"Before...obviously," the catgirl said with her hands on her hips. "I passed biology, I know how viruses work. I mean, on a basic level at least. But even disregarding health issues, just think of how many of us have a bunch of fur or really long hair to weigh us down if we get wet, or at least—if Nora's not in the party anyway—be a huge pain to get dry again."
"I pick up 'loud' thoughts, like whatever you're about to say, on instinct. Can't really turn it off. No, I haven't been actually digging through your brain or anything," the psion said.
Mira put up her hands. "There's really nothing wrong with the 'this and that' build as long as it comes together in the end. I get the feeling we'll have lots of opportunities to get more points anyway. It's not that expensive to take, is it?"
"It's not, and I didn't mean it like that," he said, his ears drooping a bit.
"You didn't, right. Sorry."
"There's no reason to assume that," said the witch. "It could mean just the opposite. Anyway, take that skill and you can go as soon as you like."
"How so?" Loren's head tilted a bit. "I mean, it is you."
"Uh." It wasn't like she could explain the real reason to him. "I just mean, I don't actually remember it but it fits so well with what I think of myself. You know, like how do you block off all the memories but still end up with the exact same personality those experiences shaped? That's not how amnesia stories usually go, right?"
"Yeah, not really. You did accounting for a lot of the shops around town. As far as I understand you found it supremely dull, but it paid the bills and you only had to do it for six hours a day, with the rest left over to do whatever you wanted. By the reaction after you left, I get the impression your work was pretty good, though."
"Hmn. Sounds like something I'd rather not remember all that well. Dangerous work like this has its own problems, but it's never boring," Aria said, mentally noting the similarity to her Earth job. Whoever made up this other life for her had apparently been watching Will for a long time. More evidence it was the gods, perhaps.
"Well, help yourself," said Mira. "Just don't try to use fire magic to cook, eh?"
"Never mind, reference you wouldn't get," she said with a vague wave. "Sometimes I forget who I'm talking to."
"Okay then..." The winged girl made her way to the kitchen.
"Hah...I g-guess so."
"Hmmn, I suppose I brought the question on myself," said Mira. "I guess I know you all well enough to be honest. Let's just say...if I said my last name you might just recognize it. I'm the third-youngest son of a pretty old-money family. More or less just coasted through law school and got a cushy job pushing paper around for a big law firm because of that. The pay was better than my work was honestly worth, too.
"Well, you don't have to answer if you don't want to, but...I can't be the only curious one here," said the witch.
"It's not like I was doing anything important," he said.
"No, it was fine. I just felt like I was wasting my life there doing nothing really important, is all. Everyone else here did something amazing or important or—at least that pays well," he said, waving a hand in a small gesture, "I mean—there's three people living here who you could actually call 'famous'! And that just rubs it in worse."
He hesitated for a long moment. "...Well, no, but.."
"And you think being that way is normal, not something to be commended for, because it's so obviously the right thing to do," she continued before he could come up with an objection. "If that's not special then it's a good thing, because that's how people should be. Jobs and paychecks don't define people. Where you work doesn't matter compared to who you are."
The elf was waiting inside, sitting at his table. "Welcome! I understand our town heroes took down a fire giant early this morning," he said.
"As if you'd come within a mile of harm's way," she replied, crossing her arms disapprovingly.
"Of course." After taking a moment to stretch, Ezra came to the table, taking a seat opposite Tsaron. "But since the two of us clearly aren't enough to do whatever needs to be done, I thought it best to give them some practice instead. The reputation boost won't hurt them, either."
"And why not let yourself go underestimated, right?" The weapon showed itself back out of the room at this point.
"That too," she nodded.
"Almost like they're motivated to do something besides sit around all day," Ezra said with a mildly sarcastic edge.
"Nothing extreme or detrimental. Just, you know, giving the odd person a fleeting impulse to look the right way or go to the right place at the right time to catch someone in the act." He shrugged. "Sometimes it only takes a little nudge for someone to convince themselves it's a bad idea, too."
Ezra took another sip of tea. "I'd rather you ask before taking up a project like that, but that's fine, I suppose. You're planning to have a closer look at them yourself soon, aren't you?"
"I invited them to all come in for tea if they want to," he said. "I predict that they will want to this afternoon, sometime after the rain lets up. Maybe your transporter will join them, unless he'd prefer to catch up on stolen sleep."
"I'm well." A brief explanation followed of what had happened.
"Right..?" Nora wasn't sure where this was going.
"So, bodies here seem to still be made mostly of water. Could you use that to like, throw monsters or people around?"
"People—and creatures of all kinds, for that matter—have a natural resistance against that kind of thing. Specifically magical interference of the 'inside' of their body. It's usually called the 'will to live resistance'. A disembodied arm or a corpse with sufficient water content, she probably could do it with."
"Because of its properties, it's believed to come from the soul, and to be a manifestation of a person's will to live. For one thing, it doesn't affect healing magic. A healer can interfere with the body as much as they like because that interference involves fixing things the body itself wants fixed. Empathic magic is also healing, and...corrupted Empath magic, 'giving' wounds to others, essentially uses its fundamental nature as healing magic as a backdoor to get around that resistance." She frowned, obviously disgusted with the idea. "For another, it has been...shown to be significantly weakened in a person who is genuinely suicidal, with extremely unpleasant results. It's actually convenient when you don't want to hurt someone, for example, drying them out with water magic without drying out their mouth or pulling any of their blood out?"