Politics Is... Sometimes Fun [2.7]

ASE.pngMagic at play.jpg

There’s often two ways you can take a serious or annoying situation; either run with it and try to have fun while you can, or more likely get mad over it all and life as a whole for being unfair.

While it’s not the political thing to do; getting mad can also be fun in its own way, of course. That feeling is called catharsis, although some people take it to the point of schadenfreude, just because that can feel even better at times, as well.

Which path will Hannah take in her political odyssey?

Events unfold including but not limited to:

The true power of Edith’s bad juju being considered,

Suggestively phallic symbols turn out to look actually phallic after all,

And Hannah gets caught being naughty in public!


Last time in Magic Is...:

Where did Sarah put that pile of books from earlier? I might as well get some of my ‘homework’ done while I wait this journey out, if nothing else an—Oww!

My still tender and hairline-fractured arm bumped against a hard corner of moulded plastic as I tried to reach down to grab a little book sitting innocently in the storage slot at the back of the middle console by my leg. I couldn’t help but flinch and hug the offending limb to my chest with a pitiful sounding sniff of suppressed pain for more than obvious reasons.

Slowly, my self-pitying funk over being a mage who could actually manage to get shot by a bloody gun of all things, bled off, giving way to an almost unreasonable level of indignant rage which bubbled over into an angry yell, making everyone around me jump in surprise once more.

“Powers, do I hate guns!”


 

A magical core is comprised of two distinct parts:

The outer shell of so-called ‘free magic’, cultivated and growing with each incarnation that awakens.

This is the magic most mages deal with in their daily lives that is most commonly called our aura, the unquestionable power flowing through our wands which we each hold. The power making us naturally better than the magic-less filth and the blighted races of sub-humanity who are growing in number in recent centuries.

The other part is a trace of magic at the very centre of what is traditionally considered a person’s core, our apex spark , if you will, that has been gifted to us all by the great and powerful Mother of Magic in her infinite wisdom on our individual days of conception.

Very few mages have ever been able to make direct connections to this apex spark and the effects of touching such a pure part of our Mother’s power have been as varied as they have awe inspiring!

The most recent and well-documented case to date of someone reaching this higher plane of existence is of a French noble whom recently managed to touch his apex spark moments before his own execution, during the magic-less uprisings which saw many lower ranked mages sacrifice their lives bravely in order to regain order within the filth’s disorderly and barbaric ranks.

It is theorised that, due to the noble’s righteous indignation at his treatment by the magic-less swine, magic itself answered his anger in kind as he touched his spark by slaughtering the entire crowd of peasants surrounding him in a truly beautiful display of pure magical power. Though, this theory has still to be confirmed due to the noble in question not yet having reached his next awakening by the current day.

Other cases have included people who merely managed to brush their apex sparks, due to panic and instinct. The results of such actions varying from regrown limbs to an uncontrolled wave of destruction which managed to take out several powerful elder mages during a necromantic ritual gone wrong.

Many would decry the very existence of an apex spark within each of us, but to them I cry, “Heresy!”. The potential held within our very cores is simply beyond the understanding of such obviously simple and undeserving misanthropes who would dare to question the Mother’s gift to us all, her loving children!

In recent times, I have worked hard to find and secure a space within my own mind which I have dubbed the ‘Apex Realm’, a theoretical ulterior plane within each of our mindscapes which may hold the key to unlocking magic’s true potential at long last. I believe that if a person could reach this plane of consciousness directly then they could tap directly into their internal magics, weaving through them like a salmon swimming upstream, and bringing rise to a new tier of greatness within our already great race.

In, but days from the completion of this tome, I shall enter my mindscape while holding a demon from the worst of hell dimensions bound to my very will.

With the Mother’s blessing, I will use the demons uncanny ability to damage a mages mindscape in order to find this realm from my mindscape itself. I will once and for all prove that we do not exist at the will of some god or being that is beyond our view, but that we exist by the love and decree of the Mother in all her glory, by intentionally reaching deep into my own core so far that I may grasp my own apex spark tighter than any who came before m—

=======

...Powers! This guy really does just keep going on, doesn’t he?...

