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File 151874855381.png - (405.27KB, 1922x1571, remilia's grimoire.png) [iqdb]
65797 No. 65797
1st thread: >>60957

You are a demon.

Your purpose is to answer the call of mortals who are in need of favours from beyond their realm. The craft of summoning interplanar beings such as yourself and binding them to contracts is known as diabolism and those who practice the craft are known as diabolists. As a demon, you are beholden to a particular set of rules, but like mortals, each demon will have their own sense of moral code. Some vehemently work against their masters outside of their contract; others go above and beyond the terms they were given. All demons must at the very least follow the word of their contracts, if not the spirit, and once you has been summoned into the human world, you are unable to leave until your master’s terms are complete or you perish in the process.

Your latest venture to the mortal realm has lead to a tangled web of interesting circumstances.

Your first contractor is Caesar, a young man who seems to have just stepped out of boyhood and leader of a group of supposedly skilled vampire hunters. His companions are Villy, a young girl with the ability to sense lifeforms; Deke, a strong and boisterous fighter; and Luna, a Japanese woman with strange knife-manipulation abilities. Caesar’s contract, detailed at the bottom of this post, has you bound to assist the group in “destroying a powerful adversary.”

The adversary in question is a vampire known as the Scarlet Devil, or Remilia Scarlet, though these names were never explicitly given in the contract. She is notable for her ability to manipulate the future to some degree. Caesar summoned you for this very reason; as you are a being from beyond this realm, Remilia’s hold over fate does not apply to you. After infiltrating her castle, a battle ensued and Caesar’s plans fell apart, so you elected to stay behind to give the vampire hunters an escape. During this time, you felt a surprising connection to Remilia and passed up on an opportunity to kill her in order to learn more about her.

In your time at Remilia’s castle, you grew close to her sister, Flandre Scarlet, a vampire with seemingly limitless destructive power. She seems somewhat misunderstood by her sister because of her abilities, as she is generally very mild-mannered (though a little dangerous). Nevertheless, the two of you warmed to each other and formed a sisterly bond in the few hours you had together.

Remilia seemed to take notice of your hesitance to kill her and offered a contract to you herself. The contract, also detailed below, involved assisting her in tracking down and obtaining a magical grimoire. The two of you set out to complete this contract, with one week to do so.

Currently you are in a large city Remilia lead you to, still in the first day of her contract. You’ve stopped at a pub known as “The Hole” and are speaking with an information broker known as Jean.

Welcome back to Diabolic Tome.

- - - - -

Caesar’s contract:
[ Task: Assist Caesar and his team in destroying a powerful adversary.
Terms:
1. You may not kill anybody unless Caesar gives you explicit permission.
2. You may not inflict any pain on the bodies of Caesar or his companions.
3. Before any other task, your first priority is to protect Caesar from any person, animal, or thing that intends him harm.
4. If Caesar commands you to do something by name, you must do it. ]

Remilia’s contract:
[ Task: Assist Remilia in acquiring a specific artifact that is a book. The book will be identified by Remilia, who can recognize the front cover.
Terms:
1. You may not harm Remilia or her sister in any way.
2. You must follow every command issued by Remilia, except for those that conflict with a previous contract.
3. You must satisfy this contract before completion of the task(s) of any previous contracts that you are bound to.
4. You will make all reasonable efforts to complete the terms and commands given before midnight one week from binding. In the event that this contract is not complete by that time, it will become null and void.
5. If any of the terms of this contract conflict with a previous contract, they may be ignored in order to satisfy the previous contract.
6. Supposing that there is a conceptual counter that increments by 1 every time Remilia issues a command, each even-numbered command must be spoken in the form of a polite and sincere request, whereas each odd-numbered command may be issued in any manner of tone or wording. ]
84posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>> No. 66098
>>66089
>>66091
I greatly admire your attitude, but to be clear, Lavender's statement was not made under the oath of a contract, as it was directed at Remilia and was not preceded by a pledge to indicate diabolic intent. Thus, there is no magical binding to her words. She only said it to give you and Remilia a chance to know what you're getting into. If/when contractual negotiations actually begin, then you can pick apart the task and terms as you see fit.

