Lesson Two - Buthereasoning
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Lesson Two - Butchereasoning

Cary enters the classroom-slash-kitchen-slash-butchering room, gliding in like a jellyfish under the sea, each stride a singular movement of concentration. They stand at the head of the specially outfitted butchery center, with a row of chairs sitting in front of the many tools used in the butchery. Cary approaches, letting their hands tap against the stainless steel, removing their leather jacket and revealing a set of meat muscles thick enough to make the more affected members of the class gasp. "Class, I must apologize- interpersonal drama made me late. It will never happen again, I promise." It may be you've been online for too long, but it's like you could feel the italics on the word. It makes your brain skitter, and your knowledge of magic is rudimentary at best.

"For those few that are joining us for the first time- I am Cary, Chef of the Cosmos, Pursuer of Spices, Butcher of All, They/Them, and that's all you need to know about me." They allow their jacket to drift across the room, languidly laying itself across a coathook on the wall. Cary stretches, looking at the class and observing their eyes especially. They then walk to the pen in the corner of the room, three animals from the human world- of which you are from, and which make up most of this class- are being kept. A cow, a pig, and a chicken. Cary loosens the soundproof glass, opens up the pens and allows the animals to roam around the classroom. The chicken immediately runs out, its panicking mind is already stressed, and bangs into a table. Cary's hand glows, and the chicken calms down. The cow and pig wander out, and their eyes are both empty and full. Empty, as their minds may not possess the ability to move their eyes to be expressive, but full of animal intelligence that you cannot understand. Cary stands, watching them wander and peck about, before guffawing loudly at the nervousness of some of the class members.

"Have none of you been around wild animals? Have none of you come face-to-face with the creatures that make up your meals? What do you expect I am, some kind of charlatan that has never done the dirty work?" They take several deep breaths, a bemused smile painted on their face, the shadows close to them seeming to get deeper. You squirm in your chair, concerned about what will happen if they get any angrier. Cary spreads their hands, palm up, and closes their eyes. Suddenly your vision shifts- you are no longer sitting in your chair, watching the class. You are close to the ground, a snout within your center vision. You reach down with your mouth, chomping on some hay- you can taste the grain, the slight flavor. You see the rest of the class, all of them standing stock still and staring straight forward. You feel an overwhelming sense of peace, as though there is no pressure to do anything in your current state. You bathe in this feeling, then blink and are wrenched back to yourself. You see Cary, standing in front of the class, their eyes twinkling as your classmates feel themselves back in their own bodies.

"Now… I would ask you all to choose which animal would be best to butcher as a demonstration today- they will not feel pain, they will not be tortured, and I will ensure their soul enters the afterlife of the animals' choice. Now- cow, pig, or chicken?" The class turns to one another, with a few pointing directly at the cow. You can't tell which of your classmates got to experience which animal, but you know that it would be barbaric of you to choose the pig, considering you just experienced such bliss from it's perspective. So which is it- the cow or the chicken? In the end, you join a majority of the class and point towards the cow, interested in how Cary will take to such a large task and beast. They walk to the cow, stroking its fur as the other animals return to the pen. Cary's hands glow, magic flowing from their body into the cow's mind.

"I am now… rewiring his brain… in order to prevent any feelings of pain… even in the slightest… if you can't do this yourself, it's important to engage in the ethical treatment of your animals. In all scenarios, it is important to remember; this is a living creature, with feelings and thoughts. Giving it an ending as painless as possible is a necessity to be a member of this class- taking any joy in this will result in you taking a quick exit from my tutelage." The spell complete, Cary presses the tips of their pointer and middle finger against the back of the cows head, raising the thumb up into the air. You can feel their next words are infused with mystical energy.

"Cow- Markus- I hereby release of you from your earthly bonds, from the body that harnesses your soul to a single place. Enter the next life, the next continuation of your existence, and may the next being that inherits your life energy be blessed with a long and fruitful existence."

It is among the first times you have seen magic utilized in such a way. You see the blue swirl around Cary's hand, flowing from their fingertips like each is a hose, a beautiful display of mastery. You realize that Cary, their introduction, is not just meaningless boasting. They are the master of something you cannot fully comprehend. Something that goes beyond the mere skill in cooking they have. The words continue, and you are entranced.

"Markus- may you be a delicious meal- may your life not be wasted- may my cooking be the ultimate expression of your life. Good-bye."

The spell crescendoes as the magical swirls coalesce into a sharpened point, wrapped around Cary's wrist, their eyes colored a deep blue, their usually soft features twisted by flames spouting from their mouth to join the tentacle. The tentacle rests gently against the neck of the cow- Markus- and gently slides itself between their spinal column, slipping beneath the skin like a scalpel. From your perspective you can see the tentacle slipping into the cow, its face unchanged. Suddenly, you can see something, a slight outline which then begins to morph like gelatin on a jackhammer. It drifts up and away from the cow, a cosmic jellyfish of sorts. It floats around the classroom, a short umbilical cord attaching it to Cary, You can catch a hint of a smile on Cary's face as they cut this cord, a tear falling down their face as the clump of energy begins to drift out of the room. Cary returns to their previous form, tentacle and flames disappearing, the same gentle smile covering their face again. Two tears have made their way down Cary's face, the trails shinier than any you've ever seen, as what appears to be a cow corpse stands stock-still in front of them.

