Oct 22, 2021 12:18 AM
Annie and Twins in Henshin
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"If I didn't I would have found someone else to do this."

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Oh poor thing she's so stressed out.

"Okay, I think it's done. You can take it back now."

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"...you don't want to keep it in case...?"

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"I think the benefit of having it on while fighting the Golden Diamond General is outweighed by the possibility of the negative effect kicking in while I'm fighting the Golden Diamond General."

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"Okay." Annie touches her face again, removes it.

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"Also I'm concerned about the possibility of it accidentally healing some shrapnel into my face or something."

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"I didn't seem to wind up with any of that but I'm not sure if there was any to begin with in my case."

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"Anyway. I think that direction is likeliest to lead us to his throne room and time is of the essence at this point."

She pauses.

"Do you want to see if the White Sapphire likes you?"

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"...what does that involve and is this a good time?"

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"Touching it, and if you could use it you might be helpful against the General."

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The White Sapphire Guardian was stronger than the Viridian Garnet Guardian. And very loyal. If Annie had sight instead of her thing Lady Ironheart might have suggested she avert her eyes.

She takes the gem off his wrist and offers it to Annie.

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"Okay. Well. Onward."

It doesn't take them much more time to find an ornate set of double doors.

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"Should I hide again or not yet?"

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"Hiding would be a good idea."

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She flings the doors open and dashes inside.

It's a very long throne room, long enough that Annie can't sense the other end. But the fighting moves toward her.

It's not pretty.

Eventually she's flung out the doors again. She hits a wall with a worrying crunching noise, and defuses.

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Emily gets to her feet.

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Edie doesn't.

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no

Annie crawls heedlessly out of her hiding spot to go apply the healing effect, why couldn't she get something more useful than that, why why why -

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The world narrows down to a single point--the girl she's crawling towards--and then--

She doesn't vanish, exactly, but there's something else there instead.

Instead of walls of forbidding stone she is surrounded by a dome of glowing crystal, perfectly visible in every facet even though it's as far away as the sky.

A six-pointed star appears in front of her; or perhaps a snowflake. Each point is tipped with two glowing spheres. She shouldn't be able to, but she can tell what they are. Mostly. The spheres that represent the two benefits she hasn't figured out and the downside she hasn't figured out are opaque to her. A power. A price, some kind of non-voice whispers from nowhere. A power unsolicited, a price forcibly paid.

You did not choose this. But it is yours, nonetheless, and you will do what you need to protect it.

The crystal sphere fades away. It is replaced by a series of images--of Edie, mostly, fighting and falling and bleeding and getting back up all the more determined.

You cannot save her from herself. But you can stand by her side.

A shield, catching a blow that would have felled her. A hand on her shoulder, reminding her what is at stake if she fails, if she is reckless.

And there is so much more to you than the price of power.

She is the kind of person who would move a world, given a lever and a place to stand. She will have to find the latter on her own, but the former is offered to her.

Will you take it?

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