Everyone was overjoyed to see that Malus was defeated for good. The sheer amount of magic exchanged in the final battle with the lich had given the residents a lot of worry. They, save for Marisa, unconsciously held back from using their most powerful of spells for fear of obliterating Malus beyond any hope of rescuing the doting librarian. Seeing her come back from the depths of her imprisoned mind was a relief. Other than the destroyed library and a few battle scars, things seemed like they would soon return to normal.
Though Koakuma and Patchouli experienced Malus' desolate dimension in their minds, for all the others they saw the devil and magician sprawled out on the floor in an unconscious heap. The two took ragged breaths when they came to and looked around to make sure they were back home. Remilia rushed over to embrace her companion of a hundred years and fussed over her like a doting mother while Koakuma did the same. It took a full minute for the vampire to remember that she was amongst servants and she felt a tinge of embarrassment for them having seen her non-refined side. But nobody cared. Even Sakuya, despite her wounds and tattered uniform, broke character just long enough to show some emotion.
That night the mansion's residents could rest easy. Though the library was in ruins and the residents were exhausted, time would mend all. Malus' tainted energy gradually dissolved away from the library and found itself under the control of a youkai of darkness who was far too lazy to use it. The aura of malice that pervaded the mansion had lifted away and returned it to its usual lofty and mysterious appearance. Garden plants and other bits of vegetation close to the library, which had been killed off from being in close proximity to a lich, pushed their way past dead twigs and flanked the exterior with all manner of bright colors. And that was just the mansion tending to itself.
Meiling, despite being built like a brick wall, had suffered the most from her injuries. A direct hit from a fireball had knocked her unconscious and covered her body in first to second degree burns. The next morning she sprang from her bed as if nothing had ever happened. Such was the dexterity of a youkai guard who never let anything set her back. Bright and cheery, the guard gave her regards to Patchouli and went back to her post, all the while being completely oblivious to her charred and still smoking outfit.
Sakuya was alarmed to know that she was given a day off for rest and relaxation after all the chaos in the library. As the chief maid it was her duty to work until there was nary a speck of dust in the mansion. Remilia had to force the girl into her room and tried to bribe her with all sorts of sweets and trinkets. Though Sakuya appreciated the time to recuperate, whenever her mistress wasn't looking the maid took the chance to freeze time and help out in the library. Doing something productive made her happy, so the mistress of the mansion decided Sakuya was a lost cause and let her off on doing light work for the remainder of the week.
Once Malus' mindless puppets, next obliterated, two dozen fairy maids were found the next morning sprawled out in the garden. With no recollection of anything that had happened and lacking the intelligence to question their own spontaneous existence, the fairy maids invaded the mansion and went to work on the library. For them, ignorance truly was bliss. Their incessant chatter and cheerful work ethic was the catalyst for Sakuya's restlessness. In time the maids were being ordered around by the chief and preparations for rebuilding the library had gone underway.
After making sure that the mansion's staff was as organized as it could get and her best friend was in good hands, Remilia kicked her feet up and went back to business as usual. One might think that Remilia had been bored one day and orchestrated the entire incident, but on second thought, having her best friend be overshadowed by a lich wasn't her idea of entertainment. The vampire did have a great love for the arts, so manipulating fate to get a dramatic reaction might not be out of the question. As for Marisa, she spent the night at the mansion and figured she had been cleared of all her past crimes for her assistance. Though Patchouli was both surprised and grateful that her usual thief had helped out, she was quick to remind her of all the books that still needed to be returned.
In a week the library had been fully restored to its previous splendor, and Patchouli was most appreciative. The grounded goddess gazed upon rows and rows of new bookcases and remastered books with pride. She thumbed through a collection of books on her desk and picked out one to read when she noticed a shadow in the corner of her eye. Looking up she locked eyes with her familiar and smiled.
"Of course mistress." Koakuma placed a few brightly-colored children's books down on Patchouli's desk. "The fairies picked these out for me to restore."
