456: Bathroom Mirroring

on August 17, 2010 in Book 16

In Which Relief Is Found In A Restroom

“I’m going to go find Amy, see if she watched that,” Steff said as we were leaving history.

“I’ll catch up with you at dinner, I guess… I’ve got to make a reflection,” I said, but she was already gone, moving with the kind of speed she rarely used. I sort of wondered about her urgency, but I didn’t have time to sit and think about it… I had a kind of terrible but very vague and half-formed notion forming in my head.

Even not fully articulated , it was enough to roil my stomach.

Lee worked for Pendragon and Associates. Pendragon and Associates worked for Mr. Embries…

“Your friend leaves very quickly,” Pala said, coming up beside me. Her suddenly looming presence and voice made me jump, which made her jump… it seemed she wasn’t really used to sneaking up on people. “It is one of her good qualities?”

“I think she’s excited about something,” I said. “I need to ask you to excuse me, Pala, I have to talk to my lawyer for a bit.”

“Oh… okay?” she said.

She just stood there, so I turned to go and look for a quiet corner or an empty room… I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to find a place to be alone, with classes mostly done for the day. It quickly became obvious that it wouldn’t be that easy… while Pala had snuck up on me, she was far from stealthy.

“Why are you following me?” I asked her.

“I am guarding your body,” she said. “I cannot do that if I am not where it is, or I am where it is not.”

“I asked you to excuse me,” I said.

“Yes, and I did,” she said. “I don’t know why you needed me to. It is not any business of mine if you talk to a lawyer. Is it considered rude?”

“It’s considered private,” I said.

“Oh. Like going to the bathroom?” she said.

“Um, yeah,” I said. “Kind of, I guess. Pala, I wasn’t asking you to pardon or forgive me… I was saying I needed you to leave me alone while I take care of my business.”

“Oh. Okie dokie,” she said. “I can wait outside the bathroom for you, if you want?”

I thought about trying to argue that if she could wait outside the bathroom while I did private things in there, then she could wait outside of an empty classroom while I did the same thing. If anything, it would be safer. Bathrooms weren’t really private, after all. She couldn’t control people coming and going in them. Also, as I myself knew, bathrooms held some advantages for people who wanted to dispose of evidence of violence.

But then I realized that the argument was unnecessary… a bathroom would work just as well. It would be less private, but Lee would trigger the silence spell if I asked him to, I was sure.

“Right,” I said to Pala. Now that I was thinking about it, I thought I remembered a single-occupancy bathroom… that would be perfect. I could duck into it, lock the door, have my conversation inside the shield of silence and if anybody was even paying attention they still wouldn’t know anything was up.

As long as people were spying on my room anyway, maybe it would make sense to start having all my official legal reflections in bathrooms… but then, what would be more suspicious than the girl who never has to pee hanging out in the stalls? That was exactly the sort of gossip-fodder my reputation didn’t need…

In any event, I found the room I was looking for and was suddenly very glad I didn’t need to use it for its intended purpose… it looked like it’d been cleaned maybe once, long ago, possibly by the workmen who’d just finished installing the fixtures. Well, I could have my conversation standing up.

I didn’t even have to ask Lee to trigger the silence spell… the sparkly purple field came on as soon as he answered.

“Mackenzie,” he said. “Hello. You were watching the press conference?”

“I was, until it got cut off.”

“Cut off?” he repeated.

“Oh, I guess you weren’t watching the university’s coverage,” I said.

“No, INN was carrying one of the local station’s feeds,” Lee said. “Anyway, I know it’s not quite what you were expecting…”

“Were you expecting it?” I asked.

“No, Mackenzie, but maybe I should have been,” he said. “I was… thinking humanocentrically. I don’t know why I expected this to stay inside normal legal channels. I made an appeal to the citizenship of someone who rules over a state of one.”

“One what?” I asked.

“Never mind,” Lee said. “I’m getting poetic, it’s a bad habit for attorneys outside of select circumstances. Anyway, the thing I would emphasize is that you don’t have to worry… things are going to progress on their own now. It’s out of your hands.”

“Progress towards what, exactly?” I asked. “A cover-up? Lee, whatever happens, we can’t pretend it doesn’t involve me… I started it moving.”

“Mackenzie, this thing is so much bigger than you or I… did you see the Clarion-Call‘s headline this morning? ‘Disorder In The Heartland: The Chaos Wars Revisited. It was referring to the royal family’s visit. This thing was always going to come to a quick and expedient end. Maybe because of you that end will have something to do with actual justice. That’s all we can hope for, and really, all the more we should say about it.”

“So you don’t think my tip is just going to be buried?” I asked.

“I’m positive it won’t be,” Lee said. “But really, that’s all I can say.”

“What exactly are you involved with?” I asked.

