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E - Everyone

The Last Spell 15.1

by SilverNight


Mireya stared at the sixth object that had been shoved in her face so far, blinked a few times so it wouldn’t seem so close, and tried not to laugh. “Not that one either.”

Dawn heaved a melodramatic sigh when she took back the artifact, a bottle that had been labeled with Chant and hadn’t seemed useful to Mireya. “Please just let us buy you a fun magic item for this heist?”

“Gladly,” Mireya said brightly. “But I don’t want you to get scammed.”

Shane was spinning in a circle to see in full the shop that was nestled inside the criminal den of the Arcade. Such a shop should have seemed suspicious to anyone; it was filled with artifacts that were certainly unregistered as magic items and customers making illegal purchases. However, Shane was apparently oblivious to it all. “Is that likely to happen here?”

“Very,” Mireya informed him. “And this is the shop I trust the best.”

Leilan looked at the shelves distrustfully. “At least we’re not here for much.”

“What about this?” Dawn asked hopefully, holding up another bottle. “It’s a Salve potion.”

“Best case scenario, it’s water,” Mireya said, adding a tease to her voice. “Worst case scenario, it’s water with cheap magic that will give you poisoning when you’re already in trouble.”

“Nope.” Dawn quickly set it back on the shelf.

“Is there anything here that might be worthwhile?” Leilan asked.

“There’s this whole section here that we haven’t looked at,” Shane suggested, moving to the far side of the aisle. “It’s pretty dusty.”

“If no one’s bought it, it’s a bad sign,” Mireya warned.

Undeterred, Dawn moved over, holding up a dust-covered candle. “This stuff looks more forgotten than the third of the Bridger siblings.”

Mireya took a sudden interest in a set of metal rings in front of her at that comment.

“Who is that, again?” Leilan asked.

Dawn nodded. “Exactly.”

“I think their name starts with a C,” Shane said slowly. “I can’t remember at all, though.”

“No, Casper’s perfectly famous,” Dawn said.

“So is Camilla,” Leilan added. “There’s a third C name, I think— anyway. Point made, this stuff is very much forgotten.”

“These have Force,” Mireya said suddenly, slipping the rings on her fingers. There were eight of them, four for each hand, all of them rose-gold metal. “According to the label, I think they’re supposed to—” To test her thought, she reached forward, closing her hand as if to grab something, then pulled it towards herself. The candle in Dawn’s hands got free, drawn towards Mireya as if held by invisible hands. “Well, look at that.”

“We should definitely get those,” Dawn said, as Mireya returned the candle to its shelf without even touching it.

“How about these?” Shane asked, pointing to a few small metal spheres from another shelf. “They’re supposed to be Projection smoke bombs.”

“Those are super useful,” Mireya agreed. “They can’t be tested before you buy them, but usually the ones from here work. Usually. Regularly enough that I haven’t quit business with them. Anyway, buy a few.”

Shane nodded. “Does this place have actual explosives?”

Mireya pointed a couple of aisles over. “Back where we got the nylon climbing ropes. I guess those could be good to have, as long as you’re buying.”

She expected little of it, but when Shane turned to leave, Leilan stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. His forehead had creased from his confused frown. “Why do you want those?”

“Backup,” Shane explained. “They’re easy to use quickly if something goes wrong. I hope none of us will have to do anything on this heist, but they’d be good to have.”

“Well, yes, but…” Leilan’s brow furrowed. “Why explosives specifically? Are you sure?”

“I know how they work,” Shane said, in a strangely flat tone. Mireya watched Leilan’s look of confusion turn to one of… pity? Concern? Sympathy? “I’d be able to use them myself.”

“I think what Leilan means is that he’s wondering if you’re comfortable with them.” It was definitely pity that Mireya heard in Dawn’s voice.

“I’m fine,” Shane muttered, but it wasn’t far off from a snap. “I’ll be back.” He moved away from Leilan, disappearing around the corner of a shelf. Leilan sighed softly, watching the space where he’d been.

Mireya cleared her throat. “Is there a reason why he might not be comfortable with those?”

Dawn bit her lip. “It’s a long story. If he says he’s okay, and it was his idea, he should be alright. He probably just didn’t want us to make a big deal of it.”

