I went upstairs and looted the sheets, pillows, and blankets from the spare rooms. Then I went to the vanity of the room I was in and cast another scry spell, targeting Auntie. As soon as the image appeared, Auntie looked up and waved at me. So I teleported to her.

I looked around the room I found myself in. It was about 15′ square, and the group sat in silvery chairs. There was a fireplace on the wall to the right of the door and a water feature built into the wall opposite the fireplace. Turning around, I saw some clear crystal or glass panes in a large window. All the stone was the same grey stone I saw when the miracle was performed. Though this close to it, I could see veins of color through the rocks and sparkles of small facets reflecting the light.

Grumpy doesn’t waste any time, “Jeb, what did you do that we are getting ‘remedial training’ invitations?”

“Did those notices mention me?”

“No, but you are the tossed pebble, making waves in the pond,” Gilden replied.

“And why didn’t I get any,” asked Mason?

“Ok, First, I didn’t do anything. I was having a conversation with ARC when Nirvana decided to join in. During that conversation, I helped Nirvana realize that the older residents were not getting some of the newer training and education that new residents received while they were physical. Some of that training includes an ability to multitask. Mason received it while she was physical and doesn’t need it now. We need it to get our brains to grow the nerve cluster that makes it work.”

“That doesn’t explain the ideographic alphabet course,” said Auntie.

“I haven’t looked through my notices, but my guess is that course is because of our conversation regarding literacy and how it differs in Mason’s time. The other four of us must be old enough that we learned the original alphabet and grammar, while Mason had to study our language to be able to read it; because, while she speaks our language, what’s used for writing the language today isn’t the same.”

The others turned to Mason, and Auntie asked, “Is that true, dear? Did you have to study our alphabet to learn how to read things from our time?”

Mason nods, “Yes, I just never thought about it. It was one of many ‘adventurer’ courses in school. I could have picked from dozens of different written languages, but I would have had to take a verbal language course, too, if I didn’t pick English. There were even -“

Auntie interrupts, “Stop, dear. I don’t want you to get a punishment for revealing too much in front of Jeb.”

Nodding, I agree, “Nirvana said that some things I want to know will get somebody a ‘BIG Whammy!’ if they revealed them to me. I only know one specifically, but it’s worth being cautious with friends.”

Mason smiled, “Thanks, I’ll try to be careful. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up around you, forget how much you don’t know, and consider what may still be restricted.”

Grumpy said, “So this is one of your waves, but it’s global and not traceable back to you.”

I haven’t looked at my notices. However, if it doesn’t mention me, I doubt anybody will learn that information anytime soon; by then, it will not matter.

[Sir, you have a new title that will hint at it, if not outright give it away.]

Dammit. I spoke too soon. ARC just told me that Nirvana gave me a title, so eventually, people will learn it was me.”

Gilden waved it off, “Just another crack in the dyke. Once it gives way, it won’t matter.”

Auntie raps her knuckles on her chair and says, “Guard, another chair for my guest.” The chair sprouts a leak like it was made of mercury, and the resulting puddle oozes over and morphs into a chair.

I leaped back, “Holy crap, you have terminator guards!”

“That is precisely the reaction Nirvana was expecting to provoke,” Auntie says while smiling at me. “I think she chose that just for you.”

“You don’t think others will shit their pants when they learn that your furniture can stab them to death whenever you want? That’s going to be so intimidating that I have a hard time believing anybody will feel anything but terror once they learn of it!”

“Jeb, they can’t kill you permanently. You’ll come back in three days. It’s only because you are so new to Nirvana and haven’t died that you feel the fear you do,” Grumpy says. “It is intimidating, but only newbs will be impacted the same way you are. For the rest of us, it’s an unsubtle threat to ‘mind our manners,’ or we’ll be spanked. Plus, the closest alter is here on the island, so it’s nothing more than a time-out.”

“In light of that, I can see how it’s not the threat I perceived.” I still cautiously approach the chair and sit. It molds to my butt and lets my tail pass through to freely flick around and show just how unsettled I still am. I see my tail out of the corner of my eye, and then I hear Mason laughing.

Between breaths, Mason says, “I’ve never seen a beastkin cat fluff up in fright before – you look like,” and she devolves into giggles.

Soon the rest of them are laughing too. “Fine, fine, I can take a hit. Just realize that I can play pranks too, and it seems like it might be my turn.”

Auntie, still giggling, “Oh yes – it was your turn to be the butt!” That sets the laughter off again, and this time I join in. If my tail is any clue, I had to have looked hilarious.

Since I’m not as incapacitated as the others, I pull the table I got from Dan’s store out and set up the leaves so we have a place we can eat and set things out on to show the others. As they get ahold of themselves, I start placing stacks of plates and stuff on the table so we can set it up for a meal, and I start talking about some of the things I did. “Once you get over your giggles, you should know that I cleaned up breakfast and put things away. I also looted the rooms for bedding and pillows since I wasn’t sure there would be any here in the temple.”

“That’s good. We have our camping kits, but Auntie hasn’t been an adventurer for a long time,” Grumpy replies.

“Well, I got this lovely table from a nice halfling named Dan at a store near The Museum.”

Gilden chimes in, “I know it. Home Comforts has a good reputation. Why don’t we cover today and the plan for tomorrow?”

“Sure, I’ll go first and let one of you set up dinner.”

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