice. Youve always said you have the makings of a great leader, and you do have something of a following in the school already. You bring together a reasonable selection of friends and minions and divide up the errands between them. They all readily agree once you explain your twin causes: keeping your friends out of the bullies firing lines and keeping them occupied with each other.
By the end of the day, all the items on the professors list have been marked off. Badcrumble is pleased with your prompt and efficient work.
If you can help me out like this every day until the dance, I think I can squeeze in lessons for Joana and Philippe.
Thats that, then. You hope Joana appreciates all your hard work on her behalf.
Youve been looking at charms at the back of the shop for some time, but you just cant find the one you want. Sighing, you decide its late enough to head out.
However, to your surprise, when you reach the front of the charm shop you find it blocked by several crates. Youre quite confused, as these crates obviously werent here when you arrived and youre almost certain the shop is still open. You werent looking at charms that long!
Lazy teamsters. Iliana obviously cant lift the heavy crates, so what else is there?
The crates look quite heavy and you dont want to move them yourself, so you start to look around for the shopkeeper or a clerk to find out whats going on. Of course, no one is around. However, you did find the employees only door at the back of the shop while you were exploring.
Clearly the way to go, then.
Rather than even attempting to move the crates, you decide to sneak out the back door. It winds up leading into an alley, which then leads you back into the street.
Alright, so you came out looking a bit suspicious, but no one noticed you and it was a better idea than waiting for whomever to finish putting away their goods.
So Joana has her dance instructor, but thats just the beginning. Now its time for the part of the plan youve been dreading.
Philippe is a master bully. He only respects power.
Joanas eyes mist up as she describes him. You really dont get her crush on him.
He wont go to the dance without a show of power from us. Hes done a lot of stuff the school would probably kick him out for, so I say we find out what all those things are and threaten to rat him out unless he does what we want.
Youre not sure blackmailing the biggest First Year bully is the best idea ever, but Joana isnt the type to accept a no.
So you remember how I said this and Philippes adventure were basically the same? In Philippes version, youre helping him fulfill a blackmailers demands to get him to learn how to dance and show up at a party. So yeah. The biggest difference is that you dont get to know its Joana until the very end (although its obvious if you read the character descriptions). I think Ill just go with Flawless Timing.
Also, you can expect the choice descriptions to only get longer from here.
You need hard, verifiable evidence, the kind you get from a thorough investigation. You start by watching Philippe make his rounds from afar, taking down names, and listening to the word on campus. Its dangerous work, considering who youre following, but it pays off: you get names, dates, and stolen items.
However, your crowning achievement was catching Philippe bragging about his exploits to his older brothers. This could be big, since you doubt Tough Guy Philippe would want everyone knowing hes still in his older brothers shadows.
Joana agrees with your assessment, although she seems a little disappointed in her bad boy.
Still, hell have to go to the dance with me now.
Oh no, youve overslept again!
Tearing yourself from your dreams of digging, you grab the nearest robe and dart out of your dorm room. Run down the corridor, across the road, up the stairs, through the archways, Revision is just down theBAM!
You bounce off Professor Storeys chest like a rubber ball.
Well, well, if it isnt the famous Iliana OtMatar! Skipper of classes, avoider of detention, mistress of missing homework! The pleasure of this meeting is all mine, your Majesty!
The professor makes a sarcastic bow, irony dripping from every word.
I think its high time you learned some life and time management, my dear. Allow me to introduce you to your newest friend.
Storey pulls out a small wooden doll from his robe, then waves his wand, muttering a few phrases. Phemes pop out and envelop the doll, changing its shape limb by limb until it becomes a tiny version of you.
Its clear that you are unable to manage your own life. Maybe seeing it from a different perspective is what you need to chisel away your problems.
He hands you the doppelganger with a smile that sends shivers down your spine.
The doll is programmed to follow verbal commands, so you wont have to use magic. Your task is to carefully plan its every day for a week; its up to your judgment what it does and when it does it. After a week, it will evaluate your performance. If you do manage to use your available time for good, I will not assign you detention. If, however, you waste its time as you typically do your own, its detention for the both of you!
Somehow widening his smile (which you now know will grace your nightmares), he pats you on the back and continues his righteous hunt for truants down the corridor.
Being even later for class now and having been caught, you see no further need to go to class, so you go back to your room and set the doll on your desk. It just stands there motionless. Curious, you give it an order:
After a few quiet seconds, the doll bursts out into an uncoordinated mess of limb-flailing. I can dance better than that, you think to yourself. I hope.
Activity for the morning is completed. I have lost 1 point of Confidence and gained 1 point of Endurance. Parental Approval increased by 2.3 points. I have two more activities left for the day.
Ugh. Points of confidence and endurance? Really? Professor Storey gets more obsessive-compulsive by the day.
Yeah, this is exactly what you think it is. And clearly the solution is to save-scum like a bitch!
The complexity of the doll is beyond anything youve ever seen, but you still manage to grasp the basic functionality of the different gears, tubes, and enchanted mechanisms. You go through a few mistakes, but you eventually manage to create a perfect copy. Early field tests show they are in perfect working order, so you create as many as you can, then head back to your room to figure out the best possible combination of actions for a week
Now that you have the goods on Philippe, you simply have to let him know. He wont scare easily, and you dont want him tracing the threat back to you or Joana, so youve got your work cut out for you. After pondering the matter, you decide the safest way is an anonymous note. Something suitably cryptic, but still threatening enough to rattle Philippe.