“Mackenzie, the extent of my involvement was getting your information into the hands of a well-connected individual who could put it to use.”

“His use?”

“I meant in the sense of passing it on to where it would do some good.”

“Good for who, though?” I asked.

“I never pretended that this would be a wholly altruistic act for anyone involved,” Lee said. “You’ll recall I was very clear on the point that you’d be ceding any reward by doing things this way.”

“I was fine with that,” I said. “But I thought that was a way to see justice done, not sacrifice it on the altar of… of career advancement.”

“Everybody makes sacrifices to get ahead,” Lee said. “I’m the one who’ll have to live with this one, not you.”

“That’s easy for you to say.”

“You entrusted the information to me. You’re not benefiting from it in any way,” Lee said. “Nothing that happens from here on out will have anything to do with you.”

“If you say that a few more times you might buy it, but I doubt I will,” I said.

“Mackenzie… I can tell this is really bothering you,” he said. “The thing you have to remember is that, however things turn out… and we may never know what actually happens as a result of all this… but however things turn out, there’s no way of knowing if things wouldn’t have been the same even without your very limited involvement. Your information may have helped move things along all the more quickly, but not necessarily to a different end. The Imperium’s investigators aren’t a bunch of incompetents.”

“No, I don’t believe they are,” I said. “If Mike Gregory didn’t have an inkling of the truth, he’d probably have been on the stage delivering the lines. I feel like we took the investigation out of his hands, after you were so clear that it was best for him to be in charge.”

“Probably he does have an ‘inkling’,” Lee said. “But again, Mackenzie, I think you’re underestimating the scope of events here. A man like Gregory is destined to butt heads with his superiors in sensitive political matters. What’s really bothering you? If it’s the reward…”

“It’s not,” I said. I stopped and fought with myself to articulate exactly what it was that had sent me for my mirror as soon as class ended, the thing that was really bothering me. “Lee… exactly how beholden are you to Mr. Embries?”

“Be… Mackenzie, he’s a client of my firm, and an important one,” he said. “You really shouldn’t be drawing any conclusions from that. You’re my client. I have a responsibility to you.”

“But you’re looking out on the side for opportunities to serve him,” I said. “Lee, I watched him fascinate an entire room of people… probably more than one, actually. Without trying. Without noticing.”

“Yes, it’s things like that which lead to the complicated legal situation where… look, Mackenzie, this really has nothing to do with you,” he said.

“Except he’s a member of the university administration,” I said. “And your firm’s in his pocket, or his aura, or whatever. I think there’s a bit of a conflict of interest there.”

“My firm doesn’t represent the university,” Lee said. “We serve Mr. Embries’s personal interests in a private capacity. The university has its own legal representation. Our service to Mr. Embries puts us at odds with the university as often as it sees us in accord, which is really far less often than the two have nothing to do with each other.”

“But doesn’t he benefit if my suit goes away?” I asked. “Or if it gets settled quickly and easily?”

You benefit if it gets settled quickly and easily,” Lee said. “Mackenzie, that’s what you wanted. From the beginning you were clear that what you wanted most from the school was change… if you want to switch to a more aggressive strategy and go after larger monetary damages, we can talk about that, but I feel I’d be doing you a disservice by not weighing the pros and cons again. One of the cons is that the school would more aggressively defend itself, leading to a longer arbitration…”

“I don’t really want to change strategies,” I said. “I just wonder if you can represent me at the same time you’re ‘serving’ Embries.”

“Well, I’ll assume you’re asking me, and say: yes, absolutely, yes,” he said. “If I had to guess how Mr. Embries would prefer to see this resolved… and I do have to guess, because he’s made no attempt to inform me… I’d say he’d prefer to see it handled quickly and quietly, and in a way that can be spun into something positive for the university’s image. But Mackenzie, I’m not trying to guess what he would want while I’m talking to you, and I doubt the vice-chancellor is going to be the one who ultimately decides anything, even if his signature ends up on some of the documents. It’s going to be members of the university’s legal team sitting in the room with the arbiter. We’ll all hash out something that they can live with, and then the university’s board will put it into effect, and Mr. Embries… in his capacity as the vice-chancellor… will be the one who executes some of those decisions. If he has any issues with the settlement, he’ll be talking to the university’s legal department, not his personal attorneys.”

“That all sounds very sensible, Lee, but I get the feeling that your firm’s loyalty to him isn’t just client-attorney stuff,” I said. I couldn’t stop thinking of the way Embries had effortlessly fascinated the entire TV viewing audience.

“Mackenzie, I hope you’ve noticed that while I’m not confirming anything you might have inferred about who I took your information to, I’m also not insulting your intelligence about anything,” Lee said. “I think you’re an intelligent young woman. I think you’re showing that intelligence by asking questions about whether or not your attorney can effectively advocate for you, and I hope you’ll show that same intelligence by listening to my answers.”

