[Return]  [Bottom[Last Update]
Posting mode: Reply
(Reply to 65797)
  • First time posting? Check out our site rules and FAQ.
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG, WEBM, WEBP.
  • Maximum file size allowed is 4096 KB.
  • Images greater than 200x200 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • View catalog
Show or hide post box

Hide Thread
Watch Thread
Expand All Images
File 151874855381.png - (405.27KB, 1922x1571, remilia's grimoire.png) [iqdb]
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.
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.
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. ]
“Well, you know how I work, Mademoiselle. Information does not come free.”

Remilia huffs lightly. “I am well aware. What do you want to know this time?”

Jean catches your eye. He smiles. “I would like Madame Clara to tell me about herself.”

Remilia nods, keeping her gaze on him. “Clara, please indulge Jean.” You feel a prickly sensation on your rune, indicating that under the contract, her words come as a command.

Very well. A devious thought dawns upon you.

There is a simple way to tell some truth whilst also embarrassing Remilia, yet again. (This seems to have become your personal mission as of late.) You briefly ponder the possible reactions. Jean seems to be a good-natured fellow and might appreciate your attempt to rattle the Scarlet Devil. Surely, the worst that could happen is that the two of them tell you to stop joking around.

With so little risk, you go for it.

“I’m a young maiden from a nearby town, sent before Remilia one night,” you say, interlocking your hands behind your back and smiling sweetly at Jean. “When we met, I was awe-stricken by her elegance and her beauty! That was truly a night I’ll never forget.” You take in a deep, satisfying breath. “Remilia was so intense and passionate that night. She was so powerful and forceful, that I could not sleep for many an hour, until I collapsed from sheer exhaustion. The following morning, Remilia propositioned me and now our souls are bound together in a promise stronger than any on Earth.”

The room falls silent. You resist the urge to look at Remilia, keeping your gaze steady on Jean’s face. His toothy grin did not falter during your story, and even now, it remains unchanged. He leans forward, fixing Remilia with his gleeful stare.

“Quite the jester, this one, eh?”

“Yes,” she responds, frustration edging into her tone, “an extremely silly girl.” She continues to stare straight ahead.

“Madame Clara, let me tell you what I know about you,” he says, smile disappearing. He sits up straight, holding out one finger. “You have a diabolic rune on each of your hands, so it is clear to me that you are a part of at least two diabolic contracts.” He holds up a second finger, furrowing his brow lightly. “Mademoiselle Remilia possesses a matching rune on one hand, so you must be contracted to her.” He holds up a third finger. “If your story is based on some degree of truth, I conclude that you went to meet Mademoiselle, under contract, and during your stay, you entered another contract with her.” His smile returns. “Do I paint an accurate picture?”

“You’re a perceptive one,” you say. “If you could piece that together on your own already, what did you want from me?”

“I wonder of your origin. There are not many creatures bound by such runes, so are you… a demon?”

You involuntarily look at Remilia, but she’s still looking at Jean, ignoring your stare.

At this point, he knows so much, so you see little reason to withhold your identity. Even with that knowledge, what could he possibly do to you? You’re nearly invincible and have few stakes in this world.

“You are correct. I am a demon.”

He claps his hands excitedly. “This is truly a lucky encounter! I have yet to have met one of your kind, Madame Clara. Please explain to me where you come from.”

“I am from a reality beyond this one. A world and a time so vast and different from yours, and yet, also quite similar. This body--” you hold up your arm, pinching the skin, “--is merely a vessel. A human corpse that I was summoned into.”

“Magnifique!” he says, clapping again. “A beautiful and poetic creature, you are, Madame Clara. To be so powerful, and yet, forced to serve mankind.”

“Or vampirekind, as it may be,” you add, looking at the back of Remilia’s head again.

Remilia ignores your quip. “Does this information satisfy you?”

“Oui, oui. What is the information you seek, Mademoiselle?”

“I’m looking for a book.”

“What do I look like to you, a bookstore? There are many books out there.”

“It’s a special book. A grimoire.”

“Hmm,” Jean hums, placing a hand over his mouth in thought. “Can you draw the cover for me?”

He opens a drawer sitting next to him and pulls out a piece of paper and a quill. He hands them to Remilia. She takes them wordlessly, setting the quill to the paper, and sketching the shape of a book. Along the spine, she draws a line of crosses. In the center of the cover, she draws a large closed eye. As she sets down the quill, you find yourself stuck staring at the eye.

Your brother holds up the depiction of the grimoire. Even though it’s just a sketch, the eye on the cover seems lifelike; it’s as if it could open at any moment.

“That’s… the book you’re after, brother?”

“Yes,” he says, nodding at the drawing. “When we get the real thing, we’ll be able to get back at them. We’ll be able to get back at everyone.”

“It seems… scary,” you say, shivering.

“Don’t worry, Clara. It’s dangerous, but it’s still just a book.”

Jean picks up the paper, breaking you free from yet another one of Clara’s memories. You’re used to retaining some memories from your vessels, but never before have they been so intrusive.

“Ah. This is a grimoire, oui?”

“Indeed,” Remilia says, crossing her arms. “It was stolen from me by a young, rash man. I was wondering if you had any information as to its whereabouts, or the whereabouts of the thief.”

“I do not know the location of this grimoire or the one who stole it,” he says, stroking his chin as he studies Remilia’s depiction. “However, I do know somewhere where you may find more information.”


“I must not speak of its name, or else its caretaker will be able to hear us,” he says, pulling a fresh sheet of paper from the drawer. He begins to scribble something down, continuing to speak as he writes, “It is a hidden libr… book repository in the city. The caretaker is very good at tracking down rare grimoires. If anyone knows where your book is, it’s her.” He finishes writing and hands her the paper. “Here are the directions.”

“Hm. Very well. Thank you for your assistance, Jean,” Remilia says, rising to her feet and pocketing the paper.

“It was a pleasure,” he says, looking at you with that toothy grin again. “Please, feel free to visit anytime, Madame Clara.”

“We’ll see if I have time between contracts,” you say. He chuckles.

The two of you leave the pub. The sun has already set by this point. As soon as you enter the open night air, Remilia grabs your wrist and pulls you along. You are not expecting the move and almost lose your balance as she leads you into a nearby alleyway. She turns towards you, pulling harder on your arm so that your face is forced down to her level.

Please refrain from embarrassing me in front of business partners in the future,” she says in a gentle tone. You feel the rune on your hand prickle again as her request takes its hold on you. “You are an amusing servant, but you must know when it is appropriate to speak as friends and when it is not,” she says, an edge seeping into her voice. “I put a great deal of effort into maintaining my reputation among humans. Count yourself lucky Jean respects this reputation enough not to spread misinformation. If you had damaged it there...” She trails off. “...Things would not go well for you.”

She definitely sounds threatening, but her eyes… They seem… Worried? Scared? Is it about her reputation, or something deeper that she’s not telling you about? She holds you there for a few moments, trying to read your expression.

[ ] Write-in
[ ] I’m sorry, I did not mean to offend you. I’ll keep the jokes to situations where they are appropriate.
[ ] I was just messing with you, and I think that was obvious. You shouldn’t worry so much.

I encourage a write-in, but you may use these two choice-templates if you wish.
File 151874922380.gif - (0.99MB, 500x404, I'm back motherfuckers.gif) [iqdb]
[X]Very well, I'll refrain from embarrassing you in front of business partners.
Using her contract this way deserves punishment.
[x] Very well, I'll refrain from embarrassing you in front of business partners.
[x] Very well, I'll refrain from embarrassing you in front of business partners.

Her request doesn't keep us from embarrasing her in front of others or BEHIND business partners if we have to. But let's not push it too much, for now.
File 151881900422.gif - (1.10MB, 460x258, tenor.gif) [iqdb]

[x] I’m sorry, I did not mean to offend you. I’ll keep the jokes to situations where they are appropriate.

Honesty above all! I get a kick out of acting out of the norm for our race.
[X] Your 'reputation', is it? The same one that nearly got you and your precious little sister killed? Trust me when I say if you refuse to grow up and embrace human society, things aren't going to go well for you either.

Dude bet the farm hoping for a write-in. I kinda feel like I had to at least give it a shot.
[x] Very well, I'll refrain from embarrassing you in front of business partners.

Clara has been a bit too cheeky, given her position. She should probably take it easy on the teasing.

I'm glad you're back to writing, Flanders. Getting reacquainted with this story was a delight.
Going ahead and calling the vote on "Very well, I'll refrain from embarrassing you in front of business partners." I am quite elated to see so many votes already. Thanks everyone!

I am glad to be back!

An honest demon. I like your attitude.
File 151900734982.png - (23.11KB, 485x525, sharing an umbrella.png) [iqdb]
The hold on your wrist is firm. You can feel the strained flow of reanimated blood through the veins in your arm and hand. The tips of your fingers are licked by the onset of numbness and your muscles strain against the force of her grip. You ignore these sensations, training your focus on the girl before you. As you stand there, back arched forward and neck tilted upwards to meet her gaze, you feel an unspoken resemblance between her nature and your own. The strength held by her betrays her small, childlike form. Further, the look in her eyes is anything but childlike. Like you, she knows the curse of one whose essence is not accurately represented by the form one takes. She is a vampire, an immortal hunter of human beings, forced by her very existence to take the form of her prey’s own young. To such a being, reputation is the only defence against appearances.

“Very well,” you say softly but with conviction. “I will do as you say. I will refrain from embarrassing you in front of your business partners.” Your words are rigid. Not cold, not warm, but firm. Beneath your words is a bubbling sense of disappointment. You understand her reasoning, but invoking her contract in this scenario is a bit off-putting. Nevertheless, it is a stark reminder that you are a servant in this situation. You were so caught up in the friendly banter that you had forgotten that fact. Perhaps the greater curse of this form of existence, greater than that of you being a visitor in your own body, is the bubble of servitude that pervades your every move.

Her expression softens and she releases your arm. You feel a slight throbbing in your wrist as blood rushes in to survey for damage. You make a mental note that the grip of a vampire should not be underestimated. You return to your usual posture, spreading relief through the muscles in your back. She glances at your wrist, looking almost apologetic now.

“Thank you,” she mutters. She says it so quietly that you fear you had imagined it. “Thank you,” she says again, still quietly, but loud enough for you to be sure you heard it this time. Her voice and lips are clearly inexperienced with the phrase. She stands there awkwardly for a moment, unsure of what to say next.

