Mana of Mayhem: Magic School Blues
Iris von Sepperin is more than happy to recount the story of her time at Disseptum Fractio (as the Academy had been known before Iris and her friends had finished with it); it turns out that she had had a very interesting collegiate experience indeed.
The elder Sepperin had departed shortly after the start of the tale, ostensibly to attend to some other business; Isaac suspects that his departure has ulterior motives, as well. Perhaps hearing the harrowing tale of his daughter’s adventures in saving the world brings back past worries; perhaps he doesn’t want his own reactions to undermine Iris’s tale. Whatever the case, Isaac isn’t inclined to complain, as his headache had almost immediately dwindled with the Graf’s departure, leaving him free to listen to Iris’s story… and what a tale it is. Isaac had thought his own time at the Academy had been insane, but Iris’s is enough to make his look positively humdrum.
The story she’s telling isn’t the unvarnished truth—of that, Isaac is fairly certain. It’s too neat, for one thing, and there are a few points where it seems as though she’s oh-so-gracefully skating around something. Still, if it’s not the whole truth, Isaac suspects that it’s at least fairly close… and though Isaac tends to avoid having any truck with humility, the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach feels uncomfortably similar.
Doubt the details of her story if you will, but be wary of underestimating her abilities… the shadow whispers.
Oh, don’t worry about that. If anything, I suspect she’s understating things; our well-endowed Professor certainly seems to have a high estimation of her, Isaac chuckles sardonically, his mental voice flickering back to the shadow like the bluish light of a gas flame. I’ll assume that extends to the other Wonder Twin, as well. And if those two are that strong… here Isaac’s sardonic tone falls flat, …then what does that say about her comrades? About Marisa, for example. About her daddy Darth Shadowman, who gives me headaches just by sitting in the same room? Isaac sighs.
I am pleased to see you start to realize where you stand in the food chain, the shadow says, a condescending smirk in its voice. I have warned you of Marisa in the past; of the three you have named, I think that she is the least… still, her power is no slight thing, and her prescience means you would be a fool not to tread carefully in dealing with her. But… Darth Shadowman, as you call him… he is a power greater and more dangerous still. His power is as much a part of him as his breath… and like breath, it is not something entirely under his conscious control. The lights here are dim… but I suspect that had they been bright, you would have seen the shadows of this place acting very oddly in his presence. That is why you felt his presence so strongly—his power is a wild thing, leashed only loosely, and you yourself share a common elemental affinity.
Hmph… if that’s the case, then I would imagine that you must have felt it more strongly still, Isaac observes.
There is a pause at this. Yes. But though his power is not fully contained, so long as it lacks conscious direction, it is but as a current… it can be felt, but for one such as I, possessed of will and intellect, it can be resisted. The suppression of another’s will is an art in and of itself, and one both intricate and difficult to master… the shadow says, trailing off for a moment in contemplation.
Well. Lovely. And the Doublemint Twins themselves? Isaac asks.
The most dangerous of all. They are, I think, your equals—perhaps your betters—in the arts of deception and manipulation, and I doubt they have shown anything like the totality of their power. The tale she weaves does require a certain level of ability, the shadow observes drily.
Yeah… and that bar’s getting higher as this story goes on, Isaac sighs, as Iris approaches the conclusion of her story. Even disregarding the fact that they made their own extradimensional fortress—and you can be certain that I plan to have a good chat with Doctor Plott on that once we get back, because something like that is far too handy not to attempt to learn—she’s essentially talking about six girls taking on an army of ravening existential horrors and winning. Twice. On the monsters’ home turf, no less. If we tried that, even both of us going all out, we’d straight up die.
Hmph. Do not wallow in self-pity just yet, Isaac. You have a great deal left to learn, true… but we have—you have—grown much… the shadow says; there is a strange, almost hungry edge in its mental voice as it trails off into watchful silence… an edge that Isaac, devoting at least half of his attention to marveling at Iris’s tale of the final battle with Crominus beneath the Filth-infested campus, misses completely.