“I’m listening,” I said.

“If the fact that my firm represents a senior member of the faculty in his private life has any implications for your case, Mackenzie, it just means that I have a decent understanding of university politics and who’s actually in charge of what,” Lee said. “If you had come to me and said that you wanted to sue the university’s officers personally, or your suit would touch on the office of the vice-chancellor in any way, I would have had to turn your case down. In fact, if my firm represented any other member of the university administration, I would have turned you down.”

“Why, if there’s no conflict?” I asked.

“Because humans and other similar races make conflicts where there aren’t any,” Lee said. “Because somebody like the chancellor defines herself by her career and associations. She can’t not take something touching on the university personally and she almost couldn’t help but try to use any personal connections she might have to try to protect it. Somebody like the vice-chancellor, on the other hand… well, he takes a longer view. University administration is more like a way to pass the time. Anything that seriously threatened the university, he’d take rather personally, but that’s so far from being… seriously, yours is likely to be one of the more, well, amiable grievances aired against the school this year.”

“And that’s not just because you’re managing to keep it amiable for them,” I said. It wasn’t quite a question. I felt a kind of reflex to argue, but what he was saying made sense.

“No, because you’re out for a resolution, not for blood,” Lee said. “Mackenzie, if you want someone else to represent you, I can get you a referral for someone outside the firm and smooth things over with the arbiter, and I’ll even arrange payment from the funds that were entrusted to us, if necessary. But I believe you’d be doing yourself a disservice.”

“Okay, Lee, I believe you,” I said. “I just hope you’ll tell me if something changes.”

“Like what?”

“Like if the vice-chancellor tells you to do something about my case,” I said.

“Mackenzie, I promise I’ll tell you anything that’s relevant to your case,” Lee said. “And that I’ll do anything I think is in your best interest, even stepping back and referring you to someone else. I’ll do this freely and willingly, because it’s nothing I haven’t implicitly done already. This is what being your attorney entails.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“And Mackenzie? Don’t feel guilty for grilling me about this,” Lee said. “You’re looking out for yourself… sticking up for yourself, really. It’s not a bad habit to have. Though, full disclosure: I have selfish reasons for saying so.”

“What do you mean?”

“If nobody were willing to stand up for their rights, I’d have a harder time finding work.”

“Thanks, Lee,” I said again. Maybe I was being horribly naive, but I did feel reassured… and I felt good about it. I felt relieved. I’d never quite distrusted Lee, but not knowing if I could trust him had felt pretty bad.

“Anything else I can help you with right now?” he asked, and I gathered that he had other things to do. Well, obviously.

“No, no, that’s it,” I said. “Thanks for your time.”

“Not a problem,” he said, and waved me away.

I closed the mirror and slipped it into my pocket, then leaned my hand against the wall for a bit to just sort of collect myself. When I’d collected myself enough to feel really, really gross for touching the bathroom wall but even more grossed out by the thought of touching the faucet, I decided it was time to leave.

When I opened the door and found not Pala but Iona, I kind of wished I’d decided to stay in there a little bit longer.


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72 Responses to “456: Bathroom Mirroring”

  1. carson says:

    Eeep!

    Current score: 0
  2. zeel says:

    twitch. . twitch. . . blink. . .

    please, don’t try to talk your way through this, light your hand on fire and hold it in her direction. and WALK AWAY. . .

    oh and where did Pala go???

    Current score: 1
    • Jimmy Joe III says:

      Pft. Like Mack has a history of making intelligent decisions like that.

      Current score: 2
  3. Billy Bob says:

    I wish the last part were more clear… did she find Iona and Paula was gone, or did she find Iona and Paula is still standing by the door?

    Current score: 0
  4. Billy Bob says:

    Also, I find it irritating that Lee did not come out and say the Embries is a greater dragon. Instead he sort of hinted at it. If he is keeping it confidential then he should not be dropping hints, it’s sloppy. If it’s not confidential he should tell her. The middle ground of dropping hints is the worst of both situations and it’s unprofessional. (IMO) And given how worked up Mack is, I’m surprised she did not analyze the comments more carefully.

    Current score: 0
    • Steph says:

      Given how worked up Mack is, I’m *not* surprised she didn’t analyze more carefully just now. When you’re all a flutter, how often do you have the patience to sit and think and piece things together? Especially on the fly or mid conversation?

      She’ll settle down at some point and start over analyzing like we expect our Mack to do and she’ll come up with some theories, put some puzzle bits together and then get worked up again over her conclusions and stop thinking clearly for a bit.

      Current score: 1
    • zeel says:

      i was thinking similarly. it would seem like that knowledge is either a deep secret. or public record.

