The Let's Play Archive

Magical Diary: Main Route

by CommissarMega

Part 23: Promises, Promises: Part 2

Chapter 18: Promises, Promises: Part 2

Sunday... wasn't a good day. Now, I'm not naive, I know that the rumour mill works overtime when there's drama greasing it along, but when you throw magic into the mix, you end up with a big mess. And terrible metaphors. And friends gossiping in my room, loudly enough to be audible from outside.

"Did you hear?" Virginia was saying. "Angela and Damien got into a total catfight fight at the mall!"

I sigh, and open the door just as Virginia gets down to the juicy details.

"They used to date," Virginia concludes with a smirk. And of course, this is the time my impulse control decides to take its hands off the wheel and make silly faces at the brain in the passenger seat next to it.

"That is so not what happened!" I blurt out.

The confused look on my friends' faces tell me a moment too late I should have kept my mouth shut, but when Ellen asks, "How did you know? You were there?"

"Um," I manage to squeak out, but the damage is done.

"Wait, wait, waaaait a minute," Virginia says, holding one hand in front of her closed eyes and the other in front of me. "YOU were the 'idiot freshman girlfriend' they were fighting over?"

If Ellen's eyes got any bigger, they'd be used for finding galaxies. Not even Kyo could match the peepers she gave me when she asked "Wait, they were fighting over you?"

"No on both counts," I huff indignantly. "And also not an idiot."

"Tch, you are if you're going out with Damien," Virginia scowls. "But anyway, I heard that's what Angela called you."

"Look, it's none of her business who I go out with," I point out, "and it shouldn't be yours either. Why does everyone try to keep messing this up?"

"Because you're STUPID!" Virginia fumes. "He uses people! We're just trying to stop you from getting hurt! But noooo, you're the all-knowing, all-special Mary Sue-"

"He's only so messed up because people keep harassing him!" I retort.

"That's enough, you two!" Ellen says firmly, walking between us. "Neither of you have no reason to fight about this!"

There is silence for a moment, then Virginia turns away. "Hmph, it's not like there's any point. it's too late anyway," she says, before pointedly sitting down at her table. As for me, if she wants to comfort herself with having the last word, no problem. It's a free country, after all- she can be free to stomp and huff, and I'm free to date whomever I want.

But as I stomp and huff out of the room, my brain finally gets to grips on the steering wheel, and I begin wondering- does 'everyone' have a point? After all, Damien's reputation couldn't have popped out of nowhere. Maybe his unknown lineage did set things off, but if even half the things people say about him are true- well, he didn't have to go down the path people say he went down.

I need to find someone who was there- another upperclassman, but not William. Someone more objective. If I had my druthers, I'd look for a Snake, but I don't know any older Snakes. Besides, if I really had said druthers, I'd be the Eternal President for Life by now. Anyway, if I can't find an older Snake...

"Heya, Isobel," I say, waving. "Can I ask you a question? It's just a short one, don't worry."

"Shoot," Isobel replies, shrugging a little. "I have time."

I nod. "Well, do you know anything about a girl named Musette? She was a freshman last year," I ask.

"Musette, Musette..." Isobel muses. "Oh yes, I do remember her. Is she why Damien and Angela had that fight at the mall?"

Why hello there, deceptive side of me! I do hope you have a good excuse for not being around when I confronted Virginia; one that's signed by your parents and/or legal guardian, I hope. "That's... what I heard," I tell her. "Guess that 'idiot freshman'- who, by the way, most probably doesn't deserve that title- set her off."

"I guess so," Isobel shrugs. "Angela's always been that kind of person, hitting below the belt regardless of gender. Anyways, about Musette..."

Huh? "Wait, so she just... went home?" I ask. "That's it?"

"That's it," Isobel shrugs again. "Sorry if there isn't enough drama to keep a spicy rumour going, but sometimes that's just the way things are. And honestly Mary, you shouldn't be spreading things like that!" she chides.

"That's not what this is about!" I say hastily. "I just- I just wanted to know, that's all. I got curious."

