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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
157 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 928830 ID: 0c162d

i think politely joking abt it / talking arnd it is def the way to go
No. 929668 ID: c0641d

Hah, nice; it's vague enough to avoid outright scandal but true enough that your siblings don't get the wrong idea. Also, don't let them make you hold up the entire conversation yourself; "Are you a frequent guest of ol' Jas's get-togethers yourself? I've heard things about the catering. What would your verdict be on that, judging by your experience?" Don't forget to arc an eyebrow with a probing look to really get across how circumspect the things you heard were.
No. 930054 ID: f2320a

We should be deadpan and/or blunt here. A little honesty is gonna go a long way towards working the crowd

"To be honest, he and I don't see eye to eye on a particular matter. last week it got him into some trouble and I decided to leave him to sort it out himself.

naturally, he seems to blame me for it and I've accepted his invitation to cut any future problems he may cause off at the knees, if need be."
No. 930130 ID: c1eaac
File 155548266390.png - (156.74KB , 700x600 , 37.png )

"Ahh, well," you say, and you don't have to try hard to sound a little sheepish. It's probably best not to tell Shax and Xezbeth the whole truth, if they don't already know, and hope that they'll side with you regardless. "Jasper got into some trouble at court last week, and I left him to sort it out on his own. I think he invited me here out of annoyance more than anything."

"Well, I'd be annoyed too, if you left me to be torn apart by angels," Shax says, a bit too loudly for comfort.
No. 930131 ID: c1eaac
File 155548268459.png - (89.81KB , 700x600 , 38.png )

"You would probably welcome being torn apart by angels, Shax. Don't tease him." Xezbeth's voice is stern, but her smile becomes a little more genuine as her gaze flicks back to you. "Don't worry, neither of us is particularly fond of Jasper, either. Shax is a gourmand, and I'm accompanying him as his plus one to ensure he stays out of trouble."

"Neither of you brought dates?" you ask. You know next to nothing about Xezbeth's romantic prospects, but surely Shax has his pick of friends and lovers to bring.

"My romantic situation is...complex," Xezbeth says, with forced diplomacy. Or makes a noise behind you, under their breath, and you resolve to ask them what she means later.

"Andras didn't feel up to running into Murmur or any of his friends," Shax chimes in.

"Smart of them," Or says, again under their breath.
No. 930132 ID: c1eaac
File 155548270321.png - (213.55KB , 700x600 , 39.png )

"Ah," you cut in, remembering your manners. "Xezbeth, have you met Duchess Ornias? They're my date for the evening."

"I have not," she says, offering Or her hand. "Though I know their cousin Eligos well. He speaks highly of you, Duchess."

"Does he? That's a surprise." Or laughs, and takes Xezbeth's hand, kissing it briefly before returning it to her. You're a little awed by their charm, and how easily they integrate themself into conversation with strangers, like everyone is an old friend they've known for centuries.

"Have you and the duchess been courting long?" Shax asks softly, sidling up next to you to watch them and Xezbeth chat. "I hear they're a hard one to pin down, if you're thinking of marriage. Or are you just trying to fuck them?" You look up at him sharply, and he laughs, raising his hands as though trying to pacify you. "No judgement, of course! I'm just curious."

"I'm not sure," you say, and you just barely have time to think that maybe that's something you should be considering before the angel by the front door is announcing a newcomer to the party.
No. 930133 ID: c1eaac
File 155548271346.png - (103.19KB , 700x600 , 40.png )

"Duke Eligos Bathinson," they say, and you and Or both snap your attention to the door. You see Eligos there, sporting a new hairstyle and much more casual clothes than he was wearing to court. He looks good. He probably doesn't see you, since you're far in the back of the room, but maybe you should talk to him?

"Did he bring a date?" Or asks, craning their neck to see.
No. 930134 ID: c1eaac
File 155548273647.png - (106.43KB , 700x600 , 41.png )

"And Prince Marax Hethson," the angel at the door goes on. The noise in the room falls significantly, and you get the distinct impression that all hell is about to break loose.

"What the fuck?" You hear Murmur say, from the front of the room.

