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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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File 145670795220.png - (713.70KB , 800x800 , First.png )
706129 No. 706129 ID: 3bc92d

It came to pass, in those first dawning days, that the childish New species of Mortal Human was rendered into a creature subservient to the Old.

From their untamed homelands, each Mortal Human was taken to those warped silver lands of the Noble Fae, in the heart of the First Immortal Empire, and were turned to serve their new masters over the course of recursive eternities.

So it was, then, that the Noble Fae ruled with abandon, for Mortal Human was fragile and weak in the eyes of those deathless. In an era long past the time of integration, not one Mortal Human remembered of any existence in freedom, for theirs had become a reality of pure service.

Yet the day came, too, when things did change. When one Mortal Human’s quality of craft exceeded all expectations put to their kind, the Old Queen did call upon them, ordering them to visit the Argent Hall for purposes then unknown.
Expand all images
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No. 706130 ID: 3bc92d
File 145670800905.png - (569.78KB , 800x800 , Second.png )
706130

There are two tales told of the servant’s identity, and perhaps both are true.

One story speaks of the Stoic Valet, a man known as a legendary perfectionist, a brave guardian, and a dutiful retainer to many minor lords of the Noble Fae.

The other tells of the Clever Maid, a woman known as a wise governess beyond reproach, a brilliant advisor, and a quick thinker who had twice spoken her way out of death’s grasp.

The many similarities between these two stories would make the telling of both redundant.

Which would you prefer?
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No. 706131 ID: 15a025

Let's hear your tale, Stoic Valet.
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No. 706132 ID: 3bc92d
Audio First_&_Second_Narration.mp3 - (1.38MB , First & Second Narration.mp3 )
706132

I’m willing to provide narration for each update in this quest. If people aren’t interested, however, or are unhappy with the narration, I’ll stop doing it. Please tell me what you think.

This quest will be partially sprite-based, so I may take a bit of time preparing the next update. I’m going to try to keep a daily update schedule after that, though.

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No. 706133 ID: f6442a

Clever Maid: Equip arms.
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No. 706135 ID: 2ccbb3

How about their daughter?

Shot in the dark. Go with the maid, I'm not here to listen to a tale of valor.
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No. 706137 ID: 02422f

Clever Maid. Speaking our way out of trouble is our whole thing!
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No. 706138 ID: 343b23

As much as I like cleverness to many quest go with female. Let's go with the guy this time.
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No. 706139 ID: 343b23

clever female is good.
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No. 706140 ID: 5ea852

I so want to go for the Valet, but why did you give the Maid such a cute outfit? I CURSE YOU THRICE FOR THAT!

>>706132
Pretty cool narration, but I'd advise for more pauses in speech and to speak more slowly in order to achieve atmospheric eeriness. By the way, you almost sound like Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. Noice.
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No. 706144 ID: f2461f

Going for the butler, butlers are cool.
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No. 706153 ID: eb385b

Stoic Valet
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No. 706194 ID: b17b81

Stoic valet.
Btw nice voice. Audiobook quality narration.
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No. 706197 ID: 2f4b71

Clever maid.
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No. 706403 ID: e1ceb6

Clever maid
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No. 706412 ID: a6dc58

Stoic Valet
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No. 706414 ID: aedc16

lets go with the Stoic Valet, that moustache has won me over.
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No. 706751 ID: 3009b4

Clever Maid because she is adorable.
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No. 706843 ID: 3d2d5f

Mlever caid.
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No. 706846 ID: 2a7417

*tips feather duster* M'aid.
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No. 706899 ID: c49c94

Stoic Valet
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No. 706987 ID: f6595e

Hmmmmmm, hmmmm. I don't know why, but let's go with the Stoic Valet.

You have a nice reading voice! Personally, I think the speed and timing is fine. If I HAD to pick something to change, it's that it sounds a bit...sleepy, here and there? I dunno, though; it's kinda growing on me.

Now, I don't think the narration is *necessary* - but it is kinda cool, and unusual, to boot.

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No. 707013 ID: f461c5

Honestly I like the Valet, but I want to see the Maid, because DIPLOMANCIN.
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No. 707014 ID: f56624

>>706130
stoic valet. maid's a qt but guys we need to break our bard bias
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No. 707017 ID: 3f73b0

>>706133
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No. 708731 ID: 3bc92d
File 145784874701.png - (554.18KB , 800x800 , Third.png )
708731

I got a letter this morning.

