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You watch the filth bleed out and die for a moment before turning back to Potter. To Cepheus. You don't doubt that Patchouli would take an interest in enchantments such as this, and a few niggling traces of her own contract strongly hint that you should really make sure a fascinating artifact like that isn't lost. Never mind that were you struck a blow by it... well, you don't think it would be really fatal. Not truly, and not enough to wipe you completely from the face of all existence, forever. You think. But you can't be sure... well, in any case, the blade will keep until you've finished your conversation. You can figure out somewhere to hide it, and work out a time to come back and collect it, later.
"... Hello, dear~" You purr, stepping forward to seat yourself on the table before Cepheus, peering interestedly at the old man. Even now, seeming more of an ingot of forged and tempered steel, beaten with hammers only to become stronger, than the typical old human rotting within his own skin and just waiting to die.
Even though it seems that he is just patiently waiting for death to get on with it and collect him already, as he hasn't got all day to fool about with this being-maimed-and-pinned-to-a-wall nonsense.
"Even now. You've not aged a day. Miserable woman." He groans. "I don't suppose you would do me the grand favor... of bringing that sword over here, and putting it in the one hand I have left?"
"Ufu... I think not." You say, dryly. "It's something of a shame, given the clear effort you've put into it... but my dear, I think I'm simply not in the mood for such a penetration."
He harrumphs and refuses to look directly at you, all the defiance remaining to him. It isn't as though he can do anything more. You would almost be tempted to take him down, apply what knowledge you have of the subject to bind his wounds, staunch the bleeding, and bandage everything over, except...
"You're dying." You say, pointing at the severed arm, where you can watch even now as the blackness spreads further and further. "That... will certainly kill you."
"Tell me something I'm not aware of, she-devil." He grunts. "I have some familiarity with the black curse that afflicts me. Once struck, there is a narrow window... three minutes, and no more, in which it can be safely removed. Following this... the poison is in the very marrow of my bones, now. Seeped into every fiber of muscle, tainting every organ. Bring me at this very moment to the best healers in all the world, with all the money in the world to pay them with, and the best they might do is to slow the progress such that I might linger on for a matter of weeks, dying slowly, rather than finding my life at an end in the number of minutes I have remaining."
"A shame." You say, and you're a little surprised yourself to find your words are oddly wistful. "This was... not the end I had envisioned, when we first met. Such as these... who are these worms, who dared to interfere?"
"When we first met... yes. Death eaters, they call themselves." Cepheus says with a snort. "Servants of the self-styled Dark Lord."
"Ufu? And so, tonight, they have found themselves a banquet fit to burst even the most gluttonous stomach."
You shake your head.
".... I wonder. At that time... did you discover anything, later, of those dragon eggs?"
"Dragon... that. At a time such as this, you ask about things from so many decades ago?" He snorts. "Those eggs were confiscated, and found stillborn."
"And the thesis of Miss Stocker?" You muse aloud.
"Of... who?" he says, seeming to not understand who you're referring to. "I don't... some matter of yours that even now I've not brought to light, then. Bah."
"But tell me, dear. Your children. They are well, and safe from this?"
And now his eyes light up, just for a moment, in that blaze of fury you so well recall~
"My son no longer lives in my home." He snaps. "It is of no concern to you... lay even a single finger against my family, and my angry ghost will torment you through all of time."
"Ufufufun~ So testy, dear. Think nothing of it... I have no interest in your descendants. It's you alone that have caught my eye~"
"I recall that didn't stop you from..." He starts to rage, before breaking off, spike paining him too much to continue speaking for a moment. The blackness has by now encroached on his shoulder, and you can almost smell the rot from the furthest extent of what is left of the limb.
".... My wife." He says, note of bitterness still in his voice. "My Elaine. I sent her to flee throught the fireplace, but it wasn't long before more came from that way. Did she..."
"It seems she very nearly escaped." You answer, seeing no reason not to.
You can almost hear the man's teeth clenching at he stares at his broken wand, then tosses it bitterly aside.
"And in the end, pointless." He says, a note of defeat in his tone, as he sags slightly into the wall. You step forward, closer, content in the knowledge that he is as harmless as a pinned butterfly.
"Shall I take you down from there?" You ask.
"... There is no need." He answers, single remaining hand reaching out to cup your cheek... and then clamp tightly about your throat.
