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File 155175753610.png - (341.07KB , 700x600 , 1.png )
924496 No. 924496 ID: c1eaac

Chapter One: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/897839.html
Disthread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/124957.html
197 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 933566 ID: c1eaac
File 155841012757.png - (58.68KB , 700x600 , 52.png )
933566

Just out of curiosity, you glance back at the hedges, towards Suriel. They're gone. You catch a glimpse of their cape trailing away, farther into the maze.
>>
No. 933568 ID: 7011e0

okay we are /not/ going to follow suriel into the murder maze because that would be a terrible idea. let's stick with our siblings please
>>
No. 933569 ID: 70df1e

go with or!! they're our DATE!

also i really want to see the drama. what happened to you in all of fifteen seconds murmur. i want answers. blease
>>
No. 933570 ID: 10c408

Honestly? Either go with Or or don't and stay with your siblings.

Above all else we should NOT follow Suriel into the hedge maze.

Also if at any point Murmur starts bitching about your family, just smack talk Marax.
>>
No. 933572 ID: 2af340

murder maze tempting......
to be fair the last time we followed an angel didn't turn out great (for jasper)
>>
No. 933574 ID: 10c408

>>933572
He got better, though.

And we're still trying to figure out what else happened that night.
>>
No. 933591 ID: 3272af

gotta stick w or!
>>
No. 933593 ID: 869963

GO WITH YOUR DATE
>>
No. 933604 ID: c0641d

They're your date, let them decide. "Well, you are my date. It would be unseemly to abandon you at such a difficult moment... Unless you think it would go smoother without me and my siblings. Shall us Labolases three make ourselves scarce in the hedge maze in the meantime?" (Siblings seems the least interesting option, but combining them with tailing the angel seems much safer than going in on our own.)
>>
No. 933615 ID: c7f906

>>933574
For all you know they were fooling around. In fact that should be your alibi.

Go with your date into the lion's den.
>>
No. 936666 ID: c1eaac
File 156110590377.png - (225.23KB , 700x600 , 53.png )
936666

"I'd rather go with you, Duchess. You are my date, after all," you say smoothly, taking Or's arm. You're a little more invested in knowing just what happened to Murmur than you are in following an angel into a maze, mostly because of what happened the last time you followed an angel anywhere.

"That's very sweet of you," Or says, with a long-suffering sigh. "I suppose we'd better go and keep Murmur company, then. Xezbeth, Shax, we'll catch up with the two of you later. Please don't feel obligated to wait on our account."

"We won't," Shax says, looking suddenly eager to be literally anywhere else. You can't say you blame him.

Xezbeth smirks, already pulling Shax along down the path. "Offer the duke my condolences for having to deal with Marax, will you?"

Murmur huffs, tapping his foot impatiently as the seconds tick by without anyone addressing his problems.
>>
No. 936667 ID: c1eaac
File 156110593278.png - (283.11KB , 700x600 , 54.png )
936667

"Murmur, dear," Or says, instantly affecting a gentler tone and a more sympathetic look as they tug you over towards the duke. You're impressed by how quickly they can change their whole attitude like that, but you suppose they're used to dealing with Murmur when he's like this. "What exactly did Eligos do? Surely it can't have been that bad."

"He brought Marax here," Murmur grumbles, sullenly.

"Well, yes, but you brought Azza, and you know how Eligos hates Azza," Or says. "Did you pick a fight with him?"

"Of course I picked a fight with him!" Murmur snaps, sounding awfully petulant. "He came over to say hello and, you know, flaunt his date, and I challenged him to a duel."

You think to yourself that challenging someone to duel because they brought your ex to a party seems like a bit of an overreaction. Neither you or Or gets a chance to express this sentiment, because Murmur is still talking.

"Eligos said that he wouldn't duel me," he continues. "Like the coward he is. All, 'I would hate to turn this party into a pissing match, Murmur' and 'you and I both know you can't swing a sword, Murmur'. What a prick."

"You can't swing a sword," Or says, pointedly.
>>
No. 936668 ID: c1eaac
File 156110595341.png - (336.18KB , 700x600 , 55.png )
936668

"Anyway," Murmur goes on, like he didn't even hear them, "I said that it was funny he'd brought a date to Jasper's, because I'd have thought he would want to find a date here. Considering his propensity for fucking both angels and servants."

Or is silent for a long moment, their gaze a little more calculating than it was before. You can't blame them - Eligos is their cousin, and they must feel a little more charitably towards him in this situation. It certainly sounds like he kept a much cooler head about things than Murmur did.

"And then?" Or asks, gently.

"And then I told Marax all about how his date has been fucking Heaven's diplomats-in-training," Murmur says, a little smugly.
>>
No. 936669 ID: c1eaac
File 156110597338.png - (269.23KB , 700x600 , 56.png )
936669

You glance up to Or, wondering if you should be startled by this information, because you kind of are. The diplomats-in-training are all around your age, so it would be fine for Eligos to court them otherwise, but angels tend to be pretty naive about Hell and demonkind unless they travel here on the regular. And Eligos is known to host diplomats, plus he has a brother who is a diplomat for Hell...it all seems very messy. Or doesn't look surprised in the slightest, though.