"Oh, boy," Xezbeth says under her breath, behind you.
No. 930138 ID: 70df1e

team huddle with or, eligos, and xezbeth. murmur is going to start shit because im like 100% thats his ex that left him at the altar that he mentioned at the last party and shax is in xezbeth jail so we should figure out how we want to proceed very fast like
No. 930142 ID: 3f3f1a

YEAH MAKE A PLAN or if it seems to be a scene can u excuse urself from the ballroom temporarily and quickly,
No. 930145 ID: c8452a

"What the fuck." But under your breath. Maybe it would be fun to constantly stay very far away from the splash zone of whatever drama is about to happen.
No. 930149 ID: 10c408

....Okay seriously JUST exactly how many people know what happened to Jasper? It's imperatively that we determine this information.

But that's for later. Right now... Fuck's sake, Eligos.

"I do believe we should make ourselves even more scarce."

Do not get involved. Try to stay in earshot if you can but don't get involved.
No. 930159 ID: 270774

yeah, let’s just make a game of it. try to stay close enough to be in earshot, but far enough away that you won’t get spotted or dragged into things. i’m sure or is going to love that plan, too
No. 930747 ID: 26262d

eligos bitch
No. 931560 ID: f950b0
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"What the fuck," you echo under your breath, watching Eligos sweep into the room with Marax on his arm. God, when was the last time you even saw Marax? Probably before you stopped going by Princess and started going by Prince, if you had to guess. Definitely long before his wedding, or lack thereof.

You need...a strategy. That's what you need. One that will keep you, Shax, and Xezbeth out of the crossfire, since someone here (you'd be surprised if it wasn't Murmur) will surely recognize the three of you as Hethsons and try to drag you into this whole mess. And also one that will let you keep an eye on things, mostly for Or's sake. They sounded earlier like they wanted to see what would happen between Eligos and Murmur.
No. 931561 ID: f950b0
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"We should probably make ourselves more scarce," you say to the group at large, in a voice that definitely communicates how super not-panicked you are. You are't surprised to see Xezbeth and Shax looking roughly as uncomfortable as you feel. Shax dated Murmur fairly soon after Marax left him, so...that's about right. "Unless you think your cousin needs assistance, Or?"

"Oh, no. Eligos dug this grave for himself, and now he has to lie in it," Or says brightly. "We can go wherever you like, darling."

Well. That's settled, then. You'll have to grill Or more about why Eligos and Murmur are fighting later, but for now, it's time to make your escape.

"I hear Jasper's garden is lovely," Xezbeth says, with a pointed sort of look at two nearby doors with large glass panes set into them, that clearly lead out onto a patio. You - and the rest of the group - decide to take her hint, moving towards them just as you catch a glimpse of Murmur moving towards Eligos in the crowd.
No. 931562 ID: f950b0
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You escape out onto the patio, and instantly feel like you can breathe a bit better. Very few of the party guests seem to be out here, and it really is quite nice. The grounds of Jasper's estate are spread out before you - a stone path leading through a lavish garden, and beyond that, an elaborate looking hedge maze. You're not terribly surprised. Hedge mazes have risen in popularity among noble demons in the past few centuries, and are considered a good place to conduct covert affairs.

Now that you're more or less alone, it seems like a good time to address the elephant in the room.

"So," you say carefully, leading the group onto the path. Might as well walk and talk. "How many people know what happened with...me and Jasper, at court?"

"Hard to say," Shax replies. "Xezbeth and I heard from Andras, who heard from a servant of the king's. I don't think Jasper told anyone else, if that's what you're worried about. You probably humiliated him by not helping. It's pretty funny, really."
No. 931563 ID: f950b0
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As Shax talks, you slowly become conscious that someone is watching you from the entrance of the hedge maze. An angel. They aren't wearing a servant's uniform - in fact, they're dressed more like a party guest than anything else. Maybe they're here undercover, but if that's the case, why is their halo showing?
No. 931566 ID: 7011e0

well it's good not EVERYONE knows i guess... anyway does anyone know this angel. or why they're here
No. 931569 ID: 70df1e

hey we were concerned about jasper telling demons but what about jasper telling angels? i mean id assume therye cool with it on account of eae doing the attacking, here, but that angel over this is giving us a Look (tm) if i am not mistaken and i dont like that one bit
No. 931582 ID: 2af340

be nice and say hello! :)
No. 931583 ID: 10c408

Hoo boy. There's three possibilities and all of them are worrying.