“Let’s take a look at those directions,” you say, ready to move on.

She nods, seemingly thankful for the subject change. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out the paper Jean had handed her before you left. The direction are specific, clear, and concisely written out in a set of bullet points with a curly script you would describe as “jovial.” She studies the directions for a few seconds, then slides the paper back into her pocket. She steps toward the exit, but immediately comes to a halt, her face clouded in thought.

“Jean noticed our runes, so I will hide them,” she says. Scarlet mist flows from her fingertips. The mist flows in a wave pattern, much like the slithering of a snake. It encompasses the entirety of your hands, forming a pair of thin leather gloves over each. The mist then targets her left hand, where the rune sits, and climbs upwards above her own head. In a few seconds, the mist has formed a glove for her and an umbrella. She nods to herself satisfactorily and steps past you into the street.

As you leave the alleyway, you notice the sun has finally set. A thick layer of clouds blocks the light of the moon and stars, casting a shadow over the entire city. The nearly deserted street is a far cry from the bustle you had seen before you had originally entered The Hole only twenty minutes ago. You hear a distant rumble from the clouds, promising rain. As if in response, Remilia taps the handle of her umbrella with her free hand.

To know the weather with such certainty… Remilia’s gifts are amazing, though you wonder what sort of rules bind them. You continue down that train of thought for a few minutes, your imagination soaring. You are pulled out of your musings by rain, which begins to unceremoniously pour from the heavens. Unfortunately, Remilia is too short to hold the umbrella above the two of you, the droplets scattering over your hair and face.

She notices, and holds the umbrella handle out toward you.

“Hold it for both of us, please,” she says. No reaction from your runes; it’s not a request bound by the contract, but forcing her to do so every time would be silly and might even breed contempt. Similarly, asking you to do everything by way of contract would show she doesn't trust you. Perhaps wisely, she has kept this request open to intuition and goodwill.

You comply. She nods appreciatively as you take the umbrella, holding it between the two of you so you are both kept out of the rain. With her hands free, she pulls the Jean’s note from her pocket again, scanning through it for the next directions. The two of you walk like that for some time, her pointing out what turns to take, with you obediently holding the umbrella in place. It dawns upon you that, as a creature that is evaporated by rain, she is placing her trust in you to hold the umbrella for her.

You wonder if perhaps, you should break the silence…

[ ] Talk about her abilities. “How does that mist work?”
[ ] Talk about her history. “How do you know Jean?”
[ ] Write-in topic
[ ] Sometimes silence is peaceful. Just keep an eye out for now while Remilia is focused on the directions.


I tried to sketch the scene of the two walking in the rain under one umbrella, but then I remembered I can't draw. Have some stick figures instead.
[x] How come you're so worried about your reputation anyway? The humans already want you dead, its not like I can make your reputation worse. My joking could only improve your reputation since there's nowhere for it to go but up.

If Remilia doesn't like humans, then why does she care what they think of her? If she does like humans, why does she want her reputation to stay at rock bottom?
Seconding this. Also welcome back Flanders!
[x] How come you're so worried about your reputation anyway? The humans already want you dead, its not like I can make your reputation worse. My joking could only improve your reputation since there's nowhere for it to go but up.
[x] How come you're so worried about your reputation, anyway? The humans already want you dead.

I think the last part of the write-in is a little much, but I agree with the general idea.
[x] Talk about her history. “How do you know Jean?”

I feel like the answer to the write-in is obvious: only some humans want her dead.
File 151910853644.jpg - (155.62KB, 1080x760, 10.jpg) [iqdb]
Going to go ahead and call it now for asking about Remilia's reputation. Normally I like to leave votes open longer, but the long weekend allowed me to write about 3/4ths of the update already. I'll finish it tomorrow morning.

I'm curious about why she persists with this as well. Maybe the last time she left her mansion was a few hundred years ago during the dark age.
File 151914929199.jpg - (285.42KB, 1191x670, city clouds.jpg) [iqdb]
You watch her for a few moments, the locks of her hair lightly bobbing with her footsteps. Her gloveless right hand holds Jean’s paper. After making note of the next direction, she pulls the paper to her side, gripping it tightly and looking up ahead to survey the area. For a long time, the only sounds you hear is the muffling ambience of rain and the clopping of your and her shoes on the wet cobblestones. This... is peaceful, and yet, your aching curiosity rises to the forefront of your mind again, threatening the silence.

You let it have its way. “Hey, mind if I ask a question?”

She looks up to you, expression neutral. Her attention seems distracted by the directions in her hand. “Sure.”

The importance she places in her reputation bothers you. She’s a vampire. A hunter of humans. Assuming she does not care for them, the fact that she puts so much effort into moderating what they think of her is odd. If she does in fact like humans, it seems better if she put effort into improving her reputation. Currently, all her reputation seems to do is attract vampire hunters and contempt. The mechanics of her reputation, and how she values it, are a mystery to you. “Why do you care about your reputation?” you ask sincerely, though somewhat bluntly.

She furrows her brow, staring ahead again. “Well. I suppose a being of your nature wouldn’t understand it so easily,” she says, without accusation. She’s right. You rarely have to stay in one time period or location for long. Even then, you usually let your contractor decide on your name, so no one would be able to recognize you between contracts anyway. You know some demons like to use consistent names, building a reputation slowly over decades or centuries of diabolic contracts. That life is not for you. The only reputation that applies to you in this world is the collective reputation of your kind.

“My reputation was carefully crafted over decades of stories and rumours. The Scarlet Devil. A vampire of power and influence. Many dare not even mention my name, for fear of their words reaching my ears,” she says it all, to your surprise, without a hint of gloat or pride. The words are cold and factual. The honest truth as she understands it.

“But,” you utter, as she motions to her right, leading you down another street, “that sounds overwhelmingly negative. Fear leads to contempt, doesn’t it? If I made you sound funny or approachable, wouldn’t that improve things for you?”

She shakes her head. “I do not want to be ‘approachable.’ I am a predator, and they are my prey. We do not mix. That is the natural order of things.”

It’s a curt answer for a complex problem. You respond with equal curtness. “Have you tried?”

Her voice softens. “In all of your travels, have you ever heard of a friendly vampire?” Truthfully, you have not. Vampires have an unshakeable reputation within humanity for selfishness, tyranny, and evil. “They don’t exist long enough to be heard about. Eventually, fear of what is different will lead to destruction, and such a creature will be forced to fight back or perish.”

You’ve seen it before. A witch, hunted for her magical prowess. A child, sacrificed for being left-handed. Even many of your own contractors, being diabolists, have been destroyed or chased down by humans driven mad by their own fear. For humans, it is easier to erase what they do not understand than it is to try to understand it.

“Humans can barely tolerate their own kind. They invented warfare to wipe each other out,” she continues, motioning to take a left. “That very invention could destroy me. The only weapon I have to prevent such a thing is my reputation. I can harness their fear. If humans believe I am unapproachable, they will not approach me. Those few who dare can serve as a warning for the rest.”

Her words are chilling. It is rare that you get the chance to speak to a being that is not human; her viewpoint is somewhat exotic by comparison. Humans generally value the lives of other humans, but to Remilia… they’re just another animal. You’re not particularly attached to them as a species, but you know they have value beyond that of an ordinary animal. No animal can invent concepts and tools at the rate humans can. No animal can become a diabolist aside from humans. They are often irrational and single-minded, but they are the reason you exist.

“Thank you for the explanation,” you finally say, not really sure how to respond. You have so little experience with reputations that you feel unqualified to comment on her philosophy. If it works for her, then you’ll leave it be. You at least appreciate the insight into her worldview, however exotic it may be.

The two of you continue in silence. The downpour shows no signs of stopping. The city’s many streets are labyrinthine, a seemingly endless array of stone and brick architecture. You do notice a few bystanders on the trek, usually soaked head-to-toe and running with purpose, though some slow to glance at the cloaked duo sharing a large red umbrella. You make it through to your destination without incident in about an hour.

It takes you a few seconds to realize that this is indeed your destination. Between two abandoned buildings is a tight walking space. It can easily fit a person, but the umbrella is too wide. Remilia glances at the umbrella, then pulls up her hood and adjusts her robe, hiding as much of her skin and hair as possible. She waves her right hand, causing the umbrella evaporate into nothing. Wordlessly, the two of you proceed single-file between the buildings.

“Whatever you do, don’t turn back,” she says.

Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. The space between these buildings seems to go on forever; you cannot even see the end, and as per Remilia’s instruction, you dare not turn back. Based on the streets that led you here, you are sure this endless passage does not reflect the actual layout of the city, but rather, is the work of a magical safeguard. This “book repository”, as Jean called it, is certainly a well-hidden place, which means that ordinary people are probably not welcome. You hope the coming encounter with its caretaker goes smoothly.

It takes you about half an hour of walking through this endless passage until you see the end of it: a tall stone brick wall. A dead end. Or, it occurs to you, another reality-bending safeguard.

“May we enter the Library?” Remilia says to the wall.

A few moments pass. Then, a low rumble echoes out from the wall. The bricks on the wall move and contort, forming a crude face with a mouth and two pupil-less eyes. The rumble grows louder, but soon, you begin to make out words within the rumbling. The brick mouth begins to move, forming syllables and words. “BEFORE YOU MAY ENTER, YOU MUST PROVIDE. WHAT WOULD YOU SACRIFICE FOR KNOWLEDGE?” The voice is deep and crackles like a landslide. It is as if an avalanche, or the very earth itself, were speaking to you.

“Sacrifice?” Remilia repeats, surprised. “Jean didn’t note anything about this…”

“What kind of sacrifice?” you ask the face. Its empty eyes seem to stare right into your very essence.


“That seems a bit steep,” Remilia protests, taking a step back. “Might we pay in some other good?”

THE LIBRARY HAS NO NEED FOR EARTHLY GOODS. MAKE YOUR SACRIFICE OR LEAVE MY SIGHT,” it says with finality. The gaze of the stone is cold and unfriendly. It does not trust you and is filled with expectation.

[ ] Make your sacrifice. (Write-in what you would give up.)
[ ] Force your way in.
[x] Make your sacrifice.
-[x] Our dignity

Do we really need our dignity? Too much dignity is a result of pride, and pride is one of the seven deadly sins, so we're better off without it.

