Barring intense writer's block, updates should be frequent. Picture is related, but only by a vague tangent. Enjoy! ------------ Every once in a while, you'd hear stories, about other demons who got summoned to some mortal realm, and having their domains taken out from under them the moment such a thing happened, but never in a hundred years did you imagine that such a thing would happen to you. After a disorienting flash of light, you'd found yourself facing a violet-haired woman and numerous rows of massive bookshelves, far as the eye could see. On the floor, surrounding you, is a summoning circle. You recognize it from the stories you've heard. This one seems different, though, but you don't have a chance to try and examine anything closely before the woman speaks.
“Koakuma, can you identify her?”
“I can't name her, if that's what you're after,” says another voice, just before the voice's owner drops down in front of you with a mischievous grin on her face. You can tell that she's a demoness, like yourself, because of the ample chest, the long red hair and bat wings on her back and head, but that's where the identification stops. The specific kind of demon this “Koakuma” happens to be is lost to you. “I can tell you about her, though. Will that do, Lady Patch?”
“Lady Patch” responds with a curt nod, and Koakuma thrusts her face almost against your own, not quite breaking the summoning circle. “Lessee, here,” the demon begins. “Blue eyes and hair, very sharp features, plus the freckles. Give her some ice wings, and she could maybe pass as Cirno.” Koakuma's once-thoughtful look turns into a smirk. “You summoned yourself an Ice demoness, Lady Patch. Not one of the bigwigs, though, I can tell you that. Definitely a Lesser.” You bristle softly at being called out as a “Lesser”, but remain seated. You're not sure if you're able to break the circle with your power, and you don't want to risk hurting yourself just because of curiosity.
“How many Lesser Demons can say they have their own domain?” you want to challenge, but Koakuma keeps going.
“I'd say she's got maybe three, four hundred years of living under her belt,” the redhead demoness mentions. “Or rather, skirt. This kid ain't got a belt.” Koakuma snickers at what was apparently supposed to be a joke. Neither you nor “Lady Patch” find it funny.
Once the bat-winged demoness stops snickering, “Lady Patch” steps forward. “That will be enough, Koakuma,” she says, giving her familiar (why else would Koakuma be so obedient to this woman, you ask yourself) leave to, well, leave. “I have a proposition for you, demoness,” Lady Patch says to you. “I'm in need of another guard for my library, and you seem to have at least a moderate amount of power.” Once again, you bristle at “moderate”, though you appreciate the attempt at flattery. “What say you?”
 Lash out Intensity?  “What's in it for me?”  “Do you seriously think I'm going to accept that offer? Release me!”
I was going to insist that a (lesser) demon lord of his/her own domain would never accept a position of servitude so easily, but I decided against it. You should be grateful I didn't try to make your job harder, OP.
>>60808 >I honestly expected "Lash out" to be the popular option Why would it be? 'Patch' why not Patchy? basically has us by the nose. If the whole Domain thing is actually important, you may have failed to get it across.
>>60809I'm trying to give Koa an accent. I don't think it's working too well.
[X]What's in it for me?
You slowly get up to your feet, and your vision starts to shift blue as you consider lashing out. The smirk on Lady Patch's face, however, tells you that conjuring a blizzard would only leave you buried in your own snow, so you quickly suppress the urge to lock this place in an hour-long ice age and your vision returns to normal. “I once had my own domain, before you were brash enough to summon me,” you say. “Now, that domain has probably been taken by another. What can you offer me, that can compensate losing an entire domain?” Your words are laced with the very ice you command, and it shows as your breath starts fogging in the air midway through the first sentence. “I can offer variety,” Lady Patch begins. “Anything you desire, if I cannot provide it myself, I can provide the knowledge on attaining it.” Suddenly, she smirks again. “It's my name, after all: Patchouli Knowledge.” The woman's name doesn't have the level of power a True Name would, but still, the fact that the woman would name herself after one of the key powers of the multiverse, she's either got a massive amount of power, a massive amount of ego, or a deadly combination of both. You decide on “A deadly combination of both”. “The offer of variety, and the offer of knowledge,” you say after a moment. “Both are acceptable, provided I can act under my own volition.” you extend a hand, though it stops at the invisible edge of the circle separating yourself from Patchouli. “To put it simply, I would like this case to be similar to that familiar of yours. I'll be free to go wherever I please, in this library of yours, whenever I please, until you call on me for my services. Is that agreeable?” The smirk Patchouli wears makes you think she's not telling you everything, but she still agrees to your conditions. When she takes your hand to shake it, she breaks the circle, setting you free, but also sealing the deal, binding you to her service. “Koakuma will show you to your room, when you're ready,” Patchouli says before releasing your hand and floating off to somewhere unknown. At this point, you could either follow Koakuma to your room, or explore the library, searching for some way of getting your domain back while still under Patchouli's command. Somehow, though, you feel those aren't your only options.