>but I trust these lawyer anons to come up with something favorable regardless.
Mm, it's inevitable. I look forward to it!
>> No. 66100
>>66098

Oh, we know. Those posts were just a warm-up. A warning shot; if you will.
>> No. 66141
[ x] Convince Remilia to let you take on Lavender’s task. Otherwise, you will die.
- [ x] Stress how much you would miss Remi. (Appeal to her emotion)
>> No. 66143
Going to call the vote here. Our winner:
>[x] Convince Remilia to let you take on Lavender’s task. Otherwise, you will die.
>- [x] Stress how much you would miss Remi. (Appeal to her emotion)

Please wait warmly~
>> No. 66145
X] Convince Remilia to let you take on Lavender’s task. Otherwise, you will die.
- [x] Stress how both of you desire the same thing: to keep the knowledge of the book from failing into the wrong hands (Reasoning)
- [x] Stress how much you would miss Remi. (Appeal to her emotion)

Most of what the other voters are saying are rock solid. Clara has plenty of loopholes to exploit in this and she's historically proven that she can outwit just about anything or anyone so it would be completely feasible for Remilia to trust in her were she to appeal to her. Of course, Clara can always screw Lavender over too just for the fun of it.
>> No. 66166
Apologies for the wait. I've been sick all week so it's been tough to do anything productive, like writing.

>>66145
Careful, your newness is showing -- name, subject, and email are usually left blank around here unless there's a particular reason for it. Nevertheless, thanks reading my story!
>> No. 66305
Not dead. Almost done writing; update should be up tomorrow.
>> No. 66309
File 152505275732.png - (159.08KB, 686x385, knot.png) [iqdb]
66309
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 see.”

“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.

Or…

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.
>> No. 66310
[x] Make a contract.
Magician that can displace people in an instant while throwing out a fireball takes incredible skill and having a magician against cesear is good
>> No. 66311
[x] Make a contract.

It's going to be so fun tricking Lavender out of that grimoire.
>> No. 66312
Remilia just traded our life for a book. Dick move, Remi. Just for that, I say we screw her over. Let’s get the book and give it to Caesar.

[x] Make a contract

Because Lavender is a jerk and I want to screw her over too.
>> No. 66313
[x] Make a contract
>> No. 66314
Damn son. Clara went out like a bitch.

So, I feel like allowing someone to kill her is literally the only thing that would break Remi's "make all reasonable efforts to satisfy the task" clause. Thoughts?
>> No. 66316
>>66314
I think that this was more than enough effort to fulfill her contract with Remilia but I doubt it is gone. Clara would have noticed.
Then again, she doesn't know we are alive so maybe it is gone... Or Remi knows and Lavender is less knowledgeable about contracts than she thought. That sounds promising.

[x] Contract, full loopholes.
-[x] Book stays in Renilia's possession under Lavender's supervision.

Both want the same thing, no?
>> No. 66317
>>66316

Yea I suppose there's no contract police that oversee any of This. So as long as Clara doesent thinks it's a breach of contract, then everything is gravy.

[X] Make a contract
>> No. 66318
>>66314

We could easily sidestep the issue by dissociating "reasonable" from it's more customary connotation; that which is similar to logical, or justifyable.

It the strictest terms, we can suppose a reasonable effort to be an effort from which one can derive a reason. Ergo; every action except those not part of the sum total of all that is reason and understanding becomes a "reasonable" action.

This is why contracts can be hundreds of pages long.
>> No. 66319
Hmm... I've already voted once (so please don't count this as one) but why not head back to Caesar and co? It wasn't among the choices given but it's been a while since they've appeared and I'm honestly kinda curious why they haven't come for you already considering you're supposed to be their trump card.
>> No. 66320
[X] Escape.
- [X] Injure Lavender on the way out to slow her down.

Might catch her off-guard. She's pretty confident we can't escape after all. No guarantee we can, but worth a try. No contract is better than contract.

>>66319
I'm also curious what Caesar's crew is up to. Might not be easy to get to them under the circumstances, though.
>> No. 66321
>>66314
If you breach contract, trust me, you will know.

>>66319
The current choice is in terms of "work with Lavender" or "don't work with Lavender." If/when you leave the library, the choice to find Caesar is up to you, barring any contractual obligations that take priority of course.

>>66312
To be fair, Anon's demon pulled the dick move first when trying to manipulate her emotions.
>> No. 66322
>>66320

That's pretty unlikely. The fact that she even has a holding cell means she's familiar with summoning. Also, the magically reinforced wall being chipped probably means she has summoned much stronger beings than Clara.

