The Let's Play Archive


by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 70: Truth

Cheimare 11

The Sphinx hands you a scroll. Funny, you hadn’t noticed her holding one before. Unrolling it, you read the text and realize that this is a “Certificate of Imperial Favor,” entitling the holder to free access to certain rooms of the Imperial Palace, including the Room of Decrees, the Throne Room, and…

The Emperor’s Sphinx?

Looking up, you see the Sphinx smile and nod.

Hey, Em. Look what I found today.

You tossed the scroll on Emilia’s bed as you entered her room. Picking it up, Emilia’s eyebrows shot up as she read the contents.

Permission to enter the Imperial Palace? Where did you get this?!
The Imperial Palace! There’s this Sphinx who lives at the top of one of the towers, and she’ll teach you anything you can think of—plus a ton of other stuff—if you answer her riddles! I screwed up the first time, but today…when I got the answer right, she gave me this!
Not just me. Read it again—it entitles the holder to visit the Sphinx. There’s no name.
So you mean—
Yep! Just read all the books on riddles you can before you go try. Trust me, you won’t be wasting your time.

Nivelos 3

You are walking back to school after visiting the Imperial Palace. While intellectually you understand that the Sphinx must have other things to do beyond teach one young student, it still felt frustrating to be turned away at the gate like that. As it is, you’ll have to double-time it back to the Library of Manetele to get any useful studying done today.

You were still a bit frustrated when you went to visit Emilia that night.

How come you didn’t tell me you went to visit the Sphinx today? I walked all the way to the Palace before I realized the certificate was gone!
Sorry, Ana. I only go, like, once a week, though. You go practically every day!
Only when I’ve got something I want to study quick. So every two or three weeks, maybe.

You sighed.

It was fine the first few times when you came and asked me. I could plan around it, get her to assign some books from the libraries. We need a system.
Oh, I know! The Sphinx showed me a spell the other day, a Glamour that makes a small object invisible unless you know the counterspell. How about we put the certificate somewhere by the Imperial Reserve gate? That way if it’s gone, whoever tries to find it second won’t have to walk all the way over.
I guess. Yeah, that could work. I’ll try to plan around missing a day every week, too.

Aruit 26

I don’t suppose you’ve brought a group for a “special session,” have you? Some of your friends have been bringing new groups in for extra lessons.
What, really? Dang it all…
Cursing? I thought you’d like the news. Your idea is really taking off.
Yeah, but it means someone’s breaking rules one and two of Duel Club. I’ll have to have a talk the next time we meet up.

Aruit 11

…And with Jere, that makes five more who want to join Duel Club.
Ugh! Fifteen was enough. This is ridiculous. I mean, I’ve got student council, and this, and all the stuff Vrenelle’s got me doing to save the food…
I know. She’s been bragging to everyone in Aranaz about it. I hope you guys succeed, myself. I’m tired of mashed potatoes.
Can you handle the new Duel Club members? Like, just lead a second class yourself? That would be a really big help.
Oh, I…I don’t know…
Look, it’s not hard; the ghosts do all of the teaching and they’re getting better at leading the classes themselves! Listen, if you’re uncomfortable, then have Rui stand in as your “official” leader. I’ve seen how you two are together.
You…you noticed?
It’s hard not to! I think you two look good together. Oh, and one other thing: don’t tell anyone I let you do this.
Well, I’m on the student council now, and that means I have a reputation to protect. It’s bad enough I’m doing one Duel Club without the staff knowing; this way if you guys get caught it’s less likely to get back to me. I’ll say you two quit my Duel Club for some reason, so that way we’re both protected. Don’t even tell the ghosts; those two never know when to shut up.

Aruit 27

Alright everyone, what have we learned?
I…um…did you get anything useful out of Professor Sido?
Actually, I did. A time and a window. Now, we can’t all go, but there’s a spell we can use to—did any of you just hear that?

After the mouse attack but before you ran off to eavesdrop on Orsi and the captive Gates wizard, you managed to get Emilia alone.