“Is there anything else we need from here?” Leilan asked, a little hurriedly, and Mireya got the message that this was a personal matter for Shane. That was fine. Keeping secret identities was a problem, but she could respect privacy.

“Not really,” she said. “You can still look around while we wait for Shane, though.”

“I wish we could look for Favia,” Dawn said distractedly, and from Leilan’s side-eye, Mireya immediately knew it was something that she shouldn’t have said.

“Favia?” Mireya asked, fighting to keep the curiosity and glee out of her voice.

“Dawn’s bodyguard,” Leilan said slowly, obviously reluctant to share the information. “She went missing here yesterday. We went searching, but we weren’t able to find her.”

Five people with closely guarded identities. A reserved suite with a vibrant teal room. A bodyguard necessary for protection. She wasn’t liking what she was learning.

Instead of frowning, Mireya nodded sympathetically. “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure she’ll turn up soon.”

“Hopefully.” Leilan smiled thinly, as if he already knew that was a weak promise to make in the Arcade. “I’m going to go find Shane.”

“Probably a good idea,” Mireya agreed. “See you in a minute.”

She expected Dawn to say something similar as Leilan left, but she didn’t hear anything from her. Turning around told her why. Dawn was staring intently at an artifact that Mireya had seen on display a few times at this shop. It was a set of earrings, made to look like a pair of snake eyes. The dark pupil slit was obsidian in the center of a mother-of-pearl circle. Dawn reached forward to touch one, but pulled her hand back before she actually did, and turned to Mireya.

“These have Rationale,” she said. It wasn’t much of a question, but the statement wasn’t accusing either. Just a flat realization. “That’s what the label says.”

Mireya wasn’t sure whether to shrug or to nod. “Rationale isn’t inherently illegal. It’s just frowned upon, and that’s most of the policing.”

“Some uses of it can be prosecuted,” Dawn said. “Only when it’s used on other people or intended to affect them, but— that has to be what this artifact is for.” She blinked, looking back at the earrings. “Isn’t that what this is for?”

“Dawn, this place is made for criminals, built by criminals, run by criminals,” Mireya said softly. “I don’t think you should have to like everything you see here. Just don’t be surprised when you see it.”

Dawn’s face was difficult to read. Her expression wasn’t closed-off, but it had settled into some emotion that Mireya couldn’t quite label. “For the most part, this doesn’t seem like a place with good people. There’s just no good reason for this to be on the market.”

Although she felt the urge to tell her that lawlessness wasn’t synonymous with wrongness— that anarchy wasn’t bad, because the Houses were so much worse— Mireya didn’t think she could say that, even though she guessed Dawn would be one of the most responsive of the five to an opinion like that. Dawn wasn’t wrong about how Rationale would be used to harm people, either.

What did she mean by for the most part, though? Had she just not wanted to call Mireya a bad person to her face?

If that was the case, it stung a little. She wasn’t even sure why it stung.

“Whoever eventually grabs it probably isn’t going to have the best intentions,” Mireya admitted. “However, I know it’s been sitting there for a long time, unpurchased. Not everyone here is rotten to the core.”

Dawn slowly nodded, looking a little reassured. “I guess that’s true.”

Feeling more hopeful, Mireya was about to shoot her shot with additional persuasion, when she felt it nearby. A buzzing sensation of nearby electric current, like a murmur in her bones. She felt it often, but it didn’t feel like someone had flipped a light switch this time. No, it was a fierce hum of power and high voltage, one she could almost hear in her ears.

She stepped out of the aisle, and almost immediately saw who was most likely to be the source of it. The owner of the shop was sliding a recently purchased item, some thin device that Mireya couldn’t identify, across the counter to its buyer, who was wearing some bizarre white outfit with a helmet. The buyer turned the device off, and the feeling went away, but it was quickly replaced by shock when the buyer turned around.

She was looking at a fully suited astronaut.

Mireya shook the Force rings off her fingers— which were slim enough for the action to work— and let them fall to the floor. The clattering it created caused to Dawn to startle and look away from the earrings. She wouldn’t be able to see the astronaut from her position.