"Like when you used Spirit Sight as the Dark Dance?" Isobel asks, and now it's my turn to shrug helplessly, while the wheels turn in my mind. Angela said Damien got Musette kicked out, Damien says she was expelled, and Isobel says she just went home. Angela and Damien being who they are, I can see them lying to make the other look bad (though I don't think Angela needs any help in that department), which leaves Isobel's story as the most plausible- but why then would Damien lie? Especially if it made him look like the bad guy, no matter how unwillingly?

"Thanks, I'll try to do that," I say, without any intention of the sort- if I tried to make that kind of effort, it would get out to the whole school. Until I'm sure of what's going on, I'm going to try keep this as private as possible, and for all that we disagree, I know Virginia and Ellen wouldn't talk openly about my relationship with Damien.

I try to take my mind off with the weeks' schoolwork, but it seems that the matter won't let me escape, no matter how hard I try. After Black Magic class that Monday, I'm walking back to the dorms with Raven, talking to her about the play she's going to star in when something behind me catches her eye. "I think I'll need to find another hallway to practice in- there's enough drama going on in this one."

I turn around to see what she's talking about, and my shoulders just about slump to my waist when I see Damien and William arguing. "I, ah- why don't you go on ahead, Raven? I'll catch up to you later."

"Curious as usual, Mary?" Raven smiles gently. "It's going to get you in trouble, mark my words.

"Yeah," I say, trying to hide my nervousness under bravado, "or else, what's the point?"

She shakes her head in indulgent exasperation and moves on, hopefully out of earshot over what might happen when I reach the two guys. William seems angry enough, and if Damien's mocking smirk is any indication, so's he.

"And I'll say it again," William retorted. "Move. On."

"What's going on?" I ask. I doubt I'd know what they were talking about (or even want to know, truth be told and my curiosity be damned), or that they would tell me, but it's as convenient a distraction as any.

Even so, it seems momentary when, after glancing at me for a moment, Damien turns to William, scowling. "Just so you know, I really am sorry. I'll get out of your way."

William just shakes his head, saying, "I really wish I believed you meant that," as Damien walks away in the opposite direction. "Such a drama king," he says as he walks past me. I don't think he even really registered I was there.

All the better for me though, as I push past him and run to Damien. "Damien, wait!" I say as I grab his hand. I don't know what they were talking about, but I can make a pretty good guess. "Look, whatever he said to you, it's not going to change things between us. I'm not going to let anyone tell me who I can be with."

Yeah, it's pretty obvious we're on the Damien route.

Damien looks at me a moment, all googly-eyed (incidentally, he makes even that look handsome. If that's not fae heritage, I don't know what is). "...Thank you, Mary," he says softly.

"I'll get back to you when I figure out when- I want it to be perfect," he tells me. "Anything you want me to arrange in particular?'

"Surprise me," I tell him.

"I thought you didn't like surprises," he replies, grinning.

"What can I say?" I tell him. "You're a bad influence."

"Yessss, part one of my evil scheme has come to fruition!" he cackles.

Well, I couldn't let him get away with that, could I? "Oh no, who will come rescue me?" I say in my best 'distressed damsel' voice. "Where is my handsome prince- oh wait," I finish flatly, and it sets Damien into a laughing fit that soon pulls me in as well. Not even the news that we have an exam on Friday is enough to pull me down. The rest of the week seems to be trying to make up for my terrible weekend too- not only do I win a cool extra $16 in Logan's Bingo game, but my mastery of magic seems to be improving as well.

I decided to start off by practicing transferring heat energy both ways, a decision that mystified Grabby and Potsdam, with the former calling it my "long overdue grasp on the basics of magic", though I think he was just reaching with that bit. But I think my actual goal began to dawn on him later, during an after-class meeting to discuss my idea.

He definitely sighs like he figured it out when I told him. "Mary, Mary, Mary," he says. "Honestly, I wonder if I should be more afraid of you than of Potsdam. At least she has the decency to act like she was completely sane."