As soon as Patchouli is out of sight, you immediately shift your attention to the bookshelves. They don't seem to be labeled, but at a glance, none of the books on the shelves actually look like grimoires. At least, you can't remember any mage keeping their grimoires in brightly colored bindings. You pick one of the shelves at random and walk up to it, taking stock of the books that are at eye level. Some of them are labeled, some aren't, but one thing's for certain: these books don't seem to be organized in any familiar or rational fashion. You take a book with a blue cover and open it. Strangely, too strange to be coincidence, it's a book on the uses of ice magic.
You quickly lose yourself in all the interesting applications, and so don't hear anything when Koakuma approaches you from behind. “More than a few of the shelves in this library are enchanted to give the reader a book that they may need,” the demoness explains, startling you into dropping the book.
You shoot her an annoyed glare, and your vision shifts blue again. “Had my hands been empty, that would have ended badly for you,” you threaten. You quell your temper and your vision returns to normal. “It's not wise to sneak up on a ruler. Especially one with power such as mine.”
“Ah, but you don't rule anything anymore,” Koakuma counters. “Therefore, I cannot be an assassin waiting with a spell or some poisoned dagger, now can I? As well, you cannot be a ruler if you have nothing to rule over.” She smirks and ruffles your hair, much to your annoyance, and continues speaking before you can respond. “Anyways, if you see an unlabeled book with nothing but a color, it's not really a book, but rather a spell designed to read your desires and offer up the subject matter closest to them. It's based off of some prince's ability, I believe.” You're skeptical, and it shows, but you have more pressing matters at hand.
“There's a style of transportation magic mentioned in this book that would make it easier to get to where I need in the library,” you mention, picking up the book then pointing at a picture that shows the spell you're referring to. “Actually, using it is easy. I simply need something, well, to use it with.” The book mentioned how to use the spell, but the image supplied with the spell did little to assist in figuring out what to use it with. Specifically, it mentioned gliding along ice patches that are formed, then dissipated with each step, but it failed to mention what you'd be gliding along the ice with.
Still, after Koakuma has studied the spell and image some, she speaks up. “All you need is a pair of skates,” she says. “Not as difficult to find as you might think. I'm sure Lady Rem has a few leftover pairs. I'll be back with them in a few.” You're about to protest, ask who this “Lady Rem” is, ask what “skates” are, but Koakuma leaps up and flies away before you can voice anything. Frustrated, you put the book back and start to wander. It isn't long (you don't even have time to get lost in thought) before you can hear an unfamiliar voice singing. You can't quite make out the lyrics, but whoever is singing, they've got a good voice. You wouldn't fault yourself for mistaking them for a Siren, if that's what they're not.
As you follow the voice, you make a mental note to ask whoever is singing the name of the song they're singing. Once you find them, that is. The height of the bookshelves plays havoc with what should be the normal acoustics of the library, leading to many false starts and false finishes.
 Wand'rin' Star  Flowers on the Wall  She Remains
The song being sung determines the character singing it. Song A is someone with far, far too much time on their hands. Song B is the kid sister with control issues. Song C is the Lady of the Manse
Doesn't it defeat the purpose of having cryptic choices if you're just going to tell us what they mean immediately anyway? Well, at least you put in spoilers.
In general, having options that are more varied than "Go see A, B, or C." is a nice change of pace, and I enjoy choices that I have to think a bit about to figure out, but this time it's just "Go see A, B, or C." with obtuse names.
>>60833 I'm glad you like the general idea behind it. It was originally just going to be the songs, but since I couldn't find "She Remains" on YouTube I decided to give not-too-subtle hints in spoilers. Next Mystery Choice I'm probably going to set up as an actual mystery.