It was addressed to ‘The Clever Maid’. I guess that’s my name, now? It is what the Fae keep calling me, I suppose.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the letter, when it arrived. Honestly, I’m still not sure. It was in black print on a page of folded hard gold, and bound in thorny black vines.

Very storybook, I suppose. The Fae do love their stories.

When I saw who it was from, I thought it might have been a joke. The Old Queen of the Fae, leaving a letter on my doorstep? Why? The letter urged me to visit the Argent Hall - the Fairy Capitol!

I feel like I’ve walked into somebody else’s life. What did I do to deserve this? Perhaps I made a wrong turn somewhere. Angered the wrong lord, or some such. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have to do what it says. Refusing the Queen would be sentencing my own execution, and I don’t think I could talk myself out of that one.
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No. 708732 ID: 3bc92d
File 145784892067.png - (896.90KB , 800x800 , Fourth.png )
708732

So, after having breakfast, I put on my best clothes, followed the directions in the letter, walked for hours through a cold and quiet forest, and ran right into a dead end. The path ahead is completely blocked by a fairy fence.

Only Fae can pass through a barrier like this. I know that the Argent Hall is on the other side of it, but I have no idea how I’m supposed to get through.

I can’t turn back now, not without disobeying the Queen, and, besides, I’m already this close.

So, what should I do?

>1. Explore the small, circular tunnel to the left of the main road.
>2. Explore the footpath to the right of the main road.
>3. Give up and go home.
>4. Try to break through the fairy fence.
>5. __________________
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No. 708733 ID: 3bc92d
Audio Third_&_Fourth_Narration.mp3 - (2.46MB , Third & Fourth Narration.mp3 )
708733

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No. 708734 ID: 2ccbb3

2. Footpath should be safest, even the nobles wouldn't deathtrap places that they're likely to take a Saturday morning drive around...

... right?
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No. 708736 ID: 40cf56

>>708732
Try knocking maybe?
Fae classically appreciate politeness.
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No. 708741 ID: f6442a

Footpath. Your dress might get sullied by the tunnel.
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No. 708859 ID: 02422f

>I guess that’s my name, now? It is what the Fae keep calling me, I suppose.
Technically, it's a title, but it serves the same purpose, here.

>5
An you knock? Or is there a bell or chime somewhere to ring? If you can summon a gatekeeper, perhaps you can talk your way through.

>2
If that doesn't pan out, try the footpath. You won't make a mess of yourself, and you're more likely to encounter someone walking you can test your tongue on than crawling though a tunnel.
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No. 709892 ID: 3bc92d
File 145823716955.png - (702.25KB , 800x800 , Fifth.png )
709892

I took the time to knock on the fairy fence, knowing that the Fae do appreciate politeness. After waiting around for a minute or two, however, I received no reaction. I got the impression that they were not appreciating this particular courtesy.

Not to be disheartened, I decided to follow a small, old footpath which lead off of the main road. I thought that perhaps I could find another way through.

Instead, I came to a strange, almost corridor-like clearing. On one side was the forest, and on the other side lay a large wall of what looked like smooth obsidian.

Between the two sides, at the end of the ‘corridor’, I could see a large, glittering gem set into an odd-looking stone wall.

>1. Examine the gem.
>2. Examine the obsidian wall.
>3. Return to the main road.
>4. __________________
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No. 709893 ID: 3bc92d
Audio Fifth_Narration.mp3 - (484.80KB , Fifth Narration.mp3 )
709893

Apologies for the immediate and complete failure of my planned daily update schedule. I'll try to amend it to be at least twice a week, since that seems more doable.
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No. 709905 ID: 2a7417

Examine the gem. Is it outrageous?
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No. 709973 ID: 02422f

>>709892
Examine the gem, I suppose.
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No. 711524 ID: 3bc92d
File 145896717053.png - (611.66KB , 800x800 , Sixth.png )
711524

I approached the gem, intending to appraise it, but before I could get close, I felt a chill run through me, and I froze.

Before my eyes, a patch of darkness tore itself from the obsidian wall. It was misty, twisted, like some shapeless horror out of a nightmare.
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No. 711525 ID: 3bc92d
File 145896726137.png - (707.02KB , 800x800 , Seventh.png )
711525

Within moments, however, the smoke-like thing rearranged itself. No sooner had I blinked than I was staring at a figure of darkness, dressed in the recognizable clothes of a Noble Fae.

As I gazed at the creature, I began to hear something rumbling, and, a moment later, I realized that it was speaking to me.