"And then?" they ask, again.

"And then Eligos threw wine on me, like a son of a bitch," Murmur reports. "And then I came out here."
>>
No. 936670 ID: c1eaac
File 156110599976.png - (187.64KB , 700x600 , 57.png )
936670

"You really shouldn't have said that to him in front of everyone," Or says. They still sound a little sympathetic, but much less so than they did before. "How would you like it if I went inside and told the whole room that you've been making time in your day to see Diplomat Ophiel?"

Murmur cringes, glancing towards you. "Ornias, we shouldn't -"

"Everyone in our tea group sees angels on the side, Murmur, and we have an agreement to keep each others' secrets," Or says, a little dangerously, letting go of you and taking a step towards Murmur. "You're lucky Eligos didn't do worse than spill his wine on you. Besides, I'm sure you two will make up soon." They straighten up, all smiles again. "Until then, you ought to keep me out of it. I have a date to entertain, as you can see."
>>
No. 936671 ID: c1eaac
File 156110601521.png - (134.57KB , 700x600 , 58.png )
936671

Murmur opens his mouth to protest, but Or is already dragging you back inside, where you can guess he probably won't follow after being humiliated. As the door swings shut behind you, Or eases an arm around your waist, steering you to a quieter corner of the room.

"I'm sorry you had to see that," they say brightly. "I did try to spare you from it. Now, do you want to try and meet up with your siblings again, or shall we go somewhere else?"

You gape at them, still processing everything they and Murmur just said. There's a lot happening right now, and Or expects you to make a choice, just like that?

> Find Shax and Xezbeth.
> Talk to someone else.
> Suggest going somewhere private.
> Something else?
>>
No. 936672 ID: c1eaac

special thanks to alyssa for collab-ing with me on this update :3
>>
No. 936674 ID: 7e9c89

S...SUGGEST GOING SMWHERE PRIVATE. IDK IF THEY MEAN IT LIKE THAT BUT THEY'RE PRETTY and everything is abit overwhelming rn
>>
No. 936680 ID: 73c479

there is a LOT going on here. i'm for going somewhere private (not necessarily Like That, though, hey, why not-) i just think we could use a breather. or we could scope out how the rest of the party is going (food? refreshments?) and maybe introduce ourselves to someone new. Foxglove?
>>
No. 936681 ID: 10c408

"Thank you, Duchess. But I can't avoid high society and it's intrigue for weeks at a time."

Ask Ornias about Ophiel.
>>
No. 936683 ID: b0b724

thanks alyssa

Somewhere private. It feels important that you know more about the clique you're involving yourself in but it's somewhat tiring as well. It'd be nice to just spend some time chatting about something pleasant with your lovely date.
>>
No. 937833 ID: c1eaac
File 156195263393.png - (205.37KB , 700x600 , 59.png )
937833

"A moment alone might be nice. Though I will try not to keep you too myself for too long," you say, chancing a sheepish sort of smile at Or. Everything is a bit overwhelming right now, and you feel like you could use a breather before going back out and talking to anyone else. Hopefully there's no harm in being honest about that.

"Oh, don't worry about that. I'm sure we'll be here long enough that hardly anyone will notice if you steal me away for a bit," Or says, with a tittering little laugh. "Let's find a sitting room before all the good ones are taken, shall we?"

They offer you their arm, and you take it gratefully, allowing them to lead you down a hallway in search of somewhere you can be alone together.
>>
No. 937834 ID: c1eaac
File 156195264342.png - (201.46KB , 700x600 , 60.png )
937834

"Who is Diplomat Ophiel?" you ask them, as you make your way down the hall.

"No one terribly important," Or says airily. "They're an older diplomat in charge of the class Eligos hosts at his estate sometimes. Murmur is rather smitten with them, though I'm under the impression they're both trying to keep their little fling under wraps."

Interesting. You think you saw Murmur with an angel at some point, but when did that happen? It's hard to recall. Maybe that was Ophiel - or maybe he's involved with more than one angel? Demons of his social status really do get around, but Murmur more than others. On account of the incubus thing. And the still-getting-over-being-left-at-the-altar thing.
>>
No. 937835 ID: c1eaac
File 156195265821.png - (130.14KB , 700x600 , 61.png )
937835

Before you can think of how to respond properly, Or tugs you into an apparently abandoned study, shutting the door behind them. Bookshelves line either side of the room, with a large, wooden desk as the centerpiece, set slightly towards the back wall. It's a nice enough study, if not a little dusty and clearly underused. You don't get the impression that Jasper is much of a reader.