I mean Clara hasent shown any capabilities beyond that of a low/mid tier youkai, but you get my meaning.
>> No. 66887
Will this continue someday? It's such an amazing story too...
>> No. 67075
File 154130918293.png - (550.29KB, 800x700, Go ahead and sign it Demon.png) [iqdb]
67075
Under the diabolic laws outlined in the ancient treaty between demonkind and beings of the material plane, I submit a diabolic contract between you, a member of demonkind, and myself, a denizen of the material plane.

Definitions:

“I”, “me”, “my”, “mine”, “myself”, and “Lavender Knowledge” refer to the material contractor.

“You”, “yours”, and “yourself” refer to the demon contractor.

“The Library” refers to The Great Magic Library, a temporal-spatial pocket realm that connects to several cities throughout the European continent and is under the care of the Knowledge family.

“Grimoire” refer to an ancient tome containing forbidden diabolic magic that was originally scribed by the last free demon.

Task:

Deliver the grimoire to Lavender Knowledge. This task will be considered complete when the grimoire has been placed in my hands and I have verbally confirmed to you of my own volition that the grimoire given is indeed the one I seek.

Terms:

1. If the grimoire has been damaged, defaced, replaced, or otherwise modified by you or another party for the purposes of circumventing all or part of this contract, with or without my knowledge, then the task will not be considered completed, even should the requirements of the task be satisfied. Further, you will be required to inform me of such modifications regardless of the intentions of the party that had caused them, and assist me in undoing them. If undoing such modifications is not possible, you have committed a contractual failure.

2. You are forbidden from inflicting, either directly or by suggesting or influencing a third party to inflict, any physical, emotional, or psychological harm upon myself or the Library without my command to do so.

3. If a person intends or attempts to inflict physical, emotional, or psychological harm upon myself or this Library, you are required to persuade or forcefully prevent them from doing so. In the event that persuading or preventing the aforementioned person would definitively and without a doubt cause your own destruction, you must instead inform me of such intents or attempts to inflict harm.

4. You are forbidden from speaking, spelling, or otherwise communicating to any being my name, the Library’s name, the location of its entrances, or the contents of this contract without my command to do so.

5. If I issue a command to you, you are required to follow my command.

6. You have one year to complete the task given to you. If you do not complete the task exactly one year from acceptance of the contract, you have committed a contractual failure.

~ ~ ~

It's written neatly in ink on a sheet of parchment, which floats next to the glass that separates you and Lavender. By now she has moved to one of the chairs in the corner of the other room, but she watches you carefully as you read. Like before, when Remilia explained how you two came to be allies, Lavender is watching you as if you are a dangerous animal that could attack at any moment.

Rightly so. For a few moments you stew in your frustration toward her, pondering the merits of attacking the glass with your makeshift weapon and carving out one of her organs with it. It is but only a fantasy, however; you reason there would be no point in fighting back here. You lack backup and are in an unfamiliar environment where she pulls all of the strings. It's impossible for you to guess at how many safeguards she has set up on this room.

Pushing your violent thoughts away, you focus on the most troubling part of her contract: the use of “contractual failure.” A demon who commits contractual failure will have its soul irreversibly destroyed. It is the closest to true death that a demon can experience. As such, most demons will refuse to bind to contracts that include contractual failure, since they can simply move on to the next contract without repercussion. The rarity of demons who accept contractual failure eventually lead to it falling into obscurity. The later into world history you are summoned into, the less often you encounter contractors or diabolists whom know about contractual failure.

Which is why you doubt Lavender even knows what it means.

“Do you understand what contractual failure entails for me?”

She raises her eyebrows slightly, but as per usual, she forgets to tell the rest of her face to break from its blank stare. “Indeed, I understand it to be an additional incentive for your kind due to its dangerous nature.”

“An additional incentive,” you repeat dryly.

“Well, your soul will be destroyed,” she says matter-of-factly, without a hint of empathy in her tone.

You resist the urge to sigh, already exasperated with your potential contractor. “What if I refuse because of your ‘additional incentive’?”

“You cannot refuse.” You stare at her, trying to get a read on her. Unfortunately, her poker face is extraordinarily unyielding.

Elaborate?” you say with incredulity after several long seconds of silence.

