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Snippet #2821610

located in Short Stories From the Abyss, a part of The Abyssal Paradox, one of the many universes on RPG.

Short Stories From the Abyss

Into the Abyss; another world of strangeness beneath the plates of Titan's Fall.


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Archer sat on the floor, leaning back on one hand, his other draped over an elevated knee. An unlit cigarette hung loosely from his lips, the end flicking upwards periodically as he dabbed the filter with his tongue... it was rude to smoke in someone else's home. Nevertheless, it satisfied that itch to have something while he thought and watched the [Crimson] combat his efforts and eat away at key points in the array he'd constructed.

It was resistant to change, aggressively almost... like its progenitor. He should have guessed: Mana was a primal force, and often colored by the person wielding it... sometimes quite literally. The fact that the concentration of mana was so elevated in Yue's apartment was a testament to how much time she spent there unconsciously burning it. Haze, the byproduct of spent mana, also accumulated quite quickly in this space, likely because of how inefficiently Yue used her powers. She was like a big engine muscle car with huge power and poor mileage, and the [Crimson] reflected that.

His eyes traveled around the apartment slowly. Yue had opted to remove the majority of the dividing walls in her apartment, making it a giant open studio with only the bathroom segregated by walls. Dark curtains covered the panorama window, letting only a sliver of the afternoon light to cut harshly into the kitchen area. The bed was a circular mattress made to fit in the depression of the integrated sofa/conversation pit with the rig she ran Final Odyssey dominating one side, and the sofa cushions haphazardly used as nightstands. The [Crimson] clinged nostalgically to the areas Yue lived most... the cleanest areas, oddly enough.

The apartment wasn't dirty, but it was littered with the obvious signs of untreated depression. Her bed was unkempt, though the space where she spent time playing was kept tidy. A dirty sock was left hanging not-quite inside the dirty clothes hamper, and her one unwashed plate hung precariously on the side of the sink. Judging from the way the [Crimson] fermented on its surface, it was probably the only dish she used. Coupled with the small sauce pan left out on the stove, slightly charred from over-use and the open pantry full of top ramen it seemed that no real care was given towards her nutrition. A glance at the garbage can full of delivery tins confirmed that she ate out frequently and didn't really cook for herself. The spartan lack of furniture or decoration was also telling in and of itself.

He sighed. Archer frequently argued against the moratorium on revealing the Awakened World to the uninitiated. The culture shock of discovering fantasy was real had to be less damaging than the emotional and environmental consequences of letting them stumble around, blindly thrashing mana about like a blunt object as they discover their powers while behavioral "specialists" tell them they're sick in the head. Yue was also a special case, to be kept ignorant of the Awakened World as long as possible. Something to do with her family history if he understood the heavily redacted file they'd shoved into his hands in a panic when she enlisted with the Templar. The corners of his mouth curled into a frown, and the [Crimson] smashed a keystone glyph, shattering the array with a growl. The keychain figurine flung was from the bed petulantly and he reached out to catch it.

The [Crimson] pressed around him cloyingly, projecting Yue's inner turmoil and feeding off his negative emotions. He sat up and pressed his hand to the cold marble, igniting a protection glyph and allowing the mana to etch back into the invisible ink in his skin, travelling up his arms and vanishing into his clothes. The heavy aura reluctantly retreated back to the comfort of the bed, and they spent a long moment staring at one another. The [Crimson] was on the verge of becoming its own Domain, which was troublesome by itself, and also posed a complication in his plan.

"This is going to take longer than I thought," he muttered, taking a dry pull on the cigarette and inhaling the aroma of tobacco. There was also the AI to contend with: the barrier that he'd placed on the apartment wouldn't shield him from the system's prying eyes forever. The longer he faffed about trying to come up with an elegant solution, the more likely Sovereign would discover something amiss and flag his intrusion.

Gemini: Help.
Gemini: One of the lab techs keeps coming to the front desk and making advances.

He thinks we're hot.
Flirt with him.

Gemini: TF is 'Chaat??'

It's... like a spicy doughnut.

Gemini: Euugh, that sounds gross.
Gemini: Do we like it??

Can this wait?
Busy trying to coax an emergent Domain into an Anime figurine.

Gemini: OMG. Just force it.
Gemini: Can't negotiate with Mana.
Gemini: Your will has to be stronger than the imprint.
Gemini: Sometimes the best tool for the job really is a hammer.

The cigarette fell into his lap. Of course! The [Crimson] was stubborn and resistant because Yue was stubborn and resistant. He clambered to his feet, scooping the cigarette behind one of his ears and gazing intently at the aura, which seemed to read his intent and hunkered down on the bed even further.

"I need a broom for this," he muttered, squinting at the anomaly.

Gemini: HELLO??
Gemini: He said 'It's a date.'
Gemini: What do I do?????

Can't talk. Building a lodge.

Gemini: ARCHER!!