Holly runs as fast as she can but the demon's faster. She has no idea where Lightning's gotten to; maybe he found a tree to climb. She on the other hand has been diverted into a treeless hill and she's careening down a slope, trying very hard not to trip.
And the demon's gaining on her.
She's never seen anything like it and neither has Crystal; maybe Book knows what it is but Book's asleep. It's mostly mouth - it looks like a cross between a floorlength mirror of a mouth and a snake to propel the mouth along.
And Holly's not fast enough.
The mouth catches her.
But it doesn't hurt.
Where are we?
"Sometimes demons come up if there's a big earthquake, we heard... But the planet thing is definitely not how it is at home."
"Yes. There are some worlds that could be described as 'just flat', but this isn't one of them. I was right, you are interesting."
"Do you know how I can get home? I don't even know if the demon got Lightning. That's our brother's cohabitor."
"I don't know how you can get home. But I'm reasonably certain there is a way, and the only tricky part will be finding it. And avoiding demons who might eat you in the meantime. There are rather a lot of them, especially around here, but at least the vast majority are straightforwardly corporeal."
"Not all of them?"
"I would hesitate to say anything at all for certain about the category of demons as a whole; there are too many kinds to keep track of. But all of the common kinds that eat people do it using fangs and so on, not sleep-based magic or anything similar."
"Okay. I still wouldn't like to meet one, but." She shrugs.
"What, do you have friendly demons here we should like to meet?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes. You remember I told you something unpleasant happened to my soul? I'm a vampire."
"Don't bite us," she advises. "I'm good at magic."
"I wasn't planning on it."
"And what sort of magic are you good at?"
"Besides demon stuff there's only the one kind where I'm from. Well, two if you count swaps and transfers as different but they aren't very. Um -" She turns up the hem of her jacket; there are a bunch of different-colored little squares of fabric sewn there. She pinches a blue one and her jacket and the swatch exchange colors. "That's a basic one, Crystal could have done that too."
"Magic here comes in countless varieties, and I don't think any of them is specifically that," he says. "Oh, my name's Sherlock, by the way."
"Seyr-lahk," she approximates. "We should probably translate our names. I'm Holly and my sister-cohabitor is Crystal. Uh, how would you pronounce those?" she asks, peering at the translation.
"Holly; Crystal," he says, indicating each on the page. "Not that I have much trouble pronouncing Pyay or Sohng, but the book seems to translate them anyway."
"In Kuigao everyone is named something that means something. Our brother is Book - he picked that himself - and his cohabitor is Lightning."
"Some people here are named something that means something, but most English-speakers aren't, myself included."
Holly nods. "We know someone from a neighboring country who's just named Namree because her parents thought it sounded nice."
"It wouldn't be odd to encounter a 'Holly' or a 'Crystal' here, but 'Book' or 'Lightning' would be strange. Why did Book pick his own name?"
"Until we explained our parents thought there was only one of us, like most people when they're born and haven't started cohabiting with anyone else yet. So they just called us all Holly. Book picked himself a name and I named Crystal. Book moved out a while ago. Found a boy he wanted to look like, that's Lightning, moved in with him."
"How does all this moving work? By magic, I suppose?"
"Yeah. It's really advanced. I might do it for a job - if I get home, I mean, I guess there's not so much call for it if you don't have klaonso."