G2A Many GEOs
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Chapter 27

Magus_Anon Sep 4th, 2019 921 Never
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  1. “So where is Lussazan’s lab located in the castle?” you asked the maid leading you.
  2.  
  3. “In the basement.” Said the zombie.
  4.  
  5. “Of course it is…”
  6.  
  7. The lower you descended into the underbelly of the castle, the less ornate the décor became. After a few flights of stairs, the only thing covering the bricks of the walls were ancient tapestries bearing the Chiropta crest. A familiar stench of alchemical reagents began to permeate the air.
  8.  
  9. The last flight of stairs led to a plain looking wooden door with a single word embossed onto the front. Laboratory. You recognized it from the time you had spent in Ergine’s class at Admaz. The zombie knocked on the door.
  10.  
  11. “Lussazan, the human is here.” She said.
  12.  
  13. Lussazan opened the door before the zombie could even finish her sentence.
  14.  
  15. “Very good. You are dismissed.” Said the lich.
  16.  
  17. The zombie bowed and gestured for you to enter. Stepping into the lab, she shut the door behind you.
  18.  
  19. “This way.” Said Lussazan. She floated towards what looked like a dentist’s chair.
  20.  
  21. You knew better than to upset her, so you took a seat in the chair and waited patiently as the lich shuffled some tubes and beakers around.
  22.  
  23. “Well hi there, Anon!”
  24.  
  25. The cheerful greeting caught you by surprise. A figure cut through the haze to stand next to you. Though clearly a man, he was no doubt undead. His skin was pale, and his face had a slightly withered appearance.
  26.  
  27. The man laughed. “Oh don’t worry about me. I won’t hurt ya! Must be strange to see a man like this, if they didn’t have undead in your world. I’m Datoll, Lussazan’s husband.”
  28.  
  29. You realized that you had been gawking at him and quickly stammered out a greeting.
  30.  
  31. He grabbed your hand off the arm rest and gave it a vigorous shake.
  32.  
  33. “I can’t say how great it is to have you here. Really spectacular!” he continued. He frowned. “I’m so sorry that you got mixed up in all that travel business. I told Lusy that it would be hard enough on a human to take them away from their home. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you to be jerked around like that.”
  34.  
  35. “Well, I-“
  36.  
  37. “But you’re here now!” exclaimed Datoll, cutting you off. “You must be a sharp one if you could avoid being claimed for this long, even if Admaz was protecting you. I’ve seen the preliminaries for your magical aptitude: great stuff! Really fantastic!”
  38.  
  39. You looked at Lussazan. She had pulled her hood tighter over her head to hide her face.
  40.  
  41. “Yeah, great.” You said.
  42.  
  43. “I think we’re close to figuring out why your body reacts the way it does to mamono mana too! Who knows, in a few months you may be able to finally be able to kiss that little cutie that adopted you, eh?” said Datoll giving you a nudge with his elbow.
  44. Lussazan buried her face in her hands.
  45.  
  46. “Uh huh…” you nodded.
  47.  
  48. “Dear, please…” said Lussazan.
  49.  
  50. “Oh! Sorry, Lusy! I know I said I wouldn’t get too excited, but it’s completely different now that he’s here!” said Datoll.
  51.  
  52. “Don’t call me that.” Said Lussazan.
  53.  
  54. Datoll chuckled. “Don’t let her fool you, she’s really charming once she warms up to you.” Said Datoll.
  55.  
  56. Lussazan floated over and pushed him away from you. “Go run some tests.” She demanded.
  57.  
  58. “But we don’t have any tests to run…” said Datoll.
  59.  
  60. “Tests!” said Lussazan.
  61.  
  62. Datoll hurried off to go make himself busy while Lussazan prepared to take a blood sample. Her pout and blush made you smile.
  63.  
  64. “I apologize for my husbands… cordiality…” said Lussazan drawing a syringe of blood.
  65.  