"Aside from the fact that you should," I tell him, "I think- and please don't take this as flattery- I'd say you'd be more than capable enough to stop me."

He looks back at me then, and his eyes are as steel. "This is not the time for banter, Miss Sue," he says coldly. "It would be one thing for a wizard to have an idea like yours- indeed, it's part of the curriculum at Iris. What worries me is your confidence, which in turn indicates you probably know you can manage it."

I raise an eyebrow. "Well, what's wrong with the spell? You said you teach it, right? Won't be the first time I figured out an actual spell before you guys were supposed to teach me."

"The problem is, Mary," he says, standing up from his table, "is that such mastery of the arts shouldn't come until your second or third year, and even than many actual wizards spend a bit more time learning its intricacies. Yet here you are, coming to me with knowledge of the phemes and theories of the magical flows you need to, to- to practice fine manipulation through will alone."

"What?" I ask, shocked. "I wasn't- I didn't say anything like that! I just said I think I can activate traps and stuff through magic- what's so dramatic about that?"

The look he gives me then is equal parts indignation, disbelief- and maybe, a little fear. "Mary, listen to me. Gross manipulation of energy is simple. From wrapping yourself in a bubble and teleporting yourself, to throwing a lightning bolt- it's working with magic at its most basic levels. But this, this- what did you call your spell again?"

"T-Televoke? I- I just thought it would help me deal with traps in the exam! You know, without actually touching them!" I reply timidly. "It seemed like a good idea when I thought it up, honest!"

"Most things often do," he says ominously. "In any case, what you propose to do... enough theorizing. Show me," he says, taking off his watch. It was an old timepiece, nothing like the digital watches the school allowed, or an expensive Rolex- this was obviously made years ago, and built to last. "Wind this back a minute, would you?"

It seems simple enough, so I gather my wits, take a few deep breaths to calm down, and weave my magic. I send a current of Blue Magic into the watch, my command to the watch to rewind itself a minute written across its streams.

I also add in some Black Magic tricks I'd picked up while learning Enchant Object- Potsdam had said that enchanting something with Blue or Green Magic was the most difficult, as the ever-changing nature of those two magics clashed with Black's permanence, but this doesn't have to be permanent, just last long enough to do what I want it to.

It shouldn't last more than a second, and it doesn't- much to professor Grabiner's shock. "How- You- You!" he says, turning to me with a snarl. "Tell me you know the workings of this watch! Tell me that, that your father works as a watchmaker, and that he made you watch him make these watches by hand! Or that your mother did the same!"

"N-no, Professor!" I gasp. "Dad's a pharmacist and Mom's a bank manager! I don't know anything about watches! Please Professor, you're scaring me!"

He looks at me in shock for a moment, then turns away, bursting into despairing laughter. "I... I frighten you?" he whispers. "Me? The mere mortal Hieronymous Grabiner frightens Mary Sure herself?" he adds, before turning back to me with a tired smile. "And you said you weren't going to flatter me. I don't suppose that counts as a broken promise to the weave of magic, and I honestly don't know whether or not to be relieved that it doesn't."

"Professor? I don't understand," I say, and he lets out another short despairing bark of laughter.

"No you don't, which is why you're so dangerous, and which is why I'm grateful, so grateful, you decided to talk to me about this," he says, only continuing after a deep breath. "Mary, when a wizard normally... 'televokes', as you said, the speed of his spell would normally depend on his knowledge of the object he's manipulating. If he doesn't have knowledge of the device at hand, he could drain himself of magic trying to do what you just did, as well as give himself a major headache weaving his consciousness between the gears and trying to make sense of it all. But that is not what you did, did you?"

"N-n-no, Professor," I gulp. "I just- I just used Blue Magic to tell the clock to turn back a minute, and some Black to force the enchantment to stay long enough to turn the watch back a minute." Seeing his eyes expand into saucers, I add, "It was very hard, if that helps."

