, Come into my Parlor~.png
"Very well, fine." You grumble. "Supports, struts, where are they required, exactly? I might as well get this out of the way."
"Need a ring, here, and a few there... there and there." Yamame says, helpfully pointing out the wheres. "... And you'll need one main support, about there."
"Impossible." You interrupt. "That is the central podium, for lectures."
"Yeah, it's also where the biggest majority of architectural stress focuses." Yamame argues. "Rocks fall, they come down first and fastest right there. So sorry, looks like we need a substitute for the rest of the year, what a shame."
"Bah. I still cannot simply put a pillar there. Not without redesigning and restructuring the entire construction." You say, frown deepening.
"You better hop to it, then, right? Got a bit of paper, pen? No? How's about you, old man?"
"I do believe I might have such a thing on my person..." Albus affably agrees, patting himself down before withdrawing a simple quill pen and a bit of parchment. "I am afraid, however, that I have no ink at the moment..."
"No problem, I got something around here. Yeesh, been a while since I tried to use one of these..." She grumbles, patting herself down very deliberately. "Or not, huh. Might have left it there, on the thing, in the place. Mind if I grab that quick?"
"It would be no trouble to fetch ink from my office?" Albus suggests.
"Nah, you guys chat about teachy stuff, I'll be right back." She says, stepping out and leaving things in a moment of silence before Albus speaks again.
"An interesting acquaintance of yours, miss Knowledge." He says, thoughtfully. "Ah, I keep meaning to ask if you mind that I call you by your given name? It is, naturally, more polite and proper to maintain some distance, but as colleagues..."
"I believe I prefer the formality." You say, carefully.
"Hm, as you please." He says, waving it off. "It was merely an idle thought. In any case, do feel free to address me as Albus, Brian, Wulfric, Dumbledore, or even, if you must, Percival, as you prefer." He offers congenially. "But yes, it is somewhat interesting that you have cause to bear close ties to... a skilled architect, I believe? There are not so many such among the magical world. Preference is, you will find, in many cases to simply build as one pleases and then handle errors in construction with those wards I had mentioned."
Not so many? The man would be surprised, if he went to some hidden places. Though it is likely that he is simply referring to human architecture, in which case such beings as Dwarves, and of course, Earth Spiders such as Yamame, would not be counted.
"In point of fact... she is currently, hm. I believe the closest approximation would be 'on retainer', not as an architect or bricklayer or mason, but as... something of a personal nurse, to aid with my own unfortunate bouts of ill health?"
"Truly? A woman of multiple skills, indeed." Albus replies, eyebrows raising.
"Yeah. I just got this kinda way with illness." Yamame says, stepping back in. "Building places is... more like a family hobby, I guess?"
"If the entirety of your family is thus skilled, then I might like to meet them at some point." Albus muses aloud.
"Oh, I'm sure they'd love to have you for dinner." Yamame says, a turn of phrase that you find somewhat foreboding, as it cannot have been chosen by accident. Especially in conjunction with that slight, sly grin. "But with one thing and another, probably better not. Don't know where most of them are, anyway, we don't really get on, much."
Not unexpected, you suppose. You watched a spider nest hatch once, erupting into thousands and thousands of little specks of skittering legs, which rapidly turned on each other for their first meal. Later on, when the numbers were reduced to a paltry few dozen young, you believe the mother spider entered the fray and began feeding herself, as well, prompting the remnants to scatter in every direction.
This sort of thing is, if it translates much at all, probably not conductive to a warm and pleasant family atmosphere.
"Anyway, got ink." She says, holding up a little vial. It doesn't look like one of yours. One of hers? Filled with thick black fluid. "Hold this for me, will you?" She says, pressing it into Albus' hands as she spreads the parchment open on a wall, then bites the tip of the quill and dips it in the vial, very precisely withdrawing it afterwards and not spilling anything. "Mind, don't let it touch your bare skin. It's perfectly good ink, and I use it by habit for this sort of thing since it's easiest for me to get ahold of, but it's also kind of deadly poison, a bit. I don't think it's a problem just with skin contact, but better not to try your luck, and all."