Votes called for "She Remains". Arguably the best song out of the ones listed.
Oh, and one more thing. >>60835 If you're going to make idiotic remarks about the devices used in my storytelling, go back to the LD hidey-hole. Til then, be a nice anon and read the story as it's released.
Eventually, you follow the voice to a small alcove in the library that's actually devoid of shelves. You assume it's meant to be used for reading, but apparently it can be used for singing, too. Patchouli doesn't seem to mind this fact, seeing as the girl at the farthest table is still there after the few minutes it took for you to find her. Either that, or the sorceress who summoned you is hard of hearing. You doubt the latter, though, because it simply doesn't mesh with the amount of power required to perform a summoning. Anyone hard of hearing would likely be dead before achieving that level. Still, there's always the possibility the hearing loss started occurring after said level was achieved, but the girl politely requests your attention by lightly clearing her throat before you can finish your thoughts.
“You're staring,” she says with a smirk. “Come, take a seat, allow me to introduce myself.”
You silently nod and take your seat in the chair across from the girl, all the while taking stock of her appearance. If it weren't for the blood-red eyes and deep blue hair, you'd have almost called her human. Then you notice the fangs and the leathery bat wings. The girl's wings are folded, mostly, spread only just enough to make sitting in the chair comfortable. Once more, though, you're unable to continue your thinking, as the girl interrupts again, this time by flicking your forehead.
“You're staring again,” she remarks with an amused smile. “You focus too much. You didn't hear me introduce myself. My name is Remilia Scarlet.” You nod to acknowledge that this time, you heard her. “You must be Patchy's latest familiar. May I ask what you're doing in this corner of her library?”
“I heard you singing,” you explain, bristling inwardly at being called a “familiar”, despite that technically being your official relationship to Patchouli. “You have a beautiful voice.” You decide to flatter Remilia, play to her vanity. She's a vampire and, judging from her fading accent, a French one. You recognize her family name from tales told by other demons, though you don't recognize the given name. Probably because you never bothered to learn about them. Vampires weren't the type to wander into the demonic realms without extremely good reason, and so you never considered them a threat. You still don't, actually. Playing to her vanity is only to get more information about where you are, and is the easiest way to get a vampire to lower their guard. Or so you've heard. “What song were you singing?”
Remilia leans forward and rests her chin on her wrists. “I was singing She Remains,” she says. “It's by an outside-world band my sister enjoys listening to. I enjoyed the lyrics, and so started singing along to pass the time while waiting for Patchy.” Remilia holds up a small device and smiles. “Enough about me, though. What about you? I've given you my name, so it's only polite you give me yours.”
 Politely decline introducing yourself.  “Demons don't really have actual names. More like, positions.” -- Have Remilia name you. -- Offer your position as a possible name. -- Wait until Patchouli gives you a name.  Introduce yourself with a name relating to your element.  Write-in a Name
----====---- My apologies to anyone who was hoping to see Remilia start singing. This was written at around 12:30 am and wasn't finished until around 1:00.
Also, Remi likes to hear herself talk, and I like putting things in spoilers. Expect more of both while Remi is on screen.
[X] “Demons don't really have actual names. More like, positions.” --[X] Have Remilia name you.
I want to see what Remilia's naming sense gives us. It might be a bit out of character to suddenly surrender naming privileges, but I still want to do it. Maybe since Devils don't have names, they don't see much significance in being given one?
Alright, time to settle this. My apologies for not getting the update placed in a timely manner. No home internet is a certifiable pain. I have the update finished, and it's about twice as long as usual, but I'm in no position to actually post it. Again, my apologies for the delay. I offer spoilers as compensation.
You shift uncomfortably under Remilia's gaze when she asks for your name. “Well?” the childlike vampire asks encouragingly.
“Most demons don't actually have names,” you explain after another verbal prod. “Most are referred to by their title or position. I, myself, don't actually have a name, as well.”
