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I scoff as I add my fifteenth comma to a sentence; I do not remember the last time I used a period, nor do I want to - my only focus is on my work, and the ghost of Oscar Wilde there in the corner, looking disdainfully upon the inferior peasants who keep their sentence structure at a reasonable length; a mocking titter escaping his lips every so often as he, too, realizes that no man will ever aspire to the heights of intellect that I am nearing - no, they will wallow in the slums of proper punctuation like dogs - stupid, filthy dogs - while I ascend to another plane, one where I shall write rambling, endless musings with the very gods themselves.

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Riddles? Seriously? This whole exercise reeked of Manuel, but Max was sure Ryner had a hand in the stupid teambuilding attempt too. Watching Varis squirm around like a toddler was probably how she got her laughs, after all. Seemed like she shut him down, too, given the way he sauntered off. Poor Retriever would probably have to listen to him bitch the whole way through the forest.

Speaking of bitching, Max looked around for Eris again. Still talking to the same vampire - Max vaguely recalled him being important but he couldn't remember why, probably a noble or something - but now Eris was giving him one of his judgemental looks. The guy must've pissed him off, Max was pretty sure Eris had a more tame look in his eyes the first time he'd riffled through the mage's closet. Was that why Max recognized this guy? Was he one of Eris' hated eternal foes? No, he'd definitely remember if he was.

Whatever, the leeches were getting blinded which meant he needed to line up. He grabbed an extra water bottle to shove in Eris' pocket. He didn't think he needed it, but making the vampire carry it would probably fuck with him. He got placed near the noble pets, which meant Eris' brown-nosing must've been paying off. They were all next to each other, which meant the order had to be somehow related to status and not random. Max wasn't sure if that was a good thing or an annoyance.

"Shame you don't have your phone," He snarked as he passed Aaron on his way to his spot, "I'd love a recording of the tantrum you're gonna get from Cinnamon out there." Max made a flicking motion with his hand, sending the other mage's obscenely gaudy earring swinging like a windchime in a hurricane for a brief moment just to be dickish. He wondered how spaced apart they'd be placed. If the vampires' tracking pendants were even half as tacky as that, he'd have no trouble finding them at close range. This was under the assumption said vampire had a competent mage that Max could viably cheat off of, of course, but it wouldn't hurt to scope out the competition when they crossed paths, especially since his magical stamina was still an unknown at this point.

@Obscene Symphony

"Hand over the lighter too please."

This guard was killing him. First you can't have phones, then no magnesium strips tucked away in your sock, and now lighters. He should've brought cigarettes as a backup plan so he could pretend to be a smoker. No, they'd probably confiscate it anyway; people's comfort didn't seem like a priority here.

"And take those off," Guardy McStick-Up-Ass ordered wearily as he pointed to the plates on Max's wrists. That was where he drew line; he wasn't going to have his affinity rendered worthless in the middle of a dark forest.

Other people got away with jewelry, so clearly that wasn't the issue, and Max saw no way to cheat with armor that he couldn't do without it. If anything, it was a liability - he'd ditched the cuirass earlier for that exact reason. If he argued too vehemently, it would look like he intended to cheat, but like hell he was going to let this underpaid functionary win. Okay, if he was arguing along the same lines as the people that got to keep jewelry, his excuse was fashion related, so what would Eris do? Probably whine. Not an option. What else? Degrade their outfit. That'll work.

Max made a point of eyeing the guard's attire up and down as he summoned up his best Eris look - like he'd just seen someone wearing socks with sandals. No, not potent enough. Socks in an out of season color and sandals. Perfect.

"I know you probably wouldn't recognize current fashion trends if they smacked you in the face, but this is a Feliks Vasiliev piece. It's decorative, so if you let Countess Tacky over there through with that eyesore of a necklace without complaint, you should be fine with this."

"Current fashion trends, really," The guy repeated flatly. He wasn't buying it, shit, Max needed more big names than just Feliks. Eris had to have mentioned someone he could use...

"Mhmm, Emmett Anderson wore something similar on the red carpet last month." He really hoped that was an actual celebrity and he wasn't remembering some useless secretary's name. "It's supposed to be evocative of chivalrous valor and knightly prestige, while also acting as a subdued part of any outfit." What a load of crap, he couldn't believe people actually talked like that.

The guard mumbled another incantation as he looked at the vambraces, no doubt scanning them for... Max really had no idea. Hidden blades? A GPS? Eventually, Max got waved along, though he took the opportunity to make a nasty face back at the guy as soon as his head turned to the next person he was grilling for contraband.

When he returned to his partner's side, Eris still looked nervous as ever, which Max took no small delight in basking in - pass or fail, he still won here. He even had the audacity to flash Eris a shit-eating grin every time the leech looked in his direction. In fairness, Max might give him a pass later; Eris hadn't tried to bully him into compliance, so he really had no reason to be deliberately spiteful. Though if the vampire was posed to walk into a tree branch or two, he was sure they both knew Max wouldn't stop him.

When the announcements were made, Max filed off toward the refreshment stand, throwing a wave and a sarcastic "Have fun Eric!" back at his partner as he went. The exam would take six hours tops, though he didn't know how energy-intensive maintaining a spell for that long would be. With the way his magic was always pouring out of him, he assumed he might have some stamina advantage here. Or maybe a disadvantage, since he was wasting magic all the time. Why couldn't he just be normal?

He paused at stuffing granola bars and trail mix into his pockets to look over at Varis' progressing tantrum, immediately scanning the area for Eris on the chance he joined in on the whining. Too bad they already took his phone, a recording of that online would be viral in hours. Unfortunately for him, Cinnamon was being too quiet for Max to pick up what he was saying and Eris looked like he was talking shit on the sidelines with some other vampire like a gossipy schoolgirl instead of joining in.

