Dec 14, 2019 1:40 PM
Saddest Gregor in Fairyland
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"If I could arrange for none of my people to die, I would, but something would still need to be done about my father and I'm not sure he'd thank me for turning him into a mouse and keeping him in a cage for the rest of eternity."

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"I don't know how to do any animals besides sparrows and toads and snails."

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"The mouse was mostly figurative."

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"Oh. Well, if sorcery works there I guess we could ask him."

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"I would not necessarily expect a useful response."

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"What do you mean?"

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"My father... doesn't just want power, I think in some sense he depends on it. Faced with a future in which he will certainly never be Emperor again, I'm not sure he will be... functional enough to have preferences about whether he spends his time dead or imprisoned. And it's possible that he would prefer death to being vassalized and commanded, and nearly certain that if that's so he won't voluntarily admit it."

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"Why wouldn't he admit it -?"

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"...Because that would be - I'm not sure how to explain. I don't exactly understand how my father thinks; it's just that I have a lot of practice at predicting him."

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"Also you seem very nice but I don't actually have a way to know you're telling the truth."

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"What would be a way to know that?"

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"I don't know if there's a safe way for me to see for myself and do not anticipate you would like the way that doesn't involve it."

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"If I'm accurately guessing your meaning, you are correct; I would not. But the welfare of my empire is the important thing."

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"Is there a safe way I could see? I wouldn't need to see much, you're already not ordering my cooperation..."

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"...I'm not sure there is. I can think of possibilities, but... once I return, I have to retake my empire as quickly as possible or my father and the Wood mage will react to my presence and whatever they do is certain to be harmful to someone. And I am not sure I can suggest a plan to you that would definitely take you into my world alone and bring you back out again unharmed with confirmation of the things I've said."

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"...I have the impression that if you could arrange to forget names you'd have done it already so you probably can't just let me have yours long enough to verify -"

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"Yes, you surmise correctly."

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"Orders not to do something that one wasn't going to do anyway are not very intrusive. I could come up with a wording that just prevents hurting people, would that be enough?"

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"To contain the people I need to deal with...? I doubt it."

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"I don't want to seem ungrateful or anything."

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"Your concerns are entirely reasonable."

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"I'll close the gate for now in case we think of something?"

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He nods.

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She shuts the gate and goes about her business.

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He - tries to think of something.

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