Annoyingly, it doesn’t even feel like I’ve learnt anything new despite all the words he used to explain a pretty simple and standard part of magic, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not even sure why Edith assigned me this book, unless it was just intentionally there to piss me off with how much the author is obviously obsessed with Arista!

...Maybe there’s something we’ve missed?...
Not likely, the ‘Apex Realm’ he talks about is obviously his own word for a mage’s lines. It couldn’t be more obvious if he tried, for Powers’ sake!

What he says about a core’s composition is pretty close to what Edith said in her letter, too. Although Edith specifically made it sound like only me, Ari, and Arista had this ‘apex spark’ thing inside us, which is what she apparently believed allowed them to birth new mages in the first place.
...Take a deep breath and think it through...
Okay, I’m calm. It’s just frustrating, and I ache, and I—

Honestly, I get that these books are supposed to help me prepare for whatever instructions she sealed away inside the final book on her list, behind a runic code-lock set to a specific phrase I can’t seem to crack no matter how many times I’ve tried so far!
...We’ll get it eventually...

I get that she’s most likely trying to subtly inform me that whatever I’ve got to do to regain a proper grasp on my golden magic will require me to somehow touch this ‘apex spark’ thing inside me. That in itself is a pretty dangerous proposition considering the effects doing so has apparently had on other mages in the past who were trying to do the same thing!

Hell, I’ve even got a pretty solid guess going on about how she set up my golden diversion in the first place, thanks in part to observation, a few hints in this book, some of the better written ones on her list as well, and the fact that I’m not—no matter what anyone says—a bloody idiot!
...Debatable...

The cracks in my core around Arista’s portion of it, when I went into my lines to finally get rid of her, were far too precise and clean to have been caused by a single hit from Edith’s stupid juju stick.

It took a few weeks of unfocused thoughts on my part but eventually the logical inconstancy of it all registered in my head, seemingly at random, while being closely followed by a mental cry of Useless girl! for my troubles because my brain’s weird like that at times.

If I’m right then, just one tiny pinhole-sized crack in my core, if it could reach all the way down to my supposed apex spark, would work perfectly as a grounding route to dump my excess magic down and kick-start the magical chain reaction cascade that were my ‘golden domes’, pretty damn easily!

Even if it was technically Arista’s core at the time, once her golden magic found a source of abundant normal magic that could pour into it through my stupid locus point then it could naturally feed, expand, and escape from within itself without a problem, if that were the case.

As guesses go, it seems like a pretty solid one, considering it ties in so well with what happened to my core during the final internal conflict between me and Arista for dominance. The obvious inconstancy of it all being that, despite the single strike and chaos I saw happen with my own eyes, I’d have to say it would take multiple precise strikes calculated over the course of years at the very least to get such a well-defined pair of cracks in place on my core, itself, without Arista’s notice!

It’s something so deceptively simple and obvious that I missed it at first but, without getting into too much detail, if Edith’s juju stick had actually hit me with enough magic to form twin cracks to my core using earth magic, of all things, then I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had a head left moments later anyway!

Edith had ample chance to set things up, after all. If I’m right, then she could have been working to achieve that very effect I saw from the very first day we met, when she started hitting me on the head at her supposed leisure—
...‘Setting ya right on ya lines girl’, my ass, Edith!...

If she planned her attack against Arista as well as I think she did, then that final strike of her juju stick back in the crater was little more than a way for her to empower her previous years of groundwork.

A way to dump a load of her brown earth magic into my core where it would naturally gravitate towards the already existing pin sized holes filled with her power that she’d already set up in advance, forcing them to expand to a point that they could sheer Arista’s part of my core out in moments from multiple targeted points along carefully spaced fracture zones before the crazy tumor bitch could have a chance to fight back in the slightest.

...If that really is how she did it all, then it’s honestly genius!...

Insane, full of potential problems from the possibility of her accidentally triggering an ‘apex spark event’ like this guy described in his book, down to something simple and clean like her just outright killing me in an instant if she’d been even slightly wrong about what that first damn hit she gave me was going to do due to my locus point’s power levels at the very least.
...Who needs luck when you’re a seer, though?...
Exactly!