      Current score: 0
      • Anthony says:

        The more you read, the more apparent it becomes that it’s actually some sort of open secret.

        Current score: 3
        • zeel says:

          It’s a weird secret for sure. It’s like nobody will talk about it, but nobody is trying very hard to hide it either.

          Current score: 2
    • Sylvan says:

      It doesn’t seem particularly unprofessional to me that Lee is dropping a hint or two here without saying anything specific…. Mackenzie contacted him with a worry about her information and her case, and he has to respond to that while respecting two different clients.

      Telling Mackenzie that Mr. Embries is not a human doesn’t actually tell her anything about what he is. To be honest, we have no idea what range of creatures could fit the characteristics that she knows Mr. Embries to have. Which, by the by, is long-lived, influential, knowledgeable , capable of wielding powerful magic and appearing to be human (which could be one and the same). Likes treasure may also fit on that list, but don’t a lot of intelligent beings enjoy having rare or powerful items? After all, it is 1KP in “mixed treasure” which could mean anything.

      An important client is asking him penetrating and intelligent questions about whether her information will be used for moral ends and how his firm’s association with Mr. Embries will affect her case. If he tells her incomplete or unsatisfying answers, she might decide to do something else with her information. This could cause serious problems for Lee, Mr. Embries and his reward, and the firm… not to mention the trouble Lee mentioned in this update with the headlines. He is trying to give her enough information to satisfy her, which includes explaining why representing Mr. Embries doesn’t conflict with representing the university as a whole, and that justice will be served in a long-term sense.

      I think his way of handling this situation was actually rather clever. He knows what is being done to resolve the case…. he knows enough to reassure Mackenzie that justice will be served, but that he can’t tell her more, which suggests to me that he talked to someone (perhaps Embries) about what would be done with the info, maybe because he thought of how Mackenzie would react t the “coverup”. He at least seems to know what is going on, or what the general plan is with this case. The fact that he didn’t give away more where Leda’s death is concerned is what strikes me as professional about Lee. If he had dropped hints about how it would all be resolved in the end, that would have seemed unprofessional.

      But, as Lee himself said, he wasn’t about to insult Mackenzie’s intelligence and make her distrust him. It is a delicate balance to maintain, but I think Lee is doing it well.

      Current score: 2
    • Rethic says:

      Well I think it sounds like he assumes she already knows. If you are talking to a friend about somebody else and you both know that person has a big giant wart on their nose you wouldn’t straight out say that big giant wart on their nose. You might say something like well I can see why he didn’t like her face. That’s just the feeling I got out of it.

      Current score: 2
  5. Drudge says:

    Something tells me shit is about to get real.

    Current score: 0
  6. Jennifer says:

    Fuck.

    Pala fails at bodyguarding, apparently.

    Current score: 0
    • Rin says:

      Was there ever any doubt of that? She’s clearly a very capable fighter, but also horribly naive. All Iona probably had to do was say that she was Mack’s friend and she’d look after Mack. Our littlest giant would not even question it and happily walk off without a second thought.

      Current score: 1
  7. Morten says:

    Eeep!

    I still don’t think Leda would have died if Mack hadn’t been at the school.

    Oh, and thanks for updating. Also for updating 3 seas tho Tauri wasn’t as much fun as usual.

    Current score: 0
    • Arakano says:

      I disagree. I think Iona would have killed her anyway. Well, it might not have happened due to timelines running differently and all, but that’s about it IMO.

      Current score: 1
      • Rey d`Tutto says:

        Regardless, we would not know of it, since if Mack wasn’t at the schol, we would not be reading about it.
        🙂

        Current score: 0
      • Morten says:

        Totally agree that Iona would have done it anyway. I just don’t think that she did it…

        Current score: 1
  8. Zathras IX says:

    Mr. Embries may be
    The Dragon in “Pendragon
    And Associates”

    Current score: 0
    • Durragh says:

      funny but my first thought to Pendragon is Uther Pendragon (oddly, not Arthur). but if it does reference Embries, then i don’t think Lee would refer to him as a client of the firm, he’d be… an associate of the firm? a benefactor?

      Current score: 0
      • tjhairball says:

        I think I may have mentioned this in a previous comment, but “Embries” sounds an awful lot like Emrys – as in Mryddin Emrys, aka Mryddin Ambrosius (Merlin). The traditional Arthurian genealogy has Ambrosius Pendragon as the elder brother of Uther, father of Arthur. The precise tie between Merlin and Ambrosius is a murky one (and therefore quite mythologically flexible), but is sometimes taken to be a blood tie.

