Dec 09, 2018 6:26 PM
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"...Is this the part where you give me a plausible way out because outsiders that get a peek behind the Masquerade get memory-wiped or killed or something?"

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"No," sighs the other one. "It's not even that big a secret, we just haven't told anybody because it would be weird. Do you really want the whole story?"

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"Yes, please."

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"So a few years ago I found this flower just kind of lying on the ground outside my school," she says, tugging up her sleeve. A lovely red rose sprouts from her thorny bracelet. "It looked like that. I took it home and stuck it in a vase and it never died, which was weird, and one day I was playing with it and it started burrowing into my flesh, which was way weirder, let me tell you."

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"Yes, I can imagine."

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"But once I got over the extreme weirdness it was actually kind of cool? And the roses do a bunch of magic, and one of the things is, yeah, healing," she says.

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"Which is convenient!" says Cass.

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"Sure seems that way. Probably convenient for the burrowing part, too."

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"We have tried some fucked-up stuff and the roses are really fucking impressive about fixing it all," Cass says cheerfully.

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"Roses plural?"

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"Yeah, we've got four colours. Red, blue, pink, and black," says Cass. "We're pretty sure there's got to be at least one more, because of how the magic lines up, but we haven't found it yet."

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"How'd you find the others? And why does how the magic lines up mean there ought to be another?"

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"They were still just lying around, but I was on the lookout for weird flowers lying around by then. And they each have one main kind of magic and four extra, and one of them has three of its extra magic from the other three flowers and then one we haven't seen anywhere, so it seems logical that the fourth one might be from a flower we haven't seen yet."

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"Makes sense. I've never seen a flower like that in my life, so I can only assume there was a reason that there were four of them easily findable for you."

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"I mean, do you go around picking up random weirdly coloured flowers off the ground all the time?"

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"No, but I've never seen random weirdly colored whole roses lying on the ground, is part of my point."

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"Maybe not nice tidy ones like the red one was when I first got it, but I mean, some of these flowers were pretty fucked up when I first found them," she says. "The pink one had a bunch of petals missing and the stem was all chewed up, the black one was caught on a barbed wire fence and I wouldn't have even tried to disentangle it if I didn't already have healing magic, the blue one was in the road looking like it'd been run over by a truck."

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"Oh. I'll keep more of an eye out in the future, then."

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"Do you want some flowers?"

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"Yes. Magic is awesome."

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"Magic is gross and painful," she warns, but she grins. "Sure, just a sec."

The black stem holding the red rose-head grows longer, and then it's joined by a purple stem holding a blue flower, and a yellow stem holding a pink flower, and finally a white stem holding a black flower. Each has the same distinctive kind of thorns, short but sharp, the same colour as their stems but fading to petal-coloured at the tips. She holds that hand out to Cass.
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Cass cuts them free and offers the cut flowers to Emily.

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She takes them. "So how does this work?"

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"If you cut yourself with a thorn, the flower grabs you. It'll hurt a bunch. The black ones are the worst. It's also kind of hard on your clothes what with all the thorns everywhere, or I'd just demonstrate," she says. "To start with you get one kind of magic per flower, but you won't be very good at it. Red cuts things, blue moves things, pink heals people, black makes stuff. And you can only do the magic while the flower has you, and unless you're really into pain you probably don't want to go around with four flowers on literally all the time."

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"So trying it right now isn't really feasible," she says, looking down at her relatively destructible outfit. "I wouldn't say I'm into it, not the way it's usually meant, but..." she shrugs. "Makes stuff like how?"

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