"So," Or says, dragging the word out into a purr, and perching on the edge of the desk. They reach up and behind them to undo their hairpin, letting their hair cascade down around their face and over their shoulders as they regard you curiously, almost mischievously. You feel pinned in place by their gaze. "What else do you want to talk about?"
>>
No. 937837 ID: 2af340

😏
>>
No. 937846 ID: 70df1e

k...kiss...
>>
No. 937850 ID: b0b724

I was going to suggest you talk about Ornias anyway, get to know them, their hobbies, what they like. But it kinda seems like they don't want to use words necessarily...
>>
No. 937857 ID: 10c408

"To be honest, I was hoping to talk about you for a change. I am... Well, feeling very overwhelmed by court intrigue and have been wondering how you deal with the stress of it."

Try to not get smitten with countess Ornias. Absolutely fail at it.
>>
No. 937913 ID: 7011e0

oh no pretty demon
>>
No. 937949 ID: 02e2dc

sloppy makeouts???
>>
No. 938160 ID: 2bfdf5

OH NO THEYRE HOT AND IM GAY
UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH



thats. probably in character for glas actually
"i wanted to--get to know you better?"
>>
No. 938553 ID: ce39da

"I may not have been considering this when I expressed my desire to get a breather from the party."
>>
No. 940776 ID: c1eaac
File 156436895520.png - (115.70KB , 700x600 , 62.png )
940776

You feel very sweaty all of the sudden. There's no question that Or is very pretty, and you are very attracted to them, however much you may be trying not to become absolutely smitten. You're pretty sure that Or has never been formally courted by or engaged to anyone, so they probably aren't a solid marriage prospect, but...well. Marriage is the furthest thing from your mind right now, as it so happens.

"I - I wanted to get to know you better," you say, practically choking out the words.
>>
No. 940777 ID: c1eaac
File 156436897426.png - (211.18KB , 700x600 , 63.png )
940777

"Oh?" Or smiles at you again, stretching languidly. "Well, I do love to talk about myself. What would you like to know?"

"Anything," you say, perhaps a bit too eagerly. "Your hobbies. What you do when you're not at court. How you handle yourself so well when you are at court. The stress -"

"Is exhausting, I know." They titter out a little laugh. "Most of my time at home is spent relaxing, when I'm not hosting parties. I spend time with my lovers, let myself be doted on by my staff...sometimes I go boating or swimming in the lake between my and Eligos's estates."
>>
No. 940778 ID: c1eaac
File 156436898666.png - (167.45KB , 700x600 , 64.png )
940778

You try your best not to picture Or in a bathing suit, but it's happening anyway. You are so fucked.
>>
No. 940779 ID: c1eaac
File 156436900763.png - (159.63KB , 700x600 , 65.png )
940779

"I didn't know you and Eligos lived so close to each other," you say, latching on to what seems like a safe topic of conversation.

"Oh, yes. Our servants practically all know each other. Mine are always sneaking across the lake to use his library. He told one the password in good faith, and now they all know it." Or laughs again. "I don't have very many books, so they have to find them where they can, I suppose."

"You don't read?" you ask.

"Not if I can help it," they say, with a shrug. "I have other things to occupy my time just as well. Eligos has his library, and I have my kitchen."

Right. You remember hearing that Or is something of a gourmand like Shax is, with the notable exception of only having one mouth to eat with. You've also heard the head chef in their estate is one of the best in Hell.

"The macarons you sent were delicious," you say, finally remembering to thank them for that particular gift.

"Aren't they?" Or asks, their eyes lighting up. "They're some of my favorites. You really must come for tea sometime, my kitchen staff makes the best little cakes and sandwiches. Of course, it will ruin all other tea services for you forever, but I think it's worth it."
>>
No. 940780 ID: c1eaac
File 156436902389.png - (108.52KB , 700x600 , 66.png )
940780

"I would love to accompany you for tea," you say, a little pleased to see Or so pleased and animated. They're somehow even prettier when they're talking about something they're passionate about. You'll have to remember to send them home with one of your calling cards.

"Then you must," they agree. "Now, are you going to kiss me or not? I've been waiting very patiently."

You feel yourself becoming even sweatier. You do very much want to kiss Or, but you have the sense that it might turn into something that will cause you to miss a great deal of the party, or to be walked in on in a compromising position. And you still have no idea where Jasper is, or where Suriel went. Do you feel comfortable getting intimate here?
>>
No. 940781 ID: 02e2dc

fuck it, smooch ornias
>>
No. 940783 ID: 2af340

you gotta kiss that Or!!!
>>
No. 940784 ID: 7011e0

remind or we are in a precarious position at this party BUT kiss them anyway
>>
No. 940790 ID: 10c408

Politely remind Or that you and Jasper aren't on the best of terms, so you'll take a little percaution first.