Remilia tuts softly and twirls her finger in the air. “Well, we must call you something,” she remarks. “How about . . . Sonja?” You're about to protest being named such, but Remilia continues by explaining why she picked that name for you. “You remind me of a figure skater I saw perform in the 1930s. Not so much your personality, mind, which, let's be honest, leaves much to be desired, but your figure. You're quite slight, like she was. But you have an aura of strength about you that matches hers quite well.” Despite the compliment, your vision still starts to shift blue out of irritation, which prompts Remilia to laugh briefly and haughtily before sighing. “And you really need to work on your temper. I can't have you blowing up on my guests at the smallest slight.”
You calm yourself quickly enough, but something Remilia said sticks out. “Your guests?” you ask, confused. “Doesn't this library belong to Lady Patchouli?”
“The library does, yes,” Remilia says matter-of-factly. “But the mansion the library is housed in belongs to me.” She raises her wrist and absently examines the timepiece on it. “There's one guest, though, that you're permitted to attack, specifically because she won't stop stealing books.” The sound of doors being slammed open startles you, but Remilia just sits there, unperturbed. “In fact, she should be showing up within the hour, if she hasn't already.”
“Is that not her coming through the doors?” you ask.
“The aforementioned guest isn't strong enough to force the doors open like that,” Remilia explains drily. “And besides, she comes in through the skylight. My sister, on the other hand . . . .” Remilia trails off with a smirk and finally gets up from the table. “She's very excitable, and it's about her reading time. No doubt Koakuma or Sakuya has told her of the new resident, and she wants to meet you.”
"Speak of the devil and she shall appear, or so they say,” Koakuma cuts in before either of you can say anything more. “Lady Rem, I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of offering the demoness here a pair of your skates.”
As soon as she hears this, a mischievous glint forms in Remilia's eyes. “I don't mind,” she says, looking at you with that mischievous gaze again. “Consider them a welcoming gift, Sonja.” You don't like the way Remilia puts emphasis on your new name, especially given that you haven't had a chance to protest it yet. Still, it's better than being called “Lady” or “Demoness” all the time. Better than nothing. You quietly take the skates from Koakuma as Remilia heads away from the reading table and towards the main doors. While you examine them, Koakuma herself flutters away quietly, leaving you alone in the alcove. Seeing not much else to do, you sit down in the chair and try the skates on. At first, they're a little awkward and heavy on your feet, but once the laces are tied and they're no longer hanging loosely, you notice that the skates actually fit quite well.
With that done, you place the blades flat against the carpet and use the table to pull yourself up. As expected, standing on such narrow surfaces is extremely awkward, at first, and you almost collapse in your efforts to balance on them. Still, you manage, and after only a few minutes of stepping, you're capable and confident enough to try walking without holding on to the table. A few minutes more and you consider yourself ready to try actually skating. Focusing, you kneel and place your hand on the carpet in front of you. A small field of ice starts forming as you spread your power out, but with the control added by placing your hand on the carpet, you make sure that it doesn't spread too far and that no matter where you are on the ice, you'll have something to grasp in case you lose your balance.
Once you're finished, you stand up, but before you get a chance to actually step onto the ice, a red-eyed blonde drops down in front of you with a “Hiya!” Startled, you backpedal, only to trip over the blades of the skates and fall unceremoniously onto your rear.
“You must be the sister I was told about,” you say, annoyed, but keeping your temper under control.
“Yep!” is the blonde's only response. You can't quite see the resemblance between the vampire sisters, but they do, at least, have similar magical auras. “Name's Flandre Scarlet. What's yours?”
Taken aback by the rapid-fire introduction (and the completely asymmetrical ponytail on the side of her head), you only manage to respond “My what?”
Flandre hops off the ice and twirls in midair before landing next to you. “Your name, silly!”
You're about to use the name Remilia gave you, but you decide not to. “I don't have one,” you proclaim.
“Oh?” Flandre lowers her head so it's level with yours and you can see her smirking out of the corner of your eye. “But didn't my sister name you Sonja?” Before you can protest that you didn't actually agree to that name, the energetic vampire blows into your ear and hops backwards, annoying you further. “Don't care, really, if you don't like it. It'd be rude to Remi if I didn't call you that. Anyway, since you're gonna start skating, can I join?”