One: That's the angel diplomat who is pulling strings to fund Jasper's "all you can eat" angel buffet.

two: He's the main course for Jasper's meal tonight.

three: He's neither of the above. Most likely, he's too important to simply disappear.

We need to find out which is true and we have to be lowkey about it.

So, with that in mind.

Clam up, immediately or change the subject back to Eligos and Marax. Take the little group a ways down the path, then suggest splitting up.
No. 931602 ID: 02e2dc

ask your pals if they know that angel

also ask them if they know why eligos is trying to start shit (i assume?) by bringing marax. does he have a bug up his ass about us pulling rank on him or is he just doing it for ~THE DRAMA OF IT ALL~
No. 931603 ID: 02e2dc

also ask what or thinks about ~THE DRAMA OF IT ALL~ we need that sweet demon court gossip
No. 931611 ID: cb754e

>>931602 this! last thing you need is to get separated from these guys and become angel chow. point out the angel to the group!
No. 931614 ID: 190147

deeeefinitely do not approach the angel on your on, ask your friends if they know them and maybe wave at them?
No. 931763 ID: c0641d

"I spy with my little eye... either one soon-to-be unfortunate or one that could very well be enabling the misfortune. Frankly, this curiosity is eating me alive." wink, nudge "Should we introduce ourselves?"

If Eligos is trying to start beef with Murmur, I think he should be comfortable with explaining why himself, at a less volatile time.
No. 932701 ID: f950b0

i posted this in the disthread but idk how many people really check it so! i updated the wiki page on hearts goetia with pretty much everything you guys have learned about every single character so far. i figured it would be easier to have a dedicated info hub than expect you guys to do a bunch of backreading to remember certain gossip/facts.
No. 932755 ID: f950b0
File 155778179961.png - (79.51KB , 700x600 , 46.png )

"Not to change the subject," you say, leading the group down one of the garden pathways, "but does anyone know why Eligos brought Marax? Or, you mentioned earlier that Eligos and Murmur were fighting, but..."

"Oh, they are," Or says, looking positively delighted about getting to dish some hot gossip. Their voice is lowered conspiratorially, which is fine, because you're still concerned about that angel that was watching you. Luckily, your group is about to go through a long tunnel made of leaves and flowers grown over a series of metal archways, which should hide you from view for a moment.

"I thought they were close friends," Shax says. His good eye is shining, like his interest is piqued. You can't blame him - court drama is pretty fun to hear about.

"Of course they are, dear. They just don't see eye to eye on a few things," Or replies sweetly. "For one thing, Murmur is one of the few people in our social circle who actually likes Azza. I don't think Eligos was happy when he announced his intention to bring Azza tonight. So naturally, the only acceptable response was to bring a date Murmur would hate just as much."

"But Marax hasn't been back to Hell in years," you say, still a little surprised that Marax really turned up here, on this night. It seems improbable. Then again, so does the fact that you showed up with Ornias Bathinson on your arm.

"He and Eligos are friends," Xezbeth says, before Or can answer. "He probably did it as a favor. Eligos visits Marax on Earth sometimes, and lets Shax and I know how he's doing. Not that we care."
No. 932756 ID: f950b0
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You're finally deep enough in the tunnel that you're sure you aren't being watched, and you stop walking, earning yourself odd looks from the rest of the group. You don't want to linger in here too long - someone else might come through, or the angel might get suspicious - but it's good enough cover for a brief, private conversation.

"Did anyone else see that angel watching us out there?" you ask.

Shax shakes his head, though he looks curious. Xezbeth frowns slightly, and Or looks a little confused.

"What angel?" they ask.

"Short, chubby, big braid going down their back?" You gesture vaguely with your hands to try and indicate what you mean. "Wearing a cape?"
No. 932757 ID: f950b0
File 155778183321.png - (245.07KB , 700x600 , 48.png )

"That sounds like Suriel," Or says, recognition suddenly sparking in their eyes. "They're Jasper's head servant, I think, or something like it. They help organize his parties."

"I thought they were just his lover," Xezbeth says, arching an eyebrow.

"I heard they were an undercover spy sent down to get dirt on him," Shax says, quite confidently. "And he's bribing them to make them stick around as his bodyguard, so no other agents of Heaven can get to him."

You, Xezbeth, and Or all stare at Shax for a moment. It's not exactly the most outlandish thing you've heard of a demon doing, but it would be...pretty ballsy for a demon of Jasper's relatively low standing to try and bribe (or even blackmail) an agent of Heaven into working for him. That's definitely not an offer most angels would accept.