How come you didn’t want to tell them you found that spell?
Tell them I looked up Mastery spells? Even if it’s because you asked me to? Ana, I know they’re our friends, but still, something like this…
I told them about wanting to learn Gates, remember? And they were fine about it! Besides, it’s such a harmless spell they all think it’s just a Glamour. You should try to trust people more, Em.
I know, I know, you’re right, but still, it’s harder for me than for you…
Then we’ll just have to work on it more. Now come on, or you’ll miss the whole thing, and we need you to sneak up on that window!

Anedius The Pellae

I’m sorry, Ana. I know you wanted—
Wanted to know what my friends were up to behind my back? Yeah, that’s something I wanted. Care to explain this, Rui?
Well…it’s pretty simple. You were busy with the first Duel Club, so we decided to start a second one when more volunteers showed up. It sort of…mutated into the Society of Tricksters after me and Dexter—one of Philippe’s brothers—got into a feud.

After listening to Joana’s plan, Rui ended the meeting of the Society of Tricksters as soon as he could, and the three of you retreated to the Library of Longshade.

That was some good acting, Ana. Even I forgot you started us out way back when.
I’m sorry you found our meeting place. I knew you’d want to keep out of things, especially since we turned into the Society.
It’s okay, Em. It’s my fault for following Rui, and I do want to help now that Philippe and Joana have gone off the deep end. Plus, I can see some possibilities. You could be like the secret enforcers of the Committee of un-Academagian Activities, striking against anyone who falls out of line…
Okay, listen. I know you’re my friend, Ana, and I do like me some revenge, but the Society of Tricksters doesn’t take orders from anyone.
Oh, they won’t be orders, just…suggested targets. You won’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. I’ll just have to make sure that whoever I suggest deserves it, first. I’ve even got your first victim lined up: me.
Think about it! If you target me, no one will think I’d be helping you.
Yeah, but they’d think we were fighting over something.
And they’ll think we made up when you stop. But they’ll never think I was behind it. Just make sure you don’t do anything too awful, make it something I could protect against. By the way, how did that feud with Dexter end? Last I heard it just sort of…ended.
Iustus Venture happened. He doesn’t look like much, but he is a great negotiator when he can stay awake. He tricked me and Dex into meeting face-to-face, and he got me and Dex to shake hands by the end even though he couldn’t keep his head off the table! So I’ve been helping him out with his sleeping problem and—now don’t go spreading this around—but it turns out he’s a werewolf! He can’t be cured, but we found this old lady who gave us a potion and right now I’m working on how to give it to him when he’s a wolf. Once he drinks it, he’ll keep his mind in wolf form and then he can finally get some sleep.
You don’t mind, do you, Ana? I was kind of scared when I first heard…
I think it’s amazing! Have Iustus talk to me sometime; there’s some pictures in a cave out in the mountains I think he should have a look at…

Kaliri 7

Given a confrontation with a mad, duel-wielding ghost, you prefer the option of flight to fight. Stopping only to scoop up the map of Campus Durand, you dodge under the ghost’s swings and flee for the exit.

Take a look at this.

You tossed the scroll over to Emilia, who caught it and rolled it out to read. She puzzled over the design for a moment, but then she gasped.

A map to Campus Durand! Where’d you get this?
The Room of Records. Von Rupprecht tipped me off. Look there, see that secret tunnel? It pops out right next to the statue.
You’re going to use this, right? Get into the Sphinx Syndicate by stealing the necklace?
I was thinking about that. I’m no good at sneaking, and if I turn this over to the Syndicate, I’d probably have to share the glory with a bunch of other First Years. Also, I want to rub my victory in their smug Durand faces, which means more than just sneaking in and taking it. But I’m plenty good at talking, so what would it take to convince the Durand students to let me into that room alone?
Ana, that’s crazy! You’re, like, the most Aranaz of anybody in Aranaz!
Exactly! And Aranaz worked from the inside to sabotage the Dragons until the rebellion was powerful enough to strike them down! But the only way I can figure to make Durand think I’d want to switch sides is if it looked like my friends betrayed me…
But…but I can’t do that! And I can’t act, either!
You can do better than you think, Emilia, I promise. I’ll help you as much as I can, too, although we can’t be seen together once things start. We’ll bring in others, too. Rui can help; we can use that “fight” of ours as a starting point. I’ll also see if Carmine can help from his angle, maybe spread rumors about me. Remember, Em, we’ll all get credit if this works out. You could get into the Sphinx Syndicate, too!
Al…alright. If you think this can work…wait, but what about Vrenelle and Tacito?
I don’t want this getting too big, since that’ll mean it’s more likely someone blabs. Tacito, I don’t know what he’d do or how he could help…and Vrenelle can’t keep a secret, so I don’t want her to know.
If you say so. I’ll go find Rui—
Wait. First we need some way to communicate without meeting. I thought maybe we could get the Sphinx to let us use her network? She’s got a lot of agents in the Academagia staff. We can pass them notes without looking suspicious, and we can use code names in case they get intercepted. Then if we really need to talk, we can use that Mastery spell of yours to see and hear each other from our own rooms.
But before all that, we should start with something we can do right now: you should go around and tell the rest of Aranaz that I went to the Room of Records, but don’t let anyone know what I got. That should make them go crazy.
Are—are you sure? Everyone staring at you like that…
I’ll be fine. Let’s work on how you should act when I confront you about it, and then you can go talk with Rui. Just let me take the lead and it’ll work out, I promise…