Also I'm trying to imagine how exactly we would give the wall our dignity, and I'm imagining us getting down on our knees and begging the wall to let us in. Its a funny picture.
[x] Make your sacrifice.
-[x] Our dignity

I was going to suggest something different, but I like the concept of this. Dogeza time.
I will say, as amusing as that would be, that you do not really have any dignity to give. As a mere servant, and tool of many, you hold no honour or respect that stands to be lost. Even something extreme like stripping down naked would do little to you, since the body that will be exposed is not truly yours.
[x] Force your way in.

No wall tells us what to do.
[x] Make your sacrifice.
-[x] Our weaknesses and limitations

Your move, wall.
By that logic, is there anything we can give? We wouldn't even be able to breathe in this dimension if it weren't for Ceasar's permissions. That means our sight, strength, magic, and everything else that makes us us technically all belong to Ceasar while we are in this world. Its not really ours to give away.
[x] Make your sacrifice.
-[x] Our weaknesses and limitations

I can get behind that plan.
[x] Force your way in.

Fuck that.
Sorry, in hindsight, the Clara body case was not a very good example.

It is not your nature as a demon that takes dignity off the table, but how your kinds sees dignity. Dignity largely relies on psychology. To your kind, dignity is generally a waste of emotion and effort to upkeep. Demons do not have dignity: they will do any task, sink to any low, for the sake of the contract. It's similar to asking a hardened criminal to give up their respect for the law. They, likely, do not already have that respect, so giving it up would be impossible.
[x] Make your sacrifice.
-[x] Remilia's dignity
As a contracted demon, Clara can be considered a slave. If Remilia can pass so can her possession.
I believe Remilia`s sacrifice is up to her. What we`re voting on is OUR sacrifice.
We could try to play the "Remilia`s possesion" card, but I`ll be thinking of something to give up if that doesn`t work. If it considers us a "guest" anyway, we will have to sacrifice something.
You guys think Clara counts as two guests?
Piss. Uhhhh...

Then, change my vote (>>65830) to:

[x] Make your sacrifice.
-[x] Our sense of time.

And if that doesn't work, then, whatever.

...Isn't that kind of a big deal to lose? Keep in mind Clara has to live with this until some quasi-omnipotent demiplanar entity destroys the multiverse, since Demonkind would live on past the eventual heat death of the material universe.
I'm >>65827
I guess I'll try to exploit the system by changing to:

[x] Make your sacrifice.
-[x] Our weaknesses and limitations

I'm not sure you thought this through very far...

>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.

Clara: Hey Remi, Caesar just died of old age and I have no sense of time. Has it been a week yet?

Remilia: Umm... no. You still have to do what I say for quite a while I'm afraid.
That's... A bit more than just losing our sense of time.
If we lose it so badly that we cannot even draw logical conclusions from the events around us (e.g. seeing the sun rise and set for the second time = at least two days must have passed), or even understanding the concept of a week, then we'd be useless as a servant anyway.
Closing the vote for now. The most votes was:
>[x] Make your sacrifice.
>-[x] Our weaknesses and limitations

This will be interesting to write.
We're at 1400 words so far. I usually like to stop around 1000, but I haven't found a natural stopping place yet so I won't force it. We are close to a good spot, rest assured.
File 15197777851.jpg - (279.02KB, 1920x1080, a different though similar magical library.jpg) [iqdb]
The wall towers fifteen to twenty feet over you. Its “face” is grotesque in the way it breaks the uniformity of the stone bricks that make up the wall. The “eyes” are simply gaps in the wall; no light shines through, leaving only two dark slots that seem as though they could suck you in. Its “mouth” is curved in a sharp frown. It waits, silently, for your response.

Its request is odd to you. You have never heard of magic that could inhibit or remove a part of one’s nature. Such a magic would be incredibly complicated and take a lot energy to uphold for vast amounts of time. If this wall is not lying to you, then the caretaker of this place is very powerful. You glance at Remilia for any signs as to what she may be thinking. She returns your blank stare, apparently just as unequipped to deal with this situation as you are. She wants this grimoire. She needs it. Does she need it badly enough to give up a part of herself, potentially forever?

“I have an idea,” you tell her. You don’t have an idea. You’re just hoping to relieve her worry.

“I’ll let you go first, then,” she says.

Her eyes are on you. Anything will do, really. Would its magic affect you past the lifespan of this body? You’ve never encountered something in these lower realms that could influence your true self. Though, there are many types of magic you do not know or understand, a sinister part of you whispers.

There are plenty of “easy” things to give up -- senses, or a personality trait, but you can do better than that. You pride yourself on being an expert “magic lawyer”. Your kind has verbally sparred with humans for hundreds of years, building and modifying contracts within very specific wording in order to allow for loopholes. It’s not that you have a rational reason to outsmart a contract; it is simply amusing. You are generally an honest demon and will do your best to follow the needs of your contractors, but as is evidenced by you being here with Remilia instead of Caesar, your personal interests sometimes take precedence and when that occurs, almost nothing can stop you. A simple brick wall guarding a library? It has nothing on your experience.

The examples it gave as parts of your nature -- strength, magic prowess, and so on, are generally seen as positive and valuable. It never specified, though, that the thing you must give up must be something you value. You could easily give up something that weighs you down, such as your weakness or limitations. Things in this world that limit the scope of how you may act; these are just as much a part of your nature as your strength or your sense of taste. However, this wall did say “one” sacrifice. It is likely it will protest to giving up just a blanket of “my limitations”. Just to be sure, you poise a question, “Would you accept more than one sacrifice?” Remilia blinks, confused.

I WILL NOT TAKE MORE THAN ONE PER PERSON,” rumbles its response, as predicted. To avoid angering it, you will not suggest it take all limitations, but there is certainly one right now you would rather live without.

“I would give up my inability to enter the library.”

Its frown deepens. Silence. Just as the pause reaches the minute mark, its grimace curls slightly, turning gleeful. It speaks again. “A CLEVER RESPONSE. YOU BOTH MAY ENTER.

“Wait, what about my sacrifice?” Remilia says, not convinced.


You hear her mumble very quietly under her breath, “touché.”

With the conversation over, the wall begins to change. To an overture of earth and brick cracking and sliding, the bricks contort and move again, clearing away the face and opening into a tunnel. A row of torches springs to life on each side of the tunnel, illuminating a dark red carpet and walls that match the stone brick of the entrance. A staircase leading down interrupts the tunnel about five metres in.

The two of you step into the tunnel. After a few seconds, you feel a tug on your sleeve, and turn down to see Remilia’s face. Her expression is soft. “Thank you. That was… well done.”

A compliment from the Scarlet Devil. You’re not sure what to make of it. “It’s in my nature to outwit humans, vampires, and walls alike,” you respond. She rolls her eyes, but it’s more playful than annoyed.

~ ~ ~

Eventually the staircase ends, leading you down another dim hallway like the one at the entrance, except the tunnel stops at a pair of large mahogany doors. You reach them and slowly, gently, pull them open to reveal a spectacular sight.

The ceiling is incredibly high; at least 100 feet, you estimate. You can’t see a wall in either direction -- they’re blocked by countless rows of mahogany bookshelves that extend in all three directions away from you and the doors. These bookshelves are filled, from one side to the other, with books of various coloured spines, thickness, and heights. Floating along these shelves are thousands of small crystals (similar to Flandre’s “cranberries”) that keep the library well-lit. Some books float freely without a shelf, but they move with purpose. Others slide out of place on a shelf and move over to another. It’s as if the library itself is alive.

“Wow,” you hear Remilia utter beside you. “This is amazing.”

“You are the 3497th person to say that,” says a flat voice. Next to one of the bookshelves is a pale woman who looks to be in her mid-thirties. Donned in thick purple robes and a strange hat that is a cross between a nightcap and a wizard hat, the woman regards you with an air of importance. Her eyes snap between the two of you quickly. She leans on a staff with a large gem encrusted in the top. You’re not sure how you missed her when you came in; although, her frail and unassuming form may have played a role. She looks like a mere breath could knock her over.


“The caretaker of this library, yes,” she says. “I am Lavender Knowledge. Magician, scholar, caretaker of the Great Magic Library, and your host for today.”

“It is a pleasure, Miss Knowledge. I am Remilia Scarlet, and this is my servant, Clara.”

“Ah, the Scarlet Devil. Your reputation precedes you. I am honoured to have such an acclaimed guest visit the library.” The words are flattering, but her tone is completely lacking in expression. “What would you like to check out?”

“I am searching for a book, but it is very unlikely that this book is in your possession.”

She raises her eyebrows lightly, though the rest of her face remains flat. “You are the fourth to ever suggest such a thing. I am intrigued. Let us discuss in a more comfortable place.” She turns around and hobbles off.

Remilia smiles to you and saunters after Lavender. You follow.

~ ~ ~

The library seems endless. Rows and rows of shelves like those at the entrance, only a few metres apart, in all directions, for as far as you can see. The library is suitably lit by those crystals you saw before. Once or twice, you see areas that contain no crystals, leaving them in darkness (“Do not approach those. You may not survive.”). Lavender speaks very little throughout the trek and her gait is slower than yours. You lose track of time.

Your destination is a large clearing among the shelves furnished by desks and chairs. The desks are barely recognizable as such; each one is covered in books, in-progress documents, and various utensils such as writing implements, beakers, and compasses. She steps past the desks and settles into a seated wooden chair. She waves her staff, and two other chairs levitate over, settling in front of her. You and Remilia sit. A few moments pass, Lavender unmoving, her face as flat as ever.

“Tell me about this book.”

Remilia hands her sketch of the grimoire to Lavender. “It’s a grimoire. It was stolen from me a number of years ago--”

“You owned this?” she says, knitting her brow. For the first time, there is an edge to her voice. “Are you, perchance, a diabolist?”

“No,” Remilia says. It’s technically true. She may have a contract with you, but she’s not the one who summoned you, and likely does not even know how to do such a thing on her own.

Lavender stares for a while, trying to read Remilia’s expression. The latter is firmly locked in a calm poker face. In all of your time with the Scarlet Devil, you get the sense that bureaucratic meetings such as these are when she is in her true element. The amusing thought arises: you’ll break down the walls and she’ll talk you both out of the resulting trouble. The perfect team.