Lets just skip the investigation and move straight to Blackmail.
Blackmailing a guy like Philippe takes an expert. Fortunately, you happen to know one.
Always did want that big oaf to fear me, one way or another.
Carmine peppers the note with just the right amount of detail to let him know you know what hes been up to, then adds a few demands: attend dance lessons every afternoon until the big dance, then show up at it dressed like a gentleman, or else the school paper learns every bit of your need for brotherly affection.
Inspecting the note to see if its sufficiently menacing and convincing, you nod your approval and slip it under Philippes door while everyone is at dinner. You dont get to see his face, but before the night is through, you spot Philippe speaking with Professor Badcrumble.
Joana couldnt be happier.
Joana is pleased with the way the dance lessons are going, and shes grateful (as far as she can show it), but she wants something more. She wants a dance that is choreographed just for her and Philippe. Something special to celebrate the moment.
I want it to be elegant and classy, just like Philippe.
You have several very witty retorts you could have responded with to that, but youd really like to keep your head where it is. As things are, considering how big-boned Joana is and how ungraceful Philippe moves, coming up with something appropriate and practical is going to be a tall order.
This is a pretty tough choice, despite being blue, so I think well take the investigation this time.
Surely you and the professor arent the only ones who want to see this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon of two bullies in love; is there any outside help available?
Sure enough, there is! It turns out that Professor Sido has the list of songs to be played during the dance directly from the music teacher, Chastellain. This should help determine the right sort of dance for Joana.
Back at it, then. Society is a much safer bet, so lets see what comes of it.
You attend dances and parties all the time, and youve stocked up on pretty much every fashionable dance there is. One of them, youre sure, has to be the right fit for Joana and Philippe. Youll just need Professor Badcrumble to help you modify the steps to account for their personal styles and sizes.
You add a few helpful suggestions yourself, and after some consideration, Badcrumble creates a new dance adapted from several others that will be both easy to pick up, even if taught separately, and elegant to watch. When Joana sees the new moves performed, she almost squeals with delight and redoubles her efforts to learn them.
Your trip to Sidos office was not without its own perils. When you first knocked on the door, there was no answer, and before you could knock again, you heard a building crescendo of shouts and pounding feet. Turning around, you saw nearly two dozen students charging directly at you. If you dont do something quick, youll be crushed against the professors door by a horde of stampeding students!
One real blue option? Not too helpful. Guess we should see if Character Study unlocks something.
Fortunately, you recognize the look on all the students faces: its the look of desperation. Judging from their arms full of books, scrolls, and texts, theyre worried about grades. Knowing this will make dealing with the charging throng of students much easier.
Maybe, but now we just have Athletics to choose. May as well
You dive as far away from Professor Sidos door as you can. Luckily, your leap was more than far enough to avoid the crowd of rushing students. You also manage to slide directly into the legs of Sido himself.
The professor kindly helps you to your feet and explains that he just announced an extra credit assignmenthence the incoming charge.
Sorry if things got a bit dangerous for you there. But of course, you dont need any extra credit for dialectics, do you? Good job with that, by the way. So what was it you wanted to talk about?
Its about the dance coming up
Gains of the Week
Matched Wits with the Emperors Sphinx.
--Revision Methods increased by 1 step.
----Revision Methods maxed!
----Methodology of Change ability learned.
--Mimicry increased by 1 step.
--Enspell Research level increased by 1.
--Art Appreciation increased by 1 step.
----Art increased by 2 (?).
------Finesse pheme learned.
------The World as a Stage action learned.
--Navigation increased by 2 steps.
----Disorientation pheme learned.
----Raid increased by 1.
------Discover pheme learned.
--Theory of Enchantment increased by 2 steps.
Raoul Leconte used Hang Out inside the College.
--Relationship with Raoul Leconte increased to 5.
--Relationship with Zoe Melis increased to 5.
--Relationship max with Zoe Melis increased by 2.
--Money increased by 100.
--Charm increased by 1. :woot:
--Merit increased by 2; Aranaz merit now at 417.
--Leadership increased by 1 step.
----Rejection pheme learned.
Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 420.
Raoul Leconte used Hang Out inside the College.
--Relationship with Raoul Leconte increased to 6.
--Escape Artist increased by 1 step.
--Flawless Timing cannot be increased.
--Conceal increased by 2 steps.
----Wrist Flick ability learned.
Aveline used Compete; Aranaz merit now at 423.
--Clockwork increased by 1 step.
----Artifice action learned (again).
--Willpower increased by 1 step.
----Flawless pheme learned.
--Relationship with Tarvixio Sido increased to 2.
Methodology of Change (Permanent): +1 to Creativity, Flawless Timing, and Stress max.
The World as a Stage: Charm/Theatre v8, Charm/Acting v11 and 15; +25 pims and +1 to Relationship with random friend, then +3 Merit, then +1 to random Relationship, and +1 Stress regardless.
Wrist Flick: +33% Obscurity (chance that Illegal items wont be confiscated if youre caught) for 4 days.