Choose Your Own Adventure Part 92: On With The Show
You’ve decided to try to join a group of students doing a performance at the Emperor’s presentation of his daughter.
“I know a few things about illusions.” You introduce yourself with the bland pseudonym Lehhev gave you, and explain that you’re an advanced student studying illusions.
The group of students is quite cheered by this. The leader of the group performing introduces himself as Jeneth Varnek. After a couple of demonstrations, they figured you can fill it at least for an easier role. Your on-the-fly improvisations don’t have quite the artistic flair their would like, though they look real enough.
Varnek drives the new group hard. You spend most of the next two days studying and practicing. Lehhev’s illusion is good enough that these students don’t see through it. Or perhaps they’re politely pretending they can’t — some mages always place an illusion over their appearance to hide perceived flaws. Either way, you’re in.
The performance goes well enough. Yours is the introductory demonstration, all flashing lights and glittering images. Varnek announces the display as a “gift to the Emperor and his new daughter.”
When it is done, you and the rest of the performers take seats near the center stage, for the heart of the event. The coliseum is packed, and the cheering of the crowd after your performance is redoubled when the Emperor walks forward, carrying his infant daughter, and with the Empress standing at his side. The cool, early fall breeze tugs at the red and white banners.
The ceremony proceeds as expected. The High Priestess of the Silver Goddess takes the child, and performs the traditional blessings, sprinkling the water and spices over her eyes. Afterwards, the Emperor stands forward, taking the child, and proclaiming her name to be Aneshka. Then he makes a speech about protecting the Empire, ensuring that his daughter has an even greater nation to guide when her time comes to rule. The patriotic cheering is suitably loud.
During the ceremony, you regularly let your eyes drift down to the compass, partly concealed by your hand, partly hidden by your sleeve. You carefully track its slow twitching. The small sweeps back and forth follow the Emperor’s footsteps.
Your suspicions are confirmed. You only wish you knew exactly what he was planning with the spell of oblivion. Lehhev hadn’t discovered anything new in the last couple of days.
Now that the presentation is winding down, you look up to find that one of the Emperor’s guards is staring at you. All in black, the only visible emblem on her uniform is a silver hand. She motions one of the other guards to join her, and starts walking towards you.
Option 95: Pretend annoyance at being mistaken for “that Malarek woman” again. And that your disguise was meant to help avoid the issue. And mention that Lehhev is sponsoring you and can confirm your story.
Option 96: The same as 95, but without dragging in Lehhev. He’s a known associate of yours, under your real identity, and may not necessarily help your case.
Option 98: Go along quietly. You may be able to get further information this way, and you may find a good time to escape.
Option 99: Go along quietly? Hah. Best to start the fight now and get it over with. Maybe you can take out the Emperor while you’re at it, if you get lucky.
Option 100: Run. Best to not get caught here. You can regroup and come back after you have an actual plan, assuming you can dodge the guards and the crowds.