  66. “It’s fine.” You said. “I actually miss having people to talk too. Where has he been all this time?”
  67.  
  68. “The experiment to bring you here left him unwell.” Said Lussazan.
  69.  
  70. “How? Did he get exposed to something?”
  71.  
  72. “No.”
  73.  
  74. You waited for Lussazan to continue but she transferred the blood into a series of beakers and set to work mixing her strange concoctions. After a few moments, she grunted in frustration. Hovering back over to you, she forced a vial into your hands.
  75.  
  76. “Fill this.” She commanded.
  77.  
  78. “With what?”
  79.  
  80. “Semen.”
  81.  
  82. You sighed and undid your pants. “Is there a curtain or something that I can use?”
  83.  
  84. “No.”
  85.  
  86. Oh well.
  87.  
  88. Filling the vial didn’t take long, even with the conditions being less than ideal for the task in hand. Being surrounded by sex-monsters had that effect on you.
  89.  
  90. “Here.” You said handing the sample to Lussazan.
  91.  
  92. She snatched it out of your hand and placed the vial into what looked like a centrifuge.
  93.  
  94. “Is something wrong?” you asked.
  95.  
  96. “I do not know.” Replied the lich.
  97.  
  98. “What? So something could be wrong?” you asked nervously.
  99.  
  100. “No. Maybe, I… I must do research.” Said Lussazan.
  101.  
  102. “So can I go?” you asked.
  103. “No.”
  104. Lussazan took the sample out of the machine and floated deeper into the lab. The sound of bubbling flasks and hissing steam surrounded you as you waited for her to return.
  105.  
  106. ~~~~
  107.  
  108. “Hey Anon, are ya’ thirsty?” asked Datoll. He set a tray of food and a cup of water down on a bench near you and pulled a stool over for you.
  109.  
  110. You tentivly get out of your chair and take a seat on the stool. Grabbing one of the small sandwiches, you take a bite and wait for him to do something.
  111.  
  112. “Must be hard to find food that doesn’t make you sick huh? I’ve seen how low your tolerance is to mamono mana.” Said Datoll watching you eat.
  113.  
  114. “It’s getting better. I don’t get sick anymore.” You said.
  115.  
  116. “Of course! You just have a ways to go before you’ll be able to safely ‘interact’ with monsters.” Chuckled Datoll.
  117.  
  118. “Yeah…”
  119.  
  120. Datoll poured himself a glass of water and took a sip.
  121.  
  122. “I am curious though, you say that you’re familiar with our world, how? All the reports form Magnara said that you took arriving here in stride, despite so many new concepts and complications.” Said Datoll.
  123.  
  124. “There was a book, not really a book actually, more of a… ‘guide,’ that described a place just like this.”
  125.  
  126. “Is that so! So you knew that monsters didn’t really eat people? That they just needed someone to love?” said Datoll.
  127.  
  128. “Yeah.”
  129.  
  130. “Did something change?”
  131.  
  132. You looked up from your meal. “What do you mean?”
  133.  
  134. Datoll sighed. “I heard about all the fights you’ve been getting into. That stunt that you pulled at the gates of Admaz? You should be thankful they let you see the light of day!”
  135.  
  136. “Well I wouldn’t be so belligerent if I wasn’t being abducted.” you said.
  137.  
  138. “But you know that they won’t harm you, right? Even though you hurt so many of them, they were still gentle with you.”
  139.  
  140. “...I know.”
  141.  
  142. “So if you know that they won’t hurt you, then why are you so cranky all the time?”
  143.  
  144. “You wouldn’t understand. In my world you got to love who you WANTED to love, not whoever grabbed you first.” You said.
  145.  
  146. “Even if the thing that grabs you loves you with all their heart?”
  147.  
  148. “That’s not the point! It’s supposed to be a mutual thing.” You protested.
  149.  
  150. “Well if that 'guide' you learned everything from was worth the paper it was printed on, you know that your attitude changes after you’ve been with a monster” said Datoll.