Put a chair under the doorknob. Then whirl around and snog the duchess already, Labolas.
>>
No. 940793 ID: 643d7e

personally i think or is more powerful than jasper like. look at them. kiss them and damn the consequences
>>
No. 940802 ID: 0a048d

kiss! kiss! kiss!
>>
No. 940809 ID: 44b1b5

Take some precautions against intruders first.
>>
No. 941555 ID: b5bc34

Tell them that you definitely shouldn't miss out on the party or be in such a precarious situation.

Obviously kiss them anyway.
>>
No. 941639 ID: 2ca8bd

Are you really gonna turn an offer like that down?
>>
No. 944614 ID: f46390

kill jasper first then kiss
>>
No. 944615 ID: 75cf31

we are not smart enough to not kiss. it's time for kiss
>>
No. 945692 ID: c1eaac
File 156930429118.png - (123.56KB , 700x600 , 67.png )
945692

"I'm in a precarious position here, you know," you say, moving quickly to prop a chair up under the door handle, so you won't be walked in on. "Jasper is probably looking to hurt me, or at least humiliate me, and I probably shouldn't be missing out on the party after being absent from court for a week."

"I know," Or says sweetly. "Are you turning me down?"

"I should," you tell them, quite frankly.
>>
No. 945694 ID: c1eaac
File 156930430771.png - (248.37KB , 700x600 , 68.png )
945694

Obviously, you kiss them anyway.

And you keep kissing them for...well, a while. It feels like a while, anyway. They're a very good kisser, after all. You imagine they've had a lot of practice. You can imagine some other things they're practiced at, as well, though you think you might like to save those for when you aren't hiding in a study at Jasper Abbadon's estate.

Just as you think that, you hear footsteps and voices approaching in the hall outside. It startles you so badly you jolt and knock the lamp off the desk.
>>
No. 945695 ID: c1eaac
File 156930432316.png - (70.96KB , 700x600 , 69.png )
945695

You swear and stomp the flames out before the carpet can catch properly, your face burning as Or giggles at you. Once the lamp is out, you're almost tempted to get right back up on the desk and keep kissing Or, but the voices in the hall give you pause. One of them is Jasper's.

"- where is Suriel, for that matter, anyhow?" he's asking to whoever is with him, polished shoes clicking against the marble floor. "I haven't seem them since this morning."

"I don't know, my lord," his companion - a servant, you assume - says. Their footsteps are much faster and closer together, like they're trying as hard as they can to keep pace with him. You hold your breath as they pass by the door, their shadows flickering through the crack under the door.

"Well, tell someone to find them. I want to know what in the world they were thinking, inviting that Hethson here."

"Marax, my lord?"

"No, I could care less about him. I mean the small one. The one who embarrassed me at court."

"I - I'm not sure what they were thinking, my lord."

"Neither am I, Lailah." Jasper mutters, his voice beginning to recede. "Though I should very much like to ask them."
>>
No. 945696 ID: c1eaac
File 156930434345.png - (166.18KB , 700x600 , 70.png )
945696

The voices trail off. You glance behind you to exchange a look with Or in the dark, and find them looking just as surprised as you feel.

"I thought Jasper invited me here," you say.

"So did I," they reply, frowning.
>>
No. 945697 ID: 70df1e

youre in danger! if jasper didnt invite you then its time to get the hell out - or honestly, step out, tell jasper you thought he invited you, apologize for stepping out of bounds, and get the hell out.

if he didnt invite you then suriel probably did, and angels can hurt demons as we saw. i mean, jasper got better, but still, dont want that happening to us

try to think of all these practical things and NOT get distracted by how good of a kisser or was and how much you want to kiss them again. FOCUS, GLAS
>>
No. 945702 ID: e7dcb0

You could flee... Or you could find Suriel first! I don't have any reason to believe that's a good idea, but if Jasper is peeved it can't be all bad to find out why this happened.
>>
No. 945717 ID: ce39da

We can surmise that if Jasper isn't in on this, that means one of two things.
1: Suriel wants you here for a reason that hurts Jasper. Likely wants to tell you something.
or
2: Suriel wants to do something EXTREMELY ILLEGAL to you, something even Jasper would balk at.

Quick question to self; is there something that can genuinely hurt an angel, like with a devil? Is the answer also "angel knife?" If so, I say absolutely go see what they want.

