The Let's Play Archive

Magical Diary: Main Route

by CommissarMega

Part 24: Everything is… Perfect

Chapter 19: Everything is… Perfect

First things first- open the chest. Once I manage that, I’ll figure out how to take care of the other obstacles. I reflexively started preparing myself to open the trap from a safe distance, but then I remembered Grabiner’s words, and decided to go with a simple Open spell instead.

I should have probably remembered his caution as well.

Everything goes red, then orange, followed by black, and finally Grabiner.

He sighs. “I know I cautioned you against using… advanced magic,” he says, “but I would have expected at least a little more prudence. A little more strategy inspired by the lack of strength- though I regret to say I doubt you’d ever be in that position, more fool you.”

“Yeah, I guess I got a little overconfident,” I say sheepishly. “So, uh… see you Saturday?”

“There’s no need for that,” Grabby says, waving me off. “True, you failed your test- but detention is only for those who outright give up, though I am tempted to give you said penalty for lacking caution,” he adds, before taking another deep breath. “Still, you were mindful enough of my warning to stop yourself in time-“

Damn, so he managed to detect the beginnings of my spell.

“-so I suppose you can at least keep your mind on the bigger picture. In the future, please examine bait more carefully before you take it,” he finishes. “Ten demerits, Miss Sue. Dismissed.”

I sigh, and head back to my room. That said, things aren’t so bad; I’ve got plenty of merit points, and it seems that magical schools are a lot more lenient when it comes to passing magical exams- one failed exam isn’t the end of the world, especially if you have merits remaining. I guess it sounds kind of irresponsible at first glance, then I realize that an incompetent wizard would be kicked out or explode herself before she can actually take a test.

Man, now I’ve depressed myself.

So I decided to visit Virginia, maybe wish her well and commiserate, when I bump into Ellen, who seems seems surprised that I failed. Turns out, the Manus was actually an illusion, and she just True Sighted it away! “It was an accident, actually!” she laughs. “I wanted to cast a fireball at it, but I got my incantations mixed up because I was so scared, and cast True Sight instead!”

This then led us on a spirited discussion between our spellcasting styles- while mine is more instinctive and on-the-spot, hers is like Lego, taking bits and pieces of magic and reassembling them according to her needs, so even seemingly unrelated spells like True Sight and Fireball have common elements; in Ellen’s case, ‘magic blocks’ from the Light spell help her dispel illusions (since all sight is based on light, even if the light’s magically generated) and shoot fireballs (for obvious reasons). It’s really fascinating, and we nearly hit William on our way to the infirmary.

“Hey guys,” he smiles. “Here to see V?” When he sees us nod, he shakes his head regretfully. “Sorry you two, but she needs her rest- and no arguing, V! I’m putting my foot down here!” he says to Virginia’s faint protests from the infirmary doors, before his voice drops down to a whisper. “And, uhm… can we talk about this elsewhere? Somewhere private, maybe?”

“Oh no…” I say. “Bad news?”

“Not really,” William replies as we walk back.

“Thanks, guys,” he sighs. “Okay, first off, don’t worry- V’s not dying or anything like that. It’s just that what I’m about to tell you is kind of a touchy subject with her, and I don’t want her overhearing this.”

“Hospital?” Ellen asks. “But don’t you guys have magic? I know a few Green Magic spells that could have helped a little, and I’d think that magical doctors would know a whole lot more.”

William shrugs. “I don’t know much about babies, but from what I hear, it’s not that easy. Babies are really fragile, and pumping magic into them at such a young age can be harmful. Best case scenario I’ve heard, some spells just don’t work at all because they don’t actually register babies as ‘people’. It’s not a pro-life thing, let’s get that out of the way, it just… is.”

“Never mind how things just are,” Ellen interrupts, “I want to know how someone will be- namely Virginia and whether she’s going to get better. Is there anything we can do to help?”

“Don’t worry,” William tells us, “she’ll be okay.”

“So if there’s a cold or anything like that going around,” he adds, “keep her safe, okay? And please don’t tell her I told you to do that. Or told you any of this.”