You stand yourself up and brush yourself off, trying to repair your pride. “With what skates?” you ask, not bothering with the blonde's rapid subject changes. Flandre doesn't answer, instead pointing to what looks like another Flandre carrying a pair of skates similar to your own. The more you watch the lookalike, though, the more it annoys you. Not because of the skates, but rather because the lookalike is prancing, or skipping, rather than walking. Finally, your annoyance comes to a head, and you thrust out your arm, creating a patch of ice underfoot of the lookalike. As soon as it steps onto the ice, the Flandre copy slips and comically struggles to regain its footing before giving up, falling, and throwing the skates up into the air only to be caught by yet another Flandre lookalike, this one floating in midair.
“That wasn't nice,” Flandre says, poking your outstretched arm to regain your attention. “Anyway, what's it gonna be?”
 ”Uh, sure”  “Absolutely not.” ---- “You can watch, though.” ---- “Go away!”  Change the subject (Write-In)
Story-wise, the only thing this vote really affects is your relationship with Flandre.
>>60983 Anon always votes for the most rational option, unless there is a funny but stupid one available. Not the same anon who saged, but I didn't vote because it was obvious that the rational choice was going to win, and because not voting is how voters show dissent with the votable options.
Flandre's request takes you briefly by surprise, but you manage to spit out “Uh, sure,” right before the last remaining Flandre copy drops the skates into the blonde vampire's hands. Wordlessly, she floats over to one of the chairs, takes off her shoes, and slips the skates on. Once they're tied, Flandre places the blades on the ice and slides them back and forth, as if to test their sharpness. Obviously, she doesn't find them satisfactory, judging from the frown on her face as the vampire examines the marks left behind.
“I suppose I should've expected as much,” Flandre remarks. “I haven't used these damned things in near twenty years, after all. Still, I should still be able to skate properly.” You're about to ask what Flandre means by everything she said, but you're too busy holding back laughter at the Scarlet sister's utter failure to remain upright after standing up. Apparently, not skating for almost two decades had a remarkable effect on her ability to perform. “Stop laughing and help me up!” she exclaims angrily. You comply, but you refuse to let her go, despite her protesting.
“I'd prefer not to get on your sister's bad side because I let you hurt yourself,” you explain, but Flandre continues protesting. Not that that protesting actually gets her anywhere. The blonde vampire is practically on her blades again by the time she grudgingly accepts your help. Lucky for both, Flandre has much more luck this time around and swiftly remembers the movements required to keep her both moving and on her blades. You mimic her movements as best you can, but they're awkward, unpracticed.
You're thankful there aren't any subordinates around to witness this unusual display of clumsiness. More than likely, they'd laugh, and you'd freeze them solid on the spot. You'd done it before, after all.
You skate with Flandre for all of thirty minutes, improving the whole time and complimenting the younger vampire when she pulls off some kind of trick or stunt. Remilia hadn't mentioned Flandre's ability to skate. Then again, it hadn't really been relevant. Still, confident in your new abilities, you politely excuse yourself and put your new spell to use, intending to find either Patchouli or Koakuma. There's no doubt in your mind that you can go faster, but you need to keep this pace if you're going to have any chance of seeing more than just a blur as you pass by the massive shelves.
Even that quickly becomes a non-issue as the sound of shattering glass rings out above. True enough, just like Remilia had said, the “visitor” had arrived, through the window. “Hey, Patchy, I'm here to borrow some books!” the visitor shouts at the top of her lungs. As if on cue, Koakuma appears next to you, no doubt in response to the intrusion and to inform you of your duties.
“She does this on a daily basis,” the demon explains. “Quite annoying, but all in good fun. Lady Patch requests that you detain her, but not to harm her.” Koakuma sighs in exasperation at something unknown to you before continuing. “Like that's going to happen,” she says. “Failing that, make sure the witch is at least slowed down enough that Lady Patch can intervene herself. Is that understood?”
You nod. “Do I have leave to go about these goals however I wish?” you ask.
Koakuma cocks her head in confusion. “What? Oh, that. Yes, of course.” She shoos you off with a stray hand before disappearing from sight. You make a mental reminder to figure out how she does that before starting on your task.
How are you going to do this?  Attempt to detain the witch peacefully.  Attempt to bring her down to the floor with “bad weather”.  Just do your best to slow her down and hope you don't get blasted in the process.  Observe her actions from the ground before taking action. --Subvote: Choose one of the above.