"Ornias, here's my card. If things go south, and I don't show up again by the end of the party, I want you to go home and summon me. I'm off to see an angel. Wish me luck."
>>
No. 945725 ID: 70df1e

>>945717

ok giving or our card is a very good idea but going off alone might get us killed. this is horror movie 101! dont separate the group!! dont do it!!!
>>
No. 945726 ID: 7011e0

WE GOT A KISS /AND/ VALUABLE INFORMATION hell yeah. okay so as it stands it's probably suriel who invited us and probably wants to fight us, so... consult with or on how to proceed?
>>
No. 945729 ID: 10c408

Alright. Big glaxay brain idea here. Ask Ornias if you can crash at her house tonight. if she agrees then you promise to bring her (and Camio if he's willing) to check out your own estate. (and hopefully deter/thwart any assassins or traps that are laying in wait)
>>
No. 945739 ID: 39958a

i. i kinda like asking ornias to crash w her. absolutely do not go off alone. maybe talk 2 jasper directly yeah
>>
No. 945871 ID: 2af340

+1 for sleepover with or!!
also, "apologize" for exposing jasper's vore fetish
>>
No. 945933 ID: 10c408

>>945871
It wasn't that much of a secret to begin with and we also didn't expose anything. We left him to die and he... didn't, somehow.
>>
No. 947614 ID: c1eaac
File 157177745978.png - (191.96KB , 700x600 , 71.png )
947614

Okay. Time to focus up on the problem at hand, and definitely not think about how much you wish you could go back to kissing Or. Even if you do really wish you could go back to kissing Or. Regardless, if Jasper didn't invite you here, that might mean trouble - or it might mean someone in his house is looking for an ally. You don't know a lot about Suriel, so it's hard to surmise if they want you here to help stab Jasper in the back, or if they want to do something much, much worse to you than Jasper ever could, maybe as revenge for you letting Jasper get mutilated at court.

It's a complicated situation to navigate, certainly, and there's a lot of ways to handle it - chief among them is to leave the party and not look back. But if you did that, you might never know who here has it out for you. Worse, you might never know if someone here needs your help.
>>
No. 947615 ID: c1eaac
File 157177747419.png - (185.26KB , 700x600 , 72.png )
947615

"What do you think it means, that Suriel invited me?" you ask aloud, wondering if Or might have some perspective you're sorely lacking. "Are they trying to get me in trouble? Or just embarrass Jasper?"

"That's a good question that I'm afraid I don't know the answer to," Or admits. "I don't know very much about Suriel. I assumed Jasper had invited you with some plan to embarrass you socially in some way, but apparently that isn't the case at all. I'm surprised he didn't even know you were on the guest list."

Huh. Or has a point. That is surprising, considering the fact that Jasper's the master of the house. He should have checked the guest list thoroughly beforehand, and seen your name. Which probably means that your name wasn't on the guest list - or at least, it wasn't on whatever copy Jasper saw. Which also means that Suriel was actively hiding the fact that they'd invited you.
>>
No. 947616 ID: c1eaac
File 157177748924.png - (113.62KB , 700x600 , 73.png )
947616

"Should I go and talk to Suriel?" you ask, desperate for a second opinion. "Or Jasper?"

"If you want to talk to Jasper, I'd be happy to come with you," Or says slowly, like they're thinking it over. They did mention earlier that they and Jasper have known each other for a long time, and they could probably help you smooth things over with him, if you needed it. "But I don't think I could help very much with Suriel, I'm afraid. I could come with you, of course, but they might not want to say anything too sensitive with another demon around, and I don't know anything about them at all. You'll probably want to find someone who they know, or someone they'll feel safe talking in front of. Another angel, maybe?"

That's certainly an option, you suppose. There's not exactly a shortage of angels around Jasper's estate. You could also talk with Suriel one-on-one - or you could chase down Jasper with Or first, and see if he has any ideas about what Suriel might want with you. That conversation's going to require some uncomfortable apologizing, maybe even groveling, but it might be worth it.

What will you do?

> Talk to Jasper with Or.
> Find someone to chaperone a meeting with Suriel.
> Look for Suriel alone.
> Something else?
>>
No. 947617 ID: 31ef66

if ppl vote for going to see jasper that's cool, but we could use arty's feather and have him come w us to see suriel, which is far more direct in my opinion
>>
No. 947619 ID: 70df1e

talk to jasper with Or! We can always go meet Suriel (with arty's feather) afterwards if we want - I think it's better to get more information first. I mean, this is Hell, and an ANGEL snuck us into this party, so chances are this is a trap. I do not trust it.
>>
No. 947626 ID: f46390

Talking to Jasper sounds good
>>
No. 947628 ID: ce39da

If Suriel is going this far out of the way to bring us here without Jasper knowing, that probably doesn't spell good things for Jasper, regardless of the details. Ask Or if it's okay to summon an Angel here and spend the latter half of the evening with them - it'd be rude to summon them just for business and no pleasure, after all. Also, asking Or would be considerate to Or's feelings (and also gives them the chance to tell us if summoning an outside angel to Jasper's party is a monstrously bad idea).
>>
No. 947781 ID: b787ea

i say save the feather, u might wanna summon arty later for... other reasons... and go talk to the angel on your own. good chance to practice stealth!!
>>
No. 948761 ID: d7f01b
File 157298134953.png - (129.17KB , 700x600 , 74.png )
948761

You decide that it's probably worth talking to Jasper before you backtrack to look for Suriel, and not only because you want to squeeze in a little more time with Or. Part of you smells some kind of trap, and you want as much information as you can get before you get anywhere near Suriel.

