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I can barely keep up with all the insane crap being dumped on me by the truckload.  But it fits, Mr. Greasy probably actually is a Jinn.  While I keep half an ear on the conversation, I try to recall everything I've ever heard about them, but it's mostly maddeningly vague and uncorroborated.  One thing that's universally agreed upon, wishes always have a price, always...even if it wasn't explicitly negotiated, or indeed immediately apparent.


Still, if even half of what he's saying is true, that's a secondary problem.  And it, too, makes sense...the otherwise unprecedented "contagion" of Demonic influence would have been just a slow trickle from a primary source, so heavily disguised that no one realized what they were looking at.  And all Demons have control over their own forms, to a greater or lesser degree.  Being able to Quick Change without a specific imprint would be a logical manifestation of that.  If I'm to accept for the moment that she is a Demon somehow wearing a dead-girl-suit.  My stomach twists at the perversion of it, but I've been working in these circles for nearly a decade, and I've seen worse.

Far worse.

But either way, my immediate path forward seems clear.  Demons do not enjoy any protection from the Councillary Tenets, and there's no exception for some sort of hypothetical Enochian amnesia.  Whether she remembers it or not, she is not meant for this world.

As they hold hands and get all weepy, I quietly step behind the Demon and with a smooth thrust, I bury my knife most of the way into her side, carefully sliding the blade between two of the hard plates of her ridiculous costume.  I jerk it back out, more harshly than I need to, and she topples forward, making a strangled half-groan.

"Would you believe, neck-deep in all this bullshit, I nearly missed that this ditz has actually been a fucking demon all along?!"  I hear an edge of hysteria to my voice and realize I'm more emotional than I ought to be, I'm clearly picking up taint from her, even partially 'shielded' as she seems to be, and drawing blood would likely only increase that.

I half close my eyes and focus on my training, walling off external impulses to the edge of my mind where I can observe them without being controlled.  But the idiot girl breaks my concentration, and insanely worse, Invokes the actual Pit, jumping off of the bed to protect the Demon.

"Shut up!   She's a Demon, are you fucking stupid?"  Using words like that even under normal circumstances is a really stupid mistake, you can build up all kinds of Karmic debt, but in the actual physical presence of a Demon, it's way beyond stupidity.

"Weren't you listening, she's only kind of a Demon!  And she's been nice, sort of, in a totally messed up way!  And anyway, I fucking love her, so step the fuck off!"  She points a finger at me vehemently, her manacles rattling with the gesture.

It doesn't matter that she's warded and bound by the runes, she's a danger to herself and everyone around her, she's so lost it she's professing love for a horrid thing that couldn't possibly be less deserving.  I ready the knife to put her out of her misery, Tenets be damned.  How dare she?  We'll see how much she wants her twisted, evil, mockery of goodness when both their blood is spraying onto the goddamn floor, even as she dies I'll cut her fucking tongue out if she says another word of such filthy wrongness, she needs to PAY-

From deep in the cleaner patches of my soul, scattered and lonely in the darkness, an echo of my partner's voice comes to me, thick with repetition over a dozen encounters, firm, urgent, and always trying to guard my innermost self.

Nora! Rule three!

Rule three: Before any action accompanied by unstable emotion, complete the catechism.  I bite my lip and mentally run through the questions impatiently, eager to kill her and be done with it.  'Is what I do for the good of Humanity above myself?'  I don't deny I'll get some satisfaction from this, but, dammit, yes.  'To the best of my knowledge, will this act cause more good than harm?'  Again, yes.  The Council would almost certainly kill her after a trial anyway.  'Would this action violate the Councillary Tenets?'  My heart skips a beat.

Yes.  Obviously.  'No accused shall receive punishment except after trial and by the express and plural judgement of the Council.'  The Tenets and the Grand Farce are the only things that keep us from slipping back into the days of temple sacrifices, mythic constructs loosed on the populace, burnings, inquisitions.  I feel a sliver of cold fear at how close I came, and most of my rage slides away to the edges of my mind.  I stare at the coughing and still-bleeding Demon and feel a renewed respect for the threat they easily they can get such a hold on us, even when they're seemingly helpless.  Or even especially then.

"She's obviously Bound into infatuation," I note calmly, trying to keep my voice steady, "and the taint from her Invocation almost twisted me into killing her on the spot...nice try, really nice try."  I step around the thrall towards her, but the girl tries to get in my way again, pushing at me with her manacled hands.  With my free hand, I take one of her wrists almost gently, twisting it inexorably up and out.  Unnaturally strong as she may be from whatever's been done to her, she's clearly never encountered Aikido.  The confusion on her face is nearly comical as she instinctively rolls aside in a somersault to relieve the pressure on her joints.

