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Meanwhile, another conversation goes on.
🐺 You felt that too, didn't you?
🪡 I certainly did. It's an encouraging sign.
🐺 Do you think it will last?
🪡 For all our sake, I hope so.

(postscript - same picture)
⎈ (whispered) …Vivid, are you still there?
🦠 yes
⎈ Spread the word. Antihumans have a weakness…

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🧩 What do you think you're doing?
⎈ Hovering. It's how I'm used to getting around. We're outside now, and there's room.
🧩 You have a real physical body now. You can't just hover unaided!
⎈ Why not?
🧩 It's completely illogical!
⎈ You already think I'm a heretic. I don't see why I should listen to your opinion on logic.
🧩 Your staff isn't even attached to anything behind you! This is absurd!
⎈ This is Elseways! Home of all kinds of stuff you've never heard of and never could have back home.

⎈ …ergh…
🧩 You've got a real body for the first time in decades. Small wonder you're out of shape.
⎈ That's not the point.
🧩 I admit, I was surprised when that blast didn't destroy you, but you're still the same person as you always were. Still incapable of standing up to me.
⎈ You think you know everything.
🧩 I taught you everything you know.
⎈ Everything I used to know. This city taught me the rest. I'd love you to see its beauty yourself, but you can't. Not from there.
🧩 Very well. Show me.

Bonus sketch - Patter Inkhorne, headmaster of the Unicorn Coast Academy. He's a refugee from the Empire himself, but he's lived in Elseways for some years now and he loves the city's spirit. His talent for rapid-fire rhythmic speech with as many polysyllabic words as he can squeeze into the meter makes him a popular performer in his own right in a kind of eccentric indie way. It took him some time to develop his dry wit and deadpan manner, but he can lecture on any topic and make it engaging.

I hardly ever draw fan art, but this seemed like an inevitable combination.

I have been sitting on that redesign for weeks waiting for the right time to unveil it.

⎈ …I'm just as powerful as you are. And now I'm in this world for real.

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⎈ —at just happened?
⎈ …where am I? Am I… dead?
🦠 no
⎈ That warmth again. The way it felt after we…
🦠 yes
⎈ You can talk now?
🦠 only to you, through heart
⎈ What's going on? Principia just destroyed the hardware I live in. Why am I still alive?
🦠 not like others
⎈ Other bitkin?
🦠 yes. years at empire school
⎈ …right. They were all taken and modified. But I spent long enough in the Empire. At school, learning to be a wizard like Principia is.
🦠 you are
⎈ I am. I finished my project. I…

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⎈ …oh no. How—
🧩 It doesn't matter how sophisticated the lock is when a door is either open or closed. Changing a single predicate is trivial.
⎈ You'll never get the others. They're safely inside their chips.
🧩 I was counting on that. We'll just take this entire room with us… and yet you remain out.
⎈ Please, just leave them alone! You can take me, just leave them.
🧩 They were ours to begin with. As for you, the heretic who fled before he could serve his sentence, here is one last QED.


🧩 I know where you live, Blythaniel. You and all the other Bitkin we spent so much time creating. I've seen it countless times on the screens, this "Nexus Center" of yours. These shows of yours are coming to an end and you will come back to work for us again.

meanwhile, inside:
⎈ They're… they're right on our doorstep.
⚙️ Where can we go!?
⚡️ We've got that server bunker, right? How about there?
⎈ It's the only place secure enough. Let's just hope the Corps' security can keep them out.

I own this server I'm posting from, so I should start making Delyria emoji for it. The iconography is stable enough now that I can spend some time creating vector icons for all the symbols. The Elseways story is almost finished and I'm already looking ahead to what's next.

Tiny sketch of a Jadean that I thought was good enough to scan. This is either a young Śina or someone with her same body shape, wandering around cautiously through a small gathering of fireflies. There'll be an actual post later tonight as usual, too.

Taking a break from the story again just because I felt like drawing this guy. I feel like a return to the Delyria setting might be in order once this Elseways story is done, and that's where this two-headed leonine adventure is from. The continent of Ambaron is the native home of Delyria's feline-types, and they're innately more prone to having multiple heads or limbs for reasons that are lost to prehistory.

✧ How many of these are there!? They just keep coming!
🦊 How do they weigh so much!?
🐯 Where is this strength even coming from?
🧩 The answers: an infinite number, they weigh what they need to, and they are as strong as necessary for the job. Your agents are good, but you are hopelessly outnumbered.
✧ Agents, fall back! Get the other divisions in! Guard the city!
🧩 They will stop at nothing until we get what we came for. Surrender the Bitkin and I will call them off.
✧ Never!

✧ You made quite an impression with your entrance.
🧩 As intended. Do you know who I am?
✧ I know you're from the Empire of Logic. Those things are antihumans.
🧩 Correct. There are multitudes more where they came from. I am Professor Principia, and I bear an ultimatum.
✧ Let me guess. We broke your machine, so surrender the city or you'll attack?
🧩 Not the city. Just the rebels you call Bitkin.
✧ Not a chance. I've been aching for a good fight for years. Blitzen! Plan alpha!

A mysterious object appears over the ocean, and announced its presence with a single word, leaving the entire city wondering who or what "Blythaniel" is.
The entire city, that is, except for the one bitkin who recognizes it as what his own name is short for, and that the person calling it out is Professor Principia. Meanwhile, Astra is at work.

✧ Get the Blitzen division on notice. Put someone up there to figure out what they want, and prepare for a battle if they ask for one. We're ready.

Felt like I needed a break from the storyline; here's Debrís (pronounced de-Breeze), an experimental electronic musician who spends most of his time among the artists of Elseways' Riverfront district. He's pretentious but he knows what he's doing; his music is amelodic but never unpleasant, and lots of the students at FITZ buy his albums to listen to while reading or studying. He's also notorious for giving mutually inconsistent interviews; nobody knows the real Debrís but the rabbit himself.

⎈ …Okay, into positions for one more go. Blitz, I need those strobe effects about 30 frames sooner.
⚡️ On it!
⎈ Gimble, aim the rockets—
⚙️ At the balloons, I know! I'm getting to it!
⎈ And Gyre, could you —
⚡️ Who the frotz was that!?
⎈ …oh no.

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The official server of the City of Elseways.