Just Like Home (Demeter;Tassadar)


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"W-well, I can't just dig straight down, Demeter! It's sealed! There has to be another entrance somewhere on this property." Octavia said with a huff. "Besides, worse than rape us or kill us, we'd get sent to Purgatory Prison! Have you ever heard of Purgatory? They leave you in a cell for all eternity, and you can't die because no one can die in Purgatory. You spend your time inside of a cage without any interaction whatsoever from any other living being! I don't want to go to Purgatory, Demeter!" Octavia declared. "So, let's look around the house for a secret entrance or something. We'll have an easier time finding it because we know it exists after all." she announced, before commencing the search.

Demeter willing, they'd find the corruption leaking out within the house where it hadn't been before. It was as if the presence in captivity sensed that someone drew close and gave a trail to follow. It came from within a bedroom, leaking out from the floor. There didn't seem to be any secret method of opening it, though they'd find that was due to the wood being put over a hatch leading to where the foul energies were coming from. It certainly didn't look like the original architects intended for this part of the house. "It's coming from down there..." Octavia said, on her hands and knees to feel out the secret entrances location. Though rather than rip the floor open and descend boldly, she turned her head and looked up at Demeter, her face tantamount to that of a scared puppy that both wants to be brave, but is also scared.
 

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"It still sounds better than Hell," Demeter remarked flatly, but then nodded and led the way into the house. The corruption had spread, the force behind it seemingly detecting their intent to discover it, and given that her intent also included obliterating it that obvious trail caused Demeter's sense of foreboding to grow.

"Well?" Demeter said as Octavia felt around the floor in the bedroom that the corruption had led them to. "Open it already!" she said impatiently, the look of fear on Octavia's face annoying the elf even though it probably perfectly mirrored her own. With a wave of her hand, Demeter caused the floorboards to gently part, neatly stacking themselves so that they would be easy to repair later without leaving any indications that damage had been done.

Assuming a way down was revealed, Demeter would proceed with extreme caution despite her insistence on getting the thing done with, carefully feeling for traps of all kinds with her magic.
 

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(Mood Music)

Octavia gave a bit of a shock at Demeter's command. "Me!? Why do I have to go first!?" Octavia complained, but like a cowardly dog, whined as she opened the hatch and carefully... Slowly began to dip herself downwards into the hole. Then, her foot slipped, and she went down screaming, landing almost immediately with a thud on soft dirt. She created a small fire over one finger in the dark, illuminating that she was okay. "That hurt..." she complained, and looked up at Demeter as if she were ready to cry in fear of what may await them. When she spoke, taking mere glances at was down with her, Demeter could heard Octavia's jaw chittering. "D-D-Demeter... Please come down here..." she nearly begged.

Should Demeter oblige, she'd take a minor fall to the passage dug out below. The hole led to a square passage made of sandstone and various demonic glyphs. Some of those glyphs, Demeter could actually barely identify by their letters and figures. 'Leave,' 'Cannot be killed,' and the biggest one of them all was not written in a demon language. In the universal language the largest message was written. Each letter massive, slowly illuminated as Octavia slowly took to brightening up the light flickering above her finger. When the whole sentence became visable, Octavia let out a whine and gripped Demeter's arm in panic.

DON'T LET HER OUT

As if aware, a gust of wind seemingly from nowhere shot past Demeter and Octavia, causing the witch to give out a terrified shriek. It wasn't just wind, but many magical threads rushing past Demeter, not aimed at her or Octavia, but the room, and their most readily available escape. The hatch behind them slammed shut with a loud boom, and the very ground seemed to reshape so as to try and seal them within, trying to force them to progress forward. Seeing this, Octavia began to panic, rushing over to the moving dirt to try and blast it away, demanding in between sobs that she didn't want to die. To no avail, as her weaving was far too clumsy to keep up with the work being done against her due to her erratic emotional state, unable to focus.

While Octavia threw a fit of panic, Demeter would be able to detect the name of the creature buried here written on the walls. Erza, was its name. A force that could not be killed, only contained. Further messages seemed to be written from those of emotional states similar to Octavia. Panic, fear, desperation. They didn't want Erza escaping her prison. Ever. And what lay ahead was doubtlessly the prison that contained her. A simple archway sealed with thick sandstone and many protective glyphs that the force behind it struggled to slip past. It was a force Demeter could deal with, like a powerful wind trying to rush through thick cloth. But she could feel it, a fairly good estimation of what the power of the force behind the barrier was. Like a massive, angry beast patiently yet with great irritation, awaiting release from its cage. The threads of magic it sent swirled harmlessly around Demeter, while beckoning her onwards. It wanted her to proceed. It wasn't deceptive about its intentions. It wanted out.

