479: Scent of a Woman

on January 7, 2011 in Uncategorized Chapters

In Which Salad Is Abused

The good thing about taking the potion was that it was really easy for me to believe that it was in fact doing nothing. There was no immediately noticeable effect when I swallowed it. Then it was sitting there for ten minutes while Roger sat nearby, flipping through a textbook and occasionally glancing at the timepiece.

Yes, there was nothing like ten solid minutes of nothing happening to convince oneself that the potion one had taken might as well have been interesting colored water for all of the pregnancies it would actually terminate.

“And that’s it,” Roger said finally. “Remember, don’t take anything else and try to stay away from any buffs or debuffs for the next two weeks. There wouldn’t be any interactions with most of them, but we don’t want any nasty surprises.”

“Okay,” I said.

The whole thing had taken maybe twenty, twenty-five minutes, including the wait before I’d seen Roger. I figured the others had probably headed for lunch already, but they wouldn’t be anywhere near finished, and I still had to eat… okay, technically I didn’t have to eat. But I still enjoyed and was in the habit of eating, and was expected to by my owner, so I went straight to the dining hall.

After I got inside, I decided to check in at the table where the others were before getting my food. My jitters from earlier weren’t ready to leave just yet, so they were finding new things to pester me about, like what would happen if everybody else finished eating just as I was sitting down and so they had to sit there awkwardly while I ate or else they’d all just get up and go, leaving me sitting there alone…

Nothing, I told them. Nothing is what would happen. Certainly nothing worth dwelling on or complaining about.

The jitters were unimpressed with my reasoning, but I held firm.

Ian was there, as I’d expected, along with Amaranth and Steff and Two. Amaranth looked up as I approached, but her smile froze on her face and her perpetually sun-kissed skin paled just a little.

“What’s… what’s wrong?” I asked as the once-downcast jitters rejoiced.

“Do you feel okay, baby?” she asked me.

“Uh, yeah,” I said. I now wondered if I was showing unexpected side-effects from the potion. Maybe a ten minute waiting period hadn’t been quite enough. Maybe the anti-fertility potion had never been tested on those with infernal or extraplanar blood. “Why? Do I look… is something…”

“There’s something… off… about you,” she said. “It’s hard to explain.”

“You look okay to me,” Ian said. “Did you go to the healing center?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said.

“Why were you in the healing center?” Amaranth asked. “Mackenzie, baby, is something wrong?”

“No, really,” I said, trying to put as much assurance into my voice as I could. Whatever had Amaranth spooked, the news that I’d gone for healing certainly wasn’t helping put her mind at ease. “During the night of the fish-beast, Ian and I had sex without a ring… so they gave me a potion to cure disease and another one to inhibit fertility, you know, just so I don’t end up pregnant… well, it’ll wear off in two weeks… could you be seeing that somehow?” I asked Amaranth.

“Oh yes,” she said. “I guess that does explain it.”

“You don’t think there’s something else, do you?” I asked. “Because I also took a cure disease potion right before it, so… I should be pretty healthy. But I don’t want to take any chances.”

“Yes, I’m sure you’re fine,” Amaranth said. “I’ve never seen anything like it… it just looks funny, is all. I suppose I’ll get used to it.”

“What exactly are you seeing?” I asked. I didn’t want her to be worried, but I also wanted to be sure there wasn’t anything for her to be worried about.

“Well, ‘seeing’ isn’t really the best word… okay, maybe it is the best word but it’s a case where the best word isn’t actually very good,” she said. “I guess I could just say ‘sensing’, since I am processing the information coming to me through a sense, but that always makes me picture something like Dee getting all psionic, where this is more like a physical sense, like sight or smell, but…”

“What are you sensing?” I asked.

“Just… well, it would be like seeing a shadow,” she said. “A dark spot. Or a blank one. Like something that should be there is being blocked out, or erased. Like I said, I’ve never experienced something like it before, but I suppose it is how I would ‘sense’ things if your natural fertility was being suppressed.”

“Wouldn’t someone who happens to be infertile hit you the same way?” Steff asked.

“No,” Amaranth said. “I mean, I can tell when people are more or less fertile in the course of things, but this stands out… it’s like the difference between knowing all your life that people have different faces, and then seeing someone wearing a mask for the first time. It was a little startling.”

“Well, I’m going to go get a tray,” I said. “I’ll be right back.”

I headed for the desserts first. I felt like I deserved a bit of a treat for what I’d done… well, it was more like I felt like I should feel that way, that Amaranth or others might think I deserved something. I didn’t feel like I wasn’t entitled to something, and I supposed that was a start.

What I really would have liked was something with a good deal of meat to it, but lunch time was the worst meal for that. Breakfast always had some combination of bacon, sausage, or ham available by itself.

Dinner sometimes had a meaty entree, mixed in with the rice and noodle dishes that had shreds of chicken or tuna or beef hidden like tiny prizes among the larger bits of starch that weren’t so much seasoned as stained interesting shades of brown and yellow.