Cary picks up a knife, the blade shining in the harsh lighting, and stabs it between the dewlap and breastbone of the cow, then slices aggressively towards the rump, causing blood to spurt out of the still-fresh arteries. Cary reaches down and flips the cow on its back, angling the blood towards the drain in the middle of the floor. They attach the hooves to hooks on the ceiling, letting it hang and bleed out. Cary turns to the class, clapping their now bloody hands together. "Now, it's important to make the cut in this particular area. It cuts the veins of the beast, ensuring the bleeding works quickly. Now, this will take some time, so how about we take a half-hour break, and when we come back we can get into the gory bits?" A general mutter of agreement meets this, and the class files out of the room as Cary turns around to look back at the now-bleeding carcass.

You file into the room again, having gotten a drink but feeling extremely uneasy and unable to eat anything. Cary has changed the setup of the room dramatically- a long table is now underneath the cow, a small bench with an assortment of tools you barely recognize. Their blades seem to shine with aggressive energy, each looking more like a torture tool than anything else. Cary stands behind the cow, that same mild smile on their face. They are working the legs, the last drips of blood pooling on the floor. "Hello again, class! I have been working the legs in order to stimulate the rest of the muscles- it's important to do this, as it ensures the blood leaves all parts of the body as much as possible." They stop, reaching down and grabbing one of the tools, a serrated blade around eight inches long, and place it against the flat angle of the knee, making a small cut and pointing to the lack of blood. "Now, the first cut we make is the knees, on the flat joint- it makes skinning far easier." The blade begins to work back and forth, cutting into the flesh and ripping through it, the bone splintering underneath the oncoming press of Cary's blade.

Next. they quarter the cow, their strength clear in the movement of their musculature. Sliding the knife delicately between the cows' 12 and 13th rib, you can see muscle, sinew, and the spine tear and rip cleanly. The kind smile Cary possessed when the cow was being transported to another realm is gone. They are concentrated on their work now- cutting and splitting, blood spurting in small amounts, their effort clear on the face. Cary is completely silent, but you are enraptured. You are watching a master at work, a genius setting upon the task they placed in front of themselves. Bones are extracted and split, and meat is stripped and laid out. Knives shink and slit, slice and dice. You see their hands start to glow, and you can barely follow the movements well enough to make notes, but after ten or so minutes Cary rests their blood-stained hands on the butcher table and breathes heavily. For a split second, out of the corner of your eye in a mirror above the sink, you think you can see a twisted, monstrous mask obscure Cary's face, but as soon as you see it the face returns again. Cary turns, arms spread with small drops of blood flicking from their hands, and sardonically bows before the class.

"Now, I'd like to thank all of you for coming- if you wish to receive advanced lessons in a personal setting, feel free to ask me after class. As a gift, for suffering my obscenities, I will make you all a dish before the end of the day- come back in around four hours. Or stick around and watch- I can entertain spectators."

Despite what you saw, you decide to stay after the class- the dish Cary made in the last lesson was so mind-blowing, you can't help but take the opportunity for another taste. As the rest of the class filters out, leaving only six of you, Cary speaks. "Now, we have to do some magic just so this class doesn't last for an entire year." Cary snaps their hands, and another magical blob surrounds the cow corpse. You can see stars in the blob, like tiny dust motes flying about at high speeds. You see frost start to form on the cow's fur, the eyes glazing over even more, and you realize something. At that moment, Cary speaks again. "Yes, you may have realized something…" They smile at you, seeming to know what you were thinking.

"This is a spell that I created myself- it warps the time and space in a certain area, making it progress at about… four hundred times faster? Mostly for aging purposes… excuse me." You look away from the cow to Cary. Their face has changed dramatically. It no longer smiles welcomingly- it has a rictus, malicious grin, teeth like uneven sharpened tombstones, the eyes looking like dolls, no nose to bring it all together. It seems like you're the only one to spot this- everyone else is entranced by the time-lapsing cow, aging right in front of your eyes. Cary picks up an orange and tosses it into the cloud- by the time it reaches the other edge, the orange has dissolved into a cloud of dust, suffusing the room with just a hint of orange. The cloud shrinks, the cosmos summoned by Cary slowly disappearing right before your eyes. Sitting before you are perfectly aged slabs of beef, shimmering with small splotches of blood still in the veins. "Each spell I create is different, you see- that one isolates the actual beef itself, and ages it. Anything that touches the borders, like that orange did, well- poof!" They cackle, and begin dicing the beef up, a pan turning on in the back of the class. "Stir-fry, anyone?"

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