Professors of Anart
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"This is a terrible idea," Yang said as she looked around the room.

The room seemed perfectly normal for an art studio. Large, white, with drawing boards, stools, still life objects, and an abundance of art supplies. Except for maybe that there was no actual entrance or exit, and doors and windows were mere paintings on the walls.

"Why?" Legler countered. "You're the one complaining that the lack of proper knowledge and basic guidelines has led anartists to act irresponsibly, mistaking things harmful to others as creative expressions."

"And obsessing with magic tricks instead of proper art endeavor, yeah," Yang said. "But anart teaching studios don't really happen. And there is a good reason to that."

"This is a much safer environment, if we want to introduce people to the Flow." Legler argued. "I know you're still beating yourself up over what happened to Martha, but this can prevent precisely that. We can't exactly control what is to happen if we just show people to the Flow, but with this, we can guide their journey and prevent anything regrettable."

Yang stared at the art professor. "Do you know that the Suits sometimes call us 'art terrorists'? In reality, it's just that few small groups that got themselves really famous, and think that they can step over other people's lives because of anomalous bullshit."

"Most of us aren't like that."

"No, but the Suits won't care. I won't care either if I'm someone from outside this circle and only heard about the terrible things committed by famous 'anartists'," Yang said, eyeing one of the painted windows. "You put a lot of effort into this piece, professor, but for the Suits and everyone else, this is just going to be a breeding ground for more 'art terrorists', and they're going to snuff it out for good."

"We'll keep it small," Legler gestured to the few stools present. "I've seen some really talented young people, and I hate to see them go down the wrong way, get grabbed by the Suits, or never even get to know this side of the world."

"Maybe it would be better that way."

"No, Yang. You don't mean that."

"No Legler." Yang snapped. "I'm not doing this. I'm retired from this shit for good."

"Oh really?" Legler said, raising an eyebrow. "Then what were you doing with the gang that other day, brought a friend even."

Yang was silent, and Legler took the chance to push further. "You haven't been to any exhibitions, but how many animated art pieces are hanging in your apartment walls right now? Already filled up the living room, for sure. I've seen one on the back of your front door."

Yang rubbed her temple. "I should really just sell them to someone in bulk."

"That's not the problem, Yang," Legler stared at her. "You just can't stop creating them, right?"

A few seconds of silent, before Yang answered. "Yes."

"I know this is hard for you. But do consider this, okay?" Leagler said. "We can make this work."

Yang nodded, before heading for one of the painted doors. She reached into it, and the paints splattered like water. The door now swirled and twisted, and Yang was immersed within. Before long, she disappeared into the spiral of colors.

Legler watched the door returning to its still state, and sat down at one of the stools. He was not sure if Yang would really agree to help, but she was the best shot he had. Most of his past students, unlike Yang, had either joined various anart cells and moved on, or had developed ideologies that didn't agree with his. And most of the people he would call friends were either retired for good, or caught up in stagnation.

In fact, he too, was caught up in stagnation. As he looked through the painted windows and observed the view behind, real scenery mingling with patches of colors, he realized this piece was the closest he had been to the Flow of art creation in months, or even for a whole year. Of course, he had produced pieces here and there, but they were all somewhat lacking.

But as he constructed the studio, he had felt the urge to create stronger than ever. That everything had lined up perfectly and he just had to move forward and link them together with his bare hands. As he poured paints and clay and concrete into this, he forgot the passage of time. His mind barely attached to reality as it floated inside his work. And before he even fully registered, a studio suspended between spaces was completed. At one end it latched onto his favorite tree by the river, where he would go and enjoy the falling of leaves in autumn; on the other end it linked to that one bench in the campus where he taught, once sat on, now long discarded.

The more he looked at it, the more he had been inside the room, the more he felt it was right. It wasn't perfect, of course, he was not so arrogant and ignorant to claim so, but it was right just for him. It was the manifestation of his desires, his ideas come to fruition. The desire to show more talented young people this amazing, beautiful world, and the idea that you don't need the application of magic or an inherent god-like ability to twist reality. Because reality would be willing to bend itself if your ideas really have such impact, your emotions are loud and clear, and you know how to traverse the Flow.

Everything here was his vision, and he had to make this work. All he needed now were some proper chairs because the cheap stool was really hurting his back.


Yang slowly opened her apartment door as she finally trekked back from that bench covered with moss in the campus. Before she could throw herself into the comfortableness of her bed, she carefully closed the front door so as to not spill the water from a painting hanging on its back. As she looked at the animated ocean that threatened to flow out of its frame, she couldn't help but think about how right Legler was. It was originally supposed to be a perfectly normal painting, but she remembered how she enjoyed that one trip to the seaside too much, and now salt water had spilled onto the floor, without landing into the bucket she had previous prepared.

She made a mental note that placing any painting at the front door is a terrible idea to begin with, before calling out to her cat. "Untitled!"

A flurry of colors swiftly dashed out of one of the rooms, before sitting down in front of her. The "cat" intelligently looked up, liquid paints coursing through its shape.

Yang took the painting down and placed it onto the floor, mindful not to spill any more water. "All yours," She said.