For noontime meat entrees, we were pretty much stuck with the alleged chicken-and-rice dishes, and occasionally things like cold cut sandwiches. Most students seemed to just fill up a plate at the salad bar or grab some of the snackier items.

But as I passed the salad bar on the way to the cake and stuff, I noticed something: there were great big strips of chopped up ham and pieces of grilled chicken sitting on it. So I ended up with two pieces of strawberry cake and something that stretched the definition of “salad” to the breaking point and beyond for lunch, but even if I couldn’t convince myself that I deserved anything special, I also couldn’t convince myself that I didn’t want a pyramid of chicken and ham stacked over a thin layer of lettuce.

I expected a bit of reproach for my meal choice from Amaranth, but she just raised an eyebrow at it. When Two didn’t have anything to say about my use of the salad bar, I figured that I was in the clear… but then, her ice cream sundae had more little candies on it than was probably strictly regulation, so maybe she just didn’t feel like casting stones.

“There’s an interesting question that just popped into my head,” Amaranth said. “If you did get pregnant by a human father, would you need to eat human sustenance while you were carrying the child?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “My understanding is that human appetite plus demon appetite divided by two equals a slightly moderated demon appetite, because demonic hunger is stronger or bigger or more dominant than human… at least, that’s how I made sense of it when my grandmother explained it, to the extent that she explained. I suppose at some point it’s got to average out to the point that a human with infernal blood would have to eat human food. I just don’t know what that point is… and I’m not too interested in finding out.”

“Well, you never know how you’ll feel in the future,” Amaranth said. “You might change your mind. And after all, if you were to find out that three-quarters human or non-demon would be enough to allow a more conventional diet, wouldn’t that do away with one of your main objections to being pregnant?”

“Psst… I think Amy wants you to have her babies,” Steff said.

“Well, obviously not,” Amaranth said, rolling her eyes, “I just want Mack to be aware of what her options really are.”

“I’ve had enough of options for now, I think,” I said. “I don’t want to think about choices, or possibilities, or potential. I just want to coast for a while.”

“Then I’ve got good news for you,” Steff said. “It’s all downhill from here!”

Amaranth wasn’t the only one who noticed something different about me… when I headed back to the dorm after lunch, I saw Celia in the stairwell and she flicked out her tongue and told me that I “tasted funny”.

This wasn’t the first time she’d said something like that to me, so rather than assuming she was talking about my potion use I just said, “I thought you’d be used to my scent by now.”

“Different than what passes for normal, for you,” she said. “Like when you’re having a weird mammal thing, only… different.”

“Oh, well, I’m sort of on something at the moment,” I said. “For health reasons,” I added, since Celia was the biggest user of recreational alchemy in the dorm.

“No shit?” she said, her big, lidless eyes brightening. “You got anything you want to trade?”

“No, it was just a single dose thing,” I said. “And I wouldn’t want to trade… this is a legitimate health need.”

“Hey, I’ve got not needs, too,” Celia said. “Emotional needs, spiritual needs… there’s more to health than blood and guts.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not judging… I’m just saying I’m not holding or carrying or whatever you’d call it, and I’m not looking for anything,” I said.

“Alright. Cool,” Celia said. “Baby steps. Got to learn to slither before you learn to walk, I get that. Oh, Feejee asked me if I’d seen you.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Don’t know. Why don’t you ask her yourself? I don’t even know why she asked me in the first place,” Celia said. “She’s a lot ‘closer’ to you than I am. If I had eyebrows I’d be raising them when I said ‘closer’.”

“Was she in your room?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Celia said. “Where do you think I just came from?”

“Okay… thanks,” I said.

“Don’t overwhelm me with gratitude or anything,” Celia said, and she went on her way.

Feejee and Celia’s room was at the near end of the hall, the closest one to the bathroom not counting Kiersta’s. I’d have to walk right past it to get to my own room. I decided that was okay, though… if Feejee were looking for me, it would be better for her to find me in the hallway of our shared dorm than out and about somewhere. There were bound to be at least a few other people on the floor, and I had my own room to retreat to.

It wasn’t like she could corner me, I realized… if I had to, I could always break down the nearest door and jump through a window. I didn’t tend to think of things like that because I’d been brought up to think of using my strength like that as something like a horrible sin. My brain really didn’t even pick it out as an option in most cases.

But I wasn’t too worried. It wasn’t like I didn’t believe Feejee was capable of harming me, but she was also at the same time determined to be friendly, and she also held to her own people’s values when it came to things like hunting on the land. That was more than could be said for Iona. I also knew that I could cow Feejee with a show of my own predatory mojo, if I could muster it.

The man in my dreams had called mermaids “sea devils”… that raised some interesting questions. Was that just an old name for them in their monstrous forms, or was there something more significant to the name? In another one of my dreams, he’d suggested that the current state of the demon race was as a result of meddling by Khersis… if demons had once been another race of human predators inhabiting the natural world, might they not have been similar to land-dwelling mermaids?