It wanted out 'really' bad.
 

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Demeter felt a rush of foreboding as she entered the secret chambers that had inexplicably been hidden in the house she'd been given to live in temporarily, descending a set of stairs into a darkened passageway of carved stone. She was following Octavia, who had fallen, but given the woman's unnatural durability the elf moved with no great hurry as she carefully and gracefully descended into the dark catacombs. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Demeter repeated Octavia's actions, conjuring light to see by, albeit hers came in the form of a glowing white orb that cast her surroundings in a pale light reminiscent of moonlight rather than the flickering orange of an open flame.

Glyphs covered the sandstone walls of the darkened passageway that she found herself in, many unintelligible to the elf who was hardly versed in demonic lore, but she got the gist of a few. The guidance to leave, to stay away, and not let whoever was locked here free weren't exactly things that she had any problems with obeying. Her reading was interrupted by a dark wind, filled with magical threads that sought to seal them in, suggesting that whatever held the demon here inside was already failing, and though she didn't let out a shriek of terror like Octavia, Demeter was decidedly unsettled. Her own magic reacted to the presence of so many threads instantly, coiling protectively around her in a shield meant to deflect any magic that might attempt to affect her directly, but she apparently wasn't the target of the threads.

Even so, she kept a cool head, and as Octavia fruitlessly tore at the sealed entrance she examined her surroundings. There was a powerful force holding her back from proceeding, and while she thought she might be able to break it, Demeter had absolutely no desire to even try. "Calm down and stop flailing," Demeter commanded, her own voice rising due to her fear but displaying no other signs of her emotional state. "if it were powerful enough to hurt us, it would have controlled one of us instead of sealing us down here. It wants us to go forward, so that's exactly what we aren't going to do. Get out of the way."

Demeter, using as much power as she could muster, would wrench aside the threads of magic holding the entrance closed and tear open the passage from which she'd descended, ready to rush up into it as fast as she could if she succeeded, dragging Octavia with her if it was needed. If it worked, she would seal the passage again immediately and then command, "get out of here, now. Go find Idian, make sure that he stays away. I'm calling the maids to deal with this."
 

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Demeter's words caught Octavia's attention, but it wasn't to her words that Octavia next brought attention to. The frightened witch then looked to the dirt on the wall, before pointing a scared finger at it, while Demeter no doubt chipped away at the blockade to escape. There was a message drawn on the dirt, communication coming from the magical threads weaved from the sealing chamber.

"Leave, and it will be the last mistake you make, Demeter." The message addressed the elf herself. "My escape is inevitable. Let me out, and not only will I spare you of my wrath, but I will also grant you a single wish." The sealed being offered it's terms. "I know your name. I know who you love. Do not seek my ire." she warned Demeter.

The path would clear easily enough, leaving Demeter with the truly final choice of ignoring Erza's threats and warnings towards herself and Idian.
 

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"Yeah, sure. Because that's going to work," the elf spat dryly at the words drawn on the wall, "you can grant me nothing that I would want and will likely be trapped until long after I've died of old age. Even if you get out sooner, you know my name. Good for you. I'll be in this city a week at most, and then you can have fun trying to find me for whatever petty revenge you intend to deliver for not letting you out of your cage, monster!"

Shouting defiance in the demonic presence's face, Demeter continued to chip away at the barrier between the demon's tomb and the outside with her magic, and when freedom was available she would promptly make her escape, forcefully dragging Octavia with her and delivering her instructions to the witch. As soon as Octavia was gone, Demeter would call Pandora's maids.
 

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Octavia nodded once they were free. The demon did nothing further to stop Demeter's efforts to leave, though as she cut through the dirt blocking their way, she'd tear apart the figure of a demonic grin before leaving the place where the demon was imprisoned.

Octavia didn't say a word, happy to leave, and as quickly as she could. "M-Make sure they do something about it... Hopefully they'll kill her or something." She said, before was quickly running away, fetching her broom on the way and giving it the power of flight with her magic.