I swear, it feels like having people around that know the future already to varying degrees is just plain cheating sometimes!

======

With a heavy sigh I snapped the book in my lap shut with my good arm and stared listlessly down at its front cover. It’s a gaudy little thing decked out in gold leaf that decrees itself to be: A Treatise on Apex Sparks and the Hidden Potential of All Magicals on Earth by Wilbert Wilberson,Esq.

I’d been suspicious of the book to start with, just from the title alone. Although, considering the way it’s helped tie my mostly loose collection of thoughts and theories together, I guess I can’t exactly complain about the damn thing’s usefulness, even if this Wilbert guy was a complete tool of an Arista worshipper on top of everything else.

...Pretty sure we’re done for the day now...
Exactly! I’ve read far too many words from idiot mages of old lately for my tastes, thank you very much!

Honestly, it’s going to take a few days of stewing over this newly formed ‘Grand unified theory of Edith’s well-intentioned evil deeds’ before I’ll be ready to move on to the rest of my dwindling pile of magical reference books she left me.

I’m not sure how long we’ve been driving but it can’t have been that long, judging by the low position of the sun in the sky compared to its almost equally low position when we left the hospital earlier.

I really do have a horrible feeling that I’m going to need my wits about me to keep from getting into trouble for the next few days, seeing as we’ve had two pretty piss-poor, but nonetheless real, assassination attempts on us in the last two days and we haven’t even reached the political backstabbing playground of Congress yet, to boot!

I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one mage within Congress, itself, is either actively planning or more likely already finished planning our demise, as we speak, just because my life sucks that way, sometimes more than anything else.

Politicians are a thankfully rare breed of humanity that I tend to avoid as best I can most of the time. I can’t imagine magical politicians are going to be any less avoidance-worthy in the long run.

...Our luck doesn’t work like that...

======

“How far out are we now?—”

Judging by the shuffling and quiet conversations that stalled at my question, I think I may have caught everyone by surprise with my sudden return to reality at last. Well, seeing as I have their attention at least, I might as well keep going now.

“Anyone know if they have a good coffee place for us to raid when we get there, by the way? I’d kill for a coffee at this point!”

John chuckled to himself lightly and glanced outside the window to my left before turning back to me with his, now usual, warm smile on his lips for some odd reason.

“We’re about five minutes away from the main entrance and they do have a good coffee place, surprisingly. Pretty sure it’s about the only really modern thing they allow publically in the giant phallic symbol they call a building, but I can definitely say that it’s good coffee, at least.”

My eyebrow shot up and I stared at him thoughtfully, which only seemed to amuse him more if the way his lips are twitching upwards slightly is any indication.

“Been here often, John-Boy?”
He chuckled to himself lightly but nodded in agreement at least which was more than I’d expected to get out of him, in all honesty.
“You’re the expert then. So, what are the big ‘no-nos’ for this place I should try to avoid?”

Slowly, John’s smile dimmed and his head dipped down slightly in a sigh that really didn’t reassure me in the slightest that I’d enjoy or appreciate his answer when he finally felt up to giving it.

“The basic rules are simple: Be powerful or have the ear of someone who is—pretty sure you’ve got that one covered on both fronts, luckily.”

His lips twitched up slightly but it was a half-hearted effort at best and he was nowhere near finished apparently.

“Don’t pick a fight you’re not willing to finish. Don’t show anyone that you’re afraid. Don’t worry about speaking over someone else if you have to—they consider that a sign of dominance.”

For a moment I thought he’d finished his quite frankly worrying summary of potential problems which sounded like they would be more at home in a divebar by the docks than an actual politically powerful establishment as a whole, but there was just one more point he had to add in as a kicker, unfortunately. He winced slightly and shot an apologetic look over his shoulder at Fena of all people before turning back to me with a worried frown on his lips as he opened them to speak once more.

“The final one is: Don’t in any way advocate for or represent half-breeds, usually surmised as being werewolves and vampires, although there are a load of other sub-groups that also count in that one and they aren’t particularly keen on Normal rights activists, either, I’m afraid.”

