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[X] “Is there a way of identifying the person who botched my leg for certain? I mean, you felt the magic when you examined me earlier, yes? Could you tell me something about it?”
[X] “You seem knowledgeable. What can you tell me about manipulating one's memory?”
[X] “I had received a note, but my hotheaded friend stole it away. Does '223' ring a bell?”
[X] “Reisen, do you have somebody you like?”
“There's several, actually,” you correct yourself. “Much has been going on lately for me, and truth be told I'm sort of confused about a load of issues. Do you have a spare quarter or so? I don't mean to impose on your job.”
“No, it's all right,” says Reisen. “I had somebody take over my duty at the reception.”
Then she has taken precautions to make sure the two of you would have enough time to have a longer chat, is that it? Wishful thinking? No, you can't let yourself read too deep into this, you need to focus – and not on her alluringly opened cleavage, either.
“Thanks,” you try to keep the off note out of your voice. “You're the first person to agree to talk with me honestly in a long time. Everybody just seems to want to keep me in the dark, not telling me anything, sending me off to places...”
“You're a very coveted person, aren't you?” Reisen gives a sincere grin. “Shouldn't you be happy?”
“It's not really the sort of attention I would want...” you make a wry face.
“You would rather they cuddled you like a teddy bear all day long, wouldn't you?”
“Hey! Don't make fun of me!”
“Sorry,” Reisen fights back a giggle. “I heard from Princess Kaguya about the aftermath of Master Eirin's session. I wish I could have been there, that must have been so cute.”
“You too, Reisen...?”
“Oh dear,” she fakes a gasp. “I'm blabbering again, aren't I? Excuse me, I'm easily side-tracked when talking with patients. Anyway, what was it that you wanted to know?”
Finally, you think. Maybe now you'll get some answers... but first you'll have to take those eyes off Reisen's chest. Never an easy way, is there?
“Yes, let's cut to the chase,” you cough. “Reisen, earlier, when you were examining me, you felt the magic inside my body, yes?”
“Have you seen doctor Eirin's report?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Then you understand the cause of my curiosity. I don't fully understand how magic works, but... is there a way to identify the person who cast the spell on me? Maybe not by a name,” you add on a second thought, “but, er... I don't know how to say it...”
“No, I know what you mean,” says Reisen. “There isn't a certain way to tell the caster of the spell, but I can tell you what it looked like.”
“'What it looked like'?”
“Yes,” she nods. “Of course, it's more about the sensation than the actual looks, since I couldn't really see inside your body, but...” her eyes close, as if trying to summon a picture to her mind. “... there was a lot of blue. Yes, small, blue orbs, swirling around like bubbles in a bath. Something like that, I think...” she looks at you again. “Does that help?”
“Yes, somewhat.” No, it doesn't, but you would hate to hurt her feelings. “Tell me, does all magic have shape?”
“No,” she shakes her head. “Actually, it only does when you're deliberately trying to give it a visible form. If you don't, it remains largely transparent and shape-less, even to a magically enhanced eye. That's why Master Eirin's—our—medicine gives off light when it's working – otherwise we wouldn't know if the treatment was successful.”
“... only when you're trying to...” you stop for a moment and scratch your chin. “... hold up. I don't understand. You couldn't see the spell in my leg, but you say it looked like blue orbs...”
“Yes, like I said, somebody must have purposefully given it that form.”
“... and wittingly left a trail behind...? Do you think...?”
Reisen gives a helpless shrug. Obviously, she doesn't know. It's silly to even ask out loud. Still, why would anybody intentionally give the spell such a distinct form...? Blast it, the more answers you hear, the more questions they beget. Why can't anything be as simple as you would have liked it to be? Bloody magic, pissing you in the eye and having a jolly good laugh about it. What a cock.
“Damn it,” you sigh. “All right, that's enough about this. Everything just just keeps getting better and better...”
“So what's next?” Reisen asks, genuinely interested.
“Modifying one's memory,” you say. “Is it possible?”
Reisen takes a moment to consider the question, giving you an ample window to observe the movement of her clothes as she breathes in and out, absorbed in thoughts.
“It's possible, yes,” she says after a while. “We've done it before, mainly on patients who have experienced heavy post-accidental trauma, or who were suffering severe phobias.”
“Like murder attempt victims?” you ask.
“Yes, or people who have escaped fires. We don't do it magically, but through proper conditioning, it's very much possible to coerce them into thinking their past wasn't quite how they remember.”
“No, suggestion and auto-suggestion, sequently,” Reisen rectifies. “First we forge sources claiming on the version of events we want them to believe, then talk them into considering their own may not be completely right, and next, let them sleep on the idea. Most of the time the brain will adjust its host's views to accommodate the change and eliminate the conflict.”
“It does half the job for you, no effort given,” you conclude. “What about magically modifying somebody's recollections of the past? Can it be done?”
