When a lot of series do these “shoulder angel/shoulder demon” figures, the demon either (a) pushes over-the-top evil things the character would never actually want to do, or (b) encourage the character to set reasonable boundaries and stand up for themself. (The writer(s) may or may not be self-aware about how they gave their demon the actually-healthy suggestions…)
When shoulder imps and faeries come up in Leif & Thorn, I always put some effort into thinking “what’s something this character would (a) be legitimately tempted to do right now, (b) for actually-unhealthy reasons?”
Pretty sure this is the first time I’ve had both the faerie and the imp advocating the same thing, for different reasons. On the positive side: honesty, integrity, defending someone who isn’t present to speak for themself! On the negative side: making someone feel shown-up and humiliated, indulging in short-term vindictive pleasure over long-term plans.
Leif (thinking): The observation room —
Did they bring Thorn in? Are they making him watch? Please, no — I don’t want him to see me like this, on my hands and knees, getting stepped on —
(* unless he ever wants to step on me, then I’d seriously consider it)
— but not because he would stop respecting me. Thorn will never.
. . . if he was going to, he would’ve done it already.
Shoulder faerie: So, say that! Tell the truth! Thorn deserves to have you speak up and defend him!
Shoulder imp: Ludolf thinks he knows Thorn better than you, huh? Take his smug condescension and tell him where he can shove it!
Shoulder guard: This will not end until the manager finds a weakness. You need to give him one. The longer you let him keep going, the less likely you’ll be able to control when he takes one.
Leif: I d– I don’t know. Sir.
Ludolf: . . . You poor thing. You’ve had a hard day, haven’t you, Leif? Let’s get you to bed.