My mouth dropped open in surprise and just a touch of disgust, a look which was thankfully partly reflected back at me from John’s own face in response to my unspoken outrage.

Before I could actually voice any of the multiple rude answers I could feel bubbling around in my head, thanks to that little tidbit of information, Fena decided to speak up with her usual level of decorum and grace instead.

“Well, fuck them very much, too!”

I couldn’t have agreed with her sentiment more if I tried and let my relieved laugh off to show it. Considering my own dubious heritage, itself, and the fact that she’s my newly outted long-time vampire friend, I didn’t exactly take kindly to the idea that our government could be that openly biased and hateful to what were essentially the closest thing the magical world has to minority groups.

I did reconsider my laugh a few moments later and wince slightly, as a quiet little giggle came from behind me which could only have come from one particular little source who really doesn’t need to learn any new rude words or phrases at this point in her life, annoyingly!

Rather than make a big deal of things, a method I learnt to avoid after the dreaded BDSM conversation back in Washington with the same little girl behind me and her evil powers of asking about things she already knows she shouldn’t question for her own amusements sake, I allowed myself a single sigh while bringing my hand up to my temple before ploughing ahead with the topic at hand in the possibly useless hope that she’d forget about it over time if we all did too.

“What are we getting ourselves into here, John-Boy?...”

John sighed along with me and leaned his head back so far that he was left staring up at the roof of the Jeep in silence for a few seconds as he gathered his thoughts together for whatever answer he may be able to offer either way at this point.

To my surprise, I felt a little trail of his magic make itself known as his silence went on and, practically without a thought, I dropped my guard to let it make proper contact with my own magic for a form of handshake between us, which inevitably was just him paving the way for the thick blanket of magic he let loose to drape itself around my shoulders a few moments later.

We didn’t say anything else. It wasn’t really necessary once he had his magic in such close contact with mine, after all. His now standard aura of love, care, and affection was present as always, of course, but as I read deeper into his magic it became obvious that there’s more than just a few raw emotions rolling around in that big head of his at the moment.

I rolled my neck slightly to relieve some tension from my shoulders before settling my head back against my chair to stare listlessly at the roof above us like my erstwhile partner in crime as I dipped deeper and deeper into the emotions radiating out of his magic, presumably being presented for my inspection.

The first thing that struck me from his emotions was an underlying spark of anticipation.

As I followed the thread of that emotion, it branched off into a few others which I can only assume are connected to that feeling as well. The more obvious emotions included fear, pride, amusement, and more importantly what felt like that same almost overpowering source of love he gives off whenever we connect like this these days.
...He’s looking forward to what we will do to this place but he’s worried for us at the same time?...

Understandable really… I’ve not exactly got a good track record of leaving stupid stuff be when faced with it outright and this whole trip is looking to be one more great big mess of stupidity for me to sort out if nothing else!

Past the obvious emotions I could feel and the ones he wanted me to sense, or even just ones that he, himself, was acknowledging, there were a few more that really worried me above all else.

A feeling of fear tied to a mixed feeling of self-confidence and love once more, for a start, something that I can only imagine means he’s worried that my feelings about him will change with whatever is ahead of us.

A feeling of anger tied to a sense of futility and hope is another easy one to understand due to that seemingly ever-present thread of love holding it all together once more, which can only mean it’s about me again. Most likely that one is based on either his anger on my behalf for having to deal with all this, or at himself for not doing something before now in my place as he now feels he should have done.
...Hindsight’s a bitch sometimes...

The last emotional chain I could feel, one buried so deeply at the back of his mind that it was a struggle to even get a solid grasp on it, was the real worry for me out of all of the ones I’d felt in the last few seconds.

The chain was a tangled mess of conflicted feelings, the easiest to pick out being his self-confidence, his love once more, and an almost overwhelmingly deep sense of terror that I’m honestly not sure if he’d ever admit to feeling, aloud, even just to himself.

