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The Adventures of Loreane Part 2

Well, this has been forever, I wouldn't have thought I'd actually get back to it. I don't remember everything I planned to do with this and had to reread the first part actually so this is probably very different than it would have been had I gotten to writing it right away.

***

Trent, one of the old and scarred higher supervisors of the Grand Vault Library had quite the dilemma on his hands. One of his underlings had undergone a physical transformation and in their panic made a run for it. It wasn't unusual in the library's absurdly long history, but it wasn't all that common for the person to actually get clear of the walls. Loreane's clothes had been found here and there about the place, torn to shreds. At first he thought that maybe something had crawled out of the lower depths and gotten her, but a quick investigation showed that wasn't the case.
Right now he and a few other workers of the library were reviewing a crystal ball, replaying the events spied by one of the Watching Gems installed in the ceiling. There was some clearing of throats as they got to the part where the tall and absurdly curvy dark mage pushed herself on Loreane and the elf onto her own desk.
"We should...ah...speed through this..."
"Leave it," Trent grunted and everyone looked at him with some disgust. Let them think what they want, he wasn't really perving, he was just delaying the response as long as he could. Well, not entirely perving...
After she chased off the beautiful mage Loreane collapsed to her desk and reached over to her tea set. She missed the cup she had and accidentally grabbed a potion bottle of sickly green. Then she downed it. It was a clear accident, and the start of her growing transformation clearly scared the young woman. He thought a situation like this really deserved some leniency, maybe there was a way to reverse the potion, they couldn't be sure without some study.
"Paragraph four of section three," the spindly little ancient janitor behind him said.
"I don't have that code memorized, but I assume that's the section on using any transformative item or potion taken into the library's custody right? The one that says it's punishable by death?"
"Only death."
Trent scowled, fortunately his twisted, marred face made it hard to tell as he thought things over. He could not do anything like call off the hunt on this sort of thing. Administrators that deviated too much from the library's rules, the origins of which were strangely a complete mystery, had a really bad tendency to suffer fates worse than death. He liked Loreane and appreciated that she did very good work, but he just couldn't bring himself to face that for her. He couldn't even really throw any major wrenches into the operation. He would have to send someone out to track Loreane down, but he could undermine them just a little. The snooping dark mages and threat of missing artifacts would be enough of an excuse to short the search team a little manpower and the library never had very much to begin with. The turnover rate was unmatched. He couldn't outright save Loreane, but he might be able to give her a slight chance.

***

In her haste to gather a few items that might increase her odds of survival and flee the library Loreane had left a secret passage open. Throughout the hallway the shadows shifted unnaturally. Only a little at first, bending a little or casting in a slightly wrong direction. Then they started to elongate and grow in size, eventually converging on one point. Detaching from the items that cast them the shadows swirled about in a circle with flickers of purple until they congregated into a new shape, one of an extremely tall and exceedingly voluptuous woman. The shadowy, unsteady image of a woman walked down the hall and little points of purple light stood in for her eyes that shifted around as if to scan the hall.
Trinkets and scrolls she had not seen in any of her trips to the library in the flesh greeted Estella through the dim tunnel-vision her spell granted her shadow avatar. She had left a little rune of magic on the back of the elf's shirt just before the little librarian had so rudely refused her advances. Saying 'no' was one thing, but drawing an anti-magic knife was a bit much. She had expected for her shadow self to appear right behind that librarian elf, but they were nowhere to be seen. There were a few shreds of what might have been her clothes. Perhaps she'd had an unfortunate encounter with that explosive spell sitting on her desk? Estella's magical senses were strong enough that she could generally tell the purpose of a particular potion just by being in its general vicinity. The fate of the little bookworm wasn't a concern though and Estella started directing her shadowy projection to look for something a little more interesting in this hidden hallway. She had just caught sight of a display filled with all manner of seemingly unsorted things when suddenly a janitor turned the corner.
They had been moping the floor or whatever it is people of such a position do when they turned the corner. It looked like they spotted her shadowy projection, but this person didn't so much as flinch or blink in surprise. Estella felt some disbelief as she saw them sigh, turn to their cart and start going through their vials, bottles and bags. Estella started to direct her shadow projection past them to investigate the display when the janitor turned around with a bag and blew some sort of dust at her.

"AUGH!" Estella was suddenly entirely back in her own body feeling like she'd just been struck by a charging armored horse.
"VISITORS, I AM REQUIRED TO INFORM YOU THAT ON ACCOUNT OF BREAKING THE RULES YOU ARE NOW ASKED TO VACATE THE PREMISES" the voice of the Library's spirit guardian boomed over the courtyard, then it continued only somewhat more quietly, "Also your cards are suspended for one month's time. Do not attempt to enter until the time has passed."
Estella and Saroth had retreated to the library's courtyard while whatever ruckus went on so they had a good view of the outer gate lighting up in supernatural fire and an enormous eye appearing above it.
"What? Come on! A MONTH?" Estella shouted up at the big round eye of blue fire.
"Them's the rules. Now vacate or be escorted from the premises by gargoyle."
“Do you know who I am?!” Estella was overcome with indignant rage, “You can not throw me out of your establishment with common gargoyles.”
“Come now Estella, there's no need to make a scene,” Saroth grabbed her upper arm and tried to pull her towards the exit.
Estella was pulled along for a few steps, her pointy, tall heels making it hard to get a good foothold, but when she pulled it off she wrenched free with a couple twists and started to march towards the image representing the guardian spirit. There were a pair of gargoyles gliding down from the upper ramparts of the library and starting to converge on the black mages. Estella summoned her dark magic power and formed a spear in her right hand. As one tried to drop down on her from above she raised her left hand straight up and unleashed a blast of power that took the stone creature entirely apart and left a rain of loose gravel around her. She turned with her spear and impaled it through the head of the other one which had been coming at her side from the ground. It surged forward, trying to use something close to a ton of stony weight to press forward and it started to move down Estella's magic spear. She dispersed the spell with violent power and the gargoyle exploded from the inside out.
“TWO MONTHS! You have only one more warning!”
Estella started to gather the power for a major attack spell to herself, but the strange spirit guarding the library must have sensed it.
“Oh twice in one day. I haven't had this kind of excitement in eons.”
The eye vanished and a giant red light replaced it and shot out at Estella. She sensed some danger in the attack and shifted her attack spell to a defensive one. The red bolt hit her black and violet protective dome and everything around her exploded. A half dozen trees including a truly expansive, proud old oak lay uprooted and on fire and she was in the center of a sixty foot crater, save for the fact that the ground about four feet around her in each direction was unharmed. It was certainly a respectable blow, but her defenses had held.
“FINAL WARNING!”
Estella was about to consider whether she wanted to keep fighting or not when Saroth's arms came around her midsection and arms and clamped down as he hefted her up and started leaving. Suddenly her mind was made up and she kicked and thrashed to get free.
“I CAN TAKE IT! LET ME GO! PUT ME DOWN THIS INSTANT!”
“I am really sorry about this. She really should know how to behave better. We'll be going now.”
“A reminder: Your suspension period is now three months. Any violations, which include appearing on the property will result in permanent expulsion. Oh, and I should tell you we make sure there isn't a chance for you to violate a permanent expulsion.”
“I understand, thanks for the explanation. Come along dear, let's not make any more of a scene,” he started walking as quickly as he could, Estella hadn't made coherent sense for a while, simply throwing out most of the curses and swear words she knew in a steady stream. Fortunately without her hands free to make the right motions it was most likely that most of them wouldn't actually be taking effect.
The doors opened automatically for them as he struggled to carry the violent black mage along. Even at 6'1” Estella was actually vastly stronger than nearly anyone would assume of her, so keeping her under control took literally superhuman strength, but yet he felt she wasn't actually fighting quite as hard as she could have. The doors slammed shut behind them with a very loud thud followed by the sound of obviously heavy locking mechanisms. He let her go and wasn't surprised when she whirled around and slapped him, though there was still a brief flash of stars.
“How dare you manhandle me like that! I hope you don't think you're getting anything from me for the next couple months at least!”
“Frankly Estella, I welcome the break. It's literally not possible for a male to keep up with your...preferences. I can't imagine you going all that long even.”
“That's a condition... I'd have it treated if I could stand the touch of light magic...” she huffed with agitation.
“I know, and I don't think getting thrown out for a while is worth a fight. Say, Estella, don't you have a ball to get ready for?”
“That's still a couple days off yet, but I suppose I really shouldn't let this place get to me. I should find a dress that's a little more in high fashion anyway.”

