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Through Lights and Shadows 19/39

Through Lights and Shadows 19/39 published on 20 Comments on Through Lights and Shadows 19/39

Thorn: Nobody has to die! Listen, I can’t tell you much — he’s a classified asset, and this isn’t a team mission —

But he’s only using his powers to patch up the damage from Dex’s first murder attempt. Kale has every right to be here, and he’s not a danger to anyone —

D10: “Kale”? “Not a danger”? He’s Kudzu Carvi! And he’s mind-controlling Thorn right now!

Pas: What.

Thorn: . . . So you can see why this is classified.

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Yes. Mind-control. He can definitely do that while trying very hard to not bleed out and his magic is still half-blocked. You’re very objective, Dex.

Pas is quick to jump to agreement though. Consider, she knows K is skilled at mind control. What stops her from turning on Dex and saying that SHE’S the one who’s mind controlled? If it could happen to that whatever-adjective-you-want-to-use husband, it can happen to anyone.

Dex isn’t pretending to be mind-controlled. Pas could think K is mind-controlling DEX.

Mind, the only reason I could think for “Kudzu” to mind-control Dex in such a way that Dex would tell Pas “That man over there — who’s trying to transform — He needs to be killed, and it needs to happen now, and I don’t have time to tell you why!” is if Kale isn’t Kudzu and Kudzu wants Kale dead.(1) Dex DID sort of pop up out of nowhere all of a sudden tonight…

(1):Or Kudzu is suicidal, which isn’t quite the case in reality but is close enough that confusion would be understandable.

To avoid further confusion in the comment section, as far as we know, everyone in the above strip is acting earnestly. No one is mind-controlled, Dex wants Kale/Kudzu dead for the damage to Hermosa, Pascentia just wants to know what’s going on, Kale is not opposed to dying if it’s at Dex’s hand, but also doesn’t want that on Thorn’s conscience, so he’s working to stay alive for now. Also, if Kale dies, Niev would be sad.

You said Pascentia could claim to be mind-controlled. While true, I’m not sure why she would.
That’s the part I was asking about.

Though I’m not sure that theory makes much sense, either. She has evidence that Thorn is not mind-controlled (his entirely normal behavior and attempts to deescalate), but even more that Dex isn’t (they’re trying to kill the person supposedly doing the mind-control).

So, just to put my bet out there before things get further along: The stress of the situation makes Kale level up again and breaks the other bracelet. He uses his new powers to heal himself and stop the fighting… just before the magical police show up.

Also, main counterpoint for Thorn: If he was a threat, he’d be locked up somewhere far from Central. Also, Açaí said to let him go.

Really starting to put Acai on the same sub-level of the vampires the more her word seems to be gospel.

Prediction: Acai is an antivampire. Whatever that turns out to mean.

I mean, Acai is, well… From Kudzu Roots page 28.

Acai herself came out of her . . . pseudo-retirement . . . to join in. Her time-manipulation is the reason they even had a shot at getting to me.

Additionally, Acai’s inspiration is Homura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a woman whose entire plot cycle in the animé is a devotion to her beloved Madoka(who inspired L&T’s Rhódon), reliving the same month countless times in an attempt to find the one route that would allow Madoka to survive, but instead puts Madoka into a position where Madoka could save every Magical Girl ever, past and future, from going dark…

Stars, I feel slow some days.

…well, today you’re not the only one feeling slow. Dang.

To clarify, I’m guessing that Acai’s motivation for Kale’s recovery instead of just killing Kudzu outright might really be as simple as “No Magical is beyond redemption, and I owe it to Rhódon to uphold that”.

Not convinced this is totally altruistic on Acai’s part. There’s definitely a bigger game to keeping K alive and roaming instead of throwing his ass in a pen.

Who ever said “All Magicals can be redeemed” is altruistic?

It could also be the height of selfishness or hubris, e.g. “No one is beyond my reach, and I only allow them to struggle for my own amusement”. Acai is a Longrunner who apparently reincarnates near-instantly. Acai essentially lived every year since Acai’s first birth, can manipulate the flow of time, and has the near-certainty that death will not be the end of Acai’s journey, but more of a waypoint. I wouldn’t be surprised if Acai, in Acai’s long life, knows techniques to build Acai’s magical muscles back up within the course of months or years instead of decades, possibly by focused training on Acai’s Time abilites, then building the rest up by effectively creating an endless summer as Acai’s newest body comes into the full bloom of its power. I suspect that with that sort of life, you quickly learn when to be pragmatic and when to be compassionate.

Given all that, even with the known limitation of Acai’s abilities vis à vis only being able to predict events a week in advance, its quite easy for me to imagine that the only reason that Acai didn’t offer to, with Kale’s absolute consent, just reach into Kale’s mind and imprint a copy of Acai’s morals as a framework to go forward is for the amusement factor of reports on Kale slowly finding his own way to a better place…

Or maybe Acai was just saving that option in case it becomes necessary.

Maybe THIS is the reason that Kale has been allowed to flounder… Perhaps now there’s been enough time since his crimes that he can feel how good using his powers can be without feeling innate guilt from what he’s done. Maybe this is his Masterwork, his final test to prove that he is now beyond the need for his bracelets.

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