Of the remaining emotions I could feel tied together with those core ones, there were a few odd ones I’ve never felt before but that, if I had to put a name to, would be a fear of himself and what seems to be an equally strong fear of confirmation which all didn’t really make sense to me because I’m not even sure how you would go about quantifying different forms of fear in this context, let alone naming them so definitively, if I hadn’t just done it with almost pure instinct alone!

I sat in my seat and let his magic play with my own as I mulled over what I’d gathered from his thoughts and feelings, pushing against it in a game of back-and-forth that seemed to feel far too natural to be anything but comfortable as the seconds ticked by and my attention started to wander even further under the influence of that almost oppressively honest sense of calming love that seems to infuse his very being these days, every time I get a chance to sample his magic in the slightest.

Slowly, I let out an initially thin stream of my own magic and playfully let it wrap around the strand that connected his ‘blanket’ back to his body, just because I could.

A tiny smile came to my lips as I shuffled slightly in my seat to get into a more relaxed pose without jostling my arm too much and out the corner of my eyes I just managed to catch the tiny jolt his body gave when he registered the delicate touch of my magic stroking his.

He let a thin trail of his own magic split off from the main stream connecting us to try and bat my invading stream away in an equally playful manner, and the battle was on as we both settled in for a fun, almost-but-totally-not-really flirting game of chase using nothing but our unseen magic as both weapon, shield and often just a caressing hand of temptation, as well.

...That feels really gooood...

======

“They’re what?

I practically jumped out of my skin in surprise as a loud cry of indignant rage from Sarah came directly behind my poor unprepared ear, accompanied a few moments later by a string of giggles which could sadly only have one source as far as I’m concerned.

“I’ve been watching with magesight for the last few minutes, Josie has too. It’s so naughty—”
...Uh-oh, busted!...

My magic spasmed in surprise and horror as I came back to myself, realizing just what I’d been doing for the last few minutes, and who I’d been doing it with!

John’s blanket of power fell away as the connection between us snapped. In seconds all we had left to show for our little game were the bright blushes on our cheeks, mine burning a trail from my chest all the way up to my ears at this point, as a shameful mark of all the playful fun we’d just had in what we thought was a private little meeting-of-the-minds, to one degree or another.

I couldn’t bring myself to turn around, chancing either making eye contact with John or, possibly even worse, with my sister and the audience of people around us.

In the end, I fixed my eyes out the window to my right and stared hard in the vague hope that everyone would forget any of this ever happened if I only stared at the passing street outside hard enough, somehow.

Judging by the sniggers I could hear from the back-row of seats and their slightly muffled quality, it was easy to identify their owner, despite Sarah’s harsh breathing between us. I can only guess that Fena, or ‘Josie’ as Eris calls her, found this whole mess more than a little amusing, despite the accusatory glare I could feel practically digging into the back of my skull from Sarah at the same time.

...The moment we’re alone, she is going to so chew our asses out over this!...

When a few seconds of awkward silence passed and the feeling of being glared at didn’t lessen in the slightest, I allowed myself a petulantly quite huff before pulling my knee’s up to my chest with my good arm so I could huddle in the corner furthest away from Sarah’s unseen glare, as best I could.

Luckily for my sanity’s sake, if not my already strained dignity, that state of affairs only lasted for a few moments more before we reached what I’d initially thought was some sort of overgrown dead-end wall of trees blocking our path.

The little suburban road we’d been traveling down suddenly seemed to stop between two bungalow-sized houses of the seemingly quiet neighbourhood, but it turned out to be something much more impressive, as our still unconfirmed ‘Wild’ driver kept going and, in the blink of an eye, we’d driven straight through the thick treeline as if it never existed.

The other side of the presumably glamour-based fake treeline was an entirely different world that managed to take my mind completely off of my latest embarrassing slip-up with John and our magic in general.

For as far as the eye could see there was nothing but neatly kept lawns and flowerbeds ringed by a seemingly ever-present abundance of tree’s in the distance which I’d guess signified the end of Congress’s expansive grounds as a whole.

The true masterpiece of those grounds, though, stood proud at attention, smack dab in the middle of that natural paradise. A tower so tall that I couldn’t actually see the top of it from my currently awkward, window-borne position, and so wide that it probably takes up a quarter mile just on its footprint alone!

