Those five words are my proof to the question of existence. Hundreds of thousands of convoluted theories guess that we may simply be the dreams of slumbering behemoths, or that each person is the same identity but scattered and warped by the moment they came to be.
I don't believe in any of that nonsense. To know, is to live, is to be, and there are so many things that will never be, and so that question of whether we truly "are" is swallowed up by everything else that matters the most.
We are lucky to be; to live; to know. Life is so easily taken for granted when more possibilities exist for a person than they can ever fathom.
I think I began in just that very same vein-- or, rather, that was how others viewed me.
They believed that my life was just that, to be taken for granted, because from my mewling first moments, I was permanently impedimented with what you would know as hereditary sickle-cell anemia.
It's rather shallow-minded of magicians to think their child would be a cripple. Magic makes the impossible possible-- but my parents didn't see that, focusing only on my flaws.
At that moment, neither they nor I had a clue what the future had in store.
Though I was not as energetic as my younger siblings, I found great joy in spending my time reading every book I could get my hands on. I had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and information, wanting to know everything about everything that ever was.
Rather predictably, I picked up my family's magical arts at an early age, and my drive to learn spilled over into the realm of magic, as well.
I did not run and play as easily as the rest of my family, but I knew. Knowing was my every thing, and I was happy with my life.
That only lasted so long. As my teenage years approached, I grew restless, only having learned as much as my family was willing to give me.
They still worried endlessly about my anemia, but while it did certainly impediment me, I didn't let it stop me. My desire to learn burned far too strong.
I soon left home, no long pacified with what I was limited to. I wandered through all of Britain, invading libraries in the night and taking all that I had not read or seen. Before they knew it, I was gone without a trace, a few simple spells washing away the traces I left behind.
It was remarkable-- there was so much I had yet to learn. The history of the world outside my country, the flora and fauna of continents far away, the cultures of peoples I had never even heard of.. I wanted to know about all of it.
What I hadn't yet discovered fascinated me beyond belief, and that inspired me more and more to drive on further..
After a few years of traveling the roads, I eventually found my way into a cute little mansion on the isles.
Unassuming, out in the middle of nowhere, currently inhabited by a few nobles from France who were taking refuge from the French Revolution.. it seemed like a wonderful spot to wander in and see what there was that I hadn't yet taken for myself.
That, of course, was a bit of a mistake. Until now, I had always assumed that there weren't much more than humans here...
On that summer night of 1901, I had slipped into the mansion, unseen and unheard by the residents. It hadn't been difficult whatsoever, easily fiddling a lock open with a simple spell and drifting silently through the air to prevent anyone from being alerted to my presence.
Of course, my boldness just ended up tricking me into believing that all would go well. In a clumsiness a little rare for me, the satin-lined bag of books that I was taking with me had slipped from my hand as I tripped over the edge of a rug, and the rather heavy contents nearly crushed my foot.
It was going quite a bit of my definition of "keeping quiet", but expletives soon burst from my mouth at the pain, and I struggled to gather up the bag before trying to leave as quickly as I could.
This disturbance was not left unignored. Before my very eyes, a young woman in a maid's outfit seemed to just materialize in front of me, looking cross and threateningly holding out a few serrated kitchen knives in my direction. Just behind her was a lady with piercing red eyes, a sneer that showed sharp teeth, and a set of leathery wings that were held out in an intimidating show at her back.
I'm unsure exactly what my thoughts were at that time.. surprise, realization, and an awe over whatever the chances were.
I had determined this place to be nothing special, but here I was, being stared at by a maid with some definite supernatural power about her, and a girl that seemed to perfectly fit the definition of a vampire..
I do, remember, however, that I had stood there for maybe a minute, just staring back in perhaps some way to return the intimidation and to get them to back off.
The vampire girl had said something in French, the sort of tone used giving the impression that it was a command to her servant, and the maid just took a bit of a step forward, staring at me with intent.
Instead of backing away or making a wild break for it, I.. had simply sat down then and there, and for whatever crazy reason, began to read one of the novels that I had tried to filch. Some strange logic must have convinced me that if I showed them no malicious intent, they would return it.
This behavior, of course, just seemed to frustrate them further, but I held a stoic patience about me and waited for their anger to ebb away.
Finally, after murmuring to themselves in French a bit longer, the vampire turned to me, stretching her wings briefly before speaking up in English.
"What in the world are you doing here?"
I had simply looked up at her with some look that was just incredulousness or perhaps disdain, before shaking my head and going back to reading. It was only a few minutes later before I finally spoke up again, momentarily looking up to meet her stare.
"Move your wing, won't you? You're blocking the light, it makes it difficult to read the text."