We both nod, remembering Virginia’s constant work to be more than she could ever be. I wonder if this was yet another attempt- some way of trying to face down disease, like she’d faced down Jacob and Kyo when establishing the Sports Club, or when she told us about wanting to be an athlete. Sometimes it worked, like the former, and sometimes it didn’t.

“But she’ll always have us with her, right?” Ellen says, interrupting my reverie, and I realize that I was thinking out loud.

“Damn right she will,” I say firmly, and William smiles- I have to admit, it’s easy to see why Ellen likes him.

“Thanks, you guys,” he says in relief. “And again, don’t worry about Virginia- a little Green Magic, some rest, and she’ll be a-okay. Really, it’s not that big a deal- despite what I said, she isn’t really all that delicate.”

“We noticed,” Ellen deadpans, and all three of us start laughing.

But we’re not the only ones. Come Saturday morning, I wake up early to the sound and feeling of my allowance envelope being waved in my face.

“Hee-hee!” Virginia giggles. “Consider this payback for Friday the 13th!”

“Virginia!” I squeal, throwing my arms around her. “You look great! William said you’d need a few more days of bed rest- at least, that what he said the doctor told him,” I add hastily.

“Pfft, what do they know?” Virginia scoffs. “Anyway, here’s your allowance for the week,” she says, handing over the envelope. “I’ve got detention to go to,” she scowls. “I mean, how was I supposed to know Grabby wakes up early? He gave me detention for ‘disregarding medical advice’!”

In the actual game, she’s given detention for not taking the test; I decided to change the reason to something more plausible.

“At least you know he cares,” I quip, ignoring Virginia’s stuck-out tongue. “Seriously though, it’s good to see you’re okay,” I tell her. “Listen, I don’t think Grabby’s going to be too harsh on you, so if you need me, I’ll be in the library.”

And so we progress onto the next week. You might notice a large increase in my Red Magic once we get there though; turns out I took off my Protective Gear and forgot to re-equip it

The next week, I’m taking a little extra Gym class (I’d like to stay conscious for at least one more self-inflicted explosion) when I hear someone yell behind me.


I turn around, and find myself eye-to-Hubble with Kyo.

“First off, don’t use the term ‘girls’ like we’re an entirely different species,” I say, jabbing him in the chest. “Second: I’m guessing that people who play hard to get, guy or girl, probably feels that something isn’t worth keeping if it’s not worth fighting for. If someone’s hard to get, then wouldn’t you want to keep them all the more?”

“But I won’t give up on her, even if she is easy!” Kyo laments.

“Yeah, I’d believe that,” I mutter, but by then Kyo’s way too deep in his lamentations to pay attention to me. It’s not hard to see why he’s so distraught, though. It’s the second week of February, and love is in the air.

Minnie and Ellen (as well as a press-ganged Jacob) are in charge of freshman class sales, with Valentine cards going for $5 each, which also gets you a piece of candy or a trinket (for those allergic to candy) and delivery. It’s not much, and I’ve got money to burn, so I decide to buy a few. The cards seem to be templates, which I suppose makes sense, so I decide to send a funny one to Potsdam (who doesn’t really seem all that bad, to be honest) and a romantic one to myself.


I also get a friendly Valentine for Big Steve, since he doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends around (Mr. Hoppity aside, and I don’t want to think about… him), and another for Ellen to show my appreciation, though the latter delivery would have to wait because they ran out of friendly Valentines. And finally…

It takes a bit of mental debate, but I decide to buy one final Valentine for Damien, a romantic one. It was a bit of a risk, but I get the feeling Damien’s never actually been in a serious relationship before, and in any case, I think I need to be open with my feelings- guys can be so dense, after all. Worst case scenario, it’s something we can both laugh about later on at the very least.