***

Twiara was tall and graceful, endowed with enough magic that she was surrounded with a continuous halo of soft light magic, the sort of elf that caused humans to ascribe phrases like 'otherworldly beauty' to the species, and though they'd been friends she'd always left Loreane feeling short and mousey looking in comparison. That was no longer the case, as the potion had pushed Lorean's proportions up to the point she was taller, but now she felt awkwardly hulking in comparison as she looked down at the absurdly graceful and elegant entity she'd shown up on the front door of.
“Yes? What can I do for...oh my...is that...actually you Loreane?”
“Yeah, it's me Twi,” Loreane hugged the cape she had on closer around herself, trying to draw in her monstrously bulging shoulders as much as she could. She'd tried stealing and then buying some clothes, but it was hard to find anything that wasn't stretched to near its limits just fitting her overly large frame now, so she'd taken the cape and used it to hide as much of herself as she could before leaving to a Journey Gate.
“I assume you had a bad run-in with a transformation artifact or spell, do come in a while,” Twiara turned around and walked into her house leaving the door open.
Loreane didn't quite have to lean down, but she felt like she should shift sideways a bit to fit herself through the doorway without potentially smacking into the door's frame. Fashioned with natural magic, most of the house looked like it had been grown and the stairs to upper floors were gentle, partial spirals composed of interlocking vines. Doors however, were hard to make without a hinge so that part stood out as an artificial oddity in the place.
“Why don't you have some tea while you tell me what happened and why you came to me,” Twiara poured out some tea and brought a pot over to her table with very proper and hospitable manners.
Loreane roughly recounted the events of a few days back in the library while leaving out her near seduction by human black mage, and her flight from the library out into the backwoods and her running battle with raiding orcs throughout the night. How she desperately searched for clothes and anything she could use before making her way to one of the Journeying Gates and making a few jumps before settling on returning to the woods that their town was located through and in.
“It was clearly an accident...why would that possibly carry a death penalty?”
“Who knows? Everyone who's ever tried to reform the Library into something a little more sane has ended up suffering terrible demises, if they're lucky.”
“A terrible demise is lucky?”
“Relatively, the unlucky ones end up in frozen but aware states, unable to move or speak, but aware of everything going on around them, or more openly painful eternal torments...”
“The place sounds dreadful.”
“You have no idea.”
“You should have never accepted the position.”
“I can see that now, thank you.”
“What exactly is this potion anyway? Any thoughts on how to undo it?”
Loreane told her about the potion's effects, how it increased muscle mass and strength, greatly improved durability and stamina but left the affected individual with a powerful need to punch monsters and such to death.
“What sense does that make?”
“It's a simple fool's idea of a hero. Big and strong and slayer of the dangerous.”
“I see...leave it to a human male I suppose. Why here though? I imagine you must think I can help you with something, but I'm not an expert in trasmorphic matters.”
“But you do magic fashion. I know the Library is going to send someone out to try and kill me.”
“And you came here,” Twiara let enough humor into her tone that Loreane knew she wasn't that angry.
“It shouldn't take long, and if you rat me out right off the bat, they won't hurt you. They won't care that you helped me so long as you don't try and hide or cover for me. I think you might like the chance to work with some of it, these are golden scales of an invulnerable creature. Well, invulnerable to external harm, it eventually succumed to time.”
“Oh that could be interesting. You're hoping it can act as armor so they can't kill you so easily?”
“Pretty much, but I could not gather a lot of it. I hope to make it something wearable because it has an extremely powerful innate stone skin spell, but it has to be up against the skin,” Loreane explained as she laid out the scraps of golden scales she'd found.
“Hmm, this really isn't much.”
“Enough for an armband or something.”
“Well, if this is invulnerable and it makes you the next best thing...I think you might want to consider modesty.”
“Come again?”
“I could have made a stylish set out of this with your old frame, but as you are now, I think I can just pull off the bare minimum coverage...of, you know.”
“Gold scale underwear? Really? Why is it you're thinking that?”
“You expect to get into battles don't you? From what you've said about this potion, you really want to go out and fight griffins and dragons, right?”
“Uh-huh...” Loreane mumbled and blushed.
“And you're going to be pursued, yes? So you'll be in fights, and it looks like you have a hard time finding clothes that fit. If you go into battle with the clothes you have on now, you'll tear out of them yourself without any need of your opponent doing damage.”
“I...guess that's true...I hadn't thought about that...”
“So you can wear other clothes on top of it, and if some nasty creature burns them off you or anything, you'll have your bare minimum modesty intact while you look for new clothes.”
“I can see your point, but...but...”
“You won't have to strip for fitting right off, but yes that's going to be a thing.”
“Oh, one more thing Twi. Could you look over these trinkets and bits of jewelry I nabbed while you're at it? I want to figure out which ones might be the most useful to me. Just don't keep any of them, the library will want to recover as many as possible. I'm thinking I can give them the ones that aren't useful back, preferably in some way that buys me a little time.”
“Alright, I'll have a look through it all. Though, mind if I ask something, Lore?”
“Sure, what is it?”
“Just how strong? Like within normal bounds, or supernaturally? It might help with deciding how much you need any strength amplifiers.”
Loreane undid her belt and grabbed the bucke on it in each hand, she twisted and the metal gave way with little resistance as she twisted one side right around. It seemed to come easier than the last time she'd mangled a buckle, and it didn't hurt her hands quite so much, so it seemed that the potion might still be building in power.
“Supernaturally then,” Twiara only looked shocked for about half a second before her calm response.

***

“Oh elder gods this is going to ride up like whichever hell is the worst one...” Loreane groaned at the minimal bits of magical scale armor as she tried to shift the minimalist bottom.
“It probably won't be so bad. If this can really armor your skin to the point you can break weapons on it, then don't you figure it's not going to let your clothes dig into it either?”
“I guess that makes some logical sense, but still...I'm practically naked...”
“It's only you and I here Lore, you really shouldn't be so flustered. Anyway, I think you'd make for quite the interesting anatomical study subject. Nearly everything in your muscular systems is pretty well defined and swells quite a bit when in use, seeing you in action would be pretty useful for people learning how it all connects I imagine.”
“I think you're taking this more in stride than I am...it's hard for me to not think I've been turned into a freak or monster or something.”
“I suppose it's because it didn't happen to me, imagine how it'd change my life around. I try not to brag, but I do very nearly fill out the checklist for idealized elven beauty, don't I?”
Loreane mumbled a slightly annoyed affirmation.
“These bits of jewelry you see connecting parts of your outfit are generalized spell enhancers. They should actually help with the strength and stone skin spells you're already assisted by. I slightly underestimated your circumference so I had to add some things, don't worry they're connected to the scales in a way they should be under their invulnerable influence until you say the spell to disengage them so you can unlatch them, for bathing or whatever.”
“What about the other stuff?”
“A lot of it is pretty specialized unfortunately, only good for people with particular magic talents.”
“Shoot. I really wasn't looking at what I was grabbing...”
“Out of what's left, the most powerful items are these two bracelets by far, and they should compliment your enhanced abilities well. Though, you probably shouldn't have either of them touching your skin directly. We'll get some wraps or gloves to put over your wrists,” Twiara started digging through her fabric supplies for just that.
“What do they do?” Loreane felt like she should probably remember, she had helped file away a lot of these things, but she lacked a very strong magical sense and she'd always been more interested in the powders, poisons, and potions anyway.
“One of them is supposed to enhance your reflexes once you've realized you're in danger. I imagine it'll be quite shocking to see someone of your...I'm sorry, but, mass, move much quicker than one would expect. The other one helps speed up muscle memory. If you choose to learn a fighting style or how to use a sword, it should cut down the learning time at least in half.”
“That still means a year or better of training assuming I can even find a teacher.”
“You'll still make for quite the prodigal student, most items like that only work to the extent they cut off 5 or 10 percent of the learning time.”
“It's not the worst, but I really rather wish one had come with a lightning bolt or shrouding spell...something more in your face with the magic. As it stands, my only talent is going to be for a melee type of brawl.”
“I'm sure you'll be able to smash anyone that bothers you,” Twiara came back with a set of leather fingerless gloves.
They had to slit them open a bit at the backside to get them to fit over Loreane's bulky forearms, but they were able to get them on and the bracelets over them with some further tweaking.
“There, ready to kick bum and pilfer names I wager.”
“I think I'd die of embarrassment first... whether from the nigh nudity, or your purposeful butchering of common phrases, I'm not sure.”
“Oh, we need to speak about payment Lore.”
“Uh, right... I don't have that much, but...”
“No, I tease. If your life is really in danger, then I can take the loss this time. You came with most of the materials and it was not that much labor. Just, don't come back expecting a freebie next time, alright?”
“Definitely a deal. Thank you Twi, I'll just get my clothes on and get going. I'm sorry I can't stay socially a while. I'm going to the southern Journey Gates, so if anyone from the library shows up, you can tell them that much. I don't even know what territory I'm heading for just yet.”
“Take care, Lore, I hope this blows over and you can come back.”
Loreane gathered her stuff, put her clothes back on and set the unused magical items into a bag, and headed out the door to endure public transportation and hopefully become harder to find.

