Part 29: DramaChapter 23: Drama
Two things, Kyo, I hissed at him. First off, I cant see why Minnie would want to ever get away from a green-eyed monster of a charmer like yourself, I sneer. But hey, thats your relationship, your problem- and boy howdy, is it a doozy of a problem.
Listen here, Mary, Kyo starts. Butt out of this- its none of your business!
Right, I say. Because looking out for someone else is totally something that happens to other people, right?
Shes my girlfriend, not yours! he snarls. Now butt out before-
Well, thats shut him up. But only for a moment.
I love how smug Kyo looks in this screenshot.
And then he walks off, leaving me open-mouthed and indignant, that- that jerk! And that look in his eyes when I talked to him about Minnie, combined with my suspicions yeah, I think this could get messy real quickly. I need to tell an adult, but finding a free professor on a Friday evening is proving more difficult than I thought, and I end up wandering the school for an hour before I bump into Professor Potsdam.
What is it, dear? she asks when I flag her down. I explain the situation between Minnie and Kyo, as well as tell her my thoughts about the fire.
Oh, my dear, Potsdam smiles. I really dont think its our place to interfere.
But Minnie might be in trouble! I protest.
Is she hurt? Potsdam asks. Did she ask for your help?
Well, no and no, I admit, but-
I know you may be worried about your friend, Potsdam laughs, but you may be reading too much into this. These things have a way of sorting themselves out, you know.
Yeah, they do, I say flatly. It can be a real soul-wrenching experience if things go wrong, though.
Well, that shut her up. Mary, Potsdam says after a while. I know what happened to you was a terrible thing, but you cannot keep on seeing Damien behind every bad thing around you. I know I sound like an old fuddy-duddy when I say this, but I think youre mature enough to accept that sometimes, young people will be- well, young. I know Kyo, and while he can be emotional, he is never outright malicious.
He doesnt have to be Damien to do terrible things, Professor! I say. And just because what might happen to Minnie wont be as bad as what happened to me, doesnt make it all right!
But that still doesnt give us the right to interfere, Potsdam counters. Sometimes, harsh lessons need to be learned. Of course we should step in if someone we care about would be seriously hurt, but in most cases, some lessons are better experienced than taught.
I understand, I say after a while. I I guess I overreacted.
There, there, she says, grinning sunnily again. Its all right- you were concerned for a friend, thats a perfectly understandable response. Now go on and enjoy your weekend!
Oh, I will. And I understand too. Some lessons should be experienced, after all.
Well, two can play at that game. Of course Im not going to go for anything physically dangerous- what I want is a way to make Kyo confess his crimes in public. It might be a little tricky, so I take time to craft my own request to the Rose and Wasp. And with that done, I go off to enjoy the rest of my weekend.
Well, the daytime hours anyway. Night was kind of a weird sequel.
Mary? she asks.
Yes, Ellen? I reply, rubbing my eyes, but as soon as my hands are off, a bright flash blinds me as a crack of thunder makes my eardrums rattle. What the heck was that?! I protest, falling off the bed.
Come on, wakey-wakey! Virginia laughs, pulling me up. Its okay, Ellen, she tells our roommate. Ive got this, you go tell the others.
Whats going on? I ask plaintively again as Ellen hurries off. Did I miss something?
No, but youre gonna! Virginia chirps. Where does she get all this energy? Come on, theres a dance on!
Ahuhbuhwha? is all the eloquence I can muster. Lets try that again. A dance? But why?
Because theres a big thunderstorm, silly! she says, like its the most natural thing in the world. We have to make as much noise as possible! Its fun!
She does have a point, but Does it have to be in the middle of the night? I mutter, because its obvious that shes enjoying this a lot more than I am, and I cant bear to bring her down. She brings me to a packed gym, and like she said, everyones causing a ruckus. Some people are stomping on the ground, other well-prepared people are shaking metal pencil boxes, while others are doing their best Pavarotti impersonations.
And then, theres fire dancing.
I wish Hanako had more money to pay her artists- this would have been amazing to see.
I spot William among the dancers. Its not hard- hes the only one there keeping multiple streams of fire twirling around his limbs. I have to admit, its spectacular, in both raw power and artistic control- Id pity anyone who got into a fight with him.