Of course, demons couldn’t shift their shapes… at least, no more than humans or most other races could. An immortal life span and a hefty power reserve meant that a given demon was likely to be better at altering its shape than a given human.

All of this was an interesting mental digression, but if I was going to go upstairs and face Feejee I would need to do that. Well… I wasn’t so much specifically planning on facing her as I was planning on walking past her room and letting her say whatever she wanted to say to me outside in the hallway. I wasn’t going to go out of my way to confront her and I wasn’t going to go off alone with her.

I figured there was no point in trying to be all stealthy, both because I wasn’t exactly known for my ability to move with elf-like grace and silence and because Feejee would latch onto my smell as I went past her door, but even though it was slightly ajar there was no sound or movement from within it. It was only when I was almost to my own door that I heard hers opening and, stupidly, I stopped and turned to see her headed for the stairs. She must have glimpsed me out of the corner of her eye, because she spun around. Her face was not quite unreadable.

There was a trace of genuine happiness around her eyes, and a touch of worry, but on the whole she looked a bit like she was under the effect of a numbing spell that was just starting to wear off.

“Oh… hey,” she said, heading towards me. She blinked a couple of times as she got closer. “Are you wearing perfume?”

“No,” I said. “Do you smell something?”

She came right up to me and leaned forward, sniffing all around me.

“No,” she said. “I just… I didn’t recognize your scent. It’s usually pretty distinct.”

“Well, I didn’t do anything different, in the olfactory arena,” I said, which was technically true.

It was pretty obvious what the cause of the change that was tripping her and Celia up, but if it made it harder for her to recognize my scent then I wasn’t about to volunteer any information about the source or its duration.

“I’ve been looking for you,” she said.

“Yeah, Celia told me,” I said.

“I was wondering if you’ve seen Iona.”

Well, that was a question and a half.

“Not today,” I said. “Why?”

“I haven’t seen her for a while,” Feejee said. “She went out for a walk the other night, and didn’t come back.”

“What night was that?”

“Wednesday,” Feejee said.

That was the night of the fish-beast… the same night that Iona had cornered me in the bathroom in Smith Hall, after history. I hadn’t exactly gone looking for her, but I hadn’t seen Iona since then, either.

“Iona’s pretty good at taking care of herself, I’m sure,” I said. I didn’t really want to wish her well, but it didn’t exactly seem politic to say as much.

I was trying hard to keep my voice steady while not actually saying any of the things that were running through my head. Had someone already made an official unofficial move on her? Had she encountered something nastier than herself out there in the dark? Had the fish-beast done something?

“Still, I worry about her,” Feejee said. “She goes wandering around the campus at night. It’s not safe.”

“For anybody,” I said. That was a lot more pointed than I’d meant to get, so I decided it was time to end the conversation. “Feejee, I’m sorry you can’t find Iona, but I really haven’t seen her, and I’m not about to go looking for her.”

“Okay,” she said. “Sorry. It’s just… we kind of had plans for this weekend. Involving you. You know?”

Yeah, I did know.

How much safer the world would be for humanity if all of their predators were as guileless as Feejee? Though I couldn’t help but think that would make the world that much more dangerous for everyone else… and now I was sounding like my father. The man in my dreams.

“Well, if I do see her, I’ll try to send her your way,” I said.

“Okay, thanks,” Feejee said. She sniffed the air again, made a little frown, and then turned to leave.

It seemed like I wasn’t going to be able to avoid being stuck with decisions, as I now had a new one to make: get the hell out of campus for the weekend, or spend it surrounded by my friends… including Dee and Pala, preferably.


Soon: Well, that would be telling.

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80 Responses to “479: Scent of a Woman”

  1. Masadori says:

    Ohhhh me likey! 😀
    Can’t wait for next update. >:]

    Current score: 0
  2. long time reader says:

    Even before reading this I have to say its great to see the resurgence in posting frequency. Loving being able to read your story so often now.

    Current score: 0
  3. drudge says:

    Well, Feejee herself seems to be placed firmly under “long Term Worry”. Granted in this timescale “Long term” means “about four days in universe”…

    Current score: 0
  4. Gorgonopsid says:

    I kinda miss having Celia around.

    Current score: 3
  5. flooge says:

    The jitters were unimpressed with my reasoning, but I held firm.

    That line made me laugh.

    Also I’m very excited for the end of the begging.
    The possibilities are blowing my mind.

    Keep up the AMAZING work.

    Current score: 0
  6. Darius says:

    As a sort of aside, what are the chances of seeing the pacing of the story start to pick up a bit? Don’t get me wrong, I love the day-to-day stuff, but it seems like you’ve written close to 500 chapters over 3 years at this point, and Mack is somewhere in the rough equivalent of November on her first semester. Long time real-world to cover about 2 months of in-world time.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong on my time calculations, but this in-world Saturday (tomorrow) would mark the 1-week point of them doing the Tomb of Horrors show, the first chapter of which was posted the end of August, 2009. 16 months is a loooong time to cover a 1-week period.

    Current score: 0
    • Rey d`Tutto says:

      With as many posts as we’ve had last week, and you want to ask AE to step up the pace?

      Please tell me you’re attempting humor.

      Current score: 0
      • Darius says:

        One of the major problems with any story is with setting the pace. That problem is massively compounded when you have a story like ToMU that combines a daily ‘coming-of-age’ plot with the sort of overarching ‘fantasy/adventure’ plot. You’re basically trying to run two novels side-by-side. That problem gets compounded AGAIN with any sort of serial-based story, where the difference between real-world and in-story time doesn’t necessarily stay stuck in the readers heads.

        That being said, reading my post by the light of day makes me think I wasn’t quite as good at getting my point across as I wanted to be. This is what I get for still being awake at 4 in the morning.

        So, to better phrase it: Now that we’ve finished the Tomb of Horrors arc, Steff’s transformation, ‘finished’ with the Leda’s death arc, and nearing the end of the Iona/Feejee problem arc, are we going to see the time in-story speed up again? I.E. More classes, midterms, advancement of the ‘coming-of-age’ plot for a little while as opposed to the ‘fantasy/adventure’.

        Current score: 0
        • No. Never. I certainly am not in the process of gearing up the plot for a major leap forward and then a shift that I hope will allow for more forward momentum, that I’ve documented on my blog and linked to from the bottom of the previous chapter or anything like that.

          That said, if you read that, you should take especial note of the part about how after the change it’s still going to be me writing it. The sixteen month period you document is something I hope will stand as the low point in productivity/pacing, and those two things are closely related. Not only do updates come slower when I write less, but they seem to tend to circle around more and take longer to get up to speed. If I were writing a novel, then the past 16 months would represent a missed deadline and a manuscript that calls for heavy editing.

          But I’m not writing a novel. I’m certainly not running two of them side-by-side. A novel is a medium unto itself, a particular format with particular conventions that lead to particular expectations from the reader.

          If you realize you’re not reading a novel and you jettison those expectations, you might find that you’re less bothered by the pace in general. Or you might not. I couldn’t say for sure. Since novels are the only long-form prose stories most people read, its conventions are pretty deeply ingrained.

          Anyway, to sum up: yes, the pacing is going to pick up, but the story will still contain those elements that result in it moving at a slow pace compared to the flow of real time, or a tightly-plotted novel.

          (And I need to bookmark your comment so I can refer to it when people complain about the classes and coming-of-age stuff as the diversions that slow down the story. :P)

          Current score: 0
          • Darius says:

            I remembered reading the note here, but I somehow missed the blog post.

            If you were writing this as a novel (and there’s no way it would be only 1), then I’m estimating somewhere close to 900k words, based on averaging the first few and last few chapters. That is, for reference sake, about twice the length of the LotR trilogy (12 years to write), half again as long as War & Peace (8 years), and getting pretty close to the length of the full ‘Dark Tower’ series (over 20 years). On a word-count basis, you’re flying.

            There’s not really a good way to do expectations for a story like MU, since its so massively different from what most people read. And, as noted, multiple stories in one tend to confuse readers. We can understand a ‘coming-of-age’ story, we can understand an ‘adventure’ story, but those generally appeal to different types of readers, and there’s not much crossover between their fandoms, which is probably why you get complaints about one part ‘slowing-down’ the other. (Interestingly enough, both of those genres almost inevitably have a romantic subplot, as an attempt to bring in a third group of readers.)

            Current score: 0
            • We can understand a ‘coming-of-age’ story, we can understand an ‘adventure’ story,

              Oh, good. For a moment I was getting worried, but it seems you have everything you need.

              Current score: 0
            • NatalieF says:

              Just to state the other side of the coin for the record (and other such idioms), I read MU etc. as a series of connected short-stories with a continuing story/background. My memory ‘issues’ due to the multiple sclerosis mean that I cannot keep much of the previous chapters in mind. That said, I can always remember enough *because* the chunks are small and also *because* the plot does not race ahead and leave me behind.

              Count this as one vote for continuing as you are. /cheer

              Current score: 0
            • Rethic says:

              Yea! 🙂 I love the way it is written and choose to think of it as say a weekly television show without the tv part. All the times when things are slow are like breaks between seasons. It’s not like people get pissed off during the summer because there are no new shows. Plus with this series it’s much easier to find any episodes you missed!

              Current score: 0
  7. Erm says:

    Maybe whatever got Iona will get Feejee before the weekend.

    Current score: 0
    • Zergonapal says:

      Though its not above the realms of possibility that Iona has been removed form the picture it seems to go against the conventions of Chekov’s gun, and quite frankly it has a taste of dues ex machina about it that would leave me feeling cheated if it turns out to be true.
      Iona is certainly not just Mack’s problem, but Mack should be there to at least witness resolution of this subplot.

      Current score: 0
      • Wysteria says:

        You weren’t here for AE’s rant about how much she wants to throw Chekhov’s gun in a fire, were you? She has a professor called Professor Chekhov lurking around being portentious just to have him have nothing to do with the main plot, later.

        Current score: 0
      • JZ says:

        I think you’re right that it would leave people feeling cheated to not see the resolution to that.

        There are a lot of ways to resolve things without cheating people however.

        My first thought was that Embries had eaten Iona. If true, having Mack discover it would add a certain tension bearing in mind that The Man told her to watch out for/avoid Embries.

        If he didn’t well… There are still a lot of options. One of which is making that subplot an important part of the next section.

        Current score: 0
        • this is out of left field but I thought it would be interesting and somewhat ironic if Iona had been virginal, then maybe we’d see that arc being taken care of involved someone like Mercy handling it, putting her ‘on ice’ for Mack’s next demonic meal requirement in a waste not want not type manner. But that’s a wish and a half for some irony since it was fairly clear that Iona was active in some way, if I’m remembering right.

          Current score: 0
  8. A Random Pooka says:

    Ooh ooooh that smell .. can’t you smell that smell?
    The smell of death surrounds you

    Current score: 0
  9. Xi'Cree says:

    Man, i just can’t help but love Feejee predatory yet so very innocent.

    Current score: 0
  10. cnic says:

    Its been hinted before that Mackenzie wasn’t the best about her hygine. Maybe she had some odiferous disease to whose side effects she was immune and the cure disease removed it thus altering her odor?

    Current score: 0
  11. Not that girl, the other one says:

    Amaranth wasn’t the only one who noticed something different about me… I saw Celia in the stairwell and she flicked out her tongue and told me that I “tasted funny”.

    I’m glad things are moving a bit faster now (we could have seen every thought that went through Mackenzie’s head during the ten minutes she was observed for the potion) but I missed that she had gone back to the dorm, apparently alone. These two sentenaces seem to be the only transistion.

    Current score: 0
  12. qwerty says:

    @ cnic — So if Mack is immune to the disease and it’s side effects in the first place, how could it have changed her odor?

    In any case it seems to me that whatever she was given isn’t magical in nature, but possibly chemically. I would think that if it was magical she would have been able to sense as Mack is generally pretty good at “seeing” magic when she is paying attention, which she was for ten minutes at least. It would also explain her change in odor since as it is being used and expelled by her body it would alter her own odor. Also, since it is chemically inhibiting her fertility (ie her uterus?) that would also explain why it looks like a “dark spot” to Amaranth? Perhaps this is a one of the few instances where our science actually works in the MU Universe. Amaranth would be ecstatic if she only knew! Anyway, just some random thoughts of mine that are probably quite incorrect anyway.

    Cheers:)

    Current score: 0
    • jagroq says:

      I, for one, don’t want to see science suddenly working like that when so much effort has gone into writing a world NOT built on science.

      Though you did get me thinking what if Mack’s infernal side causes her to produce some kind of pheromones that are linked to her fertility. That would at least explain the reactions of the more olfactory sensitive people around her. I can’t explain how that made her look strange to Amaranth though. Might be some kinda general, demonic, “come hither” aura that got dropped, that Amy isn’t seeing?

      Current score: 0
      • being that Amy is a nymph and is highly attuned to fertility she’d have noticed, just as she noticed hazel’s pregnancy. She’s used to Mack’s ‘normal’ fertility. So she noticed the drop in Mack’s fertility. She did struggle with how to describe it though as people who have a 6th sense often do when something ‘odd’ happens and they try to explain themselves and their perceptions to others.

        To me it read as if Amy sees peoples fertility in the sense of an aura. In Hazel’s case, the aura would have brightened and possibly ‘sparkled’ with the second life within her, in Mack’s case with the potion, it would have dimmed or darkened as she described.

        Current score: 0
      • tjhairball says:

        Well, I’m not so terribly sure that “science” doesn’t work in the MUverse in terms of there being various chemical and physical phenomena. That’s a bit of a misnomer, really, since we really mean “physical phenomena” rather than “science” when we’re talking about a chemical effect.

        E.g., herbs already have some variety of natural medicinal properties in the MUverse before being enchanted or enhanced or infused, but that doesn’t mean they show up as magical; it’s just “natural” for willowbark to ease pain, et cetera. We would consider that a chemical effect.

        That said, I’d be really surprised if the potion isn’t magical, and it is really interesting, given the effect of Mack’s usual body odor on predators, that fertility suppression changes it. I look forward to seeing how this develops.

        Current score: 0
  13. J says:

    Hi AE,
    I’ve been wanting to send some money your way for a while –I’m really loving the regular updates and want to show my support. But I was hoping to buy a diploma, and they’ve been sold out ever since I started checking. Any idea when they’ll be back in stock?

    Current score: 0
    • Really? Ouch. That’s a problem, because I set the initial stock at 10 and then I think I’ve only seen six or seven notifications come in, which means there are three or four people who ordered one and didn’t receive it. I’m going to have to figure out what happened and get those people their money or order before I can re-offer the diplomas.

      I guess I know what I’m doing this weekend. 😛

      Current score: 0
      • NatalieF says:

        I paypal-ed for a diploma a while ago and have not recieved anything. Not been bothering to nag, though, because you and I both have real lives and health concerns.

        Current score: 0
    • Okay, I’ve figured out what happened. There are indeed three orders that I missed when they came around. I’ve figured out how to prevent it, and I’m going to be resetting the stock in the store. So if you still want to order a diploma, you’ll be able to in a few minutes.

      To the three people out there who never received their orders, I’ll be contacting you via email over the weekend.

      Current score: 0
      • J says:

        Awesome! I just placed my order, can’t wait to hang that diploma on my wall 😀

        Current score: 0
  14. phantomcranefly says:

    Typo report:

    “to the extent that she epxlained.”

    Current score: 0
    • Lunaroki says:

      Heh. Still had “Seeker In Coherent” entered as my username on this machine. Anyway, Typo Report:

      “Oh yes,,” she said. “I guess that does explain it.”

      One too many commas after “yes”.

      I should be pretty healthy. But I don’t want to take any chances”

      Missing period after “chances”.

      “Yes, I’m sure you’re,” Amaranth said. “I’ve never seen anything like it… it just looks funny, is all. I suppose I’ll get used to it.”

      “I’m sure you’re” what? Right? Also, I feel fairly certain the “it” at the start of “it just looks funny” should be capitalized.

      I didn’t feel like I wasn”t entitled to something, and I supposed that was a start.

      Double quote in the middle of “wasn’t”.

      if Feejee were looking for me, it would be better for her to find me in the hallway of our shared dorm than out and out about somewhere.

      Don’t think the second “out” belongs there.

      It was pretty obvious what the cause of the change that was tripping her and Celia up,

      Missing a “was” somewhere in that sentence, probably after the “what”, though it could also go after the “up”.

      Current score: 0
      • carson says:

        “Missing period after “chances”.”

        Yes. That’s why she’s there. (grin)

        Current score: 1
  15. Oniwasabi says:

    Regular rapid updates. The author, she is spoiling us again!

    And driven home yet again, humans apparently have the worst sense of smell of anything in the multiverse that possess olfactory abilities. And everyone else likes to point out there superior sense of smell at every turn.

    Or SUPER superior sense of taste in certain rarer cases.

    Current score: 0
    • K says:

      different sense of smell, actually. other races have other priorities. which make sense in an underworld sort of sense (less light, more absolute darkness)

      Current score: 0
  16. bramble says:

    I have a hard time believing that this is the first time that Amaranth has ever been around someone on a fertility debuff – they’re at college, home of stupid pregnancy scares, and maybe Mack has a bit more reason to feel iffy about temporarily losing her soul than some people, but she can’t be the only one to refuse the Aviva. I wonder if it’s just that Amaranth knows Mack well enough to notice the difference, or if Mack’s having some sort of side effect? I mean, it’s a pretty popular theory that The Man is some sort of incubus or lust demon or something; if that’s the case, I could see a fertility debuff having unexpected effects on his daughter.

    Current score: 0
    • Darius says:

      I’m leaning more towards the ‘Amaranth knows Mack so well’ side. While it’s unlikely (although not impossible) that Amaranth hasn’t been around someone, the time she spends with Mack would probably make her somewhat more attuned to her in particular, and more likely to notice something being different.

      There’s no real evidence that ToMU demons even have a type, though I’ll grant that we don’t exactly know a whole lot about them. Frankly though, Mack’s requiring virgin blood would be a strange feeding requirement for a incubus/lust demon. Every time you did what was in your nature, you’d be reducing your food supply. Plus, Mack Daddy seems to be focusing on something a bit more sinister than your typical incubus, from the comments he’s made to her.

      Current score: 0
      • drudge says:

        Mackenzie referred to herself as “half fire demon” early on, so there’s the implication that they come in more than one type, just arranged differently than on terms of power.

        As well, the thing about a type is that you HAVE to act that way. Mack Daddy NEEDS something from Virgins or the innocent, but he doesn’t HAVE to get to know them.

        Current score: 0
        • SirBatty says:

          Throwing out a thought here … Perchance,Mack and a certain Professor,share a closer link then both being part Demon? Also,awaitting the time that Mack,realises that ‘there be “DRAGONS”,here’ >

          Current score: 0
          • drudge says:

            But …they have no physical similarities other than one distant ethnic grouping and gender. They seem to be physically different, and her Djynn bits just mess things up further for her diet wise, given she needs to eat pure elemental fire and air monthly.

            Current score: 0
        • Mackenzie referred to herself as “half fire demon” early on

          [citation needed]

          Current score: 0
          • drudge says:

            I do remember it being referenced in that manner, though I’m far too busy to comb several hundred chapters for it. Whatever, if you’re saying it’s not, then it’s not.

            Current score: 0
          • JN says:

            Advanced google reveals that “fire demon” appears in ch. 22 and The Untimely Death and Strange Afterlife of Laurel Anne Blaise (Part I)- between ch.26 and ch. 27. Both Mack and “Lorellon” respond that all demons are fire demons. “Half fire demon” only appears in the comments here and in OT: Son Of A Creature Man (between ch. 446 and ch. 447). Incidentally, the latter refers to Aidan Jr., who is actually part dragon.

            JN

            Current score: 0
    • K says:

      key is “look different”. like guys who think girls’ natural lip color is “black” or “blue” because the girls are never seen without lipstick.

      Current score: 0
  17. Rethic says:

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned that Mack might be in need of some blood now. The last time that I remember her going all meat crazy like this was when she was due to feed. Maybe it being ‘that time of the month’ is what other people are smelling. Granted I think the potion is what is affecting Amy.

    On a side note very apreciative of all the updates lately. I’ve even went to check it and had 2 new updates waiting for me! That’s always exciting. I know I got at least one other loyal reader on this, trying to get another!

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      I wonder if the fertility thing will affect her cycle?

      Current score: 0
    • Maahes0 says:

      The last time she had blood was less than a week ago after her performance at the Tomb of Horrors.

      Current score: 0
      • Rethic says:

        You’re right I forgot. But I do think it’s odd about the sudden meat lust.

        Current score: 0
        • drudge says:

          She’s like that all the time, remember when she got banned from a buffet for eating several pounds of meat *and* the bones in it?

          The thing about not eating for nine years it you don’t learn even the smallest modicum of self control?

          In case you’ve forgotten, a while back everyone notes Mackenzie’s been gaining a lot of weight? I’m assuming it’s because of the high sugar, fat, and general junkfood she eats for every meal and nearly nothing else.

          Current score: 0
          • Cadnawes says:

            My theory on that has long been that when she came to college she was literally starving. Not to death, because her other side was nourished, if only just. I think her grandma only saw the demon side and didn’t really try to nurture the human side in a lot of ways, this one being the most telling.

            So, while she may be gaining weight a little bit quickly, perhaps due to the average collegiate diet, it sounded like she really needed to. Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me that Martha is perhaps mistaken about Mack not needing human food.

            Current score: 0
          • In case you’ve forgotten, a while back everyone notes Mackenzie’s been gaining a lot* of weight?

            *[citation needed]

            Current score: 0
            • drudge says:

              I do recall Sooni calling her fat a couple of times. A LOT is probably an exaggeration, as are the lines given who’s saying them, but I find it hard to believe someone’s diet consisting largely of junk food and meat after eating basically nothing for almost a decade won’t see significant weight gain.

              Current score: 0
            • bramble says:

              I suspect that Sooni calling her fat says more about Sooni’s view of the world than it does about Mack’s body type. Remember, Sooni takes it for granted that she is the “heroine” of whatever story she sees playing out; at this point, she’s accepted Mack as a supporting character rather than an antagonist, but in Sooni’s mind, Sooni is still very much the Best and Brightest and Prettiest at all times. Mack has been shunted into a charity case friend role, and thus buy necessity MUST be less capable and attractive than Sooni – and “fat” is often used as a kind of shorthand for “unattractive” in females. It may seem like a stretch for Sooni to think of someone who is quite a bit smaller than her as “fat,” but then, this is the girl who acquired a bound companion for the sole purpose of cosplay. Her head’s definitely not screwed on right.

              Current score: 0
            • I do recall Sooni calling her fat a couple of times

              [The neutrality of this article is disputed.]

              I had a rant here about the rest of your comment, but I’ve decided it’s not worth it.

              Current score: 0
            • Burnsidhe says:

              If I recall correctly, Amaranth does note that Mack’s put on some weight and filled out to healthy levels.

              I doubt very much that anyone can really call it “a lot” of weight.

              Current score: 0
            • and she started to get a butt I believe Amy was remarking on (and being pleased about). Wasn’t that part of the whole butt biting section?

              Current score: 0
            • went looking – the conversation I found was Steff, Two and Ian with Mack. Amy wasn’t in attendance at this particular discussion as she was distracted by a large group of males at the ‘mob’ just after the scarecrow incident.

              “Your butt’s going to keep getting bigger if you keep eating like that,” Steff said.

              “What do you mean, ‘keep getting bigger’?” I said, scowling. I tried to twist around to look behind me. “It’s the same size it’s always been.”

              “No,” Two said, shaking her head. “It’s bigger.”

              I looked at Ian. “What are they talking about?”

              He threw up his hands and shook his head. “I’m not saying anything.”

              “My butt is not big,” I said.

              “I didn’t say big, I said bigger,” Steff said.

              I started to put one of the ice creams back, but she grabbed me by the wrist.

              “I didn’t say it’s a bad thing,” she said. “You’re starting to fill out, is all.”

              Chapter 183

              Further on however we do get Amy talking about how Mack’s been skirting the edge of starvation and that it will be interesting to see what her body ends up like now that she’s feeding it with more than just what her demonic needs are. Chapter 185 There was, as I thought I remembered, butt biting involved in the chapter.

              Current score: 0
  18. Dani says:

    > I’m surprised nobody has mentioned that
    > Mack might be in need of some blood now.

    It’s been suggested to her that Amaranth’s blood is permanently type-Pure. Maybe she’ll be motivated to ask for a sample this time (since alternatives have worked out poorly). Not that this addresses the summer-break meals.

    Current score: 0
    • beappleby says:

      It has to be *human* blood. Mackenzie might enjoy other types, but only *human* blood will meet her actual needs.

      Current score: 0
      • As far as Mackenzie seems to know, it’s virgin blood, with no limit on race

        [citation needed]

        Current score: 0
      • beappleby says:

        Huh, I thought it had come up before that it had to be human as well as virgin. When she was answering the scarecrow’s question.

        Current score: 0
        • You’re absolutely right, and in fact, it’s come up more than once, including the very incident David Argall’s referencing with Barley.

          http://www.talesofmu.com/story/book05/118

          “I need virgin blood,” [Mackenzie] said. “Human virgin blood.”

          She’s never said, thought, or suggested otherwise. I have no idea where he’s gotten the idea that as far as she knows human is just a preference from.

          Current score: 0
          • ElectricHarpsichord says:

            You seem to be forgetting the fact that Bohd tried to eat the hair of another race (elves), with disastrous results. And that demons prey on HUMANS (mentioned early on, when Mariel finds out that Mack is half-demon and freaks out). Other races don’t cut it.

            Current score: 0
      • bramble says:

        Yeah, um, even at her hungriest, Mack has always acknowledged that anyone who isn’t human would have no nutritional value to her. That doesn’t mean that, should she again find herself in “hungry hunting demon mode,” she wouldn’t enjoy eating some of the non-humans, but they’d be like a diet soda. Tasty, but without the nutrients that her body(? demonic nature? whatever?) knows how to use.

        Part of what makes her demonic hunger so dangerous is that what she CAN feed on, what she WANTS to feed on, and what she SHOULD feed on are not necessarily the same thing. Mack SHOULD feed on human virgin blood from consenting donors. She CAN feed on blood – and blood-bearing tissue, if in a hurry – from any human virgin. She WANTS to feed on most humans and pretty much any humanoid who comes across as innocent in any way, whether or not they fit into the criteria for what she should or even can eat.

        Current score: 0
  19. Cadnawes says:

    Regarding the pacing and genre issues that I don’t think are issues at all- well, I’ve always thought of this story as a diary. Nobody has only one thing going on in their lives at a time, and I’d be hard pressed to categorize my own life into a genre. So I think any simplification into one would make it less realistic.

    Current score: 0
  20. Zathras IX says:

    Potions that make one
    “Dead to the world” are good for
    The “mourning after”

    Current score: 1
  21. Kevin says:

    Taking into consideration that not everyone has a photographic memory, why are there so many people referencing “facts” from previous chapter’s that never happened?

    I mean when I bring up something from an earlier chapter I post a link to said chapter so that anyone that doesn’t remember it can look it up.

    Current score: 0
  22. Robert Bates says:

    AE, I was wondering if I might have a communique with you aside from this form.. some of my friends and I have taken an interesting in Mu as a campaign setting, but I’m having some fun issues with players wanting to tweak this and that and was hoping you might have some advice in regards to applying Mu to standard dnd 3.5 ed rules?

    Current score: 0
    • Kevin says:

      I’ve always thought MU would work better in GURPS but you play what you got.

      Current score: 0
    • I don’t think you’d begin to be able to get a faithful adaptation using any version of D&D. Most of the D&D references are to 2E AD&D and earlier (my formative experiences, and the things I’m most likely to feel like gently skewering) or more rarely 4E (my preferred edition). I never found the 3X editions all that appealing.

      On the other hand, a lot of what is present here would be fairly easy to reproduce with GURPS, as Kevin mentions… not just because GURPS is sort of built around the idea that you can use it to model any sort of fictional world, but because I spent years with the GURPS 3E rules internalized and still tend to think in GURPS terms when I’m figuing out what a character is like/capable of.

      Current score: 0
  23. VTC says:

    Checked the site for the first time in a couple of weeks today and was pleasantly surprised to find a barrage of updates, and all of them great work, too! Nice work! Thanks!

    Current score: 0
  24. Sindyr says:

    Thanks, AE! Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Current score: 0
  25. The Dark Master says:

    It seems like Mack’s aura of temptation has been disabled by the potion (I’ve been thinking that Mack, The Man, and Adien are demons of temptation, or that at least Mack is) and now the hunters that smell her are no longer being drawn in to ‘use’ her, to become dependent on her.

    The fact that her grandmother starved her body of nutrients is why sight based creatures are more resistant to her ‘charms’.

    On another note, I’ve got it in my head that Feejee’s head or at least her mouth and eyes look like that of an anglerfish in her true state, is that about right?

    Current score: 0
  26. Sher says:

    Did Mack’s father kill Iona? Or maybe the Vice-Chancellor? Hoping she’s dead.

    Current score: 0