As Chi Mai backed into the tent, she would hear an ancient, withered voice. "Excuse you, child... Have you no manners?" Agatha asked, pinching her nose. While the tent was bigger on the inside than the outside, the smell of Mai's belch still managed to permeate the space as if it had been no bigger than a broom closet. Mai would then feel something brush up against her leg - small, tiny, warm, and vibrating. If she were to turn around, she would see a small black cat with yellow eyes, staring up at her.
The rest of the space looked pretty much as expected - crystal balls, tarot cards, runes, idols, keys, crystals, tomes, and scrolls permeated the space, most of them floating idly through the air. Trunks were piled on top of each other in the back, some of them violently shaking and threatening to send the others crashing down. The old witch herself was seated at a small circular table, wearing a purple dress and shawl, her ancient face looking at Mai with disapproval.
Mai stiffened at the sound of the voice, freezing in fear for a moment. So this is how it would end - hexed to death by an ancient, old, smelly witch in a gassy tent in California shortly after her sixteenth birthday. Exactly how she always knew it would. Brushing up against the furry something
behind her, Mai turned around before recoiling back, hissing at the cat. Tiger Mai was attempting to establish her dominance. It...wasn't working. And after a moment, Mai suddenly relaxed her shoulders. In actual cat-like fashion, she was now bored of the catplay. Her predator eyes landed on Agatha. She studied her for a moment, tilting her head before grinning. "Sorry, it was a fear burp. You terrify me."
she said as she approached Agatha's table and turned a chair around backwards before plopping down, crossing her arms, and resting her chin on her hands. "S'up?"
A low growl would sound off from behind Mai, as she took a seat. The small black cat was no longer there - in its place was a muscular panther. The panther bared its teeth at Mai, muscles tensing as if about to pounce. "Ebony, dear, take the high ground - this scrawny child is not worth the paperwork," Agatha cautioned, looking at the panther nonchalantly. The panther closed her mouth, and stalked around the table before sitting down next to Agatha, staring at Chi Mai, never letting her eyes waver.
"Mm, now if I do terrify you, child, why are you here? What brings you to my tent?" "Mm mm."
Mai grunted, shaking her head. "You're the fortune teller here, yeah? So you tell me."
she spat back, eyes moving from Agatha over to Ebony then back. The fear was still there, sure, but a certain indignation was beginning to grip her, severing fear's hold over her heart. "Because I tried really fucking - err, fricking, sorry - hard to not be here, and yet here I am."
she continued, sitting up straight and gesturing around her wildly as she spoke before relaxing her arms once more on the chair. "The universe is being persistent so, like, y'know..."
she rolled her hands before letting them hang limply once more on the chair, her posture seeming to deflate as her steam began to run out. She wilted against the chair, pressing her mouth against her arms, muffling her words as she averted her eyes. "Figure it out or something. Why am I here?"
Agatha snorted slightly. Chi Mai was not the first person that day to demand Agatha explain why they had decided to enter her tent. "Is that really the question you wish to have answered?" Agatha asked. A third eye appeared in the middle of Agatha's forehead, as she stared at Chi Mai. Had Agatha been in her place, she would have asked about her real
parents - not the poor couple whose baby had been spirited away at the night of Chi Mai's birth. Agatha wondered if Mary Sue would see the humor in such a revelation - an inhuman with a secret terrible lineage.
"But no matter, I will oblige and inquire with the Cards as to why you
," Agatha obliged. The cards swirled and danced around them, a few of them even whacking lightly up against Chi Mai. When Agatha snapped her fingers, three cards shot out and came to a rest in front of Chi Mai on the table - The Magician
, the Page of Swords Reversed
, and the Hanged One Reversed
. Agatha was not surprised to see two cards of the Major Arcana, the forces of the universe and destiny, in Chi Mai's spread.
For better or worse, almost every person who came into her tent that day had some horrific destiny they were hurtling towards.
"The Major Arcana tells the story of the Fool's journey - a young foolish protagonist, going off on an adventure of self discovery. The first figure that the Fool encounters is the Magician - a powerful and resourceful mage who has all the supplies needed for the work. I sense that you encountered a Magician in your past. A person with skills and artifacts that some may describe as ... inhuman
"Then, for the present, you drew the Page of Swords, Reversed. This is a card of smoke and mirrors - a card for those who like to make promises they have no means of keeping. You are hiding a secret, Chi Mai. You are making promises that cannot be kept. Should you not avert this behavior, should you consider to hide, deceive, and lie, I see the Hanged One, Reversed. This is a card of indecision and unneeded sacrifice. Your current path will lead to your untimely death. It need not be so.
"So, why are you here, Chi Mai? Because your fate needs to be averted. The deceptions must cease to be - or you will."
As she listened to Agatha speak, Chi Mai was whisked away on an emotional rollercoaster. With the story of the fool, Mai offered a a wide, mocking smile. "Mm, Fool. Cute."
she muttered with an eyeroll as the woman spoke, though her light chiding gave way to mild confusion at the odd emphasis placed on inhuman. There was little time to linger on the thought, however, as Agatha continued. While the second card was explained, Mai's smile morphed into a scowl. Was this old hag seriously calling her a liar? The fuck was her problem? Mai pushed back up to a fully seated position, her body tense. She didn't have to take this bullshit.
Yet for as much as Mai wanted nothing more than to kick the chair and leave, she felt compelled to hear the witch out. She regretted it AS it was happening. Mai let Agatha's question linger in the air for a moment as she processed what she had just been told. Her body was stiff, her chin set with her lips pressed against themselves. Her knee bounced with alarming intensity. "You done?"
she asked, her voice threatening to break as she spoke. She tried to focus her narrowed eyes onto Agatha, but she could feel tears threatening to well up if she did so. So she averted her gaze, shaking her head. "So, what, I'm just gonna fucking die unless I...what? Tell some secret? I don't have any fucking secrets! I don't ha..."
she exclaimed before trailing off, her knuckles turning white as she gripped the chair's head with all her might.
