Adora woke up feeling incredibly well rested. Not horny anymore, but with the kind of overall good feeling that came with an incredibly good nap. Her legs felt loose, and she blushed as she remembered why. Getting out of bed, she considered, as she sniffed the air and smelled something cooking. She didn’t plan on getting punished for something as silly as the blanket, so she blushed as she walked into the kitchen, arms casually held in front of her. “Hey…umm..thanks for that yesterday. That was the worst fucking cramp ever.” Ivy was standing there in her viney form again, smiling at her.
Ivy smiled as she felt Adora coming towards her. And..her embarrassment radiated off of her, in the most delightful ways. She turned and grinned at her. “Oh, you're very welcome, my little mageling. Eventually it’ll stop happening, but until that happens, me and my massager will help you. Now…while this cooks, would you like to see something cool? AND learn something interesting at the same time?” She blinked, and time slowed down in a small bubble around the flame and pan, ensuring that they had plenty of time. Days, even. To be honest, time would stop there until she allowed it to restart.
“Cool stuff to show me? I’d like that”, Adora said excitedly. And then began bouncing excitedly like a little kitten with a new toy.
“I’m happy to do that, especially if you get so excited about all the things I show you”, she said, enjoying the way Adora bounced, her pink hair flying around. “Turn around”, and then loved the way that Adora squeaked and jumped back as she was met with a doorway, hovering in the air inches away from her nose.
“IVY!!! You did that on purpose!!”, she said as Ivy chuckled and her heart tried to climb out her throat.
“Guilty as charged….but you sound so cute when you do that”, she said with a smile. “Go ahead, it’s not locked.”
Adora smiled, and then opened the door and took a step inside. It opened…elsewhere, and her eyes were wide as she looked around in wonder.
Ivy smiled as she followed Adora into the Armory. Her Armory was substantial, ranging from flint knives to broadswords, matchlock muskets to light machine guns. Even a 'minigun'. As well as the more arcane of offensive equipment, blasting rods and warded cloaks, wands and staffs. staves and bits of enchanted string. The staff of Merlin was here, skull fetishes hung from a knob as the crystal on top glimmered, reflecting light that hadn’t been thrown at it. A spear burned with blue fire and kept changing, from spear to glaive to axe to sword and back. Next to it, the image of a giant red skinned warrior with one golden eye kept flickering as it changed. A gleaming Kitana with a hilt that looked a dragon head carved of ivory. It laid next to a Bastard sword whose hilt bore two small diagonal crossblades, like a V. A rock with a sword hilt stuck in it was tucked into a corner, a pouch with three blue shiny stones in it hung from the hilt. A bloodstained machete hung next to a glove with knives on the fingers, and what looked like a Colt Bluntline Special burned with orange and blue fire. On the other side were the defensive items. Cloaks, shields, bracelets. A full suit of studded leather armor, in addition to a leather suit that had buckles and straps everywhere, the sigil of Leandra on every single one. A shield with three triangles laid point to point glistened, a half cloak next to it emitting wisps of shadows that curled and screamed as they dissolved. A full cloak sat next to it, hurting Adoras eyes as she tried to look fully at it. Something about it made her eyes keep sliding to the side.
Ivy collected a simple knife, an eight inch long combat blade, honed to a razor edge on one side, serrated on the other. The tip had broken off at one point, and had been machined into an angular edge, called a Tanto Point. The grip was wrapped in green paracord, and it was fitted with a ring mount, to be affixed to a rifle as a bayonet. It seemed a bit heavier than it ought, as if it carried some spiritual or magical weight with it, and Ivy offered it out to Adora, along with a matching leather sheath. “What do you think of this one, my little mageling? Strictly speaking it's the least powerful weapon in this Armory. But it's also the most dangerous. Because it doesn't have any magical properties."
Adora looked around, eyes wide, and then down at the knife that Ivy was offering her. “This? Not for nothing, Ivy, but I could buy five of these for sixty bucks. Hells, there’s a guy who makes them on TikTok out of spoons and stuff. And this is the most dangerous? More than the creepy staff, or the swords? Or that Rambo gun right there?”, and she pointed. “What does it even do?”, she asked as she held the knife, pulled it partially from the sheathe, and then put it back in.