  151.  
  152. “I know…”
  153.  
  154. Datoll set his glass down and folded his arms. “Love isn’t a straight path, Anon. It’s a destination. And sometimes you have to take a path you never expected to take to get there. It’s a possibility that Emballandae isn’t a good match for you. It that’s the case, then I’m sure that fate will put you on the right path. All this arguing is going to get you nowhere. Sooner or later you’re going to have to start behaving like an adult and work to solve your problems yourself instead of blaming people around you.”
  155.  
  156. “Blaming people?! They kidnapped me!” you said.
  157.  
  158. “They did. And it looks like they aren’t going to release you. What are you going to do about it?”
  159.  
  160. You grunted and finished the last of the food.
  161.  
  162. “I know that you’re in a tough spot, so I’ll give you a hint: find out Emballandae’s hobbies.” Said Datoll with a grin.
  163.  
  164. “Her hobbies?” you asked.
  165.  
  166. “That’s right. She’s so wonderfully passionate about her interests.”
  167.  
  168. “What are they?”
  169.  
  170. “That’s something that she’ll have to tell you herself.” Datoll said with a smile.
  171.  
  172. “Husband.”
  173.  
  174. Lussazan’s voice made both of you jump as she appeared behind you.
  175.  
  176. “What have you been conversing with Anon about?” asked the lich.
  177.  
  178. “Nothing, nothing. Just making sure that he’s settling in.” said Datoll.
  179.  
  180. Lussazan stared at him. “…Very well. Anon, I need you to come with me.”
  181.  
  182. You got up and followed Lussazan to an elaborate looking machine at the other side of the lab.
  183.  
  184. “Do you know what this is?” asked Lussazan.
  185.  
  186. “No…” you replied looking over the contraption. It was a chunk of metal the size of a van with a large slot and a series of buttons and switches on the front. Tubes and wires snaked in and out of the rest of the machine in an orderly fashion.
  187.  
  188. “I suspected as much. The College of Admaz does not have the budget for such an intricate machine.” Said Lussazan. She floated to a nearby shelf and pulled out a wafer-thin piece of glass. The pane was about two feet by two feet with markings at the bottom and along one side. Lussazan slid the pane into the slot and showed you and Datoll a vial with some of your semen in it.
  189.  
  190. “This machine gives a reading of your spirit energy. By cross-referencing your energy with mamono-mana form different species, we can guess which monster will be best for a certain man.” Said Lussazan.
  191.  
  192. “Are his readings off? Did you make sure to calibrate the mana-couplings?” asked Datoll. He moved past you to poke at some buttons.
  193.  
  194. “Yes, and the mana samples are still viable. Here, this is the first reading to come out…” said Lussazan handing Datoll a pane from a nearby table.
  195.  
  196. “What the…?” he said in confusion.
  197.  
  198. “… and here is the second.” Said Lussazan handing him another.
  199.  
  200. Datoll looked at the panes in confusion. Setting them down on the table he looked back and forth at them for a minute. The glass was different from the blank panes, these had some sort of scatter plot etched onto them. Dozens of yellow dots filled the screen.
  201.  
  202. Lussazan inserted the vial of your semen into a hole in the machine and pushed a button. The box hummed to life with magical energy. A loud grinding sound filled the air for a few minutes before the box shut off with a small ding.
  203.  
  204. The lich pulled the third slide out and waved it in the air like a Polaroid.
  205.  
  206. “Can you explain this?” asked Lussazan holding the glass in front of your face.
  207.  
  208. “Do you want me to connect the dots?” you asked.
  209.  
  210. “No. I want you to explain why there are so many resonance points on this chart.” Said Lussazan.
  211.  
  212. “I don’t know what that means…” you said.
  213.  
  214. “A resonance point is like a fingerprint for the soul. Each person should have a single point on this pane that is different from everyone else.” Said Datoll.
  215.  
  216. “Oh. So where’s mine?” you asked.
  217.  