***

The Journey Gates were each enormous stone rings connected by something like pillars to a round stone slab, set into stone platforms so that they stood upright, the uppermost part of the ring ending up around ten feet overhead. When the magic was inert they were basically just large, strange stone works. With their spells active, they acted as a portal to some other part of the world, sometimes quite far, though longer trips were usually achieved with multiple portals. The terminal here housed a bit over a dozen of them and all sorts of merchants and travelers were lined up to use them. Elves, humans, even dwarves and the odd civilized goblin or troll made it quite the diverse crowd.
Loreane found she was looking around nervously and getting ever more paranoid. The Library's greatest, most powerful enforcers made a point of looking like normal, everyday janitors as they patrolled the library and made sure no ancient artifacts of doom or demonic forces escaped. It gave them the ability to go out and blend in nearly anywhere when they had to leave it, as the people paid to clean up after everyone else used similar tools and were similarly ignored wherever one went. She'd seen one or two here and was dearly afraid she was going to be taken out before the line let her get to the portal. To her fortune and slight surprise, it seemed every janitor she'd seen about the place was just what they appeared to be, however, the Library had more than one kind of tracker.
Three howls, enforcing each other with their simultaneous release, drowned out every bit of chatter, wagon squeak, and strange swishy noise of the gates as they enveloped the area. Everyone cringed and looked around in fear though Loreane thought she might be the only one there who knew for sure what the source of the noise was. One of the Library's Cerberus hell hounds starting to alight with unnatural blue flame and was starting to charge at her. Unfortunately there was a fair amount of crowd in the way however hard it was now trying to not be in the way anymore.
The approximately horse-sized spectral animal needed some time to accelerate to its top speed, but once it did nothing on two legs had any hope of outrunning it. On the plus side, the line was finally moving at a respectable clip and Loreane pushed through to the portal. One second and a quick rush of nausea later she was in another terminal many miles away. She frantically looked around for anything she might use as a weapon, well one a freaking hell hound would care about... and was coming up nil. It would be here in a few seconds, she didn't have long. Only one thing seemed like it might have the weight to stop it, but...it was too ridiculous.
Still, feeling she was without a choice Loreane jumped with her full strength and had intended to break out into a run, but surprising herself she launched into the air far enough to actually land by the next gate. She pushed through the line and gripped the edge and tried to pull it out. Her muscles strained and her shirt ripped apart at the shoulders as she strained, and to her surprise the gate shifted in its base. Behind her there was a snarl and a series of snaps and she knew the hell hound had jumped through the portal she'd just come through. Throwing all her weight and new strength into it she sent the multi-ton circle and ring rolling at the opening of the other. Loreane stared at the rolling ring in shock even as the hell hound dodged to the side. She supposed the potion must have worked even better for her than it had its original user, though some of it might be the amplifiers...
The hell hound launched into its fiery attack again and Loreane looked around for something else. There was a merchant's cart, full of watermelons, big enough to need towing by beast of burden but not currently tied to one. She lifted it overhead with ease and waited for the charging hound to get close enough and smashed it down on its three heads. The entire wagon shattered apart and watermelons went rolling every which way as the monstrous dog was slammed chins first into the paved ground. She felt a split second of triumph, but the blue blaze around the beast flared brighter and it got back up immediately. Great, she'd only made it angrier...
She punched the nearest head to her right hand in a panic and took off running. She took a jump and landed next to the platform of the next gate. This time she knew she was strong enough to rip it out and did it quickly, though her shirt tore across her upper arms this time. She twisted about and wielded the massive stone like an over sized throwing discus. The impact was impressive, it had taken long enough that the monster had built up speed and leaped into the air with intent of coming down on her, but the tons of stone knocked it back even as it shattered apart on the underworld creature. There was some tumbling for a while and she cringed a little as people had a hard time getting away from stone shrapnel. The monstrous underworld dog went down with a whimper, but she felt like she didn't trust it and started to edge away towards the next portal. It was a good thing she didn't go up to it or poke it or anything irrational like that because it got up snarling and panting heavily. Loreane ran over to the next portal and found herself staring at rock.
“You think you're getting out of here with that much damage done?” the attendant looked very annoyed.
“You feel like your security can stop me or that thing? If you let me go, it'll follow.”
They seemed to think it over before answering, “Fee.”
'Oh for crying out loud...' Loreane fished around for her money and felt bits of her sleeves start to slough off and away. She grabbed hastily and just gave the attendant what her hand came up with.
“Don't bother with the change, just open the gate!”
They waved their hand over a little gemstone and with a swishing noise the view of what seemed to be a stone wall changed into a calm, pleasant little vista. Nothing exciting looking there, heck it was probably a one-gate only little backwoods place. Though, really, that did fit with her needs pretty well, so she hopped through.
She felt a little bad for her lie, but she really didn't want to keep fighting with a nigh-immortal guardian monster from the underworld so she turned around right away. She thought it might hurt, but the scale armor did its job and the outer stone ring smashed apart under her fist with little discomfort. She went to the other side of the ring and smashed it apart too, then to the back and she kicked it until the structure snapped apart and what was left crashed into the ground. There were a few people around and she was getting some stares.
“I'm sorry about that, I'm sure it'll be awful for visiting relatives and the local economy for a while, but in the short term, there won't be any raging hellfire beasts rampaging through your nice little town, I hope you can appreciate that,” Loreane put a hand behind her head for the first part of the conversation, but found both hands traveling to cover her face as she kept talking.
Confusion seemed to be the dominant response, probably people were still processing what had just happened. She decided that while she wasn't likely in any danger from random villagers in the boondocks of the world, she'd still rather not be here when confusion turned to outrage. She ran off as far as she could and walked for most of the day after that. She'd been a librarian-slash-dangerous waste disposal worker for a long time, she didn't imagine she'd have the stamina for it, but it seemed these magic muscles were for more than just lifting things. She had a long time to think about her next move and the fact she'd lost most of her money overpaying for a warp gate in a panic. Her two selves spent a lot of time arguing over whether or not she could have realistically simply defeated the Cerberus.
It was late in the afternoon when she saw smoke and heard some distant commotion. Once she got close enough to see what was going on she felt quite a few things. There was some rag-tag band of thugs rounding people up, putting them in shackles and burning homes down. Even in a backwoods like this, it seemed insane that slavers would operate so close to any place with a gate. Then again, maybe she'd traveled further than she thought...she was still used to her old size and pace after all. She also felt a bit ill that any sentient species would do that sort of thing, especially to its own kind as this was an act of human on human violence. Her upbringing told her to ignore the situation, humans were just prone to violence, always fighting and committing crimes and burning down their own civilizations. The potion's warlike call to battle was there too, but it found an unusual ally in her business sense.
It depended on a few things, the first and most pressing was the question of whether or not her new found power would be enough to let her defeat this brutal lot... but if she did... surely it wouldn't be too much to ask for a little money? At the bare minimum, food for a while... if it went well, maybe she could even take to being a mercenary, to pay for her life on the run. Well, only one way to find out.
Loreane Part 2-1
This is running a bit long to fit into one submission, but hopefully I'll have the second part up soon... Anyway, this is directly after the first part tj-caris.deviantart.com/art/FM… - even though there's like...holy crap, a six-year gap? Sheesh...
Objectively not worth the wait, but no one was that invested in it. Oh well, hopefully you have some fun reading it.
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Another Hypothetical Scene