But for the rest of us, its just stomping around and howling until we collapse from exhaustion and go back to our beds. Best part of the night, and waking up, the next day is nice and bright, with that cool feeling in the air that you always get after a harsh rainstorm.
The first sign I got that my plans might have worked is when Virginia rushes into the room on Sunday morning. Guys! Guys! Youve got to see this! No questions! You really really really need to see this!
Me and Ellen look at each other, shrug, and follow Virginia out of the room, where we see a crowd of girls around the bathroom. Whatever it is, its hilarious, judging by the giggling and outright laughter coming from the crowd.
Susan said theyre all over the school! Virginia adds in an awed tone. Im not quite so wowed, however. I never wanted this! Dammit, when I said I wanted to expose Kyo, this is so not what I meant!
Call the professors, I say, patting Virginia and Ellen on the shoulders to get their attentions.
Why? Ellen asks.
I turn to her. Because theres going to be a fight.
Oh no, I say. I begin to run through my magical repertoire in my head, while in the distance, Kyo is waving his arms and yelling. Jacobs trying to look aloof, but if anything, its only making things worse. I cant hear exactly what theyre saying, but I dont think I needed to. I go back to trying to figure out a spell that could break them apart, yet not hurt a-
Suddenly, there is a scream.
Im leaving this in because of how -inducingly brutal this game can be when it wants to.
Now I act on pure instinct- I Teleport myself between the two and immediately duck as Kyos next spell passes over my head into the remnants of my spell. Where I was standing, a bush erupts into flames. What the hell are you doing, Mary?! Kyo snarls.
What the hell are you doing?! I counter. Youre going to kill him! I add, as Jacob staggers to his feet with some whispered thanks to me. What is wrong with you?!
Oh great, youre sleeping with him too?! Kyo growls, Red Magic curling around his hands, though by some small mercy it destabilizes almost as quickly as it gathers- apparently the thought of Jacob qualifying for backup is making him too angry to focus properly. Still, I dont know Kyo well enough to guess at his own casting style, so I ready a Teleport Other spell anyway. It also occurs to me I shouldve done that first, but wishes, horses, beggars would ride etc.
Excuse me?! I reply indignantly. Im just trying to stop you from getting into more trouble! Jacobs bleeding, you ass! And if you do any worse to him, the teachersll-
Screw the teachers! Kyo yells. I dont care! This bastard steals my girl, and now hes humiliating me in front of the whole school! As far as hes concerned, I will-
The air twists and snaps, our half-formed spells dissipating on our fingertips, and I see a furious Professor Potsdam advancing towards us, Ellen and Virginia in tow.
He posted obscene pictures of me around the school! Kyo says.
I had nothing to do with it! Jacob yells back.
Shut up, you backstabbing girlfriend-stealing worm! Kyo snarls.
That is enough, the both of you! Professor Potsdam says again, before turning to me. And what do you have to do with this, Miss Sue?
I- I just tried to stop the fight, thats all! I say, unnerved by the sight of an angry Potsdam.
Nothing else? Potsdam asks, when Jacob raises a hand.
Nothing else, Professor, he says, wincing as he wipes at the wounds on his face with a handkerchief. She saw us fighting and just teleported in between us- hell, I think she saved my life.
Not that you deserve it! Kyo responds, but another look from Professor Potsdam silences them, before turning back to me.
And you did not have anything else to do with this matter, Miss Sue? she asks.
I just tried to stop the fight, thats all, I say. Well, its technically true. I never asked for Kyos photos to be spread all over the school, after all. That was all the Rose and Wasp- and any weaselly lawyer would be able to argue that Potsdams being very general when she refers to this matter. I also decide to lay it on a bit thick. I hate myself for doing it, but I didnt want anyone else getting hurt, thats all.
Great, now Potsdam is looking at me understandingly. Now I loathe myself. I see, she says softly. Im sorry for suspecting you, dear. As for the two of you, however, she says sternly to Kyo and Jacob. You will both come with me, and well get to the bottom of this!
As she walks off with the two boys in tow, and Virginia and Ellen compliment me on how brave I was, all I can think of is how badly Im screwing this year up, not just for myself, but seemingly for everyone around me.