She leans forward, light frustration creeping into her voice. “You cannot leave this chamber, and as you are currently under contract with others, you are not allowed to kill yourself as outlined in diabolic law. Thus,” she sits back, her dry tone returning, “you cannot refuse.”

It’s your turn to hold a steadfast poker face, as you ponder her intent. It seems that she plans to keep you in confinement until you can come to an agreement (most likely in her favour). That’s her leverage.

It occurs to you that with such confinement is the promise of extended time to ponder and possibly, escape, should an opportunity present itself. You consider yourself a patient being -- you have to be in this business -- so this may be a worthwhile opportunity. On the other hand, you don’t like to waste time either. There’s no need to prolong the inevitable if you have absolutely no way to escape.

Unlike your contract with Remilia, you have very little bargaining power here. Considering how distrusting Lavender is of you, you won't be able to pull off any terms that are obviously in your benefit. If you do negotiate, you will have to best her by subtle wordplay and redirection.

[ ] Reason with her terms. (Write in -- lawyer up, Anon!)
[ ] Accept the contract as-is.
[ ] Refuse. Not worth it.
>> No. 67076
[X] Refuse. Not worth it.

Yeah no. If she wants to be an ass about and add clauses for permanent death in there, no way. If it was just to prove trustworthyness or complete the task, sure, but this seems like like an obvious antagonistic person trying to one up us out of spite.
Not to mention this possibly interferring with our other contracts/promises , there being no mention that should could interfere in a way that would trigger these clauses and way too many other ways to purposley trigger those.

Also very noticeable that the permadeath additions are on the points that could very easily go wrong. If she wants the book she can think of other punishments, but why she thinks this is acceptable after how she acts and that we would actually be dumb enough to agree here is beyond me.

tl;dr This looks like an obvious attempt to get us to fail and is very much not in good faith even if it was another contractor, the risks heavily outweigh the rewards.
>> No. 67077
File 154131021841.jpg - (263.95KB, 1075x1386, Have a Flan friend.jpg) [iqdb]
67077
>>66887
Apologies for the wait.

I have discovered about myself that whenever anything remotely pressing goes on in my life -- a new job, university, etc -- my ability to keep up with writing completely goes to shit. I'm not proud of this habit of mine, so I hope I can overcome it eventually. I do want to finish this story, both because I think this take on Touhou deserves to exist and bloody hell I must write it... and letting it join the countless other seemingly well-liked dead stories on this site would put a sour taste in my mouth.

If ever I fall into another hiatus (or if you just want to talk to me about my stories), you're free to poke me over in the (Unofficial?) THP Discord server. Link in >>/blue/23853 or >>/gensokyo/15589
>> No. 67078
[X] Refuse. Not worth it.

>>67076
Agreed. I think there's just so much that can go wrong.
>> No. 67080
[X] Refuse. Not worth it.
>> No. 67087
[x] Refuse. Not worth it.
The Task combined with Clause 6 is literally a "I'm just gonna give you a slow death once my book is back and have you desperately earn favor in order to get the verbal acknowledgment needed to survive".
Yeah no.
>> No. 67088
>>67081
Specific demons cannot be selected for summoning in most cases. I'll elaborate when I write up the next update.
>> No. 67089
[x] Refuse. Not worth it.

The lawyer thing isn't fun when one player stacks their deck.

>>67076
>>67087

Agreed.
>> No. 67090
I love playing the loophole game. Lets start.

>1. If the grimoire has been damaged, defaced, replaced, or otherwise modified by you or another party for the purposes of circumventing all or part of this contract, with or without my knowledge, then the task will not be considered completed, even should the requirements of the task be satisfied. Further, you will be required to inform me of such modifications regardless of the intentions of the party that had caused them, and assist me in undoing them. If undoing such modifications is not possible, you have committed a contractual failure.

OK then. We can't harm the book, and a party can't harm the book. What's the definition of a party again? Some kind of large happy group of people celebrating something, right? Nothing is stopping them from harming the book after the party is over. And since it wasn't harmed by us or the party, we don't have to tell you about it, and therefor we don't have to assist you in undoing them.

>2. You are forbidden from inflicting, either directly or by suggesting or influencing a third party to inflict, any physical, emotional, or psychological harm upon myself or the Library without my command to do so.

But you can still harm yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.