"Really?" Albus says, tone a mingled duet of very mild alarm and less restrained fascination. It takes you a moment for you to realize that the spider has just all but admitted to milking her own venom glands for this, just now, and you hope that she had the good sense to do it somewhere out of sight enough that nobody noticed anything odd, if anyone is nearby at this time in the morning.
Yamame ignores the question, making some quick sketches, then bites her lip in further thought for a moment before drawing a few extra lines on the blueprint. It takes a further minute or two, and repeated dips in the little vial of poison ink before she nods, seeming to have come up with something serviceable.
"I believe you should keep the quill." Albus decides, when she makes to hand it back. "I am afraid I have something of a habit from my schoolboy days, which I have never quite shaken, of nibbling at the tip during pauses in writing as I consider the proper phrasing and the best words to use."
"Suit yourself." Yamame agrees, tucking it away somewhere.
You pluck up the vial of corked poison before she starts to reach for it, though, giving it a closer look as you put the cork into place.
"Gonna need that back, you know?"
"Yes, you'll have it. ... Later." You half agree, thinking about how to best determine any potential usefulness of the venom. Yamame shrugs, proffering the crude blueprint. There is not so much as a single word on display, but the diagrams of the adjusted building are very well done.
"Build it like that. And don't smudge the lines, but if you do, don't lick your fingers after." She warns.
"Noted. And yes, this should be suitable."
Perfectly serviceable, at least, though there is rather a more significant amount of restructuring of the building to be done than was involved in fixing the tower. You find, once finished, that you might like to sit down for a moment or three, but content yourself instead with several deep breaths as you survey the results. Good enough.
"I believe that the elves might have something prepared for breakfasting, that should still be available at this time." Albus says, seeming to be thinking to himself, only aloud.
"It won't be required. I have some small errands to perform, and Yamame was just returning."
The spider seems less pleased by this affirmation of what she would be doing than she was at your willingness to bend to her area of expertise, but in the end she lets out an annoyed sigh and agrees that, yes, she should probably be on her way.
It's only the work of a moment to shuffle her back, and then you're off to shopping. Diagon Alley is the most obvious place to begin, as you have wine to purchase there, though with your beating earlier, creating portals is somewhat more taxing than it might otherwise have been.
You take a moment to stand in place, discreetly catching your breath as you watch the alley going about early morning routine.
"There's a lot of them, huh?"
You erupt into a fit of coughs at Rumia's voice, but manage to control yourself after only a few moments.
"Do you think they'd notice one missing?" She asks thoughtfully, a hungry gleam in her eyes, sitting on a small pile of crates nearby and eying the milling pedestrians with interest.
"Yes. They would. More importantly, I would notice, and then things would become very uncomfortable for you." You threaten, not bothering to hide your vexation at her unwanted appearance.
"Is... is that so?" Rumia replies weakly.
"More importantly, how and when did you get here?" You nearly snap. "I watched for your presence. You did not enter my shadow, or pass through the portal. You did not even approach either. And yet, here you are...?"
"Didn't need to." She says, idly, falling a little to the side and into the shadow of a building, before coming out of one on the other side. "All shadows are Darkness. Just have to find the right bit, for where you want~"
This is somewhat alarming. Free travel such as that, which apparently bypasses the Boundary itself? It's no concern of yours what happens to portions of the outside that aren't your responsibility, but even so...
You recall that series of notes the child of Miare made. Wasn't there part of it devoted to Rumia herself, as notable enough to be mentioned? You think quickly, sifting through your mental library for the correct page...
"And the Hieda girl only considers you an average threat?" You say, thoughtfully. "Can't see through your own darkness, just a supporting ability?"
"Ah, true, it is so. My eyes are not so good... I can't see much better than a human, so if the darkness is too thick?"
She gives a casual, deliberate shrug.
"Can't see out, doesn't like the sun and keeps a thick shade up, don't notice quiet people going through, keep running into trees, silly little Rumia~" She chirps, something flashing in her eyes. "Daaaangerous if you let her get ahold of you, but not Tooooo dangerous~ Isn't that so?"
Her smile is just a bit wider than might be considered comfortable, for a few moments.
[ ] What do you do?