The Let's Play Archive

Magical Diary: Main Route

by CommissarMega

Part 10: Wherein Mary goes "Oh Crap!" Twice.

Chapter 8: Wherein Mary goes "Oh Crap!" Twice.

All right then, let's see... sure, I might be stuck in a small room with no way out, but as far as I can tell, this whole thing is just a one multiple-question test, and I think I know the solution. Blue Magic changes things, moves them.

That said, Grabby and whoever else is running the show is probably expecting me to simply cast a burst of Blue Magic- but I have a better idea. True, it may not be safe- oh, who am I kidding, I'm probably juggling dynamite by the looks of it. But while I am scared, I must admit I am also very, very excited. I wonder if any student has done anything like this before- and if so, what happened to them?

I say a little prayer, then envelop myself as I normally do with light and sound, making sure the egg-like chamber I'm in is large enough to have a goodly supply of air. I also close my eyes- silly? Maybe, but hey, if I somehow end up in front of a Bugblatter Beast of Traal, I'm good!

Finally, I activate the spell! Instead of the stomach-churning sickness or sickening feeling of being turned inside-out I was expecting, all I felt was a light tickling sensation across my entire body, followed by the feeling of pins and needles. I'll be honest, it was a little disappointing, but at least my internal organs are behaving.

I land on my head with a muffled thump- looks like I was lucky enough to land onto a hedge. Or maybe unlucky, seeing as I'm stuck here flailing my legs in the air, my head caught up in the wooden depths of whatever plants hedges are made of. A large caterpillar crawls up in front of me, and gives me what I swear is the most curious look I've ever seen a caterpillar give, not that I'm an expert on the subject.

Ah, the cavalry has arrived. Mongol hordes, true, but any port in a storm. Thanks goodness a pair of long pants are part of the uniform. "Yes, sir, perfectly fine," I say with all the sincerity I can muster (not much). "Just putting my legs up, that's all."

"Do not tempt me with demerits, Miss Sue," Grabby growls as he lives up to his nickname and takes me by the legs, then pulls me out. As I pick myself up off the ground, I notice the caterpillar hanging onto a strand of my hair. If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was smirking at me. I pointedly pluck it off and flick it back into the bushes before turning to face Grabby.

"What were you thinking?!" he hisses at me. "A full self teleport- with your bloody eyes closed?! Do you know how dangerous that is? Of course you don't! Because I haven't taught your class that spell yet! Where did you learn it from?! It can't have been from Miss Middleton, or she'd have taught you what you needed to know!"

"Wait- Ellen knows a teleportation spell?" I ask.

"The teleportation spell, Miss Sue," he hisses. "Because there is only one spell that- look, how did you teleport?"

I hastily explain my working process, not just to mollify the guy, but also to prove him wrong (maybe- for all I know my spell's a carbon copy of the one he knows about)- and to show him that I won't be pushed around.

And by the looks of it, I won't- I can't tell what the look on his face is, but it looks like... respect. "I see, Miss Sue. Why didn't you come to me beforehand, when you thought up this methodology of yours? The actual teleportation spell is far less complicated- I trust you are familiar with the concept of quantum entanglement?"

"I... suppose so," I say uncertainly. "But only through science fiction- basically, if a particle on one end of a cosmic string changes, then that change is transmitted instantly to the particle on the other end, even if they're on opposite ends of the universe."

"A sufficiently brutish explanation," he sniffs. "But fundamentally correct. Magic is everywhere, and by transmitting yourself through natural magic's own cosmic strings, you can teleport yourself safely and easily- it is like using the door, as opposed to you ramming a lorry through a wall. Speaking of which, I am still waiting to an answer as to why you didn't come to me- and more importantly, why you decided to show off on such an important occasion."

I am silent for a moment, but just to marshal my thoughts. "Ever since I got here, you've been belittling me every chance you get. Is it because I'm a freshman? Is it because I bumped into you my first day? Whatever it is, I'm not taking it anymore."

"Tch," he sniffs. "Typical teenage melodrama."

I sigh, bracing myself for the inevitable punishment.

"You have my apologies," he says with a tight smile. "You were doing much better at Blue Magic than the rest of your classmates, and I suppose I should have anticipated this development. That being said, future dungeons will be warded against teleportation- this trick will not work twice."


"Furthermore," he adds, "while I do not approve of such dangerous creativity, I do believe that it should be rewarded- I believe ten merits would be enough, seeing as I do not want to encourage such behaviour. In the future, should you think up any more spells on your own, I ask that you consult me or Ms. Potsdam before testing it out on yourself."

"Yes sir," I say. Suddenly, I find myself facing his steely eyes and all-too-familiar scowl.

