Huldra

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2/6/2021 2:10pm

Astral projection is weird. See, I'm trying to do regular meditation stuff, so that I don't lose my mind again (common side effect of Psyhigh, you'll see it listed on the back of the school brochure). I like it alright, though I have what some professionals call "a slippery soul". Give enough of a gap and it's liable to just... slide on out. And meditation, when you go too deep, is one such gap.

Half the time I don't even notice. I'll just be sitting in class with my hand raised, wondering why the teacher won't call on me, and BAM. One of my roommates will fart or something, and whatever magnetic attraction links body <--> mind <--> soul just SNAPS me back into a cohesive being. Pretty jarring. Plus, then I have to run across campus to /physically/ attend the rest of the class. Kinda embarrassing to stagger in looking like I'd rolled out of bed, but there's usually one or two students with Other Sight who can vouch that I was in incorporeal attendance. @klayra, thanks I owe you.

So I had another one of these little "slippage" events today, and again I couldn't tell. The interesting thing though is that my projection was wearing different clothes than my body. For whatever reason, the projection was all bundled up for the snow, even though my body was in pj's. I could feel the soft insides of my boots, hear the muffling of my hat, and sense the claustrophobia of my too-small mittens. Weird, right? I'm not sure if my legs fell asleep and that got interpreted into the dulling sensation of wearing layers... or maybe my body got cold and was connected enough to prompt my consciousness to think of how to warm up... or maybe my projection was going to head outside so it/I bundled up because that-is-what-you-do-in-winter. I don't know. But it was super confusing to "wake up" from. I tried to take off my boots first thing (no boots allowed in the room, gotta keep the carpets nice) but there was nothing to take off? Ugh, majorly disorienting.

Once I got really messed up -- while meditating I astral projected, then as a projection decided to meditate. Which made my astral projection accidentally astral project. It was... it was like a dilution I suppose. Each layer of suspended awareness is less solid, less aware of the world around. Like the confusion of a dream within a dream, or the hissing solvating of soda bicarbonate into water. Dissolving more and more... but not disappearing. Never disappearing, the Law of Conservation of Mass would not allow it, not even in spirituality. No, it was just... phasing into another environment, by confusing gradations.

It made it easier to hear the plants. I already hear them well, but it was akin to synesthesia. The bursts of aromatics or build up of mesophyl resistance were actual events to watch, beautiful rhythms of life I studied in mesmerization. People forget plants are alive, that every minute they're doing things, moving, breathing, even communicating. It's just on another plane from us -- that doesn't make it any less real. Sometimes I wonder if I went back, if I could not just hear but speak to them easier as well. What would they say? Would they be surprised? Do they forget WE are alive?

But They say it's dangerous to stretch a soul too thin. And if I forget I'm a projection when I'm so far off, while I dissipate completely? Become a sylph, insubstantial life energy billowing through the empty spaces of the world? It's a little too risky for me right now. I'll wait to see if that projection-leash They have been researching ever gets released to the public. I'd feel better having something solid to hold on to.

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1/30/2021 8:42pm

Ohhhh I geel awful.

The girls down the hall invited us to a hallway party, and they had some of that witch's brew. We all drank too much. And the hall started extending.

More people came through, then same people came through, then non-people bipeds came through, the room was packed so the room extended too and we all drank too much.

Stuff started to spin but thet was because Benny was showing off the telekinetic storm until a window broke. Things rushed in and things rushed out and the people sing and the people shout and we all drank too much.

The party is still going, it's been going since yesterday night. But I can't handle the shifting dimensions anymore, I need some stability or I'm gonnna be sick. Witch's brew is good stuff, but it packs more than a punch. It mugs you and takes a good number of your brain cells. I hope my roommates make it back safe -- when I was leaving I saw a fight breaking in at the back corner, right in through the walls and out the floor. We all dran k too much.

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1/22/2021 10:03pm

It took forever, but I finally found it. My Bioalchemistry course, for whatever pretentious reason, has its own independent website instead of a page hosted on the school's @GROTTO G.S.M. INC. server. Thing is, the professor never said where that webpage was! So I spent a good couple of hours scouring all the obscure and outdated servers that teachers use, trying to find the portal that'd take me to the mythical informational site of Prof. Alderman. Finally, FINALLY, I found it.