“It’s a family heirloom,” Remilia offers. “My parents owned it.”

“Were they diabolists, then?”

“I do not know. They perished while I was still very young.”

Lavender’s brow laxes. “I see. I am sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, but it was decades ago.”

She takes another glance at the sketch. “My apologies for prying. If you do not know, this grimoire is very ancient, and has quite a history within magician society. Its roots are primarily diabolic in nature.”

“You seemed quite interested in the possibility of me being a diabolist,” Remilia says.

Lavender nods. “I am not fond of diabolism. I was worried I had let an enemy into the library.”

You resist the urge to react. Her stance is not unexpected, though somewhat disappointing. Throughout history, human and non-human magicians alike have shunned your kind and the craft associated with it. From what you have gathered over the years, this stigma stems from the use of the recently deceased as vessels and the dangerous nature of demons. The reputation of your kind is that of evil, fickle beings that would destroy entire towns or cities if not kept in line. Controlling such demons takes a great deal of skill; this is something that most diabolists lack, so the craft takes the brunt of the reputational damage. You make a mental note to proceed with caution. It would not be good to leave any tells that you are a demon.

“Rest assured, I am no diabolist, nor do I associate with them,” Remilia says, smiling. “My motivations in this are purely preventive. My family has kept the grimoire safe for a long time, but it was stolen from me by a young and foolish thief. I wish to take it back so I may prevent its misuse, as my parents have done.”

“I see...” Lavender raises a finger to her lips, lost in thought. “It has been long thought lost to history, but if you are telling the truth, the guardianship of the Scarlet family would be an adequate explanation for why none have located the grimoire.” She blinks, her blank stare returning to its dominant reign on her face. She leans forward toward you. “Clara, was it? Your response to my door was very interesting. What is your background?”

“She’s just a peasant girl I have enlisted as my servant,” Remilia responds for you. You steal a glance at her; her face still an unreadable wall. Is Lavender trying to get a read on her through you?

“Ah, I see,” she says, leaning back. “Where did you meet this servant?”

“Just in a town near my castle. This is somewhat off topic, though,” Remilia says, her tone sharpening.

“You are correct. My apologies.” She stands up, shuffling over to a nearby desk. She rummages through papers and books for a few moments. You look at Remilia for guidance. She simply regards you with a stern expression that you take to mean, be careful.

“Ah, here it is,” Lavender says softly, turning back to you two with a large book under her arm. On her way back to her seat, she trips. She grabs your hand as she falls and catches herself.

“Oops, clumsy me.”

In one swift motion, she pulls your glove off, exposing the bright red rune that belongs to Remilia’s contract. You freeze with immediate trepidation.

I see you are not all that you say you are, Clara,” she whispers, brow furrowed and voice filled with malice. “Or should I say, demon?”

[ ] Lie. It’s the only way out of this.
- [ ] (write-in; how convincing the lie is determines the success)
[ ] Defend Remilia. Her safety comes first.
[ ] Attack Lavender. She’s not expecting it.
[x] Defend Remilia. Her safety comes first.

If we beat her, I'm gonna have to ask her to change her name to another flower. Lavenders are nice, but Patchouli is Patchouli!
File 151982102578.gif - (248.84KB, 260x195, When keeping it real goes wrong.gif) [iqdb]
[X] Attack Lavender. She’s not expecting it.

Sometimes ya gotta keeps it real. Until I get some proof she wasn't really going to steal part of our soul to fuel her knowledge fetish, I'm going to believe that's what she fully intended to do.
[x] Defend Remilia. Her safety comes first.
Going aggressive in the first move is a bad idea.
[x] Defend Remilia. Her safety comes first.

We bodyguard now.
[x] Defend Remilia. Her safety comes first.
[X] Lie. It’s the only way out of this.
- [X] "I am Clara, a lawyer contracted by miss Remilia to act as her assistant in a legal feud with a group of people who would take everything away from her on dubious claims for personal benefits. As such, I aim to help her retrieve her family's grimoire as it would greatly help her case in the coming trial. This mark is the sign of my loyalty towards my client."

Tell everything with a calm voice and neutral face.
It's not even really a lie, and the Scarlet Devil having troubles with the law and standing trial might just be outrageous enough to make her drop the rest.

Under less dire circumstances, I'd say the line between lawyers and extra-planar quasi-malevolent entities is blurry enough to give that a shot. As things stand, however, you aren't really addressing the not-at-all proverbial pink demon in the room.
[x] Defend Remilia. Her safety comes first.

I don't think we could come up with any lies convincing enough to handwave away a magical binding symbol, when the person we're lying to is very knowledgeable in magic and already convinced (and correct) that we're a demon. We also shouldn't attack her, that would "prove her right" that we can't be trusted.
Instead, I think we should try for a more pacifistic approach. Defense only, show her that we mean no harm. We're only here to help Remilia reclaim her book. Then we have to go back to killing her, I guess, but that's for later.

Also, if we want to get technical, WE never said we weren't a demon. It was all Remilia, we haven't uttered a single lie since we came here.
Hell, maybe we could use that fact to our advantage, somehow. If we decide to try and mislead her about our nature, we can start by pointing that out.
Called for [x] Defend Remilia.
I have something special cooked up for this coming update.
Not dead. Just busy! I'm still getting into the habit of writing whenever possible around school and work times, so things are a bit slow over the weekdays.
Update should be out this weekend at the very latest.
File 152116124052.jpg - (23.80KB, 400x400, mini sun.jpg) [iqdb]
From an impartial point of view, you’re in an amusing situation. A demon from another realm, summoned by a boy who seems to have just barely reached adulthood and given the task of hunting a vampire. Befriending that vampire, you are now assisting her in tracking down an ancient and powerful grimoire supposedly shunned by the magic community. In this search you’ve traveled to a well-hidden and ridiculously large magical library that is under the watch of a powerful magician with a hatred for diabolism and demonic entities. It sounds like something a whimsical person would write in their spare time.

Lavender’s grip pulls you back to reality. It is tense, but it still feels very weak. She is not a very physically capable magician. Still, to watch over such a large space seemingly on her own, she must be powerful. Her gaze is the only thing remotely tough about her; there’s an intense distrust in her eyes as she looks into yours. Feeling a bit annoyed by her aggressiveness, you pull yourself from her grip and onto your feet. You estimate she is only an inch or two shorter than you, but her hat makes up for the difference.

Remilia stands, placing a hand on your other shoulder. “My servant is a fan of the occult. This is--”

“This is no mere tattoo, if that is what you are going to say, Remilia Scarlet.” Remilia frowns at the interruption. The hostility in Lavender’s voice is an unusual shift from her standard tone deaf cadence. “This is a diabolic rune. A contract. You are a diabolist.”

“I am not.”

Lavender does not respond. Her feet lift into the air as she begins to levitate. “I should never have let you two in here. I will be sure to rectify this mistake.” She flips open the book in her hand, reciting an incantation from the page inside. Fire and plasma flows out of her staff like liquid, pooling into the air above her in a sphere.

You grab Remilia’s hand. As you both begin to rush off the way you originally entered from, a large ball of plasma flies in your direction. You slide out of the way as it fires past, hitting one of the desks and exploding. Paper is sent everywhere and the air is filled with the smell of sulfur and ash. By now, Lavender’s chanting has stopped. Her sphere of plasma, a few metres across, follows her in the air above. It looks like a miniature sun and is almost too bright to look at.

{ BGM: https://soundcloud.com/thejorlosopher/magic-scholar-the-librarians-study }
~ Magic Scholar ~ The Librarian’s Study composed by myself ~

Another set of plasma balls break off from the miniature sun, arcing towards you and Remilia. You pull on her arm, leading her between a set of shelves to cut off Lavender’s view. The projectiles scream as they speed past behind you. You hear a distant explosion. Even though you are already quite far from Lavender, the heat is intense.

“Let me... carry us,” Remilia gasps out, her short legs having trouble keeping up with yours. You slow enough to let her grab onto your waist and you start to fly. Lavender just rounds the corner. Her sun, too large to fit between the bookshelves, breaks into several smaller suns that float around high above her head. Seeing you two in flight, she waves her staff, calling forth a magical burst of energy that sends her towards you. She’s catching up.

She fires another barrage of plasma projectiles.

“UP!” you shout. Remilia follows the direction, but one of them hits your leg, instantly evaporating it up to the knee. You scream, the scent of burning flesh filling your nostrils. “She’s gaining on us!”

Remilia grabs your hand. “Use this.” A spear, her spear, made of pure energy appears in your other hand. Then, she lets go of your waist, holding you only by your arm. It’s a dangerous and somewhat terrifying position -- several dozen feet in the air, dangling on the arm of a tiny vampire girl, being chased by an angry librarian with five balls of pure sun. Still, you have Remilia’s spear. Trying your best to ignore the pain in your leg, you raise your arm, aiming carefully. Lavender notices your newly-formed weapon and fires a line of plasma bullets at you.

At the last possible moment, you swing to the left, the projectiles just grazing past. The heat is unbearable. The light is intense. Squinting so your eyes don’t melt in their sockets, you hurl the spear with all of your might. Lavender swerves out of the way, but unknown to her, you weren’t aiming for her. The spear sinks into one of the mini-suns and it explodes. Lavender notices just in time and pulls up her arms, a translucent barrier appearing around her to block the plasma. She slows to a stop, trying to contain the plasma that is now erupting out of the sphere. With that opening, Remilia turns down another fork, and then another.

~ ~ ~

Before long, you’ve escaped the heat and the brightness of Lavender’s magic. Remilia gently floats you down to the ground. Wordlessly, she crouches to inspect your leg. As she lifts what remains of your skirt, the wound enters your sight and you involuntarily wince. Where your knee should start, the flesh ends. The heat from Lavender’s projectile cauterized it immediately, so it’s not bleeding, but it doesn’t look healthy. You recall your wounds from your battle with Remilia -- those healed in a matter of minutes, if not seconds, but this wound hasn’t even begun to heal. Then, you notice: there’s a set of dimly lit cyan lines curled around your thigh. They’re similar to the binding runes on your hands.

“It’s an enchantment,” Remilia whispers, gently tracing her finger along one of them. You can barely feel her touch through the burning pain. “I… can’t tell what it does.” She rises to her feet, gritting her teeth.