"I've lived, in spite of your efforts, a long and full life. It will not pain me to go on." He says, points of the purest white light beginning to shine out of his eyes. Alarm grows within you as traces of it begin to glow throughout his very skin. "But... I'm taking you.... with me!"
No no no, he's not supposed to be able to do anything without a wand, and the blazing light sears like fire, it's-
You barely manage to discard your physical form, abandoning the world, before his body erupts in a nova of blinding light, force shattering much of what is even remotely breakable in the area, and toppling and throwing about that which is not.
That was dangerous. Like the sword, you think that little trick could have hurt you for real. Suicide technique as it seems to be, it's still...
You linger, for as long as you can. People don't take long to arrive, showing up just after there's no longer anything they can do anything about the situation.
Dumbledore, interestingly, is the first on the scene, bursting into the room full of a storm of fury, only to fade as he sees that which remains and slowly lowers his wand.
".... Damn me, I am too late. And a good man has died for my tardiness..." He says, bitterly.
"Albus, have you found someone? Is he alive?" A voice calls, approaching rapidly.
"No, James!" Dumbledore directs. "Stay out... this is not something you wish to see."
"If my father's in there, I have to see!" He insists, forcing his way into the room....
He takes in the scene. Then, turns away, seeming to be barely preventing himself from vomiting at it all.
"... I did warn you, my boy." Albus says regretfully, as another enters....
... No, not her. But the features left from her are clear, though those brilliantly emerald eyes... they must be from Cosette's mate.
She responds to the situation much the same as James does, pained disgust and mourning. And then she almost instinctively shrinks back from the blade, as Albus picks it up from the ground, where it's been knocked free of the raider's corpse.
"... Is something wrong, Lily?" James asks, confused.
"There is powerful magic tied up in this." Albus says, setting it carefully on what is left of the table. "I recall you have always had a particular talent for Charms work, and I will admit that I cannot immediately tell the exact nature...."
"I don't know." She says, shaking her head. "It just seems.... wrong, somehow. I couldn't tell you why, but it's like something in my stomach is yelling for me to not go near it, or touch it, to stay away..."
"I recognize that sword. Father spent years on it, after having it custom made from some special metal..."
"If I am not mistaken, it is a tempered form of Adamant, dwarven steel.... fascinating. I cannot imagine what it might have taken for the dwarves to agree to trade with a human, these days, much less to forge a weapon of any sort for him." Albus muses, clearly trying to distract everyone's minds from the horror of the room. "Your father is... was, I should say, a remarkable man. Did he ever mention what he made of it, or why he...?"
"Not much. He was always private, and there were things he wouldn't speak of, even to those closest to him." James replies, shaking his head. "All I know is that, once, he mentioned that he had made it so that the sword would not bite only into a man's body, but-"
Albus' eyes have widened, and he takes a very hasty step away from the blade, description seeming to worry him as much as if it had suddenly transformed into a venemous and very angry serpent.
"Did he perhaps mention to you..." He says quickly, eyes not leaving the weapon for a moment. "... If he had a particular grievance against someone, that he might consider-"
"I don't think he meant for it to be used on a person. From what I've put together, I... don't really know. But I think he was troubled, throughout his life, by a specter that would return time and again to torment him, that he couldn't be rid of." James said. "And so, some of the magic put into it was for that purpose. I don't know, though. It was his own special project, and he kept it near at all times once it was through. There were... times it seemed like he loved that sword more than mother and I, to tell the truth."
"Get rid of it. Have it sent to a cursebreaker, or throw it into the Thames, or bury it with him, but I can't bear to look at the thing." Lily requests... no, no, no, stupid child, you want that. A trophy, a memento, even if Patchy ends up taking it. Don't just throw it away.
James seems agreeable after a moment, though, and even though Albus seems to be considering its utility, he's wary enough of the item that, after a moment he nods.
Damn it. Idiot child. Can't control your instinctual fears of something that hates you for even a moment, Cosette's whelp or not you want to strangle the little...
... you can't hold on for any longer, though, and all you can hear is James' assurance that he'll deal with it, but not how...
You'll have to figure out what happened to that later. See if you can get it back. Steal it from someone. Worrisome as it might be to have a weapon devised for your doom right at hand, knowing that one existed, but that you don't know what happened to it is worse by far.