Lisa's admirer does exactly the one thing he really should know he shouldn't.

Lisa told everyone to run away, not to waste their efforts trying to help her. Victoria's too scary, us normal people really shouldn't cross her.  Lisa hadn't translated any of their conversation from that day they fought in the gym so I was still pretty in the dark. I just knew that out of nowhere she started threatening Zach to see if Lisa would protect him. I didn't know just how much she thought, or rather didn't think about normal people at the time.
Nah, at this moment in time, most of what I knew was that Lisa needed time to do whatever she was doing and Victoria was trying to stop her. I also knew I was hopelessly out of my depths, that I really wasn't capable of protecting Lisa, but some foolish impulse led me to hiding behind a corner with an aluminum baseball bat waiting for that pretty blonde head to come in reach.
Everything seemed perfectly set up for me, the light didn't extend her shadow too much, it was easy to guess right where she was as she was walking down the hall while there was no shadow or reflections of myself to tip her off. My heart felt like it was trying to burst out of my chest as I waited for the perfect moment. I swung the bat as hard and fast as I could and stumbled forward as it was wrenched out of my hands just a bit before it should have hit anything.
“Really now?” Victoria twirled the bat around like a baton, “What's the meaning of this?”
She stopped twirling the bat, grabbed each end in one hand and raised her knee to its center. Victoria's biceps are slender and small overall, especially if you compare them with Lisa's, but they were clearly visible as she bent the baseball bat over her knee. Clearly there's enough power there to be alarming. I tried to back away to grab my back-up plan, but Victoria swung the bent bat around and hooked the back of my leg and I fell over.
“You're one of Lisa's more enthusiastic supporters, right? You were one of the few that stayed the whole time when I first met her. Do you think you can actually help her now?”
“I felt like I had to try,” I knew my voice was shaking as I stood back up.
“Well, you're certainly loyal and brave. Something like one of those ridiculous little toy dogs yapping at an intruder that can stomp it flat, don't you think?” Victoria smirked and dropped the bat, just emphasizing how much she didn't need it.
I was sweating, but I put up my fists in a fighting stance. The way she laughed really did my ego no favors.
“Oh dearie me. This is just too sad. I'd hate to crush such a valiant display,” Victoria held a hand to her chin and she mimed thinking things over, “How about this? I'll allow you three free shots. Try your best, as I won't be lenient once they're done.”
Her stance was relaxed and somehow I got the vibe she'd let me run if I chose to, you know, do the smart thing. However, I was stupid... I'd practiced the move a bit, but I'd only seen it on video. I probably goofed it up pretty badly, but it was that deal that's supposed to smash someone's nose into their brain. Her head went back, but not by much. She wrinkled her nose and stretched her face a little, showing nothing more than a little discomfort. I seriously think I hurt my hand more than her nose and shook it off for a while.
“One seems kind of wasted.”
I didn't know how far her rules went, but I knew if I just punched or kicked her I'd only hurt myself more, so I reached into my back pocket and pulled out the tazer I had there. I shot it into Victoria and the charge spent itself. She spent the whole time twitching slightly and her fists closed and opened, but she didn't fall over or anything. Damn, I realized that must mean Lisa doesn't actually have to dodge the things, she's probably just showing off her speed. Though, it occurs to me it might be more impressive and scary if she just shrugged them off...
Victoria snatched the tazer away, took it in each hand and pulled it apart. She clenched her hands into fists and the pieces of tazer quickly snapped apart, “Two was a little bit better. Now let's see your third.”
Well, I'm pretty terrified at this point, but it does occur to me that she said three free shots and my back-up plan is right there. I scramble backwards, grab the gun I had hidden, point it at Victoria's face and fire as quickly as I can. The shot rings in my ears and I blink at the same time. In that time Victoria's hands have gone up to her face clapped together and it looks like she's leaning back away from me. 'Did I do it? Did I get her?”
Victoria's hands open up quickly, her thumbs staying close together and I hear something clang. I look down and see the freaking bullet bouncing on the floor. The gun was pulled out of my hand before I even looked all the way back to Victoria and a steel pipe or something slammed into my torso and I hit the wall hard. The pressure changed and I felt my back sliding up and I realized that what I thought was a metal rod of some sort was just Victoria's forearm. I find I have mixed feelings about her suspending me off my feet with one arm.
“Would you look at this?” Victoria held her hand up to my face and opened it from a fist revealing a bloody, abrasion lined and burned red gash across most of her hand, “Seems you actually did some damage.”
'Well, at least she's not actually bullet-pr' my thought didn't finish as her hand suddenly sped the rest of the way to my face and everything went dark.

*

I woke up some time later and quickly realized I was in a hospital. My mouth hurt and I realized I couldn't quite open it. It wasn't too long before I was noticed and a doctor was talking to me.
“When you were first brought in, we thought you'd been hit by a truck. The damage is weirdly localized though, only about the size of a person's palm. When you can speak again, we had to reconstruct your jaw with a few surgeries, I hope you can explain to us what happened. The woman who brought you here and footed the bill wouldn't say.”
“Mmhmm...”
“Yeah, it's going to take a while before you can talk again, I don't mean to push you. Oh, the woman who brought you in, I'm sure you know her, but she's tall and dark-skinned, has black hair, insisted that we inform you she thinks you are, her words, the 'dumbest dumb fuck ever.' You have some gifts and get well cards.”
It was quite the pile, I pointed at the clock and tried to make a quizzical grunt.
“How long were you out? You've been in a coma for about a month and a half.”
Holy shit, the bitch slapped me into a coma? I knew I was doomed, but damn...
The cards were sometimes silly, but mostly sweet, from various people I knew. They were all something you'd get out of the store, except at the very bottom there was what appeared to be an amazingly expertly hand-drawn image of a blonde-haired glamorous devil and black-haired dirty winged angel. Inside it the message read:
“If you ever try anything that foolish again, I shall kick you, understood? (heart) Vicky”
“Maybe she will, if I don't beat her to it. Wake up first though so I can tell you off properly, Lisa.”
Not gonna lie, I started thinking about trying to find another state to live in...
Vs Victoria
Just a little shake-up on the outmatched guy deal...

Set some time after this - fav.me/d8tk6ua
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Hmm, anyone have anything in particular they want to see in a story, or think there isn't enough of? On a similar note, are there any characters you want to see kick butt or get their butt kicked?
General feedback, request or suggestions?
Kind of curious if anyone out there has any suggestions or requests for things to happen in some story set or another...
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Just sort of the internet equivalent of thinking out loud I think. It seems whenever I write something with any given character I really want to keep going and see if I can flesh them out more, so it can be a bit hard to pivot around and write another.
Loreane is next and I think Estella will follow shortly if not immediately afterwards, because Loreane's third story and Estella's second are the same. Estella probably won't ever get that many stand alone stories of her own, but I have ideas for a few.

