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  • rhapsha

    It’s nice to see these two are getting along better.
    Also, I certainly can understand Jack’s opinion here. If I had to choose between being able to see color and being able to see people’s emotional state, I’d probably choose the latter.
    Tough choice though, seems like it would be easy to get overwhelmed like Ben here.

    • TrueWolves

      Particularly when it includes almost never being alone, then again, you never /are/ alone and in this case can just see it.

    • svartalf

      Ben’s overwhelmed because he’s not lived in Mal’s world until now. This is, sort-of, a, “Walk a mile in a man’s shoes,” thing. Ben’s thought it was an advantage (and it *IS*) but unless you’ve lived it all that time, it’s got a horrible price that few would be initially willing to pay. (Honestly, I’m torn. I can see just how much of an actual superpower it is- but the price… Just because Mal’s adapted to it, doesn’t mean it’s more curse than blessing until you figure it out like he has…)

  • Rulebook Lawyer

    See, hate is not all that bad and vile, the Darkside does have its good points…

    • Disloyal Subject

      As many dangerous things, it is a useful tool: allow it to get out of control, and problems happen.

      • Rulebook Lawyer

        Problems? Ah, I believe you mean… opportunities. //sly smile with twisting of handlebar mustache//

    • JWLM
  • David Argall

    And here we see a reason, or two reasons actually, why waiting in a highly dangerous circle may be the best policy.
    Of course, thinking either rescuer is going to be successful, or even vaguely competent, is … well, a mite optimistic, but they still give us reasons to make staying in the circle the possibly less bad option.

  • And now, here is the shipping forecast…

    • Marvelous TK

      I’m so conflicted by the shippiness this time, though. I mean, normally I rush in to say something related to the ship every time they’re nice to each other…
      or mean to each other…
      or in the same general vicinity to each other…
      or out of the blue with little to no prompting whatsoever…
      but I’ve done it so often I’m just running out of things to say! And now that I’ve mentioned I’m running out of things to say, I’m not going to be able to say that next time! I don’t know what to do. My world is shattering. If I’m not loudly shipping Mal and Ben, what is my purpose here?

      • Silly Zealot

        Just make like me and exclaim HERESY! at the top of lung at the mere mention of shipping.

        • Marvelous TK

          Call shipping heresy?

          • Nalyd

            I won’t lie, of all the ships I’ve ever seen people try to set sail this is certainly one of the most odd. I don’t mean anything mean by this, but really, why? o.O

            • Marvelous TK

              This is the most odd, huh. This one. Well. In that case I’m really not sure how to answer your question, because it’s my impression that this is one of my most realistic and sensible ships. How am I to explain when, to me, this is the normal one?

              Really though, I do tend towards odd-couple oddball odd ships. Oddly enough. For example, back when FFVII was relevant, and everyone was arguing Cloud/Aeris and Cloud/Tifa (oh god those Aeris vs Tifa arguments), I was firmly aboard Cloud/Yuffie. And that’s the way it basically always is. I tend to see more potential for shippiness and romancizing in different places than canon or the more popular fanon. So, really, I suppose shouldn’t be surprised if Mal/Ben is another of those.

              … Could’ve really sworn this one was an almost normal one, though.

              • It’s not an angle I’m going for, especially since Mal is asexual, something I haven’t been able to touch on yet within the story itself (too much running around after spirits to have proper chats!), but I get where you’re coming from, for sure.

                • Marvelous TK

                  Gasp! Is that, like, author approval? Does that mean my ship is 100% canon?! I choose to interpret it that way, and will now proceed to use it to bludgeon anyone who disagrees with me.

                  /no but the really, I never intended to say “Yes, this is absolutely what was always meant to be” or anything. After all, I wouldn’t be much of a shipper if I let such minor, nitpicky details as ‘authorial intent’ get in my way, would I? That is, you just keep being awesome, and pay no mind to the ridiculous person shoving the characters together with no regard for anything.

                  • Lleyn

                    Yeah, sorry, but “does that mean my ship is 100% canon” does not work with Kate’s statement of “It’s not an angle I’m going for”. So, bludgeon me to death now if you like, but what with Mal being confirmed asexual, I’ll take your blows standing ;)

                    • I believe it was meant in jest, no worries :)

                    • Lleyn

                      I wasn’t ;)

                    • Marvelous TK

                      Definitely the joke thing, just in case there was even the slightest doubt. I don’t know if there is any, but given that I have had even more ridiculous, completely over-the-top comments taken perfectly seriously, I think I’ll not take the chance here.

                • Mindsword2

                  Aces unite! Hadn’t picked up on it, but an interesting thing to be sure.

                  On the topic of shipping, lord knows I don’t understand it. I rarely notice relationship stuff unless its really obvious.

                  • Sanjay Merchant

                    If asexuals are aces does that make the rest of us deuces? :-P

                • Sanjay Merchant

                  This cements your status as one of my favorite authors, by the way.

                • Someone Unnamed

                  Thank you. I am glad to hear it. Mal was already my favorite character. Now I feel like I have someone in the story that I can relate to. I hope that you let him get his sight back very very soon.

        • Timni16

          exclaim heresy to shipping? don’t you mean booooorrrrriiiinnngggg???

          • Silly Zealot

            It’s more or less the same, but in zealot spiel.

            • EveryZig

              Ships for the Ship Gods! Tildes for the Tilde Throne~

              • Silly Zealot

                What does Popeye have to do with all this?!

    • Qwertystop

      At most, a friend-ship. I don’t see romance here.

      • Sanjay Merchant

        Yeah, I’m a bit confused why everyone jumps on the shipping bandwagon whenever two characters so much as talk to each other.