The girl only seemed more infuriated when I said this, but tried to keep her cool, stretching her wings out further to make herself look larger and more threatening or something like that. She stared at me long and hard for a minute or two while the maid at her side stood patiently in wait for an order--
"If you want these books so much, you could just.. always stay here and become our librarian. That way, you won't have to risk your throat being torn out by a very irritated and hungry vampire, and you can read whatever you like."
After a few seconds of processing this information, I had slowly gazed up at her, blinking once before returning to absently looking over fragmented sentences and brief paragraphs. This was quite a stark, sudden offer, and I needed to turn it over in my mind a few times before giving any answer.
But oh, how excited I was. Just the suggestion brought the idea of moving my personal collection to the much roomier library here, as opposed to having to squirrel it away in the small house I had called home, and there was a sort of excitement about having to share my home with a vampire.<
They were rather fascinating creatures in their ways and behavior, that was for certain, and I knew very little about them outside from what was documented by humankind..
"... fine. Now, if you would be so kind as to leave me alone, I'd rather like to get back to reading."
My answer was clear, concise, and a little bit rude. The last trait had just sort of come out naturally through that sour shell I would put up whenever I had to handle my own thoughts when interacting with other people.
But neither the vampire nor her servant seemed too willing to kill me on sight for my indolence.
In fact, as I waved them out, all they did was regard me with that lingering, cautionary glare.
The gravity of what I had just done came crashing over me as soon as I was left alone. This was the perfect opportunity to escape from the suffocating atmosphere I called home, and I was now able to live in a place where I could both comfortably house my collection and also practice my magic without restraints or rules.
It would be a little difficult to move everything here, but this library was mine now! I could expand it all I wanted (given I got permission first), and turn it into my personal domain where I could spend hours upon hours just reading and learning and trying all manner of spells..
This was all nothing short of a miracle, but perhaps after all of my hard work to pursue my interests, this was my reward..
This new life proved to be rather interesting. I didn't often leave my library, as all that I needed was within reach, but I would venture out for meals and when I happened to need something.
They were rather unique people, the others who lived here -- a human maid who seemed to not age, a young lady of a vampire with a fickle demeanor, and then her younger sister, who was also a vampire. It was a massive house for such a small company, but their incessant need to have something going on daily kept things busy. They would often host parties, snatching up any chance to flaunt prestige and wealth.
I, of course, was happy to stay in the library I called home, occasionally watching everyone else from afar.
A few years passed, and as my collection grew, the library becoming more and more my own, I began to slowly befriend the lady of the house. Her rather sassy and snippy demeanor could be an irritation at times, but she had remarkably impeccable taste when it came to the arts and literature, and it wasn't uncommon for us to spend time playing chess or discussing a good book when I had little more to do.
Those little interactions with everyone else, however, only reminded me more of how I was the only one who truly cared the most for my library, which I had named the Voile.
Perhaps in an amusing coincidence, it was only a couple years until I found a new home once more -- yet, this time, it was the entire mansion being moved. Through old contacts, we had learned of a rather peculiar part of the world, a place by the name of "Gensoukyou"; it was supposedly a paradise created for all supernatural creatures.
I was still rather young at this time, but now, when I had nothing outside of my library that mattered all that much, I launched myself into study. I did everything and anything I could to pry into this intriguing legend even further..
And, in some stroke of luck, I cracked a solution. Sleepless nights were dedicated to contacting a powerful figure of lore. She found a charm to the mansion, and all of us "amusing", and so she welcomed us to her personal Lemuria.
This land was a wondrous, bewitching one, seething at the edges with magic and mystery. So many times did I consider leaving the Voile to go exploring, it distracted me from study.. though we were pleasantly quick to start looking to the world beyond our gates.
But even with all that opened up in the world of study and magic, I was often very much alone. I would go and fetch books by hand, a troublesome endeavor, and I would have to get up from my seat to go get myself a plate of food whenever I hungered. It was detrimental to my work to have to always be going here and there in such a manner, and so I decided that I would find myself an assistant.
This was much easier said than done.
The cleaning staff for the mansion was a fairly lackluster one, being made up entirely of fae with little more to do, and the only way the mansion actually stayed clean was the fact that the head maid was very good at her job. Nobody from beyond the mansion's walls ever dared wander close for very long, as they seemed to tremble in fear just at the word "vampire".
I was soon driven to consider making a magical golem of some manner, some autonomous shape to help me manage everything, but I knew rather little of such things.
Then my answer came to me-- in the form of a book regarding demons. It wrote avidly about how a land, called Makai, was the home of many demonkin and their spawn, how they would rip holes in reality open so that they could wander to Earth for their needs.. and how some magicians had managed to capture demons for whatever reason.
I grew very excited over the thought, that very eagerness not allowing me any thought for what my potential new servant would think or wish. I would finally be able to get myself an assistant that would cater to my every need.