Had I known how much the anticipation of people receiving my Valentines would have affected my spellcasting… I would have been more careful about keeping my thoughts in check. I try to practice a simple Spark spell in class, but I see Damien walking outside, and a jolt of electricity shoots down my spine and into my fingers, translating into a large surge of electricity. I try magically Pushing an object, and for some reason I get the mental imagery of Mr. Hoppity in my head. Thankfully, the wall of force that resulted only knocked the breath out of Grabby.

Still, I decided to give him a day to cool down, which was why I found myself later on in Green Magic class.

“Now, I know that for many people,” she began. “What I’m going to talk about is a very sensitive subject. However, you’re all young adults now, not children, and it’s time we had this talk in the open.”

Wait, is this going to be about sex education?

“This is the traditional season for love,” Potsdam adds. “And we do not wish to clip your wings- well, Grabiner perhaps, but he’s a stodgy old goat,” she says to general laughter. “And despite his protests, there are no rules on love in any form.”

It is! It is about sex education! Sort of!

“As long as you and your partner or partners are enthusiastic and willing about what you’re doing,” she says, “we will not intervene. Just keep yourselves out of sight of those who would not approve- we extend this consideration to you in the hopes that you will extend it to others. And please don’t be distracted from your schoolwork. Again though, please be sure that everyone is on board, so to speak- if someone isn’t enthusiastic about what you’re about to do, please respect their wishes. If you’re not willing, then by all means, say no.”

Her face grows serious for a moment. “All that being said, however, there is one matter that does merit punishment.”

“Trusting your partner is an important part of romance,” she says, “but that is no reason to be careless yourself! If you don’t think your Green Magic is up to the task, or have any further questions, feel free to see me after class or send me a telepathic message- in the latter case, I also hope you realize just how important learning White Magic is! Don’t worry, all messages and questions will be kept private.”

The spells she taught us were a little suspect, considering her talk, but her advice was sound, and I suppose that I should have been grateful she decided to practice with those spells instead of hitting us with the hard stuff, especially since my Green Magic was among the whole freshman year’s lowest. That being said, I also decided to take a little precaution of my own.

I wake up on Friday morning to see a bunch of Valentine’s Day cards under the door. Damien’s card (to which Virginia “PFFT”s so hard, I thought her teeth would fall out) comes with a box of chocolates.

…maybe it’s not so cute after all.

There’s also a card from a not-so-secret President-admirer which I will treasure to the end of my days, and we all have a laugh at the romantic Valentine sent to Ellen in my name; apparently someone mixed up the order.

You actually get 5 Weird for sending Ellen a romantic Valentine while not being on her path. 75 Weird is more than enough for anything, but eh, mo’ points is mo’ betta.

Apart from my unintentionally hilarious Valentine, Ellen’s also received friendly Valentines from Manuel, and Raven- seems she’s been getting along with the quieter students quite well. For her part, Virginia gets cards from her brothers (though Donald’s is suitably irreverent), and one from Jacob. All in all, it’s a great day, all the more so for making us all feel appreciated.

The next day gets even better, though it didn’t seem that way when Ellen first sighted smoke outside the school. Thankfully, Virginia was there to provide an explanation. “It’s a bonfire,” she said.

“What for?” I ask, but Virginia just puts a finger to her lips.

“You’ll see,” she grins. With nothing better to do, we all head down to the mall for some window shopping (Ellen having got the day off for the celebrations), and await Sunday evening, when we’re all summoned from our dorms by figures wearing hoods and masks. A bit overwrought, but I guess magic-users like their pomp. I know I do!

One at a time, they take a wooden stick and stir up the ashes.

“As these ashes become soil,” she continues, “may our hearts become the ground upon which the future will stand.” Once she and the other seniors are done, Minnie and the other class presidents place new wood on top of the old, while Potsdam booms “Let the new year be born!” Sparks fly across the wood, and I feel and smell Red Magic in the air a moment before the sparks erupt into flame, relighting the bonfire anew. Greenpeace wouldn’t approve, but what do they know about magic?

Potsdam looks around at us. “We need an omen for the new year,” she says. “If anyone has been experiencing a recurring dream, please, share it with us!”