With that, the cat shaped art piece happily reduced the sea to a puddle, breaking it down to basic colors before absorbing them. Meanwhile, Yang went to the living room, picked up a little more pieces that she wasn't quite into, and tossed them to Untitled. The cat was one of her earlier creations, which came into being because she wanted all the benefits of owning a cat, but didn't quite entertain the idea of performing the duties of a pet owner. It worked out quite well, as it was indeed an endearing little thing, and didn't mind feasting upon the less fortunate anart projects.

Untitled soon finished its meal, gaining a new composition of colors in the process. Yang then tossed the empty frames back to the art supplies, and finally settled down into her bed. She brought up her phone and clicked into the icon of a black falcon, and was again reminded that her "retirement" from the anart circle wasn't so much a retirement after all.

She scrolled through various posts by anartists, from people she was friends with to people she had little knowledge of. Occasionally, something from her family's side popped up, and she received talks about dragons and serpents and an impending doom that just seemed so far away from her. There were also bits and pieces about magic, and memetic tricks pulled by some Internet reality benders. Even the app itself had a fragment of Artificial Intelligence in it — made by Anderson Robotics to better secure communication.

She was still very much in this community. Sighing, Yang placed the phone back to the bedside and retreated further into the bed. Seeing this, Untitled knowingly climbed up and curled near her hand. As she petted the cat, the paints stirred with it, making a sound akin to purring. After a few moments, she picked Untitled up and placed it on her chest. Lying down, she looked around the room, conversation with Legler going through her head.

The four walls of her bed room were all covered with paintings, some placed in awkward positions and some, with their unusual features, floated near the ceiling. She had taken time and chosen the quieter ones to hang here, some even with particular usage. Some of these served as windows that went nowhere, but would bring in waves of fresh air. A few others illuminated and saved her plenty of electricity bills. There was that one painting of a quiet field where the sun shined lazily and grasses were high, which if she stared at too long, would cause her to doze off. And back in her studio, more of these were just stacked together in the corner, never to see the light of day.

It had been almost three years since the incident with Martha. She tried to stay away ever since. She had taken up normal jobs, and helped with family business here and there, which supplied her living quite well. But as much as she attempted to avoid reality twisting art pieces, they would always be created, even out of her most mundane practice. Because in the end, she enjoyed it too much and had too many ideas, and Flow always responded to one's true desires honestly.

She wondered briefly, which was the thing she truly feared, to be apprehended by the Suits, or like Martha, to be wiped too much that the Flow was cut away from her. She felt responsible too, as she should have stopped Martha when it was just a harmful little thing. She was the older and the more experienced of the two, after all. But the tiny stream of creativity had turned into a flood that was no longer controllable. It ended in a disaster, for both Martha and her readers.

She had seen Martha's works afterwards, the mundane ones. They lacked the extraordinary quality, for sure, but the sparks of creativity was gone as well. She could do nothing to help her once dear friend and roommate, and feared for herself. With a mix of fear and guilt, she had retreated from that life.

"But guess I've been blocking the Flow myself, huh." She murmured to herself. She rubbed Untitled in the head a few times, and as per their routine, the cat got up. It flipped the few glowing painting backwards with an amazingly flexible tail. As the light dimed, it got back onto the bed, and they both turned in.


Legler was awoken by a slight shake of the room. He realized that he had dozed off in his newly acquired chair, and that someone had come in through the front door.

He rubbed his eyes and saw the paints on the entrance splatter. A moment later, Yang came through with more packages than she seemed to able to carry. She laid the packages onto the floor, and turned to Legler.

"I'm in," She said briefly.

"Art supplies?" Legler said, eyeing the packages.

"Nope. That's your job," She said with a grin. "This is all the pieces that can no longer fit into my apartment."

"And you brought them here."

"A studio could always use a few more paintings on the wall," Yang said almost too cheerfully.

Legler sighed and shrugged as Yang went about unpacking. In a few hours, the studio was dotted with various art pieces of abnormal qualities.

"Um," Legler contemplated as he looked through the paintings. Some featured objects with more dimensions than a canvas could carry, others with animated scenes, and a few more accompanied by sounds. There was one large piece that was basically a giant mirror, and there was one other large painting of a lake that didn't really do anything in particular.

"Pretty average?" As if reading through Legler's mind, Yang asked.

"Yeah," Legler said with a bit of relief. "I remember you way better than just this."

"I can't exactly create something grand when I'm trying to not create at all," Yang said. "Besides, it's better for us to set the standards lower for beginners."

Legler nodded in agreement. However, the room was almost full, and there were still a significant amount of art left unattended on the floor.

"Whoops," Yang said as she occupied the last bit of the wall with a painting of a dark void that seemed to drag the viewer inside. "Guess I brought too much?"

"Hold on," Legler went towards the backdoor, and pressed the two-dimensional knob. The studio shook slightly, and the walls suddenly started shifting. Parts here and there retreated backwards, creating more space, with new surfaces forming out of them in matter of seconds. The small parts of the floor where the two of them stood remained unchanged, but the rest had expanded and twisted, creating a large hall with maze-like stairs leading upwards into individual compartments. The art pieces previously hung closely together were now scattered, but each fit neatly into their current locations.

"Okay professor." Yang said, looking at the new layout, "That is something grand indeed."

Legler couldn't help but smirk.


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