“Outrageous. Simply scandalous. Your kind, allowed to trample upon the border. Do you have no respect for your betters, or are you simply unaware? Foolish, either way. Very foolish. The Old Lady’s security is slipping. Tell me, who are you, mortal? What brings you to this place? Is it a means of suicide, or only pure stupidity on your part?”

>1. “I was just leaving.”
>2. “I’m selling these fine leather jackets.”
>3. “Can I get by you? I want to take a look at that giant gem.”
>4. “I’m the Clever Maid. Is this the way to the Argent Hall?”
>5. __________________
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No. 711526 ID: 3bc92d
Audio Sixth_&_Seventh_Narration.mp3 - (2.09MB , Sixth & Seventh Narration.mp3 )
711526

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No. 711530 ID: 5ad4a7

>>711525
4 is very much the obvious thing to say here.

I want to say 2 though. A lot.
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No. 711533 ID: 02422f

>What brings you to this place?
5: Why, I was invited, sir, and it seemed like it would be stupidity on my part to ignore such a missive. *Display the closed letter, assuming you're carrying it.*

Then 4.
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No. 711588 ID: 1cebc8

4. He doesn't see you more than a mere fly, but if you address yourself as his boss' pet fly he'll realize that swatting you would be incredibly stupid. For all their power, the Fae are BORED. Declaring war on this entity for petty reasons would be fun for the queen.
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No. 711706 ID: f873b3

Hmmmmm, probably 4.

Ooh, did you get a guest speaker, or are you using an impressively natural-sounding voice-changer program, or is your voice impossibly flexible?
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No. 712948 ID: 3bc92d
File 145951688125.png - (622.03KB , 800x800 , Eighth.png )
712948

“Why, I was invited, sir, and it felt like it would be stupidity on my part to ignore such a missive.” I produced the golden letter with a small flourish. “As for who I am, they call me the Clever Maid. Is this the way to the Argent Hall?”

“The Argent Hall?” The Noble Fae sounded amused. “I believe someone has played a rather nasty joke on you. Your kind would never be allowed entry.”

“Read the letter, sir, if you doubt me.” I handed the letter to the Noble Fae. He reached to take it, and a bit of his ‘hand’ touched mine. I shivered. It felt like scaled fog, if that makes sense. Cold, rolling, and sharp. “If it is a forgery, then I will of course turn around at once and find my way home.”

The black fairy examined the letter for a long while, and then he silently gave it back to me. “Unbelievable. What is she thinking?”

“Pardon, sir?”

“Never mind that.” The black fairy grumbled. “The missive is not a forgery. Which, to my knowledge, grants you the dubious honor of being the first human to ever be invited to the First Court. Poor beast. I do pity you.”

“Why?” I raised an eyebrow.

“The politics and customs of the court are many. An uneducated lesser being like yourself will doubtlessly violate one taboo or another, even if your visit lasts not but five minutes. Any such mistake will be seen as an offense to the Old Lady, and you will thus be ripped to ribbons in penance.”

“…Oh.” I frowned. It wasn’t exactly a revelation, but to hear it spoken out loud wasn’t encouraging. “Then what should I do?”

“You are without option. You must attend, or you will surely die, but if you do attend, you will surely die.”

“Thank you for telling me, I suppose.” I sighed.

“Mm. I do hope you enjoy the last hours of your pitiful mortal existence.”

“Can you tell me how to get through the barrier, at least?”

“I have always simply traversed it. I am ill-acquainted with methods of mortal passage. Apologies, doomed creature. Is there anything else you wish to know?”

>1. “Who are you?”
>2. “What is this place? You called it the border, didn’t you?”
>3. “Do you know of anyone else nearby who might be able to help me?”
>4. “Do you want to be friends?”
>5. “Can you tell me more about the Old Queen?”
>6 __________________
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No. 712949 ID: 3bc92d
Audio Eighth_Narration.mp3 - (4.49MB , Eighth Narration.mp3 )
712949

>>711706
A mix of the second two. I have a bizarre vocal range, but I also slightly adjust the audio with Audacity. All of it is my voice, though. I don’t have any guest speakers.
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No. 712959 ID: 3d2d5f

>An uneducated lesser being like yourself will doubtlessly violate one taboo or another, even if your visit lasts not but five minutes. Any such mistake will be seen as an offense to the Old Lady, and you will thus be ripped to ribbons in penance.
*frown* I must trust she has purpose in my presence beyond my death. If that were all she required, it could easily accomplished without engendering offense or slights to social standing. And, as you say, I have no choice.

