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Bonus: Shang

11

March 28, 2013 by Lyn

Saturday, February 21, 2004 – after Chapter 29

They were carrying this “magic and monsters” thing a little too far.

Okay, the “oh, there’s trouble, be safe” thing was kind of good.  And the Luke stomping around being tense and angry thing was pretty wild.

The girl stumbling through the hall with a hole through her stomach had either been some pretty awesome stage makeup, or there were actually psychopaths in the school.

Shang wasn’t sure what to think of the dead rat-things at all.  They were just out here.  Messy half-corpses everywhere, and one girl even pretending to <i>eat</i> them.  Shang vowed to stick to tofu and vegetables in the dining hall for a while.

And now.  Now he was just trying to get to the Library.  Classes had been cancelled for weeks, and he was getting really bored sitting around his room.  He’d actually listened to every CD he’d brought.

And there was some sort of crocodile animatronic thing in the hall, staring at him.

Shang backed up.  He didn’t want to tangle with the thing.  He didn’t want to find out if there really was a nut job wandering around, waiting to hurt him.

“Easy.  What are you doing out in the halls?”

Without thinking, Shang flung his arm out, like he would in a car accident, stopping the girl from passing him.  “Careful! There’s a… thing.”

“A thing.”  The girl – Damaris, that was her name – moved Shang’s arm gently like a toll gate.  Her fingers lingered on his wrist as she passed, “closing” his arm just behind her. “Ooh, a thing.”

“Be careful.”

“Are you worried about me?”  She glanced at him, although most of her attention seemed to be on the crocodile thing.  “I thought you didn’t like non-humans.”

“I don’t date non-humans.   That doesn’t mean I want you to get hurt. Come on, we can go another way.”

“Tch, we should probably tell someone about them.”

“Don’t you think they know? I mean this whole freak show has to be their doing.”

“You think so?”  She was backing up; somewhere in the procedure, she’d gotten ahold of Shang’s arm again.  “This seems a little extreme.  I mean, yeah, this place is nuts, but I can’t imagine they’d go quite that far.”

“Seriously? This is a bit much for upperclassmen, I think, even after that freak show the second weekend here.”

“Hell Night? Yeah, I don’t think anyone’s every pulled out crocodiles for Hell Night before.  Demons, yeah.  Monsters, yeah.”

“But not crocodiles? Seriously.  The aesthetic here is over the top.  The effects budget for that centaur has to be ridiculous.”

“Effects budget… you really are adorable, you know that?  Come this way.”

“Adorable?”  Shang wasn’t sure that was a good thing. “Come on, you can’t tell me you buy this whole mess.  Really?”

She paused, looked at the crocodile, which was following them, very, very slowly, and started moving again, backing up down the hall, still holding Shang’s arm and still looking at him. “Buy into… being Ellehemaei?  Magic? Or the whole boarding school of doom thing?  Because I can tell you, we’re definitely in a boarding school of doom.”

“Yeah, I got that much.  I mean, I don’t know what they’re trying to do to us, but it’s kind of freaky sometimes.  All the weird effects, the people with all the fake blood…”

“Like Niassa?”  The girl was frowning at him now.  Shang did not want to be frowned at by pretty girls, even if it happened a lot here in Addergoole.

“Um… Is she the dark-haired girl who doesn’t bother with the fae prosthetics?”  Shang was not all that good at names.

“Yeah.  The big hole through her, you mean?”

“Yeah, or the crazy guy missing a arm.”  That had been really, really creepy.

“I wouldn’t talk shit about them, if I were you.  Those were real.”  She was still frowning.  Damnit.

“And that doesn’t freak you out?”  It freaked Shang out.  “People are getting fatally maimed…”

“Well, not fatally.  We’re fae, after all.”

“So everyone keeps telling me.  But, seriously, the school is allowing people to get really badly hurt, and you’re not freaked out?”

“Oh, I’m freaked out.  This is my bothered face.”  She glanced between Shang and the crocodile-thing.  “You don’t happen to have the Word for animals, do you? I’m lousy at it.”

“What, Panida?”  The two weeks of bothering sheep with Professor Fridmar had been interesting.  Shang still wasn’t sure how they’d managed those effects. “You can’t… what, say it?”

“Can you say Yaku?”

“Yahch… That’s fucked up. “Scuse me.  That’s messed up.”

“How have you managed to be here for half a year and still not know how things work?  While you’re answering, try Tempero and then the word for animals, and pávoun, okay.”

“Tempero Panida pávoun. What am I doing?”

“Stopping the crocodile.”

“Oh.  Tempero Panida pávoun!”  He took a few more steps backwards.  “Seriously, nobody tells me anything.”

“Your Mentor?”

“Grunts at me.”

“Can’t be Doug, you’re a guy.  Luke?”  She stepped backwards until she was just behind him, her fingers fluttering and landing on his arm again.