Kaliri 8

Oh, my. I didn’t think they would go that far…
Wait. You thought…were you the one who told them I went to the Room of Records last night? Em, I…I trusted you to keep that a secret!

Good job today! I told you you had a knack for this stuff. Great idea blaming Jere, too, that sounds believable. How are you doing with “Ruin?” “Minecart” doesn’t like the idea, but I’ll bring him around. Oh, I also heard Tacito needed someone to help him sneak in someplace, do you think you could help him?


Used Demean on self and Emilia Strolin.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to 6.

Used Gossip on Emilia Strolin and Tacito Viadana.
--Relationship between above increased to 3.

Kaliri 11

Emilia staggers in, dragging Rui’s limp body into the kitchen.

He’s hurt! They’ve retreated, but Rui…did you pour in the cancelling serum?

You respond with a wicked smile.

What if…what if we just leave it like this?
Ana, you’re kidding! Everyone who drinks it will go crazy and start attacking each other!
But look, they only added half the vial! That means it won’t be nearly as bad as they wanted. And if everyone thinks I let Rui take the fall, that’ll let us kick our “feud” up to the next level.
If you don’t fix this, Rui will take the fall for it!
He’ll be fine, I promise. You made sure he wore the Doppelganger’s Band I lent him, right?
Yeah, and he left the image browsing in the library, but if anyone notices—
I’ve got a favor I can call in, plus if we can steal the cauldron before anyone cleans it, we could have someone use an Astrology spell to learn who the last person to add something was, and that’ll clear his name. I won’t let Rui get expelled for this, Em, I swear.

Successful adventure!
--Dueling Forms increased by 1 step.
--Tactics increased by 1 step.
----Flank Attack spell learned.
---Practical Jokes cannot be increased.
---Lie increased by 1 step.
-----Facial Twitch spell learned.
---Relationship with Rui da Casga decreased to 2.

--Character cannot be increased.
--Courage increased by 1 step.
----Humours pheme learned.

Kaliri 12

He might get expelled!
But he won’t. Besides, I had to make up for lost time.
And those people who got hurt don’t count?
No. They don’t. You ever notice how many people get hurt by your “nice” practical jokes? Embarrassment is worse than death, you know. You don’t get a high road on this, either.

I was so glad to hear Ruin would be ok! I had a hard time acting angry after that. How’d you do it? Also, I feel kind of bad about our targets now.


Don’t worry about your targets. They deserved it, right? Besides, the Sphinx also told me “pain is the best teacher,” so you’re really doing them a favor. As for Ruin, I went to Aventyrare and told her I had proof Ruin didn’t do it. She believed me, especially after I told her about the alibi and the cauldron. We went to Badcrumble next, and she cast a spell that showed us Joana adding the green vial and laughing until Philippe tackled her. I don’t know what will happen to Joana, but Ruin is off the hook! Aventyrare even taught me a few things about Revision as a reward!


Feigned Emotions with Emilia Strolin.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to 4.
---Guiltied ability added to Emilia Strolin (cannot use hostile actions/abilities/spells until rest).