        In a few cases, in fact, Ambrosius and Merlin get switched around (hence why he’s sometimes called Mryddin Ambrosius), but a blood tie wouldn’t be out of the question, such as one being the illegitimate child of the other or the two being, in fact, the same person. In many tellings of the Arthurian story, Ambrosius was the first one to take the name Pendragon. It wouldn’t be totally absurd to cast Merlin the magician as a dragon acting through intermediaries, with Ambrosius and Uther being his sons and Arthur his grandson – that would fit quite a few tellings of the legend.

        Pendragon literally means “head dragon” or “chief dragon.” I would expect that the “Pendragon” in “Pendragon & Associates” is either a humanoid descendant of Embries or a descendant of a close ally of Embries, rather than Embries himself. Don’t know if there’s a round table in the boardroom that the associates meet around, though, and the names could easily just be a throwaway reference.

        A quick note for those of you concerned about Iona’s reaction to Mack: Lee DID put the silence spell up as soon as she connected. I almost missed that myself. So Iona hasn’t overheard the conversation. However, the fact that Iona is out and about and on the loose is … interesting.

        Current score: 1
        • cnic says:

          I find it amazing someone knew what Pen means. By Tre, Pol, and Pen will thee know all Cornishmen.

          Current score: 2
        • Ladyinahat says:

          Well if AE had not thought of it in those terms before then this theory would definately be an interesting twist to it.

          Thank you for sharing that info. it was really cool to read.

          Current score: 0
        • Greenwood Goat says:

          Aaaand, in T.H. White’s books, Merlin names his master/tutor as “Blaise”. Possibly not relevant, but an interesting confluence nonetheless.

          Current score: 1
        • anelfgirl says:

          “Pen” can also mean “next to” as in penultimate- which does not mean ‘the utmost ultimate’, like you sometimes hear it used, but “next to the last.” Which would make more, if the pendragon refers to Embries associate and not Embries himself.

          Current score: 1
      • Rethic says:

        I’m pretty sure she went over this before and pendragon was the precursor to the lawyer. Because dragons needed a go-between person to deal with all the politics of the time. I think there’s like half an updates worth of information on this somewhere.

        Current score: 2
  9. Emmy says:

    Okay, Lee’s feeling guilty/conflicted over taking Mackenzie’s information to his client, because now he’s pretty sure that his client is not going to handle this situation in the way that he’d hoped. So… mermaids on the menu, yes?

    Also, how stupid is Iona being right now? She can’t “take” Mackenzie, especially in a crowded hallway, right? What could she possibly hope to accomplish?

    Also also, good for Mackenzie for thinking through the implications of Lee’s firm representing Embries and how that could affect her suit against the school. Very rational, very well-thought out.

    Also also also, yay! An update! Thank you!

    Current score: 0
    • Alexander Krizak says:

      Iona can’t take Mackenzie? She has generally superior predatory instincts than Mackenzie, and since she doesn’t generally reveal her monstrous form, she isn’t likely to have an exemption from MU’s weapons policy, so she probably has a magical weapon fully capable of doing damage to Mackenzie.

      Current score: 0
      • Jennifer says:

        She might not even be attempting to “take” Mackenzie now. She may just want to make sure that Mackenzie hasn’t voiced any suspicions – or rather, knowledge – about Mermaid eating habits to anyone. Feejee even said once that if they thought Mackenzie was going to tell MORE people about their secret, they’d have to take their chances (ch 345). So, she might just be screening her, and since Mack is a lousy liar….

        Current score: 1
      • Drudge says:

        Except Makenzie is implied to have a monstrous form as well. She’s moved in ways no human is built to move, at speeds no human outside the olympics should be able to move at in one instance. In another her eyes were replaced with literal fireballs. This was all unconscious stuff deeply repressed. While demons don’t have any sort of bat winged, horned, form, they are still inhuman monsters.

        Hell, even if Iona’s packing heat odds are if she goes monstrous form she can’t HOLD it, since I don’t remember hands or opposable thumbs being part of the package.

        Current score: 0
        • bramble says:

          The point is that Iona ISN’T going to go monstrous form – she’s not stupid enough to blow her cover wide open now, of all times. What she can do is go after Mack with a weapon that’s well-enough enchanted to seriously hurt Mack, with all the skill of someone who’s already passed one year of fighting classes, whereas Mack is only a month or so into her first real combat class and has learned very little – and as you said, Mack’s super-human capabilities are mostly deeply repressed. Mack’s default mode is conflict avoidance – given a minute, she could probably fend Iona off, but that’s assuming Iona gives her that minute to collect herself.

          Current score: 0
          • Arakano says:

            Do we anything about Iona having any skill at combat, though? And frankly, I doubt she’d have a good magic weapon – exactly for that one thing: predatory instinct. Her INSTINCT would not be to fight in human form with weapons, I am sure. So, actually, a life-and-death fight in human form might take as much hard-fought-for control over instincts for her as for Mack, just in different ways.