Thank goodness for the Self-Aware Library, or I'd never have succeeded. I feel kinda silly for not going to it sooner, honestly. Tessa noticed me getting worked into a tizzy (apparently if I get too stressed the Mimosa Pudica starts drooping, it's always been too sensitive), and she pointed out that the librarians or the library would probably know. Information is their specialty, after all. So I huffed and stomped my way across campus to the S-AL, and wouldn't you know it, within a minute of my voicing the question to the information matrix interface a computer booted itself up. Bam. The Bioalchemistry course webpage, all loaded and ready for me. And you know why it was so hard to find it? Prof. Alderman spelled the URL with alchemical symbols instead of Latin alphabet symbols. Very cute, but also annoying.

I left an offering of an origami frog and a pristine apple for the S-AL as thanks. Hopefully it accepts it, because I didn't have anything better on me. Rumor is that if you don't leave an offering every once in a while, the S-AL may get offended and feed you false information next time. Like that smart kid in class who stops helping you after the third time you ask to copy homework. Er... not that I'd ever do that.

With all that settled, I can at least start focusing on setting up for my other classes. The professor for my Vitae Aedificium course is giving weird vibes right off the bat. It says the third component of our grade will be determined by our performance in fifteen cloning experiments spread out across the semester. He doesn't specify what we'll be cloning. It could be anything from a segment of mRNA to the entirety of ourselves! And we need fifteen of them?! I hope it isn't something difficult to store; this dorm is packed as is between three girls, five familiars, and forty-seven houseplants. No way I'm sharing my bed or desk with two clones of myself, let alone over ten.

Okay, okay, it probably won't be clones of myself -- not after the 2008 Essence of Redundancy teacher, who forced students to Battle Royale against self-duplications so only an "elite" version of themselves would persist in this elevation of reality (what a mess). I guess I just have to trust that Dean Hammer wouldn't let something like that slip past him again, and hope the cloning is something easy like a snake plant. Heck, those things are practically BEGGING to asexually reproduce and bud off! And that's basically a form of cloning, so I think it should count. Still... if you start noticing me around campus at a frequency higher than normal... please contact the administration, because something probably went horribly wrong. You know, like usual. Happy spring!

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1/18/2021 4:34pm

Stretch your arms and get ready to bud out, because winter is over!

Yeah, I know it's not. But I wish it was because all the fun wintery stuff is basically done now. After the holidays and the first couple of snowstorms, I think the glittering glamour of wintertime has worn off for most of us. Now it's just the eager vigil for the signs of spring. Are the bluebirds back? Are the sylph of Zephyrus prancing through the skies? Are the magnolia buds breaking? Every day is a longer day than the day before, and somehow that makes the wait seem longer too.

Magnolias are super cool, by the way. Have I talked about them before? If so, it's because of my deep love of these wacky woody weirdos. There's one just to the left of the school store's outside entrance. You can tell by its branches that kinda grow at angles which nearly look like honeycomb hexagons. Or the big fluffy buds it puts at branch tips to protect the baby leaves and flowers through winter. This tree is a total babe, one of the varieties that bloom really early in the spring -- late February the last two years, not that I'm counting. And the flowers! Big cups of yellow glory.

Magnolias are weird in general. They evolved BEFORE bees and had to kind of... scramble together a flower structure in response to the trendy new insect-based pollination scheme. Magnolias are also a flowering plant COMPLETELY separate from ALL OTHER FLOWERING PLANTS! Yeah, the taxonomists took one look at these gorgeous trees and were like OH NO HONEY, you get a SPECIAL seat at the table, right over here, yES sIR!

Magnolia flowers are edible, by the way. Some people even pickle the petals! Sadly, there is a no-pickling rule in action at my dorm as a result of my roommates outvoting me. Which is why the pizza we ordered for tonight's roommate-movie-date is totally boring. Just normal pepperoni -- and even then only on half, because Bean-Sídhe apparently hates anything that tastes good or exciting. At least Tessa was willing to try anchovies with me that one time. You know, for a gal with an affinity for familiar and feral animal spirits, Tessa is surprisingly carnivorous. I guess she cares for the soul, not the vessel?