Called in Favor with Lisle Aventyrare.
--Revision Phemes max increased by 1.
--Relationship with Lisle Aventyrare reset to 0.

Kaliri 13

Back when Gates was a permissible school of magic, this circle of broken stones saw a lot of use. The way they arc in a rough oval shape reminds you of the ribcage of a long-dead giant, exposed after millennia of burial. For all you know, they could be just that, assuming there’s a giant out there who had actual stone for bones.

No time like the present to make use of your new knowledge, right? Badcrumble’s spell also had you pretty interested at the possibilities of Astrology, so you wound up looking up books about Planets while you researched the new phemes.

Matched Wits with the Emperor’s Sphinx.
--Administration increased by 1 step.
----Stress pheme learned.
--Gates Methods increased by 1 step.
---- Gates Methods skill maxed!
----Agitation pheme learned.

--Birds increased by 1 step.
----Flight pheme learned.
--Reason increased by 1 step.
Boosted Gates.
---Theory of Gates cannot be increased.
---Gates Methods increased by 1 step.
----Gates Methods skill maxed!
----Agitation pheme learned.

Studied at the Mantle of Stars.
--Revision Phemes increased by 1 step.
----Revision Phemes skill maxed!
----Koko Danzo, Merchant available.
----Revision increased by 1.
------Revision skill maxed!
------Adella Nos, Merchant available.
--Planets increased by 2 steps.
----Snow pheme learned.

Kaliri 14

Today you decide to sneak into Emilia’s dorm room during breakfast and scrawl some unflattering observations about Orso Orsi’s grooming habits onto her take-home dialectic essay. If you do it subtly enough, it should get past any last-minute review she does, and then the fireworks afterward should be quite fun to watch…

You’re fed up with the heckling. Is the Sphinx Syndicate even worth all this work? What kind of secret society tells everyone in the college about its existence, anyway? College Aranaz is full of ambitious kids like yourself, but is that really the company you should be keeping?

I finally got Minecart on board by promising he’d get a spot in the Sphinx Syndicate for helping me, and now he’s busy spreading rumors about me. I also left some “surprises” in the margins of your dialectic essay. Try to make sure you “discover” them when I’m in the common room with you. Don’t confront me then, just stare at me when I grin at you and leave.

After you left, you went to visit the Library of Longshade and started reading up on confidence schemes and deceptions. You have the feeling that you’ll need as much knowledge as you can get before this all ends. You wind up finding a book about con jobs; the first one involves two people and a violin one of them claims is worth way more than it really is.

Used Elleen’s Eyesore on Emilia Strolin.
---Emilia Strolin’s Relationship with Orso Orsi decreased by 1.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to 3.

Studied at Longshade.
--Deceit increased by 1 step.
----Falsify pheme learned.
--Violin increased by 1 step.
----Music increased by 1.

Kaliri 15

As Carmine blanches, Emilia finally speaks up.

A-Ana, you’re going out of control! Please, i-if you aren’t going to think of us, think of the rest of the college—
Oh, please. Just drop the act, Emilia. Nobody here but us “Aranaz,” after all.

As though taking off a mask, the worry drops from Emilia’s face, replaced with a look of withering scorn.

I’m not sure everyone’s quite buying me turning on you, so we need to step things up again. I was thinking we’d say you were responsible for the pranks even though you said it was Jere. I need you to get angry with me today, really really angry. I’ve told Carmine what I need from him today, and he’ll help you practice for it. Just act worried at first and then get mad when I give you the cue.


That was great how you turned on the anger like that! You should come join drama club next year, you’d be great. Do you guys really feel left out when I go off on my own, though? I try to involve you when I can, but sometimes you can only do something alone!


Thanks! It’s kind of embarrassing, but when I had to get angry, I thought about my dad and it all came out. Not that I could ever yell at him in person. But then if I did, he might not feel so disappointed in me. As for you leaving us out, don’t worry about it. When you’re busy with stuff, I find other things to do. I helped Basia sabotage the textbooks for Arithmetic, for instance (she thinks I’m going to take a fall for her, but I’m not!) I’m sure everyone else has their own stuff, too. We’ve all got our own lives, after all!