Research was done, days ticked by, and I finally got the ritual just right.
A figure appeared in a hazy gasp of smoke, and before they could assess the situation, I struck swiftly. In that moment, I burned a mark into their skin that bound them to this library, whether they wished it or not, and that was all I needed to do.
I slunk away, watching my new servant reel all about from the runes I had cast. She was a beautiful creature, bright-eyed with long red hair, almost humanlike if not for the devilish heritage that was made visible through her bat's wings, crimson eyes and pointed tail.
A mere gaze upon her brought a succubus to mind, with their voluptuous figures and broad wings, yet there was other parts of the equation left unanswered.. I couldn't have cared exactly what she was, however. She was mine now.
Of course, she was an awkward thing. The girl didn't speak English, and I barely knew the demon's language that she spoke, so we had quite a disconnect. Her wings brushed against the bookshelves and limited her movement, and when she got lost in the growing halls of the Voile, it would be I who had to go and find her. I made certain to discipline her for such behavior, as it would be a bothersome loss if she went and had a bookshelf fall on her somewhere, leading to an untimely death without my knowing.
I had put such work into summoning her here and getting her under my thumb, it would have been a waste to just give up on her. I knew that if I put enough effort into it, I would be successful, so I reminded myself to be patient.
She didn't learn all that terribly fast, but she was definitely making progress. Months went by that had me asking her to retrieve books, and she slowly memorized entire sections of the library and what books were there..<
After a few near-breakdowns on her part from having to learn all of this information, without any grasp of reading the titles of the books, I eventually gave in and decided to teach her English. Thankfully, she picked it up quickly, and no longer did I have to struggle as much to speak with her.
Despite those rough beginnings, she was starting to grow on me more and more. My new assistant was both pretty and fairly clever, even if she sometimes didn't want anything to do with me.
It dawned to me soon enough that she didn't seem to have any proper name, which made conversation sometimes difficult-- and since she was more or less under my ownership, I figured I would give her a name. "Koakuma", or roughly "Little Devil" when translated to English. She seemed overjoyed to have a name of her own, which brought a rare smile to my face..
And so the years began to obscure themselves.
The Voile grew gigantic, my expansion room becoming practically limitless after few little tricks on my part, and that was something lovely. What was not as fortunate was the fact that Koakuma seemed to struggle more and more with finding specific books for me -- she would fly off to find something, and it would take her more than a half hour to return with what I wanted.
Was it a magical problem? Was it just her getting lost? I quickly grew tired and a bit angry with this dilemma before finally figuring that it was her lack of ability failing to connect with the world around her.
There was the possibility of just training her to make her more prevalent in the magical department, but I have never been a patient person.
No, instead I took a bit of a stranger route-- making a pact that would connect her to me as my familiar. Many magicians have simple animals or beings as their companions and as a way to share power, and I figured that it would be very advantageous.
Koakuma was, after all, my loyal and rather content servant. I had smoothed out those initial desires to escape, and we had become close friends, often sharing food or talking about whatever subject would come up.. it had become more than just a business deal, but a strong bond.
And, because of that, the idea of her being more than just a servant, but a vessel of my power and a companion bound to me, I went through with it all.
It was, as you can plainly see today, a success. A needlessly complicated process that involved far too many candles than it should have. In binding us together even after death, I promised dear Koakuma my soul, which perhaps some other magician would argue to be a risky gambit..
I'm no person to make mistakes, and I knew, at that very moment, that it wasn't.
Clasping our hands, letting our blood mingle and mix.. she lifted her head to look to me, and I found myself entranced, captured in her gaze. Whether it was magic or stirring emotions, I didn't know, perhaps possessed by this overwhelming aura that clung to us; I pulled her in for a kiss, her breath sweet..
My perfect, darling familiar. She had stolen my heart away and I hadn't even known it, only now did I realize how strong these feelings had become -- perhaps I hadn't understood how close we had become, how comfortable we had started to be with one another.
Yet, in those seconds I had it all come crashing through my mind, the truth revealing itself to me. Passion overwhelmed us as it surfaced, binding us closer, and the world had never been as so wonderful as this.
I would say that, perhaps, I had missed out on sweet possibility in realizing this all as late as I did. But I barely like to linger on questions that start with the two words "what if"; they distract terribly from the now and the potential in the future.
Study and learn and experiment as I will, nothing can match the happiness I have found. My library continues to grow, and I crack secrets that no human could comprehend..
My mortal flaws, be them blood or vicious will, can not stop me; and the world, no matter how oppressive, can hide nothing from me.
Character concept and design by Junya Ota / ZUN. Character artwork and background artwork by Tasogare Frontier. Pet, profile, overlays and story by Marine.