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Chapter 12: Lovesick and Twisted

Chapter 12: Lovesick and Twisted

In the Tech Support Forum, Nikki headed straight for the cabinet full of potions. He put on a pair of heavy gloves and began searching through the potions. "I don't believe it. Surely there must be one poison potion in here. Aha!" Nikki grabbed the bottle and uncorked it. He was in the process of taking the mechanical pencil apart when the door between the Announcements and Tech Support forums swung open. Nikki quickly threw himself behind the cabinet as Randomizer entered, pushing Dintiradan along.

"Unhand me, you fool. I can walk just fine!" Dintiradan snapped.

The Lurker and Wanderer were following behind Randomizer, closely watched by Archmagus Micael. None of them noticed Nikki. After they had entered the General Forum, Nikki crawled back out. Carefully, he finished taking the pencil apart. Then he dipped the graphite into the potion. The potion fizzed and hissed when the graphite hit it.


In the General Forum, Emperor Tullegolar paced back and forth, thinking. Though the oldbies were weak individually, they were very powerful together. Emperor Tullegolar stood no chance of overthrowing them and becoming Emperor of the boards unless he could split the oldbies up and gain a powerful following of his own. Carefully planned flamefests would distract the oldbies temporarily when the time was right. Gathering a following was more difficult. The oldbies certainly wouldn't help him, so he would have to rely on newbs. But this snow meant that there were no newb arriving. Somehow, Emperor Tullegolar had to ensure that the snow stopped. He had no idea how, but it had to be done. In the meantime, there were a few people he could bend to his will. He approached Nioca.

"Hello, Emperor Tullegolar. How are you doing?" Nioca asked.

"We're friends, aren't we?" Emperor Tullegolar asked.

"I think so. Why?"

"I just wanted you to know that you can come to me if you ever need anything, and I hope you'll do the same for me."

"Of course I will! Thanks for trusting me, Tully," Nioca said.

Emperor Tullegolar smiled broadly, though it was obviously forced. Nioca didn't notice. "No, thank you." Emperor Tullegolar walked off.

Next, he approached Nemesis. "Hey, Nemesis."


"How's your BoA work coming?"

Nemesis sighed. "Not so well."

"Well, keep at it. Just a little bit more practice with scripting and I'm sure you'll be one of the best designers ever."

"Wow! Really?"

"Of course."

"Gee, thanks." Nemesis chased Niemand down. "Hey, Niemand. Will you teach me to script better?"

"Certainly. Are you ready to go the Blades of Avernum Forum?" Niemand asked.

"Sure," Nemesis said.

Emperor Tullegolar smiled; a genuine smile this time. Having a priest and a powerful scripter on his side would one day be very useful.

Garrison sat quietly, watching Emperor Tullegolar. Garrison was sure Emperor Tullegolar was up to something, and whatever it was, it couldn't be anything good.

Randomizer, Dintiradan, Wanderer, the Lurker, and Archmagus Micael entered.

"Oh, good. You got them!" Riibu said.

"Where's Drakey?" Arancaytar asked.

"There are rats in the Blades of Avernum Forum. Drakefyre and Delicious Vlish went to investigate," Randomizer said.

Niemand paused with his hand on the door handle. "Blades of Avernum? Rats? I guess we'll just stick with theory for now, Nemesis."

Arancaytar jumped up. "How many rats? Alorael is out there, and Ephesos, and Synergy, and..." Arancaytar called up the statistics. "Darn it. The Endeavor Bot broke again. I hate this cold weather."

Zeviz smiled. "It looks like Big Brother is losing his touch."

"Can't you just do it in your head?" Riibu asked.

"No. Not when the entire system is down. Besides, it gives me a headache," Arancaytar said, "What we need is someway to see what is happening anywhere on the boards."

"A scrying pool, perhaps?" Zeviz suggested.

"Would a scrying pool also allow us to determine where all this snow is coming from?" Emperor Tullegolar asked.

"Possibly," Zeviz said.

"Do you know how to make one?" Arancaytar asked.

"Well, no," said Zeviz.

"Could it really be that difficult to figure out?" Emperor Tullegolar asked, "You're a mage. Just stare at a glass of water long enough and poof! a scrying pool!"

"It's not nearly that simple," Zeviz said.

