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You refuse to beholden to this foul magician. She attacked you, threatened the life of your contractor, and wants to use you to get the grimoire for herself. Her hostility will not go unnoticed. If Lavender wants to mistrust you, you’ll give her a reason to do so; whatever contractual terms she throws at you, you can and will twist and bend until they are in your favour. Powerful magician or not, you’re a goddamn demon. You answer to no one.
Unfortunately, you can’t communicate these thoughts to Remilia in the current moment. If you show further interest in a contract with Lavender, Remilia will, as she warned, prohibit you from accepting it. If she does, you will lose your chance to get the both of you out of this situation as well as get back at Lavender. If she did know you are planning to trick Lavender, it is much more likely that she will agree, but there is no way to tell her without drawing suspicion. Lavender is too distrusting of you; even if you try to communicate through some sort of code, she will very likely find it suspicious and turn you to ash where you stand. You can only convince Remilia with words that will seem innocent to Lavender. Any hints to your true plan would be too risky.
At first, you consider emphasizing the danger of the current situation. Aside from Remilia’s own life being on the line, there is an additional incentive in preserving your connection to this plane. Since you are instrumentally important to her main goal of acquiring her grimoire, it would not do well for her to let you be destroyed. You could stress this point, and try to convince Remilia to agree to your logic. Even Lavender listening in would have no reason to mistrust you.
However, there’s another piece to consider; Remilia’s feelings. She seems to want to give off the impression of “cold and calculating manipulator of fate,” but so far you’ve found her to give in to her emotions fairly quickly. During Caesar’s incursion, she seemed more concerned with drawing out her theatrics, like a cat toying with a mouse, over taking the safer course of action of killing each of you quickly and efficiently. In addition, in the time you've been together, it does seem as though she cares about you, perhaps as a friend; you could tap into this to try to convince her. After all, if you’re her friend and you are to be destroyed should you not contract with Lavender, it is in Remilia’s interest to endorse contractual negotiations.
You decide that the emotional angle would better sway her in this current moment. With this in mind, you turn to Remilia, staring into her eyes. You smile grimly. “You won’t let me make a contract with her?”
“I can’t risk this grimoire falling into the wrong hands. It is too dangerous,” she says, frowning.
“But… I want to live,” you say, placing your hands on her shoulders. “I want to stay with you, Remi! Don’t you care about me?”
“Of course I care, Clara, but would you have me do?!” she snaps. She pauses, her voice becoming gentler, “I just… I can’t let myself prioritize you. Ultimately you will leave this plane, but the consequences of letting that tome into the wrong hands will be far too great.”
You wonder, for a moment, just how dangerous this grimoire really is to provide so much leverage on Remilia’s mind.
“Then… Is that it? It’s over?”
“I’m… I’m sorry...”
You let your arms drop. “I’ll… I’ll miss you.” Then, turning to Lavender, you say, “I accept my destruction.”
“Very well,” says Lavender, raising her staff once again. The sun above her head vibrates and begins to glow brighter.
Remilia hasn’t responded to your imminent end, but her expression says it all. Deeply troubled and tongue-tied, she simply stares at you, mouth open but no words coming out. This is a risky game you’re playing, the thought occurs to you, perhaps a bit late. Nevertheless, it’s on Remilia now. You’ve tugged at her heartstrings; if she chooses to save you, it will ensure that you can make your contract, get the two of you out safely, and trick Lavender to boot.
But her words never come. Lavender’s sun bulges to its previous size, the only sound in the room coming from the magic as it sizzles and pops. The sun is glowing a bright blue rather than the red-orange it was before.
Lavender blasts you with the full might of her magic.
Remilia steps forward, shouting, “Wait!”
By the time you hear it, you’re already gone. You feel like you’re falling through the air, the library a blur of light around you, and then it’s all gone as you are engulfed in darkness.
