happy valentine’s day

carmen & spades share an intimate moment, bogdan asks the nightingale for help, nero returns to his former self

spades: i pledge my darkness to you
carmen: ok

following the battle, alisa calls her lawyer. she is working to return the hearts she held to their owners.

lenya: you are not to let him out of your sight or out of your grasp.

ambra is trusted to keep an eye on bogdan.

the group returns to the pool under the main roshawk castle. ambra brings bogdan’s unconscious body to the water. rowan emerges from the water, panting weakly. the rest of the group watches from above.

rowan breathes fucking fire right onto bogdan. the black and pointed features of bogdan fall away.

rowan: this is the last gift i can give you

rowan’s form burns away. bogdan awakens, covered in dirt and ash. also naked. his blue is faded – he is white now, with residual blue. he’s a soft boy now.

the group returns to their building, ambra carrying bogdan in. we notice gold rose petals littering the ground leading inside and up the stairs. when you step on them they poof up into smokey hearts. in the main room is a levitating black disk, atop it is gold box, inside a VERY fance gold necklace. it’s addressed to carmen from spades.

marsh starts following the trail of roses. nikolay stops him.

carmen goes upstairs to find spades. they bang after spades noodles around for like two hours.

spades: i pledge my darkness to you
carmen: ok

trill approaches nadira asking why she ended her valentine to them with “we need to talk.” nadira asks trill to sign her last will & testament. after some discomfort, trill agrees.

in his room, nikolay quickly hides his valentine to nadine under her pillow. they exchange a few sweet words. nadine references her heart in a jar that’s sitting in the room with it. they decide to deal with it in the morning.

layla & ambra celebrate their anniversary.

bogdan wakes up. gutter is there. he catches bogdan up on carmen’s love life first, and then everything else. ambra gets up early and makes dragon bread for everyone. bogdan wants to know where his finger went.

gutter: your sister hates me but it's fine we're on good terms

we find out azazel couldn’t take over envy nero because he’s not the real envy & azazel doesn’t have his heart. he DOES have all the other sins’ hearts. bogdan asks gutter if he can call the nightingale over.

the four group finally visits bogdan. bogdan is emo. EVERYONE is emo. they say how much they missed him & apologize for killing him. carmen calls pride a bitch. bogdan doesn’t even say he missed them or apologize and starts asking about how to save pride.

the nightingale arrives. nikolay consults him briefly and asks advice on what to do with nadine’s heart. he wants to put it somewhere safe.

the nightingale goes to speak with bogdan. bogdan asks him if he can teach him magic.

joaquin: i can help you be yourself again. you don't have to be anyone else.

in the main room, another 2rill appears. apparently they are from the future? or the past. the 2rill that was there poofs away. two more figures walk in, one hitting 2rill over the head with their clipboard. it’s a pink-haired elf (twinkle) and the other is a brown-haired elf with gold eyes.

2rill: we are here because of some things that happen ... and don't happen. and we're here to help out bogdan and the nightingale!

nadia comes over and pets dwayne.

nadia: i've always wanted to meet you as a bird
marsh: do you know dwayne?
nadia: he's my godfather

we all wake up the next day feeling kind of groggy. we realize our magic isn’t working as well as it usually does. apparently many mages have called in sick. it takes us twice as long to cast spells. we assume because rowan died, the magic of the world is either deteriorating or being used somewhere else. we are worried about lenya.

we ask dmytro if we can talk to lenya. dmytro has been experimenting with his magic to figure out what is wrong.

we visit lenya. he is holding the city together, but we learn if anything were to attack us right now, the city or lenya could fall. he takes us down a lift. apparently the magic hasn’t been this weak since the war.

once we reach the pool, we can see it has sunken down considerably.

marsh approaches the pool and asks lady ariel if she’s there. she shows herself, and tells us azazel is sucking up the magic away from the garden. she also reveals the guardians all sitting on her shoulder, alive but in very weak forms. we realize they have all been defeated.

meryl, trill, and ambra go to visit meryl’s family. she sees her parents and asks them if they’re doing alright. meryl explains that pride stabbed her mom’s heart with his sword, the one that will render the person stabbed under his control.

meryl's mom: *starts working on a puzzle*
[emily]: IT'S TOO LATE

after revealing a bit too much information to meryl’s mom, she commands meryl to tell her where bogdan is. they realize she is indeed under pride’s command.

we visit monty’s house and ask to speak with zariel. nadira gives honestly a copy of her will.

we ask zariel what she knows about azazel’s plan. it’s blurry, there were no clerics and magic was weak. he approached the powerful and wealthy and got them on his side. we realize we don’t know who opened the coffin initially.

azazel used to be the leader of the armies in the upper planes.

trill asks zariel if she wants her grace back anytime soon. zariel explains that she spent years on earth with mortals and started feeling emotions, something angels did not typically have. when someone close to her died, it broke her, so she cut her grace out. she does not want it back.

there’s a knock at the door. monty says come in and puts a hand on trill’s shoulder as envy nero walks in. trill goes pale. nadira steps in front of them. monty squeezes trill’s shoulder and removes his hand. he looks sad.

