Slavery, 110

Daniel’s stomach hurt a little from all the juice he’d drank at breakfast, but it would pass if he just went pee somewhere and had some exercise. He was on his way to the academy, wondering if he should go in through the gates this time or climb over the wall again. They’d probably let him in if he just said he was Isaac’s friend.

He felt like he should think it was weird to just be Isaac’s friend, but it wasn’t, so fuck that. Isaac was nice in a way that nobody Daniel knew was. A little bit like Ozzy but different, somehow. And since they’d be leaving soon, Isaac wanted to see him one more time to say goodbye, and maybe thank you for helping him the other day when he’d been acting like a fucking dumbass.

“Hey, you,” said Ozzy, appearing out of nowhere to walk alongside Daniel just as the academy came into view. “Where you going? We never see each other now that you’re not legally bound to hang out with me. But I’ll remind you you’re still morally bound by the bonds of friendship. Let’s hang out.”

Chosen One, 122

When the door opened again later in the day, it wasn’t Bernie or Blair, but another boy who was around the same age. He was a southerner, though. “Come on,” he said, standing in the doorway. “Out here.”

Isaac spent a second trying to decide whether it was worth being a pain in the ass, and stood up. “Sure. Where are we going?”

“Don’t waste your time, please. I’m not a horny idiot like my brothers.”

Considering he was looking at Isaac’s dick, Isaac doubted at least half of that. “Sure.” He held his hands behind his head and followed him out of the room, trying not to fully let out the breath he was holding. He’d managed to restrain himself enough that he could touch it without it totally filling him, but he wasn’t totally sure yet what that would mean if he had to try and use it.

Others, 55

Donny was crying, but that was fixable. “Hey,” Jacob said, kneeling in front of him. “It’s okay.”

“No!” Donny insisted, face in his hands. “No!”

Jacob nodded, picking Donny up even as he fought. “It’s time for bed.”

“No bed! Don’t want bed!”

Donny was a very smart boy and was normally very erudite for a child, and he thought about big important things most of the time, but he was three years old at the end of the day, no matter how often he told Jacob that he was actually seven, an insistence somewhat in contrast with Donny making Jacob count the days until his fourth birthday every day.

Chosen One, 117

“Man, this class is hard,” Isaac muttered, looking at the diagrams Catria had handed out to all the automation students. “I’m really glad I’m not in it.”

It turned out that automation magic was really fucking complicated, which was probably why most people couldn’t do it. Ignatius had said that wizards could make automatons a little easier than mages could, but even for them it was a really high level spell that had so many moving parts—literally and magically—and automatons had a tendency to explode if any part of the spell wasn’t perfect, so most people didn’t bother.

So much for Isaac’s plan to make a sex automaton, which was why everyone thought he’d wanted to take Catria’s class. His plans to free Nicholas from the control of an evil demon were also looking a little dicey, but he was still going to make those work.

Chosen One, 113

“And then I did this super cool flip,” Jacob said, standing up to do a backflip to demonstrate. “Right onto this cultist’s face, and I used it to kick off and jump onto another cultist, and I made him fall into another cultist, and they all fell down and I was, of course, fine.”

Isaac smiled. He’d had no doubt that Jacob would have come out of it fine. He’d taken a portal up north to a city called Narwhal Junction, where his brothers and sister had been fighting an apocalypse. He’d assured Isaac it hadn’t been a serious apocalypse, though, so Isaac was trying not to be too worried. “How many cultists were there?”

“Um, like fifty?” Jacob asked. “I’m not sure, it was hard to get an accurate count since they were all dressed identically and everything was on fire. One of them was the governor of Narwhal Junction, though, which sucks for them. Oh, and some of them had magic, which is…”

“Cheating,” Isaac finished. “I know.”

Stowaway, 106

“If you ask me,” said Pax, whom nobody had asked, “the Clan of Kozna’s plan had too many steps, was unnecessarily complicated and was poorly explained overall.”

“Since we’re still here to talk about it,” Jacob said, cleaning one of his knives. “I guess so.”

“I know so.” Pax did know. “Why did they summon their god in the tower using a sacrifice ritual that was powered by deaths occurring in the harbour? Why was there a second ritual to bind the god to this world, which was taking place underneath a church a half kilometre away from both those places? All of these different rituals could easily have been one ritual that took place in one place.”

“Maybe they thought splitting it up would make it harder for people to stop?” Cyrus asked. He’d been writing something for a few minutes, which Pax supposed was probably a letter to Klaus. This seemed wholly unnecessary since Klaus was doubtless present in Narwhal Junction, being that he was omnipresent and Narwhal Junction was included in the realm of omni, which was the name of a large jellyfish that had long ago consumed the world, including its northernmost continent.

Stowaway, 105

There were rather a lot of people fleeing the vicinity of the tower, which was probably because clouds were swirling above it and also it was glowing a little bit, which in Pax’s personal experience, towers didn’t usually do unless something was rather impressively wrong.

The tower was glowing blue, which created a striking and unique visual against the orange sky. Pax considered it for a moment. “So,” he said. “We know the torture cult is headquartered here. We also know the spell circle that was transcribed as a number puzzle on an abandoned Enjoni ship is carved on the ceiling of a secret sex room behind the governor’s office. We know the torture cult is trying to summon their evil torture god. And we know the general rules of reality, such as the sky being blue and towers not glowing blue, are not currently functioning in the area around this tower. What can we surmise from this?”

That the cult is using the tower to cast its evil torture god summoning spell? Nate asked.