She finally lifted her head, eyes fixed on Agatha's. "Fuck you."
she spit with all the vitriol she could muster, her face scrunching up in disgust as both threats were delivered upon with her cracking voice signaled the start of the tears. "You realize how fucked up it is to just say something like that to somebody, right? Like, I get that you don't like me, that's whatever, but predicting my death is fucked. It's actually fucked. Even if it is just a joke, it's fucked."
she rambled, seemingly more to convince herself than to chide Agatha. She wanted to leave. She wanted to get up, flip the table, kick the chair, and leave. But her limbs felt heavy. Too heavy to move.
She was straight up not having a good time.
Agatha stared at Chi Mai with eyes that had seen more than a lifetime's worth of tragedy. She did not flinch at Chi Mai's threats. She remained so still that she could have been mistaken for a statue. Only once silence fell again did Agatha respond, sensing that at least for the moment, Chi Mai was done. "I would not tell you such a thing lightly, Chi Mai," Agatha said calmly. "You have a secret, a grave and dangerous one, whether you realize it or not. Take this opportunity to change your story - before someone else tells it for you."
"You must be willing to face the past, so to that end, I am giving you this," Agatha said, finally standing up. She rummaged about in some drawers, before producing what looked like a small vial of liquid. "Under the light of a full moon, add this to still water, and speak of when
you wish to glimpse. There is enough for three uses - three glimpses of the past... or the future."
Again, Mai let the words hang suspended in the air for some time as she gathered herself, her eyes dropping to the floor. Her mind was blank. She accepted the vial Agatha offered her without willing herself to do so. She felt spent. The calmness that Agatha wore while telling her of her own demise...the absolute clinical matter-of-fact way she delivered the prediction...Mai wasn't stupid, she knew what it meant. Agatha Harkness had earned her reputation for a reason. Mai's hands curled around the vial, pressing it tight against her chest. The 'gift' only added to the weight of her words, made them feel more real - more oppressive. "I'm sorry."
she said in a tiny voice. "I just...I don't understand..."
She felt small. "I'm scared."
she whispered. For several moments, Mai remained curled into herself, seemingly unwilling or unable to move. She lifted her head, seemingly preparing to ask another question, but her words caught in her throat and she ultimately decided against it, rising to her feet instead. She lifted the vial, choked out a "Thanks."
and slowly shuffled her way to the exit. She hesitated at the flaps, rubbing her forearm across her face before pulling her top up to wipe her face clean. She couldn't go out there and face everyone if she was crying like a little bitch.
Agatha's resolve softened. It was easier to be hard on the students when they were defiant and angry. She saw thousands of scared girls she had encountered over the years in Chi Mai's gaze, the way she lingered in the tent, torn between leaving and staying. "Chi Mai, another moment, please," Agatha beckoned. Another car flew down onto the table - the Four of Swords
. The card of rest. Agatha was silent for a moment, parsing its meaning. "It is normal to be frightened. Even for the tiger."
Chi Mai had turned at Agatha's call, though she did not approach the table again. When the fourth card landed and Agatha's reading was given, Mai mulled over it for a moment, nodding. She...was right. Frightened or not, a tiger was still a tiger. She squat down, carefully placing the vial on the floor before slapping both of her palms against her face. Rising back to her feet after palming the vial again, she forced a cheesy smile at Agatha. "Fuck the universe - I ain't ever dying."
she announced before spinning on her heels and bouncing out of the tent. Once exposed to the sun again, Mai lifted her arm to shield her precious eyes from the intense light, searching for her people.
Her safety net.
She broke out into a dead sprint, bounding towards an unsuspecting April, wrapping her arms around the girl from behind. "APRIIIIIL!!!"
she yelled, squeezing the life out of the blonde as all hint of the resolve she had muster was promptly discarded. "THAT FUCKING SUCKED! I SHOULDA JUST WENT WITH YOUUUUU!"
Stark Hall - LobbySkills:
Teddy exclaimed, carefully tapping on his phone. “I guess I’m getting a thousand dollars. Today’s my lucky day.
” he chuckled to himself as he did as he was bid and replied ‘Yes’. He couldn’t wait to get further info. It was exciting! When he got Diana’s follow-up, he smiled before returning the phone to his pocket. Looking over towards Mary Sue, he offered a thumbs up. To Ardere he nodded at her dessert question. “It’s ice cream and cake covered in a meringue. It’s the flaming desert you see in movies sometimes, but it’s just as good without burning rum over it. I’ll bring some by next time I bake one. If you want, I mean.”
Teddy would then move towards the elevator, boarding when the doors slid open, and pressing the button for the ground floor once both girls had joined him. When the topic switched to what Kree were, he frowned, scratching his beard. “Uhhm…”
Teddy hummed, searching his brain for his notes on alien civilizations. “So Kree are a kind of alien. They’re uhm…well uhh…”
he trailed, trying to decide whether it would be rude to just refer to the Kree as ‘human, but blue.’ Wait…were
Kree the blue ones? Alien Civ was not his strongest subject.
When the elevator reached the ground floor, Teddy waited for the girls to exit first before following after, moving to take the lead when it dawned on him that they probably didn’t know where they were going. If they made a beeline towards it, it shouldn’t take too long. So beeline towards it he did. There was a perfectly good spaceship to poke around - he was starting to get excited.