This command was followed by silence, except for a muffled squeak from where the Snake girls are sitting- apparently Barbara wasn’t keen on Suki sharing her dreams.

…what has she been growing with her Green Magic?

“And may the seeds of the past bear fruit in you all,” she finishes. With that, the solemnity of the whole shebang breaks, and we dance and talk until it’s time to go back to bed. I see Damien, and we exchange a little small talk, but soon move on ruefully underneath the eyes of both Virginia and William, our fuming and resigned unofficial chaperones respectively. Kyo looks alone, and I feel a little sad- looks like there’s one guy who probably doesn’t need Potsdam’s advice.

And come Monday morning, I see someone else who probably doesn’t need it either.

“Hey, wait up!” I call out to him. “Big Steve, wait!”

“Why?” he asks, as I catch up to him, panting slightly.

"I just," I begin. "I just wanted to ask if you'd like to get together sometime. Not romantically," I add quickly, seeing the look of shock and horror cross his face. "Just to sit and talk, you know? I see you around all the time, but apart from pinball and..."

I glance down at the bunny, hoping against hope that it's just my imagination that it's looking at me. "...apart from pinball," I continue, "I don't know all that much about you. Maybe we can sit down this weekend maybe? Play a few games together?"

Big Steve looks like he's about to reply, but he suddenly freezes in place for a few, very uncomfortable seconds. "I don't think you'd want to do that," he says slowly. "Yes, you have other plans this weekend."

"Big Steve...?" I say, then check myself. This is a magical school, after all. "...Mr. Hoppity?"

"We will have another opportunity to get to know each other," he goes on, my comment seemingly ignored. "But not in this life. No. Not in this life. Opportunities have been missed. Carelessness encouraged. A political officer gone too far to turn back. Should have saved earlier. Too late now. Too late."

And with that cryptic statement, he moves on, leaving me wondering what the hell went on. That said, I didn't detect any threat in its voice, just... regret? Then he says something that gives me quite a jolt.

“Besides,” Big Steve (?) adds, “he has a promise to you that he’ll fulfill this weekend.”

That said, I don't have a lot of time to consider his( its?) words, because someone else interrupts.

"Yoo-hoo!" I hear Professor Potsdam call from a nearby hallway. Giving Big Steve one last glance, I walk to the Professor. Oddly enough, I don't feel all that curious about what just happened- did... either of them master White Magic when I wasn't looking? "I received your Valentine," Professor Potsdam says as I reach her. "Very bold, very daring- very Horse!" she laughs.

"That said," she says mischievously, "catch!" I hold out my hand, and I find a little wrapped piece of maple fudge plinking into it. “Good work!” Professor Potsdam tells me. “Any magician worth his or her salt should hone their reflexes as well as their minds.” She then walks away; guess she’s not too bad, after all.

A little maple fudge wasn’t the only thing I got the grasp of that week though; I did get some after-class detention, which I spent practicing my control over magic thanks to an increasingly frazzled Grabiner. “Adaptation is all well and good, Miss Sue,” he grumbled from his improvised fortifications (by which I mean he was hiding behind his desk), “but no magic, regardless of its spontaneity, should lack discipline!”

“Maybe that’s true for you,” I say, focusing my Red Magic. “But I think the whole point of adaptation is to do things in a different way from what people say!” I add. For this little after-class session, he wanted me to start a fire on one end of a newspaper, then stop it from spreading through sheer force of will. The problem was that I couldn’t really concentrate on that, since ‘Big Steve’s words kept echoing in my head. The second problem was that I had no doubt that unless I at least stuck to the letter of the lesson, I’d miss whatever Damien was planning on account of detention.

So I decided to improvise. I encased the fire in Red Magic, true- but instead of simply holding in the Red Magic there, I decided to plonk in a little Black Magic to hold it in place, the same way I would use it to hold an enchantment. Unfortunately, this killed the fire, and I slump in dejection, resigned to a weekend of detention.