Vampires were such fragile creatures, it was almost funny. Even the slightest loss of control and they collapse into mass hysteria; Max was certain the air of subdued anxiety rather than outright panic was only due to the fact that none of the leeches wanted to be the first to lose face in front of their peers.


Cafeteria Morning

Leo trudged into the cafeteria, humming some inane upbeat tune that he wasn't quite sure where he picked up. He really wasn't a morning person, and where others may have had lunch on their mind, Leo's only concern was where they kept the coffee. Moving on toward the counter, he narrowly missed a collision; some kid got splattered in mashed potatoes and the other one ran away. Mashed potatoes guy must be threatening; Leo would have to file that away for later.

Leo maneuvered around the scene expertly and ordered his coffee, taking his sweet time loading the cup with cream and sugar until it was hardly recognizable as coffee anymore. In his opinion, it wasn't a morning beverage unless the last few sips were little more than a slurry of undissolved sugar at the bottom of the cup.

When he turned around, he was just in time to witness another collision. That was too much; this place was clearly where clumsy people went to kill each other, and quite frankly, Leo was nowhere near good enough at dodging people to like his odds. He looked down at his cup warily before clutching it to his chest with both hands. It was a short walk to the nearest table, and Leo spent the majority of it huddled over his coffee like a paranoid weirdo before he noticed he probably looked like an idiot. The boy glanced around for anyone obviously staring, then sat down and started drinking to cover up and embarrassing facial expressions he might've been involuntarily wearing.

Great start to the day.

I’m down for a discord too

Max's head snapped to the 'princess' as she seemed to teleport away, then outright popped the fork out of his sleeve when her tone changed. If that wasn't Ryner, who the fuck was it? Apparently one of her loyalists, but if so; why the dishonesty? He didn't like this. As the illusion faded, Max flicked his wrist with a frustrated snarl, sending the fork flying to slice through the air where Ryner had 'stood' moments prior before it looped back around and clattered uselessly to the floor. The rest of the metal objects in the room rattled in tune with the toss, but didn't shift from their positions outright.

Stupid fucking Noilas, he knew this wasn't safe; he knew it! Granted, he wasn't expecting this level of magical bullshit, but he'd be prepared next time, and with more than a fucking salad fork too.

"I don't think heading to the noble dorms right now is a good idea. If you don't want to stay here alone, you can come to my dorm."

He can fucking what?!

"I will definitely not be staying. I appreciate the offer and would be more than delighted to take you up on that. Would you mind if I invited someone else there as well? I need to speak to someone if possible."

Who the fuck was he inviting? That pale girl? His whole extended family? The Retriever? This was getting out of hand, now there were two of them.

"Eric, what the fuck are you doing?" Max suddenly exploded, not even bothering to hide the fact that he was seething at this point, "First of all, I don't wanna sit in a room with Mister Makeout Session over there and whatever used goods he brings over to suck face with next," He pointed accusingly at Salem, "Secondly, Nox is apparently on the fucking warpath for us - if that wasn't a fucking lie too - so what happens if she just kicks the door down?! You gonna hide behind your mountain of hair products?"

At the end of his tirade, Max let out an aggravated groan as the metal in the room vibrated briefly again. Every fiber of his being was screaming at him to trash the place, but he knew it wouldn't do him any good. He wasn't even mad at Eris, or even Salem really, but it wasn't like he could take it out on whoever the fuck was playing mind games with them earlier. Or maybe he'd get lucky and Ryner's pet illusionist was still listening in, at least it'd make him feel a bit more vindicated.

@Zoey Boey If she’s a business student, they could have classes together too. Either way, I’m down.
I’m up for whatever, if you got an idea for someone knowing Leo, feel free to throw it at me. He’s fairly new to town but he’ll bother just about anybody if he wants something.

“You don’t need a plan at all. I’m not about to make my students defend themselves when I’m standing right here. If for some reason someone comes into this room without my permission, it’ll be considered a violation of my privacy and I’ve killed for less in a darker time. As long as you three are here, no harm will come to you.”

Max stared forward with lidded, unamused eyes as Ryner interjected. He knew royals were bound to be narcissistic, but jeez; this was an A-B conversation, Ryner, C yourself out. He drew back from Eris into a standing position, still reluctant to take off his stupid cat mask in case he accidentally pulled anymore faces. Eris had the right idea, at least. Trusting his safety to a Noila of all things without a backup plan was asking for trouble.

“My students are more important than my reputation," Blatant lie, at best her students were part of her reputation and thus important to her as a means to an end, "but clearly I trusted my subordinates too much and you all have taken the fall for my naivety. For that, I apologize." Doubt it. Max trusted her actions but not her motives; he thoroughly believed she'd kill anyone who stepped into the room without her permission, but all her sanctimonious crap was unneeded and frankly, insulting. She could baby Flower Boy all she wanted, Max wasn't falling for it.

He inched a hand into his pocket, though he paused before pulling out his phone. The Retriever might've been privy to whatever game the two princesses were playing, or at least picked up bits and pieces while his nose was lodged firmly between Noilan asscheeks, but that seemed like the type of conversation Max wouldn't want to have recorded anywhere. He doubted anything would stop Nox from pulling phone data, nor did he know if Ryner had some policy on potential recording devices in her office. The less people that knew about his involvement in this, the better; less chance for this to bite him in the ass later. He really was locked into waiting for the situation to resolve itself, it seemed. Great.

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