>3. If a person intends or attempts to inflict physical, emotional, or psychological harm upon myself or this Library, you are required to persuade or forcefully prevent them from doing so. In the event that persuading or preventing the aforementioned person would definitively and without a doubt cause your own destruction, you must instead inform me of such intents or attempts to inflict harm.

Very well then. We will not allow A person to harm you or the library. How about Jeff the 2 year old Canadian. Or if there are personS trying to harm you, we don't have to stop them. Or perhaps we won't allow a PERSON to harm you or the library. A rat is not considered a person is it? What a shame, this swarm of book nibbling plague rats was attracted by all this cheese I brought for lunch.

>4. You are forbidden from speaking, spelling, or otherwise communicating to any being my name, the Library’s name, the location of its entrances, or the contents of this contract without my command to do so.

Very well then. We won't tell anyone your name. We'll only tell them your description, age, hobbies, lack of health, and powers. We also won't tell anyone the Library's name, just what is in it and how you can trick the talking wall into letting you in. Also we won't tell anyone about the location of the libraries entrances, only the location of the libraries EXITS and living spaces. Also we can still tell people about YOUR current location. And don't worry, we won't tell anyone about the contents of this contract, only its effects.

>5. If I issue a command to you, you are required to follow my command.

Hey, did you know? There is this nifty new invention they just came up with. They are called ear plugs, and they prevent me from knowing that you gave me any commands. Also, you can't really give me commands unless you are with me, so either I get to do this mission on my own, or you have to drag your out of shape asthmatic keister along with me. And since nothing in this contract prevents us from allowing you to hurt yourself...

>6. You have one year to complete the task given to you. If you do not complete the task exactly one year from acceptance of the contract, you have committed a contractual failure.

Very well. The task will be completed EXACTLY one year from now. No more, no less. Oh by the way, you failed to specify that it had to be one EARTH year. One year on Pluto is 248 Earth years. And incidentally, a LIGHT year is a measure of distance, not time. We will give you the book just as soon as you travel 5.88 trillion miles away from where you are currently standing.

[x] Accept the contract as-is.
>> No. 67108
>>67090
I like this line of reasoning.

[x] Accept the contract as-is.
>> No. 67109
[x] Refuse until "contractual failure " is removed from the terms

Our immortal soul is worth more than ten Patchoulis- specially for demons, since they don't reincarnate IIRC.
>> No. 67112
[X] Accept the contract as is

You sir/madam are brilliant and I applaud you.
>> No. 67119
>>67090
I think that's pushing it a bit too far on some of those, but I like your thinking.

[X] Reason with her terms.
-Term 1 introduces the possibility of contractual failure through no fault of my own. Remove the contractual failure clause for any modifications made by a third party.
-Term 6 specifies an impossible time window for completion of exactly one year. As this would certainly bring about contractual failure, remove this term.
>> No. 67122
Good points.
[X] Reason with her terms.
-Term 1 introduces the possibility of contractual failure through no fault of my own. Remove the contractual failure clause for any modifications made by a third party.
-Term 6 specifies an impossible time window for completion of exactly one year. As this would certainly bring about contractual failure, remove this term.
>> No. 67128
Closing the votes, plurality is: >[x] Refuse. Not worth it.
>> No. 67139
File 154190987878.png - (161.21KB, 736x355, a sorta weapon.png) [iqdb]
67139
You ponder your options.

Already, you can see a few holes in her terms that you could easily exploit. The freedoms and limitations that come with any diabolic contract are dictated by your interpretation of particular words. You still have to follow a word’s meaning -- so you can’t just make up any interpretation you like -- but since words have many meanings based on context, as long as the context is unclear, you can “twist” what a term means to suit your needs. That is, in essence, how all loopholes are made in demonic contracts. A truly masterful contractor accounts for all contexts.

Smartly, Lavender defines “the grimoire” as a reference to the specific object she seeks, so you can’t do much with that. Fortunately for you, she is not so thorough with the rest of her vocabulary; for example, in term 4, she restricts you from speaking of the Library’s “entrances”, but not their “exits”. This is likely because the Library’s entrances and exits are one in the same, but since she does not specify that contextually in the contract, it that does not matter. Under the current term’s wording, you could easily tell people about the location of exits as long as you don’t mention they are also entrances. This is but one example. You can spot many others throughout her contract as you scan through it.