"I think I'd like to talk to Jasper first," you tell Or. "I actually know an angel who might come with me to find Suriel -"

"Oh?" they ask, their eyes suddenly bright with curiosity. "You know someone here?"

"Well, not here. Not yet, I mean. I brought his feather with me, just in case," you say carefully, reaching into your pocket to ensure Arty's feather is still there. Hopefully Or won't take offense to the fact that you brought it. "I thought Jasper might have it out for me, so..."

"Don't worry, darling, I would have done the same if I were in your situation. Or I would have just brought the angel with me on my arm in the first place." Or laughs. "It might have been worth it just to see the look on Jasper's face. Tell me about this angel of yours - who is he? He must like you very much, to give you a feather. Should I be jealous?"

"His name is Arariel," you tell them, a little hesitantly, unsure of how they might react. Demons are known for being jealous and possessive lovers, after all, but it's always hard to tell with a demon like Or. "He goes by Arty. We met at court the other day. Eligos introduced us."
>>
No. 948762 ID: d7f01b
File 157298136351.png - (144.30KB , 700x600 , 75.png )
948762

As soon as you say that, Or brightens in recognition, clasping their hands together.

"Oh, Arty! Yes, we're acquainted. I think he's a lovely choice to go exploring around Jasper's estate with. Jasper couldn't hope to touch him, at any rate."

You weren't exactly digging for Or's approval, but you have to admit, it's sort of nice to have their support. Especially when it comes to leaving them alone at a party to go off and try to solve a mystery with someone else. Then again, Or is a socialite, so it shouldn't be terribly hard for them to find ways of occupying themself while you're gone.

"We should try and catch Jasper before we lose him again," you realize suddenly, glancing towards the door. You can't hear Jasper's voice anymore, but chances are he's not far. He didn't sound like he was walking very fast.

"I suppose we ought to," Or agrees, tying up their hair up to keep it out of the way. They smile at you, looking awfully confident considering everything you've just discussed. You have to admit, it's heartening.

Or gestures towards the door. "Shall we?"
>>
No. 948763 ID: d7f01b
File 157298140880.png - (157.81KB , 700x600 , 76.png )
948763

You and Or slip out the door, letting your eyes adjust to the brightly-lit hall before setting off in the direction you last heard Jasper walking. It isn't long before you overtake him and the angel servant he's with, both of them giving you quizzical looks as you approach. Jasper smooths his over quickly, though, flashing you the same sharp-toothed smile you remember from the first time you met him.

"Prince Glasya-Labolas," he says, practically oozing charm. He looks much better than he did the last time you saw him - though you suppose he's had a couple of weeks to recover. "And Ornias. How nice to see you again."

"Oh, the pleasantries aren't necessary, Jasper dear. We all know you didn't invite Glas to this party," Or says, perhaps more blunt than you've ever heard them be before. There's still a smile on their face, though, and you get the idea they're enjoying themself very much. "In fact, he has some questions for you -"

"Lailah," Jasper says, turning to his servant. "Go and check on the kitchen, will you?"
>>
No. 948764 ID: d7f01b
File 157298142136.png - (100.09KB , 700x600 , 77.png )
948764

Lailah scurries off, looking almost relieved to be excused from whatever conversation is about to ensue. Jasper watches them go, waiting until they round a corner and slip out of earshot before he speaks again.

"Well," he says, his eyes narrowing at you, "I suppose you'd better ask your questions, then. Even if you did leave me for dead."

You blink, surprised to hear Jasper fold so quickly. Unfortunately, that means you have less time than you assumed to actually think of something to ask him. So...what are you going to tackle first?
>>
No. 948766 ID: 70df1e

apologize, tell jasper you thought vore was his kink
>>
No. 948768 ID: 19bc84

thank him for his invitation (even if he didn't give it) despite past incidents and uh. maybe ask him why some of his staff seem so interested in you? he'll probably deflect but it maybe he'll drop something
>>
No. 948769 ID: ce39da

“First, I’m genuinely sorry about leaving you there. The discovery was quite shocking, and I failed to see any way I could properly intervene in the heat of the moment. Second, overhearing you in the hallway just now is the first I’ve heard of my invitation not coming from you. We came forward hoping our own confusion would help you alight upon a suspect?”
>>
No. 948781 ID: 1686e6

what does suriel want with me?
>>
No. 948787 ID: 9dad72

PLEASE APOLOGIZE FORMALLY and gently ask about suriel. compliment the party and ask if your presence is still all right since he didn't actually invite you it seems like?? also date jasper. thank you
>>
No. 948802 ID: 3c1f7f

mention that vore is very chic on earth atm
>>
No. 948805 ID: b787ea

i agree with the suggestions to apologize to jasper. it may not be a sincere apology, but at least the formality might make jasper hate you slightly less. then pretend you dont know who invited you and ask if jasper knows who did?
>>
No. 948809 ID: 10c408

"From my perspective, you were dead and Eae was an assassin. And that's not getting into you defying Satan's commands the moment he looked away."

establish a position of strength.