“Hm,” another pause for thinking. “Magic is flexible, but the complexity of it lays in the complexity of the mind that puts it to use. Quite obviously, it can't do something that can't be imagined by the mind that focuses it.”
“Which means the person attempting a memory change would first be required to possess complete knowledge of the memories he or she is trying to change. Otherwise, chances are the change will produce a discord in the mind of the target person, just like it's the case with our methods. However...”
“... our suggestions aren't invasive in nature,” Reisen sighs. “We leave it for the patient's brain to sort it all out or not, we never do it by force. Magic is a tenacious power – it invades reality and foists it against itself, and that may lead to serious repercussions.”
“Well, in the case of modifying one's memory – mental trauma, or psychological disorders. In a severe case, the victim may even stop perceiving his surroundings as they are, and instead begin to see them as the spellbinding oppressor would have him see. That, or break down completely and become delirious as his brain is killing itself, torn between two conflicting sources of information.”
“Hallucinations, in other words. Or outright insanity.”
“I'm afraid so,” Reisen confirms with a concerned nod.
This is bullshit. Just thinking about it makes your head ache. Why did you even ask? What's even worse, Keine has been knowingly doing it for the whole past year, and who's to tell she'd never done it prior to the accident that forced her to conceal her true identity? Such risk... and for what cause? Is it even worth the unsure results? What a crock of bollocks...
“... I see. You've been helpful, Reisen. Thank you.”
“Think nothing of it.” She bows slightly. “I won't inquire about your reasons for asking, but if it's as serious as your face is making it look, then I'll do what's in my strength to—”
“No,” you cut in. “You've done enough. More than enough. You're the first one to be honest with me on this. You're a real friend. I like you, Reisen.”
“Ah, that's not...” the nurse blushes slightly. “I—I mean, thank you, I'm doing my best...”
“Now,” you shove the grim contemplations out of your head and force on a smile. “On a lighter note, I had received a message from somebody, but my hotheaded friend stole it away before I could make sense of it. There was a number on it, though. Does '223' ring a bell?”
“223...?” Reisen repeats. “... it sounds like a room number, but, hm...” she hums. “I'm afraid there's no room '223',” she shrugs. “We only have around a hundred numbered facilities, including guest rooms and living quarters. Unless...”
“Unless you mean 'Z23'... which is an old operating theater for public procedures and social study, but... we haven't used it for years. I'm not even sure if anybody still has the key to—” she jerks up, startled by a sudden beeping noise. “Oh dear! I'm sorry, it's my pager...” she pulls out a small, rectangular device from one of her pockets. “... they're calling for me. I'm sorry, but I have to go now. If there's anything else you'd like to talk about, I can come visit in the evening, when I'm off-duty, is that all right?”
“Oh,” you manage that much. “... okay.” Reisen prepares to leave the room, but you stop her at the door-step. “Reisen, one more quick question.”
“Is there somebody you like, you know, like – like?”
She puts on a troubled smile.
“I'm sorry,” she says, and probably meaning it. “There is.”
“Oh.” you mutter, unable to come up with anything else. “Oh...”
“I'm really sorry,” the polite nurse gives a bow. “I'll see you in the evening, yes?”
“Er... yeah, I'll be, er... waiting...”
Then, she leaves you to stare out the window at the bright, blue sky, wondering if maybe somebody on another planet is looking back down at you, laughing his arse off at your misfortune. Bloody luck, never on your side!
“Fuck me!” you curse, throwing yourself onto the bed. “Fuck me! And fuck my life! And fuck this shit!”
No matter how loud you scream, however, nobody comes to fulfil your wish.
Having nothing better to do, you decide to set off to find 'Z23', and sure enough, in one of the top-floor corridors, you discover a massive, double-winged door bearing a faded plate with the desired number printed on in red font. Indifferent to what may be crouching in wait behind, you wrench the door open and slip inside.
Of course, the room is pitch-black dark, and of course, the door snaps shut behind you as soon as you enter. Why on earth wouldn't it? Hardly anything would surprise you now.
Feeling around for a light switch gives birth to nothing but nearly losing all of your teeth on a low-hanging shelf of sorts. You prepare to curse Lady Luck once again, but all of a sudden then, a single strobe of light flares up ahead, illuminating a lone figure standing in a dramatic pose in the centre of the theater, holding up a remote control concealed poorly behind a human skull.
“Behold! He cometh at last!” iterates the wanna-be actor, Kaguya, dancing around in an overblown manner. “It was my supposition you had ignored my letter, lost in the sweet pleasures of Mokou's body and mind,” she lets the skull's empty eye-sockets stare at you accusingly. “Alas, it would seem she hath left your company. Did the two of you engage in a quarrel, perchance? Tell me all, traveller, and tell it true.”
Kaguya steps back, presses a button on the remote, and another lamp is switched on right above you, casting a ring of light around your feet. Is she expecting you to follow the stupid play, or what?
[ ] “What the fuck.”
[ ] Fine, indulge her.
Sorry for the delay, LotR: Conquest is too good a fun.