The Worst Demon

The door’s long, slow creak echoes through the large chamber filled with arcane relics, humming catalysts, and piles of recently consulted tomes.

In the center, a very bored demon perks her ears up and casts a curious glance toward her visitor.

A doll dressed in a maid outfit—a very cute one, the demon thinks—enters, shuffling its feet morosely with a feather duster clutched in one hand. Without a word, it begins dusting the furniture and less volatile equipment in the room.

“Hey there, Jasmine,” the demon calls. The doll offers only a grunt of acknowledgment. “Is something wrong, dear?”

No response from the doll. It continues its diligent labor, carefully cleaning in a well-trained procedure that avoids disturbing anything sensitive.

“Are you mad at me, Jasmine?” The demon puts on her saddest pout and permits just the right degree of whine to creep into her voice. “Please say something. I get so lonely here, and you’re the only one who ever keeps me company.”

“Not s’posed to talk to you.”

The demon doesn’t respond, choosing only to push the sad puppy eyes a little harder each time the doll glances her way in clear expectation of some argument from the demon. She makes no such argument. She knows she doesn’t need to.

The doll’s resistance breaks down quickly.

“I’m sorry, Xilky, Miss just yelled at us a whole bunch today after Anthy rearranged the tools rack wrong and Cammy tried to make it up to her with a garden gift, but apparently that was the wrong one, and then I accidentally broke a faucet by using it wrong, and, and—”

The doll squeezes its eyes shut for a moment, doing its best to collect itself. “And I don’t want to get in even more trouble by talking to you again, even though you’re my friend. Miss is already planning the worst punishments for us. I just know it!”

A nod of understanding and a soothing purr from Xilkevria’s throat. She beckons the worried doll over to her, and the doll obeys, more eager to be comforted than afraid of its witch for the moment.

The way its floofy skirt bounces with each grumpy step really is too cute.

“I could kill her for you,” the demon offers.

Jasmine groans, grousing, “that’s your solution to everything.

She shrugs. “Hey, it’d help me too, which is why I always make sure you know the offer is still on the table. You just have to free me. That’s all.”

“You’re so not subtle. Miss always said demons are master manipulators, but you just keep saying I should free you so you can kill stuff. That doesn’t even sound like a lie! Are you secretly, like, the worst demon, Xilky?”

The demon laughs without malice. “Ouch! Okay, maybe I deserve that for letting myself get trapped here.” She smiles, crafting her most guileless expression of plain, open honesty, with just a touch of sadness. “Maybe I just don’t feel right manipulating a friend.”

The doll buys it. “I’m sorry, that was a mean thing to say, huh?”

“Oh, don’t worry about it, dear. I’m used to far worse jabs from other demons, and your company is much sweeter than theirs.” She sighs. “I wish I could touch you, take you away from the pain you endure here.”

Jasmine is silent for a while. “But what about my sisters? They deserve good things too.”

“Of course they do,” Xilkevria reassures it. “No less than you, even though my attachment to you is more…personal. I’d care for you all, if you let me.”

The doll sighs, checking its internal clock. “I better get back to work,” it says, staring down at its feet instead of into the demon’s seductive gaze. “Even if I’m not s’posed to talk to you, I’m glad you’re really nice. I hope you don’t have to stay trapped forever.”

It finishes its work.

It leaves.

The demon waits an appropriate length of time to notice that the circle of salt has been broken right by where Jasmine was standing, as though nudged by cute little shoe. It’s a small hole in the fence, but it will do nicely.