"Actually, come to think of it what did happen after I left?"

I still believe we should have let Ornias use our calling card to teleport right out of Jasper's party, there's not much in the way of information about Jasper we can get directly from the source without spoiling that not only are we onto him, but we are kind of planning on weaning him off of his angel "all you-can-eat" diet
>>
No. 948826 ID: 70df1e

>>948809
i dont think we can wean him off his angel diet. dude has angels as servants. hes got angels for days. i mean idk if he EATS his servants but like. STILL. ITS WEIRD. I DONT TRUST LIKE THAT.
>>
No. 948827 ID: 10c408

>>948826
I was being a little vague about it, since there's quite a bit of information we just don't have yet, but I'm sure there's ways to shut down jasper safely. We just need to keep learning/discovering.

We could take the leeroy approach and try to stab him *right now* but considering he survived being ripped asunder by Eae, I doubt anything we do will stick until we know more about how to properly kill a demon.
>>
No. 949034 ID: c1eaac
File 157319523839.png - (252.92KB , 700x600 , 78.png )
949034

"I apologize for leaving you," you say, formally and not quite sincerely. Still, it's probably best to at least try to smooth things over with Jasper before you ask anything else of him. "I was...in shock, and I thought you were dead. I didn't see a way I could intervene without putting both of us in even more danger."

"You shut the door," Jasper says, acerbic. "You didn't even send anyone to help after you left. I had to drag myself out of there once the angel was done with me, and my neck had healed enough that my head wasn't about to fall off."

"Yes, but you can't say you didn't deserve it, Jasper dear," Or says sweetly, placing a hand on your shoulder and squeezing it in what you think is a gesture of support. "You eat angels so frequently, it was really only a matter of time before you found one that bit back."

Jasper snorts, looking unamused. "Spare me, Ornias. Just ask your questions."
>>
No. 949035 ID: c1eaac
File 157319526470.png - (130.99KB , 700x600 , 79.png )
949035

You get the sense that further apology won't get you anywhere with Jasper, and that perhaps his delicate ego needs some time to heal. Better to ask your questions and get out of here while the getting is good.

"I heard you say that you didn't invite me here," you say, watching Jasper's face carefully. "Do you know who did? Suriel, maybe?"

"You've met Suriel?" Jasper asks, looking more surprised about that than he looked when you said you overheard him in the hall.

"We haven't met," you clarify. "I've just heard about them. And I saw them in the garden, for a second."

"Well, I don't know for certain," Jasper says, with a sigh. "But I can't think of anyone else besides Suriel who would go to the trouble of doing something like that. Maybe my mother, but she never takes much interest in these parties, and I don't see a reason why she would start now."

You frown. "Your mother?"

"Abbadon, dear," Ornias says from your side.

Right. Jasper is the son of Abbadon, who - much like your own mother - is a bit of a recluse from courtly life. She supposedly shares his estate, but if Jasper's explanation is true, she must make herself scarce whenever he throws these parties. You have to admit, you also don't see a reason why Abbadon might invite you here, if she wants nothing to do with Jasper and his guests.
>>
No. 949036 ID: c1eaac
File 157319527954.png - (224.94KB , 700x600 , 80.png )
949036

"What does Suriel want with me?" you ask, changing your angle of attack ever so slightly. If the rumors are true, and Suriel is working for Jasper in some capacity, maybe he knows more about what motivates them than you do.

"I don't know," Jasper says simply. Your surprise must show on your face, because he follows it up with an ambivalent sort of shrug. "I really don't. They keep me on a need-to-know basis, where certain things are concerned. I suppose this was something they didn't think I needed to know."

Huh. It sounds like Suriel has a lot more power in Jasper's household than you've been assuming - or that they have some kind of relationship with him that goes beyond head servant or bodyguard. You have to wonder if they invited you here to pass on information about what goes on in his estate, or simply to embarrass Jasper in front of his guests.

"What is Suriel to you?" you ask, unable to help yourself.

Jasper smirks. "It's complicated."

You anticipate that he might say something more, but an elaboration never comes. In fact, it seems like Jasper doesn't have many answers for you at all. Still, is there anything else you might want to ask him, before you move on?
>>
No. 949058 ID: 618ac4

ask Jasper to help you locate Suriel. if anyone could find them, it would be him, right? and if theyre still in that hedge maze, he probably knows how to navigate it on account of actually living here.
>>
No. 949060 ID: ce39da

