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20748 No. 20748
[You survived a brush with death just now-stared down a madman with a razor blade. What left is there to fear?]
[Consider your chosen card carefully and whisper an invocation to steel yourself: “You’ll only survive if you die.]
[Play a Citizen]

As you sit there, pondering this overtly sadistic game, a kind of numbing tranquility passes over you. You’re playing E-Card “for real”…but so what? You survived a brush with death just now-stared down a madman with a razor blade. What left is there to fear? If you lose, you lose. If you die, you die. If you’re smart, maybe you won’t die quite as fast, but all life comes to an end sometime. There’s been a prickling notion in the back of your mind for some time now: this “Gensokyo” will be the death of you. If even the most innocent-looking of people here have the power to level armies by themselves, do you really have a chance to make it out of here alive? Such a thought should make you afraid and cautious…but right now, it’s actually quite calming. Your recent near-death experience has left you empty…empty and free.

No sense playing the Emperor on a first-play turn, is there? Besides, if your face looks as good as you feel right now, maybe Remilia will assume you’ve played the Emperor and are gloating over it. As your thumb and forefinger grasp a hold of your middle Citizen, a steely invocation whispers through your mind: “You’ll only survive if you die.” Wherever it came from, it seems oddly fitting for reasons you can’t describe. The card moves serenely from your hands onto the invisible glass surface below.

As Remilia considers her next move, she tries to dig out your card from your face via idle chatter.

“Do you ever wonder why a slave doesn’t simply accept it’s position in life? Why does it try and rebel against the established order in an action that is almost guaranteed suicide? If it would just stay at home and obey the commands of its superior, wouldn’t life be more pleasant? A silly thing, really, to risk your life over something so superficial, so hopeless…”

You don’t respond, vying towards the same attitude of outward indifference she did not so long ago. Nevertheless, he remark is a little chilling; you can only guess at all the implications it might hold.

When she finally does select a card, the unveil reveals it to be nothing more than a Citizen. So much for all that talk about slaves. She takes a good time on this next choice, eyeing you with a half-smile on her face that is more than a little disconcerting. As she moves her hand to the table, you see something, just for an instant: a little hesitation in her hand as she draws her card downwards. It could have been nothing, but the way she re-aligned her hand…the way she slowed down for that briefest period…it could mean everything to you. What is she unsure about? What is she afraid of? Could this just be another false tell, or is there actually something real to this new action? You study her face carefully, hoping for…yes, there it is. Her smile is just a little weaker, a little less confident than before, almost like she’s regretting something. Could it be the chance to win the pot with your Emperor? Or is she afraid because you’ve read the Slave she played on her face?

[ ] Play the Emperor
[ ] Play a Citizen

>> No. 20752
[ ] Play the Emperor
>> No. 20753
[x] Play the Emperor
>> No. 20757
[x] Play a Citizen

It's a TRAP!
>> No. 20758
[x] Play a Citizen

Stay on target.
>> No. 20759
>Her smile is just a little weaker, a little less confident than before, almost like she’s regretting something. Could it be the chance to win the pot with your Emperor? Or is she afraid because you’ve read the Slave she played on her face?
>afraid

THIS SHIT WILL NEVER WORK

[x] Answer her red herring with one of your own: "For some people, one's happiness and one's freedom—or least th' illusion of freedom—is inextra... um... inextricably linked. 'S not a superficial thing; to yearn for what we cannot have 's the human condition. Now th' Emperor can only rule 'cause th' Citizen's convinced that th' social order's immutable—in reality all it takes 's a dagger 'twixt the ribs or a pinch of arsenic 'n the wine cup. So effective is th' Emperor's ploy that th' Emperor may fool even himself into thinking it's true, becoming blind to th' existence of one who sees through his new clothes; that, Miss Scarlet, that is why he will die."
[x] Play a Citizen.
>> No. 20761
[x] Answer her red herring with one of your own: "For some people, one's happiness and one's freedom—or least th' illusion of freedom—is inextra... um... inextricably linked. 'S not a superficial thing; to yearn for what we cannot have 's the human condition. Now th' Emperor can only rule 'cause th' Citizen's convinced that th' social order's immutable—in reality all it takes 's a dagger 'twixt the ribs or a pinch of arsenic 'n the wine cup. So effective is th' Emperor's ploy that th' Emperor may fool even himself into thinking it's true, becoming blind to th' existence of one who sees through his new clothes; that, Miss Scarlet, that is why he will die."
[x] Play a Citizen.