Anyways, new year, new us. I'm trying to be better about maintaining communication this year -- less sulking alone in the woods or disappearing under mysterious circumstances. I mean, I'll still do it, just at a reduced frequency. Hence the roommate-movie-date, to try and spend time together purposefully. Tessa said her goal is to stop going on dates with guys that are obviously bad for her (i.e., the one who asked for her wisdom teeth as a Valentine's Day present, or the one who collected nightmares to torture his siblings with). We'll see how she manages that. Bean-Sídhe told me she wants to get more accurate in her predictions. I think we'd all appreciate that, though she already spends too much time shadowing some of the senior professors for their comfort. For her birthday I'm going to get her a fresh set of casting runes. The bones she's using right now are hand-me-downs and really worn out. Maybe some fresh marrow will speak more clearly of tomorrow.

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12/21/2020 7:29am

Hello, Huldra back from the infirmary. No physical injuries really, just psychological. Which is lucky, because honestly I'm not sure how well the school nurses can deal with physical issues. Once I came in to ask for a bandage, and the nurse just grabbed a piece of scratch paper and taped it to my arm. I actually needed a bandage for the papercut on my thumb, but the look on his face kinda freaked me out so I just said thanks and left.

Psychological injuries though, that team is tops! Not with, like, depression or stuff, no, that's entirely different. We're talking hexes that prevent you from saying any word containing the letter "s", or suppression of the kinesis neural network due to feedback loops (hasn't everyone had that at least once?). So when the campus security dragged me in with a total loss of light level perception -- effectively, blindness despite fully functional physiology -- the school infirmary didn't bat an eye. One person said that when I was brought in, there was dark aura so thick around my skull you could see it as plain as my hair. Not black aura, mind you. DARK. Beyond color description. Freaky, right? I'm glad it's all fixed now. It took a couple days to ease the tendrils off, and I guess they had some issues figuring out where to put the layers once they'd peeled them off of me. But I'm back safe and sound in my dorm now, and I just need to do light therapy for the next week to make sure no residuals are clinging on. Easy peasy, only mildly traumatic.

And the plant? Don't worry about that. I figured something out. There was someone with the means and inclination to take the Dumpster Child Plant off my hands. I promised not to disclose the details, not even in journaling, not even in thoughts. Really... they purged the memory after the deal. All I know is that someone made a deal with me, they took the plant off my hands, and everything is okay. (Yeah, yeah, could be an implanted memory and everything is NOT okay, but I don't really want to pursue that right now) My roommates are relieved that the lights are functional again, though they both left for home a couple days ago. I'm leaving the dorms today as well, once I finish packing up. Mother expects me back by evening, so the family can all observe the winter solstice together. If I plan on using the Ley Rail Lines, I'll need to get out of here pretty soon.

This year the solstice is going to be especially interesting. Jupiter and Saturn will be converging to a fifth of the diameter of the typical full moon! (https://www.npr.org/2020/12/09/944560103/jupiter-and-saturn-will-be-together-again-for-the-holidays) I don't have to tell you the significance of this, especially on the longest night of the year. It certainly aligns with the heightened magnitude of this entire solar circumvention. Mother is very excited, and my brother says she's been prepping an observance ceremony for days. And she baked cookies! It's definitely going to be a good time. I'm sad we won't get to have the full clan reunion, but it's so wonderful that we have the opportunity to be together as a household -- plus, it's easier to talk when you aren't crammed into the feasting hall of 305 person occupancy.

So keep your chin up, kid. If there's anything I've learned this semester, it's that darkness is what makes the light precious. And don't steal plants from dumpsters.

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12/12/2020 8:01am

I've got to keep this a secret from my roommates, because they'd probably dangle me out a window if they knew my Dumpster Plant Tomato Baby was the reason our dorm has become a nullifying void for light. Luckily, I'm pretty sure they never read my posts anyway. Their inattention is my opportunity to vent/confide! Later I'll just have to ask the IT-Technomancers if there's a way to soft-lock this post from their perception. There's got to be a method for that, it's an intuitive concept -- er, I don't mean clairvoyant, I mean instinctual -- wait no, not like the Gnosis magics -- ah, whatever. It's too hard to talk when there are so many... terms. Direct mind-links are definitely the way to go, I don't know why we still muddle around with these auditory vibrational patterns.

