Men of L33t, Part XX - What We Make of Our Surroundings
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"WoK...?"

*blink*

"WoooK...?"

*blink* Ano... is someone there? The world was so blurry...

"WoK!" Ping-

"Ping-chan!"

"Oh, WoK, you're alright! I was so worried for you!"

WoK strained to pull herself upright. "What- where are we?"

"Some bad men took us while we were in the carriage!" Ping paused. "...don't you remember anything?"

"I- er... I think- we were being chased! And... something happened, but I don't know what, and then everything went black..."

"...something?"

"I... dunno... It's really weird, I keep feeling like there was music, but... feeling, like I didn't hear it!"

"Maybe it was because of the crash!" Ping nodded confidently. "You got hit pretty hard, and sometimes it seems like you can hear the hurt when that happens."

"Maybe..."

"Do you know what the music was?"

"...I think so. I mean, it feels like I knew it from somewhere. But I can't remember what it was!"

"Maybe we could sing songs until you do remember!"

"Ano... would that help?"

"It might! Here, I've got an old song my mom used to sing to me when I was really young! I can teach it to you! It goes like this: Ozi vezimrat yah vayehi-li lishu'ah zeh Eli ve'anvehu Elohey..."

* * *

"They're straining you, aren't they?" said Ed, grinning. He tossed an apple lazily into the air.

"Heh. You wish, my friend." Dom cursed inwardly as he felt another ethereal vine stretch.

"Ha! Don't give me that, I just walked by their cell block. They're working that old mumbo-jumbo that hates your magic. You really should've just turned the automaton off."

"The only way to do that is to kill her, and then we'd get nothing from the Guild."

"Pity." Ed took a bite out of his apple. "Though I must admit, she's got a pretty face. Almost too pretty. I didn't think you could make something like that out of mud, but, well..."

"She's not a normal golem!" said Dom, annoyed. "How many times must I explain? The Guild's automatons are specially created to be so lifelike as to almost seem real. The spellwork to make them act like a true person is incredible..."

Ed grinned. "You've got that look. Thinking of maybe stripping her down and checking those runes out personally?"

"No!" Dom snapped. He tossed a scroll onto the table and sat down. "How is our other prisoner?"

"What, the sick lad? Dying. The 'maton must've done some work, but whatever's killing him still has a fighting chance. You want we should save him or something?"

"...No. We'll mention him in our ransom to the Guild. If he's worth anything, they'll come and get him before he's dead."

"You know, I could use a live target to practice my shoo-" SLAM!

Dom lifted his hand gently off of the now-cracked inkwell, and wiped it carefully. "There... will be no unnecessary killing this time, Ed. I wish a clean mission. How you sacrifice your bishounen in needless battle is no concern of mine, but when it comes to our prisoners, you will leave them be."

"What about that freaky Scot? He nearly took out a third of my men!"

Dom clenched his teeth. "He-" Gad, this was tiring. "Was the ambassador of Smaller Angland. While I don't know whether his status still stands, I highly doubt that his country would take kindly to the Order if we returned him damaged."

Whoo, he really was rattled! About what, though? Ed grinned. "Fine, then! I guess I'll just have to amuse myself with one of the servants. Are there any of the maids you feel have a diplomatic value, or can I woo them freely?"

"Men are verbotten. I had enough bleach growing up with my twin."

Ed snickered. "Is he still searching for that one continent, what was it, Amarrika, to conquer for his pathetic Atari knights?"

"Yes, last I checked, thank God."

"Hey, hey, now, using a holy name with all those dark powers? Can you even do that?"

Dom smirked. "Like I've said before, you can't play if you don't know both sides!"

* * *

It hadn't taken long for a random mage to feel a large field of conflicting magics and call in the local magistrates. Once they got within a half-mile of the area, it was easy for them to decide that this was out of their hands and call in the Church. What they hadn't expected, though, was that the Church would send in one of their highest officials. Shadow looked about disdainfully as the blubbering officials lead her towards the phenomenon. While this field might seem like an improbably huge phenomenon to the local hicks, it was probably nothing more than the remains of a small skirmish. However, it was also most likely caused by those infuriating exiles, and she wasn't about to loose them again!

FWAM! Shadow reeled and flipped, her defensive magics flaring up as she landed on the ground in an aggressive stance!

She blinked. The magistrates were huddling a good furlong behind, but not, apparently, because of her. She turned to look ahead, but there didn't seem to anything out of the ordinary. Cautiously, she took a step forward, and her arm's hair stood on end. This was an improbably large field. No residue should be this strong! She shivered as she took another step forward through the dense energy, and grasped her pendant. BG-sama, I would respectfully request that you come out here immediately. And, if she is willing and available, Our Lady Miho. I have discovered something very unsettling.

Be right there. Any chance of telling me what?

It... would be better if you felt it for yourself.

Alrighty, then. Just talked to her. We'll be there in about-

"Now- whoa." Shadow nodded as BG staggered. Miho looked around curiously. The power was heavy, impregnable, like a castle's walls.

"This... is foreign magic." It was a more of a question than a statement.

Shadow looked around. "Not entirely." There was a tainting vine running around all of it, snicking and eroding through the powerful density. It was thin and keen, but every bit as powerful as the thick density pervading the entire area.

"Ah; Maenadian threads. I had almost missed them through the dense weavings."

BG blinked. "The what?"

Miho turned. "Maenadian. An ancient people in the near Middle East. They were known for being quite particularly evil compared to the average social standards of the time, and very devious. Many of evil counselors from that time period came out of their lands. Eventually, several powerful forces allied together to eradicate them, but a small contingent escaped into the east and settled in the Himalayas. We ran into them on our way to a monastery."

"I see... and the rest of this?"

"Is unknown, to our knowledge. It- ...Shadow?"

Shadow's face darkened. "I hadn't realized it till now; these weavings do have a familiar sense to them." She turned.

"Piro."

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And we finally hit twenty. The way I figure it, it'll end on 30. Unless I pull some really sweet writing and make a l33t 26, but we highly doubts that. Anyways, whatddya'll think? Surely, at least BISHIE has something to say!

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