Discouraged Emilia Strolin.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to 2.
Used Demean on self and Carmine Sturzo.
---Relationship with Carmine Sturzo decreased to 7.

Studied at Longshade.
--Deceit increased by 1 step.
----Learned about the Station of the Quiet Girl.
--Materials Knowledge increased by 1 step.
----Learned about the Vernin Grand Forge.
Used Gossip on Emilia Strolin and Carmine Sturzo.
--Relationship between above increased to 4.

New Abilities

Shop for Stories (Quiet Girl): -10 money for Information on chosen student and +1 step in Character study; Strength/Bully v9 and Information on you will be given to random student as well.
Tidy after the Smiths: +1 to random Forge and Enchant subskills.

Kaliri 16

“I’ll gladly sabotage the Sphinx Syndicate,” you state. “They’re the ones who got me into this mess in the first place. I’ve already got a plan.”

The bickering continues throughout the meeting, and it looks as though many Sphinx Syndicate members have lost faith in Alexander’s leadership. Mission accomplished!

Went to a SS meeting today. I got everyone to turn on Alexander just with a couple notes. I wonder how long I’ll let him stay in charge once we get in?

Kaliri 17

There’s nothing to do, Vrenelle! Maybe you haven’t heard the whole story yet, but this fight has been a long time coming. And I’m not backing off until Emilia and Rui apologize to me for everything they’ve pulled. So you can just pick a side or stay out of the way!
But I don’t want there to be any sides!
Too bad.

Kaliri 18

The thought of exam scores gives you an idea. During lunch, you once again sneak into Emilia’s room to ransack her notes. This time she has a trap prepared for just such intrusions, but it’s nothing you can’t handle.

I’ll be going after your notes today. Make sure you get them all copied by lunch. Carmine’s got a couple duplication books you can use. You should probably also set a trap for me in case someone spots me. Go easy on me, though, ok?

Once again, Tacito used the Sending spell to bring you to the Library of Longshade. This time, however, the two of you were alone. Considering what was going on, you wondered exactly what he wanted from you.

You would get an answer as soon as he opened his mouth.

I know what you’re doing.
O-oh? So what would that be, getting even with someone I thought was my friend?
You and Emilia are scheming to get you on College Durand’s good side. You’re going to steal the Mallen-Star necklace right from under their noses.
What?! But how—why would you think that?
Please. You brought me in because I can figure this stuff out.

Tacito counted off on his fingers.

One: your fighting began only after you entered the Room of Records and had a long talk with Emilia. I suspect you found a secret map or blueprint of Campus Durand. That’s the sort of thing the Room of Records is for, after all, and it’s why it’s off limits to students. Two: you and Emilia only ever fight in public, which is way out of character for her if not for you. Three: One day Rui got in trouble for that madness potion in the soup, but the next day he was completely cleared and Joana got in trouble. Four: Rui hasn’t done anything against you despite how angry Emilia says he is, and despite how he pretty much lives for revenge. On the other hand, Rui isn’t a very good actor. Five: you’ve been helping out Durand on the sly, even though you could’ve run to any other college on the campus and had an easier time. Even just Hedi would’ve been a better idea! Six: all of this is happening at the end of the year, which is the traditional time for Durand and Aranaz to have their Mallen-Star prank wars, but nothing big has happened yet on either side. I’m guessing you’re going to change that.
Fine. So maybe I am trying to infiltrate Durand. So what’re you going to do about it?
Me? I don’t care! I told you before, Hedi doesn’t care about college politics. Prank them if you want. I don’t even mind that you didn’t tell me, since you probably knew I’d figure it out. I’ve only got one problem: why didn’t you tell Vrenelle? She came to me the other day crying her eyes out, convinced the only reason you’d be so mean is if you were being Mastered. I figured it was at least possible, even if it wasn’t likely, so I taught her that Negation she used yesterday. But of course it didn’t work. So why didn’t you tell her?
I—she—she can’t keep a secret! You remember the food thing, right? I swear, everyone else knew what she was going to do next before I did! She just goes on about whatever’s on her mind no matter how secret it’s supposed to be! I couldn’t tell her.
You’re wrong. Vrenelle can keep a secret when it really counts. And I can prove it.
Oh yeah?
A couple months ago, I told Vrenelle something…something I probably shouldn’t have told anyone. But she’s never said a word to anyone. Trust me, if it got spread around, you’d have heard it by now. You’re…sort of involved. Point is, you can trust Vrenelle when it’s important. You can trust all of us!

