That’s sort of out of the blue. “Well, her habit of instantly disappearing and reappearing aside, I think that she’s a good person— I’m glad that Remilia has a friend like her. Why do you ask?”
“…No reason,” The librarian answers. She smiles a slight, contented smile, and then reaches for a book next to her. “By the way, I came across this book— from the title, I think that it’s about alchemy. Is it a legitimate source?”
“Here let me see,” you say, forgetting the first strange question and taking a look at the title and author. “… Patchy. Where did you get this book?”
“It was either a gift, or it just appeared here one day. …Is something wrong?”
“…This is written by Trinicus Herdwald,” you say, surprised at how calm you are. “There are alchemists who would willingly cut off their own limbs for a chance to merely scan that man’s notes.”
“…I take it that he’s a reliable authority, then?”
“He’s not a reliable authority, he’s the reliable authority. This book is practically priceless. Even if it has nothing to do with the Eastern elements, there’s an incredibly high chance that it will allow us to make a huge breakthrough. I’ve only read a single chapter from one of his books before, and that provided me with the knowledge to transmute Tyrfing. Let’s see…” you open the book and flip to the table of contents. “No, no, no, possibly, no no… ‘On The Use Of Conceptual Elements.’ This may be it.”
You get up and scan the room. Finding a suitable spot on the floor, you walk over and sit down, beckoning Patchouli over. “Come over here and sit down.”
“…N-next to you? Why couldn’t we just enlarge the book with magic?”
Oh, right, she doesn’t know. “I’m not surprised you can’t feel them, even with your talent and power, but there are some heavy enchantments woven into Herdwald’s books specifically in order to prevent such things.”
“Well, he’s sort of a jerk, to put it bluntly.” At Patchy’s quizzical tilt of the head, you continue. “I told you that I only read a chapter of one of his books before, right? It was the first chapter, and the only reason I wasn’t able to read more is because I was one of a large group of alchemists— this was at the library in Rome, by the way— who had agreed to take turns. I read the amount I was allotted, and passed it on to the next person, who proceeded to try and cast a copying spell the moment he got it. The book crumbled into dust. He was kicked out by the staff as soon as they found out.”
“That still doesn’t explain why Herdwald set that up.” The librarian says.
“There’s more to the story. I told you that I worked in a magic shop in Paris, right?” Your student nods. “Well, Marcel— the owner— knew Herdwald personally. In fact he visited the store once, although I didn’t know it was him until he had been gone for more than an hour. Anyway, the reason he enchants his books is so that anyone reading it has to read it like a book. No magic aids— the only way to gain the knowledge is to turn the pages with your hands and then take handwritten notes, or memorize it naturally.”
“…Why wouldn’t someone read a book like a book?”
“…You haven’t met that many magic users, have you? There’s a huge majority who wouldn’t think twice about taking the easy route— they have magic, after all. Why not use it? And Herdwald doesn’t like that, hence the enchantments.”
Patchouli frowns. “I don’t see how wanting to enjoy a book makes someone a jerk.”
“Well, there’s also the personality of the man himself. I met him at the magic store, remember? At the time, I thought he was just a really crotchety man who was a friend of the owner.” You frown at the memory. “When I referred to Marcel by his first name, Herdwald started lecturing me about proper manners until Marcel took to my defense. He was a jerk, plain and simple.” You shake your head, and pat the floor. “That’s besides the point, though— we have access to an amazing resource. So get over here! Oh, and do you have some paper and a pencil or pen?”
A moment later, the succubus in question floats over, holding a box and a large stack of paper. “Here you go, mistress.”
“Thank you.” Patchy gets up and moves over to you, arranging her robes as she sits down. Opening the box, she takes out a pair of pens. Handing one to you, as well as half of the paper stack, she then opens the book.
And the two of you start to read.
You come back to consciousness slowly. As you do, the events of the time before you were asleep filter back to you.
The party, the discovery of Herdwald’s book, the study session…
Oh, right. The two of you were at a good place. You should really get up and get back to it, but it’s so warm. Besides, there’s someone holding you… down…?
You open your eyes. Most of your body, as well as Patchouli’s, is obscured by a blanket. You are aware of her arm on your chest though.
Now completely awake, you feel around gently beneath the blanket.
Praise whatever gods exist, the two of you are still completely clothed.
So how did this happen? Think, Wallachia. The two of you were studying, and then you both fell asleep…
Someone must have checked in on the two of you (Sakuya most likely), covered you both with a blanket, and put some rather comfy pillows under your heads.
That’s reassuring. Now, what to do…
[x] Extract yourself. You wouldn’t want Patchy to wake up and pass out from embarrassment, would you?
[x] …Stay like this. She looks like she’s going to sleep for a while longer.