            And btw, WHY would she want to attack Mack anyway? I doubt she knows that she is about to be executed (IF that is what Lee’s referring to, of course), and if she knew, why should she go seek out Mack instead of fleeing for her life? Revenge is nice and all, but Iona actually always struck me as intelligent as well as vicious…

            Current score: 1
            • bramble says:

              Well, I don’t really believe that she’s going to physically attack Mack, but… she may not really know anything about the result of the investigation or the deal with Leda’s family, yet. What she does know is that Mack is capable of identifying mermaid teeth – she may be assuming that poor timid prey-minded Mack hasn’t acted on that knowledge yet, and want to scare Mack off of telling anyone in the future.

              Current score: 1
  10. Yumi says:

    Oh, oh crap.
    I’ve been binging on this story all summer, and now that I’m all caught up I have to deal with my first true cliffhanger… and hopefully I’ll have a lot of those to look forward to. I love your work, AE.

    Since Khazarus is like the MU-Russia, I always considered the Chaos Wars to be like the Cold War…and what ever was holding the rest of the world’s attention when Hyrda Company was doing its thing was like the Vietnam War.
    Which makes me wonder if there was an MU equivalent of the Space Race.

    Current score: 0
    • Koan says:

      No, in MU they believe (and it may be true for all I know) that the moon is a disk affixed to the celestial globe or something, they explained it during the mechan’s circle. To them the stars are something that is very close to the planet and the idea of the moon being umpteen miles away frightened Dee when Steff postulated it. There are similarities between RL and MU but its not 1-1, they’ve had magic so they don’t need and in fact believe science to be fictional rantings of a bygone era. Hope that helped and welcome to MU!

      Current score: 1
      • Yumi says:

        Oh, I know that; by “equivalent,” I meant something like a big invention that both countries were striving for, perhaps better control of monsters or such.

        Current score: 1
      • Yumi says:

        Or, as just occurred to me when reading Mr. Sir’s comment, maybe they had an equivalent that ended up proving what Mack believes about the moon…it’s unlikely, but the Space Race was my favorite part of the Cold War unit in history class.

        Current score: 1
    • Mr. Sir says:

      I doubt they had a space race, judging from Mack’s reaction to the mechans drawing a map of the moon, either mortals do not understand the nature of their planet or things work differently in this universe. I find it odd however…considering all these flying carriages, air ships, and wizards flying around….that no one would at least try to go high enough to disprove/prove the idea that the moon and stars are just put on the sky to act as decoration.

      Current score: 1
      • Drudge says:

        While I never liked that part of the setting I can say that even then people would disbelieve. There’s still a large number of people now who think the world is flat.

        Current score: 2
        • Arakano says:

          Really? I doubt it. Are we truly more stupid nowadays than in the middle ages, when almost everyone knew the world to be round, despite popular myths to the contrary? 😉

          Current score: 0
          • Yumi says:

            Perhaps almost everyone in Europe, but what about tribes in Africa? (Africa springs to mind because I read an auto-biography in which a boy from an African tribe goes off to receive an education and when he returns home for a visit, his mom doesn’t believe him saying that the Earth is round and that it moves around the sun.)
            So today, almost everyone blessed enough to have significant access to information probably believes the world is round, but I’d say the amount who that information has not reached could still be considered a large amount.

            Current score: 1
          • Drudge says:

            I don’t mean “large number” as in “a large percentage of the population” so much as “enough people to cause worry”. They are by no means a large percentage of western society, but they’re there.

            Current score: 1
            • Arakano says:

              Ah, I see. Yeah, you are probably right. THanks for clearing it up.

              @Yumi: Good point. Not sure about other cultures, really, I am mostly versed in European history.

              Current score: 1
  11. Scarlett says:

    Yea!!!! Much MU goodness!!!

    Current score: 0
  12. Jeebus says:

    Grungy toilet room and now psycho mer-chick
    Mac’s life seems to be improving – sarcasm-

    Current score: 0
  13. fatefox says:

    I like the fact that Lee always calls Mack Mackenzie. It speaks volumes for his personal character.

    Current score: 2
  14. Pete G. says:

    “Mackenzie, this thing is so much bigger than you or I…”

    I believe this is properly “Mackenzie, this thing is so much bigger than you or me…” Objective case first person pronoun and all that.

    Current score: 0
    • Rhai says:

      Actually, no. “This thing is so much bigger than you [are] or I [am].”

      Current score: 1
      • firedragongt says:

        A. You are correct. It should only be “you and me” if “me” would be correct on it’s own, while “you or I” would only be correct if “I” is correct alone.
        B. In literature, speech doesn’t have to follow the rules of grammar. People DON’T SPEAK like a dang formal report. You write how people speak, or the characters tend to sound stupid and bland. Even if that weren’t the correct usage, it might just be correct to use it anyway.

