Description: A chance beating from a mysterious stranger has left the Demon Queen in existential crisis. She retreats to a rarely-used sanctum to seek reassurances from a magic mirror.
The lights in the penthouse apartment activate automatically as the owner steps over the threshold, bathing the pristine environs in white.
"Alexa, turn off the lights."
The lighting fades, allowing the faint orange glow of sunset to filter in through the exterior windows and skylights overhead. The heels of a pair of thigh-highs click on the foyer tiles as the silhouette steps inside, shutting the door behind her. She makes her way past the mirrored closets without stopping, staggering into the living room before collapsing onto a couch fit for a queen. A long, rattling inhalation is interrupted with a violent coughing fit that spatters red across the coffee table as arms wrap around ribs gingerly. The girl considers the bloody stains deliriously for a moment before rolling onto her side and curling into the fetal position.
The healing factor usually would have taken care of this by now. That would concern her almost as much as the ease with which that stranger had kicked the shit out of her - but she didn't come here to think.
There's a knock at the door.
* * *
The pink-haired silhouette leans heavily against the doorframe as she holds the door open to the security guard who's occupying the hall in front of her.
"Excuse me, ma'am. Is the... owner in?"
The silhouette in the doorway tilts her head, and a heaved sigh can be heard.
"Does the name 'Lyraelle' mean anything to you?"
The security guard takes a step back at the subtle venom of the reply, almost on reflex, before gathering himself.
"I'm sorry, ma'am - the alarm wasn't disengaged, and - well, the apartment hasn't been occupied since it was leased nearly two years ago."
"Good. Now, how about the word 'defenestration?' Does that mean anything to you?"
The security guard takes another step back. "Hey, ma'am -"
"Because if you stick around~"
"- Ma'am, I'm only trying to keep your property secure -"
"Great. It's secure. 'Kay? Thanks! Byeee!"
The door slams in the guard's face.
A muffled expletive can be heard on the other side of the door as Lyraelle wanders back into the home. She gives a look toward the sofa and the blood-spattered coffee table, then huffs, wandering further into the apartment.
"Alexa, play Feel Good Music on Spotify."
"Playing 'feel good music' on Spotify."
Lyraelle's teeth clench as the beat to Lucky Chloe's smash hit 'Pretty Kitty' starts to blare over the apartment's sound system.
"Alexa! Play the playlist 'Feel Good Music' on Spotify!"
"Playing the playlist 'Feel Good Music' on Spotify."
Lyraelle's hackles lower as 'Love Me or Hate Me' by Lady Sovereign starts to play over the speaker system.
'Make way for the S-O-V!'
Love me or hate me, it's still an obsession
Love me or hate me, that is the question
If you love me then thank you~
If you hate me then fuck you! o/~
The entire penthouse is like a shrine to self; simple whites, greys and blacks in the decor, the better for the owner to stand out in the myriad mirrored surfaces. For once, Lyraelle doesn't deign to look at herself in them; perhaps because she can feel that the bruises have yet to heal. She walks past herself again and again until she comes to a door leading to the innermost sanctum - the master bedroom.
The master bedroom is, in contrast to the standard for such homes, a relatively muted affair - a small desk for a computer, a single bed with plain sheets that look like they were once well-used but now abandoned, and a vanity table with a singular mirror on it. The mirror is noteworthy - ornately designed, in a tarnished silver frame inlaid with emeralds.
Lyraelle sits down in front of the mirror and examines herself in it.
Within is the perfectly presented face of Her Royal Majesty, lips glistening, completely unblemished, flawless and radiant.
Lyraelle reaches up to touch her left eye and flinches as her gloved fingertips press against a cut from where her face was stomped into concrete.
"Sorry. Should I show you the unfiltered version?" the face in the mirror asks.
"Why not? We both know I've had enough of your bullshit," the succubus says to her reflection.
In response, the face in the mirror changes to match its owner's: pink bangs matted with blood partially obscuring a black eye, a lingering split lip, and perhaps worst of all, a nose that is decidedly broken.
"I'd like to discuss the warranty on our deal. This super amazing fantastic demon bod you sold me is clearly defective."
The face in the mirror starts to laugh a classic ojou laugh before replying.
"How twentieth century of you. What's the matter, sweetie? Aren't you happy with your 'birthright?'" the mirror taunts, drawling the word 'birthright' sardonically.