“Out of curiosity, how humane is the eating here? Do angels actually die because of this operation, or are you just taking pounds of flesh from the staff which happen to add up to one full “angel?” It would explain how you’re able to get a steady supply of the stuff, and it would certainly make me more willing to try come supper time, without nearly as much weight on my conscience. And how involved is Suriel?”
>>
No. 949098 ID: d7f01b

ask jasper where you might find his mom
>>
No. 949105 ID: b787ea

i agree with the previous suggestions... well, maybe? i am definitely also curious about the angel eating, but now may not be the best time to ask. maybe casually inquiring further about suriel (and abaddon ;3) before leaving is the best idea. and if suriel is more powerful in jasper's household than previously thought, maybe it's not a bad idea to ditch or for a bit and summon arty to go find suriel later...
>>
No. 949231 ID: c1eaac
File 157346024916.png - (222.56KB , 700x600 , 81.png )
949231

You think of a lot of things you might want to ask Jasper, including more about how his entire angel-eating operation works, but you're not sure that now is the best time to ask about that. Probably better to stick to questions he might actually give you the answers to.

"Is Suriel around? I assume they're involved with this party in some capacity, if they invited me," you say, deciding not to mention that you saw Suriel earlier. Maybe Jasper knows what they're up to right now - or what duties they should be doing.

"They should be around. I haven't seen them since earlier," Jasper says, with another shrug. "I don't think they would just up and leave, though. They tend to be invested in how these things go."

Interesting, that an angel would be so invested in a party where their own kind are butchered and eaten. You can't help but wonder what Suriel's stake in this whole thing is.

"Do you know where specifically they might be, dear?" Or asks, smiling sweetly at Jasper. Their hand is still on your shoulder, and it's comforting, if not a little distracting.

"Maybe in the garden? Sometimes they stay out there until I'm finished greeting guests, and dinner starts." Jasper glances back over his shoulder, towards the main hall, where you can hear the raucous noise of the partygoers. Unfortunately, he's just confirmed what you already know, but it's good to know that Suriel might still be out there. At least, until dinner starts. "They don't like drawing much attention to themself, or being treated like a common house servant by our guests."
>>
No. 949232 ID: c1eaac
File 157346027433.png - (190.12KB , 700x600 , 82.png )
949232

Interesting. You tuck the information away for later, and quickly decide to veer down a completely different track, before you leave Jasper.

"What about your mother?" you ask. "Abbadon? Is she home?"

"Oh, probably. She's upstairs, if she's anywhere," he says, sounding largely ambivalent. "I don't know what you'd want with her, though."

"Abbadon and Glas's mother are friends," Or says sweetly, and you have to admit, you have no idea if they're telling the truth or if they just pulled that one out of their ass. "He was probably just hoping to say hello and introduce himself. Weren't you, Glas?"

"Uh, yes," you say, hastily. Mostly you were just curious about what sort of demon could possibly raise someone like Jasper, but you're definitely not going to admit that out loud.

"Well, good luck getting ahold of her," Jasper says, with an amused sort of snort. "Are we done here? I'd like to get back to my party."

"I think we are," you say, surprised to find him looking to you for an answer. It's his estate, so technically he could just walk away whenever he liked. "Do you mind if I stay? I know you didn't invite me here, but..."

Jasper waves you off. "Do what you like. As long as you don't make trouble, it's of no real consequence to me."

"Really?" you ask, surprised.

"Oh, of course." He smiles, showing off his shark-like teeth. "Besides, if Suriel invited you here, they've probably got a plan for you. I wouldn't want to get in the way."
>>
No. 949233 ID: c1eaac
File 157346030573.png - (168.97KB , 700x600 , 83.png )
949233

You're taken aback by the answer, so much so that you can't get a response in before Jasper takes off again, walking quickly down the hall in the same direction Lilah disappeared off to. You watch him round the corner and vanish from sight, then glance to Or.

"That went well," you say, wryly.

"Better than expected, certainly," they say, offering you an encouraging smile. "What now? Are you going to look for Suriel? Or Abbadon?"

You frown, only just beginning to contemplate your next step.

> Return to the party.
> Look for Suriel.
> Look for Abbadon.
> Explore Jasper's estate.
> Something else?
>>
No. 949238 ID: 9dad72

Look for Suriel, but get some exploring in meanwhile?
>>
No. 949239 ID: 70df1e

i vote we summon arty and go find suriel. in that order, specifically, seeing as its pretty clear suriel intends to do us harm/humiliate us judging by jaspers reaction. summon arty BEFORE we separate from ornias - they said they knew him, so maybe theyd like to say hello
>>
No. 949249 ID: be8768

>>949238
>>
No. 949250 ID: 2eb4c3

>>949239
Seconded.
>>
No. 949255 ID: f46390

Abbadon ????? yes go
>>
No. 949307 ID: b787ea

yeah, i also vote for summoning arty before going to look for suriel. altho it is a bit of a shame to use up the feather for something so stressful ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but maybe if things go well, he'll still want to hang around afterwards ;Dc
>>
No. 949319 ID: 0ce250

Just... return to the party. Summoning arty on the small possibility that he'll actually help us with whatever scheme suriel has cooked up instead of ducking out on it is a foolish, foolish move.
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