"I am not joking, Miss Sue. Magic has rules for a reason- it is a much stronger, more raw force than any natural laws of physics, and while it certainly does have a powerful effect on mortals, we cannot ignore its effects as easily. Do you know what happens to a magic-user who breaks a solemn promise, even if she didn't make it sincerely?"

His eyes narrow, and though he whispers his next words, I somehow hear it more clearly than anything I've ever heard before. "She loses her powers."

"What?!" I gasp. "B-but I've made and broken promises like that before! And I still have my magic!"

"Of course you do," Grabby snorts. "Back then, your magic was dormant, asleep. Now that it has awoken, it is as much a part of you as your flesh and blood. Even though 'magic words' are nothing but memory aids, a wizard's words still have power, both over others and themselves. Remember that, Mary- cliche though it is, great power brings great responsibility, and magic will enforce that responsibility if it has to."

I'm trying to think up a reply to that, when I hear Potsdam's voice getting louder as she approaches.

"It's all right, Petunia!" Grabiner calls over his shoulder, his eyes still on me. "Miss Sue here was just a little creative with her solution!"

"Oh come now, Hieronymous, there's no reason to give her detention!" Potsdam protested.

"Fear not, Petunia," Grabiner sighs. "I gave her ten merits and a warning, that's all. She's safe, if a little put out of sorts by her attempt." He then turns back to me. "You may go, Miss Sue."

It's all I can do to nod and walk back to my room.

"I think I did pretty well, actually," I say- no use worrying them right now. I need a little time to think things through anyway.

"Grabby thought it was the boring answer," she scoffs, "but I think he's just jealous he didn't get to blow up anything, pfft! Ellen though, she teleported out- how cool is that?"

"Come on, Virginia," Ellen says, blushing. "I wasn't even sure it would work."

Neither was I, but that didn't stop me. "So... what do you guys think the other tests would be like? More dungeons? Mazes? Will there be monsters?"

"Maybe- if that's the case, I'm definitely looking forward to it!" Virginia laughs, puffing up her chest. "It's funny how the exams are way more fun than the classes, right?"

"I don't think they are," Ellen ventures, but before Virginia could respond, there's a knock on the door. "Is that our allowance- no, they'd push them in," she adds, seeing the empty space under our door. Something's definitely blocking the light beyond, though.

I go inside and hand my friends their allowances. "Seems I've got something from my family too," I say. The box is completely wrapped in tape and string- opening it might be as much of an adventure as any test.

"Whatever it is, it can wait!" Virginia says, taking my hand. "Come on! William's treating me to some post-test cookies, and I think I can rope you guys in as well!"

It does sound good, and judging by Ellen's encouraging grin, she thinks so as well. The package can wait; right now, I really need to detox. We pile into the vans, and in no time at all, we're at the food court, where William is waving us over.

"I thought we should celebrate your passing the first exam, V," he says. "And as you can see, I anticipated you bringing your friends along!

"Awww, thanks, William!" Virginia says, throwing her arms around her brother.

"Thanks!" Ellen says, and I nod too. That said, it's sad that Donald isn't here; I never did find out why he got detention.

"Okay kids, have a seat and a piece of cookie!" William adds. "What?" he asks, seeing Virginia pout. "I'm a senior, I have to abuse my power sometimes, or I might lose my touch!"

The cookie's huge, and there's more than enough for all of us. I'm still eating my piece when we split up a bit later, Ellen heading over to the Grognarde Grottoe for some magical equipment, and Virginia dragging her brother off on a quest to find something else to celebrate with. The look on William's face makes me pity his wallet, but eh- it's his money, not mine~! As for me, I decide to check out the arcade. Stepping into it, I see Big Steve hard at work on one of the pinball machines.

I mean, I already know how he's like without his coffee, I don't want to end up demolishing the mall by interrupting his game. Not that I'd be left with a choice- he keeps on racking up free balls, and the poor machine is straining to keep up with him until, at last (and for no reason i could see), he takes his hands off the controls and lets the balls sink on their own.

"Why did you stop?" I blurt out, but Big Steve doesn't seem to be offended.

"Got tired of that one," he says, moving to another pinball machine, and I hasten to ask my question before he gets his hands on the controls.

"You're really good at that, you know," I say.

"No," he says, then starts playing.

...Oh-kay, weird. I go to the machine Steve's just left- it does look fun, and before I know it, I've pumped $2 into the machine. Maybe Steve's onto something- this game really is fun!

And there you have Big Steve, one of the game's more uassuming, and more popular characters. Technically, you can get this scene anytime after your first week; just head on down to the pinball machines and be prepared to lose $2. Both the cookie event and pinball playing reduces Stress by 5, so if you're in need of that stuff, just pass the test (or not get detention) and head down to the mall afterwards!