Anyways, the plant. It's trying to put out flower buds, and I immediately realized something is wrong. As a chlorokinetic I'm able to connect with the energies associated with cellulosic beings, and let me tell you every alarm in my little plant-loving brain was going off once I saw those buds. This is NOT a tomato, no part of its auric exudates match that type of docile, domesticated sweetheart. And scrutinizing the aromatic secretions of the trichomes more closely, I realized there was a sickly-sweetness to it that a true Solanum lycopersicum would never attempt... really, could never even accomplish. No, the Mystery Trash Child is definitely a nightshade plant, but absolutely not one of our farm-friendly buddies.

So I've been quietly chopping off its buds whenever I perceive one developing. Tessa asked me about it once (I rarely dare to curtail a plant's freedom to expand, it's against my moral code!) and I had to make some excuse about how trimming the plant encourages new growth. Unfortunately, it looks like I'm right. The more I cut the more aggressively the plant extends shoots and amasses leaves, trying to shield its latest buds from my vision or wear down my vigilance by putting out a stress crop. If I didn't have my chlorokinetics to access the plant's intracellular hormonal pathways, there's no way I'd be so successful at repressing it. Luckily, accumulation of Auxin -- especially where Abscisic Acid declines -- is SUPER obvious. Plus whenever a bud gets closer to blossoming, there's this spike of solanine poison that just billows through the room. Poor Bean-Sídhe started having an asthma attack from it the one time. Yikes.

I need to get this thing out of here, but I can't be careless. Obviously, this is an escapee from one of the more hazardous CBC experiments -- maybe a first run of the Nyctinastic trials, or a pet project of an Advanced Brewing student? Whatever its origins, it's been planning things from the start -- it was silly of me not to realize that. I just love new houseplants too much! But now even our computer screens dim and wink out within minutes, and I'm getting paranoid it'll try to bloom during the night before I can stop it. I don't want to kill it -- all life is precious, it didn't ask to be created -- but where/how can I safely transfer it? Wherever it goes, it's going to defeat light itself and pursue some ominous reproductive ambition that can in no way be good. Maybe I can ask one of the Deep Dwarven exchange students to take it home with them. They have some bottomless caverns of darkness that might work well for this darkest nightshade of all. Nightshadow, perhaps? Nightvoid? The next new moon is in two days. I need to work quickly, I can tell the plant is getting excited.

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12/8/2020 9:08am

I've been in therapy for about four months now. It's helpful. Honestly, I think everyone needs a little mental/emotional TLC at some point in their life(s). I went in initially to try and address the Faunus possession episodes I'd get occasionally, but lately, they've also been working with me on the cyclical cerebral descents and this thing they call "perfectionism". I never got that. Why wouldn't you aim for perfection? If you're going to do something, don't you want to do it at the absolute highest quality possible for yourself? Whatever, it's an ongoing conversation.

It's really great that Psyhigh provides us with a free counseling center. One of the perks of this school, really. Though I'm a little wary as to how they manage that financially. If you believe the rumors, the counselors/therapists are actually part of research teams experimenting with new and aggressive methods of mental healthcare. Free services in exchange for strategic freedom. Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't. All I know is that I never heard of Astral Brain Massaging directed by six-dimensional phrenology maps until I started going to the counseling center. It makes my thinking go all sleepy and relaxed, I'm not complaining. Well, I guess that time they accidentally bumped a spot and my olfactory system exploded into vanilla extract and tetrahydrocannabinol wasn't cool. But everybody makes mistakes, right?

In other news, the lights in our dorm have started acting up. To be more precise, they're not acting. We keep changing the bulbs, and within a few hours they sputter out again. I asked a photokinetic buddy of mine to try and set up temporary light condension or maybe even just a little ball-lightning to keep bouncing about the ceiling. But as soon as he walked in he told me it wouldn't work. Something was actively, like, stabilizing the radiation responsible for light and rendering the components null. Not absorbing the light, per se, but actively neutralizing whatever source is introduced. Tessa and Bean-Sídhe are getting really annoyed because it's making it harder to study for finals and they keep stubbing their toes on stuff in the dark. I suggested we all try that echolocation workshop the girl down the hall keeps raving about, but they just moaned about not having any time for new hobbies.