“ It's a knife. It's sharp and it cuts things”, was the laconic reply as she took the knife and put it back. “Consider this the first rule of magical combat”, Ivy said. Not all of her existence was sitting and playing with pets, sometimes she and her kin needed to go out and conquer. Free worlds from some despot or whatever Big Evil was there. Like Amazon, or capitalism. Or Dark Gods. "All the spells in the world are no substitute for putting a knife through someone's ribs. I've been practicing magic for more than a thousand millenia. I've studied under masters of the light and dark arts, even though there’s no real difference besides intent, learned ‘forbidden’ knowledge from literal gods, of both the big 'G' and small 'g' variety. And while I cook you breakfast, I'll give you a little history lesson. And by the time I'm done talking, you'll understand the real value of this knife, my little mageling." She wasn’t quite sure why she’d shown this to Adora. It wasn’t like the girl was going to be anything other than her pet, though she knew it not. But the idea of training a pet that could be useful when she needed to leave the house..well, there was something to that. And it was nice being able to actually talk to someone who wasn’t brainless with pleasure. For now, anyway. She had plans for that. She led Adora back to the kitchen, released the spell on the pan, and kept cooking. Frying up some sausage, some eggs, the potatoes done already. “Remember how I said that the tests are out there, in the real world? Well, passing is surviving. You can guess what failing means.”
“Ivy, that’s…”, and Adora shook her head. “I though that you said your realm was perfect and wonderful and you were all happy?”
“That’s one hundred percent true. But how do you think we did that? And we extend the same courtesy to others, helping them if they need it. You’re quite safe here, because of that courtesy. But going back to that particular knife. It's got quite the history. It's been reworked at least a dozen times over the years, and it's older than you can imagine. It began as an iron forged dagger, a gift from a Babylonian general to his son. It's had a long and bloody history since then. It was used as the weapon of execution to cut the throats of the Merovingian kings. Centuries later, a particularly brutal Roman centurion carried it as a sidearm during the conquest of Gaul. Shortly after, it found its way into the possession of one Marcus Junius Brutus, who used it to kill a newly ascended god, who went by the name of Gaius Julius Caesar. Later, Brutus used the dagger to kill himself. You're starting to get the idea, I think. It was reworked into a bayonet by a Spanish conquistador during the conquest of South America. And it spent a few hundred years in the Americas. 1812, the War between the States. It turned up in Russia at the turn of the century at a dinner party hosted by a few Nobles who had invited a man named Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin as the guest of honor. He survived being beaten, shot, hung, poisoned, and drowned. But one stroke of this knife was enough to end him. It got carried overseas in both World Wars. More recently, it's been to Afghanistan, Iraq, the UAE. I acquired it last year in Syria when I was there to deal with a particularly nasty spirit."
Ivy assembled her cooking together into a pair of sandwiches, thick slices of Texas toast with eggs, sausage, hummus and butter, slicing each diagonally, setting them on plates, setting them down on the kitchen table. “Enjoy, my little mageling”, she said, and then cooed with delight as Adora began to practically inhale her food.
"That knife has shed blood on every continent, including Antarctica. It's been a weapon of war for over two thousand years, and through all that change and development, its function and purpose has stayed the same. A sharp piece of metal that a soldier uses to kill people. I would guess that it's killed at least a hundred thousand people in all that time. So I want you to think, Adora. What happens to a knife like that? What has it become over all those years?"
Adora fiddled with a napkin as she chewed, and thought. "I'd....I'd imagine that such a thing would gain something." She tried to remember something...something on the tip of her tongue. Then she had it. "But if it's been reworked that many times, is it truly the same knife? Like, take that frying pan you used. If you had it for, say, one hundred years, but you changed the handle after forty, and then kept repairing the pan itself for years after it, would it really be considered the same pan?" Then something else that Ivy said had her cocking her head and wondering. "Wait...Julius Caesar was a god?? Or did he just call himself one, cuz that was kinda the rage back then. Every king wanted to make himself out to be the child of a deity, and therefore able to rule." She smiled at Ivy. "I'm a bit smarter than I look."