Later, I return to campus, and find that I came back before my roomies. Well then, no time like the present to open my parents' package. Well, not a 'package', really, just a large-ish envelope wrapped in tape and string. With a little effort and some nail clippers, I soon have the thing open. Inside is another letter, and a set of photos- Mom and Dad waving at me, the house, the backyard...

It's good to know I haven't been forgotten, melodramatic as it may sound. It's still a while before I can go home, not until Thanksgiving. But they're not really that far away- if they wanted to, they could come up here quickly and get me. It's a small island of stability in the crazy new life I've led so far- God, has it only been a month?- and I'm grateful for it.

My musings are interrupted, however, when I hear my roommates coming through the halls. Virginia's chattering away excitedly about something, and Ellen looks strangely contemplative. When they see me peeking out into the corridor, Virginia motions me inside, and I await patiently as they both come in. Virginia's looking quite excited, I must say.

"I was just telling Ellen about next week's student elections!" she chirps. "Anyone with a clean record can tell a teacher they want to run, and everyone else can vote the week after! There's only two positions for the freshmen classes- president and treasurer. The upper classes have more to do, of course."

"So the freshmen classes don't do anything?" I ask. "Sounds like a comfortable job."

"Of course we've got stuff to do!" Virginia laughs.

"It's much easier for freshman," she concludes. "You'd probably just have to go to meetings and nod at everything teachers say. Are you guys interested?"

"I told you," Ellen protests. "Nobody would vote for me!"

"See, that's why I'm asking!" Virginia grins.

"Pastel says Jacob's going to win it easy," she frowns, "so I want someone else to win, anyone else. I mean, you heard William- oh right, Mary hasn't. See, William's not running for class president this year, so it's perfect! He can endorse a candidate and they're sure to win!"

"Why don't you run?" I ask; the legality of her scheme can wait.

Well, I can't argue with that logic. Oh well, it's something that can wait- right now, I have a class schedule to update.

Come Monday...

While everyone's at class, I'm in my room, finishing up a letter to Mom and Dad, as well as getting some studying in. As I'm doing that though, I hear something in the hall outside.

"More mail?" I ask. "I thought mail only came in on Saturdays."

"Uh, yeah, it does," Donald says. "I'm just delivering a package that came in for Urchin- must've gotten mixed up somewhere. That, or Mom thinks I need a dress."

"Well, you're already wearing one, sort of," I point out, and he grins.

"Yeah, but at least the one I'm wearing matches my eyes!" he laughs.

"Well," I say unsurely, "I don't think Virginia got anything meant for you; otherwise, she'd have mentioned it."

Donald shrugs. "Meh," he says, "I suppose my package will turn up eventually. Anyway, where should I put this?" he asks, when something hits me.

"Hold up," I ask, narrowing my eyes at him. "How do you know what colour the dress is? The package doesn't look opened."

"M-magic?" he replies, but I'm already on to him.

"And I don't think anyone would have sent that package to you," I point out, "considering it's got 'VIRGINIA DANSON' written on it!"

"It's not a bomb, is it?" I ask.

"Heh, I don't know how to make one that isn't dangerous yet," he replies. Well, that's reassuring. "Guess again."

"A jack in the box?" I shrug helplessly. "With water balloons?"

He gapes at me a moment. "Man, I wish I thought up a jack in the box," he frowns. "And I've already done water balloons! Guess again!"

"Itching powder?" I ask. "A cream pie with chilli powder mixed in?"

"Nope!" replies gleefully. "It's not food- it comes out the other end!"

"The other... oh for- you- in a box?!" I squirm. "Donald! That's gross!"

"What?" he asks. "It's not mine!"

"Oh wow gee that makes it all so much better and not disgusting at all!" I reply. "Water balloons is one thing, but this is way beyond a prank!"

"Because it's funny!" he laughs.

"Not for her," I point out.

"You act like I care," he replies.

"...well, okay, you kind of have a point," I reply, "but at least now she's paying us for the privilege. Well, Ellen, anyway."

"What?" he asks.

"She's paying Ellen, our other roommate, to do her housework for her."

"See!" Donald protests. "She's totally making you her slaves! She deserves this!"

Okay, goons, we find ourselves at yet another juncture! I would like to add that the first and third choices have their own subset of consequences, which I'll include in the choices below for expediency- do we:

-Tell Donald to take the box away?
-Let him leave it, and let the prank play out?
-Let him leave it, but double-cross him?
-Give him a better idea and let the new prank play out?
-Give him a better idea and double-cross him?

Voting ends 0400 GMT 8th July!