Thank you both so much for the tips. I will definitely work on the talking heads syndrome.
[x] Grab one of Patchouli's introductory magic books. Perhaps a basic understanding of both magic and science could help. This option is influenced by a unique skill of yours
[x] Eight hours at most
Time to bunker down and think. You've got a magical conundrum, and you know absolutely nothing about magic. All the normal magical methods have been ineffective, and you have been whisked from your home in exchange for performance enhancing magic to use science to solve said conundrum. That's the abridged version.
In reality, you're more of a pet
to a purple haired, frail, female magical demon-monster-creature-cryptid-thing. Your summoner or master has the equivalent of magical radiation asthma and she can't even go outside before she's coughing out her intestines. Your job is to make the legendary Philosopher's Stone using magic and science and then think of an operation that will remove "flux" and "taint" from your boss's lungs (and probably every-organ else) and dispense of the thing in a perfect solvent. Piece of cake.
Perhaps the first issue is that you have no idea what "flux" or "taint" is, or how one gets them inside their body
, or really anything about magic. You need to learn about how magic works so that you can actually make some good ideas that aren't random shots in the dark. You look at the various advanced textbooks on your ornate mahogany desk. These may be useful, and you're going to occasionally check them, but you're gonna wait for later. No use in working on something else when Patchouli is little more than a few steps away from you and practically begged you to try to solve her problem.
Actually, speaking of Patchouli, she's already nose deep in a book, a cup of coffee next to her, and you swear it hadn't even been a minute since you arrived. You are about to ask her for a book recommendation, but you really don't want to interrupt her. In truth, Patchouli doesn't seem too sound of mind right now. That's not to say you're much better, but she was lashing out at what's supposed to be her best friend over a suggestion. She must have had this ailment for a while, you know how chronic illnesses wear someone down. Better not to give a reason to be yelled at.
Instead you walk up to Koakuma as she rushes from a bookshelf with a particularly nasty stack of books towards Patchouli's desk.
"Want some help there?" You're taller than her, so you chop her load in half before she can respond.
"Thanks, Miss Knowledge can be demanding at times," she sighs, her shoulders and back groaning in appreciation. The both of you silently drop the books off on the peripheries of Patchouli's desk. She doesn't even notice, or if she did, she'd rather read her book. You want to say something to Koakuma, but a emphatic finger in front of her mouth, followed by a zipping up motion convinces you not to. You move a safe distance away before Koakuma speaks again.
"Thanks again, did you need something?" Koakuma doesn't really look like a devil, other than the comical wings next to her head. You wonder about what makes someone a devil as opposed to a random demon. Distractions! You need an introductory book, not fun facts about devils.
"Yes actually, I need an introductory book on magic. Any suggestions?" Koakuma puts her hand on her chin as she scans the nearby books.
"You know... I think the reference materials are this way," she mumbles as she guides you around the massive library. The titles are in an assortment of languages. Arabic through Zulu, English through Sanskrit, every text is represented in some part. Being able to read all this would be great, but you really only know three languages: English, Latin, and Greek. You scan for dictionaries of any kind, but even if you were to find them, you'd probably gloss over them, lost in the endless shelves.
"So, I can whip up a reading translation potion, but those aren't really the best." She stops right in front of you as you arrive at a particular shelf filled with much cleaner books. These are in pristine condition, as opposed to the dusty and almost broken tomes in some of the shelves.
"I know English, Latin, and Greek, but hit me up with that potion, please," you reply. You expect dissapointment from the devil, but she seems elated and grabs four books instantly off the shelf.
"Perfect! Quick get that book, and that one too!" You reach for a particular book she points at, this one written in what seems like medieval Latin.
"No, that one is terrible, that
one!" She beckons even less clearly than before, but trial of elimination seems to win out. After decimating the bookshelf, you and Koakuma carry back the load of around twenty books. At this point, Koakuma begins sorting out the material. While most you understand, a couple are in different languages, particularly Arabic and what seems to be Hindi.
"So, read the stack closest to the chair first, then move clockwise from there. You don't need to memorize this like your science-y books, there's no test," she chuckles at her own comments, "but they'll let you understand what's going on," she finishes, moving her arms back akimbo style, clearly prideful of playing librarian.
"Hey, thank you so much, I would've been lost here without your help." She grins in response, you wonder how much she gets thanked.
"No problem, Richie! Oh, let me cook up that potion for you, it's kinda nasty so I'll put it in your coffee," she's about to take off, but you feel the need to talk to her more. She really has been the most cordial to you out of everyone in this crazy mansion.