But now everythings gone to hell. And it really is my fault, no way I can weaselly lawyer my way out of that.
Which is why I maintain I was confused the next Monday, when I attended Green Magic class, and experienced one hell of a mood whiplash.
Most of you, she began, identify as a boy or girl, and that identity might be very important to you, even if your own physical traits might not necessarily match.
Wait, is this going to be about sex education?
Man, what did she talk to Jacob and Kyo about?
All of which can be difficult for the English language to cope with, she sighs. Furthermore, many living beings will take offense to being referred to as it- some do not, but you shouldnt take chances. It is both wise and polite to ask those you meet how they prefer to be addressed. Surprisingly, its much easier with we humans, as with only two genders, many otherworldly races take an indulgent view of our own confusions with their genders.
She claps her hands together. So! In order to make things easier, the magical community has their own special pronouns to use when gender is unknown or other. Repeat after me:
I love these moments of worldbuilding, as well as the apparent general cosmopolitan nature of the magical community. Also, I know it kind of breaks the mood of the previous section, but thats mostly my own damned fault. You get this once your Green Magics above 5, and Im choosing to improve that late. My bad!
I mutter the strange syllables along with the other students. It does sound a bit strange, but I suppose I might have need of it in the future. Professor Potsdam laughs at our apparent confusion, and continues, Heres a simple way to remember: Someone with enough magic can say whatever e wants!
The rest of the week passes by peacefully, though Kyo, Minnie and Jacob are all avoiding each other, none of them even bothering to hide it. Kyo doesnt seem to want to avoid me though- it seems he understands what I was trying to do and wont hold it against me unlike the people who actually wronged him. I cant say Im totally relieved, nor can I say Im confident more doors wont have fires set to them, but its a start right?
That said, I dont know whether or not Id have liked another fire compared to the news I got the next week.
Hear what? Ellen asks from behind her book, while I practice some basic Green Magic on a small potted plant.
okay, I can do this, Virginia says, taking a deep breath. Theres a rumour that Damiens been back in town.
Dammit, plants shouldnt be that shade of whatever that colour is! What?! I exclaim. But- but he was supposed to have been gone forever!
Well, he cant get back on campus, obviously, Virginia says, massaging my shoulders comfortingly. But he could be out there somewhere, she adds delicately.
Maybe Mary shouldnt go out on Saturdays, then, Ellen ventures, as my pulse races. I mean, if hes lurking out there somewhere, it could be dangerous to go out to the mall.
I hope he does! Virginia says savagely. We could kick his ass then!
No arguments there, I say quietly, and my two roomies turn to look at me approvingly, Ellens being slightly more subtle than Virginias devil-may-care grin. I have to admit, I do wonder how Damien would do in a fair fight, I add, to which Virginia claps. And even if I didnt, no way Im staying inside just because he might be out there- hes tried to control my life once, Im not doing his job for him.
Besides, I think to myself as Virginia and Ellen whoop in approval (seriously it surprised the rest of us), its just a rumour. Maybe some poor blue-skinned kid got mistaken for Damien. It could happen. I hope it did.
That Saturday dashed my hopes though. In addition to our allowances, theres another letter to me. No return address, but thats relatively common if the letters from a students parents. Some quirk in the memory-altering magic comes out as not remembering to put a return address. At first, I think its about the measurements for a new dress they said they wanted to get me, and I tell Virginia as much. My roomie being who she is, immediately loses interest and heads off to the mall.
But when I open the letter, my heart skips a beat.
Damien Ramsey posted:
Mary, you have every reason to despise me. I know I do. Ive had to live like this and I cant stand myself. I have failed at everything, more than you know. I couldnt kill you.
Dont believe for a moment that I am innocent, because I am not. I wanted you dead. I should have killed you. Everything I said about dying was a lie, but youve poisoned me inside all the same.
I have to see you. I need to talk to you. Please. Im going mad. Ive tried to reach the school, but the wards are too strong. I must see you. You have to come to me, I beg you.
I will be waiting for you in the forest beyond the school gate. You can reach them on foot. Mary, I swear upon earth and ancestor and spirit that no harm would come to you if you come to me tomorrow.