Khoth stepped forward. Riibu gasped and hid behind Emperor Tullegolar and Zeviz so he wouldn't see her. "I think I remember seeing a book on scrying somewhere in the library of the Moderator Board," Khoth said, "It wasn't that long ago, so it should still be there," Khoth said.

"Okay. I'll go look for it." Arancaytar stood up and hurried off.

"Drakefyre wanted the three prisoners to be guarded separately. Who will volunteer to watch over Dintiradan?" Randomizer asked.

"Ooh! I'll guard him!" Andraste said, "And I'm not afraid to club him over the head if he tries anything!"

"Okay. Who wants to guard Wanderer?"

"I'll do it," MagmaDragoon said.

"And who will watch the Lurker?"

"I will," said Emperor Tullegolar, surprising everyone. He looked around. "What? I can be helpful occasionally."


In the Tech Support Forum, Nikki screwed the last piece back into the mechanical pencil and tucked it into his pocket. The door to the General Forum began to open. Nikki threw himself behind the cabinet again and watched closely as Arancaytar entered. Arancaytar walked through the forum and entered the Announcements Forum. Nikki headed for General. Now would be the best time to take out Riibu while Arancaytar was away. But he could also follow Arancaytar and reason with him. Perhaps he could convince Arancaytar of his love, and killing Riibu wouldn't be necessary it all. Nikki abruptly turned and followed the path Arancaytar had taken.


In the Announcements Forum, Arancaytar stood at the door to the Moderator Board. He pulled out the key and unlocked the door. He didn't realize that Nikki was slowly creeping towards him. Arancaytar opened the door and stepped inside. Nikki caught the door just before it swung shut and slipped inside.

The Moderator Board looked newer than the rest of Spiderweb, because it had been rebuilt after being completely destroyed in the Noob War several months ago. There was a snazzy Administrator Panel in one corner, a small section dedicated to having fun with HTML, a half-completed patchwork quilt and sewing supplies, some luxurious couches, and a small library composed of a mix of books that the moderators had donated and a few powerful books that the administrators didn't want ordinary members to read. Arancaytar browsed through the books carefully. A book on nuclear physics, a spare copy of the Avernum 4 walkthrough, a book on Latin, a sniper rifle catalog, a book on world domination, a book on coding, another walkthrough, a photo albumn of kittens, another sniper rifle catalog, another book on world domination... Finally, Arancaytar found the book on scrying pools. He pulled it off the shelf, turned to leave, and found himself face-to-face with Nikki.

"Nikki! You're not supposed to be in here!"

"I know. But I needed to talk to you."

Arancaytar set the book on a table. "About what?"

"About you... and Riibu."

Arancaytar felt uneasy. He moved so that the table was between him and Nikki. "What about me and Riibu?"

"The two of you are always close together. And that's not right. She doesn't love you the way I do." Nikki began edging around the table towards Arancaytar.

"Nikki, you're creeping me out. I told you before that I don't like you, and I never will." Arancaytar moved away so that he stood by the side of the table closest to the door.

Nikki fingered something in his pocket. There was a strange look in his eyes. "Never?"

"No!" Arancaytar panicked and bolted for the door. Nikki pulled out the mechanical pencil and threw it at Arancaytar. It struck a glancing blow to his shoulder.

Arancaytar stopped and held his shoulder. "What was that for?! You... I... I feel dizzy." Arancaytar began to tremble and his skin took on a nasty greenish-gray tinge. Nikki caught him as he fainted and set him gently on the floor.

"I wish you hadn't made me to that," Nikki said, "Now you'll hate me even more. Just stay alive while I get a curing po... no. You'll just go back to Riibu. Then we'll never be together. But perhaps we shall be together in death. Yes, that will work. That is the way it is meant to be." Nikki picked up the mechanical pencil and put it back in his pocket. He dragged Arancaytar behind the Administrator Panel and knelt beside him. "Once you go, I will follow. The Miscellaneous Forum may be cold and dark, but our love shall be our warmth and light! And when they finally find us and revive us, you'll understand. You'll want to be with me." Nikki adjusted Arancaytar's scarf so it wasn't falling off. "It's just... so hard... watching you... like this... It breaks my heart. It really does." Nikki began sobbing quietly.