"Hold up!" Patchouli scowls at the pair of you, she is not
pleased with your exclamations. You ignore her, you've been religiously quiet when moving through the halls, any loudness turned into a weird pseudo yelled whisper. She can deal with one genuine shout. Koakuma turns to you as you walk towards her, Patchouli might scowl one second and blast you with insane magic the next, you don't want that, so you keep it quiet.
"I'm gonna study for a while, but afterwards can we, uh, hang out and, like, talk about some ideas?" you ask. Does that sound needy? What if it's interpreted the wrong way? Why is it so hard to tell when talking to a devil? Koakuma only grins as you bluster your words.
"Sure, but shouldn't you ask Miss Knowledge? She's the best at this stuff," she gazes at Patchouli, who is now furiously scratching something on parchment. one book held in a stand, the other beside her. You don't know why she's doing differential calculus in that weird Mongolian script, but you do know it's out of your league in terms of magic. The math: easy, the Mongolian: potion-able, the flower drawings and weird shapes: nope.
"That may be the issue. Ever had her try to explain her research?" Koakuma shudders at the thought.
"Right. Maybe I should help you out then. OK, I've got to go, good luck!" She's off to the kitchens, were she's probably going to brew your potion.
You return to your desk. The first book, surprisingly enough, is in English. Well, that's not the real shock. The really big hitter is the fact that the books are "Dungeons and Dragons, Fifth Edition, Player's Handbook" and "Dungeons and Dragons, Dungeon Master's Guide". You open up the book to see a couple of notes. 'I've heard this was a popular game in the Outside. The magic is accurate to an extent, don't worry too much about the specifics, Suffice it to say, "The Weave" is known by many names(leylines, knots, mana), but cannot manifest in the Outside world for some reason.'
You digest the books quickly. You used to play this game back when you did things with friends, and the reading level isn't too difficult. You ponder that Patchouli must be closer to a Sorcerer or Warlock than a Wizard, since she isn't human and is more like a magical aberration.
The next books are different. It's at this point that Koakuma returns with a cup of coffee and a clear vial.
"Thanks, are you gonna also be reading?" You take the vial and mix the liquid with the coffee.
"I have to keep this place up and running, but I'll sneak in some if I can," she replies, before you know it she's already disappeared. Work never seems to end here.
You look upon the "book". In truth, you see papyrus, not as old as the Greeks, but carefully recreated. The Greek Magical Papyri
, in their full form. Impossible.
Apparently not. You dive into the text as the translation slowly washes over you. You notice how the spell instantly translates all text that you see, though it is important to note that as you read, you realize how wrong
the translations can be. Your own studies of Greek end up being more correct than the translation, especially for the old stuff. It seems the spell translates Modern Greek.
You glean important information over elemental magic, Patchouli's specialty. It's made obvious from the loving annotations that she inscribed, little tidbits of outside magical schools, and even parts where Patchouli lampoons the similarities between Greek and Egyptian magic. You also notice the first spell is the familiar spell. The one used on you
, albeit with alterations.
For a full day she fasted and even made the trek to the roof during the dead of night. You wonder how much medicine and steroids Koakuma must have fed Patchouli to allow the first part of the ritual to begin. Deep myrtle was burned to allow the link to occur, upon which she descended back down and began the process to truly contact you. 'Supernatural familiars just won't happen. Retch every time I try. Try normal.'
You read Patchouli's note. The important question here is: why? Patchouli should be able to summon the angel unless some other force is stopping it. It's like physics, another force has to act on Patchouli or else the magic will keep working, so what is it? Is that the taint? Maybe if you just keep reading...
There's a section on curses, but nothing about taint. Both of them aren't really about anything Patchouli would use. One is to stop someone from victory, and the other makes someone obedient. Neither of them involve demons or elemental magic.
Those three books finish the first stack. You get the gist of magic: it unlocks some form to control energy to do very specific things. The ways people control this are why you have different names. The complex rituals aren't really necessary, and the laws of the universe still apply to a degree. For instance: energy must be maintained, and so must mass. In that case the Philosopher's Stone must be able to power these reactions, however they may occur. Another important thing is to be able to take the energy released by the reactions and store them safely, otherwise you'd have a nuclear apocalypse when you turn stone to gold.
Elemental magic is extremely complex, and requires both control and the ability to be flexible with these reactions. Fire and air are the easiest of the bunch, as they come down to the creation of a force or the creation of energy. Water and earth are the hardest because they either require a force to move water or require someone to expend energy to shift the structure of either the air or earth to create water or certain rock formations.