I'm kind of thinking I should maybe make some kind of working order, so that I don't fall into a trap of giving anyone too much attention just because they're somewhat more likely to get more or bigger comments.
We've just had Circe follow something of a Lisa...on-again off-again marathon... thing, and I feel like Sarah's more than due her third part, so that gives us a possible Lisa - Circe - Loreane - Sarah cycle... Lump Denise and Vanessa (no story yet, but one is planned...) together and maybe Estella in with Loreane could get something like
Loreane (or Estella) then Sarah then Denise or Vanessa (I know Denise is like, no one's favorite, but her story won't take long and once it's through they'll be replaced with a 'misc' category) then a Lisa or Victoria category, then Circe then Loreane or Estella again.
I am going to do a Circe and Lisa crossover, so...that might get both of them out of the way on that pass? But I don't know if those characters are going to "really" co-exist, or if it'll just be a one-time 'what if'. I note I have been kind of wanting to make a physical muscle gal that acts as Circe's occasional assistant/sidekick, it would save me having to make another character, but it'd be kind of funny to demote someone that overpowered to sidekick on a semi-regular basis.
The issue I have where it seems I can only write fight scenes kind of knocks Ariana out of here. Pacifism - I approve IRL, not so much in my fiction apparently. Maybe she can get cutesy little three-panel things or something...
I have like three and a half un-inked pages of Jungle Girl that have sat around for years...I think I might finish those and either give her a story reboot, or just start fitting in text adventures of hers into the cycle.


...Also I feel like my efforts to work in anything on the lines of suggestive or whatever are pretty lame. I'm thinking these are actually going to start leaning cleaner because visual sexy is a lot easier and forcing in lines and whatever that are trying to push the stories into more risque territory is making me really uncomfortable...  I know it's weird / I'm weird, but let's say the word of the hour is autochorisexual with a little bit of sex-repulsed... (I've mentioned previously I have this thing where 'sexy = great' but 'sex = ew' and that's the best I can figure where I fall...) These stories are probably going to be more and more just overpowered ladies kicking all the ass.
Derek Hartsworth was busy tidying up an apartment that rarely got that sort of treatment. He was the local Arcane Council representative for the city and was about to take on a new apprentice mage. The girl had given a number of instructors fits and eye ticks so he was getting burdened with the task of finishing her magical training. He'd received pictures of her, but no matter what sort of device was used to capture her image the result was full of grain and static, he could make little out of any of them except for red hair and bright, even electric blue eyes. It was a fitting color, most mages had an element or two they were most in tune with and for his future student that was electricity. The static and other issues in her photos were caused by the fact she constantly emitted what amounted to a low level EMP pulse. She was a teen that couldn't own a smartphone, or even come within a few feet of one most of the time. She must have a rough life trying to fit in...
He'd spent a lot of time looking at her records, trying to get a sense of what she would be like and came to the conclusion that she was among the punishments in his life. She was arrogant and hot-headed, she loved a thrill and wanted to fight the monsters lurking in the shadows, preying on the more vulnerable parts of humanity. Well, put that way it sounded like she was entirely too much like himself, which was probably why they were put together. One of her big problems was that she was a natural talent and had an absurd amount of power to her, it made her very cocky. Magic was generally agreed to be a very tricky thing to control and a person had to be pretty intelligent to work with it, but about half of her instructors seemed to consider her an idiot savant whose talent just happened to be magic. Most of the others just felt like she didn't care to apply herself to other things. Probably the only way to tell was to spend some time with her himself. He wasn't looking forward to it.
The Arcane Council mage bringing her was a woman named Linda who was pretty strict about getting places on time so he wasn't surprised when he heard the doorbell ring right on time before he'd quite gotten to the vacuum.
He tried to straighten up his clothes as he went to the door and opened it, "Hey Linda. It's been a while. I guess this must be Circe."
The teen girl looked about as sullen and grumpy as one would expect from a teenager that had been bounced around so much. She was even chewing on a piece of gum somewhat angrily. If anything those electric blue eyes were even more striking in person, though they were competing with a mole on her chin that was unfortunately just a little too big to be called a beauty mark.
"She is, she's kind of a feisty, mouthy sort but then she's a teenager."
"Hello Circe, looking at you now I'm guessing you're quite the heart-breaker."
The red-haired girl gave him a clearly forced smile as she reached out to shake his hand. He turned away and talked to Linda, purposefully avoiding her hand. There was something of a shock-like feeling that tended to pass between two mages when they had physical contact, the stronger the mage the stronger the sensation. Going by what he could already sense coming off of her he figured it might be tough to stay standing, let alone keep from flinching if he came into direct contact with it. There really wasn't any need for her to go realizing just how much stronger she was just yet. She knew she was above nearly everyone in the order already, but he'd like to keep some mystery about himself for a while.
"How was the trip? I hope it wasn't too hard."
"The radio died in the first five miles with her in the car. It's been one of the worse road trips I've been on to be honest."
He looked back at Circe and saw her blowing her gum and it came entirely too close to getting on his wall. When it popped and she brought it back into her mouth he muttered an ice incantation and waved his hand in her direction. She squawked in surprise as the gum froze to her tongue and was clearly trying to cuss him out. He was unprofessional and let himself chuckle at her predicament briefly.
"Oh, great. That's a good start to get off to there."
"She'll like what happens if she gets that gum on my stuff much, much less."
They talked business and Council gossip for a while before she left out to stay in a hotel for a while. He came out to find Circe opening one of his arcane books and fidgeting with her gum.
"Do not stick that in there."
"God what do you take me for? An unruly child?" Circe glared at him and looked like she might do it just because she was offended at the accusation.
"One never knows. Though, maybe I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions."
"It seems like a decent collection...I suppose being around so long lets you accumulate things, huh?"
"Oh look, an old man joke from a teenager. Color me shocked."
Circe gave him a thin, forced smile and he decided this was getting started entirely wrong.
"Hey, Circe. Can we try starting over? We're stuck with each other until you either pass Council membership tests or you prove unable to control yourself and they lock your powers. There's nowhere else to expel you to anymore."
Circe was quiet a moment, clearly angry but probably upset in other ways too. He guessed this might have been nagging at her. "Can they really do it?"
"Don't doubt it."
"I haven't met any mage as strong as I am..."
"Brute force only goes so far, especially with magic. There's more of them than you and the Elder circle almost certainly each outclass you."
"Really my last chance huh..." Circe looked distant, thinking of things hard enough to nearly seem absent.
"You want to take it? A lot of people don't feel they're cut out for controlling the forces of the universe at a whim."
"I do... I love doing magic. It's what I want to do."
"And yet you keep acting out and getting in trouble," Derek cut off a retort before she interrupted, "I kind of had the same problem as a young one, so I'm not trying to judge you."
"They say you get into more fights with the monsters than anyone..."
"Well, I think the PC term is Denizens of Nightmare. Though, really, it's not like the Realm of Faerie is all that much nicer a place, it just looks prettier than Nightmare."
"You fight faeries too?"
"Sometimes when they're being too much trouble."
"If you let me help you, maybe this can work out."
"Not right away Circe," the young girl spun on her heel and looked like she was about to fume, "Tell you what though, if you can stand a little more car time we'll have your first magic lesson with me. I hear you like to blow things up."
Circe crossed her arms over her chest and tried to look like she didn't care but he caught her mouth turning upwards briefly, "I know how to do that well enough I don't think I'm going to learn a lot more."
"Well then show me. Let loose, show off, whatever."
"I guess I can do that..." Circe turned away, trying to hide a pleased expression.