        • I have no desire at all to ship these two, as I have Mr Thackeray lined up for someone else entirely.

    • Oarboar

      You say shipping, I say buddy cop pairing.

      • Sanjay Merchant

        I realize it’s not cops, but “The Road to Widdershins”?

        • Oarboar

          Nice shoutout there to some of the finest Hollywood cheese ever made — not that that’s a bad thing, because as cheesy as those movies are, they’re still more watchable than plenty of art-house favorites and today’s forgettable cheese. IMHO.

          But no. Mal and Ben are two opposing personalities thrown together engaged in (supernatural) police work, so I went with buddy cop. I’m pleased to point out that Wikipedia actually has an entry for “Buddy cop film:”

          • reynard61

            Actually, I was going to suggest “Bromantic Comedies” for the Road movies…

  • Awww, cuties. ^.^
    I can’t wait until they get their own sights back with a new understanding of each other, and have a moment of friendship before finding something silly to bicker over again. I don’t care if that’s a trope, it’s adorable and I will never tire of it.
    Adorable babies.

  • Sonja

    After complaining about his sight so much you wouldn’t imagine Mal to miss it this much…
    But yeah, the tell-what-somebody-is-feeling is much easier the Mal way!

    • AJ

      I feel like once he figured out he was “different” he started wanting to be “normal” as a young child, not to mention the emotions of crowds are painful, so he probably just spent forever wishing it was gone without understanding what “normal” is. Now that he’s got “normal,” he’s can make a real comparison.

    • rhapsha

      He just had no perspective on what he had. While Mal might complain about his sight, it’s what he’s familiar with for his whole life. Suddenly losing something you’ve taken for granted so long is always shocking.
      Mal probably has no clue how to read people’s body language at all, since why would he need to when he can instantly know how someone feels by glancing at them.

  • Sessine

    Mal, you’re supposed to be looking for Florrie, not dallying about grousing with Ben! You promised Nicola.

    Well, maybe these new developments do need attention. Gunpowder and an active summoning circle… Okay, fine. Go check it out.

    (“I can FEEL it.” Is this the ability even Envy couldn’t steal from him?)

    • Wombat140

      I think it’s just a case of “a TREE would notice what Envy is currently doing”. Though I am mightily intrigued by that remark about “Something even I can’t steal”. The way the Deadlies have always been described suggests that they are, or at least belong to, the top level of spirits, from which all the others are derived (remember how Ben described that Hunger spirit as a minor version of Gluttony). They’re the most powerful things in the spirit world and therefore, in Widdershins terms, in magic. Yet Envy takes it for granted that it won’t be able to separate Mal from whatever is at the root of his abilities. What IS Mal, exactly?

      Apart from a grouch?

      Speaking of which, it’s going to be awkward for Mal. After a lifetime of snapping at everyone that it’s all right for them, they don’t have all these spirits to put up with, now he’s finally found out what it’s like to be “normal”, and realised he likes it the way it is. What’s he going to grouch about in future?

      • Mindsword2

        It must be tied to his lack of a spirit of his own thing.

        My personal theory is that he can see people’s spirit but not his own because his own spirit is somehow internalized. Instead of projecting outwards, he pulls inwards, which gives him the Sight while also hiding his own.

        • Frances Ahlborn

          Ooh, nice one, I just thought it was another bloodline thing like with the Barbers.

  • You know that thing about Ben coming out o the closet was a joke, right?

  • Wombat140

    Just occurred to me how perfectly the power-switch fits in with the theme of the story. I’m sure our poor old third-class wizard must have been jealous of the way Mal has spirits waiting on him all the time even though he hasn’t even summoned them. And of course Mal spends most of his time loudly envying anyone who doesn’t have his ability.
    Be careful what you wish for…
    I don’t know if this was deliberate but knowing Kate’s writing abilities, I bet it was. Brilliant.

    • Oddly, in the first draft of this story, it was Wolfe that was gonna get the sight. Rejigged it after I worked out that it doesn’t really do anything for him as a character, and it’s better if he’s part of the “main plot” with Voss, while Mal and Ben get their subplot and subsequent character growth. This worked especially since I was feeling like I’d neglected Ben a bit in their other story, and it was time to work that out.

      This is why you repeatedly redraft, kids!

      • Lleyn

        I can see Wolfe being all chill and relaxed about having the sight, commenting to a rather jealous Mal that he considers it “a blessing” *g*

    • Morgothy

      Yes, I think this is a great aspect of this plot and something I’m enjoying a lot about this switch of powers! Especially since I enjoy anything centering on Ben and his character. Though, I hadn’t anticipated Mal would quite so eager as he is to get it back- I expected a bit more of a conflicted attitude. I expected the theme to be about Mal deciding to take it back- for the first time accepting his powers willingly as a choice- but perhaps in part as a kindness (opposite of Envy!) to Ben.

      Incidentally, while Ben definitely has envy of those with greater magical abilities than his own, hence him being the one to get development this way, I find it interesting Ben actually was, from the start, fully aware of the downside to seeing spirits all the time. As I recall he said something like ‘all the time, without going mad?’

  • Lleyn

    How revealing that Mal is telling Ben in the first panel that Ben with the spirit sight can “see proper”. Does that mean that he feels now as if he cannot see right anymore, because of not being able to see spirits any longer and instead having to put up with too many colors? Strange how a curse becomes an ability, eh?

  • Oh neat, Mal still has the ability to feel it! That’s interesting. Also yay for friendship-building! I am deeply pleased with the friendly ribbing in panel 5, that is a hallmark of true friendship: good-naturedly telling the other person to do something stupid for your amusement. :Dd

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