“Damn it… damn it!” She slams her tiny fist against the bookshelf nearby, knocking a few books to the ground. “That bitch. She didn’t even let us explain ourselves… I couldn’t even have fought back against that attack. It was sun magic! What am I supposed to do against that? I’m a vampire!”

You watch her silently as she throws her arms into the air. This is a new side of her; the composed and elegant woman you know reduced to a frustrated tantrum. Lavender’s attack came as a shock. Given how quickly things had gotten out of hand, she likely was not expecting such hostility upon first entering the library. Indeed, you recall her expressing her discomfort with the lack of information Jean had prepared for her even at the entrance.

“Clara,” she says, her voice struggling to maintain composure. “Don’t worry. I’ll fix this.” She runs her fingers through the air, as if trying to break invisible cobwebs around her. She tightens her hand into a fist and pulls it close to her chest. A series of red strings are tangled around her fingers. They’re taut and go a metre or so away from her before disappearing, the other end of each string unseen.

Are these... strings of fate?

“What are you going to do?”

She doesn’t look up. Opening her hand, she inspects the various strings. “I’ll make sure she gives us the information we need,” she mutters.

[ ] Let her continue. Her power will make this much easier.
[ ] Convince her to stop. She doesn’t have all the variables yet -- it could be risky.

After that,
[ ] “I think we can negotiate with Lavender. I can show her Caesar’s rune and explain you aren’t the diabolist who summoned me.”
[ ] “We should explore the library, keep out of Lavender’s sight, and find the information we need ourselves.”
[ ] “Let’s just get out of this place. We can find another way to get ahold of the grimoire.”
File 152116153086.png - (235.77KB, 600x425, flanpresent.png) [iqdb]
"Something special" in this case being, the song I made.
[x] Convince her to stop. She doesn’t have all the variables yet -- it could be risky.
Risky for Remilia option? Not after our last choice.

[x] “I think we can negotiate with Lavender. I can show her Caesar’s rune and explain you aren’t the diabolist who summoned me.”

Let's hope this works.
This one for me too. I don't think this is a good idea, yet.
[x] Convince her to stop. She doesn’t have all the variables yet -- it could be risky.
[x] “I think we can negotiate with Lavender. I can show her Caesar’s rune and explain you aren’t the diabolist who summoned me.”

Worst case scenario, we get vaporized and Remilia has to find her book on her own. How bad can it be?
[X] Let her continue. Her power will make this much easier.
[X] “We should explore the library, keep out of Lavender’s sight, and find the information we need ourselves.”

Seems contradictory, but I feel like we might get the info as a boast from the librarian before she suns us if Remilia tries to use fate without knowing everything about the situation. Could be useful if we can take advantage of that, but that doesn't mean we can't search for the info at the same time.

And I don't think explaining to someone that hates demons and those that make contracts with them that Remilia didn't summon us will work, since she still made a contract with us anyway.
[x] Let her continue. Her power will make this much easier.
[x] “I think we can negotiate with Lavender. I can show her Caesar’s rune and explain you aren’t the diabolist who summoned me.”

She might not have all the variables, but Remi is controlling fate nonetheless. Besides, Clara is supposed to be a clever hellspawn. She can probably make it work in spite of fate's love of ironies, and probably due to some unseen twist or tangle.
[X] Convince her to stop. She doesn’t have all the variables yet -- it could be risky.
-[X] “We should explore the library, keep out of Lavender’s sight, and find the information we need ourselves.”

Remi's is pretty on edge right now, and more than a little afraid. I think her power has weaknesses and limitations she probably isn't in the right mind to consider right now.

Like...there's probably a reason she didn't just "fate" the thief to return the book. There's probably a reason she didn't "fate" Clara to lose to her, and there's probably a reason she shouldn't attempt to "Fate" Lavender so recklessly now.

Also wasn't Clara granted her full range of demonic actions and abilities? Why the heck is she playing the damsel in distress?
Calling the vote for:
[X] Convince her to stop. She doesn’t have all the variables yet -- it could be risky.
[x] “I think we can negotiate with Lavender. I can show her Caesar’s rune and explain you aren’t the diabolist who summoned me.”

Thanks for the votes and discussion everyone. It warms my heart to see so many interested in my small slice of Touhou.

>Worst case scenario, we get vaporized and Remilia has to find her book on her own. How bad can it be?
Hue hue hue... It can always be worse.

>also wasn't Clara granted her full range of demonic actions and abilities? Why the heck is she playing the damsel in distress?
I'm not too sure what you mean by Clara playing damsel in distress, but rest assured she still has some things up her sleeve, as you will soon see.
File 152203733465.png - (79.58KB, 580x800, caution sun equipment.png) [iqdb]
Her breathing has slowed, her shoulders relaxing. The rush of battle seems to be subsiding for Remilia. She stares intently into her hand, a devilish grin slowly spreading on her face. It’s an expression of cruel glee, one that betrays the feeling of knowing she will get all that she wants. It reminds you of Caesar’s own sinister smile.

You have to stop her. Even if she’s beginning to think more clearly, she’s acting too quickly. This use of her powers is driven by her frustration, and with that frustration comes the potential to overlook an important detail. You’re not completely sure how her ability works, but you know it’s quite complicated, and based on past conversations, greatly dependent on the variables she has to work with. What all of these “variables” are, you do not know, but you can’t shake the uneasy feeling that she doesn’t have enough of them in this current situation.

Using the shelves behind you to leverage your weight, you rise to your remaining foot. You follow along the bookshelf, coming up next to Remilia. She looks up, surprised by your movement. “You shouldn’t overextend yourself,” she says.

“Don’t do anything rash.” You reach out, placing a firm hand upon her shoulder.

She glances back at her own hand nervously, then pulls it closer to her chest, shielding it from you. “This is not rash. My ability is highly calculated.”

“And highly complicated,” you respond, struggling to keep your tone neutral through the pain of your leg. “You said yourself while we were flying out here that if there are too many variables in a situation, you have less of a guarantee that things will go your way.”

“That… is true...” she mutters, frowning. “But… I need to do something! I can’t just stand idly by and let us be destroyed by a crazy magician.”

At her words you realize that, at the root of this, she is scared. She has no control over Lavender. She’s not at her castle, where she has advantage of the home terrain. For one so accustomed to being in control due to her ability, this can only be a nightmare for her.

“You feel powerless,” you say matter-of-factly. The words give her pause, but she nods slowly. In front of you, you see a small, terrified girl, and the urge to hug her suddenly crosses over your mind. It’s a very human urge, one that is driven by the chemistry of the vessel you inhabit. You stand firm against the feeling. You usually make a point to resist your vessel’s urges when they come to you.

Instead, you say with determination, “Let me talk to Lavender.”

She looks at you, worried. “She’s unstable. She almost killed you.”

Remilia concern is not misplaced. There are alternative plans that have crossed your mind, such as searching the library yourself for the information you need, or just leaving altogether and finding Remilia’s grimoire some other way, but both of these are flawed. The library is incredibly large and labyrinthine in its organization. The chance that you will find the information you are looking for while also avoiding an angry librarian who can harness the power of the sun is slim. Outside of the library, you two have no sources on this book. Lavender’s knowledge is the best bet you have at this point. It may be a foolhardy plan that ends in your demise, but it’s all you have at the moment.

“I believe I can get through to her. There are more details to this situation that she doesn’t know yet,” you say. It’s the truth. Remilia is not actually a diabolist, and you are not a demon looking to destroy Lavender’s work or anything of the sort. Honest and detailed explanations may yet remedy this situation. You hope.

“Do you think those details will change her mind?”

“They’ll have to,” you say, the doubts in your mind making themselves known through your uneasy tone.

“If you die, I will use everything that I have at my disposal to make it out of this situation,” Remilia says grimly. “I’ll also… be really upset. So please refrain from dying.”

There’s that urge again. Meddlesome. “I will do my best, Miss.” You’re not sure why you used a title instead of her name. She quickly glances away.

...After a few quiet moments, she relaxes her hand, the strings sliding off of her fingers and fading into nothing. Some time soon, you’ll have to ask her for details about her ability. It’s very interesting to you, since you have never encountered a being with such a power in the past. There is also, perhaps more importantly, the benefit of knowing more about her abilities and limitations for when you have to kill her. If it comes to that.

With her vampiric strength, Remilia pulls a shelf out from one of the bookshelves and adjusts its length to suit you as a makeshift crutch. It’s crude, and a bit too thick for comfort, but it at least serves its function. The two of you make your ways back to Lavender.

~ ~ ~

The journey is short. You get lost a few times, but nevertheless, you find Lavender quickly by keeping an eye out for the radiance of her magic. She is flying overhead at an accelerated pace, and nearly misses you as a result. When she notices, she slows to a stop and floats down to only ten feet off the ground. Four of her five suns are missing; you only hit one earlier so you assume she dispelled the others, perhaps for ease of use. Nevertheless, the remaining sun is still incredibly bright and hot.

“I see you’ve come hobbling back, demon,” she says, pointing her staff at you menacingly. The sun behind her seems to flare brighter in response.

“We are not here to fight. Please, let’s have a conversation,” you say, shielding your eyes.

“To what end? So you might manipulate me into sparing your dangerous existence in the material plane? I have nothing to say to one of your kind.”

“Then as a fellow being born of this plane, let me speak,” Remilia shouts, stepping in front of you. She pulls the glove from her hand, showing the diabolic rune. “It is true that I am in contract with this one, but I am no diabolist. Please allow us the opportunity to explain ourselves.”

She speaks in a respectful yet firm tone. She stands tall and her wings unfurl, stretching out as far as they can, like an owl puffing out its feathers. In the overpowering light of Lavender’s sun, the creature of the night before you, Remilia Scarlet, manages to evoke a expression of surprise in Lavender. Her eyebrows raise slightly and her lips part, overcome by interest in the sudden commanding presence that has appeared before her. She lowers her staff. The sun behind her shrinks and shrinks, until it’s barely larger than her fist. Along with its size, the light it radiates dims, comparable to that of a (much more manageable) lamp.

“Out of respect for your family and its ancestry, I will listen to you speak, Miss Scarlet, but if your words are not sufficient to quell my worries, I will destroy your demonic ally,” Lavender says, her voice slowly returning to its usual flatness.

Remilia nods. “Very well.”