And some magic can't be done if you've done something else, case in point? Patchouli cannot do anything holy. She writes large notes saying things like 'Too much divinity'
, or 'Holy=can't'
all over every holy spell. She straight out can't do it for some reason.
It's been four hours, you realize. You stretch and look around. Koakuma is off returning books, and for once Patchouli isn't looking at her books or writing some equations in it. She's looking at you.
You look back. It's an awkward stare, and in truth you're both searching each other, rather than locking eyes. Surprisingly, she's the one who speaks first.
"You're stretching too?"
"Just finished the Greek Magical Papyri" She seems embarrassed. "I really appreciated your annotations."
"It's one of my favorites. Get back to work, please," and her head is back into the book. So much for talking with her.
To your left is the next set of books. These are much more involved, and most are not in any language you know, save for a Latin translation of The Key of Solomon
The first two books are in Arabic, and the slipshod potion only gives you a vague understanding of astrology and talisman making, but you doubt these will do much to help you. Astrology follows a complicated set of rules and diagrams, but overall you find that you'd have no purpose in it for making a Philosopher's Stone. The section on talismans more closely approaches alchemy. Essentially, when creating a talisman the goal is to have an image of nature doing its job. The ingredients are a bit too badly translated to learn any specific talisman, but you understand that the principals of astronomy, astrology, and talisman making all are inherently combined in creative that image of belief. There are no annotations in this one, though furious circling and underlining were done to this work.
The next book seems to be in Arabic, but upon closer inspection, you realize it is in fact a Latin translation. Score! This book, the Sefer Raziel Hamalach
is a Kabbalian grimorie. It is filled to the brim with protective magic and rituals about angeology. The other pressing thing here is the constant talking about the days of the week. You swear you remember some analogs to East Asian magic with the days of the week. This book has almost no annotations. It seems past a certain point of the names of the angels Patchouli just stopped even trying. She did
underline the section on the names of the Christian God, and even wrote them backwards in small print. interesting.
The final book is in Italian. You recall Ringo, the Japanese horror movie, as the spell translates the book's name: Heptameron
, or Seven Days. The book is a huge astrological and elemental grimoire, noting every day of the week, every hour of every day and every night. It shows large runic sigils and even seasonal differences in magic. You can gleam an understanding of Patchouli's adaptation of the holy magic into elemental magic.
You can't really think all too well anymore. You realize you've worked for eight hours, the little bits of light you'd see in the library have turned to a shimmering twilight. You get up off your desk for a much needed stretch, taking both the books you've read and your science books with you. Patchouli is still working, but you realize she isn't going to last much longer.
"Do you want to relax for a bit? It's been eight hours," you ask. Patchouli sighs before turning to you.
"Thanks for the offer Richard, but I'm pretty close deriving a new formula that might work." She looks back at her book. You feel you could probably convince her to leave that behind and walk with you, but if she's adamant on not moving you aren't one to force her.
"Oh before I forget, your next exam is in two days, I'll transport you tommorrow night." Didn't she just try to avoid sending you back and forth? Maybe the loose control over your mind by the contract also has an effect on her.
"Good to know, thanks." You walk towards the kitchens, Koakuma is sitting on a small table, lazily reading a shoddy young adult novel. At least it's not Divergent.
"Hey there. I'm done for now, how's the book?" You take a seat next to her, arranging each book of yours in an easy to reach fashion.
"Hey, Richard. This one's alright. What are your ideas, questions, comments, and/or concerns?" she playfully asks. Time to ask away.
What are you questions?
[x] Why can't Patchouli do any holy magic?
[x] What is taint?
[x] Just what is Patchouli's elemental magic?
[x] Write in
What are some solutions for the Philosopher's Stone?
[x] Use talisman magic to power the changing of elements and power it using enthalpy of formation of various things
[x] Use astrological signs to gain the energy, you only need to find a way to change the chemical composition
[x] Maybe you should read some more to gain more knowledge... you aren't ready to throw around ideas.
[x] Write in
After this conversation, what will you do?
[x] Talk to someone? (write in who you want to socialize with if this is the case)
[x] Study for your exams
[x] Keep studying magic
[x] Write in
I want to mention a couple of things. Firstly, the very best option for each route will always be a write-in using knowledge gained from the text. I actually skimmed all the books Richard read, so don't be afraid to be creative. That's not to say a good option can't be done by using the choices given, but for Best Ending 100% you're probs gonna have to get creative in certain places. Secondly, expect slower updates for a while, it took me a while to make this but I feel I've given some decent mágicks knowledge so it was worth it. Thirdly, science route will require you to give me some decent science. The answers given should already be a hint as well as Richard's explanation of magic.