After a few moments, you notice that you’re not dead; you’ve died before, and it’s never felt like this. You’re laying on cold metal with your bare skin. Your clothes, your crutch, and your equipment are all gone, but your body feels no different from it did a few moments ago. You’re still in your vessel. You’re still in Clara’s body. The missing leg is still missing and you can still feel your soft hair brushing against your shoulders. You can’t see anything, you hear nothing but your own breathing, and you have no idea where you are, but you’re alive. Somehow.
You then notice, with a slight prickly sensation, that the enchantment on your leg that was preventing it from healing is gone. You can already feel the bones and muscles regrowing, sending a new jolt of pain through your body, but it quickly subsides as fresh skin spreads over the forming mass. You stretch the regrown leg. Glad to be back on two feet again, you rise, groping around in the dark. You determine a few minutes later that you are trapped in a metal room that is around twenty by twenty feet in size. There is no furniture or adornments of any kind in the room.
This has to be some sort of chamber that belongs to Lavender. She did not destroy you, but teleported you here instead. For some reason. Does she want to talk contracts, or is there an ulterior motive? Unless, somehow, you’re here because of someone else entirely. You’ve attracted the attention of plenty of powerful magical beings lately -- you wouldn’t be surprised if yet another one joined the list.
As you examine the walls of the room with your hands, deep in thought, your fingers slide over a thin crack in the wall. It’s very small -- only a hand’s length and just wide enough to fit your fingers into it. It’s a foot off the ground. You fiddle with it for a bit, and a piece of the wall breaks off. It’s a crude, misshapen thing, no larger than a butter knife, but it could function as a weapon in a pinch. It seems to pulse in your hand, as if it is alive. Notably, the floor itself pulses as well.
With nothing else in the room to examine, you slump against the wall, holding the “knife” behind your back, and wait. You wait for what you estimate to be an hour, but nothing happens. No one appears, not a sound can be heard aside from those caused by yourself. With no stimulation to keep you engaged and your lingering exhaustion from the past day, you feel your body yearning for sleep. You push on, refusing to sleep in this uncertain situation, and just as you renew your resolve to stay awake, you are blinded by a bright light coming from the opposite wall. You shield your eyes, and after a few moments, your eyes adjust.
The opposite wall, which you had previously deemed to be metal during your exploration of the room, has been replaced by lightly tinted glass. Beyond the glass is a simple room with two chairs, a table, a bookshelf, and a stone-faced Lavender Knowledge staring directly at you. She stands close to the glass, watching you carefully. A large crystal floats in the room beyond, casting warm orange light over her and into the room you are trapped in. With sight finally returning to you, you notice that the floor and walls are all made up of a black iridescent metallic material.
“Greetings, demon. I formally welcome you to my containment chamber,” she says. She knocks on the glass. “This is magically reinforced. You cannot escape.”
You rise to your feet slowly, your exhaustion working against you. “Where’s Remilia?”
“She is alive and healthy. I have led her out of my library.”
“Does she know I’m here?”
Lavender shakes her head. “Such knowledge would surely motivate her to retrieve you… so, no. She believes you were annihilated in that moment.”
“I brought you here so you and I may further discuss a contract. I noticed that you were unable to convince Miss Scarlet to agree with you, so I elected to bring you here rather than destroy you outright. If you truly wish to revoke your offer I will resume my previous plan and return you to the plane from whence you came.”
Ah, so that’s what this is. She sees you as a valuable asset at this point. She’s willing to use you, but she isn’t willing to let you move about on your own terms. It’s a double-standard for sure, but not one you can do anything about. She is set in her worldviews on your kind. It would seem this is the perfect chance to make that contract and trick her.
Your fingers curl tighter around the makeshift knife in your hand. If this is a piece of magically enchanted wall, it may work against the chamber’s own glass barrier. If that is the case, you could use the weapon to break out and attack her -- or flee. You might not get the chance to trick her if you do so, but at least you’ll have one less contract to worry about, and you won’t have to risk further encounters with this vile magician.
[ ] Escape.
- [ ] Injure Lavender on the way out to slow her down.
- [ ] Let’s not make enemies. Get out as soon as possible.
[ ] Make a contract.