He gives me the teacup pupils a moment longer, then sighs. "Mary..." he began, then began walking to the window. "Magic may sometimes break the laws of reality, but only because it obeys the laws of our knowledge and imagination. A Roman wizard sees a bird fly, therefore he too must fly, regardless of what the laws of physics tells him. But even so, he flaps his arms, grows his own wings or turns into a bird himself because that is what he knows he needs to do. Not so in later ages, where the Bernoulli Principle and later, the Wright Brothers made a lot of old wizards feel very silly indeed. But even if the Roman wizard knew all that, he would not have conceived of the stars and the moon, or planets beyond Earth."

I don't know where he's going with this, but something inside tells me that interrupting would be a bad idea- this was important, much more important than I could know, or maybe even want to.

"But we know the workings of an analog watch," he adds, "we know that gears and springs are needed to make it work- yet here you are, without any knowledge making it work, a Roman witch walking the surface of Mars without comprehending how she got there. "

With a sigh, he sits down on the table in front of me. "Mary," he begins quietly. "What you did, in essence, was tell the small portion of the universe occupied by my watch- my single watch, not the platonic essence of watches, not some big philosophical or magical target, just a small, infinitesimal part of the multiverse... you proclaimed your will upon it and declared 'make it so', and then left it like an absent God. But where you differ from just about every wizard before you, is that it obeyed you. And the fact that you, a wildseed, can so blithely and instinctively do something like that. Not only that, but consider it nothing more than a 'good idea', a chit of a feeling to present to and banter about with me?"

He bends down slightly, looking every moment of his age as he rubs his forehead. "When I said that it takes years to master, I was merely talking about its theories and principles. To see you master it to this level... what am I to do with you, Mary? Can I even try?"

I gulp again. "I... I know!" I say, standing up hastily. "I'll read up on my White Magic, try to erase it from my mind-"

"NO!" Grabiner shouts, his voice echoing in the empty classroom, and I immediately sat down. "Like it or not, Mary, you are special. Do you know what that means? Do you even comprehend the worth, the price of that title? It means that you cannot turn away from it, for one. The more you try, the worse it would be for you. Good God, trying to dislodge such instinctual magic- I don't even want to think of the arcane backlash!"

"But- but," I say, tears beginning to form in my eyes. "I don't want all of that! I'm sixteen!" I protest, latching on to the few things I can be sure of, regardless of how inane they may seem. "I don't want to deal with all of this! B-bad enough I've got boyfriend and friend-friend problems, I can't deal with all this! I can't! I just can't!"

But before I really turn on the waterworks, he dams the tide of tears with his hand- not on my face, but on my shoulder. "Miss Sue," he says- though his voice is firm, it's also softer and more gentle than I've ever heard him. "I don't think either of us wants to, just as I don't think neither of us have any choice in the matter. We do the best with what we've been given, and give the best that we can do."

"Th-that's a horrible cliche," I reply, wiping away my tears as I give him a wan smile. Joking aside, he's right. I have to admit, running away isn't going to help me, and if I am as powerful as he thinks I am, I need to get myself under control, at least for the sake of my family and friends.

He returns the smile as he shrugs. "Cliches become what they are because they work, because they are easily adaptable to myriad situations," he explains.

"I guess I can live with that," I reply. "Imagine that: the term for any super-special young girl, a 'Mary Sue'. Yeah, I think I can live with that legacy."

"I certainly am, for one," Grabiner says with a sigh of relief. "That said, before we get to more intensive training, I'd like to know about your exam preparations."

"Well," I grin slightly. "There's Televoke..."

None of this dialogue actually comes up in the game, and indeed, Televoke is seen as relatively harmless; it's just that the notion of Televoke was so crazy if you thought about it and compared it to the other magic in the game, it needed some help working it in. There is also another reason I decided this had to go in, which you'll see below. Sorry if it's too lengthy.

That said, Grabiner did advise me to try take my mind off magic for the week, both to clear my mind of mental distress, and to allow the magic inside me to settle for a few days. And that is exactly what I do, along with a few other things.