I think Remi's using her fate hax on this game.
>> No. 20762
[x] Answer her red herring with one of your own: "For some people, one's happiness and one's freedom—or least th' illusion of freedom—is inextra... um... inextricably linked. 'S not a superficial thing; to yearn for what we cannot have 's the human condition. Now th' Emperor can only rule 'cause th' Citizen's convinced that th' social order's immutable—in reality all it takes 's a dagger 'twixt the ribs or a pinch of arsenic 'n the wine cup. So effective is th' Emperor's ploy that th' Emperor may fool even himself into thinking it's true, becoming blind to th' existence of one who sees through his new clothes; that, Miss Scarlet, that is why he will die."
[x] Play a Citizen.
>> No. 20764
>>20761
You THINK?
>> No. 20765
[x] Answer her red herring with one of your own: "For some people, one's happiness and one's freedom—or least th' illusion of freedom—is inextra... um... inextricably linked. 'S not a superficial thing; to yearn for what we cannot have 's the human condition. Now th' Emperor can only rule 'cause th' Citizen's convinced that th' social order's immutable—in reality all it takes 's a dagger 'twixt the ribs or a pinch of arsenic 'n the wine cup. So effective is th' Emperor's ploy that th' Emperor may fool even himself into thinking it's true, becoming blind to th' existence of one who sees through his new clothes; that, Miss Scarlet, that is why he will die."
[x] Blink in confusion, peer at your cards, and rotate them 180 degrees.
[x] "...So THAT'S what was wrong! Jeez, I really coulda messed that one up..."
[x] Smile like a calm, good-natured bumpkin (but don't ham it up).
[x] Play a Citizen.

Let's dick around with Remi.
>> No. 20766
The write-in response you have given, while extremely well-written, may cause Remilia to doubt your “drunkenness”, considering the number of complex words and phrases it holds. I shall try and make it simpler while keeping it’s power intact.

====================

[Answer her red herring with one of your own: "For some people, one's happiness and one's freedom—or least th' illusion of freedom—is inextra... um... inextricably linked. 'S not a super-ficial thing; to yearn for what we cannot have 's the human condition. Now th' Emperor can only rule 'cause th' Citizen's convinced that th' social order's immutable—in reality all it takes 's a dagger 'twixt the ribs or a pinch of arsenic 'n the wine cup. So effective is th' Emperor's ploy that th' Emperor may fool even himself into thinking it's true, becoming blind to th' existence of one who sees through his new clothes; that, Miss Scarlet, that is why he will die."]
[Play a Citizen.]

You decide to try and fish for a response from her by responding, albeit vaguely, to her earlier question.

“For some people, mish’, happiness and freedom—or least th’ illusion of it—is inextra… um… inexerba... inexecuti… closely linked. ‘Snot a super-fiscally thing to want wha’ we can’t have; it’s only human. Just like ya’ said before: th’ Emperor rules ‘cause his people believe he has all the pow’r. They think’n they can’t change the normal order, when all it takes ‘sa dagger ‘tween the ribs or a pinch’a poison in the wine glass to do it. Emperor gets so caugh’ up in himself and his power, ‘e goes blind to th’ one man who see through his ‘new clothes’ and ‘xpose him as the fool ‘e is. That, Missus Scarlet, that is why he will die. That ‘swhy the Slave fight back.”

As your last sentence leaves you lips, you sweep a Citizen out of your hand dramatically and slap it onto the table. Without waiting a second longer, you flip it upwards for all to see. You had already convinced yourself beforehand that you were going to play a Citizen anyways; if she’s going to play the Slave, it would be right now, at the one point where you are most likely to play the Emperor. The extra drama was just a little something to show that you’re not as cowed by Remilia’s demeanor as she may have thought.