Still, if Suriel really is Jasper's bodyguard...you might be in some trouble.
No. 932758 ID: 7011e0

well even if they're his head servant, it's still probably bad they're out here staring at us instead of running the show with the other servants... another reason to keep on our toes
No. 932762 ID: 2af340

look over your shoulder
also, ask for some goss on azza!
No. 932770 ID: 10c408

Note to self, learn how to sketch portraits on the fly. A little bit of near-exact drawing of basically anything important can go SO FAR with all the subterfuge and intrigue we're getting caught up in lately.

And as far as Suriel goes... Well, we brought Arty's feather and the dagger for a reason. (second note to self, self defense lesson from Camio would be nice.)

That said... Keep gossiping and moving through the garden. Direct everyone to a more open area so that you can keep a better eye out on things.
No. 932807 ID: 70df1e

Keep one hand on arty's feather and be ready to use it just in case Suriel starts following even more into the garden!

Also with so many conflicting accounts of what they do, maybe they just do... Everything? A head servant who kisses a man and take a bribe. Or maybe its all gossip except for the servant bit, because I can't think of any other reason they'd be at this party. Still, worth keeping an eye on.
No. 932841 ID: 7e9c89

make certain to stay with a group! or at LEAST your date. could be dangerous..
No. 932869 ID: c0641d

Exercise healthy observation of your surroundings as you continue:

"Well, to be honest, clearing up some of my confusion regarding the nature of Jasper's angel compatriot is one of my motives for coming here. I mean, wouldn't you want to know what the deal is with an angel associating themselves with a demon surrounded by such, ah, choice rumors? Simply knowing her name and gender now can already be considered a small victory, in fact. But of course, that alone is small potatoes - stuff you could have told me about (and did). If anyone is up for some tailing... but ah, let us not talk of such skullduggery. As we leave the privacy of this arbor, shall we continue making thinly veiled mockery about Azza?"
No. 933562 ID: c1eaac
File 155841007630.png - (277.55KB , 700x600 , 49.png )

"Well, perhaps they just do everything," you say, mostly joking - but still quietly unsettled by the way Suriel seems to be keeping an eye on you. At least you have options, when it comes to protection.

You lead the group out of the tunnel and back onto the path proper, winding through the garden and idling your time away until it's safe to go back in. Or until dinner starts, you suppose. You try to watch Suriel surreptitiously, but they haven't moved from their post at the entrance to the hedge maze.

"Tell me more about Azza," you say, eager to change the subject now that you're somewhere you can be seen and heard. "I'm afraid I don't know him very well."

"Well, he's old money, but he's never attached himself to any suitors for long. If you ask me, I think his older sibling steals most of them away for sport. And because they're quite pretty," Or says, quick on the draw as usual when it comes to gossip. "He and Eligos have been courting the same pair of humans for a while, now, and it's turned into a bit of a rivalry. One of the humans favors Eligos, and the other favors Azza, but neither of them will make a choice because they favor each other most of all. It's all very dramatic."

Or sighs happily, then glances over to Xezbeth. "I'm surprised you hadn't heard about that, Xezbeth dear. I'd have thought that you and Eligos could commiserate, when it comes to dating humans."
No. 933563 ID: c1eaac
File 155841008540.png - (166.94KB , 700x600 , 50.png )

Xezbeth makes an offended noise in her throat, and looks as though she's about to snap at Or, but is cut off before she can even begin by a loud BANG. It's the door to the patio slamming open, and you realize with dismay that Murmur is the one who opened it. He looks a mess - hair in disarray, wine on his shirt - and you find yourself wondering how so much could have happened to him in such little time.

"ORNIAS," he says loudly, spotting the group you're with. "YOUR COUSIN IS A REAL SON OF A BITCH."
No. 933565 ID: c1eaac
File 155841009709.png - (163.10KB , 700x600 , 51.png )

Or grimaces, looking extremely put out.

"I should handle this," they say, beginning to politely disentangle themself from the group. "I don't think it will take too long. Glas, you're welcome to stay with your siblings -"
No. 933566 ID: c1eaac
File 155841012757.png - (58.68KB , 700x600 , 52.png )

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

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

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

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

Go with your date into the lion's den.
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