-----------------------------

"Flamius!" Derek knew Circe was looking at him with great disapproval as he cast his fireball spell, well let her, she was just a teenager.
A ball of fire appeared a ways before his hand and flew towards one of a half-dozen human shaped targets out in the barren target range. It struck and exploded, blowing the target in half and quickly burning much of the low quality wood away. Circe snorted at the display and turned to face her own patch of half-dozen wooden targets.
"IGNAIZE!"
The resulting fireball didn't just blow apart all six wooden targets, it left a clearly scorched if shallow crater where they'd been as flaming bits of target started to rain back down. He had to admit, it was impressive power, but her mental technique must have been sloppy as hell, it felt like at least half the magic summoned to her spell had leaked out of it and was permeating the local atmosphere.
"Well, the power is impressive, but with that kind of leakage..."
Circe cut him off, whipping around and shouting "IGNAIZE!" as she sent a fireball at his group of targets then spun around and shouted "IGNAIZE!" again at the rusted, bullet-riddled remains of an old car. His group of targets exploded into flaming wood flying into the air just as surely as the first set of targets and the car was blasted clean in half, the lighter trunk rolling a few times and molten bits of car splattering around the area. Damn, the girl was a beast. It really was no wonder why she had such a hard time listening to anybody about the idea she was unprepared in the magic arts. It was really a shame that she wasn't nearly as invulnerable thanks to it as she thought... the confidence she had could be lethal if she tried fighting the wrong opponent. Circe's body language was screaming defiance and he was sure she was thinking something like 'there, see what I can do? Try and tell me I'm not awesome.'
"How do you figure on explaining this?"
"Huh?"
"It's a shooting range, not an artillery range. People are going to wonder what the heck happened."
"Uh..." she was looking a little nervous.
"How much force to apply is important to know to Circe. Especially for you."
"What? How do you figure? What exactly is going to survive that?"
'More things than I'd prefer for sure...' Out loud he said, "That's actually kind of the point. Here, let me set up."
The next two wooden targets depicted a hostage and hostage taker. It had been hard to find one with a knife-holding hostage taker instead of a gun, but this way he'd been able to draw something that looked somewhat like arcane runes on the blade and he'd kind of scribbled in fangs on the taker's face with a red marker.
"Here is the situation Circe. These two are low-ranked vampires in one of their blood magic cults. Their operation knows that we're the local mage guardians of the city so they've taken a friend of ours hostage each. So what we have to do is kill the vampire, but leave our friend alive and preferably unharmed, ok?"
"WHAT?! Man, this is just because my blasts are so big! That's not fair! I don't think this is really..."
"IT DOES HAPPEN! And no they won't play fair! Maybe this won't happen exactly, but sometimes precision is needed Circe! You showed me you can kill a crowd, now show me you can save a life! FLAMIUS!"
The fireball spell carved out most of the "vampire's" head, leaving a little smoldering partial ring on the side nearest the "hostage." Circe took a stance to launch her own spell and then indecision made her shift her posture.
"Dead! Your friend just died Circe."
"What? But..."
"That knife spell sends the life force of its victims on to the master's spell, they only raised those people up as meat shields so that they could buy some time to make the cuts right. When you hesitated you gave them that time. Start over, save your friend now Circe."
"Ignaize," it was clear she tried to hold back power even as she aimed her spell deliberately wide, but still she ended up shearing off enough of the side that she surely took the arm off her 'friend' and the target fell down. The rest of the spell blasted a smaller, but still decently impressive crater into the hillside.
"I don't think they made it Circe."
"That wasn't a fair test!"
"Because you didn't win it? Think about it Circe, you killed both the vampire and the hostage, but is that all? Look at that crater, that could be good for another three or four dead pretty easily, don't you think? What if they were also victims for their blood ceremony? What if you burned a building down?"
To her credit it looked like Circe was thinking about it pretty seriously, "I'd draw on water...I wouldn't let the building burn down."
"Maybe you could do it, maybe not. I'm glad your heart is where it is, but it's better to not be the cause of that sort of problem if you can avoid it."
Circe signed and fidgeted a little, like she might say something.
"Is it making sense to you? Like I might have a point? I know some of the people that you've tutored under and I bet a bunch of them just scolded you by saying you were dangerous, right?"
Circe clammed up, she wasn't about to admit the old guy had some insight. Wow too much essence of teenager in this one.
"I hear you fancy yourself a future hero Circe. There's definitely worse things to want, and you're probably right that you're strong enough already, but there are other things to work on."
"I guess..." he barely heard her mumble.
"Sorry, what was that?"
"I guess."
"Guess what? Louder for the old man ears."
"I guess I have stuff to learn," she nearly growled it.
"You make it sound like that was very difficult to say. Anyway, the truth is Circe...you have a ton of weak points and you're going to need to invest a lot of work into covering them, but I think our first priority is just going to be on control after one final lesson today."
"Ugh, whatever. Can I go do something more interesting after this one thing?"
"I thought you liked magic duels."
"Heh, really? You've refused to touch me so far. That usually means they don't want me to realize just how weak they are in comparison."
"Usually," he had a decent poker face and put it to use.
She raised an eyebrow a bit, "Hmm, think you're up for it? I'd hate to wound your pride."
"You are more powerful Circe, but magic isn't always a straight up battle of force against force, I've fought things stronger than me and way better than you and I'm still here."
"I've heard that before."
"So come at me Circe."
"Excuse me?"
"Throw me one of those big ignaize spells. Try and kill me. One go."
"WHAT?! Don't be stupid! I'm not going to murder you!"
"I said 'try' which from here I would think has the implication that you'll fail. Your technique is terrible Circe, it's like a toddler scribbling all over a coloring book. Your ego is undeserved, you're not half the mage you seem to think you are. You're just a troublesome little delinquent, but if you think you can shut me up then try it!"
Circe was angry and she huffed out a heavy breath, but she only retorted, "I know old people hate teenagers, but sheesh you could give me a little credit. I'm not about to fly into a murderous rage because some guy I barely know said a couple mean things about me. Is it the hair? You expect me to have a hair-trigger like some kind of stereotype?"
He laughed a little at her, she just sounded SO indignant, "Seriously though, if you want to hold back to your 'hostage saving' level to make yourself feel better. I've actually had to deflect similar sized spells before. I'll be ok Circe, just throw one at me."
Circe still looked hesitant, she stood in a ready stance, but she broke it again and looked pensive. Well he'd just have to push her in a more deliberate manner. He only sub vocalized his flame spell this time and tossed it just to the left of Circe's head. She jumped to the side, and looked startled enough that she probably didn't realize it was going to miss anyway.
"What the? Hey!"
"Defend yourself Circe. Gravelus!" the ground in front of him surged forward like a wave, breaking apart into an avalanche of little stones building in height as they rushed to their target. Circe behaved very oddly then, most everyone he'd ever known had always put their defensive spell channel on their wrist or hand, so that they'd call up their defenses when they raised an arm to defend themselves. Circe thrust out her chest and he realized that her defensive talisman was hanging on a necklace. A shield came up around her and the gravel mini-tsunami washed around her as she stuck out her chest like old style Superman shrugging off a bullet barrage. Well, it was common enough to say that the young think they're invincible, but apparantly she really did.
"Ignaize!" she shouted as she finally did as she was asked.
He'd been preparing an extra level of defense for some time, redirecting ley lines around him so that they would catch and redirect a lot of the magic she threw at him, but even as much of the fire was redirected down those channels he felt a strain on his shield as he held up his arm. Little paths contained the fire and continued to blaze even as the force of her spell died down. When they died down enough that he could see her on the other side of the wall of flame she looked very anxious. As she saw him relief clearly washed over her and her stance lost a lot of its tension. It was almost a shame he had to follow up and take advantage of that loss of guard. The spell to turn will into pure kinetic force instead of one of the elements was one of the easiest to perform with thought or gesture alone so she had no verbal warning when his spell lashed out and caught her about the head and shoulders. She squealed with a start as she was blown over and hit the ground rolling. It was not smooth terrain and she was certainly scraped up. When she stopped he could see she was bleeding from her nose and it was too sore for her to feel like putting much pressure on, she only touched it gingerly and pulled her hand back with a wince.
She glared at her own blood as it continued to drip from her and hit the ground, "DOW! OO SON OVVA BITCH!"
He wasn't quite sure he heard it right because of her voice being off, but it sure sounded like she shouted either "Thorvolt" or "Thor's volt" as she raised her hand to him again and held her other forearm up under her nose. The spell didn't really have more innate magic power to it than her fireball, but much more of it actually made it into the form of lightning and the world went white. The electricity seemed alive as it blazed past and kept on going. It was channeled down the same ley line paths, smiting the paths of earth into glass as it passed. He knew every hair on his body was standing straight up even though his shield didn't fail. It very nearly faltered though and being in the direct middle of a roll of thunder made his ears hurt. He made it through the spell without physical harm, but he felt like his heart wouldn't take another experience like that again any time soon.
"Let's call that a match."
"Fuck off..." Circe was fighting back a sob.
"Two shots to one, and you're the only one hurt here."
"You did three spells," she sniffled a bit as she tried to keep tears out of her eyes.
"The first two were only meant to get you to do what I told you."
"You still cast three spells."
"Alright, alright. Here, take this kerchief and clean yourself up," he used a wind spell to send it fluttering her way without walking any closer.
She was about to and then she stopped before she touched any of her blood, looking suspicious.
"Don't worry, you can keep the cloth, clean it or burn it or whatever. I'm not after your blood, really I'm supposed to be a teacher."
She wiped herself off and folded up the cloth to hold up against her nose and try to stop the bleeding and he used a water spell to dilute the blood she'd spilled on the ground until it was useless for any spell on her.
"What was that spell? You didn't even move your lips..."
"Kinetic force basically. It's not a lot more than a sucker punch in most cases, but those can be useful. I hope it got the point across."
Circe glowered silently.
"Look, I don't want building hate here...what's your sin?"
"Excuse me?"
"Can I get you something? Booze, ice cream, weed? Something to apologize for busting up your nose there."
"...I can live with ice cream..."
"So it's settled then. Let's get going."
Some people came up over the ridge and there was some excited chatter, eventually one of them asked them, "What the hell happened here? The range looks like some little country that found itself on America's shit list."
"I dunno, swamp gas?"
"There are no swamps around for literally hundreds of miles."
"Then I have no idea! I just want to get out of here before anything else explodes!"
He pushed Circe to move as fast as she could down the path back to his car to put some distance between them and the people yelling questions as they tried to navigate their way down the rough hill. He just ignored their questions, as he really had no good cover story. Hopefully they'd relate to the idea he didn't know what was exploding and wanted to get away well enough to somehow fill in the blanks on their own.
"Can you veil the plates as I drive off?"
"I can't do illusion work for shit..."
"Oh another weak point. We're going to have so much material to go over."
"Shut up."