"Ah, this genre now?" Patchouli picked up one book and chuckled. "Such simple reads, yet such deep meanings. I tip my hat to you, Mr. Geisel."
"I envy those fairies now. For them everything is a new read!"
"Yes, yes. I imagine this generation of fairies will be more likely to spend their off-hours in my library now after all the work they put into it," Patchouli replied. She sighed and shook her head. "I hope they know enough to have an appreciation for their work, else we're going to have problems with their book returns."
"Heh... Two dozen Marisas," Koakuma chuckled.
"Won't that be a fright?"
Patchouli propped her chin up on her hands and placed her elbows on her desk. She stared at Koakuma while her smile widened. After being with the magician for so long, it didn't take long for the little devil to understand what was on her mind. She held her hands behind her back and leaned over the desk to get eye-level with her mistress. Patchouli pursed her lips and leaned in to give the familiar a chaste kiss on her lips before whispering in her ear.
"I couldn't ask for a better familiar than you, Koakuma. Would you humor me tonight?"
"T-Tonight?" Koakuma looked flustered, but she wouldn't dare turn down her mistress. "Yes, yes of course. What would you ask of me?"
"I need a model."
The magician gave a knowing smirk and repeated herself.
"A model, Koakuma. I've been trying my hand at weaving and fashioning garments out of special silk, and I'd love for you to try them on for me to see if they're comfortable." A faint blush crept into Patchouli's cheeks. "And... I'd love to see you in them."
"As you wish, mistress," Koakuma cooed back. Her face fell and contorted into a confused frown. "Wait... Special silk? Mistress, I didn't know that we had any silk to work with."
"Oh, I must have forgotten to tell you. Kokumo, could you come here for a moment?"
Koakuma felt something skitter out from beneath Patchouli's desk and yelped. A black and yellow spider as large as a bulldog climbed up the side of the magician's desk and perched itself upon a stack of books. Eight black beady eyes swiveled around and fixed themselves on the sight of the little devil paralyzed in fear before it. Despite its horrible appearance and disgusting size, Patchouli looked at it on her desk as if it was merely a kitten. She even gave it a name!
After the little devil calmed down, she realized that the spider had to be from the summoning tome that Kourindou's owner had given them.
"Mistress! It's... A-are you sure it isn't dangerous?" Koakuma whimpered.
"Of course! This is the argiope aurantia, the common garden spider. Yes, they are venomous, but to the degree of a mere bee sting. Kokumo is completely harmless, and she's been very helpful in giving me the silk I requested." Patchouli reached into her desk and rummaged around for a moment before pulling out a small frog. She tossed it to the monstrosity on her desk and watched in glee as it snapped its mandibles and devoured the poor amphibian. "Seeing as she's sterile, I think it would be a good idea to let her loose in the garden so she can take care of those garden pests. I've had quite enough of those insects going through my herbs."
"A good idea? Meiling might not like having it in the garden."
"Oh come now, surely she would appreciate a companion!"
An image of the large spider resting next to Meiling like a guard dog flashed through Koakuma's mind. She imagined it skittering about and climbing over everything, even running up to visitors to greet them. If that actually happened, Meiling would be out of a job and no-one would come to the mansion for fear of the giant spider. Well, maybe not Yamame. The little devil shook her head to clear the thought and rubbed her temples.
"Ugh... Well, if you want to let it loose, mistress, it's your decision and I'll respect it. But I hope that this doesn't cause another incident."
"Since when have I caused an incident?" Patchouli retorted as she stood up. She tugged at her robes and sauntered over to Koakuma, who remained silent. "I have every bit of confidence that a few more pairs of legs in the garden wouldn't hurt at all. But enough talk of spiders and silk. You and I have much to do in the future."
"M-more books to remaster, mistress?" Koakuma asked.
"Not quite..." Patchouli gave a sly wink and cooed, "I was thinking more along the lines of consummation..."
At this the familiar turned beat red.