Or maybe not. Grabiner clicks his tongue, and goes to pick up the newspaper, when he suddenly stops in his tracks. I wonder what’s going on, then decide to extend my magical senses. The blackened edge of the newspaper starts glowing with shifting red designs, and it seems that Grabiner’s seen it too.

“A trapped Blast spell,” he sighs. “A little bit too much Black Magic, isn’t it? You didn’t add in a trigger, I suppose? Mostly because you didn’t even plan to make one.” He turns to me, eyes narrowed. “Miss Sue, perhaps you might want to elaborate on your recent lack of control. You will understand my distress, considering the abilities you have shown thus far.”

“Well, uhm…” I begin. “You see… it’s…”

“Miss Sue, a reason, please,” Grabiner scowls.

“It’s Valentine’s,” I blurt out. “And, and, and I have a date on this weekend,” I tell him while mentally kicking myself. There’s no way he could-

“Tch, hormones,” he grumbles. “I distinctly remember talking to you about your capabilities before the exam, yes?”

I nod firmly. “You have, sir,” I tell him. “And I also distinctly remember doing exactly as you said. True, I blew myself up, but hey- at least nobody else got hurt!”

“Only because nobody else was around,” he scowls. A moment later though, his face softens. “That being said,” he sighs, “I suppose you do have enough sense to keep others away from your shenanigans. You DO have enough sense for that, don’t you?”

“I’d like to think so, yes,” I tell him. He fixes me with another long stare then, and for the first time in the week, I begin to feel a little down- because I think I know exactly what he’s seeing. “Look, sir,” I say quietly, “I know that answer isn’t what you’re looking for-“

“To say the least.”

“-but would it have been any better if I said I was absolutely positive?” I continue. “I know my limitations, sir. I know I’m not perfect, I’ll be the first to admit that- but the thing is, I know I can always trust you and Professor Potsdam, and my friends to help me out if I screw up.”

Grabiner smirks, just a little. “Trust? Are you making a speech about the power of friendship, Miss Sue?” he asks.

“And why not?” I shrug. “I mean, if you wanted to, you can turn me in to the magic police or FBI or whatever, and I’ll do my best to escape and whatever. Or we could work together and make sure I don’t blow myself up again.”

“The problem is, Miss Sue,” he replies, “is that with your talents, it is exceedingly hard for me to do just that. You display far more power as a first-year than most students do when they leave Iris, for God’s sake- and in some cases, more than most actual, certified magicians! What am I to do with that?”

He leans back in his seat as I fail to respond- because honestly, I kind of think he’s got a point. Which is why his response surprises me. “A deal, then, one that relies on trust- I don’t think I can stop you from engaging in too many extracurricular activities if you put your mind to it, but it would assure me if you would study with Minnie more often on following weekends. Can I trust you to do that, at least?”

“Yes, sir,” I say firmly, and he nods his head.

“Enjoy your weekend then, Miss Sue.”

I step out of class then, and allow myself a little smile of my own. True, it seems things are about to get a little more difficult in the days to come, but those days can wait. For the rest of the week, I’ll just tone down the magic and relax, get myself ready for whatever Damien has planned that weekend.

Speaking of the handsome devil, I find him leaving the Horse Hall dorms. “Oh, hi Damien!” I call out.

“Sorry, I forgot about Grabiner’s little extra training session,” he says ruefully. “It wasn’t too hard, was it?”

“Not really,” I shrug, unwilling to burden him. “Just a little practice controlling myself; I think he’s still a little sore about Monday.”

“Yes, I heard!” he laughs. “A full-blown lightning spell! I didn’t know you had it in you, Mary!”

“What can I say? I’m full of surprises,” I say. “Oh damn, now you have me spouting clichés too. Speaking of which, I hope my Valentine wasn’t too bad; I wanted to get you a card of my own, but what with school and everyone I wanted to send a Valentine to, it was the best I could manage. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to wrangle a box of chocolates, that’s for sure.”

“It was wonderful, Mary, don’t worry,” he assures me. “And about the chocolates, don’t worry- those were meant for Angela.”