I lean forward over the Demon and lay the edge of the bloody knife against her throat, itself already stained slightly with blood coughed from her own lips.  I run through the catechism automatically, but this time my motives are my own, and the questions pass with firm certainty.

"Go back where you belong," I whisper.  Mentally, I add, For my mother, a gallon for every drop.  She closes her eyes in apparent resignation, but I stay on my guard as I press firmly and draw the blade across, making sure it bites deep enough to cut into windpipe, carotid and jugular.  There's no indication she'd been able to pick up any imprints that would allow her to survive this, but I fully intended on following through with a thrust to the heart, dismemberment, burning, and scattering the ashes in three different seas.  Others might make use of demonic substance for enchantment...I prefer to be certain.

But despite my wariness, only halfway through opening the Demon's throat, I'm surprised to hear words.  Not from my victim, but from the idiot thrall, her voice cracking with blind love, desperation and a sadness that I find terrifying, as it suggests she knows there will be a price, and is willing to pay.

"I wish I wasn't wearing manacles anymore."
(1232 words)

Short one, but over the top of the hill now, and racing down! :D

Beginning: Volunteer (Part 1: Confederate)

Previous: Volunteer (Part 14d: Klein Bottle)

Next: ???

When you Votes  (for Volunteer on Topwebfiction), you're Totes (awesome)!  That sounded better in my head.  hmm 
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ToothlessFeline Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
So...will we eventually get the conclusion to this story? It's very good, possibly even worth using as the basis for a published urban-fantasy novel. I implore you to complete it.

But since I can't find any DA activity from you at all in over two years, I'm not even sure you're still participating in DA at all. If you're still out there, give a holler!
DeleriiOne Featured By Owner May 10, 2017
2nd time for me reading this.   its May, 2017,  so I'm thinking you have given up on continuing?   It was a bit confusing and really seemed to be, not a roller coaster, but one of those swinging teacup rides at the carnival, going back and forth and you don't really know which way your facing.  

I wonder if you have written yourself into a corner? 

You really did keep track of things rather well.   I would have lost it long ago.

Well done. 
dbh1984 Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2017
Maybe a little late to the party, but i did read everything in one go and really liked the story so far... is the rest of the story somewhere?? I cant seem to find the rest, but i do hope it does excist somewhere...
James-MacCloude Featured By Owner May 20, 2016
oh my I do hope Viola doesn't kill the woman for trying to murder her friend, and gets help not execution.  She could simply knock her unconscious and wish her friend to be healed.  They have communicated telepathically before and maybe Augusta can plead for her enemy's life, which may actually redeem her. 

But it's your story and I'm just waiting for the next chapter. ;) (Wink)  
magicshoppe Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016
Reading these things as the come out (as opposed to sitting down in one long session) it is hard to figure out how the POV changes. Can't you state explicitly who "I" is when the POV changes?
YppleJax Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I could have, and considered making that change early on, but decided just to soldier on and hope for the best.

I suppose my thinking was, if I'm characterizing well enough it will be quickly apparent in each part, and if not, the link to the previous chapter is right there in the description. I guess that means I'm not characterizing as well as I'd hoped. The long gaps between posting probably don't help either. :(
magicshoppe Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016
The time between postings is probably the real issue.
YppleJax Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sorry.  I wish I could get things settled in my head faster.
OtGW Black turtle icon 
magicshoppe Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016
Not a complaint. Just an observation.
dkfenger Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016
She knows the price full well.  Everything.  And doesn't care, or bet yet, considers it well worth it.  And that is both terrifying and wonderful.

<sniff>  Lotta dust in here.

(And dang it, we got what, about 5 seconds worth of new plot?  AUGH!  <heh>  Still, it's cool to see the council agent's PoV in all this.  Had to read back a chapter to grok what 'invoking the pit' meant.  Things are about to get even *more* interesting, I see.)
YppleJax Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I know, I know...the overlapping is a little out of hand at this point.  It was short anyway, and I'd have continued on, but I needed to shift PoV again, and we'll be cutting down on active characters very shortly...

Pikachu Crying Plz 
dkfenger Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016
Yes, it does look like a winnowing is due...  And I'm mostly just teasing about the 'Augh!' aspect.
Headzor Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016
I like this :) 
YppleJax Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad to hear it!  I'm always nervous about how readers will take my endless teasing cliffhangers.  :)
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