  218. “That’s the problem, Anon. There’s more than one soul signature.” Said Datoll.
  219.  
  220. “Hmm?”
  221.  
  222. “There is more than one soul cohabitating your mortal coil.” Said Lussazan.
  223.  
  224. You stared at her. You looked at Datoll. He stared back with concern.
  225.  
  226. “What do you mean, I don’t understand…” you said. Their fear was starting to make you anxious.
  227.  
  228. “Calm down, Anon. It’s nothing to worry about.” Said Datoll.
  229.  
  230. “We cannot be certain husband. There may be complications. To my knowledge, this is the first documented case of such a phenomenon.” Said Lussazan.
  231.  
  232. Datoll slapped a palm over his face. Lussazan turned abruptly at the smack and then turned back to you.
  233.  
  234. “Oh, I see. You were attempting to soothe him.” Said Lussazan with a hint of a blush. “Do not worry human, the chances of an early demise are greatly diminished under my care.”
  235.  
  236. “Am I sick?! I’m going to die?!” you asked.
  237.  
  238. “Perhaps. We have no way of knowing the effects of having so many souls in a single body. You could be perfectly healthy. Or dying. We need to collect data and begin experiment-“
  239.  
  240. “WOULD YOU STOP COMFORTING HIM?!” shouted Datoll.
  241.  
  242. Lussazan cowered behind you.
  243.  
  244. “R-raising your voice like that is counterproductive to our mutual scientific goals…” whispered Lussazan.
  245.  
  246. “Anon, don’t listen to her. She just gets a little… enthusiastic about her work. If you’ve lived this long, you probably aren’t dying.” Said Datoll.
  247.  
  248. “What does she mean by ‘all those souls’? Am I possessed?” you asked.
  249.  
  250. “No. Well, no. Kind of.” Said Datoll showing you one of the slides. “Normally a human will show up as a single point, or a small smear on the diagram. The more species they are compatible with, them larger the dot. Most humans are only a pinprick. But you show signs for… damn near everything.”
  251.  
  252. You took the pane. There were hundreds of dots. You felt sick just looking at the chart.
  253.  
  254. "These are SOULS? Like, people's life energy?" you asked.
  255.  
  256. "Only parts, it would seem. I don't think there's MUCH of anyone cohabiting you, if that makes sense..." said Datoll.
  257.  
  258. “Am… am I still me?” you asked weakly.
  259.  
  260. “Of course. Do you see this dot?” said Datoll pointing to the brightest point. “That’s ‘you’ as you know you. The other souls inside you don’t have much power.”
  261.  
  262. “Well what are they doing there? Why are there just… people or whatever inside me?” you asked.
  263.  
  264. “Ehh… that’s a good question. It could be that souls from your world just lived in other humans. Ancestors hanging out in the shells of their descendants. They aren’t animal spirits, I can tell you that much.” Said Datoll.
  265.  
  266. “I too have a theory.” Said Lussazan.
  267.  
  268. You and Datoll looked at her. She looked back and forth between you.
  269.  
  270. “…Okay. What is it?” you asked.
  271.  
  272. “Though it seemed in consequential at the time, one of your earlier reports mentioned that you traveled though some sort of ‘haze’ as you were being transported here.” Said the lich.
  273.  
  274. “Oh, yeah. It was like a shimmering mist. A wall of it. I passed through it and the next thing I knew I was a hundred feet in the air over a lake.” You said.
  275.  
  276. “I suspect that what you saw was some form of the afterlife. The ‘wall’ was a collective mass of spiritual energy.” Said Lussazan.
  277.  
  278. “So I took a bath in soul-juice and wound up with two hundred extra people inside me?” you asked.
  279.  
  280. “No. The spell used to summon you consisted of two parts: separating your soul from your body, and transporting your body here. By pulling your soul into the portal, its destination became our world’s afterlife instead of your own. Once it was on track to come here, your body would be rejoined with it to snap you back to the mortal plane.”
