Love Cherish Obey: Chapter Two (Bonus)

Zinnabelle: When I originally wrote this sequence, I was thinking romance novel, so the demon was a lot nicer. Then, Carcosette told me that she needed to be meaner. Like, a lot meaner. Which led me to expand a bland 800-word scene to a much better 2600-word scene. I think it's neat to see how a tiny piece of critique like that can lead to such a big change, so I thought it would be fun to show what the scene started as.

“Be not afraid, summoner.” It said gently as it approached. Rosalind realized it was offering her a hand. That’s right, she reminded herself, I called this thing here. Shakily she took the hand and the demon helped her to her feet. “You know,” it said, “it’s customary to stand outside the summoning circle. For a moment I thought you were a sacrifice, not the summoner.” As the demon spoke, its eyes changed, the solid black constricting until it appeared almost normal, revealing a white sclera and red iris.

It took a step back. No, Rosalind realized, not it. She. The creature’s voice was low and husky but definitely female. And, Rosalind noticed, her breasts are also definitely female. She’d missed them before, but now they were at eye level. It occurred to her for the first time that the demon was totally nude. Suddenly uncomfortable, Rosalind averted her eyes.

The demon didn’t appear to notice. “Well,” she said, “I suppose I’ll start by cleaning up this mess.” She bent down and touched the ground. The blood splashed around the clearing shivered then crawled toward her, gathering in streams and flowing toward her hand until there were no signs of what had happened.

She stepped toward Rosalind again and reached out to touch her. Rosalind flinched away. The demon scoffed. “Do you want to stay covered in blood?”

“No…” Rosalind agreed, then cautiously held up her arm and allowed the demon to place a hand on it. The blood covering her–Cyril’s and her own–responded by flowing in ribbons along her skin and vanishing into the demon’s palm. At the same time an intense itchiness flared along her wounds. She watched as the deep cut she’d made on her arm scabbed over in a moment.

“More than one kind of blood… Your own, and… a man’s.” The demon smirked. “I’m beginning to understand why you called. Well, murderess, show me to the victim.”

“I’m not-” Rosalind objected, then stopped. “Never mind. Think what you will, it doesn’t matter. Follow me.”

Rosalind strode toward the house with false confidence, resisting the dizziness that threatened to topple her with every step. Just how much blood did I lose? She wondered. The demon followed obediently into the house.

When she saw Cyril she let out a low whistle. She walked around the body, carefully stepping around the splatters of blood. She leaned closer, examining the wound, then looked at the athame. Then she straightened up and began to slowly clap.


“My lady, you have my sincere admiration! What cunning, to fell a sorcerer with his own implement! What decisiveness, to do it in a single blow! An impressive strength belied by your figure! And a truly shocking heartlessness, to do it to your own husband!” She looked back at the corpse. “You made the right choice, calling me. Anyone who sees this will know exactly what happened.”

“That’s not the problem. The problem is that he isn’t my husband. Not until tomorrow.”

The demon raised her eyebrows. “What am I supposed to do about that?” she asked. “I make problems disappear. I can’t undo them.”

“I saw. In the book. You can raise the dead. That’s what I called you for.”

“Raise the-?” The demon looked blank for a moment. Then she began to silently laugh. “Oh, oh! No, no, no, my sweet summer summoner. I cannot perform a resurrection. I can perform a puppet show. I can make a corpse stand and walk and obey orders. Perhaps well enough to pass as deeply drunken or badly ill. But for a wedding, in front of god and everybody?” She shook her head, grinning. “No, I’m sorry, no.”

The world spun. It was funny, in a way. Of course the madman’s ritual wouldn’t work. But it had worked, hadn’t it? She’d called up an infernal beast from the pit of hell. So why not?

“No,” Rosalind gasped, “not good enough. I can’t believe a demon is standing here telling me what is and isn’t possible. You’re already impossible. This wedding must happen. I’ve come too far for anything else.” She took a deep breath, then focused her gaze on her demon. “I command you as your summoner. You will make it happen. You will do whatever it takes. Whatever the price, I will pay it.”

The creature reeled as if struck. She stared at Rosalind, a grim expression on her face. She looked back at the corpse, deep in thought, and sullenly poked at it with her foot. Then, an idea occurred to her. “Maybe,” she said, “maybe it is possible.” Her eyes lit up and she spun back toward Rosalind. “I have your permission to do Wwhatever it takes to make the wedding happen?”

“Whatever it takes.” Rosalind repeated. Something about the tone in the demon’s voice made her uneasy.

The demon’s grin reappeared. “My iron-willed summoner, your wish is my command. Leave it all to me. I have only one request for you.”


The demon stepped closer, heat baking off of her like a furnace, and put an unwanted hand on Rosalind’s shoulder. “Drink some water, eat something, and go the fuck to bed. Tomorrow’s your big day, after all!”

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