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located in The City of Nerris, a part of Spellwar: Creation and Destruction, one of the many universes on RPG.

The City of Nerris

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"That wasn't like high-school kids," Aurelie said, speaking as patiently as she could manage. "Miraze, I can't believe you fell for that." She shook her head. "Go back a few steps - " she held up a hand " - please. Eyepatch-guy says, 'you're skeptical of what my partner's saying, and you're critical of what we're saying. That's the same as immature'. That's not immature, Miraze. Not when the skepticism is so blatantly justified. Then he drops the bombshell. 'Your friend is the mature one.'"

Aurelie stared at Miraze. "It's human nature to fall in line with a compliment. Human nature to avoid an implied criticism. Manipulation, then and there. Consciously or not, he was hoping that you would feel more encouraged to soften even further, and to feel you were being more mature than me for doing that. Equally that I would feel 'immature' for remaining skeptical, and use the negative emotional impact to shame me into going along with him. When you say 'you two were like high-school kids', you've been impressed with exactly the disdain that he was hoping you to make you feel. The alternative would involve relinquishing the compliment, and the pleasure of being declared 'mature' that goes with it."

Aurelie sighed, peering carefully up and down the road to check that there was no one following them, and that no one had arrived - yet - to check out the crash. "Except it wasn't a real compliment, Miraze. I'm not saying you're not mature, or even that you're not more mature than I am sometimes. Only that when he said it, it wasn't because you'd displayed more maturity than I. Just more willingness to accept what he was saying."

She sighed over the crumpled bonnet and the damage done to the vehicle. "It was risky arguing with him, but I wasn't going to lie and accept his words without reason. He wasn't going to kill us there and then, not when he thought he could get us to like him. If he'd had any sense at all he'd have known full well that we'd need more than a few words to stop being wary."

Aurelie looked up from the hire car. "We've seen his criminal record, Miraze. He says he has standards when it comes to killing. I can't prove that one way or the other...but I'm damn sure he doesn't have any standards when it comes to assault, robbery and damages. He said it himself. He takes what he wants, when he wants. Without caring if his victims 'deserve' it or not."

Her mouth curved up in a sudden smile. "Took off fast when I remained unimpressed, didn't he?" She looked straight at Miraze. "And I'd just decided to challenge him to a sparring match, too. On the understanding that there'd be no disintegrating, obviously." She grinned.