The tower looked rather odd from a distance and it was only as we drew closer to it that I could make out why.

While the base leading up from ground-level to what I’d roughly estimate to be somewhere around the thirtieth or fortieth floor, was seemingly carved out of solid stone with intricate artistry that looked practically as fresh as the day it was formed, the levels leading up past that point slowly started to change.

As my eyes kept going up, the tower itself seemed to start transitioning progressively from the uniform grey of stone-like castle designs found at its base into strut-like pillars of marble, with something that resembled glass fitted between its curving sprawl, very reminiscent of a modern high-rise tower block, to my inexperienced eye.

From there the building kept going even higher, its thick pillars thinning as it went until they took on an almost metallic sheen to them and eventually just seemed to disappear completely in favor of smooth, uninterrupted glass alone.

We drove ever closer to the oddly intriguing looking tower and the Jeep turned slightly, allowing me to finally see the top of the tower. The peak of which seemed to almost taper towards a point, before blooming out into a wide bulbous tip of what appeared to be glass yet again and, if my eyes aren’t deceiving me, appears to be shaped like a flickering flame, of all things.

To make sure that the message of this being a magical building of some importance truly got across for anyone looking at the tower. Someone had also apparently added thick, probably fool’s gold, based bands around the flame-like tip that hovered in place through pure magic alone while bobbing and twisting through the air in a seemingly endless dance around each other with smaller rings mixing between them.

I squinted down hard to try and see those rings a little better but the Jeep turned yet again and I lost sight of them, a problem that left me staring at one of two rather large stone buildings built into either side of the giant, I’m sorry to say, rather phallic-looking tower, instead.

The two, wide rectangular buildings were roughly the same size as each other. Neither reaching up past even the stone portion of the tower itself, but both being possibly wider than it on a footprint basis, seemingly to make up for that deficiency.

From where I was sitting, the left one looked almost like a football stadium crossed with a roman coliseum of some sort, while the other was done up like some sort of Classical style ballroom taken straight from Versailles palace itself. Neither was as eye-catching nor as awe-inspiringly magical as the tower itself, but they were both still quite impressive and obviously well cared for, if nothing else.

Finally our parade of Jeeps rolled up to the wide circular front-entrance of the Congressional tower and we pulled to a stop. Waiting as soldiers climbed out of the front Jeep and a red vest wearing young man got into the passenger-side, presumably to help guide the driver on where to park up, judging by the way they pulled away from the carved stone front steps moments later and our chain moved onwards slightly once again, at least.

By the time Pauly had gotten out of his Jeep and already started shouting out orders to his men, probably about seeing up a perimeter of some sort—
...He likes doing that apparently...
I found myself huffing out a breath of annoyance at all the fuss we have to go through at this point, just to get out of a bloody car of all things!

Eventually it was our turn and, just like last time, Oats got out of the passenger-side seat first before doing her now practically customary door opening circuit and coming to a stop at my door in particular as the others got out, so she could wait for a nod to continue from Pauly himself.

I straightened my legs out properly and winced from the sting of pain my now stiff, cast-covered arm gave off as I prepared to get out while pulling my, frankly, rather inappropriate feeling given the circumstance, conjured red boat-necked sweatshirt down to cover my shorts a bit better.

======

Sadly, I ended up having to sit there semi-patiently for a seemingly endless long pause anyway, as Pauly apparently decided to inspect every arch and curve of the towers entrance for hidden booby-traps instead of letting me out of the bloody car!

I’d almost given up hope of getting out at all when Oats finally gave a tiny nod of her head and stepped back, pulling open my door as she went so she could wave me out like a waiter at some fancy restaurant guiding me to a table or something equally stupid.

I took my chance and burst out of the Jeep, practically sprinting around the front end of it in my haste to rejoin the others on the other side.

With a skip in my step, I hopped the last few wide stone steps of the seemingly hand-crafted, rounded staircase leading up to a pair of wide stone arches containing some, presumably also fake, gold-covered doors that just screamed opulence at every chance they could, annoyingly.

