Magical Scribe Eleanor Slam versus Magical Torturer Suzi Berry

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This has been one of the worst weekends I can remember. I don't know where I'm at or where I'm going anymore, and my legs are about to give out. Crunch has me by the arm, and this ridiculous costume is heavy with sweat.

I got pulled out of bed in my underwear at seven in the morning. It's like everybody has a key to my room now. And I thought she said eight, which would have meant a precious thirty minutes more of fitful unconsciousness. Captain Fuckface - yeah, that's your new name, Crunch; Fuckface for short - was yelling in my ear the entire time about how out of shape I was and something about fighting spirit. I think I pulled off my transformation before anybody else saw me. Knew I should have splurged for some pajamas last month.

She corralled me into that gymnasium from yesterday for her "training regimen" or whatever it was. There were some other people there, and I think one of them might have been that person who kept taking my lunch the first week I transferred in. Maybe not, whatever, not important. Fuckface put some weighted bands on my arms and legs that I still haven't had the chance to take off yet. The things chafe.

She said we'd start with some cardio, which would "ignite your passion into a roaring blaze that would burn away the fat." Which has to be the dumbest speech I've ever heard. I spent hours punching and kicking at the air and prancing around like an idiot, among other things I'd actually -want- to forget. For instance, she told me to hit her, making this the first time since grade school I punched someone, and then laughed about being right about some inane thing when I struck her in the face. And again. And again. My knuckles were bleeding by the time she said we were done, and she had to bandage them up. I didn't see so much as a bruise on her for my efforts. Fuckface must have a head full of rocks.

Finally, live weapons training. Who in their right mind gives an office worker a sword twice their height? Fuckface isn't in her right mind, and I nearly lost my arms trying to hold that thing when she handed it to me. It dropped about three feet and made a crater where it landed. That's not natural. I grabbed a spear off the rack just to get things over with and made a bunch of half-hearted stabs at her, which were easily blocked - it feels weird, trying to hit somebody with a weapon you know might injure them. This pissed her off and she slapped me with her deadweight weapon. It hurts to turn my head now. I doubt she even noticed.

And apparently this wasn't enough for good ol' Captain Fuckface. Because now she says I gotta do some kind of "courage test", which sounds like haunted house nonsense. Right now we're going down some staircase lined with a bunch of heads mounted on the wall. Skulls, grief seed casts, other tacky things that I just can't bring myself to care about. Couldn't I at least get some more water first? I keep coughing up phlegm, and the sweat stings at my eyes. My sleeve's soaked in the stuff to the point that it hurts even worse to rub my eyes. I can't understand much of what Fuckface's saying at the moment, from my heart thumping so loud in my ears. Something about pride and a psych profile. Probably hers.

Diagnosis : Completely batshit. Treatment : Leaving me alone or just killing me already. Please stop stringing me along. Please.

I'm a bit dizzy by the time we reach the bottom, which opens up into a small chamber. Fuckface stops me in front of an intimidating looking door. This thing is big, metal, and covered in locks and bolts. Is this what's supposed to scare me? Are they going to bring somebody out in a bedsheet to fuck with me? Right now I can't tell if I'm more tired or angry about all this. Whatever they're trying to do, I wish they'd get it over with.

"Welcome," booms Fuckface, letting me go to spread her arms in presentation, "to our special Silent Room : the SPIDER ROOM!"

.......Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nopity nope nope nope. No. No way, no how, nuh uh. Fuck this. Fuck everything. I am gone. I am so fucking gone. Forget what I said, I am not doing this and she can't make me. I stagger past her as quickly as my legs can hobble, and I can see Fuckface just smiling at me like the raging psycho she is. Everything aches dully under the rush of adrenaline that is keeping me upright. Even my head's throbbing, for once not from the buzz of corruption in my soul gem, but otherwise my senses are crystal clear. Fuck all this, I'll try living on the street or maybe complain to the warmaster that her rank leader is such a fuckface that she-

I bump into something that knocks me back down onto the ground. It didn't feel like a wall, so it means that it's a person. An agonizing turn of my head confirms that, yep, it's another girl, blonde one, wearing a brown dress outfitted with a few yellow ribbons. Staring at me with half-lidded brown eyes and a smile. A crooked smile. A really lewd smile.

...Oh god, have I been surrounded by raging lesbians? I knew it! I fucking knew it!

"Ihihihi, ya' brought me another tasty morsel, Cap'n?" says New Girl, crouching down over me and wringing her hands. "That's the second in three weeks. Ya' suuuuure do like to spoil me, dontcha?" She's not that close, but over the stench of my own sweat, I can smell something. Perfume, maybe. Don't care, doesn't matter. Still laying down, I try wiggling my legs to propel myself away from her. And run right back into Fuckface, with that loud laugh that screams hot-blooded trouble.