"Oh, cut the crap, babe. We both know the whole 'Darkheart' thing was just your way of appealing to my love for bad fanfic," Lyraelle says as she leans back in her chair, folding her arms across her chest. "By the way, you never mentioned you wanted to literally ride my ass twenty-four seven as part of our contract."
"You made such a point about it being a fine ass, I couldn't resist," the face in the mirror replies, before sticking its tongue out at Lyraelle.
"Yeah, well, what's the point of being a badass sex goddess if you're going to let some nobody in a cheap shirt fucking no-sell me?!" Lyraelle spits back with rising ire at the magic mirror.
"Oh, are you going to blame me for that? After being so insistent about your self-determination?" the mirror replies haughtily.
"Yeah, well, you're the one who said we should pick a fight with that teenager!" Lyraelle says, glowering.
"Yes, but you're the one who decided to waste all that time with your 'perfect revenge.' Such modern notions of 'villainy.' You should have just humiliated her in battle and been on your way."
"Revenge isn't exactly a modern concept," Lyraelle defends herself. "Besides, narrative is important. I have a character to maintain, here."
"And here I thought that someone so recently mortal would have a sense of timeliness about their world conquest," the mirror says with a lofty sigh.
"You obviously picked me for my intelligence and willpower," Lyraelle says as she starts to try and claw the matted blood out of her hair. "You shouldn't have been surprised that when I figured out your monkey's paw I turned it around on you with one finger extended."
"Actually, I picked you for your ego," the face in the mirror corrects. "I've never met someone who thought the world owed them so much."
"Kindred spirits, then," Lyraelle says with a plastic smile. "I never thought I'd be bosom buddies with the ghost of Napoleon Bonaparte."
There's a moment of hesitation, the face in the mirror blinking a couple of times before putting on a smirk. When it speaks, it's no longer with Lyraelle's voice, but a deep, otherworldly tone.
"Nice try, but not quite right, cherie. You've unfurled a corner of the tapestry. I'm sure you'll be expecting a little trophy for your detective work."
"We call them 'achievements,' Napoleon. I would've thought you'd pick that one up, squatting in a gamer's brain space for two years," Lyraelle chastises, resting back in her chair and propping her face up with a hand.
"Unlike you, I don't read any trash I can get my hands on," the mirror retorts. "And stop calling me Napoleon. It's as incomplete as if I called you 'girl.'"
"Or 'insolent bitch,'" Lyraelle reminds the mirror.
"On the contrary, I find that one adequate," the mirror intones.
Lyraelle considers the mirror's words before saying, "I'll take that as a compliment."
There's a moment of silence before the mirror speaks.
"You can call me Invidia."
"Invidia?" Lyraelle looks bemused. "Are you trying to tell me that you're some kind of embodiment of envy?" The succubus looks somewhat taken aback. "Does that mean you're basically the patron saint of inadequacy? Jeez. This whole time I thought I was dealing with Superbia."
"I prefer to think of it as ambition," the mirror says. "Or perhaps insatiable desire."
"That explains a lot," Lyraelle decides. "The delusional ghost of Napoleon Bonaparte thinks it's the embodiment of ambition -"
"Foolish girl! I am a /god!/" the mirror booms.
"- /exceptionally/ delusional ghost of Napoleon Bonaparte -"
"You're going to regret vexing me," the mirror declares with unholy indignation.
"And you need me to park my ass next to your next meal," Lyraelle reminds the mirror.
"And yours," the mirror reminds Lyraelle. "Try and succeed next time. And don't allow the body I've given you to be so grievously mishandled. My blessing can only go so far."
Lyraelle presents a pouty scowl to the mirror, only for the reflection to shift again to the same pristine visage it showed when she first sat down. Touching her face again, she realizes that the pain has faded - and the mirror is now revealing her present face.
"Still the fairest of them all," she comments on her reflection before standing up and stretching languidly. She takes a few steps over to the bed and flops onto it, closing her emerald eyes as she allows herself a moment to reminisce on a past life.
A few minutes later, she opens them again. "Well, if we're out of the tournament, I guess we'd better find out what they're doing with Ira, hmm?"
There's no response.
"Back to staying quiet until things go wrong?"
Lyraelle pushes herself up off of the bed and stretches again before breathing out a contented sigh.
"Good. I prefer you that way."
Log created on 22:51:06 03/09/2022 by Lyraelle, and last modified on 23:59:23 03/09/2022.