Staring at her, you can see her eyes focusing on the Citizen, little smile turning into a full-on smirk. She seems to grip her cards tightly, and you can see the delicate fibers of her hand tense up as she increases the pressure. With a single pearly fingernail she flips her card over, not saying a word.

It’s a Slave.

You can’t believe it. You won? No…you won! You called her bluff! The thirteen chips which Sakuya adds to your pile hardly register in your mind. After all her secrecy and subtle trickery, you actually scored a real, thought-out victory against Remilia! Short phrases blast through your mind, giving you hope: She lost…she’s not perfect…she’s not omnipotent…she makes mistakes…you did it…you can do it again…you will do it again!

“Well, little man,” Remilia comments through what sounds to be slightly clenched teeth, “are you happy with your little victory?”

“Only if you are,” you retort calmly, not wanting to give away any of your excess elation. Anything you keep from her now is doubly important. She’s definitely not happy about this loss; you can sense it in her demeanor. With one mistake make come another, and you need to take advantage of that as soon as possible before she wins again. Now is the time when she is most vulnerable. Now is the time when you must rise to the occasion!

“The score is now 40-20, guest’s favor,” Sakuya announces, showing none of the telltale signs of aggravation that her master seems to be. “What will be your next wager, sir?”

Forty to twenty? It’s your last Emperor match before the vast three-game wasteland of the Slave. You could go all out now; twenty chips right here could end the game! And with the Emperor for your side, and Remilia’s annoyance against hers, you just might pull it off, too. But perhaps it might be best to pull back while your ahead, and save your power-plays for the last round of Emperor games. Or should you bet a moderate amount now and hope for a lucky victory from the Slave to win this contest for you? There’s plenty of paths to take, and after this interesting turn of events, you don’t want to squander such a valuable opportunity. But…how best to cash in on it?

[ ] Place your bet!

====================

>>20765
Blink in confusion, peer at your cards, and rotate them 180 degrees. "...So THAT'S what was wrong! Jeez, I really coulda messed that one up..." Smile like a calm, good-natured bumpkin (but don't ham it up).
I refrained from using it here, but bless my soul if that isn’t the best blend of comedy and mind-gaming E-Card has ever seen. I shall definitely keep this idea on reserve for future rounds. Well done, good sir, well done!
>> No. 20768
[x] Bet 20 chips

Win this round and we finish the game. Even if we lose, we can still win.
>> No. 20769
[x] Bet 20 chips

Strike while the iron is hot!
>> No. 20770
[X] 20 chips

Admittedly, I am possessed with the selfish desire to see the E-card end, opining that it is near to overstaying its welcome and if we are to play out every hand and bet conservatively it can lasta hideously longer time. However, attempting to take her off balance for the win here is about the best chance we will logically ever have at it. Drawing the match out, while perhaps more dramatic, seems also inclined by said drama to lead to our inevitable loss when Remilia sees through our game or becomes bored enough to fate us into oblivion. This, in my judgment, is the moment where she is rattled enough for us to have a chance, but not quite so to taking... steps towards her win. Yet.

We should also remind her, all in good humor, that a simple man achieving simple victories is what she asked us to be!
>> No. 20771
>>20761
If she were, the game would've been over before it begun.
>> No. 20772
[x] 20 Chips

It's do or die.

Have we a name for this story's anon?
>> No. 20773
>>20771
If she wanted the game to be extremely boring, sure. But that rather defeats the entire purpose of playing the game in the first place.

Ever see a cat with a mouse? The cat could easily kill the little rodent in an instant, yet it doesn't. Instead, it toys with it, bats it around, and basically takes its sweet time before finally going for the kill.
>> No. 20775
>“The score is now 40-20, guest’s favor,” Sakuya announces, showing none of the telltale signs of aggravation that her master seems to be. “What will be your next wager, sir?”

Let's see if Remilia's anger is real or feigned.

[x] 1 chip

She's been wanting you to make higher wagers all along. She couldn't do it through taunting, so now she'll do it by baiting you, allowing this hollow victory, but the only reason she props you up here is because it will be more enjoyable for her when your positions reverse 40-20 her favor with you on the Slave side.