A battle of words, for you, is almost always a winning game.

However… the contractual failure clauses give you pause. You’re not in the business of dying for some sickly magician bitch.

The fact that you would have committed contractual failure simply because someone damaged the grimoire places a level of unpredictability into this contract that you are not comfortable with. Her one year time deadline is also risky. Since her task requires her verbal confirmation before it is considered complete, even should you obtain the grimoire relatively quickly, she could hold that need for verbal confirmation over your head for a whole year, or worse, never give it, and subject you to contractual failure by no fault of your own.

You can’t accept the contract with the intent to get out of it later. While death would certainly get you out of all of your contracts, rendering each of them null and void, you can’t commit suicide. Under diabolic rules, you also can’t ask people to kill you or put yourself in a dangerous situation that may result in your death for the purposes of getting out of a contract. Even if you could somehow get yourself killed, death would end your time in this realm. Remilia or Caesar would have no way of summoning you again -- what demon happens to respond to any particular diabolic summoning is up to the luck of the draw.

Ultimately, it’s not worth it, you determine.

“I refuse,” you say, looking into her eyes defiantly.

“You...” she blinks in surprise. “...you refuse.”

“Yes. I’m not risking my eternal soul on your contract. You should have killed me back there.”

She stares at you for a long time, as if you were a jigsaw puzzle she were trying to piece together in her mind. You sit down, giving in to your exhaustion a little. You stare back at her from the ground, trying to get a read on her. She seems utterly lost in thought. Is she genuinely surprised that you would be deterred by her use of contractual failure? Does she think so little of you, that it did not occur to her that you would seek your own self-preservation?

“Are you really so surprised?” you finally ask, annoyed by her staring.

Broken from her trance, Lavender grabs the contract and rolls it up. “Your refusal… was unexpected. I will think on this,” she says, eyes distant. She wanders out of the room, and the room plunges into darkness again.

You lay on your back, utterly spent from the day’s ventures, falling into a deep sleep.

~ ~ ~

You awaken to your body moving on its own.

With the pulsing metallic shard of the wall in hand, your body is carving away at the glass section of the wall. You’re in almost complete darkness; the runes on your hands glow dimly, giving you just enough of a visual to be able to see the damage you’ve made on the glass. There’s a tiny, fist-sized hole in it, and your body is still hacking away at it without input from your mind.

The sound is ear-rattling. Lavender will surely hear this if she’s anywhere near this chamber. You try to stop moving, but your body refuses to listen to you. So, instead, you try to speak.

Hey. No sound emits from your throat, but your body immediately spins around in response, arms pointing the knife into the darkness. Your hands shake nervously at an unknown enemy. “I h-heard you,” your body says. “Show yourself!”

It must be reacting to your attempt at speaking.

Keep your voice down, you try.

“Who are you?!” it shouts back, voice quivering, body shaking in fear.

Well, it can clearly hear you. With all of this yelling and the racket it was making on the glass wall, you’re surprised Lavender hasn’t already stormed in here. You’re sure that if she sees the damage on the glass wall, she will not hesitate to destroy you (the two of you?). You’ll have to relay the danger before this being gets caught up in its own hysteria.

If you want to live, speak quietly, please. We are not in a safe place.

You can’t see it, but you feel yourself -- no, your body -- frown.

Please.

Your body inhales deeply. You can feel your shared heartbeat in your ears. “Al-alright… who are you?” your body asks again, trying to speak quieter this time.

A friend. You first.

“I’m Clara.”

...

Oh.

Okay.

So, this being that is currently piloting your body -- the vessel known as “Clara” -- is Clara? How is this even possible? When a diabolist beckons you into a vessel, that vessel should not hold any remaining trace of its original soul. Even if Caesar’s summoning was the most poorly executed in the history of the multiverse, there is no way the rite should have worked while Clara was still alive. Unless… this being is not actually Clara? But that still leaves the question of what it is and how it has gotten control of your body.

Interestingly, over the course of the conversation, you have felt the hold this “Clara” has on your body weaken. You’re fairly confident that you can regain control of this vessel if you so desire, but doing so will leave your many questions unanswered. On the other hand, you have a lot on your plate already right now. This being can wait.

[ ] Introduce yourself.
[ ] Reclaim. { 100% }
>> No. 67140
[X] Introduce yourself.