envy kicks his shoes off, puts them away, chooses his orange slippers, and walks into the living room. it’s strange seeing this demon in such a casual setting after the two parties have been trying to kill each other for so long.

he clears his throat and bows to the group. he sits back up quickly, angrily, his face flushed.

envy: thank you for what you did earlier to save me from azazel's control.
carmen: yeah, i mean-- i--
marsh: no problem!!!
envy: *pulls out a small notepad* please do not interrupt while i am speaking.
carmen: you THANKED me, allow me to like, say oh YEAH, SURE, BEFORE YOU START TALKING, EXCUSE ME
trill: carmen CARMEN PLEASE

envy clutches his notepad tighter.

envy: when you ... penetrated me with those swords
envy: i was ... it was the first time i had been able to remember who i was. and what i stood for.
envy: and see through someone else's eyes what i had become. and what could become if i continue along this path.
envy: which is why i, nero phost, would like to request for you, marsh, to kill me.
[emily]: *chokes*
envy: i know that you have a found a much more worthy replacement, and the danger that i put on everyone i cared about is unacceptable for who i used to be.
marsh: ... you mean-- you mean kill you to get rid of the corruption that's in you, right?
envy: ... n-no, i mean to kill me permanently and end my life on this earth.
marsh: a-- ... are you sure ..?
envy: there's no way for you to remove from me what i've chosen to become.
trill: WELL. we're ... working on that?
envy: why? i've done so many horrible things.
nikolay: well, just, um. conceptually - getting rid of the corruption and working with the pool magic.
trill: well, i mean, i was going to use my wish on nero. so i mean--
envy: you-- what???

envy nero takes his notebook and throws it onto the ground.

envy: i can't even ask someone to kill me properly!!

he puts his head in his hands. trill approaches and puts their hands on his shoulders. he instantly swats them away. smoke starts billowing from him.

trill: okay, okay, sorry!

trill takes a step back.

envy: if you kill me AND that envy, you don't have to worry about azazel!
envy: it's-- the right thing to do.
nikolay: why would we not have to worry about azazel?
envy: because then he wouldn't have all 7 of us!
nikolay: and he needs all 7 of you?
envy: as far as i know! they don't tell me anything.
nadira: but you're not the real envy

envy nero starts turning greener.

[charlie]: that was a COMPLIMENT you BITCH
envy: i saved the world once. i won't be part of ending it.
envy: there's still my sister and their daughter and they're still around and--
nikolay: is there any way we could keep azazel from possessing you without killing you ..?
envy: there's no way to come back when you're already this far of a demon.
envy: i've already ... made this decision for myself once.
carmen: if you made the decision, can't you just make the decision not to?
trill: we're gonna kill azazel!
envy: ... are you sure you can?
trill: yes.
envy: and this is to give you an advantage any way that i can.

the group argues for a little while.

envy: the van cleve has to be what does it. otherwise i'll just come back as someone-- something else.
nadira: what, so you'll be permanently gone?
envy: yes! that's what death is!
[shad]: you die when you are killed

nadira considers contacting raphael. him & nikolay discuss it briefly.

monty: what are you whispering about?
nadira: well, raphael owes us a great deal of a favor for bringing back zariel's grace in trill's body and has promised to help us with one thing.
nadira: and i wonder if that one thing might be to save this poor, miserable, wretched life
monty: you know that could be used to save many different people?
nadira: yes, i know, montgomery.

nadira learns that the favor could be used to cure a great ailment. for example, fixing nadine or lenya. it would also fix envy. nadira looks at monty.

nadira: do you think that he's worth it?
monty: he's worth it to me.
monty: but i'm not going to have you give up your chance for him.
monty: it's your decision - i won't influence it either way.

we panic a bit more. using the van cleve would kill him instantly.

trill: OKAY. nero. so. right now, you're like "hey, i did bad things"
envy: yes. and i deserve to be punished for my actions.
trill: why-- so you have this like, clear state of mind right now, right?
envy: i do.
trill: so instead of "hey, kill me," why do we like find a way that you to help the situation, other than death? can't you like, help us fight azazel?
trill: can he just take control of you? don't you have to agree to that?
envy: he just did it last time. but i still have my body and heart; it may not beat anymore, but that's why he couldn't fully take control of me before. as quickly.
trill: but like, you've made this decision right now to do the right thing, the good thing in your mind, this is what needs to be done to be good.
marsh: maybe that'll make it harder for him to take over!
envy: he has another envy. just because he's in a bottle doesn't mean he still doesn't exist. he's still the real envy.

he gestures to the bottle on the mantelpiece.