1. May I ask with whom I am speaking, sir?

2, 3. Perhaps there is a... servant's entrance? Or a place where goods are delivered?
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No. 712960 ID: 1cebc8

2, 3, 5.
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No. 713019 ID: 5ad4a7

>>712948
3. For the purposes of learning the taboos to avoid.
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No. 714573 ID: f873b3

Perhaps, "Is there anything else I ought to know?" Otherwise...3, I guess?
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No. 719125 ID: 15a025

2, 3, and 4.
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No. 725202 ID: a606da
File 146395288341.png - (707.91KB , 800x800 , Ninth.png )
725202

“Do you think you could teach me what taboos I should avoid?”

“To do so would take decades.” The Black Fairy sighed. “I doubt you have the time. Furthermore, I have a poor reputation as a teacher. My patience is far too… finite.

“I see. Well, do you know of anyone nearby who might be able to help me?”

“There are many who might, but I daresay few who would.” The Noble Fae paused to think. “Although… there are two Fae who are more comfortable with your species. You may search for them, if that is your want.”

“Who do you mean?”

“One is the recently entombed Ignoble Prince, buried by his enemies for his heritage as well as his agenda. If I recall correctly, he was sealed within one of the ruins nearby. The other is the Imp, a lesser beast of a Fae that dwells in these woods. Such a creature is dangerous to deal with, but not more dangerous than neglecting the Queen’s invitation.”

“Thank you. Oh, on that subject, may I ask with whom I am speaking, sir?”

“If you are looking for my name, you will not receive it. I never could understand the brutish tendency of you mortals who refer to each other by appellations of birth. True Names are but curses, weaknesses branded upon us by our progenitors.” The black fairy gripped his cane more tightly. I could hear it straining not to fall apart. “Remember this, mortal, for however long you manage to survive: titles are all that matter. To give your name to a Fae is to grant access to your soul, and thus relinquish control over your very being.”

“Understood.” I nodded. “May I know your title, then, if that is polite to ask?”

“I am the Noble Prince of Shades.” The Prince of Shades introduced himself with an idle flourish. “Do feel honored, mortal. Few of your kind have ever been on speaking terms with the Sovereign of Shadow.”

“You’re a Sovereign?!”

“I am.”

“Forgive me, my lord.” I knelt. “I didn’t know.”

“I will forgive you your slight. Stand. Ask your last questions.”

“Thank you.” I stood. “What is this place? You called it ‘the border’, didn’t you?”

“Yes.” The Prince of Shades gestured around with his cane in a bored way. “This is the Pact of Sovereigns, the border between worlds. It maintains the peace.”

“What peace is that, my lord?”

“That of the Fae, of course. What other peace matters?” The Prince tapped his cane, his tone irritated. “It is a pity. I had always enjoyed the conflict, but I suppose some could not stomach the beautiful brutality of it all. Thus the Pact was formed, the Deathless War came to an end, and we Fae could harm one another no longer.”

“It sounds rather important.”

“It is. You should not be here.” The Prince suddenly loomed over me. “On that note, I think it time that our conversation ended. Leave this place, mortal, and dare not return, lest you tempt me to steal your death from the Old Lady. Trust that I will not hesitate to do so.”

My heart beating quickly, I forced a smile, bowing. “Thank you for your assistance, my lord.”

The Prince of Shades merely pointed back the way I came. I followed his direction, quickly leaving the clearing.
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No. 725203 ID: a606da
File 146395296096.png - (896.92KB , 800x800 , Tenth.png )
725203

I returned to the main road. The fairy fence still blocked the way forward, of course.

I felt thoroughly miserable at that point. Things seemed truly hopeless. But then…

“Hm hm hm hm hm!” A laugh? I looked around, but I couldn’t find the source. “How interesting! A mortal in the forest! Poor, silly little monkey. You must be looking for a way through the fence!”

“I am.” I slowly nodded, still searching for my unknown conversation partner. “Who’s there?”

“You seek the Queen, don’t you? Well, then, I am her!” The amused voice quietly echoed in the darkness. “I will allow you to pass through the barrier. That is what you want, is it not? Have no fear, for I can let you through.”

“You can?” I felt a small glimmer of hope. “I’d very much appreciate that!”

“Of course I can! I told you, didn’t I? I’m the Queen. The Old Lady herself! The act of pulling the fence away is no more strenuous than breathing to one such as me. The price is simply a favor, as well as your name. A fair bargain, to be sure! Why, I doubt the Wick himself could give you one better. What do you say?”