So we're trying to make the most of daylight (whatever the problem is, it can't conquer the sun) and constantly relighting candles until the building maintenance team can get back to us with a solution. They said this type of phenomenon tends to be an issue from neighbors -- like, maybe, somebody is practicing for one of the Umbramancy classes and accidentally lets some shadow seep through the floorboards or walls. Then the loose darkness just keeps antagonizing any light produced, but since we aren't aware of its presence we can't capture and dispose of it. It sounds like a solid theory to me. The maintenance team is scouting around for possible sources so they can get the correct dispersment command. I hope they respond soon. Not only are my roommates getting super grumpy, but my plants are suffering from the decreased active light. The only one not sending me telepathic complaints is my dumpster tomato baby, though they've always been unusually quiet.

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12/5/2020 10:32am

Someone from our weekly worship group passed away. It was one of the Old Ones, the beings prior to the age at hand. Typically they stay huddled under the willow canopies, where their whisperings and ramblings get confused with the rustling of leaves and reeds along the creek. Old Ones store the arcane knowledge, stories and wisdoms that are rarely kept in physical form -- even the Self-Aware Library only has a few on memory reverberation files. And that's just because of the forced-sharing campaign back in the late 1940's, when persons were "randomly selected" for brain impression and assimilation into the SAL's database. Obviously, it was just a thinly veiled Red Scare project, trying to screen populations for communist spies. But really, what wasn't tied to the Red Scare in those days? The real curiosity is how they managed to corner an Old One and strap them into the machinery. They bite at the least provocation... and it HURTS.

We've got to plan some sort of memorial for the Old One we lost. I'm kinda sad. He was one of the friendly ones. He'd print out political cartoons or really old memes to show people after worship. Some of the other kids say it's because he continually used Essence of Laughter for certain conjuring, but I don't even know how you'd integrate that into the rital circle. Would you squeeze it between the second edge and the formal incantation binomial? I don't know, I haven't taken that kind of class since middle school. But maybe I should try again... in his memory. A small gesture of appreciation for his role. I can try to conjure some nice White Cymbidium. Bring life to challenge death. Or something like that.

The semester is wrapping up soon. I only have one more problem set for Accessing the Rhizosphere Hive-Mind, and then a presentation for Advanced Existence(?), and then I'm basically done. I can't really celebrate yet though. My roommates are in a Physicality class together, and they have this behemoth exam right on the last day before break. It's been handy at distracting Tessa from her romantic misadventures, but I wish things weren't so stressful for them. To be nice to them, I'm pretending to be busy as well. Solidarity, as it were. I take pieces of paper out and sigh and furrow my brow, but I'm usually just doodling portraits of my plants. It's a good thing I'm using the Privacy Paper my brother got me last year. No matter what angle you look at it, only those who have written on the paper can see the contents. So as long as neither of them try to use my "notes" to jot down something quick, they'll never discover the large detailed drawing of my Tomato Tot surrounded by hearts and happy butterflies. Yeah, high-level student over here.

Maybe my boss will call me into work tomorrow. He said he might, if the Nyctinastic plants start acting up again. They get cranky as the nights get shorter, but we need them docile for the lunar system studies. Last week we discovered a few had grown tendrils into the circuit board, apparently intending to disrupt the whole lighting system. Is it bad that I hope they cause problems again? I'd appreciate the excuse to get out and keep my thoughts occupied.

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11/29/2020 11:23pm

One of my classes decided to do a group project for the end of semester project. At first I was really apprehensive, because generally I despise group projects. There's always someone with really high expectations, or someone who's a total slacker, or someone who's just abominable to deal with in general.... But I actually have some optimism for it this time, I guess. It's for the Telepathy Growth and Development class, so by now all of us know how to thought-pool and direct streams of consciousness. We're meeting at 3a.m. tomorrow for a brainstorming session, since they say Witching Hour is when thought-pooling is easiest. I'm kind of excited to see how it goes -- none of us have thought-pooled outside of class before! Hopefully we can get everything untangled and back in the right heads afterwards.