> "Hello, Clara, someone killed you in order to summon a demon, namely me!"

... yeah, uh, actually ...

...

[X] Introduce yourself.
>> No. 67141
[X] Introduce yourself.

I assume the 100% in the reclaim option is our success rate or the time remaining to reclaim or something. The fact that a 100% is specified means it'll probably go down with time, but I see an opportunity to escape here.

Lavender has all the reason in the world to keep a dangerous demon locked up. Clara the human girl, not as much. A chance to escape and figure out what's going on here seem worth the possibility of trouble reclaiming later.
>> No. 67178
[X] Introduce yourself.

She's alive? That's great news!
>> No. 67228
Calling the vote because I've begun writing. Update soon.
>> No. 67229
File 154259772195.jpg - (43.79KB, 450x450, climbing our way one rung at a time.jpg) [iqdb]
67229
You feel yourself on the brink of regaining control. If you just focus, and will your nerves back into submission, you’re sure that you can use your vessel again. It’s as if your soul is floating just beneath the surface of the ocean -- if you reach forward, you’ll break the surface. However, you refrain. You allow yourself to float there. Your curiosity for this being that shares your body steers you. This “Clara” is either an intriguing anomaly or an enemy. In both cases, it seems wise to pick up information about her. To that end, you decide to introduce yourself.

However, you don’t have time to be thorough; if Lavender reenters the adjacent room, she will probably deem you more dangerous than you are worth because of the damage “you” caused to your prison and, with this judgement, she will assuredly destroy you. Thus, you explain to your bodily trespasser in in the briefest of terms:

I’m a being from another plane that is sharing your body. You purposefully leave out any mention of demons and diabolism just so you don’t scare her. You don’t know what her opinion of diabolism is -- or if, as a peasant girl, she even has one -- but you don’t have time to talk her through such things should her impressions of your kind be negative.

“Wh-what?” your body -- Clara -- takes a step back.

Look at your hands. Those runes are what bind me here.

She does. “I know anything about magic… how did you get in my body?”

That’s a long story, so I’ll explain another time. We have to get out of this place first.

Her heartbeat quickens. She turns back toward the glass, delicately fingering the gap she had made in it. The edges are sharp and jagged. “Where are we?”

We’re in a containment chamber made by a powerful magician who wants to use my abilities for her own ends.

“Oh,” she says quietly. “This is all... A bit much… And to be honest, I’m not sure how much of it I believe...”

Well, in any case, you want to escape this chamber, right? We can worry about the details later.

“Right...” she says, voice coated in uncertainty. After a long moment of pondering, she takes the knife and works on the glass again. It’s loud, and you cringe inwardly at the thought of Lavender hearing it. Slowly, the gap widens, until eventually, it’s enough for you to squeeze through. Evidently, Lavender is not near enough to have noticed the sound, which is odd, considering how cautiously she had been treating you so far.

Clara climbs through the glass carefully -- the edges are still very sharp, and she’s not wearing any clothing to protect her skin. Despite her best efforts, she still pricks the skin on her foot. Holding the glow of your runes up to her foot, she examines the cut, which seals itself up almost immediately. She widens her eyes, rubbing her thumb over where the cut was.

That’s one of my abilities.

“That’s amazing,” she whispers. She does not take time to dwell on it, however; in a moment she’s on her feet again, holding her hand out to check her surroundings. The room is unremarkable, only containing a chair, a bookshelf, and the door out.

“Is that magician through here?”

I don’t know.

“Will she hurt me?”

She might. You’ll have to be careful.

She steps towards the door, grabbing the doorknob, and takes a deep breath.

Then she opens the door. On the other side is a shaft with a ladder leading straight up for several dozen feet. You can’t see the top. Wordlessly, she begins the climb. Carefully, quietly, placing her hands on each rung as if the ladder, too, was made up of sharp glass.

You ponder taking back your vessel again, but your mind is burdened with questions that stay your hand. If this is the true Clara, did her soul simply stay dormant in your vessel this whole time, or did something call her back to her body? Would she disappear if you reclaimed control? Rather than break the surface, you hold steady, letting yourself sink a little deeper into the ocean of the mind.

At the top of the ladder is a metal trapdoor. She hesitates for a moment. Reaching very slowly for the latch, she turns it, and then pushes up. The trapdoor gives easily, but she only lifts it enough to peek through.