-Yours in agony, Damien
Well, that last bit if anything has convinced me its the real thing. I have to admit, part of me wants to crumple the paper up and throw it away- after all, who the hell does he think he is, writing to me like that?
But that part is drowned out by the rest of me- I do want to meet him. I am owed a fair fight, dammit! And hes sworn a solemn oath to me, one that he cant break without losing his magic. What he tried to do before, he did only because he had my consent- I will not give that back to him. I also take note of his vow- that no harm would come to me tomorrow, which leaves the rest of the year to be open season on Mary Sues. I also take note that it doesnt say I cant harm him.
But most of all if I dont go tomorrow, Im not sure Ill never know the truth. Hell, Im not sure I will even if I do go- Damiens not exactly a paragon of honesty, as he himself has proven.
There is actually a decision point here, and I did plan to give you guys the chance to vote. Its just that when I did test LP the rest of the game, it was- well, spoiler alert, it was boring. Oh sure, there were events and stuff, but it lacked extra content which I knew to be there.
So I made the executive decision to continue on the Damien path, but which Damien path, Ill put up for a vote. Hell, Im going to myself that I will not railroad this LP after this update, as Im fairly sure well be set for lots of content from now on. Again, my apologies.
The next day, I get up, having been unable to sleep a wink all night. Thank goodness my roomies are still asleep, even Ellen. I have a bath to freshen up, then go through the rest of my Sunday morning routine as usual, wait until everyone else is occupied with their own thing and I sneak out.
I pick my way through bushes and grass, but despite the warm sun, I feel fears cold grasp on my skin. All I really have to go on is the oath on the letter, and I suddenly realize that he might have a way out of that too. I have my magic, but all Im good at is Red and Blue Magic- who knows what kind of magical arsenal Damiens had time to build?
Which is why I almost fried Damien when he emerged from the trees. To be honest, Im not sure if it would have been doing us both a favour.
Darn it, Hanako, you couldve splashed for an altered sprite or two. MY IMMERSION
His hair is also now thin and lank, unlike his previous glorious mane. And hes somehow grown even thinner.
Mary ? he asks, as if speaking for the first time in a long while. Still, I know how laying it on a bit thick looks like, I just did it the other day.
Dont tell me, I say, curling up Blue and Red Magic on my hands as subtly as I could. You rolled around in the mud before meeting me so youd look more pathetic.
I Ive been waiting for you, he says.
Yeah, Ill bet, I sneer. Thats close enough, by the way. Couldnt you have waited somewhere more comfortable?
I cant be around people right now, he replies, shaking his head. I I needed to see you.
Well, youve seen me. Now what? I ask, but he doesnt reply. Answer me, Damien! Good God, what is wrong with you?! Who do you think you are?! You tried to kill me!
I beg your pardon? I ask incredulously.
I mean I meant to, he admits sadly. I couldnt. I couldnt go through with it.
Thats bull, I snarl. The only reason Im not dead is because Professor Potsdam stopped you.
That dotty old fool had nothing to do with it! Damien protests hotly, some remnant of who he was rising back to the surface.
He looks at me with savage hate, pointing at me accusingly. Every drop of your magic could have been mine. Should have been mine! Except
His face falls, and he looks even more broken than he did when I first met him. Except that you would have been gone, he says quietly. You would have been gone. And I couldnt let that happen.
And you expect me to believe that? I ask.
Yes! he says hotly. Because its true!
That would be a first, I snort. Everything else was a lie, why stop now?
He shakes his head. Dont you know? The best lies always have their basis in truth, he says, then sighs.
But every story I ever told you had an ounce of truth in it, he goes on.
Your unhappy childhood? The whole school being against you? I ask disbelievingly.
You should know the truth about that second one; the whole school does- did- hate me, he replied. Its only the reasons I lied about- well, downplayed. As for my childhood, I was a changeling child, in a sense. I was raised by humans, but brainwashed ones- cultists programmed to serve me.
Seriously? I ask.
He nods. A demon child, the product of a generations-long plan to be resistant to the reality you inhabit, and then raised in your world to build up my immunity even further. Not that I knew until I was older, he says.