“Sorry, can you buy those for me?” Mireya said hurriedly, already leaving the aisle. She didn’t know why she had to check out the astronaut, but she knew that she was going to. “I’ll meet you back here.”

Behind her, she heard a confused “Okay?” from Dawn.

The astronaut saw her the moment she was out of the aisle, because she’d stepped right into their exit path. A quick glance at the stranger’s light-up bracelet told her that she was actually in his exit path, because even though his identity was completely concealed by the spacesuit, she was still lucky enough to tell what pronouns he used. They stared at each other for a moment (at least, she thought he was through the helmet), before Mireya tilted her head towards the exit, an indication that she had questions to ask him, outside the shop. Both of them stayed still for a little longer, neither one making the first move.

In the end, the astronaut did make his way to the exit. By bolting towards it.


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Sun Jun 25, 2023 12:42 am
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Spearmint wrote a review...



I'm backk! xD If you didn't already know from the notif flood, I've caught up until chapter 7. So like, I know who the Heirs are a little better, and I got some context on the First Spell, and read some more of Mireya and Cyrin's legendary banter. Still don't know how the Heirs ran into Cyrin and Mireya though... I suppose I'll catch up more later. =P
In terms of this chapter part: I want to know what this suspicious shop looks like! Are there any other customers there? (Other than the astronaut, of course.) What's the lighting like? The decor? It kind of feels like the protagonists are in a bubble right now, and I want to get a sense of the setting and atmosphere so I can visualize it better. ^^
But also-- the astronaut!! I was a little surprised to read that there was an astronaut, although I guess it makes sense for them to have space travel if they have monorails and other modern technology. But why would that person wear astronaut gear in regular life...?? Like, isn't it bulky and restrictive? There have gotta be better ways to conceal your identity. XD I am curious about this person, though! Hopefully Mireya can catch him. >.>

“Best case scenario, it’s water,” Mireya said, adding a tease to her voice. “Worst case scenario, it’s water with cheap magic that will give you poisoning when you’re already in trouble.”

Yikes. xD That was a good example to establish the sketchiness of this place, though!

Undeterred, Dawn moved over, holding up a dust-covered candle. “This stuff looks more forgotten than the third of the Bridger siblings.”

Mireya took a sudden interest in a set of metal rings in front of her at that comment.

“Who is that, again?” Leilan asked.

Dawn nodded. “Exactly.”

“I think their name starts with a C,” Shane said slowly. “I can’t remember at all, though.”

Okay, is it Cyrin? XD Also I love that they use lore from their world to describe things. It really adds depth and immerses us readers in this world!

The candle in Dawn’s hands got free, drawn towards Mireya as if held by invisible hands. “Well, look at that.”

Wow, that's useful. I wish I had those rings, lol. But that begs the question of why no one's bought them yet. Is it the price? Do they have some sort of downside??

“I think what Leilan means is that he’s wondering if you’re comfortable with them.” It was definitely pity that Mireya heard in Dawn’s voice.

“I’m fine,” Shane muttered, but it wasn’t far off from a snap. “I’ll be back.”

Judging from this and Shane checking the car at the beginning of the story, I'm thinking he has some kind of trauma with explosives in a car... :/

Instead of frowning, Mireya nodded sympathetically. “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure she’ll turn up soon.”

Hm, I don't think Mireya would give a guarantee like that. Like, giving false hope with a confident tone. Maybe something like, "I hope you find her soon" would fit in better with her experience of the Arcade and how people often disappear?

Although she felt the urge to tell her that lawlessness wasn’t synonymous with wrongness— that anarchy wasn’t bad, because the Houses were so much worse— Mireya didn’t think she could say that, even though she guessed Dawn would be one of the most responsive of the five to an opinion like that.

Okay. So like. I'm not getting the sense that the Houses are that bad? Maybe this is because half of this story is from the perspective of the Heirs, but to me, the main problem seems to be the rising rates of magic crime in this city. And in that case, anarchy would definitely be worse than the Houses, which at least try to keep crime in check. Maybe the Houses are doing shady things (wouldn't surprise me), but their negative sides aren't that obvious, from what I've read of chapters 1-7 and 14. ^^

The buyer turned the device off, and the feeling went away, but it was quickly replaced by shock when the buyer turned around.