She explains how you met, your current contract, and how you both came to Lavender in the first place. She mentions Caesar briefly but glosses over the confrontation with him and neglects to mention that you almost succeeded in killing her. You try to help with the explanation by adding a few minor details here and there, but Lavender hushes you. She watches you carefully throughout Remilia’s explanation, her distrust made clear. When Remilia finishes, you all remain silent for a while, Lavender’s gaze remaining on you as she considers the story.

“Miss Scarlet, I would like to see the other rune you spoke of,” she finally says. “Don’t move, demon.”

Remilia steps towards you. You hold still as she removes your remaining glove that hides the blue rune of Caesar’s contract. Lavender looks at it for a few moments, her face clouded by intense thought.

“I acknowledge the likelihood of this story, but the risk is too great for me to trust you. You could very well both be working for this ‘vampire hunter’ you spoke of. You are too dangerous to spare. I have no lasting qualm with Miss Remilia Scarlet, so should you be destroyed, you may take comfort in the knowledge that I will not harm her.”

“Wait. You don’t need to do this, Miss Knowledge,” Remilia blurts out, her commanding presence faltering. “Surely we can come to some sort of accord.”

An accord… That gives you an idea.

“Unfortunately, there is no accord under which I can trust this being. I am sorry.” Lavender raises her staff again, the plasma orb behind her crackling.

Your mind is racing. An accord. No demon, no matter how sinister, can wilfully breach the terms of their contract. That means, if you could convince Lavender to bind you to a diabolic contract, she should be able to trust you. You don’t lose anything in death, as “death” would only mean the destruction of your vessel, but to disappear after coming so far would be a shame. If you can somehow convince Lavender not to destroy you, you could remain with…you could carry out your contracts.

Of course, you’re already in a couple of contracts. Acquiring any more than that could make this messier than it needs to be. You could instead try to fight her. With Remilia at your side, surely you can defeat the magician.

[ ] Propose a diabolic contract
- [ ] Genuflect. (show respect)
- [ ] Stand tall. (command respect)
[ ] Fight your way out.
I have to admit, I'm kinda surprised by the way things are going. I assumed demons were a big deal due to the taboo nature of the practice of diabolism. Clara even feels pain when the corpse she's in gets hit.

[X] Tatakai

Because the other choices we're given would be silly under these circumstances.
[X] Propose a diabolic contract
- [X] Stand tall. (command respect)

The time to fight would have been last update, when we had the element of surprise and Remilia's power. We're committed to talking this out, so let's negotiate.
[x] Propose a diabolic contract
-[x] Stand Tall. (Command Respect)
-[x] Sweat Bullets. (Show Slight Weakness)
This on it own should be showing that we're actually reasonable. Genuflecting however is a tad too far, and would probably be a tad too embarrassing for Remilia.
At the same time however we cannot go too far in commanding respect, we're at the end of the rope in negotiating for our current grip on the physical realm, thus my write-in extra.
In my reading while catching up to the story again, I noticed little information was given on demonic abilities. So, in future updates I would like to establish some clarity for what you as a demon are able to do. For now, I'll give you some general information.

>I assumed demons were a big deal due to the taboo nature of the practice of diabolism.
Demons are moreso feared for their unpredictable nature and cunning than their abilities. They can of course also be physically or magically powerful, but a lot of a demon's limitations are tied to their vessel. Clara, as a vessel, has special properties, though I cannot say much more about them right now. You'll discover them in time.

Some natural demonic abilities regardless of the vessel you inhabit: higher pain tolerance; superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, and healing ability; some basic elemental magic; and the ability to augment magic used by allies. In the present situation, Lavender has an enchantment on your leg that is blocking your natural healing ability.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I am aiming to elaborate on much of this information in the coming updates. You are all free to voice questions regarding your demonic abilities and I will do my best to answer them in the story when appropriate.
[X] Propose a diabolic contract
- [X] Genuflect. (show respect)

Pride? I'd feed that to the dogs. Dishonor can be washed with results and protecting Remilia is what her heart is set on. Or so it seems.
[X] Accept your death if she can and does provide the information Remilia wants.

Because proposing a demonic contract to the anti-demon girl that wants to blast your face for being a demon and attacked Remilia on the off chance that she was a diabolist seems more insulting than it's worth right now, and survival isn't our top priority anyway.
[X] Propose a diabolic contract
- [X] Stand tall. (command respect)

Fighting is sure death, and genuflection is likely to only look suspicious and either hasten death or put it off momentarily. It's a risk either way, but this seems like the least bad of the legs to cut off.

Forgive me for being so candid, but the options presented to us typically don't seem very cunning or intellectual. Even the weaknesses and limitations thing was retconned Into being more witty than cunning.

I'm changing >>66026 to

[X] Propose a contract
-[X] Intentionally attempt to screw her over.
Thank you for being honest.

I have been trying to make the selections fit Anon's general attitude, which seems to have been so far more about exploring the world (see Anon deciding not to kill Remilia and end the contract when they had the chance) and acting, as you put it, witty (see the various pranks pulled on Remilia) rather than being an assholeish demon. If Anon starts steering in that direction, the choices presented will change to reflect that mindset. Until that point, Anon's demon has so far established itself as respectful, to a point, and very curious.

I don't think this is necessarily a bad direction for us to go. In this world, demons of various moral persuasions exist. The "cunning hellspawn" that diabolism is known for are the most stereotypical demon in magic culture, and while they are surely common, they are not all that diabolism has to offer.

As for the weaknesses and limitations thing, well, I elected to retcon that because it was far too large of a scope for the simple sacrifice the door was asking. The alternative was to just refuse that as a sacrifice, which I don't think was nearly as fun.
[X] Propose a contract
-[X] Intentionally attempt to screw her over.
I think his point was also that she is really fucking weak. She can't beat on combat anyone worth mentioning and she isn't cunning (as in, smarter than us)

The only thing I have trouble believing is that they thought summoning help would have helped against a vampire. That guy is really dumb.

If I recall correctly, the reason is something to the effect of extra-planar beings being immune to fate manipulation.
Which ended up being false, if the last post is to be believed.

I'm not sure I follow. Remi was attempting to fate fuck Lavender like a two-dollar slut, not Clara
File 152225920489.jpg - (257.45KB, 1280x1024, 13.jpg) [iqdb]
Calling the vote now:
[X] Propose a diabolic contract
- [X] Stand tall. (command respect)

The "intentionally fuck her over" write-in is interesting. If the proposal is accepted, you may still have a chance to do so while discussing the contract terms.

One thing to note about the personality of this protagonist is that they are highly influenced by player attitudes. In the previous thread, Anon most often went for the "good boi" options, so the demon has been mostly respectful and sincere so far. As your behaviour changes, so will the options given to you.

>She can't beat on combat anyone worth mentioning
The downside of spending most of your time around powerful youkai is that your superhuman gifts will seem somewhat common. Anon's demon so far, has only engaged with combat with Remilia and Lavender. Of those, you did successfully defeat Remilia in 1-on-1 combat; she is only alive today due to Anon's curiosity. Lavender has a few things going for her currently: she is a powerful magician, you are in her home turf, and Anon had decided to prioritize defending Remilia over defeating her.

>she isn't cunning (as in, smarter than us)
I think that's a given for most stories on the site. Anon tends to be pretty collectively smart, especially when they are paying attention.

>That guy is really dumb.
You're not wrong.

Indeed, that was Caesar's stated motivation.

Thanks for taking the time to respond to feedback. Also, keep in mind we only say these things because we love you and your story.
File 152246014051.jpg - (56.58KB, 1024x376, magic.jpg) [iqdb]
You close your hand into a fist, staring at it intently. Since Caesar summoned you, you’ve neglected to tap into your own magic. He did grant you use of it in his permissions, but so far, you’ve had very few opportunities to use it. If you concentrate, you can feel the pulse of magic around you like a heartbeat. To a human village, your magic prowess would be considered dangerous: you can start fires with a snap of your fingers, control water, and a few other elemental tricks. To powerful being such as Lavender or Remilia, your magic is not very impressive, but it’s better than nothing; you can still fight, and with Remilia’s assistance, you have a fair shot at winning.

However, your concern for Remilia’s survival grows. You’re only in this situation right now because you spared Remilia’s life. You wanted to gather more information on her -- get to know her and understand her, to know for sure if Caesar is in the right. It’s not exactly your job to determine who is morally “right.” You are a tool to be used, and nothing more. Nevertheless, your displeasure in Caesar’s naiveté and your interest in the vampire siblings and their place in the world have had their combined effects on you. Caesar, while your original contractor and technically the number one priority, is something of a nuisance at this point. Remilia, and her sister, on the other hand, you find yourself feeling protective over.

You look Lavender in the eyes. Her fury is almost as hot as her magic. She really seems to hate you. She hates your kind. It was perhaps unwise to try to reason with her in the first place, but it is too late to go back now. It seems like the only nonviolent option you can take at this point is to bind yourself to a contract with her. It’s risky, and dangerous, but if she accepts, this whole situation will be much easier to deal with. Otherwise, she will eviscerate you from this plane of existence, and you will never get to see how this all turns out. With this truth hanging over your head, your actions feel sluggish. Your legs feel heavy. The pressure is getting to you.

“Con...” the word is almost foreign to your leaden tongue. “...Contract.” What was a complete thought in your head is uttered in a single word. It is difficult to formulate a sentence in this dire moment. A few agonizing seconds pass, and your articulation returns to you, “bind me to a contract.”

Lavender gives pause, lowering her staff and glaring at you. “What... what did you say?”

She’s hesitating. You have a chance.

With newfound determination, you attempt to stand up to her, crutch and all. You adjust your posture; straightening your back, spreading out your shoulders. If you must die, you refuse to die in mere passive acceptance. Slowly and non-threateningly, you hold your fist up in her direction, for emphasis.

“Bind me to a contract,” you say, opening your hand. The hum of magic around you begins to flow through you like a conduit, releasing itself from your palm. A light gust of wind flows out, causing hair and clothes to billow for all three of you, but doing little else. It’s not meant to hurt anyone, but to add to your display. “If you cannot trust me, bind me to a contract and I will be forced to follow your terms.”

“Clara?!” you hear Remilia’s exclamation of surprise to your right, but you ignore it.

Lavender regards you suspiciously, her expression cold and calculating. “What benefit would that be to me over simply destroying you?”