Before that though, I have to get through some unpleasantness. Bean-Sídhe and I promised Tessa we'd meet her at Spoonbenders around noon. She has to have a "tough conversation" with her most recent date, and we're going to provide support and ice cream afterwards. Tessa's been trying that dating app, Kndling. The one where you swipe up or down on different profiles? I feel like most people at least know about it by now, if they haven't already used it themselves. They say it's highly accurate, what with the extensive astrology calculations. Supposedly, any errors in matches through Kndling are user errors. Like, you entered that you were born at 3:18:04 but actually you were born at 3:17:56, or some silly detail like that. Well, if that's the case, Tessa must've really screwed up her star chart data. I think this is the third break-up she's going through this month. Hopefully there's a Spoonbender flavor yummy enough to distract her. She looks okay right now, but her familiar has been whining from under her bed for at least an hour.

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11/28/2020 12:35pm

I have a new project!

Oh, er, yes, blah blah blah, it's been so long, vague excuses, eager to be back, insincere promises to write often... there, can we move on now? Great, thank you.

I have a new project! It goes by several names, my current favorites being Tomato Tot and Little Dumpster Child. My roommates (I switched to the three-bed dorms this year) are highly skeptical, but since when do I listen to wise counsel? Call me Alice, because good advice is something I seldom follow. Baby T is proudly settled on my windowsill, in a baffling constant state of simultaneous new-growth and decline. I've noticed Bean-Sídhe trying to coax a reaction from it with some anti-hex tools, but nothing's exploded as of yet.

I guess I see her concern. As an "experienced" member of the Chlorokinetic Botany Center (CBC), I'm involved in some of the more "advanced" projects. I still make rounds to check up on the crypto-phyto-beings within the campus barriers, but now I also assist with investigations into our strange leafy wards. I even get 2 credit hours for the work! For a while I was primarily responsible for rhiza-alchemy. Since I took some basic alchemy courses and am currently in Accessing the Rhizosphere Hive-Mind, they thought I'd be a good fit. But for some reason a bunch of my potions and medias kept getting contaminated with... something. The boss would get tense and withdrawn when I'd report it. Eventually, he took me off that project, though I've noticed he's been jumpy around me ever since. I hope he doesn't report me as an internal spy again. How many times do I have to prove I have no connection to the United Fairy Courts?

Anyway, for the past few months I do a lot with the live specimen stocks. There's two main categories of live specimen the CBC contain. The first are species of academic interest -- compelling plants like the Rhizanthella gardneri, an underground parasitic orchid with eerie white bracts and blood-colored "flowers" (look it up). Those cuties are kept in the general CBC greenhouses, connected to the diagnostic and treatment labs. The second category of specimen are experimental... subjected to unspecified alterations for uncertain intentions. These are kept in the subterrerean facilities, a few cramped greenhouses flooded with artificial light and carefully calculated growth. Down here is where I found my latest treasure.

When an experiment is completed, the plants tend to be unceremoniously chucked into the dumpster near the elevator. Later, one of the custodians will push them into the atomizer to deconstitute them into harmless matter (and undetermined amounts of anit-matter). But this one little plant was peeking out the top... calling to me chloropathically... and I could see her root system was still so well intact... and the way her delicate leaves bobbed pleadingly in the artificial breeze....

It wasn't easy, but I smuggled my Trash Baby back into the dorms beneath my jacket. Luckily I'd cast a ward of unseeing on this coat a while back, so no one noticed until I popped the stowaway out onto my desk. Tessa is convinced the poor thing is going to faint away any minute, and I admit the aura of stress is more than tangible. From the leaves not marred by twisted or blistered distortions I've identified Dumpster Baby as a member of the nightshade family. If the aromatics from the trichomes are anything to go by, she's a tomato. At one point Tomato Tot seemed primed to put forth a flower, but after I repotted her from the CBC Containment Vessel into a normal pot, she lost confidence and put up a second apical meristem instead. Plants are only supposed to have one apical meristem, so that's pretty odd. I absolutely adore her. Nothing brings a room together like an ominous presence in the corner, growing slowly into something unknown and possibly alarming.

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