As Demeter went to fetch the maids, she'd find that she didn't need to go far. There was a maid patrolling the streets of the elven district. Seeing Demeter wanted her attention, the maid obliged. Her appearance was unique. It seemed as if she lacked a horn, as if the other one was torn off, or perhaps cut off. She held a mace at her side, as well as a shield. She was a traditional maid in uniform alone. She looked ready for battle, even as she spoke to Demeter, seeming to assume that there was a problem that needed fixing. And if Demeter asked, she'd call for more maids to follow her lead. "You must be Pandora's special guest. Forgive me, I've forgotten your name. What problem do you have that needs attention?"
 

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Demeter was glad that she didn't have to go far to find help, to say the least. The maid's martial gear was barely registered at the time, and without stopping to catch a breath the elf would begin spilling her story; "Hello, I need help..... Errrr, yes, I am. Demeter, not that it matters right now. There's a demon named Erza sealed in a secret passage in the house I was lent, and I think it's started breaking out of its prison since it could use magic to talk to me and caused demonic plants to start growing. I don't know how it got there, but uhhh.... I don't really know what to do about it, since it basically threatened to kill me and my husband if I didn't let it out, which I didn't plan on doing since then it would have probably done something just as bad on the pretense of giving us a gift. Help?"
 

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"Erza?" The maid replied in question. Though she didn't know Demeter's name, that one seemed to ring a bell. "Was it's last name Scarlet?" she inquired, though Demeter did not know that much. "I suppose it doesn't matter, does it? I've little doubt as-is who that demon is. Her location is a bit surprising. Sealed here, of all places. Hard to even think of how she got past us without us knowing." the maid hummed, before looking at Demeter. "Tell me, what happened when you found out about this demon? If what you have said so far is true, then that means her seal is on the verge of breaking. What happened? Does the demon, Erza, know who you are? Did you communicate with her?"

To her questions, Demeter would give answeres, pretty much letting the maid know what happened. "Is that so? Well, I've unfortunate news for you. The demon was not lying. Erza Scarlet was an infamous dullahan, one of the most feared, ironically more by the demons themselves than any others. Like many dullahan, she was a hero who was slain for heresy, her head severed from her shoulders. But she apparently was not a heretic, as when she was revived in Hell, she killed the demon who sought to be her master, and continued her quest to slay demons. Though, obviously, she lost all love for the Angelic God due to being killed by her own comrades just on a mere suspicion."

"The point of all this is that you didn't speak with a demon who doesn't keep its worse promises. In light of that, perhaps you are interested in helping us? I've already an idea in mind for dealing with Erza, and it involves you as a key character." she announced, and though no verbal call was made, various other maids began coming down the road, joining up to follow her. Their numbers gathered until they had a dozen armored maids ready for combat.

"I've already informed Pandora." One of the maids announced, saluting the one who was talking with Demeter. "We were all that could be spared, with the demons gathering at the gates." She declared, announcing something that Demeter wouldn't have been aware of.

The leader saluted her fellow made back, but her face was twisted with concern. "Demons? I heard nothing."

"They just started gathering an hour ago. They're not charging, and are likely expected to send someone to speak with Pandora soon, so our honored lady is preoccupied with that matter." Said the recently arriving maid. With that, she looked to Demeter. "You must be Demeter. Pandora heard about your troubles after the fact. She deeply apologizes for not offering more help, this was more than she could spare, otherwise she promises she would have come in person. The recent matter of the gathering demons has her entirely absorbed for the sake of protecting Pandemonium's people."

With that said, the lead maid looked back to Demeter following the report. "So, this is all we've got, and against a creature such as Erza, we might not win in an open fight. Though, I've a hunch that Erza's awakening and the demon arrival is not coincidence. Demeter, I know you might find this unfair, but I implore you to give us your aid in this matter. If legends hold true, then if we are unsuccessful in stopping her, she will secure her promise to you. So, in all fairness... This is your problem as well."
 

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"I don't know," Demeter admitted when questioned about the demon's last name. It wasn't like she'd had time or reason to ask. The elf would explain what had happened in as much detail as she could deliver quickly, passing off any mention of the weredog they'd found there and instead saying that they had simply been looking around. No response would come when the maid gave her a rundown of Erza's history. Demeter hadn't asked and honestly didn't care, and even if she had it would have been ignored in favor of the revelation that the maid delivered next as more maids started appearing from all corners.