  281.  
  282. “So you killed me.” You said.
  283.  
  284. “No. We severed the connection between your body and soul.” Said Lussazan.
  285.  
  286. “That’s death!”
  287.  
  288. “No, it isn’t. Regardless of what it could be called, the idea was for your body to rejoin your soul immediately after entering the portal. This… could not be accomplished. In all my careful consideration, I had never taken into account that humans may be traveling faster than a horse. The extra energy needed to keep a tether on your soul and body as you moved in the {cah} proved to be too much. Your soul and body were apart much longer than anticipated. Perhaps the other human souls in the veil were sucked into your body on instinct; filling a void left in a healthy human body by the removal of your soul.”
  289.  
  290. “I guess that makes sense… kind of…” you said. “So because you thought I would be standing still, moving me around across different dimensions took too much energy?”
  291.  
  292. “Correct. The spring was not your intended destination…” said Lussazan. “You were to be warped directly into this laboratory.”
  293.  
  294. “You were only off by a few hundred miles.” You said sarcastically.
  295.  
  296. Lussazan glared at you. “You have no idea how much energy was stockpiled for that day. Decades of the entire city copulating just for one spell. Years of psychic channeling into the abyss. But it was not enough. As our mana reserves ran dry, I and the other casters siphoned energy from the denizens of Tomb Haven to steer you to safety. There are still residents who have yet to recover from the incident.”
  297.  
  298. “The abyss? Is that where you think I came from?” you asked. You would have to thank Tomb Haven for the save later.
  299.  
  300. Lussazan hovered over to a decrepit bookshelf filled with musty tomes. Taking one off the shelf, she dusted it off before showing it to you. You couldn’t help but gasp.
  301.  
  302. The mother fucking Monster Girl Encyclopedia.
  303.  
  304. “This…! But how!?” you asked. The volume was ancient. Though the pages were yellowed with age, they still had the same format of a monster picture and accompanying text taking up two pages.
  305.  
  306. “This was commissioned to be spread amongst the human populations of this world. With the help of mindflayers, we managed to extrapolate a thought pattern for human feelings; primarily love and the desire for love. Shogoths gave us insight into the space between worlds, and how it could be breached. For years, our scientists have worked to project monster kind's love for man as a whisper into the cracks in reality, waiting for a reply. It came from your world. From what you say, one human was more attuned to the message we were sending. He created the encyclopdeia, and spread the word of our kind to {Earth}. As more and more of you read the encyclopedia, the whisper from your world became stronger.” Said Lussazan.
  307.  
  308. “That’s scary as hell.” You said, more than a bit unnerved. The eldritch involvement in this fiasco made Lussazan's work seem much more sinister.
  309.  
  310. “I understand that it must be difficult for you to comprehend. It took the wisest sages and the most brilliant savants to even craft the foundational magics of this spell.” Said Lussazan.
  311.  
  312. “That seems like a lot of work for just one human…” you said.
  313.  
  314. “Indeed, we had hoped for a better specimen…” Said Lussazan.
  315.  
  316. “Hey!” you said. Datoll shook his head apologetically as his wife continued.
  317.  
  318. “…But any human would have done. A female would have suited my needs just as well, but Lady Chiropta was insistent that I summon a male.” Said the lich.
  319.  
  320. “I thought that bringing over males was the whole point. Isn’t that what Chiropta said? That she was taking matters into her own hands to solve the gender imbalance?” you said.
  321.  
  322. “Bringing males, yes. But not in the same way that you were summoned. Your purpose, other than the spouse of young Emballandae and progenitor of the next Chiropta, is to serve as an anchor.”
  323.  
  324. “An anchor.”
  325.  
  326. “Yes.”
  327.  
  328. “…And what am I anchoring?”
  329.  
  330. “Your world.”
  331.  
  332. “You mean I serve as a connection to my world?” you asked.
  333.  