“What is it that you want?” you ask, halting the magical wind. “I can help you achieve it, and you can add terms about how I may treat you and your library, so you won’t have to fear me.”

The corner of Lavender’s mouth turns up slightly. “There is one thing for which I could find some use out of you, yes...” she trails off, watching you two quietly. She pulls a piece of paper from her pocket and drops it, a gust of air flowing from her fingertips to place it in your hand.

It’s Remilia’s sketch. The grimoire you are bound, by contract, to help Remilia retrieve.

Remilia notices. “What do you mean by this?” she says, gesturing at the paper.

“I want your demon to, after obtaining this grimoire, and your contract ends, bring it back to me, so I may set out the necessary precautions to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands again.” Lavender delivers her explanation with a poker face, her tone once again empty from any emotion.

Remilia furrows her brow. “That… that is unacceptable. The tome belongs to my family. How can I trust you will not misuse it?”

“I have the same concern for you, Miss Scarlet,” Lavender says. She looks at you again. “Regardless, the decision is up to your demon. Since such an action will not be required until your contract is complete, there is nothing you can do to prevent it.”

“I can prohibit Clara from accepting, under the terms of my contract,” Remilia says, fixing you with a stern look. She hasn’t actually made that prohibition. It’s a threat of action.

Lavender also wants the book. You wonder just how powerful it is that both Remilia and Lavender want to get their hands on it. Are Lavender’s intentions truly so noble? For that matter, are Remilia’s even noble, or is her story about protecting the book just a lie? These questions and many others float in your head.

Putting aside the moral ramifications of the situation, if you accept this contract, you will be forced to take the grimoire from Remilia and bring it to Lavender. However, since you must follow Remilia’s commands as per your current contract, she can easily prohibit you from taking this contract. If that does happen, Lavender will attack you here and now. You could try to convince Remilia to let you accept Lavender’s task, but if that happens, it may lead to a sticky situation down the road once the tome is finally retrieved.

You visibly sigh. It’s been a long time since you’ve dealt with so many contract-happy persons. Usually, when you are summoned to this plane, you make a simple contract with your summoner, complete the task, and move on. Plain and simple. This must be what happens when you spend so much time around powerful magic beings.

[ ] Convince Remilia to let you take on Lavender’s task. Otherwise, you will die.
- [ ] Stress how important you are to Remilia’s mission. (Appeal to her reasoning)
- [ ] Stress how much you would miss Remi. (Appeal to her emotion)
[ ] Revoke your contractual offer. If Lavender decides to attack, use magic and any other ability necessary to...
- [ ] ...obtain the information you need from her.
- [ ] ...get the hell out of this place.


Oh yes, I welcome it. Even if there is critique of some of the things I've written, it helps me understand what to focus on and improve in the future.

>we love you and your story.
Thanks! I love you guys and I love telling this story.
Remilia wants us to get the book for her. Lavender wants us to take the book from Remilia. There's only one book so we can't give it to both of them. If we don't make a contract Lavender will kill us, but Remilia won't let us make the contract because she wants the book. So its time to play the Loophole game.

>I want your demon to, after obtaining this grimoire, and your contract ends, bring it back to me, so I may set out the necessary precautions to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands again.

Loophole #1: she never said we had to bring her the book immediately after our contract ends. Nothing is stopping us from taking our sweet merry time getting the book to her.

Loophole #2: Since we can take all the time we want, nothing is stopping us from finding the book, copying it word for word, and letting one of them have the copy. A copy of the book is still technically the same book.

Loophole #3: She never said she wanted the book to be intact when we bring it to her. She just wants to "prevent it from falling into the wrong hands." Nothing is stopping us from burning the book (or just the one copy of the book we made) and bringing her the ashes. Its not like ashes can fall into the wrong hands.

[x] Convince Remilia to let you take on Lavender’s task. Otherwise, you will die.
- [x] Stress how important you are to Remilia’s mission. (Appeal to her reasoning)
--[x] (wink wink)
Loophole #2 won't work if the book holds some unique magic. Otherwise, sounds like a plan, I'm seconding.

[x] Convince Remilia to let you take on Lavender’s task. Otherwise, you will die.
- [x] Stress how important you are to Remilia’s mission. (Appeal to her reasoning)
--[x] (wink wink)

I must say; I never thought I'd meet another lawyer comparable to my immense skill. I fully support this man. Also, burning something is a chemical change. Bringing her the ashes of the book would not be bringing her the book at all. A better choice would be to make a copy and shred it into a fine dust, then give her the dust mixed with 10 other books shredded in the same fashion.

Loophole #4: She didn't list the book by name, only by a picture. Technically any book with that cover and at least one spell contained within would satisfy the task.

Loophole #5: "your demon" isn't a moniker that can be tied to Clara in any legal context. We have a contract with her, but there's no mention of ownership, thus rendering her task null and void.

Loophole #6: Ensure Remilia obtains the grimoire. Lavender tied Clara's contractually obligated actions to the very specifically conditional phrase: I want your demon to, after obtaining this grimoire.
>Remilia wants us to get the book for her. Lavender wants us to take the book from Remilia. There's only one book so we can't give it to both of them.

Both Lavender and Remilia want to keep the book safe from the wrong hards. There's plenty of common ground to work into.
[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)
- [X] Prepare for the loophole abuse of the century.

We are lawyer now.
[x] Convince Remilia to let you take on Lavender’s task. Otherwise, you will die.
- [x] Stress how important you are to Remilia’s mission. (Appeal to her reasoning)
--[x] (wink wink)

I don't expect that to be the entirety of Lavender's terms, but I trust these lawyer anons to come up with something favorable regardless.
[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)

Nothing to see here. Just pissing against the tide.

True, but this Lavender chick kinda rubs me the wrong way. She understands the nature of demonic contracts, and how the Demon don't act with all that much autonomy, and still decided to kill Clara for the crime of existing. Her one-sided personality just kinda flips my switch, ya know?
[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)
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!

Oh, we know. Those posts were just a warm-up. A warning shot; if you will.
[ 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)
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~
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.
Apologies for the wait. I've been sick all week so it's been tough to do anything productive, like writing.

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!
Not dead. Almost done writing; update should be up tomorrow.
File 152505275732.png - (159.08KB, 686x385, knot.png) [iqdb]
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.


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.
[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
[x] Make a contract.

It's going to be so fun tricking Lavender out of that grimoire.
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.
[x] Make a contract
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?
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?

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

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.
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.
[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.

I'm also curious what Caesar's crew is up to. Might not be easy to get to them under the circumstances, though.
If you breach contract, trust me, you will know.

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.

To be fair, Anon's demon pulled the dick move first when trying to manipulate her emotions.

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.
Will this continue someday? It's such an amazing story too...
File 154130918293.png - (550.29KB, 800x700, Go ahead and sign it Demon.png) [iqdb]
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.


“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.


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.


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.
[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.
File 154131021841.jpg - (263.95KB, 1075x1386, Have a Flan friend.jpg) [iqdb]
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
[X] Refuse. Not worth it.

Agreed. I think there's just so much that can go wrong.
[X] Refuse. Not worth it.
[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.
Specific demons cannot be selected for summoning in most cases. I'll elaborate when I write up the next update.
[x] Refuse. Not worth it.

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


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.
I like this line of reasoning.

[x] Accept the contract as-is.
[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.
[X] Accept the contract as is

You sir/madam are brilliant and I applaud you.
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.
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.
Closing the votes, plurality is: >[x] Refuse. Not worth it.
File 154190987878.png - (161.21KB, 736x355, a sorta weapon.png) [iqdb]
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.


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.”




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% }
[X] Introduce yourself.

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

... yeah, uh, actually ...


[X] Introduce yourself.
[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.
[X] Introduce yourself.

She's alive? That's great news!
Calling the vote because I've begun writing. Update soon.
File 154259772195.jpg - (43.79KB, 450x450, climbing our way one rung at a time.jpg) [iqdb]
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% }
[x] Tell Clara to go down…
- [x] ...the dark hallway. Grab a crystal for light.

Doesn't demons have darkvision?
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.
>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.

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.
[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.
[x] Tell Clara to go down…
- [x] ...the dark hallway. Grab a crystal for light.
[x] Tell Clara to go down…
- [x] ...the dark hallway. Grab a crystal for light.
[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.
Update will likely be in a week or so -- I've been busy this week with Holiday gatherings and such.
File 156969292136.jpg - (64.33KB, 850x638, this but the book is just diabolic tome.jpg) [iqdb]
Saged because I don't want to make a big deal out of this. If you're watching this thread, welcome.

I'm not done with this story. However, in its current state, I find it difficult to convince myself to come back to it.

The premise for this story had been cooking in my brain for a couple of years before I started it in 2015. Since then, the details of the premise have only gotten more clear in my mind, but I find myself in a constant state of dissatisfaction with how I executed things thus far. Well, with the first thread, at least. I don't particularly like the characterizations of most of the characters in the early posts (specifically the vampire hunters and Anon's Demon), and because of how I write, some aspects of those characterizations will always stick around even if I continue to write this. In addition, I feel that I left too many aspects of diabolism and the world overly vague, which led to Anon misunderstanding some of the votes throughout the years.

In essence, I feel as though my younger self rushed through the groundwork for this story and we have thus ended up with a shaky foundation for future entries. It's bad enough that I can't bear to read more than a couple posts of the current story without feeling discontent about it all. I don't usually mind reading my old writing, but when my old writing is "part" of the new, due to the fact that I'm still adding onto the old, it upsets me to think that these old and new writings are one in the same story. By continuing to write this, I feel as though I will be "endorsing" the flawed beginnings of this story. This discontentment may have had some role to play in my sporadic updates, but I don't want to pretend that that is the only reason without some evidence. I could just be badly managing my time. Still, I think it's quite telling that I had little trouble trucking along to the conclusion of Not-Life in less than a year, which by its end was almost three times as long as Diabolic Tome is so far after over four years.

All of this said, I don't want to drop Diabolic Tome. As with Not-Life, I have an unquenchable need to tell this story. I will be forever dissatisfied if I don't. So, for now, my thought is that I will have to rewrite it, or at least some of it. However, I don't want to undo the progress we've made so far. That's been my biggest hesitation with the thought of a rewrite. I'd like to honour the choices and events that have already occured wherever possible, and I also don't want Anon to be able to act on knowledge of future events/characters, which would likely happen if I were to reboot the story from scratch.