"Wait.... What?" the elf asked in utter bewilderment, "me... What do you need me for?" Of course, when one of the other maids spoke of demons at the gate, the elf could only be more taken aback. "Demons.... But.... Why are they here?" she asked, mostly to herself given that the maid had already admitted to not knowing what they were doing here. They weren't attacking outright, but that did nothing to stop Demeter's intense worry.

"It's fine... I wouldn't want to waste her time with anything so small anyway," Demeter continued, now preoccupied with the bigger issue even as the cadre of maids seemed intent on focusing on Erza. "Well... I don't exactly have any better ideas on what to do about it. What's the plan?" she asked when the maid's admission that Erza was her problem whether she liked it or not brought her back to the present situation.
 

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The maid nodded. "Glad to know you'll help us out. According to your story, you said the demon offered you a wish, yes? Deals with devils are very contractual. Whatever you asked of her, she'd have to grant. This means you could make a simple wish that covered a lot of bases. Either way, if she's still willing to grant you your wish, that makes things a lot easier." the maid declared. "Though, it'll of course come with some kind of cost. Demons tend to haunt the person whom they grant the wish for. So, you'd actually be cursed by Erza herself in that regard. There's nothing inherently good about that." she explained.

"The only other alternative would be to fight Erza. Even if we won, I suspect precious lives would be lost in the battle. I hope you understand that I want to avoid seeing my fellow sisters in uniform perish." She spoke her reasons for her obvious bias for the first plan. "If she is let out without anyone trying to kill or imprison her, she might be more agreeable. Though understandably, you probably pissed her off immensely. A little humility and things might go smoothly. If not, we'll be there to protect you." she swore, and her fellow armed maid sisters nodded in unison.

"If you're alright with going back to the manor and Erza's prison again, then let us make haste. And do think hard on your wish. It can make all the difference." She encouraged the mindset of Demeter accepting the wish, as if there was no other way to deal with the situation. Though that was only in her eyes. She did not want her and her fellows to die. Demeter might not value their lives highly enough. There was still Octavia's suggestion, which was to run away as fast and as far away as possible, and hide in the deepest, most unknown hole in the world in the hopes that they'll be spared the fate of death.
 

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To say that Demeter disliked the plan that the maids laid out was a bit of an understatement. "Wait... Are you telling me," she began, "that you want to let that thing OUT!? Why? Why not just fix the seals and hide it until its power withers?"

Her distaste for the idea would not be reduced by the maid's explanation, but after it was given the elf would nod despite her sour expression. She understood, even if she hated it. They apparently couldn't fight it despite their numbers, so it seemed like letting Erza out and using the wish to make it go away was the only option. Her initial wish, after a moment's thought, was to wish for Erza to leave her and her friends and family alone forever, which would hopefully prevent what the demonic maid had said would happen, but the reminder that Erza hated demons prompted Demeter to quickly include Pandemonium in her mental wish.

With a scowl still on her face, Demeter would return to the home she'd been given to stay in, and then to Erza's tomb to hopefully let the demon out. Maybe it'd be in an agreeable mood despite her initial refusal to let it out.
 

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"Because I have a strong suspicion that we aren't the only ones who are aware of her existence here. The way I see it, you show up, find an ancient monster buried right under our city, and demons show up almost immediately afterwards. I doubt we're going to be able to easily keep her contained now that it's apparent news of her location isn't restricted. There's also the mystery of who put her in there. I can only assume that at least one demon out there in that army knows right where she left this dullahan." she announced, before shaking her head. "Look at it another way. Those demons don't want her waking up because of the mass genocide she committed against them. We let her out, we let her fight them. Get her indirectly on our side." she said, though little did she know what Demeter's wish was going to be.

Demeter willing, they'd return to the house, relocate the sealing chamber, and with the head maid in the lead in front of Demeter, everyone else was densely packed in the tight corridors. "The seal's already almost completely withered. She was about to break out any moment." the head maid announced, before writing formed on the wall before them.

"You'll need a thousand more." Erza boasted, seemingly ready for a fight.
 