When I finally came to a halt next to the others, it took me a moment to realise that they’d all been busy in my absence and, as if in answer to my barely thought question Rosemary reached back between a now delicately fashioned, black lace-like effect robe wearing Fena and a thick, shadow-inviting hooded robe wearing John, to offer me a bundle of cloth that I belatedly realised was supposed to be for me for some reason.

Reluctantly I took the black robe from her hands and shook it out with a mild pout on my face simply for the fact that I hate having to wear stupid traditional robes an—
...Ohh, I likeeee!...

What I held in my hands, instead of the boring traditional or respectable looking robe I’d been expecting, was apparently a rather nice ultra-soft feeling garment that, in my opinion, could only barely be called a robe simply by virtue of it doing a similar job to that which a robe could be expected to do usually, if I wore it as intended, at least.

My thumbs rubbed against the jersey-like material in my hands which instantly reminded me of my nice big baggy old Pelicans sweatshirt back home.

Unlike the other robes I could see everyone else wearing, mine had the apparently special definition of being open-fronted, like the gowns you see lecturers wear in old British movies, only a lot more tailored to show off my figure once I have it on.

The real part that caught my attention about the robe though was the styling that had been done to it.

Someone had obviously spent a lot of care and effort designing this robe to match my personal style in one way or another because, through a clever mix of barely noticeable blending between different shades of black, they’d managed to design an all-in-one garment that had the feel and look of a long sweatshirt with a matching, almost dark grey-colored hood of one added in and the long-draping swirl of a duster jacket in the same jersey-like material over that as well.

The whole thing looked practically the same as if I’d taken an actual hooded sweatshirt and put a long duster jacket over it, almost like the one I found and fell in love with back at John’s manor house, before Fena covered it in blood at least, which added up to a look which instantly appealed to me on multiple levels.

It felt almost sinfully nice to slide my arms into the overly long sleeves of the robe and, with a little bit of straightening out, it looked honestly more like I was wearing a tailored matte black leather duster jacket over an open hooded-sweatshirt and a worryingly short red ‘dress’ below that, to boot!

I couldn’t help but smile happily as I pulled the open edges of the robe together for a moment to check how it would look closed before letting it go again to swing around my ankles elegantly as the soft fabric of it all moulded to my curves deliciously. My head slowly came back up and I made eye contact, first with a proudly smiling Rosemary before drifting slightly onwards to a rather amused looking, black lace and leather wearing Fena, eventually settling on John’s mostly shadowed face which his new hood would only let just a hint of show so he could grin in that oh-so-mysterious way he always insisted made him look ‘cool’ back in school.

Finally my eyes settled on Sarah, now sporting a more traditional looking robe while standing next to a short, business-ready, robe-wearing Trudy on one side and a frankly adorable looking Eris in an almost dress-like version of my new robe which she already seemed far too fond of judging by the way she keeps playing with the hood and rubbing the sleeves between her fingers like I’m finding myself doing unconsciously in response to her little finger movements.

“Maybe this won’t be so bad after all?”
...At least we’ve got comfortable new clothes that look good!...

If this is my prize for putting up with all the hassle it took to get us here in the end, I’m almost tempted to say it was worth it, honestly.

This robe is the clothing item I’ve always wanted but never knew I wanted at the same time. It looks just normal enough to wear on the street, just fancy enough to wear at Congress, but so comfortable that I’m tempted to find out where Rose got it from so I can get another one just to sleep in, if nothing else!

“Ms Cooper-Garnier and associates? If you can all follow me, please, they are waiting for you in the spire.”

A rather snooty looking man in very dull, truly traditional-looking formal robes that suck compared to our custom ones in all their awesome glory, waved us toward a large red carpet-covered staircase enclosed on either side by two wide, square tubes which look like honest-to-Powers glass elevators.

The asshole didn’t even bother to look back, as if he just knew we’d follow him without question from the get-go and—
...Great! So much for the good start to this mess...
On the plus side, new robes! Ooh, so soft and warm!

Look out you Congressional assholes! I’m Hannah Cooper, and I feel like a comfortable badass!



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