"... seen ya' 'round here before. Let me guess, ya' stole insider secrets... expense of my dear Officio, didn't yoooou? Such a naughty..."


"...hidden potential that may yet be brought out by confronting her fears. Her profile mentioned spiders... isolation down in the Spider Room should help. Can I count on ya' for that?"


".. Ihihihi, I'll have her right as rain..."


"... count on ya'! I'll be back for her after meeting..."


"... fuuuun, Caaaap'nnnn. Iiiii knoooow Iiiiii wiiiiiill~."


I feel myself being lifted into something. Don't care, doesn't matter. My throat's too raw to scream anymore. Everything is heavy and there's nobody here anymore, yet I can't even move. I try to grab at my soul gem and smash the cursed thing, but my hands are numb and refuse to close around it. The adrenaline rush is gone and everything hurts.

Fine. Fine. It's fine. Everything is fine. I probably deserve all this anyway.

But I'm not going to cry. If there's one thing I learned from my old, starting-to-look-much-better officio, it's not to show emotions to people who're making your life hell. It never helps. It just makes things worse. Don't give them the satisfaction of a reaction.

The bearer of the most understated magical girl costume, besides Checkers back at the old place, comes back from... Somewhere. I try to raise my head and look at her, but it's really painful. Goddammit, she saw, didn't she. This sadistic thing saw me cringe and it made her smile again. She's actually humming.

Don't care about it. Don't care about anything. Just stop feeling anyth-

Her hands are clamped around my head. Is this it? Is she gonna snap my neck? Do I finaFUCKTHATHURTS. I hiss in pain without even realizing it at first as she twists my head around to face her. And then releases her hold.

...The kink in my neck is gone. Don't have much time to ponder this epiphany before she shoves something into my trembling hands. It's a clear plastic water bottle, with the sports cap open. I'm thinking... trap of some kind. Lull me into a false sense of security. Or something like that. Besides, I can't get a good grip on the thing with my hands as they are.

"Oops, lemme get that for ya', sweetie," says creepy girl who has her hands on mine and is pushing the bottle into my mouth. And tipping it back until I'm forced to swallow. At least it tastes like water. Cold, refreshing, life-giving water. Maybe it's poisoned. Wouldn't be the first time. My head's getting light, so maybe... No it's because I'm holding my breath. She lets it fall to the ground and I'm sitting back gasping for air.

Come to think of it, those spiders from before are gone. Not on the floor, not on the ceiling, not under the chair. Just... Gone.

"...gonna be tortured..." I murmur, then scowl at blurting out what I was thinking. And she's laughing again. Real funny, you psycho.

"Now why in worrrrld would I wanna do somethin' like that to somebody so -adorable-~?" comes yet another response with unfortunate implications from blondie. I shudder involuntarily as she puts her hands on my shoulders and rubs. I can't help squirming a little; Goddammit, get off of me, Tarzan, I don't swing that way. And stop humming.

"Anyhoooo, from what Cap'n Crunch tells me, it doesn't sound like ya' done any crime, other than being cute enough to eat right up," she giggles, "and while she means well, she doesn't seem to have the best grasp of how to help people." I just nod along, waiting for all of this to be over and feeling to return to my legs. Once I can walk on my own I'm going to head back to my room and take a long, hard look at my life.

"Ihihihi, speaking of grasp, I've got my hands all over ya' and haven't even introduced myself. Where are my manners?" Finally drab girl lets go, my shoulders sagging and no longer twitchy. She moves around in front of me and curtsies, grinning.

"Suzi Berry, anti-vindicare and keeper of the Spider Room. Ya'll can call me Suzi, though." She's probably gonna ask for my name next.

"...Eleanor," I rasp, coughing phlegmatically afterwards. Sooner I can leave, the better. Fortunately, Suzi seems to pick up on my eagerness to not be here anymore.

"The rooftop's a safe place to hide until Cap'n gets bored of lookin' for ya'," she explains. For the second time today I'm pulled along by somebody to a location I've never visited before. I have an easier time walking than I did before, but it still hurts like a bitch. "And some fresh air in the flower gardens will do ya' a world of good."

I nod along to placate her. Whatever you say. Just leave me wherever and leave me alone.

Away from paperwork.

"...Where're the spiders?"

Away from incubators.

"Ihihihi, I can't tell ya' that until ya've gotten me dinner and a movie first, Ellyyyy~."

Away from crazy people.

Away from basically everybody in this Officio.