She was looking at a fully suited astronaut.

Sounds like the beginning of a joke. A thief, a few Heirs, and an astronaut walk into a shop for criminals... XD

A quick glance at the stranger’s light-up bracelet told her that she was actually in his exit path, because even though his identity was completely concealed by the spacesuit, she was still lucky enough to tell what pronouns he used.

I was a bit confused here-- did the bracelet tell Mireya the astronaut's pronouns?

In the end, the astronaut did make his way to the exit. By bolting towards it.

Do I sense a chase scene? >.> =P

Thanks for the entertaining story, and I'll try to catch up more before my next review! Have a fabulous day/night! =D




SilverNight says...


Thank you for this review!! I probably can't touch on everything you said, just know I find everything helpful :')

Okay. So like. I'm not getting the sense that the Houses are that bad?


Yeah, I think I need to flesh this out more through what they do! Mostly I've just been relying on entitledness from the Heirs to get across that the Houses are powerful/power-hungry, but I probably need to mention some specific actions they've taken.

I was a bit confused here-- did the bracelet tell Mireya the astronaut's pronouns?


Oh yeah! Cyrin is wearing one of these bracelets in 11.2-- they light up with colors that indicate certain/different preferred pronouns XD



Spearmint says...


Cyrin is wearing one of these bracelets in 11.2-- they light up with colors that indicate certain/different preferred pronouns XD

Ohhh wait that's actually so useful! Why don't we have those yet?? >.>
(Also, oops, I think I still need to catch up on some chapters xD so disregard that bit of confusion~)



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Mon Jun 12, 2023 10:22 am
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Dawn heaved a melodramatic sigh when she took back the artifact, a bottle that had been labeled with Chant and hadn’t seemed useful to Mireya. “Please just let us buy you a fun magic item for this heist?”

Haha I love how we had violence and theft and now juxtaposed with childlike wonder at magic artifacts xD

(I have stopped writing intros apparently)

“There’s this whole section here that we haven’t looked at,” Shane suggested, moving to the far side of the aisle. “It’s pretty dusty.”

“If no one’s bought it, it’s a bad sign,” Mireya warned.

Currently it's a bit of a mystery as to why Mireya's brought them here. If it's to purchase something, wouldn't she be more actively involved in looking rather than just saying no to everything the others are suggesting? Or is she trying to delay them for some reason?

“I think their name starts with a C,” Shane said slowly. “I can’t remember at all, though.”


I chuckled, although this might be a bit too on the nose xD

Keeping secret identities was a problem, but she could respect privacy.

Is that not literally what she's just done for Cyrin though?

Although she felt the urge to tell her that lawlessness wasn’t synonymous with wrongness— that anarchy wasn’t bad, because the Houses were so much worse— Mireya didn’t think she could say that, even though she guessed Dawn would be one of the most responsive of the five to an opinion like that. Dawn wasn’t wrong about how Rationale would be used to harm people, either.

Ok, I've definitely missed the part when they worked out who everyone was...

In the end, the astronaut did make his way to the exit. By bolting towards it.

Oooh the mysterious visor person is back! I can't remember if it was Cyrin or Mireya that saw them before, but I'd completely forgotten about it up until now. I hope Mireya gives chase, but I get the feeling we're not about to find out who the astronaut is right now!

Again, I like that we're exploring the dynamic between different characters who haven't yet had much time together. I'm guessing Cyrin and Mireya know who the others are now, but they're not as hesitant about working with them as I would expect from them so I think I'd like to see a bit more reasoning behind that. I'm guessing it's to do with the deal of hanging around them to check they're decent after they steal the First Spell - perhaps they think they can just run off with it? But it would be good to have some of that conversation between them!

Hope this was helpful!

Icy
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SilverNight says...


Ok, I've definitely missed the part when they worked out who everyone was...


Consider this a major fumble on my part XD

Yeah, Cyrin and Mireya aren't supposed to realize that yet (that part is written, but it's not here), I've been accidentally implying that they're learning it I think! Sorry and thank you for your patience, this is very helpful for helping me consider how things look to a reader :')




If I seem to wander, if I seem to stray, remember that true stories seldom take the straightest way.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind