Nature of Magic
You are Rose, having just eaten lunch and rested up. You are feeling full, mentally more alert but you are still annoyed.
"So, should we go back to base?" asks Jaden, having eaten a nice lunch and walked around the town a little bit, seeing the sights. You are all once again in uniform, less hassles about things that way. Rank hath it's privilege and all that. You've visited a healer, and had the Antidote spell cast on you and Jake, so Jaden once again has her bracelet back.
"I'm not so sure," says Jake, looking at his character sheet. "We haven't gotten any XP and our cards are still here."
"There must be something we can do then, if we can just think of it!" you say, excited. "I wonder if there's a library around here I could research some magic?"
The group asks around and is directed to a nearby library that has a selection of magical texts, and you hop a bus to get there. Walking in, you see it looks like a pretty normal library, and you flit around looking for the magical books. You don't see any, but there is an older looking fairy gentleman with a long white beard sitting on a shelf you fly over to. Fairies don't age very fast, so this bugger must be old you think to yourself.
"Excuse me," you say to him. "I'm looking for the magic section, do you know where it is?"
The fairy looks you over, stroking his beard. "Well, well, nice to see someone so young taking an active interest in magic. Of course unless I miss my guess, young one, you're in NPC-PS so this might relate to a case?"
"Sort of," you answer. "There's something I had to do for... some wildlife... but I'm just not sure how to accomplish it."
"Well, come up and sit by an old fairy and tell me all about it. Broken Branch, at your service."
"I'm Rose Petal, nice to meet you."
"So what's the trouble that only magic can solve, eh?"
You wonder how much is safe to tell him. He is a fairy, so you guess most of the truth is fine. "There's a sunken ship near here that's polluting the water, and I want to move it. The problem is, it's huge! I could go learn the shrink spell, but my rating isn't high enough to shrink it enough to really change the situation. Plus it's so old it might just break apart if my ESPer friend puts stress on any one part of it. It needs to get tiny, not just less huge."
"Do you have a low RESolve then?" asks Broken Branch.
"Above average, actually. But what does that have to do with it?" you ask. "Energy isn't going to help in this case. I don't need a bonus to casting, I need a higher rating, and I need it now!"
"My dear, is it possible you don't quite know how your own magic works?"
"What do you mean?"
"I do take it that you're a Natural Magician?"
"Then you already have everything you need. From what you said, you think putting energy into a spell increases your result at the end, correct?"
Again you nod.
"That is actually not the case. You are, quite literally for that instant of time, artificially increasing your rating for that planet."
That takes a moment to sink in. "You're serious?"
"Always," he says, his eyes twinkling. No really, it's a magic thing, you'd have to be there.
You get out your character sheet. So if I'm holding Darksight and Breathe Water that's a minus three. I spend my maximum energy, seven, and raise my rating by six, you think. That would give me a total rating in Venus of twelve. "If I recall correctly, the Shrink spell shrinks things by a size modifier up to half the rating, correct?"
This time he nods, but then you shake your head.
"So it's still going to be twice as big as a person." You reconsider. "That is a lot more manageable though. Maybe?"
"If I may make another suggestion?"
"I'm all ears," you say, using a metaphor, just in case it wasn't clear, no magic that time.
"I couldn't help but see you have 10 XP right now, so you could probably learn more then one spell right now, yes?"
"What did you have in mind?"
"Do you know Pluto?"
"I do! I learned the Phase spell because I was tired of trying to open doors, so instead I can just phase through them."
He chuckled. "That is a hazard of being our size, isn't it?" He slowly got up. "Come, I think we can teach you what you need so you can take care of your pesky ship."
"You mean it? Oh that would be so great! Let me tell my friends I'll be right back!"
You zip over to where Jaden and Jake are looking at things, and tell them you found a fairy who says he can help.
"Put your hand through him," cautions Jake.
"Whatever for?" you ask, then realize why. "Oh, you're right! I'll be careful."
You hear Jaden asking Jake why she would want to do that, and realize she's forgotten about the attempt by the invisible person to abduct you a month or so ago. Typical, but then, you're just as much bound by your Weaknesses, so you can't blame her. Coming back you grab the old fairy's hand and cheerfully ask which way.
He flies you over to the information desk, and tells the lady there he's vouching for you, and to please open the magic section. She nods and gets up, leading you to the back of the library where she punches in a code on a door and holds the door open for you.
"Thank you," you both say, and fly inside. There's a rather small selection here, not as big as you imagined for the trouble to get into this place, and several magically aware people are sitting around studying things.
"This is just where the more dangerous texts are kept," says Broken Branch, as if reading your mind. "The more general magical books are upstairs."
Oh. You didn't realize it had a second floor. One of the men looks over at Broken Branch and smiles.
"Found yourself a girlfriend, did you?" he jokes.
"A pretty young thing like this with an interest in a dried up old fossil like me? I wish!" They share a laugh, and you're flattered by the attention, even if they are the wrong gender. "This is my friend, Terrance, here looking into some boring thing or another he thinks is important," he says by way of introduction. "This is Rose Petal, she has a spot of trouble with a sunken ship she wants moved, so I'm here to see what I can do for her."
"What do you need me to get down?" asks Terrance.
"The Pluto volume, there," he says, pointing. Terrance gets it down and opens the cover, and you both thank him. He rifles through it, coming to a stop and saying to you, "This here's the one!"
You bend over to take a look, and read through the formula. You get exactly the difficulty on your Magical Scripture check, and realize this is a spell that will allow you to physically store energy, so you can spend more then your normal maximum at once! Your eyes get wide as you realize the implications of this spell.
"Now you see why it's locked up in here," says Broken Branch. "It seems an innocent enough spell, but for you Natural Magicians, it is extremely potent."
You shake your head, awed. This is exactly what you need right now.
"You should be able to learn it in a couple of minutes," he continues. "I'll go find the shrink spell, it's probably in here as well."
You study the spell for several minutes, and you're sure you've learned it, as 5 XP goes away from your character sheet and the spell appears in your spell list on the notes page. You can't wait to try it out!
Meanwhile, Broken Branch comes back with Terrance, and sets another book out in front of you, saying it's the shrink spell. You make another check, getting a twelve this time, and again you are easily able to understand the spell. There's a snag though, it's a grade 6 spell, but you only have 5XP left! Looking at your sheet, you decide to cannibalize singing from a 2 to a 1, getting enough to learn the spell. Good thing you studied how to cast Venus spells so you could learn Autonomous Assistant a couple of years ago to help Jaden clean her room. You're all set!
"Thank you so much," you say as Terrance puts the two volumes back. "I, and a lot of other people and creatures are in your debt."
Broken Branch smiles at you. "Sure thing, little lady. Hope it goes well for you!"
"I'm sure it will, now."
You race out of the library and find your friends, saying it's time to go back down and take care of that ship! Jake uses Sending to one of the mermaids, probably scaring her, but telling her you guys are coming back down and to please meet in the cave again. You cast teleportal and go to the cave immediately, then get set up to cast the magic. You all strip again, but it's totally dark now, the sorceress mermaid having left so there's no light anymore. You cast Darksight and Breathe Water on everyone, but skip Tirelessness, you're not changing form and the mergon is going to do all the swimming, you hope.
"You'll, uh, have to wait behind again," you say to Jaden.
"I know, I just want to see the mermaids again."
"Me too!" says Jake. You look sharply at him. "I mean, in their natural environment, you know?"
You all plunge down into the water after Jaden hands over her bracelet, and you swim out of the cave. You're holding on to Jaden's hair, and are pulled along nicely. There's a megon and a mermaid waiting for you, the mermaid of course swims off as soon as she sees you all. Rose talks to the mergon, and says we should all get on, so we do. He swims Jaden over to where the others are, and it looks like everything's okay here, the mermaids are swimming and having fun again, and the megan look interested in their antics, so you're glad that worked out. Jaden wishes you good luck, and you once again descend towards the ship, this time being held in Jake's arm. You mentally go over the steps of the spell, and soon enough you're in range, the ship right where it was, cold and impersonal, but this time, you know what you have to do.
First you need to cast Energetic Accumulation on yourself, so you put 5 energy total into it, and cast it successfully. Ugh, you are now at a -5 for your next spell casting, but you still have 28 energy so it should be enough. You gather energy for an action, then another, leaving you with 14, and begin to cast the spell of Shrink on the boat. You can't fail to cast the spell, and get a 26 on your check, and the boat instantly shrinks by a full ten size modifiers, making it just a little bit bigger then you are. You are now maintaining so much magic you would be a minus seven to doing anything else, and drop Energetic Accumulation, you don't need it anymore. Meanwhile, water rushes in with a boom to fill the now empty space, and the mergon swims against the pull, trying to right himself. It only take a moment for everything to be still again, and you all hunt around for what is now a tiny, toy sized boat. It's easy to spot in the large boat shaped depression that's been left, and you motion to Jake it's now up to him. He nods, and reaches a hand out, floating it into his hand with telekinesis. You figure he can wrap force around it at all points, keeping it together, and whatever he does seems to work, as it stays whole as it floats over to him. It's a bit of a struggle, holding the ship at that size, but you ask the mergon to please take you near the docks, you're going to give these people their ship back, so they can clean it up like they should have done in the first place. He takes you most of the way there, and you tell him that's far enough, Jake will take you the rest of the way, so he doesn't get spotted. The mergon says thank you for giving them their habitat back, and for introducing the mermaids, who they are becoming friends with and will help defend. You're glad it worked out, and tell him so.
Jake swims you over to shore, and you tell him to jam the ship in the sand and then get back. He does, and when you judge it's far enough away you let the shrink spell go, and a 600 foot ship appears, creating a shockwave that turns you both end over end in the water, laughing. The ship pokes out of the water almost straight up, and water pours out of the various holes in the hull.
"That should get their attention," you say to Jake. "Let's get back to Jaden and get out of here!"
You start casting, and open a teleportal to the mermaid camp, and they all shyly wave and thank you from behind a mergon.
"I helped! Don't I even get a hug?" says Jake, being dragged away by Jaden.
That evening, news reporters are baffled by the sunken ship, at least a hundred years old, which has suddenly appeared in the bay. Crews are rushing to siphon off the fuel and remove thousands of animal carcasses from the area, as well as tearing the ship apart so it can be recycled.
"Forgot about the animals," you say, a little sadly. "Still, they should be taken care of." Then you can't stop giggling. "Appeared in the bay as if by magic," you shout to the person on the screen. "Don't forget that part!"
The others just shake their heads.
It's back to base tomorrow, your 6 new XP is ready and your cards are gone, of course Jake used his card 31 on the way back to the hotel to buy a ring with Regeneration on it, as close as he could come to Invulnerability, but much easier to make. You all have no idea what Clayton has been through, and that he was almost captured at the hands of your invisible foe.
What poor, ignorant fools you are.