I don't like the idea of rewriting stories, personally, because I feel like a lot of writers fall into a trap of rewriting and then... nothing happens. They never catch up, and never finish. I won't deny the possibility of that happening to me, but the alternative is that I just drop this story altogether, which I definitely don't want to do.

Now, as for what the rewrite will be like... I recently rewrote the first two posts as a test for myself to see how I might like to approach this. If you're interested, you can view them here: https://pastebin.com/dF2fDp3y

Let me know if you've any feedback on Diabolic Tome as a whole, or on the rewrite sample, or on anything I've touched on in this post. I'd like to hear what others have to say.

And for those curious, some of my complaints with the current story, in no particular order:
- The Demon's characterization, overall, is kind of inconsistent and not very interesting.
- I've already talked about this before, but I never gave a complete explanation of the Demon's abilities or the way diabolism works in general, which led to a lot of trial and error on Anon's part
- The vampire hunters (Caesar, Villy, Deke, and Luna) are not very fleshed out and pretty one-note in execution.
- In the early posts, I prioritized dialogue that felt snappy/witty, which while I think fits the tone of a Touhou game, didn't really fit the tone of this story at that point in time
- I let the rules lawyering get out of hand several times, and went for compromises that made no one happy (e.g. the door to the library vote)
- I'm sure there's more I'm not remembering right now, but these are just the broad strokes.

File 157334499930.png - (1.14MB, 1920x804, Flanders defeats his imaginary plot demons.png) [iqdb]
So in the re-write, what's to stop Clara from OHKO everybody by pulling the water out of them? You'd have to introduce the Worm defense where sentient life just has an inherent, Deux-ex-Machina level defense against this kind of bullshit.
The answer is that in Caesar's contract, she is forbidden from killing anyone who is not Remilia.

I could make up some silly limitations on demon magic, but I think the fact that they're very powerful and have no inherent sense of morality or attachment to the world to uphold is exactly why they're summoned in the first place. Adding your own limitations to your contract so that your demon doesn't get out of control is just standard fair.

Now, something like a vampire might not necessarily get OHKO'd by that because they're magical beings that have specific weaknesses, but a human? Yeah, a human stands no chance against an uninhibited demon.

Fair enough. I guess the whole issue of Clara not having fun powers to lab could be solved by giving Clara fun powers to lab.

So, what's the issue with working this newfound answer to all your reader's prayer into the narrative? at this point, what powers a demon has is as equally unexplained as how demons manifest their powers, right? So essentially, the narrative ball is in your court.

Persoanlly, I'd go with 'demons significantly increase their ability to effect change on the material realm when working together with their host. Who knew?'

Nice and easy. Also gives Anon that feeling of MC being unique and interesting.

As for those other things...I disagree...I guess?

Witty, snappy, and inconsistent are all the qualities of an excellent CYOA protagonist in my opinion. Vote options just wouldn't feel natural for a character who is always constant.

And the lawyering thing was honestly some of the most fun I've had with a CYOA. Just sitting around for hours thinking about world-building like that was awesome.

I dunno. It's strange the way things turned out here. I felt like I was trying to decipher a completely different language when I first read >>67666
I suppose these kinds of differences in opinion will naturally arrive between an artist and the ones who participate in the artist's work. I don't begrudge you for disagreeing.

>So, what's the issue with working this newfound answer to all your reader's prayer into the narrative?
I assume you mean working the demon magic abilities into the current version of the story. If I was continuing from this point, I would do that, but since I am doing the rewrite, it's not necessary.

>Witty, snappy, and inconsistent are all the qualities of an excellent CYOA protagonist in my opinion. Vote options just wouldn't feel natural for a character who is always constant.
Well, those are a few different points wrapped in one, so I will address them separately:

I value consistency in characters. It's difficult to become invested in characters who act any which way "because the story said so". Just as an example, the Demon is supposedly acting purely on the whims of the contracts, with no moral consideration for them, as she does not have a sense of human morality. However, she also will frequently take human morality into consideration seemingly on a whim, such as the moment when Remilia was spared. The Demon spared her, going against the contract through a loophole, purely on the vague moral consideration that Remilia might not deserve it, when up to and after that point, I had written a lot to make it seem as though the Demon would do anything for the sake of the contract.

These kinds of characterization inconsistencies are what I don't like about the current story. It's not that I want the Demon to be "always constant", it's that I want their actions and motives to be consistent with each other.

>witty/snappy dialogue
I'm not looking to remove witty dialogue altogether. I just think some of the early witty dialogue was too snappy, as in, not really regarding the gravity of the situations that the characters were in. It's a bit jarring to read the early posts, which start very dark, get somewhat comedic, then get darker again as the story continues on. I don't mind mixing dark and lighthearted in one story, but there comes a point where too many snappy lines shatters the overall tone that I was going for.

>the lawyering thing was honestly some of the most fun I've had with a CYOA. Just sitting around for hours thinking about world-building like that was awesome.
I'm glad you were engaged with it, truly. I didn't realize it was that fun to you. Rest assured, I don't intend to completely do away with contracts and lawyering. I just don't like how I handled it in the past -- I was afraid to say "no" to Anon a few times that ended up with weird choices for the direction of the story because of it.

>I felt like I was trying to decipher a completely different language when I first read >>67666
That's fair. I have the added information in knowing what I wanted Diabolic Tome to be when I first started it, so it makes sense that I would be the only one who had these issues.

Also, in case it wasn't clear, the "rewrite" is only that, a rewrite. I am not planning to undo all of the progress Anon has already made in the story. I am in the process of writing up to where we currently are in the story, and while I've had to change a few details throughout, I am doing my best to follow the main story beats of original as a sort of outline.
The main character's characterization being inconsistent is, as >>67827 touched on, a thing that "just happens" in CYOA stories. Since their every important choice is basically decided by committee they will eventually get contradictory.
Someone who voted one way might not be around for the next vote/have changed their mind on the best course of action by then, so the consensus swings in the other direction. And that's even without taking write-in votes into consideration.
The best you can do is try to keep the inconsistencies small enough that it can be spun into "character development" rather than just making a complete mess of the character's personality.

Most other things you listed are things every author wrestles with.
How much time do I give each character? How much information do I give the readers for them to understand enough, without boring them with giant infodumps? And, of course, is my writing of a level of quality that I find acceptable?
There's obviously no real answer anyone else can give you for these questions, though.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: it's your story, rewrite it if you feel it's necessary, but pick your battles. Some things are much harder to "fix" than others simply due to the way these kind of stories are set up. Improving yourself is probably easier than fighting the inherent problems of the medium of CYOAs.

Either way I'll still be around to check out the "new and improved" version of the story, because I enjoyed the original.
In the case I mentioned regarding sparing Remilia, I was the one who gave the option to Anon that created the inconsistency. So I guess all I'm saying is I would prefer to minimize providing my own involvement in creating inconsistent characters. If at the end of the day Anon does manage to lead me unwittingly into writing the Demon in an inconsistent manner, then I guess that's that, not much I can do about it. I value reader participation as a part of this story so I'm not going to railroad the character.

That said, I disagree that the audience character being inconsistent is an inherent property of CYOA. Certainly if the voters are given absolute free reign, what you speak of will happen, but my style has never been as open as say, some of the early THP stories. I usually give two or three options, and allow write-ins, but I will often modify them to suit the narrative and characters. This style does allow for reader choice but also keeps things more consistent in my opinion.

>Either way I'll still be around to check out the "new and improved" version of the story, because I enjoyed the original.
Thank you, I appreciate that. I really hope the rewrite is similarly enjoyable to you, and if it's not, I apologize in advance. I suppose we'll find out soon.
File 157379279210.jpg - (150.84KB, 750x600, [Insert witty but not too witty caption].jpg) [iqdb]
Yea yea of course I'm gunna check out the """"New and Improved""" 2.5 HD Remix edition of the story. I just feel like Clara's personality felt spot on for being someone that had witnessed the rise and fall of men and gods for centuries untold, being summoned by a literal teenager. It was established in the opening crawl that demons still poses unique personalities and quirks, so Clara being overly casual and flippant in such an absurd situation was a good juxtaposition to the dark and gritty reality around her.

Maybe that's just me attempting to rationalize the actions of a clearly flawed character with my tiny squirrel brain.

Either way, if you didn't like the way we decided to play Clara, you're the one with the Infinity Pen.

Two different Anon BTW. Just didn't want you to think he was being rude.
That's sort of what I meant by minimizing the inconsistencies.
They are kept small in any story that isn't pretty much just a blank slate WUIG, but they're still there, because you have to give the readers some meaningful difference in choices, and depending on who's voting at the moment some of those votes will make the character, if not actually inconsistent, at least a bit... Wishy-washy, I guess? As a course set by one vote can sometimes be changed by the very next one.
Even if the end goal stays the same, the way there will be wobbly.

Either way, I'm not the one writing, so whatever. I'll go read that pastebin of the new version instead.
Yeah, "wishy-washy" seems more apt. Which is fine, I get that voters will swap out, opinions on what to do will change, and of course, because my readers vote over days or weeks rather than in the seconds it would be in-universe to make a decision, there's going to be a small disconnect there. I won't try to fight these aspects of CYOA, as they are part of the medium.

I won't deny the possibility that it is I with the squirrel brain. I'll do my best to not ruin the Demon's personality.
So should we watch the pastebin or the thread? Cuz last time you tried to sneak an update by us by sageing.
The pastebin is already somewhat outdated since I posted it, so don't consider it much more than a taste tester.

I'll be making a new thread for the rewrite, which I will link in the NaNoWriMo 2019 thread and in here (not saged). So, feel free to watch this thread, or keep an eye out for my name in a new thread on the front page. ETA for posting is "sometime before November 30th".
well, I guess he never said November 30th 2019

See >>/general/15943

Editing is underway. I won't give a firm release date for now because as we all know I do not adhere well to those. Just know that I'm working hard!
Ah, the crossboard link didn't work? Well, it's my post in the Nanowrimo 2019 thread.
I think cross-board might be >>>/general/15943 (i.e. three of them), but I'm not sure.
Sage for if it isn't.
[Return]  [Top]

Delete or Report
Delete post []
Report post

- Took 0.03s -
Thread Watcher x
Reply toX