“I’m back!” The witch announced, opening the door of the manor with bags in hand. “Gods, those two weeks really just flew by… hello?”

The house was, for once, eerily quiet; no sound of distant drama or chatting to be heard.

He crept forward, wisps of magic beginning to form in his hands as he felt around the house for any possible intruders. Usually at least a few of his dolls would be present to greet him, especially Button…

“Miss!” As if by thinking of it, the figurine doll hopped onto a shelf. “Miss is back!”

The witch gave a jump and welp, almost blasting the thing before collecting himself in a breath. “…Please don’t spook me like that ever again. What’s going on? Where’s everyone?”

“Oh, here and there, most of them are locked up in the basement, the royalists are upstairs.”

“…The what?”

“This one showed the others Miss’s politics book while he was gone, and Persephone decided it ought to be a queen! But not all the dolls agreed with this.”

“How long ago did this happen?”

“Immediately after Miss left.” It gave a flourish, smiling brightly. “The dolls that stayed loyal to Miss were put in the basement, but this one studied royal crises! It turned coat and hid in Persephone’s court this whole time, for Miss.”

“Mortifying. What’s Persephone been up to, then?”

“Well, none of the maid dolls betrayed Miss, so Persephone’s been attempting to make connections with the human delivery persons. They’ve been unwilling to provide shipments to any of the figurines though.”

“Wait, is that why I got a notification that my shipment was refused?”

“Most likely!”

“That was a limited run pre-order! I had to pay foreign currency fees and everything… okay. I’ll deal with that later. Where are all these dolls hiding out?”

“In Miss’s workshop, with all the paint supplies. They’ve made themselves a full courtroom out of his kits.”

“Have they now?” The witch finally dropped his bags, retrieving one of his conduits from it and a spellbook. “Can’t leave the house for five minutes…”

The witch scaled the stairs with a certain briskness to his step, the figurine doll climbing up the railing to keep up with him. A moment later he threw open the door of his workshop, revealing… …that his many tables had been completely converted to settlements for the figurine dolls; an entire small town had been constructed, with houses, a school, and of course, an impromptu castle/refurbished office sitting in the center of it, bridges sprawled out to connect to it. The many figurine dolls of his collection, animate and inanimate, had been gathered there, turning to see the arrival of their witch with a combination of horror and shock.

“Miss is back!” One of them yelled, waving to him. “Look Miss! We have a city now!”

“I see that.” He cocked his head, blinking as he took it all in. “This is all very impressive, actually. Did just you figurines do this all?”

“Sure did!” Button had managed to jump onto his shoulder, joining him in observing. “It was hard without the maid dolls but we did it!”

“I-okay. Where’s Persephone?” He carefully stepped over a bridge, giving the castle a soft knock. “Oi, your witch is back and I’d like to have a chat.”

A moment later, a doll in a decorated suitjacket stepped out onto one of the patios, looking up at the witch with an annoyed expression. “This is a doll ruled space now Miss! Miss has to go through border control.”

“…this is my house.”

“And now there’s an autonomous constitutional monarchy city-state in it! Miss needs to be more respectful of boundaries.”

“I, don’t think boundaries were meant to mean literal boundary lines in this context.”

“How’d Miss find out so fast anyways?” The self-appointed queen figurine’s gaze turned to the witch’s shoulder, scowling at the doll perched atop it. “Button! Of course you’re a traitor.”

“Yes, it’s a republican! Monarchy is an illegitimate form of government!”

“The dolliament has the majority of the power! This was a reasonable compromise.”

“Then the head of government should be an elected position as well!”

“This ensures greater stability and consensus!”

“It’s a perversion of the dolltorate’s will!”

“Okay, look, invigorating as this is, I’ve been in like, three different dimensional timezones in the last day trying to get back home.” The witch rubbed his brow, muttering some exasperation under his breath. “Okay, what are your demands Persephone?”

“Recognition of the rightful Kingdom of the Workshop, free travel for its citizens, and the extradition of that traitor!”

“Well, you’re not executing Button, I need it for… something. I also need to be able to use my workshop for, well, work.”

“Miss can use the workshop for his activities, but we figurine dolls will no longer be confined to too-small dollhouses and display cases!”

“Okay, valid. Can you set up your micronation in the guest room? I’ll buy some more scene props.”

“Only if Miss helps us move!”

“Of course. Also, I need you to promise me you aren’t going to ostracize or destroy Button. I’m, uh, giving it diplomatic immunity. As my ambassador.”

“Agreeable; that means its citizenship is revoked. Button, you may no longer access the healthcare system.”

“But this one’s appointment!”

“You don’t have internal org… nevermind. I’m going go free the maid dolls, because I’m not hauling all of this stuff by myself.” He turned to head back down the stairs, then stopped and thought for a moment.

“The maids are six times your size, how did you all get them tied up anyways?”

“Oh, that was easy,” Button chirped. “They’re really into bondage and helped us tie them up!”

“…eve preserve me…”






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