I clasp my hands to my mouth, more to hold in uproarious laughter than in shock- I mean, who’d send chocolates to Angela of all people? “Stolen stuff, eh?” I say. “Guess that’s why they tasted so good then!” We then have a short, leisurely walk across the school gardens then, making small talk all the while. I keep thinking about what Big Steve said, but if Damien wants to surprise me, the last thing I want to do is spoil the fun by telling him a stuffed bunny(?) told me. “What was that you said?” I ask Damien at one point. “Didn’t quite catch that.”

“Just asking about your plans for the future,” he tells me.

“What about you? Ever think of giving up the magical life?” I ask mischievously, before I screw my face up and mentally kick myself. “Sorry, that was insensitive.”

“No, it’s all right. I never really thought of it, actually. I mean, it would take more than simple magic to un-blue my skin, for example. I guess that, after I found out about what I was, I never actually thought I had the option of turning away. I am who and what I am.”

“I’m not exactly the kind of guy to hide himself away, as I’m sure you noticed,” he says, and I have to stifle a giggle. “But that’s what I’d have to do if I turned away from Iris and the magical community,” he adds, before turning his face away from me. “Tell the truth,” he says quietly. “I’m not sure whether I want to stay here, in this world, at all.”

“So… you’re leaving after graduation?” I ask, my voice equally quiet.”

“Ha! I don’t know either,” he says. “I don’t know what else there is, or where I come from, who my birth parents are- and honestly? I’m not sure I want to know. Gah, I’m sorry I brought this up.”

“It’s all right, really, I assure him, but Damien’s not having any of it.

“No, no, it’s going to be Valentine’s Day soon, and you’ve still got two more years to go,” he tells me.

We turn our talk to lighter things, and say our goodbyes when it turns out we nearly wandered into Falcon Hall during our little chitchat. Even as we part though, I can’t help but mull over the fact that Damien looked a little distant after our talk about the future. I can’t blame him- he’s a senior in his second semester, and he doesn’t have much time left. He doesn’t have a place anywhere, and I think he’s suspicious that his parents wouldn’t want him either, else why leave him with a human family? Part of me hopes that his plans somehow include me, but I know that’s dumb. A lot can change in one or two years- heck, a lot of things can change on one or two days, weeks or months, never mind years.

I guess all I can do is wait and see.

Mind you, I’m not too keen on either that Friday, as all the students are asked to assemble in the gym after classes.

My ears perk up at this. I wonder if I’ve been nominated for anything- or even selected! Okay, yeah, Grabiner doesn’t really approve of my abilities, but a little trophy for being ‘Most Magically Inclined’ or something wouldn’t hurt!

“A life well-lived,” she says, “is its own reward!”

Yeah yeah whatever get to the trophies already

“Let us start with your senior classes,” Potsdam says, and I grit my teeth in frustration.

She reads off a list of names- William and Isobel are among them, but Damien is not. I’m not surprised, actually- don’t get me wrong, I like the guy, but part of what makes his bad boy act work is that, well, some of it’s not really acting. Thankfully, those are the bits I don’t actually mind.

“And finally,” Potsdam says, “we grant recognition to one more student who deserves special recognition for her hard work and creative thinking in proposing a new theory behind the Icarus Effect: Angela Kirsch!”

Especially whether or not it has as much to do with rocket launchers and sniper rifles as my own.

“Each one of you has a calling in life,” Potsdam went on. “You set your own goals and strive to achieve them. Let those goals be yours, and yours alone, for what is easy for some might not be for others. Never seek to crush someone else’s dream, for then you can be sure you’re not working towards your own.”

Yeah, but what if crushing dreams is your goal? What then? I certainly wouldn’t mind getting stompy with Angela- assuming Ellen lets me cut in line.

Crushing dreams would have to wait, though- my perfect weekend began when we walked into class that Friday- or at least, tried to.