“Him.  I don’t think he likes me.”

“He’s probably wondering the same thing I am.”  She shook her head. “Try the stop again.  I don’t think it’s quite stopped.”

“Tempero Panida pávoun crocodile.”  He glared at the crocodile, feeling silly.  This time, the monster slowed and actually stopped.  “Hunh.  Vocal responsive computer chip?”

The girl stared at him.  “You really don’t believe any of this, do you?  You really think it’s all – what, effects?”

“It’s the rational thing to think.”  Staring in the face of a giant animatronic crocodile, he wasn’t completely sure of that anymore.

“Unh-hunh.  Sweetie, someone has to show you what’s really going on.”

“Show me?  You mean like what Naberius tried?”

“Nab?  Did you tell his Keeper?  His boyfriend, I mean? Cabal?”

“He came and got him.”  He rolled his shoulders. “I shouldn’t have brought it up.”

“No, that’s fine.  Good to know what you’ve gotten so far.”  She frowned at her, looking, for a moment, a lot like Luke.  “Okay.”

“Okay?”  She’d clearly come to a decision.  Shang wasn’t sure that was a good thing.

“I am going to make you a deal.  Meentik Unutu.”    A spear appeared in her hand.  Shang rubbed his eyes, but he couldn’t see where it had dropped from, or a way it could have been collapsed.  She wasn’t even really wearing sleeves.

She threw the spear, running it through the crocodile’s eye and into its circuit box.  Red hydraulic fluid leaked out.

“A deal?”  Shang backed up a few more steps.

“Meentik Unutu.”  She repeated the poof-spear trick again.  “Come with me, and I’ll show you what’s going on.”

“There’s got to be a catch.”

“Of course there’s a catch.  Your immortal soul and your firstborn child.”

“Is that all?”  She was crazier than most of them, but she was hot, and she was playing along.  Shang was pretty sure she was playing along, at least.

“Your word on it, of course.”  She made an elaborate bow that showed off her cleavage.

“Of course.  So, I’ll promise you my soul and my firstborn, to get what… a little information? For that, I ought to at least get some of the kingdoms of the earth and a decent-sized molehill.”

“Educated. I like that in a man.” She threw the second spear, catching the injured crocodile as it lunged towards Shang. “Meentik Unutu.”

“It’s out of eyes.”  He gestured at the croc, sporting leaking holes in both eye sockets.  “Where are you keeping those spears?”

“I can show you that, too.”  Her melodic voice had a certain mischief to it.  Was flirting with him?  The look she gave him seemed to be friendly.

“This still sounds a little one-sided.”

“You can promise me more, if you want.”

“I mean, my soul?”

“I really only want to rent it.”

“Rent it?”

“For a year or so.”

That poked something in Shang’s memory.  “One year.  Like Lee and Quintus?”

“More like Quintus than Lee.  That I can guarantee.”

“You’re a girl.”  He paused. “Right?”

She chuckled.  She had a nice laugh. Melodic.  Shang found it distractingly attractive.  “I’m a girl all the way down.  Want to see?”  She reached for the buttons of her dress.

“No! I mean… I mean, yeah. Yes, please.  Yeah.  But, shit.”  Shang felt his cheeks burning. “Sorry. Nobody’s ever offered that, like that…”

“Maybe not that directly.  But even you can’t have gotten this far in Addergoole without a few offers.”

“Even me.  What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Mr. ‘I only date humans?’ Come on, not many people will put up with that sort of racism.”

“…oh.  That.”  Shang couldn’t look her in the eyes.  “It’s just…”

“It’s just that you want to deal with people you understand.  I get that.  But what you’ve got is me.”

“And you want a year of my soul and my first-born child.”

“Exactly.”


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11 comments »

  1. Gudy says:

    And she’ll get it, too, I guess. 😀

    So if you’re blunt enough, you can get through to Shang. Good for Damaris, and possibly Shang, too, to have figured that out. And if you’re playing along with his… affliction, you can even state the terms without running into the various geasa? Interesting.

    “into its circuit box. Red hydraulic fluid leaked out.”
    *snicker* Oh, Shang!
    “It’s out of eyes.” Even more *snicker*

    Typos:

    “pretending to <i>eat</i> them”
    “anyone’s every pulled out crocodiles” every -> ever
    “missing a arm” a -> an
    “She frowned at her” At least one of those pronouns should be male. So, her -> him
    “Was SHE flirting with him?”

    • Rix Scaedu says:

      On the other hand, she hasn’t made it clear that she’s going to become the mother of his first born child or that it will be conceived in that year…

      • Gudy says:

        I agree on the latter, but not really on the former: a child Belongs to their mother, not their father. So unless he can convince the mother to give their child to Damaris of her own free will, the only way Shang can fulfill that promise is for Damaris to be the mother in the first place. And this being Addergoole, I don’t think there is that much doubt that that’s what she is angling for.

