• Published 12th Apr 2016
  • 14,952 Views, 12,558 Comments

Three More Things! - Tatsurou

Uncle Chan tries to balance running an antique shop, fighting demons, and being a Chi Wizard with being a loving Uncle to his nephew, his somewhat removed niece...and three little ponies who drive him straight up the wall.

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Wings Folded

Valmont sat at his desk, sipping tea with Tso Lan. Bai Tza had decided to let the two brainiacs plot out the next move on the chess board without her, preferring to finish cleansing herself in her spa since - apparently - she found wearing a face not her own somewhat distressing. Tso Lan had been highly amused that Valmont's first response to that was to offer to tend to her personally to ease her mind, and that Bai Tza had to practically order him to stay and plot with Tso Lan and that she desired 'feminine privacy' to get Valmont to stay. He pushed the amusement from his mind as Valmont spoke up. "About your siblings who remain..."

Tso Lan nodded. "Dai Gui, Po Kong, and Hsi Wu," he elucidated. "Tchang Zhu will have to remain for some time, if only to keep our options open."

"And we've established Po Kong is last," Valmont confirmed. "So that leaves Dai Gui and Hsi Wu as choices for next. Describe them for me, please."

"Given our shared ability to shape shift, I presume you are asking for my personal opinions and perspectives on them?" Tso Lan pressed, his tone completely neutral.

"It would be useful," Valmont confirmed. "I would ask Shendu, but...to be blunt, I don't trust him."

"A wise move," Tso Lan observed in amusement. "And yet you trust me?"

"You said it yourself, my mind is valuable to you," Valmont explained. "Valuable enough to invest personal time and effort towards its upkeep by seeking to bring about my demonic ascension should the need arise. That means it's in your personal self interest to be straight with me, and work with me. So yes, I trust you."

Tso Lan let a smirk touch his human lips. "Brilliant, devious, ruthless, and amusing..." He chuckled softly. "If my sister hadn't already staked a claim..."

Valmont swallowed in surprise. "I...I'm flattered, but I don't-"

"I arose as a Demon Sorcerer from the Elemental Force of the Moon's gravity, upon the dark side," Tso Lan interrupted. "I came into existence without gender. I only shaped myself as male in the past because they held the political power, making it easier to make mortals heed me. What bonds I have shaped have been based entirely on intellectual and emotional connections. Physicality is a minor concern at best. It would be neither a difficulty nor an adjustment to take a female form should I so desire for such companionship...again, if my little sister had not already staked her claim."

Valmont closed his eyes and took a few calming breaths. Yet again, he'd been caught off guard by his own preconceptions. Yes, when it came to the deeper motivations the Demons were very human, which was to say talking animals. All the same motivations drove them...but their means and methods to achieve those motivations went far beyond what most humans would even conceive of, let alone utilize. He carefully reorganized his thinking as he put this new detail into account. "Perhaps we should table that discussion so as to not upset-"

"She'd find it kinky," Tso Lan interrupted, "and if it weren't me, she might actually extend an invitation for a one-night indulgence. However, she knows all such bonds I make are permanent, and she is unwilling to share you on that scale. But yes, let us return to the original discussion. I've had my fill of tormenting Shendu this way for the moment, and I have no desire to torment you." He smirked wickedly. "That's Bai's purview now.

"Dai Gui is headstrong, fierce, and not very bright," Tso Lan continued as Valmont steadied himself. "His first response to any situation is to smash something, and if that doesn't work he tries again from a different angle. He's implacable like the Earth that is his Element, but he has a very difficult time changing. Like Tchang Zhu, he was one of us who was outvoted as far as accepting your plan, and part of why I stated you would not be penalized for the fates of those of us who did not heed your guidance in achieving our freedom.

"Hsi Wu couldn't be any more his opposite. He is cunning, clever, nearly as skilled a mage as myself, and fiendishly creative where it comes to the use of his Elemental abilities. When he comes across a problem, his first response is to withdraw, study it carefully from all angles, and then find either the most efficient or most fun means of ripping it to shreds. He is a pure demon like myself, though the youngest of us save Bai Tsa. However, do not let that lead you to underestimating him." He crossed his hands and narrowed his eyes. "After all...was it not four children who most greatly thwarted your efforts for Shendu?"

Valmont nodded in understanding. "It sounds like you have a great deal of respect for your brother Hsi."

"Indubitably, and it is well earned," Tso Lan confirmed. "His Element gives him command of the Sky and all within it...and he has used that power to tap all our Elements in his own way. Commanding the weather, reshaping the air currents..." He shuddered violently. "Though the most terrifying was when he defeated an entire squadron of mages and magic-protected warriors come to banish or slay him by - as modern science would define it - peeling back the electromagnetic field to cook them alive with the sun's unfiltered rays."

In that moment, Valmont desperately regretted being atheist. He couldn't help but think that having some sort of religious gesture that warded away evil would be of great comfort right at that moment. "That sounds...impressive."

"Terrifying," Tso Lan murmured. "The unfiltered Eye of the Sun would be lethal to any of us if exposed directly...and he was so excited to discover that he could unleash it. He went on and on about what he could do with it, the ways he could use it...he is very excitable, and very passionate about new things. Of all of us, he is the one most suited to change."

Valmont managed a smile, though it lacked conviction. "Then he is one we want to free quietly, if we can manage it. As you put it, that is a mind we cannot be without."

Nearby, Ratso began unlocking the Pan'ku Box to the Trigram of Sky.

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