Tacito stared straight at you as he spoke, but you had trouble meeting his gaze.

Tell Vrenelle. She’s worried sick about you two. And if you don’t, I will.

You nod. It’s all you can manage.

Ruined Emilia Strolin’s Homework.
---Emilia Strolin’s Arithmetic Study level decreased by 1.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to 0.

Used Gossip on Emilia Strolin and Carmine Sturzo.
--Relationship between above increased to 7.

Kaliri 19

Ah, there they are! You’ve managed to come across Emilia and Rui in the hallways between classes, and they appear to be deep in conversation. This gives you ample time to set up your trap. Once you finish, you inscribe the phemes of Harmon’s Strife and then watch with a grin as your clique mates’ discussion quickly turns into an argument. Finally, Emilia storms off farther down the corridor, while Rui walks the other way—right under your trap!

Tell Ruin I need a trap of his to use on him. Make sure he knows he has to fall into it. I’ll let you know when by “sneaking up” on the two of you and “casting” Harmon’s Strife, so make sure you start arguing when you see me doing that. Oh, and I’ll need both of you to sneak over to Longshade in the evening. We’re going to have one last clique meeting.


That night, you cast the Sending and explained at last what you were doing to Vrenelle. You were expecting some anger and shouting, but all she did was cry and laugh, happy to know that the fighting was all just a big joke on Durand.

You would have preferred the shouting, to be honest.

Tacito still didn’t look happy, but he was satisfied. Seeing everyone together also gave you a spur-of-the moment idea: you and Emilia could part ways in grand style, splitting the ‘Tree in a dramatic shout-off. You went over exactly what you wanted everyone to do, and rehearsed it a few times, but you ended the night without knowing exactly where you’d perform. Still, you had all Saturday to figure that out.

Cast Harmon’s Strife on Emilia Strolin.
---Emilia Strolin’s Relationship with (someone? Couldn’t find who) decreased by 2.
---Emilia Strolin’s Relationship with Rui da Casga decreased to 8.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to -1.
Used Prank Enemy on Rui da Casga.
---Decreased Rui da Casga’s Confidence and Composure by 1; increased Danger Sense by 1.
---Relationship with Rui da Casga decreased to 0.

Used Gossip on Tacito Viadana and Vrenelle Bonvin.
--Relationship between above increased to 2.
Met at the Clique Meeting Marker.
--Plus 2 to Bond for all Five-Handed Tree members.

Kaliri 21

Nothing. This one poem about a guy with a lot of titles. Go on.
Um…fine. Fine! Go ahead and live with those Durand losers. But I’m not gonna be in any clique with a dirty Durand. Rui, you’re coming with me.

Great performance! I was worried Vrenelle was going to give everything away the way she was holding in her laughter. I just hope people thought she was sobbing instead! Did you get that reference of Tacito’s? I’m just glad you didn’t let it slip you up.


Cast Adanella’s Wardrobe.
---Plus 1 to Courtly Fashion, Confidence, and Aesthetics.
---Plus 5 to Gossip and Befriend.
Used Demean on self and Emilia Strolin.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to -5.
---Emilia Strolin has left the Five-Handed Tree!
-----Iliana Ot’Matar has lost Clique Ability: Parental Payoff!
Used Demean on self and Rui da Casga.
---Relationship with Rui da Casga decreased to -5.
---Rui da Casga has left the Five-Handed Tree!
-----Iliana Ot’Matar has lost Clique Ability: Prank Enemy!

Studied at Longshade.
--Deceit increased by 1 step.
----Borgham’s Grin spell learned.
--Rallying increased by 1 step.
----Enthuse action learned.
----Bully increased by 1.
------Force pheme learned.
Used Gossip on self and Vrenelle Bonvin.
--Relationship with Vrenelle Bonvin increased to 8.
Used Gossip on Vrenelle Bonvin and Rui da Casga.
--Relationship between above increased to 4.