        • Rix Scaedu says:

          You know that and I know that, but does Shang have a clue?

          • Gudy says:

            It’s Shang, so… No. 😛 But to be fair, there have been pregnant female students who didn’t know that, either.

            So to be precise, agreed, she hasn’t made it clear although it seems clear enough.

  2. Kuro_Neko says:

    It amazes me how deep in denial Shang is, and how he’s managed to stay there for so long.

    Promising to give someone your soul doesn’t actually mean agreeing to Belong to them. You can’t give your soul away. Though I guess Lyn decides how twisty the wordplay can get and still mean what the speaker wants it to mean, but that seems alittle too twisty to be plausible to me.

    A year from right now would have him Kept for the rest of this school year, all of the summer and half of next year. How workable that would be depends on how accepting Shang is of the realities of being Kept, and that really depends, at least partially, on how patient and gentle Damaris is. If it’s true what she said of being like Quintus and not like Lee then that will go a long way, since Quintus’s relationship with his Keeper is one of the few examples of Belonging done to the spirit rather then the letter in this school.

    Though there are a surprisingly large number of what I would call true Belongings this year; at least five, maybe more depending on how loose your judging standards are. As Arundel put it, a true Belonging is about protection, not obedience, not having a slave. So one of my defining proofs of a true Belonging is can the Kept go to the Keeper and say, “I want to be released” and actually get it. With that thought in mind, Timora, Bel, Qunitus, Jovanna and Kyle, if they were truly unhappy with their Keepings and wanted to be released, could ask Arundel, Porter, Zeke, Arnbjorg and Adannaya respectively and very likely be released. Despite them being decent to good Keepers, using that thought as the final bar disqualifies Sylvia/Garfunkel, Cynara/Kheper, Niassa/Wylie, Brenna/Noam and Basalt/Ahouva since I don’t believe those Keepers would release their Kept if they asked. Though Brenna might if Noam was clearly unhappy. Basalt might release Ahouva as well, maybe, but I can’t really make a call there since we haven’t seen alot of his inner workings and Ahouva is actually at this point much better off his Kept then if she were free.

    What happened to ‘I only date humans’? Is she Working him? Cause he seems to have thrown that by the wayside pretty quick. Is it just because she’s bluntly propositioning him?

    • Wysteria says:

      This is not relevant to in-story because it’s a secret in-story so it will not come up, but among other oaths to be part of Boom during their school years, you have to swear to a version of, “And you have to let your Kept go, if they want to and it wouldn’t get them into a worse situation.” So I don’t know which side of your line Cya would fall on, really.

      • Kuro_Neko says:

        Hmm… I’ll admit it’s been awhile, but I seem to remember Kheper not being very happy with being Kept in the beginning. Did he not demand at some point to be released?

        Also, While I know they’re of variable canon, the DW shorts show Cyna repeatedly Keeping by force. Does that rule no longer apply after school? Cause there’s no way out of the dozens of Kept she’s implied to have had, that at least some of them hadn’t demanded/asked/begged to be released.

        If Cyna would genuinely have released Kheper if he’d asked and he just assumed she wouldn’t and never asked then yes I’d move their Keeping over to the other side of the line. At least for that grading. It’s only been (the now defunct) belief that she wouldn’t release her Kept if they’d asked and that she’s a serial Keeper-by-force/trickery that has kept me from really liking and respecting Cyna. She’s already one of the few Keepers-by-force/trickery I like or respect at all as it stands and reading your post has raised her in my eyes. Thanks for the info.

        There are really three major criteria I use to judge whether a Keeping is a true Belonging or just slavery with a polite name, well actually four, but number four can really be included in number three. They are one, that the Kept can be released if they ask; two, that they are not tricked/forced into it; and three, that Orders are only used to protect the Kept and not to control them for the sake of controlling them, or for the Keeper’s amusement, or any other reason; the fourth, that the Keeper not take sexual advantage of the Kept could really be included in the don’t abuse Orders of number three.

        • Wysteria says:

          Lyn, Cap, Trix, and I (various primary writers of various members of Boom) haven’t worked out the details of the Boom oath post-graduation. They have to re-swear once they graduate, and they’d change it from the one they designed when they were first-years frustrated with their Keepers. I know during school an oath is in force, but again, details are not worked out. In school I believe Cya’s justification for it is that she’s preventing them getting caught by someone worse.

          • Inventrix says:

            Hey, you’re right! We should do that. Poke at me about it sometime when we’re all free-ish.

    • Gudy says:

      What happened to ‘I only date humans’? A couple of things. 1) Shang thinks she’s hot. 2) She bluntly propositioned him. 3) She’s actually communicating with him instead of making (too much) fun of him; taking him seriously; heck, even showing signs of understanding him.

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