Light floods into the shaft as the interior of the Great Magic Library comes into view. The trapdoor appears to be in an alcove, directly across from which is one of the many bookshelves of the library. A few books fly past. The levitating, stationary blueish-white crystals of light that illuminate the whole library bob lightly when the books pass them, like a fishing bobber reacting to ripples in a pond. There is no sign of life from your vantage point.

Clara waits for a full minute, but the scene does not change, so she climbs out and steps into the “hallway”. The alcove that the trapdoor sits in is inlaid into a bookshelf -- to each side of the opening, and above it, there are books lined up like the rest of the library. Notably, these books are behind a layer of dark glass identical to the one used in the containment chamber beneath your feet.

“Where do I go?”

She glances to her left: fifty feet down is an area of the library that is unlit. You can see bookshelves extend into darkness with no illuminating crystals situated beyond that point. To her right, the labyrinthine library continues on, well-lit and as uniform as every other part of the library you’ve been in. It seems that you have no choice but to wander until you can find a way out, or at least, something that might be useful to you.

[ ] Tell Clara to go down…
- [ ] ...the well-lit hallway. Move quietly and carefully.
- [ ] ...the dark hallway. Grab a crystal for light.
[ ] Reclaim. { 97% }
>> No. 67230
[x] Tell Clara to go down…
- [x] ...the dark hallway. Grab a crystal for light.

Doesn't demons have darkvision?
>> No. 67241
So can we finnally have that list of Clara's demonic powers/abilities? The obvious implication from the narrative is that demons are a big deal, but it's hard to come up with a game plan when we don't know what that means.
>> No. 67243
>>67241
>So can we finnally have that list of Clara's demonic powers/abilities?
>it's hard to come up with a game plan
You bring up a good point. Thus far, I've done my best to describe the abilities of your average demon throughout the story through world building. This was done under the philosophy that all important story details should be conveyed in the story itself, and you can see me lightly expressing my philosophy in this post: >>66029

However... Since this is a CYOA, this story is also a game. As the scope of the story has evolved, the game components of Diabolic Tome have become more important. Like any game, it's important to know the rules of play.

After some thought on this, I've decided to be more forthcoming with information on abilities/limitations. This will help you all make better informed decisions, and ultimately, hopefully, be more fun. After all, I do want this game to at least be as fun as the story is interesting. I will go over my notes, reread the story a couple times, and compile a complete list of just what a demon is for Anon to use. Essentially, I want to provide you all with a stat block for Anon's demon.

In the Meantime
So that you aren't voting in the dark, I will answer your questions and clarify the meaning of this update's vote.

>The obvious implication from the narrative is that demons are a big deal
Demons are certainly a big deal to a normal human. To supernatural beings -- youkai, for example -- demons are somewhat average. I've said something similar to this before, but demons are reviled for the fact that dealing with them involves complicated contracts that almost always end up in the demon's favour, due to the contracts following "word of the law" over intent.

>>67230
Darkvision is not one of your abilities. This is specified in >>64315 (Entry #16), and that's an example of how I've been treating abilities up until this point -- writing them into the story, over time. But as I said earlier, I'm going to change my philosophy on this type of information moving forward. Expect that list.

As for the choices given in this update...

The dark hallways have been mentioned one of my descriptions of the library before, albeit very briefly in a seemingly flavour-text style, so I will clarify now: the dark hallways are dangerous, untamed areas of the library. Lavender does not tread down them, so you are of no risk of encountering her if you choose them, but you may encounter other dangerous things instead.
>> No. 67257
[X] Reclaim and go down the dark hallway.

Likely running into Lavender or sending Clara down the dark spooky hallway both seem like pretty bad options. Well, the situation's pretty bad to begin with. Can't expect an easy out here.
>> No. 67277
[x] Tell Clara to go down…
- [x] ...the dark hallway. Grab a crystal for light.
>> No. 67279
[x] Tell Clara to go down…
- [x] ...the dark hallway. Grab a crystal for light.
>> No. 67313
[X] Tell Clara to go down…
- [X] ...the well-lit hallway. Move quietly and carefully.

I'd imagine if this idea seems sensible to Clara, she probably has an idea for how to neutralize Lavchulie. Better to gamble on the devil you know.
>> No. 67369
Update will likely be in a week or so -- I've been busy this week with Holiday gatherings and such.
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