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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
193 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
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.
No. 936666 ID: c1eaac
File 156110590377.png - (225.23KB , 700x600 , 53.png )

"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 )

"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 )

"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 )

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 )

"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 )

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

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 )

"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 )

"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 )

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

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


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 )

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 )

"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 )

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 )

"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 )

"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?
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