"So what makes you think I'll strike Bingo this time, Logan?" I ask him, as he invites me to another game.

I consider for a moment, then nod. "Why not?" I ask. "I might actually win something this time."

And win I do!



This may be the one time you should play Bingo; those additional chances really help!

It's not much, just $10, but it should be enough to treat Virginia and Ellen that weekend after our tests. That said... I haven't seen Virginia all day. She was tired in Gym too, which was odd for her- and I'm not the only one who's noticed.

"I know, I haven't seen her around today either," I reply.

"Was she still asleep when you woke up?" Ellen asks; she got up earlier than either of us that morning for Treasurer stuff, and I was the next.

"I thought she was sleeping in," I tell Ellen. "But she didn't seem too well at gym yesterday either- back then, I thought she was tired from all that studying she's done," I reply. On Grabiner's suggestion, I haven't told anyone else what we discovered the other day, but even so, I can't help but feel that, I don't know- maybe I've got some kind of 'magic wildseed radiation' or something, and her purer genes couldn't take it. Oh God, what if it's true? That I gave her magic cancer?

"Come on, let's go see her," Ellen says firmly, seeing the worry on my face, though I hope she's underestimating the gravity of it.

We go back to our rooms, where worryingly, we see Virginia still in bed. But it's what we see when we come closer that the horror show begins- her eyes are half open and bloodshot, her cheeks are flushed red, and she's shivering though her body is burning hot.

I have to admit, Ellen's taking it a lot better than I am. She takes the initiative, turning to me, and in a voice as stern as her face, tells me to "find a teacher, quickly! And stop muttering things about 'magic cancer'! That's a horrible thing to say!"

I quickly exit the room, and run through the halls until I spot one of the two professors guaranteed to be hanging around near the first years. "Professor Potsdam!" I yell.

Because if I had to look at it, so do you. Seriously though, I thought Kyo was unfortunately drawn.

"Virginia's really sick," I tell her. "We need your help."

"I'll be there right away," Potsdam says firmly. Think what I will of her, she might not be as bad as I thought after all. She casts a few spells on Virginia, and a frown crosses her face. "We'll need to take her to the infirmary and treat her there," she says firmly.

"Can't you cast a spell to make her better?" Ellen asks.

Potsdam shakes her head gently, and explains to Ellen (and me, I suppose, but I know this already) a bowlderized and definitely less personal version of the stuff Grabiner told me. "Green Magic doesn't need as much knowledge as other kinds of magic," she explains, as a pair of nurses place Virginia on a wheeled stretcher, "because as the magic of Life, it's a little, well, 'smarter' than other kinds of magic."

She then gives us both a gentle, but stern look. "That said, Life can work both ways," she continued. "If I had cast the wrong spell, I could have energized the virus in her instead! Modern medicine did as much to help the magical community as it did the mortal one, you know."

And with that, she nods and goes with the nurses. We try to visit Virginia in the infirmary later, but it seems she was given some drugs and spells to help her rest, and to allow the Green Magic healing spells to, well, work their magic.

And so it was that with one less Virginia, that we underwent the exam set before us the next day. Even as the room and my senses blur, I can't help but hope Virginia would be allowed to retake the exam; she studied so hard for it!

"In addition," the voice said, a little more strongly, "think before you act."

I nod. "Sure thing, Grabby," I say under my breath as I look around. The dungeon looks surprisingly simple, or so it seems as I extend my consciousness. To the west is a locked door, the north a locked chest, and the south had a large stone ball at the end. It's the east that's, uh, interesting. There, I see a giant, 7-foot tall genie-like spirit called a Manus blocking my way- and interestingly enough, my magical vision...

And so you have it, boys and goons! Mary's next test, with an interesting set of challenges awaiting us! To recap, this is what's awaiting us in the:





As for our spellbook:

So let's hear them, your suggestions and solutions for the test! Exercise your mind, but not your caution- remember, all these spells may be used in the story, my embellishments aside! Suggestions close in 36 hours at 0600 GMT, March 7th 2013!