But the more time I spent with you to tie you to me, the more I became tied to you. I became fond of your company, he says, disbelief in his own voice.
Isnt that romantic, I say, the sneer returning to my face. Evil demon assassin falls in love with his target. You should sell that script to Hollywood- I think youd do great there.
But Damien doesnt even seem to register the jab. Love? Is that what it is? he asks, bewildered. I dont know.
I look at him for a moment. I I saw you. You punched the floor.
He smiles sadly. Yes I did. Couldnt resist being overdramatic even then- wait, how did you see that? he asks. You were unconscious.
Scryed the gym, I shrug. Saw the echoes.
He nods. Yes, I- I suppose I was putting out a lot of emotion. And why not? I couldnt bear what I was doing! I couldnt go on! So I did what I had to and stopped the flow, blocked the ritual.
He leans his back onto a tree, his hands on his face. At first, I think hes weeping, but I focus a bit and I realize hes not crying- hes clawing at his face. My my entire life. Everything that Ive been and could have been! he snarls, taking his hands off his face and staring at me with savage hate. Everything my daemonic gens have worked for, what my parent slaves sacrificed themselves for! You made me throw it all away! This is all your fault!
I step back, not even bothering to hide my readied magic now, oath or no oath. Oh, Im soooo sorry for not dying, Damien!
Shut up! Damien says, seemingly not paying attention to my magic.
Dont you see what youve done?! he screeches. Youve taken it all away! The slaves are gone! My armies, gone! My kingdom, gone! I have been living in the woods because I have had nothing else and its all because of you! he shrieks. I have spent these past days half mad- sometimes I want you to be mine, sometimes I want you dead, and sometimes I cant even tell the fucking difference!
He collapses onto his knees, sobbing. The only thing that kept me going the only thought I had to hold onto was that maybe, just maybe you felt the same way. He looks up at me, trembling slightly. I love you, and I hate you, and I cannot bear to live without you.
Unleash all the magic you want at me, he says, quietly. If you truly hate me, then youd be doing us both a favour.
Well, he did say I could- but more than my hate for what he did to me, more than how much I want to keep loving him for the man I desperately hope he was and has become, is my burning curiosity for the truth.
And so I dissipate my Red and Blue Magic, and weave some White Magic instead. I cast Empathy, weaving it with some Blue Magic to help us get past any defenses, but it seems I neednt have bothered, for all I find inside Damien is pain stretched too tightly, fraying at the edges, and ready to explode.
It isnt an act, Damien really is broken, and the parts of me that hate and love him are somehow both satisfied. Youre serious, arent you? I ask, shocked.
Am I? Damien asks quietly. I dont know. Does it make a difference? I dont know either.
He shakes his head and looks back up at me. Please, Mary. I dont know what to do.
Well, I say. You could tell me youll turn over a new leaf and fight for good from now on?
He shakes his head again, but a little more vigorously this time. That wouldnt even be a good lie, he smiles wanly.
So what do you want from me? I ask.
To know that you still have feelings for me? he says desperately. To know Im not alone?
I I begin. Its not that simple, Damien!
I understand, Mary, Damien says. I never expected you to forgive me. But knowing youll still talk to me thats enough. He wipes the tears from his eyes, and looks at me with what I seems to be sincere gratefulness. Thank you, Mary.
I sigh and cross my arms. Youre a mess, arent you, Damien.
He gives a short, soft laugh. I do suppose I need a bath, among other things, yes.
I nod. Look, Damien I- I should go.
Ill write to you again, he says, getting up and backing away.
I cant guarantee Ill answer, I warn him, and he nods.
Im not really expecting you to, he says. Be well, Mary.
Goodbye, Damien, I say, and we both go our separate ways. Its not only until Im safely in school grounds that I let myself sit down and catch my breath.
Again, I do apologize for the lack of choice in this update when there really should have been, but come on! Did you see all that melodrama?! This shit is what I read VNs for! I could not, in good conscience, deprive you guys of the chance to read all that because God-daaaamn, I fucking love melodrama. I hope you guys had as much fun reading that as I did! Again though, no more railroading, swear to God. We WILL get back on the choice train as soon as we can!