----------------------------

Mint proved to be Circe's preference, though he was thinking he really should have gone for something other than cones, she was struggling to just lick it to make sure she didn't bump her nose into it. She seemed content though, so apparently it was a reasonable short-term mollification. It turned out that Circe's lightning bolt had ruined his phone, and he guessed probably anyone else's for some distance. He noticed some of the little crowd that tailed them out of the shooting range pulled out their phones, but it didn't look like anyone did a thing with them, expressing confusion or outrage. It had led to him having to poke around in town to find a phone to use.
"Hey Linda, it's Derek...the strange number is just..."
"Circe fried your phone already?"
"Yeah, I guess you would know about that already, huh?"
"Way too well. What do you want?"
"Well, I had Circe come at me in a mage duel and I broke her nose."
"CAUSE HE CHEATED!" Circe tried to yell loud enough for Linda to hear on the other end.
"Anyway, you're pretty good at the white magic stuff, I thought maybe you could fix it for her. I'll pay, don't worry about that."
"Oh geeze, you really are trying to make her hate you so much she quits, aren't you? Yeah though, I've patched her up a few times already. I can do it again."
"Actually, I think I could like the kid, I don't want her to hate me, I just think people have been yelling at her about her behavior being wrong without explaining why they think so."
"And where in the hell does a grown man breaking a teenaged girl's nose come into that?"
"...that match-up is not as mismatched as it sounds in this case..."
"I'll grant you that, but I don't think it excuses it."
"I'm not saying it does, though maybe her attitude does a bit," he noticed her stick her tongue out at him at the remark.

----------------------------------

Linda met them at his office since he didn't want the two women to see his apartment again just yet and she patched Circe up without much trouble. She followed him to the backroom when he went to get the money to pay her and they talked a little bit more about things. They lost track of time and when they came out some time later he found Circe sitting in his desk and reading or at least looking over a magazine he had really thought was pretty well hidden.
"The hell?!"
"While it's obviously a for-guys sort of thing, I actually wouldn't mind looking something like that," Circe said as she folded out an insert and just showed it off for the world. Well, two people anyway, but seriously, invasion of privacy much?
"Ah, yes..." Linda was a bit hesitant, "Circe's a bit..."
"The term's bisexual. It's not a bad word, you can say it."
"So if someone asks you if you like boys or girls, the answer is 'yes'?"
"Close enough... you know, most women like a more modest-sized look, but I honestly kinda want big boobs. They don't seem like they're going to head in that direction on their own though."
"Please stop talking Circe."
"Yes, let the poor man leave so he doesn't have to listen," Linda was kind of mocking in her tone.
"But then I really like the fit abs look too. Not like, ripped, but maybe a subtle four pack? I think that's pretty hot, but it's kind of one or the other isn't it?"
"Really Circe? You can have almost anything you want if you learn magic right and you're fussing over your appearance as compared with a centerfold?"
"Oh, are you saying you know a spell that would let me pull off both? I would be down for that. Heck, the muscles would probably help with holding them up and not being as sore as some gals get."
"Linda, do you mind taking Circe to her place? I need to run away from this conversation..."
"Yeah, sure. Go ahead. Wuss."
"I'm just avoiding the risk of jail here."
"Suuuuure."

-------------------------------------

Derek ran off to his place and was surprised to find a job offer on his voice mail. He called back with his land line and accepted the offer. After some debating he decided he'd go ahead and ask Circe if she wanted to tag along. The girl was keen to fight monsters, and these guys were at least kind of starter level material. It was late afternoon, nearly early evening when he arrived at the dorms that Circe was getting to stay at. He knocked on the door and jumped away in shock when she opened it. He turned himself around as quickly as he could manage and stepped away.
"What the hell?! Are you trying to get me arrested?"
"What? Oh...right, clothes. Back in a minute."
The door closed behind him and he fumed a bit, who the hell answered the door without any clothes on and sounded like they'd forgotten something unimportant?
The door opened again and Circe came out with a thin-strap shirt and some shorts on, "Sorry, my parents live on a nudist commune and I sometimes forget how important people seem to think clothes are."
"...nudist...commune...there's a such thing?"
"Sure there is. I would say I grew up there, but I really hope I get at least a little taller and the friggen' mage council all but abducted me away from home a while back. On the plus side I feel no body shame, and I don't have that revulsion other people do when they see fat hairy guys or old wrinkly grandmas..."
"STOP! Please don't finish that sentence!"
Circe laughed, "See? So squeamish. I don't think so much about bodies, they're just bodies."
"Ugh, nice for you I guess? Anyway, I got a job to do some supernatural pest extermination and I thought I'd go ahead and ask if you wanted to come along in an apprentice capacity."
"Really?"
"Sure, if you can follow instructions."
"Awesome! Let's go!"
"Get your stuff though, your talisman and however many focus items you have. This might not be the most dangerous job, but going out unprepared is a good way to let them get a lucky hit in."
"OK! Be right back!" she ran in and he heard things clatter around a while until she came back out with her necklace talisman along with a wand and little length of chain that ended in a decorative reptilian head and tail on either end.
"Maybe thicker clothes, these guys have claws."
Circe groaned theatrically and rolled her eyes, but she went back in again and came out in a sweater and jeans, "There, are you happy yet?"
"Close enough, let's get going."