We wait around for a bit, thinking it’s a prank, but when Grabby doesn’t turn up after a few minutes, we decide it’s for real, and a loud cheer erupts in the hall. I suppose I could have sat in another magic class, but I needed a bit of a break- after all, I only need to really get down and study on the weekends. Yay for loopholes!

But it gets better. Oh boy, does it ever. Because as I’m walking down the hall to my room, I feel someone place a pair of hands behind my eyes. “Guess who?”

“Oh, oh, I know!” I squeal in (mostly) mock excitement. “Donald, right? William? Oh wait, I know- Angelaaaa~!”

There is a short silence, and then my ‘mysterious’ assailant speaks up. “I actually wouldn’t really mind that last bit.”

I snigger. “Geez, Damien, you are such a guy.”

“Really? Damn,” he says, taking his hands off my eyes. “Never noticed that; guess the blue skin and wings really got all my attention,” he laughs. “So, Grabiner’s off duty today, which means that this little surprise of mine won’t have to wait for the weekend- assuming you don’t have any plans for the afternoon?”

“I don’t,” I begin. “Why?”

He grins and holds up a picnic basket. “Because I promised you a romantic date, remember? Now,” he suddenly says in a breathy, dramatic voice, “take my hand, and I’ll take you away.”

Well, two can play at this game. “Oh, Damien, my Damien!” I say in my best ‘dramatic heaving bosoms’ voice, and it’s a good ten minutes before we go anywhere, thanks to my having to wait for him to stop laughing. When I do finally take his hand, I feel a jolt of energy, and the world shimmers around us. I can’t describe what happens next, exactly- it’s like an extra layer of reality is painted over the one we were just occupying.

“…wait,” I say, as I gather my senses. “Is this- this is the beach where we had the post-Initiation party, isn’t it?”

“That’s right!” Damien laughs. “Had to brush up on my Blue Magic and teleportation phemes to get us here, but it was well worth a little study, wasn’t it? Told you I’d make it special!”

I turn back around to him. “You sure we’re allowed off-campus like this?”

“Not really no,” he shrugs. “But hey, it’s Valentine’s Day, Grabiner’s off-duty, and I can wrangle a permission slip from Potsdam if I have to. Oh wait- what’s this?” he says with the air of a magician as he pulls out a piece of paper. “Why, it appears to be one of those selfsame permission slips! How ever did this get here?”

“I’m surprised she let you have this,” I say, taking the slip from his hand looking it over.

“Potsdam’s a romantic,” he says. “Thank goodness for us, eh?”

“Thank goodness indeed,” I smile. “But why the beach, though? Not that I’m complaining!”

Dammit, am I blushing? I am, aren’t I? Yes, yes I am.

“Right,” Damien says, looking in the basket. “I’ve got a blanket in here, in case you just want to lie down and relax-“

“Yeah, um,” I say, waffling about slightly. “About that…”

And here we see the picture that scared at least one guy early in the LP

“I’m sorry,” I say bashfully. “I don’t mean to disappoint you.”

“Silly girl,” Damien laughs. “Is that all you think guys are interested in?” he says, before his face softens. “Don’t get me wrong, I am usually the kind of guy who wouldn’t say no to the offer- but, well…”

Wow, he looks nice when he blushes. “I don’t just want to do that with you, you know?” he goes on. “I actually want to be romantic with you- you know, things like candlelight dinners, walks along moonlit streets, that kind of thing.”

“You don’t have to be afraid,” he says, standing up and brushing aside a stray hair on my face. “I will not do anything without your permission. I wouldn’t want to, and I’d like to think I was better than that. Th-that said…” he stammers, “there is something I’d like to do with you, here, where nobody is watching.”

“And that is…?” I ask, flocks of Lepidoptera Nervosa and Lepidoptera Concitatia fluttering about in my stomach.

As far as I was concerned, there was only one way I could answer that.

No choices for this one, sorry- I think these two can have themselves a short moment of peace. That said, for those of you wishing for a more bawdy experience, don’t worry- Coming up next, Loren: The Amazon Princess, where Elenor will be dual-classing Thief/Comedian for the next update!