  334. “Yes. No matter how far a soul is dragged, no matter what boundaries it crosses, it still resonates and yearns to return to its place of origin. Finding your world was mere chance; there were hundreds of thousands of other viable dimensions to pull from. There are many dimensions similar to yours, but we can now form a more permanent attachment using your soul as a guideline.”
  335.  
  336. You stared at her. “You’re not planning to summon more humans, you’re planning to link dimensions…”
  337.  
  338. Lussazan nodded. “I see that your knowledge of ‘science fiction’ allows you to comprehend the concept. We, the other scientists and I, do intend to form a more permanent means of travel between dimensions. Your world is opportune: the billions of men would be enough to sustain both the mamono world and {Earth} indefinitely.”
  339.  
  340. “But isn’t that unnecessary? In the encyclopedia from my world, it said that Lilith and the Hero were close to casting the spell to allow incubi to be born.” You said.
  341.  
  342. “That was the case. However, the Chief God redoubled her efforts to block the spell. Order cities were redesigned to facilitate massive teltomancy spells capable of disrupting our own. In addition, the Order has become even more zealous and paranoid about rooting out mamono influence in human territories.” Said Lussazan.
  343.  
  344. “That doesn’t seem like that much of a problem. Doesn’t a baphomet have more magic in one finger than an entire platoon of Order mages?” you asked.
  345.  
  346. “Yes, but when their magic is channeled and focused through the ‘lens’ of the Chief God, they become more of a power source than a threat. The Chief God is using her minions to provide her with just enough energy to disrupt our Lady’s operations. She hopes that someday she will be able to our-breed mamono. An ill placed wish.”
  347.  
  348. “Can’t you just raid them?” you asked.
  349.  
  350. “Not without significant losses.” Said Datoll. “They’ve turned everything larger than a hamlet into a fortress.”
  351.  
  352. “This still makes no sense. Even if the Order did wise up a little, and even if the Chief God did get a little tougher to deal with, Lilith is still winning, correct?” you said.
  353.  
  354. “I would not call subverting the power of a deity winning, but yes. Our Lady is slowly overpowering the Chief God.” Said Lussazan.
  355. “Then why bother summoning me at all!?”
  356.  
  357. “Science.”
  358.  
  359. “Prestige.”
  360.  
  361. Datoll and Lussazan looked at each other as they spoke over one another.
  362.  
  363. “When Lady Chiropta approached me, I recognized the challenge of summoning a viable human as the greatest problem any magician had ever faced. My curiosity was piqued, and I could not in good conscious turn my back on such an intriguing theory.” Said Lussazan.
  364.  
  365. “Lady Chiropta sees summoning humans as a means to raise her social status.” Said Datoll. “Being the one who financed the experiment to bring in hordes of exotic humans from another dimension would certainly land her in the annals of history next to Lilith herself.”
  366.  
  367. “And did either of you ever consider the morals of this? I had a family you know. To them, I just disappeared. They don’t even have a body to bury.” you said bitterly.
  368.  
  369. “Your concerns for your acquaintances was taken into consideration. It was one of the reasons that I agreed to promise you to Emballandae after your summoning.” Said Lussazan.
  370.  
  371. “What do you mean?”
  372.  
  373. “Once you have incubized, you will become a member of the undead. In your state of unlife, you will live long enough to see the portal to your realm open and reunite with your loved ones.” Said Lussazan.
  374.  
  375. “Oh…”
  376.  
  377. The idea that you may be able to see your friends and family again was somehow startling. It had already been months since your impromptu departure, and you had grown accustomed to living here. Though you still missed them, the people you knew had begun to fade from your mind as you met new people and made new connections. The hope of seeing them again that Lussazan kindled within you was comforting and distressing at the same time. Would they remember you? Would you remember them? How could you go back to your old life after so much time had passed?
  378.  
  379. Would you even want to go back?
  380.  
  381. There was a good chance that you would have a family of your own by the time Lussazan finished her spell.
  382.  