For now though, you have one more matter to deal with. Quickly, before you return to Patchouli's call. It takes a couple tries to hit on the right timeframe, but the summons is simple enough, and you accept a pittance in recompense for the opportunity, and a few free moments, though you'll be cutting it close....
Little Cepheus, playing on the grounds of the Potter estate with a dried leafy twig he's pretending to be a wand, not currently being minded by his elders. He looks at you with wide, innocent eyes as you pause right at the edge of the wards, your form shrunken down deliberately to a size similar to his own, peering in at him. Not understanding the danger, he toddles over to meet you. Steps out of them. There are all manner of things you could do, now...
... you settle yourself with touseling his hair, ignoring his complaints, and then kissing his forehead.
"Bleeergh..." He complains, disgust at the action clear, and you can't help but snicker.
"You and I." You declare. "We're going to become very good friends, my little Knight~" You say, allowing yourself to fade away on the wind.
Confused, the boy ambles back onto the grounds, inside the safety of the wards. You don't know that he'll ever think of this moment again, the time when you could have snuffed out the tiny flame of his life without any particular effort, could have done whatever you pleased, and there was nothing that he might have done to prevent it... and did not harm him at all. You doubt he'll remember it at all. But it's enough.
There's a thread, now, that you should really find your way down. Patchy will be missing your assistance by now. And really, who's going to spend days going over that contract to figure out when and how it may or may not be permissible to drug tea, and with what, if not you? Nobody, that's who. Really, it's a spark of excitement you doubt she could live without~
If only the blasted woman would take advantage of all those provisions, clauses, and counterclauses that prevent you from touching her sould no matter what she does to you, or vice versa, then that would just be grand. But you aren't holding your breath. Even with as long as you can, it would just be a futile effort, you think.
You are Patchouli Knowledge, a physically frail and sickly magician of profound aptitude and power. You live in the Voile Archives of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, though you have constructed a tower elsewhere, without internal fixtures as yet, which you may or may not inhabit much. You are Friends with Remilia, the vampire who owns the mansion, who considers it entirely too much effort to try to feed off you. Your Magical Potency varies somewhat from day to day, depending on how long of an incantation you can manage before breaking off into a fit of coughs, and how much strain your body can handle in addition to the rigors of illness. You currently have a box of ninety six vials of Medication stored in the library to offset the worst of the days, however, though it will later exact a toll, and your new Magical Focus eases use of magic to a significant degree. It seems that Luck can play a reasonable part in keeping yourself healthy, though effects may vary, as can the Hakurei Hot Spring.
Your magic is based on Elementalism primarily, though you are also skilled in Diabolism and Other Summonings, which can be surprisingly versatile, particularly in combination with Golems. You can also create Homunculi, if you have the materials to hand. You have the most important ingredient in stock, but you estimate it will be useless for the purpose by the end of the day.
The day is, in fact, almost over, though dinner seems it will be somewhat delayed from Sakuya's belated return to the Mansion. Even so, that has given you time to draw up a circle and re-summon your assistant, a devil which is called by the name Koakuma. She arrives in the appropriate uniform, theatric burst of black and blue fires.
"... According to paragraph three hundred and twelve, subsection C, article nineteen, in agreeing to my previous summons and binding, you have agreed to agree to and adhere to the same terms upon the successful completion and binding of this renewed Contract. For the sake of formality, please verbally agree that this is the case, and that you do so agree to uphold the previous Contract, in addition to any adjustments or revisions I have made to it since, at my discretion, according to paragraph eight hundred and seventy nine, subsection F, article thirty three, and not subject to attempts to renegotiate the contract at this time, as stated in paragraph six hundred and nine, subsection Y, article seven." You say simply.
"Ah, you wound me Patchouli. After all this time do you think I would try to wriggle out of it?" The devil says, slyly.
"For the sake of formality-" You begin to repeat yourself, refusing to budge, and perfectly willing to repeat yourself as many times as it takes to get the verbal agreement.
"Fine, fine." Koakuma interrupts. "I do so solemnly agree to your terms. Like always. Unless you really think I'm looking forward to standing here for a week."
"The contract is not subject to renegotiation during renewal." You say simply, allowing the summoning circle to fade as Koakuma takes up her duties once more.
[ ] What do you do?