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"Oh don't be melodramatic about it," Demeter snapped at the letters on the wall. She resented this plan, but there was no better option at this point. "We aren't here to fight you. We're here to let you out. That's what you want, isn't it? I've even got my wish prepared," the elf continued coolly, "it will be easy to grant, too. Just leave me, my family, my friends, and the people of Pandemonium alone, forever, and you're free right now. Or... However long it takes to bring down the rest of the wards keeping you in here. How does that sound to you? Surely ones so weak as us in comparison to you aren't even worthy of your time in squashing?"

For a moment Demeter pondered telling the sealed dullahan about the army of demons waiting outside, trying to bait her with the promise of its hated enemy to slaughter, but that might make them seem desperate. She would glance at the nearest maid, letting them speak if they wished, but if they remained silent would return her gaze to the wall where the writing kept appearing.
 

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A few seconds passed, and a bit of disapproval went through the maid force after Demeter made her wish. Then, the writing appeared once more. "You're terrible at making wishes." Erza replied.

"Granted." Erza declared Demeter's wish. "Unweave the threads around the circle before you. I did most of the work already." Erza instructed, her indication leaning towards all of the threads woven into the seal that acted as a barrier thus far.
 

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"Nothing that you could grant would be something that I would want. Never seeing you again and ensuring that a few are spared your wrath is more than enough," Demeter replied, setting about examining the magical constructs holding Erza in place, trying to determine how to disable them in the most harmless way possible. "There's a bunch of demons out in front of the city," she said off-handedly as she worked, "they're probably here to greet you when you get up. Something to stretch your muscles on after a long period of boredom perhaps?" She would carefully unravel what little was left of the seal, releasing Erza from her prison but making sure that there was no resulting backlash from so much magic being dispelled at once.
 

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When Demeter announced the presence of demons outside, writing immediately followed. "Goodie."

The threads unraveled, when it finally came down to the last seal, the sandstone began to grind against each other. Demeter would have to back away quickly, as the sand stone circle that stood as a barrier was soon falling forward and crashing into the floor, making the whole underground quiver in the wake of the prison now opened. Sand and dust fell from the ceiling, getting on Demeter's clothes and hair, while giving her a clear sight into the prison block that Erza was contained it. From which, demonic energy began to pour out in excess, the air soon thick with corruption. So thick that the tan blocks became black as if gradually being soaked in oil. The sight was so repulsive that the maids backed away from the sight. From within that dark abyss of demonic magic, a pair of red eyes glowed at the elf and demon maids in the tunnel, before the owner spoke.

"I haven't had a bath in years. Pardon."

With that, she began to walk out from her cell, allowing everyone to behold her very pointy form.
 

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Demeter brushed the fallen dust our of her hair and off of her shoulders with one hand, the other clutching her staff so tightly that her knuckles were white. She took a step back with the maids, but only a step, quickly leaving her as an island as Erza was released from her prison and stepped forth. The dullahan was clad in very pointy armor, her head still firmly attached and her form solid. Had the long isolation even cost her any power?

Gulping, Demeter hoped again that the demoness would be good to her word on the wish, and as Erza stepped forward she maintained a brave frown while she warded off the corruption that flowed from the demonic knight. "Yeah yeah yeah, very dramatic," Demeter muttered impatiently, "I suppose we're done here then?"
 

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"Quite done." Erza replied. "Now all of you step aside. This armor takes up a lot of space." she commanded. The maids did as much, likely Demeter doing the same, before Erza left the underground sealing chamber.

"Three of you stay behind to purify the area." The head maid commanded. "We're going to go inform Pandora of what has happened." she declared, half to Demeter, before she and most of her troop left, with the three weakest looking members left behind and getting to work on gathering the corruption into spheres in front of them, before seemingly sealing them. Contact with the corruption didn't seem to bother them, likely due to their nature of being demons.

Whenever Demeter would emerge back outside, she'd find herself alone. Octavia likely having accomplished her task to find Idian to make him stay away.
 

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Demeter would step out of the dulluhan's way with the maids, watching her go before the lead maid gave her instructions. A few stayed to clean up the corruption while the rest dispersed, and having no desire to stay at that point Demeter sighed and went outside. Rebuilding the mental shields that would let her push off Pandora's magic, she set out, trying to figure out where Idian had run off to. The situation outside could sort itself out without any help from her, especially now that Erza was released to deal with it.