  383. “Anon? Are you alright?” asked Datoll.
  384.  
  385. “Yeah. I’m fine. How long do you think it will take to make that ‘bridge,’ or whatever it is to my world?” you said.
  386.  
  387. “Unknown. With all the extra soul energy inside you, it will take longer than anticipated.” Said Lussazan.
  388.  
  389. “At least we know where all that magic comes from!” said Datoll.
  390.  
  391. “All the extra soul fragments?” you said.
  392.  
  393. “Yep. I reckon that even though there isn’t enough of anyone to influence your personality, you can still draw on their power to cast spells. That would explain why your magic depletes so fast…”
  394.  
  395. “Shouldn’t it deplete slower if I have MORE soul-stuff in me?”
  396.  
  397. “Not necessarily. Think of it like pouring water: instead of pouring out one big jug slowly, you’re pouring out a hundred little jugs all at once.” Said Datoll.
  398.  
  399. “…Okay.” You said. That didn’t make a whole lot of sense to you, but he was the magic expert. Allegedly… You never asked either of them if they had any formal qualifications but they obviously knew what they were doing.
  400.  
  401. “Don’t you worry about a thing Anon. We’ll have this all sorted out in a jiffy. In the meantime, why don’t you think about what I said? I think you’ll find the young lady much more amicable if you know what to say.” Said Datoll with a grin.
  402.  
  403. Lussazan looked at him. “What did you tell him?”
  404.  
  405. “Nothing, nothing.” Said Datoll. He winked at you.
  406.  
  407. Lussazan floated over to her husband and pressed herself against him.
  408.  
  409. “What have you been talking to him about?”
  410.  
  411. Datoll gulped and turned away. “Anon, I think you can go. Isn’t that right dear?” said Datoll.
  412.  
  413. Lussazan stared at him. You took the opportunity to excuse yourself from the lab before Datoll began screaming behind you. The shrieks morphed into moans as you power-walked up the stairs away from the chaos behind you.
  414.  
  415. Your life was in their hands now.
  416.  
  417. ~~~~~~
  418.  
  419. After fifteen minutes of wandering, you finally found someone to help you find your way back to Emballandae. Thanking the werebat that had guided you, you opened the doors to her room.
  420.  
  421. “Hey, I’m back. Did yo-“
  422.  
  423. You stopped mid quip upon seeing a young man bent over the love seat that Emballandae was seated on. Emballandae slammed the sketch book she had been showing him shut and tossed it aside.
  424.  
  425. “Err, that will be all, Lapan. Thank you. You may resume your duties.” Said Emballandae stiffly.
  426.  
  427. “Of course, Lady Emballandae. A pleasure to be of service.” Said the man with a smile and a bow. He picked up a tray with a teapot and cups and brushed past you out the door. “Sir.” He said bluntly as he passed you. He never looked up at you as he left.
  428.  
  429. “Who was that?” you asked Emballandae.
  430.  
  431. “Just a butler.” She said with a blush.
  432.  
  433. “Is he married to someone here? I’ve seen quite a few guys around.”
  434.  
  435. “They aren’t married. Mama keeps them around as a status symbol. We train them to serve their masters, and when the time comes, they are gifted to someone who has curried my mother’s favor.” Said Emballandae.
  436.  
  437. You walked around the seat to pick up the sketch book. Without opening it, you handed it to her.
  438.  
  439. “I don’t want that.” Said Emballandae nervously.
  440.  
  441. “Then I’ll just leave it here.” You said putting it on the coffee table. “Is there a reason that you don’t want me seeing your art?”
  442. Emballandae stiffened. “It’s not art! It’s just… a few drawings.”
  443.  
  444. “That counts as art.” You said.
  445.  
  446. “Don’t call it that.” Said Emballandae.
  447.  
  448. “It would pass for art in my world.” You said.
  449.  
  450. Emballandae perked up. “Did people in your world not use color when they drew?”
  451.  
  452. “They did. Most of the time. Some pictures were in black and white.”