New Abilities

Borgham’s Grin (Spell): Luck/Deceit v5 and 11; +3 to Lie and Deceit and +2 to Acting, then +1 to Charm, all for 3 days.
Enthuse: +1 to Coordination, Passion and choice of skill for Clique for 3 days.

Kaliri 24

After a few minutes, Emilia stands up to deposit her tray, and she deliberately makes a pass by the Durand table, wearing the evilest look of smug satisfaction you have ever seen. You respond with the darkest stare of pure hatred that your pounding heart allows for.

Your second shock came later that night. You didn’t want to spend more time than you had to in Honors’ dorm room, but after dinner you didn’t feel like spending time around people, either. While you were idly flipping through your notebook, Emilia’s face suddenly appeared in your mind and you heard her shout:

Ana! I am so, so sorry about today! I didn’t know it would be that bad, I swear I didn’t! Please don’t be mad at me! Oh, gods, please don’t be mad…

The Mastery spell normally only lets you see and hear what the caster does, so Emilia had courteously placed herself in front of a mirror; that’s how you knew that she was on the verge of tears. Looking around the real dorm room, you determined that Honors didn’t notice when you started (or at least chose to ignore it). You carefully drew out the phemes of the spell onto your notebook, and you knew it worked when Emilia stopped pleading to herself.


You slowly looked around the room, giving a significant glance at Honors to let Emilia know why you couldn’t speak in response. Instead, you looked down at your notebook and began to write.

I’m not mad at you, M.
W-well, you should be, after what I did today! I know you’ve been having trouble with stuff since the wyvern attack, and so I thought I’d give you a little scare—just a little one! If I knew—I’d never—I’m so sorry!
I didn’t know it’d be that bad, either. I would have warned you if I knew. But it’s good you did. I don’t think anyone will suspect we’re still friends after that.
I’m suspecting whether we’re still friends! That look I gave you…I—I know I had to, but…still…
Don’t worry. I saw you when I was getting up. We’re lucky no one else did, or everyone would have figured it out. Don’t worry about it happening again, either. I’m going to deal with this stupid fear once and for all.
R-really? How?
Ask the Sphinx when you see her again. She knows. By the way, I’ll have to “get even” with you or it’ll look odd. I’ll spread a rumor tomorrow that you kidnapped Honors and hid her in the bushes in order to get her spot on the student council.
What? But I didn’t want a spot on the council! Besides, Carmine handled Honors; I locked Reitz in his room.
Exactly: it’ll be easy to deny, but not until after it does some damage, which is what we want. I hope I get a chance soon, I can’t stand this ugly campus.

Emilia Strolin used Bully; Stress increased by 3.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to -6.

Kaliri 25

Spread Rumor about Emilia Strolin.
---Emilia Strolin is under a Cloud of Suspicion.
---Relationship with Emilia Strolin decreased to -8.

Studied at Longshade.
--Deceit increased by 1 step.
----Surprise pheme learned.
--Bassan increased by 1 step.

Kaliri 27

I’ve finally got my chance! Go tell von Rupprecht everything, he can clear everything up for the college.


Ah, Emilia? Something the matter, girl?
It’s about Iliana, sir.
Iliana, eh? Shame about her. She showed such promise before she defected to those brats in Durand.
That’s the thing, sir. She didn’t defect.
Me and Ana staged the whole fight. All our friends were in on it, too. She just waited until Durand lowered its guard, and today they did! I want a party waiting for when she comes back.
Really? I admit, her plan sounds a lot more devious than mine was, although rather more complicated than it had to be…
She really wanted to rub it in their dirty, piggy faces, sir. So can you please tell everyone what she was really doing? I want everyone ready to applaud when she comes in. Or if she doesn’t get it, I’d at least like everyone to know she never betrayed Aranaz.
Hmph! I hope she does manage it. What a thing to hold over Briardi’s head! I can’t be there “officially,” you understand, so I think I’ll let Alexander handle all the functions. You’d best explain things to him, too. If she pulls this off…
She will. I know she will.

For everything that you’ve accomplished this year, for all the evil wizards and cultists you’ve thwarted and all the downtrodden you’ve helped up, you know this will always stand out as one of the best nights of your life.