        Current score: 0
  15. Rhai says:

    Oh.
    Oh dear.

    …just please get out of there, Mack. It’s not worth it.

    Current score: 0
  16. Tempest MI says:

    I don’t believe Iona is there for physical conflict. Also Lee now realizes what path “justice” is going to take and he believes that Mac may blame herself when she finds out what that is.

    Current score: 0
  17. Ladyinahat says:

    I think this the Best/Worse cliff hanger I have ever seen!!
    ARGHHHHH Need another Update hurry please!!!!!

    Current score: 0
  18. Miss Farrower says:

    Look, I know you all are having lots of fun making all sorts of guesses, but Word of God has already established that Pendragon is a title, not a name, and one common enough to be discussed in classes at MU. The following excerpt describes exactly what a pendragon is/does, for the benefit of those who have forgotten:

    “These agreements often go through mercantile guilds rather than the court system… the guilds being older than the Imperial Republic, dragons tend to be more familiar with their ins and outs. The guilds also have longstanding guidelines about dealing with dragons, to make sure they’re not getting fleeced. Many great dragons, and all greater ones, radiate an aura of majesty that makes it impossible for mortals to deal with them on an equal footing, physical disparities aside. Typically, those who seek a deal with a dragon will interact with a humanoid proxy or familiar rather than meeting with the dragon in person. The dragon’s familiar, or pendragon, would typically have been a wizard or scholar in centuries gone by. These days, it’s as likely to be a lawyer or accountant. The fact that the pendragon would be under the dragon’s thrall would be an obstacle in ordinary contract law, but since a draconic contract is an entirely private agreement between the two parties it isn’t an issue.”

    Current score: 0
  19. Ladyinahat says:

    I had forgoten that part. Thank you for pointing it out.

    Current score: 0
  20. Greenwood Goat says:

    Ah ha yes. I’d overlooked the possibility of Feejee or Iona making the connections the other way, Mack being the only land-dweller in recent times to have seen mermaids feeding and survived. Scenting out Mack would not be difficult, even with a whole campus to search.

    So, what happens next?

    Neither Iona or Feejee are usually armed – being “fierce creatures” they have exemptions from MU’s weapons policy. Iona might have armed herself with a suitable magic weapon, but if not, she won’t be able to kill Mack, no matter how poorly Mack defends herself. Then again, maybe Iona will just talk at her with acid tongue and point trembling, spikeful hands, leaving Mack feeling overwhelmed.

    Current score: 1
  21. Mr. Sir says:

    Mack might want to mention that she has made arrangements in case of her death…by any causes whatsoever. As well as in the case of bodily harm. Being eaten by “monsters”, slipping in the shower, getting a rash…it does not matter. If anything happens to her or her’s, she has made arrangements for an ORGANIZATION (thereby making their wholesale slaughter less likely, not impossible, but it would be harder for the merfolk to cover up the slaughter of an entire legal department when they are not…in the water and far from human civilization) to have the fact that they are shifting people eaters. Probably wont stop her, she gives off the whole sociopathic vibe when dealing with humans and their rights. (course, this makes more sense since apparently they were made by Father Ocean to as a copy of humans to compete with them…it would explain why humans would be so tasty to them and why they would then have to find a way to justify their hunger for a flesh that would not realistically be a part of their normal diet…barring frequent and premeditated murder.

    Current score: 1
  22. Mr. Sir says:

    Mack might want to mention that she has made arrangements in case of her death…by any causes whatsoever. As well as in the case of bodily harm. Being eaten by “monsters”, slipping in the shower, getting a rash…it does not matter. If anything happens to her or her’s, she has made arrangements for an ORGANIZATION (thereby making their wholesale slaughter less likely, not impossible, but it would be harder for the merfolk to cover up the slaughter of an entire legal department when they are not…in the water and far from human civilization) to have the fact that they are shifting people eaters become common knowledge. Probably wont stop her, she gives off the whole sociopathic vibe when dealing with humans and their rights. (course, this makes more sense since apparently they were made by Father Ocean to as a copy of humans to compete with them…it would explain why humans would be so tasty to them and why they would then have to find a way to justify their hunger for a flesh that would not realistically be a part of their normal diet…barring frequent and premeditated murder. I find it interesting…considering how many species seem to find us tasty…that humans have still managed to thrive and seem to be just as adaptable as humans in our world. It would be interesting to see what magical/practical measures might be taken against merfolk if the fact that they consider humans to be a delectable entre become public. Some things can be inferred by measures taken against other races. For example, the protective/detecting magic would detect them as monsters. They might be required to wear magical transformation suppressing items to prevent them going into their hunting/true forms. And if there are airships…why not eventually a magically equipped bathysphere with a crew outfitted with a slow acting poison that would spoil their meat. As well as merfolk being added to the worlds equivalent of the “monster manual” so people have a better idea of how to fight them and recognize whatever traps/mass murder plans they have in store.