  453.  
  454. “What did they draw?” said Emballandae leaning over the armrest.
  455.  
  456. “Who?”
  457.  
  458. “Artists in your world. You don’t talk very much about them in your lectures…”
  459.  
  460. “Everything they paint here, probably. But with less of a focus on sex.”
  461.  
  462. Emballandae frowned. “That’s most of our classical art… if the focus wasn’t on sex, what did the paintings depict, love?”
  463. “Sometimes. Sometimes it was scenery, or an important event. A good bit of my world’s classical paintings are of {Greek} mythology.”
  464. “What kind of styles did they use?” asked Emballandae.
  465.  
  466. “Do you mean how they were painted?”
  467.  
  468. “Yes. Did they look like this?” asked Emballandae. She rifled through some of the books around her and pulled one out. Flipping through the pages, she showed you a painting of a man and a demon mid coitus. The art was in the style of a classical, renaissance painting.
  469. “Yeah, that’s about what our classical art looked like. Again, sex was less of the focus…” you said. You subtly shifted to try and hide your erection. You would have to remember what book that was.
  470.  
  471. “If that was classical art, what was the more modern art like?” asked Emballandae.
  472.  
  473. “It was more abstract. I don’t know if this world has an equivalent. None of the paintings I’ve seen here are a good example.”
  474. “Did they look like this?” asked Emballandae. She pulled out a noticeably newer book from the top of a stack and opened it for you. This time, the picture was of a man and what looked like a minotaur or a holstaurus working on a farm. The lines that formed their arms and legs consisted of two waves, narrowing to a point like a drawing of a starfish. The land around them stretched at strange angles, and the crops they were harvesting were smears of color with no outlines. The couple stared lovingly at each other with eyes consisting of a dot and an eyebrow.
  475.  
  476. “Oh! So they do. I should have figured as much.” You said taking the book.
  477.  
  478. “Did people like that kind of thing?” asked Emballandae.
  479.  
  480. “Abstract art? Yes, they did. Not everyone like it, but I’d say a majority of the people who cared about art enjoyed the works of the great abstract artists.”
  481.  
  482. “Did you like it?”
  483.  
  484. You looked over at the vampire. She blushed and slumped into the seat to avoid your gaze.
  485.  
  486. “I did. Some modern art was too far out there for me, but most of it was good.” You said.
  487.  
  488. Emballandae relaxed.
  489.  
  490. “Oh that’s so relieving to hear! I was worried that you were one of those tired old snobs who couldn’t appreciate anything they hadn’t seen a hundred times before.”
  491.  
  492. “Is that what you were worried about? That I wouldn’t like your art style?” you said.
  493.  
  494. Emballandae turned away. “It’s not that simple…”
  495.  
  496. There was a long pause. Emballandae stiffened and twisted to face you. “Listen, you are absolutely forbidden from telling anything I just told you to mother. Got it? If you do, I swear I’ll pitch your sorry peasant body to the zombies.” She said.
  497.  
  498. “Don’t worry, I’m not planning on talking to her unless she orders me to.” You said.
  499.  
  500. “Good.”
  501.  
  502. Emballandae shuffled through some papers stuffed in one of the books to pull out a heavily annotated copy of one of your lectures.
  503. “N-now then, since you have to obey my commands, I order you to tell me more about some of these people you mentioned in this lecture.” Said Emballandae passing the stack to you.
  504.  
  505. You took the papers and flipped through them. It was the lecture that had been dominated by art students. Most of the lecture was answering questions about human art culture and important figures.
  506.  
  507. “May I sit?” you asked.
  508.  
  509. Emballandae used her magic to clear a space for you on one of the adjacent chairs.
  510.  
  511. “You may. Now, tell me about the one called {Selbadah Dully}.”
  512.  
  513. You looked through your notes to see that she had highlighted almost every famous artist you had listed. This might take a while…
  514.  
  515. ~~~~~~~~~
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