-----------------------------------------

"Gremlins huh? I didn't think those were actually out of myth..."
"Well, it's modern myth, but yeah no one saw a gremlin in our world until the 40's."
Circe was quiet for a minute before saying, "Actually I kind of thought that movie made them up..."
"Never saw that Bugs Bunny episode with the Gremlin? Or the Twilight Zone?"
Circe shook her head in the negative.
"Ugh, I need to expose you to some proper TV. Anyway, they were invented as a reason to explain faulty technology back then, and like so many things that get around enough..."
"They turned real?"
"Hmm, I think it's more like the Realm of Nightmare creates something to exploit the bit of imagination once a monstrous image becomes popular enough."
"That sounds like the same thing to me."
"Well, I have a theory and I'm not the best at articulating it, so, yeah, let's go with that. Nightmare uses the things we imagine to turn it on us."
"Do you think the realm itself has an agenda?"
"It or something high up within its food chain. It doesn't really matter, mortals can't travel too far through Nightmare without going nuts. Anyway, we should be talking about Gremlins."
"Ok then."
"Well, they got their start with sabotaging war planes, but they diversified and the modern version has an instinctual knowledge of any technology it comes across. Honestly if you look at the rates that military helicopters crash in the Middle East, I suspect they still keep their hands in their old work, just that it's probably easier to cling onto a helicopter than a modern fighter jet. Anyway ours seem to be messing with the electricity of the city, some of the power plant's middle management contacted me to hire me to clear them out. All on the down low you know, the owner isn't likely to believe in little green saboteur monsters."
"Huh. I guess they're not much of a threat up close then?"
"Don't sound so disappointed. Practice before you hit the big leagues is a good thing. Oh, and speaking of that, I want you to try sticking to this combat wards."
"WHAT?! WARDS?! Those things barely have any power at all!"
"And so if you miss they won't likely leave enormous piles of molten metal in what used to be a power plant, where your raw spells generally will."
"Ugh," Circe threw herself back into her seat, "and here I thought I might have a chance to do something fun."

------------------------------------------

After reaching the power plant they were taken to some of the outer facilities and given some electric protection gear. The gremlins hid well and it took some time to find even one, but after that it didn't take long for the chase to be on. They dodged and skittered and Circe did more than a little collateral damage, but her mentor couldn't claim that much better an aim record. Their kill talley gradually rose during the night, but then they were gradually led to the main facility. They weren't supposed to go there yet because the night staff had only been taken out of one building for the night, but there were no signs of anyone working.
"Hey boss, think those gremlins might eat people in big enough numbers?"
"I suppose it's not impossible, but it would take an awful lot of them," he dismissed her at first, but when he felt her tug on his sleeve he had a sinking suspicion that something was terribly amiss. So he turned to look at her and followed her pointing finger.
"Well...that counts as an awful lot of them. I suppose it is possible they ate the night staff," he started to back away out the door and tried to grab at Circe's arm, but his focus was on the horrible horde of hostile little hooligan creatures.
Their focus was on the two of them as well. The area was massive and catwalks crisscrossed the area above every which way and they were of course stuffed full with gremlins that looked all too ready to pounce.
"Wards aren't gonna kill that many."
"I think not..."
"This whole room's basically a bunch of metal without a lot of insulation I notice."
"Circe, what are...NO!"
It was too late, Circe ran forward and called forth her lightning spell, the only thing to do was hope his rubber boots helped as he willed his defensive spell into existence with as much force as he ever had.
The lights went out and throughout the city they started to fail shortly afterwards, leaving only a few generator-backed buildings lit. He noticed that cooked gremlin was pretty much the worst thing he'd ever smelled and he was practically drowning in the scent. He wasn't sure how he kept from throwing up and pulled out a talisman to produce magic light. Nothing technological was going to work in the wake of Circe's spell being blasted throughout an entire power plant.
"Is this going to be a recurring thing with you apprentice?"
"Could be."
"You realize you've destroyed this facility far more thoroughly than those gremlins ever would have."
"All part of the job. When and what do we get paid?"
"FEMA's going to have to come out here... Circe... you just broke a city..."
"They should probably have more than one power plant then, huh? You know, just in case something goes wrong with one or the other."
He was wondering if sealing her power, part way anyway, might not be the worst idea. It was obvious that if Circe could learn to use her power right she'd be able to kick just about all the ass, but she was spoiled by it. She needed to come down a bit and have to work for her wins before she could really be trusted with her full strength. He gasped in shock and nearly keeled over as a powerful current ran through his body. He was terrified some electricity had made it's way back around or something but then he realized his hand was being gripped and he turned to see Circe's smug little grin.
"Finally gotcha."
Circe gets her start
Well, this was an interesting change of pace... Circe's a very different character, but that only makes sense...
She might take the 'great power means great responsibility' thing more seriously than the others, but it may take a little sense-knocking somehow or other...
Loading...
Just sort of the internet equivalent of thinking out loud I think. It seems whenever I write something with any given character I really want to keep going and see if I can flesh them out more, so it can be a bit hard to pivot around and write another.
Loreane is next and I think Estella will follow shortly if not immediately afterwards, because Loreane's third story and Estella's second are the same. Estella probably won't ever get that many stand alone stories of her own, but I have ideas for a few.

I'm kind of thinking I should maybe make some kind of working order, so that I don't fall into a trap of giving anyone too much attention just because they're somewhat more likely to get more or bigger comments.
We've just had Circe follow something of a Lisa...on-again off-again marathon... thing, and I feel like Sarah's more than due her third part, so that gives us a possible Lisa - Circe - Loreane - Sarah cycle... Lump Denise and Vanessa (no story yet, but one is planned...) together and maybe Estella in with Loreane could get something like
Loreane (or Estella) then Sarah then Denise or Vanessa (I know Denise is like, no one's favorite, but her story won't take long and once it's through they'll be replaced with a 'misc' category) then a Lisa or Victoria category, then Circe then Loreane or Estella again.
I am going to do a Circe and Lisa crossover, so...that might get both of them out of the way on that pass? But I don't know if those characters are going to "really" co-exist, or if it'll just be a one-time 'what if'. I note I have been kind of wanting to make a physical muscle gal that acts as Circe's occasional assistant/sidekick, it would save me having to make another character, but it'd be kind of funny to demote someone that overpowered to sidekick on a semi-regular basis.
The issue I have where it seems I can only write fight scenes kind of knocks Ariana out of here. Pacifism - I approve IRL, not so much in my fiction apparently. Maybe she can get cutesy little three-panel things or something...
I have like three and a half un-inked pages of Jungle Girl that have sat around for years...I think I might finish those and either give her a story reboot, or just start fitting in text adventures of hers into the cycle.


...Also I feel like my efforts to work in anything on the lines of suggestive or whatever are pretty lame. I'm thinking these are actually going to start leaning cleaner because visual sexy is a lot easier and forcing in lines and whatever that are trying to push the stories into more risque territory is making me really uncomfortable...  I know it's weird / I'm weird, but let's say the word of the hour is autochorisexual with a little bit of sex-repulsed... (I've mentioned previously I have this thing where 'sexy = great' but 'sex = ew' and that's the best I can figure where I fall...) These stories are probably going to be more and more just overpowered ladies kicking all the ass.

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tj-caris
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Grimmtoof Featured By Owner 3 days ago
Thanks for the fave
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kaamuz Featured By Owner 4 days ago
Fun & interesting gallery :)   Come check my drawings 2, maby u'll dig them  x')
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MistelLarsPiongo Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2015   General Artist
great gallery
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tj-caris Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015
thanks
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rainbowscriber Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015  Professional General Artist
Hi there! I just discovered your art work. Beautiful! Would you mind if we used some in my group? Or if you like please post some on our group Gallery. It's stuff people need to really see.
Michelle
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TixieLix Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the fave on my Street Fighter work!
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fleurishot Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great gallery mate!
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MoriDraw-666 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Do you accept requests? 
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quackington Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Do you have a response to the note I sent you?
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LegsEmporium Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
THANK YOU for the Watch!!  I hope not to disappoint!!!
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