trill: but like, you just said that you're "so far gone" but you're obviously making the choice right now to do good, so that's still in you--
envy: when azazel did what he did to me, i had a short amount of time to ... remember what it was like to be really alive, and i don't want to live like this anymore.
envy: do you think it's fun being some great hero? and then, because you gave everything to save people, to then waste away? and become a monster who's trying to end the world?
envy: i only have-- he could take control at any point!
meryl: i mean, i was a hero trying to save the world, and then i got taken over by a monster--
envy: this is different! this is different! you got possessed by someone else; i did this of my own free will.
meryl: but you can always come back from it! i think you can do more actively trying to stop what's going on than just dying and hoping that things get better!
carmen: when me and marsh saw you ... you looked like yourself?
envy: for a moment, i ... was! and i'm not anymore.
trill: i mean, i'm no expert on magic. we know this.
trill: but if it happened once, there's gotta be something to do it again, and--
envy: the magic that i got from that pool - i used until it broke me. i broke myself. it made me into a demon
carmen: maybe we could take away your magic ..?
envy: didn't help that the anti-christ revived me either, so i was just set-up for failure
trill: what if we take away your magic!!
envy: ... you can't just take away someone's magic.
ambra: UM
nikolay: if we could! ... what would that do

monty leans forward.

monty: ... don't know. can't hurt to try? whisk into the unknown again, huh?

envy nero looks uncomfortable.

we realize the von ruin can cut off the target’s current connection to magic. we aren’t sure if this will work, and if it does we aren’t sure he’ll be able to regain the ability to use magic in the future.

[ashley]: he was only a warlock of monty for 13 years, he's not a warlock anymore.
[ashley]: now he's just his secretary.
trill: what if. we try one thing, and if that doesn't work--
envy: then you'll fulfill my quest in killing me?
trill: if-- marsh is okay with it. because you are asking a lot of marsh--
envy: other people can use the sword. i do know how it works.

nadira is worried that the pool magic is what is keeping nero alive, and removing it will kill him.

nadira: so if we cut off the magic, won't you just die?
envy: oh no.
[charlie]: he's making it REALLY HARD for me to want to SAVE HIM
[ashley]: he's not ASKING YOU TO SAVE HIM

we determine the pool magic … probably isn’t keeping him alive? it just brought him back that one time.

envy: i'll make you a deal. i'll tell you where i know azazel is if you kill me.
trill: can we still try our thing first and if that works you still tell us where azazel is?

ambra offers to make the contract with him since she is the one stabbing him. they write out a contract stating the location will be revealed after he is dead.

trill: or? or? OR? OR???
ambra: or?
envy: or what.
ambra: or if we successfully ... stop this.
envy: ... put me back to who i used to be?
trill: or very, very close.
envy: we need specific wording for this contract to work, trill.
envy: if you came to any of my lessons you'd know that.
nikolay: i know that they're the same person but oh my god
ambra: envy, as the one making the contract with you, i feel the need to tell you the sword will cut off any connection you have to any magic.
ambra: you will not be as you once were - you will be something new.
ambra: is this acceptable?

envy nero looks over at monty. monty approaches and puts a hand on his shoulder.

envy [OR MONTY???]: it is.

ambra gets a green ring around her tail for signing a contract with envy.

meryl: take it from me - not having magic is not that bad.
meryl: everyone always plays it up as the end of the world--
envy: i spent my whole life being a wizard!
ambra: but you'll be able to be something new! and won't that be exciting?

ambra and envy nero sign the contract. monty signs as well, as a witness.

ambra: do you want me to do it now? here?
envy: just get it over with.

honestly puts down a tarp.

honestly: this is not the weirdest thing i've ever done in here

ambra sacrifices 1 hp to activate the von ruin. envy nero lays down on the tarp. he’s still wearing his orange slippers.

[nick]: i wonder if nero knew this was how it was going to end?
[nick]: getting ready to be stabbed while wearing orange slippers in a living room

honestly puts a pillow under envy nero’s head so he’s comfortable. monty holds his hand as ambra stabs him.

the sword starts shaking violently. smokey, black energy whips out from him, pushing everyone back. monty & honestly don’t flinch as it hits against them, appearing to slide right off of their forms. it goes on for what feels like too long – around 30 seconds. suddenly, he goes pale. all the black seeps out of him, staining into the carpet underneath. the room gets kind of fucked up – the only things un-phased are the three items on the mantelpiece.

[charlie]: we DID tell her we didn't want to do it here!
[dee]: i'm sure she knows how to get demon stains out of a carpet

laying there, unconscious and breathing slowly, is nero phost. his hair is short, black, still with the virtuous stripe of blue. he is devoid of magic, but his heart is beating.

ambra removes the sword. monty looks at it and whistles.

monty: i should not have that
monty: it's very nice, though.

monty leans over nero, tapping him gently.

monty: nero? nerooo?

trill & nikolay approach. nero’s eyes open and he breathes in a gasp of air. his eyes are eerily bright blue – a sign of his virtue. trill hugs him and he begins to cry, hugging them back. ambra gives a thumbs up.

[ashley]: AW that's cute how you phrased it that nikolay finally realized that it was baby nero still
[dee]: he pulled out the notebook and started doing the presentation and nikolay flashbacked to nero's stupid fucking business presentation
[emily]: *crying* he was being so cute and funny and i was like I CAN'T KILL HIM
[ashley]: you killed him in the slippers