>1. “I want to see you, first.”
>2. “I don’t believe you. You’re not the Queen. Who are you?”
>3. “Who, or what, is the Wick?”
>4. “I refuse.”
>5. “I accept.” Give name.
>6. __________________
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No. 725206 ID: a606da
Audio Ninth_and_Tenth_Narration.mp3 - (9.62MB , Ninth and Tenth Narration.mp3 )
725206

Sorry for the unexpected delay! I'll do my best to keep updating regularly.

I tried mixing the narration audio a little differently this time around, hoping to make it louder and cleaner. What do you think?

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No. 725207 ID: 398fe1

>>725203
7. "You're the Imp, aren't you?"

3.
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No. 725208 ID: a075ba

>>725203
2, but be polite about it. I'm sorry, I'm not sure I believe the Queen herself would stoop to waiting for me outside the barrier. I'm not important enough.

This is the imp, I'm guessing. Don't make the guess immediately, though.

6: I'm sorry, my name isn't for sale. However, you may call me The Clever Maid.
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No. 725211 ID: 094652

2,7) "You must think I'm really stupid. Give me YOUR name."
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No. 725516 ID: 15a025

3 and 4.
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No. 726468 ID: a606da
File 146441732425.png - (895.68KB , 800x800 , Eleventh.png )
726468

“I don’t believe you. You’re not the Queen. You’re the Imp, aren’t you?”

“Hm hm hm hm hm!” A twisted creature leapt from the shadows, landing silently on its warped limbs. “Queen? Imp? I am either, or I could be at a moment’s notice! I can be anything I want, or that you want, given the vast totality of my reflexive experience. Experience which you will forever lack, silly monkey.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“How else should I refer to you? A lost little monkey is all that I see.” Grinning, the creature stared at me with its many eyes. I couldn’t tell which of those eyes were real, if any of them were. “Unless you’re still willing to give me your name? My previous offer does stand.”

“I refuse.” I grimaced. “You can’t have my name, but you may call me the Clever Maid.”

“Oh, clever, clever, she thinks she’s clever!” The Imp burst into laughter again. “By mortal standards, maybe! Are you sure you won’t give me your name? I am fair, you know. One to trust, and trust absolutely.”

“You must think I’m very stupid.”

“Not at all, not at all!” The creature’s tail swished back and forth, the small barb on the end of it dancing playfully along the ground. “Simple, yes, and possessing of that choice naïveté which comes with being New. But clever? I can believe that. Still, it is only the kind of cleverness found in a child. Do rest assured, I will have your name before the day has drawn to a close. It might as well happen early rather than late!”

“I’ll take my chances.” I sighed. “You mentioned the Wick. Who, or what, is that?”

“Him. The one in the hole, there.” The Imp pointed towards the large, odd hole sticking out of the dirt. “Buried for reportedly good reason, but there are, as always, two sides to everything. Such is the torture of moral liminality, and that torture is his domain. The Wick being, as he is, that Ignoble Prince, the outcast Sovereign of Suasion.”

“Could he help me get through the barrier?”

“Surely. His word is a beast of means. He might ask the wall to part, and it may dare listen! That is simply the way the world works around him. His tongue doesn’t seem apt to open his cell, though.” The Imp rapped its fingers on the ground with impatience. “But enough of the Wick! Better to bargain with one less acquainted to the act. Even as desperate as he may be, the Wick is still more dangerous than an Imp or a Queen, and less trustworthy than either.”

“Is he really that bad?”

“He invented contracts, little monkey.” The Imp curtly answered. “He is quite bad. Still, I won’t bar the way, if you really do want to speak with him.”

I blinked. “That’s awfully kind of you.”

“Is it?”

>1. Crawl into the hole and meet the Wick.
>2. Stay and continue speaking with the Imp.
>3. __________________
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No. 726469 ID: a606da
Audio Eleventh_Narration.mp3 - (6.03MB , Eleventh Narration.mp3 )
726469

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No. 726470 ID: 094652

3) FOOLISH IMP - KIDS ARE CRUEL!

Begin dancing to the "Goody Little Two-Shoes" song and KICK HIM IN THE FACE.
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No. 726472 ID: 398fe1

1.
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No. 726476 ID: 99d7d8

Give the imp a thumbs up and go meet the Wick.
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No. 726726 ID: a075ba

2:

If I would stay and speak with you, are there other terms you would offer? For I am afraid my name is not for sale.

Are you sure allowing me through the gate is within your capabilities? The last being with which I spoke was a sovereign, and knew not how I might find passage (or at least, claimed as much).

Whatever the imp answers, continue to 1. Let's explore our options before committing to either. And it's possible we can play one against the other to some extent, start a bidding war.
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