    However, I still think in the short term that having the merfolk’s little secret be leaked to the press and law enforcement agencies (and maybe a few human supremacy hate groups) upon her death (death by ANY causes whatsoever). Not only would it make direct murder less likely…it would put Iona and Feejee in the awkward position of hoping that Mack lives a long and healthful life. 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • Morten says:

      You are such a racist.
      Humans happily eat whales, cuttlefish, and squid but they want to be exempt from being food themselves? Hypocrites.

      Current score: 0
  23. Rin says:

    Excellent chapter as always. Makes one want more MU. Or some More MU perhaps. Either would be swell.

    Current score: 0
  24. Mr. Sir says:

    Actually…if the humans of this world were as paranoid, dynamic, and adaptable as us…they would have wiped out the majority of the other races by now, possibly with the exception of the elves since they are like humans-plus, and have shown they have much higher sex drives than us. Plus the fact that these humans have yet to discover weapons of mass destruction (at least based on our understanding) as well as the “germ theory” (except for aberrant cases such as mechans and Amaranth) it is unlikely that they would have engaged in biological warfare to the extent homo sapien sapien has engaged in…to it fellow hominids, and to its own species..

    Current score: 0
    • Drudge says:

      I think you’re underestimating how HARD it is to commit genocide to a major group. I mean the vast, vast majority of them failed. Even with *human* breeding rates you could miss a few dozen and they’d be back as a small community eventually. Not to mention that reproducing with them is more or less inevitable with enough time. Callahan’s lived for centuries and it probably took her most of that to commit the genocides she’s accused with, and even then odds are there are some left.

      Not to mention several MU races are in places humans generally aren’t. Merfolk are miles under the ocean, where human magic doesn’t work as well. Nagakin are on a mesa they seem to have more or less to themselves. Drow and gorgons are far below the surface. Giants live in a whole other universe. Dwarves are held deep below mountains, same with kobolds. Gnomes seem to try their hardest to keep out of notice, and have some kind of natural invisibility when gathered in groups.

      Goblinoids are really the only ones out in the open. They tried that. It didn’t work because they can breed VERY fast. Remember when without lots of effort to destroy the unborn they could have up to a dozen children at a time.

      Current score: 1
  25. Mr. Sir says:

    Course…I could be wrong, maybe they have tried this and failed in a psuedo DnD Clerical type of way.

    Current score: 0
  26. Mr. Sir says:

    I forgot about the gods and the demons…maybe gods prevent mass extinctions or something, unless it is done by the rules.
    Odd, how a god would deem one “people eating” race as the “enemy of humankind” and yet ignore all the other insidious “people eating” races, that probably do more damage by having nothing to hold them in check.
    The merfolk are just asking for genocide in the long term.

    Current score: 0
    • l0stZ says:

      Simple: one “people eating” race refused to acknowledge a god while all the other insidious “people eating” races eagerly worshiped gods.
      Which one is more dangerous in a god’s mind?
      Obviously humans are doing just fine even if only one is targeted.

      Current score: 0
    • Drudge says:

      Again, you’re vastly underestimating the workload of genocide. The holocaust wasn’t exactly an easy or cheap thing. It took a large sum of money, years of work, and thousands of people. IT STILL FAILED. Making an entire race die is implied to be beyond the gods, since there’re still demons around. Only reason the Satyrs and Nymphs needed the help of the gods is because they don’t seem to reproduce very efficiently without help.

      As well, cultural and biological “people eating” are different things. Merfolk and Ogres and PROBABLY go without(Viktor however says humans aren’t eaten for the taste, and they aren’t exactly easy to farm). Demons crossing over have a physical NEED to devour mankind. Word of god says the moment they cross over they need to eat humans. They’re free of it in hell, but the moment they try for something not eternal damnation it’s an inescapable requirement. The first two can probably stop, the last one CAN’T.

      Current score: 1
  27. Fallen says:

    Odds that Embries is the greater dragon that ‘Brimstone’ Blaise fought?

    Current score: 0
    • Jennifer says:

      No, in chapter 423, the ethernet states that she dueled Fysaskerath the Red to a standstill.

      Current score: 2
    • Billy Bob says:

      “No, dude, Fysaskerath is a greater red dragon,” Ian said.

      Current score: 2
  28. I <3 Lee. I hope somewhere there are real lawyers like him.

    Also, "When I opened the door and found not Pala but Iona, I kind of wished I’d decided to stay in there a little bit longer."

    Dun dun DUNNNN!

    Current score: 1