Ivy grinned and ruffled Adoras hair. “You most certainly are smarter than you look, and you look absolutely delightful, my little mageling. Yes, there's likely not much left of the original iron. But it IS every bit the same dagger, re-worked metal or not. Like the Ship of Theseus”, Ivy said without hesitation, sitting down to take a nibble of her sandwich. "And to answer the easier question, yes to both. Caesar started calling himself a god out of hubris. But then he kept achieving the impossible. Victories that should have never been, a drought that ended far earlier than anyone could have imagined. And people started to believe it of him. And that kind of belief, it started to make his claims true. There's a reason the other senators stabbed him dozens of times but didn't get anywhere. But Brutus did the job with this dagger in one hit." She chewed, thinking. “That sort of belief doesn’t really have the Power that it once did. Mostly because you humans, for the most part, no longer believe in magic. Belief is the tinder, but magic the spark, and your species doesn’t really make the spark anymore. And you're right. The knife picked up something along the way. If you walked up the steps of a gallows, you'd get a little chill. Some essence of the lives it's taken, that stayed there. Like the magical equivalent of a bloodstain. The same for an electric chair or a slaughterhouse. But how many prisoners have really died in that chair? A few hundred at most? Imagine that, but a thousand times over. Like…like some of the scenes of atrocities that your species has sadly created. World War Two concentration camps, the Khmer Rouge fields.” Ivy sighed. "But it can't shoot fire out of the blade, can't freeze souls or tear holes in reality." She concluded, clasping her hands on the table in front of her. "Because all that time, it wasn't a mystical weapon of the arcane. It was just a knife. And that's all it is now, a sharp piece of metal. It cuts. But that's the trick of it, Adora. Despite just being a knife, this knife is death incarnate. No enchantment can stop it, no magic can ward against it. No other material can stop it. No matter the target. You could kill a god as easily as some no name vagrant. In fact, you could even kill a God of the capitalized variety. If you're quick enough with the blade, that is."
"So....enough belief, from enough people can start making claims true? Like, The Tooth Fairy? Santa Claus? Oh shit, Slender Man? All those things should be real, then”, Adora said, blinking.
“Yes, exactly. The first two of those things have a factual basis, which inspired the belief and that’s why those beings still exist. The third... it was just a myth. Until enough fear and belief turned it into something more, or would have if your species still had that ability." Ivy shrugged as she ate some more. “The Tooth Fairy is not what you’d expect, and you should pray that you never meet it. As for making things real, I guess you probably still could, but it would be hard. Like a five year old trying to lift a car, or perform cardiac surgery. Could it be done? Yes. Is it likely?”, she snorted. “Nope. Now finish up, pet, and you’re going to work on your mantras again. And consider this lesson…what is magic?”
“More lessons???", she grumbled, and then Adora froze. "Wait, again? Didn’t we just do that?”, Adora asked and then frowned as Ivy began to laugh.
“Little pet, that was yesterday”, Ivy said. “You were so tired you slept for about fourteen hours.”
“Wait…what!?!?! I slept that long!?!?!”, Adora asked, unable to believe it. “What the hell!?!?”
“Yup. I checked on you a few times, but you were so cute, I couldn’t bear to disturb you. As for why…well, calming your mind the way you did takes a lot of mental energy. That tires you out, and you need to rest and replenish it. And that's ok. As soon as you're done with breakfast, we'll do some exercise, and then right back for some more lessons."
"Waitwaitwait…why do I have to work out? Isn't that the point of magic? So I can just wave my hands and my apartment is clean, and I have money?? You know…make my life easier??", she asked. And then blushed when Ivy laughed, and ruffled her hair.
"Spirits, you're so cute!! No, that's not what magic is for. Consider that another lesson, something else to think about. Now, if you're done eating, we can begin your exercise. Follow me, little one."