We will lose this match. No matter the wager. Better to play 1 chip hands and wait for the your final round as Emperor. That is when you go all out.
>> No. 20776
>>20775
If we lose this 20 chip bet, as well as three 1 chip slave bets, we can still win, if we win a round with 14 and a second with 29 chip bets. We'll always have enough chips left for a draw this way.

And I don't consider this match lost before having seen the result.
>> No. 20777
[ ] 20 Chips

if we lose here I think we should fall back to the barbarian plan
>> No. 20779
[X]40 chips
Show her we have enough confidence to win. Also, doing stupid things is fun.
>> No. 20781
[20 chips]

This has to end. This needs to end. This will end! And you will be the one to end it, right here, right now, with a single bet of twenty chips. The cards are in your favor…Remilia’s composition is in your favor…even the chips themselves scream out to you. Forty and twenty…perfectly even numbers, like they were planned out by fate itself. Everything is laid out on a platter for you, ready to be served. You, a mere farmer, a mere peasant…a mere “Slave”, will defeat this lady, this queen…this Emperor!

“Twenty,” you emit, voice dead serious and extremely confident. There’s no more drunken slurring or foolish words in your speech anymore; you’re through with mind games and false tells. You said to yourself at the beginning that this game would be “for real”. Time to really start treating it that way. You look at both Sakuya and Remilia as you add, “This is going to end. Now.”

Remilia eyes you with her blood-red orbs, filled more with curiosity than malice like they were before. “Oh? So sure, are you? Willing you place all your eggs into the basket of Lady Luck?”

“Lady Luck can go jump off a bridge for all I care, Miss Scarlet. She has no part in this game; you said so yourself. No, I’m dedicating this match to Father Fate, who has decided to shine upon me for even the shortest of moments. And anyways,” you add with a smirk to rival hers, “it’s only half my eggs.”

“Touché,” she responds, shoving all her chips to the front of Sakuya, which you follow soon afterwards. “Very well then…let fate do with this match what it will.” The way she says that sentence sounds like she’s used to saying it a lot, with plenty of grace and inflection in all the right places.

The focus of your mind returns to the task at hand; once insurmountable, now just within reach. You have the first play, and it had better be a good one. You steel your face and concentrate hard enough to melt the faces off the cards in your hand.

Emperor? Fast and furious, completely unexpected, completely reckless…completely predictable? “This is going to end. Now.” Did you imply too much with that statement? Would she really base the entire game on a five-to-one stab in the dark?

Citizen? The important game, the smart game, the strategic game…the defensive game? You sat back with Citizens and burned Remilia out…will it work again? Would she really do the same thing twice in a row, knowing full well that the first time didn’t work? Will she match you Citizen for Citizen and burn you out instead?

Emperor? The grand ruler, the awesome power, the mighty king. Servants innumerable, influence vast, pride overwhelming. A single disgruntled cook poisons his morning meal…a single false maidservant collapses his head inwards with an ornamental vase…a single perfect assassin shoots an arrow through his bedchamber window.

Citizen? The common man, the aspiring dreamer, the working force. The strong rise up, the weak fall behind, and the average maintain their own status-quo. Power rests within the hands of the people, when enough rise together. But how many ever do? How many are too busy pursuing their own pleasures and futures?

“There are Creators, there are Users, and there are Destroyers…”

The Emperor creates law and order, uses men and women, and destroys hopes and dreams. Or…The Emperor creates hopes and dreams, uses law and order, and destroys men and women. Or…The Emperor creates men and women, uses hopes and dreams, and destroys law and order. An Emperor is everything…and nothing.

The Slave creates empires, is used by the empires, and then destroys those empires. A never-ending cycle of death and rebirth, creation and destruction…accomplishing nothing. What good is fulfilling your own dream if you destroy another’s in the process?

The Citizen can do anything. Can be anything. It can create. It can use. It can destroy. But its choice is its own. Unlike the Emperor, it does not destroy a nation when it fails. Unlike the Slave, it does not destroy a nation when it succeeds. It is the jack-of-all-trades, neither weak nor strong. But it’s mediocrity is it’s greatest strength. The world is made of the average and the plain, the boring and the run-of-the-mill. Both the Emperor and the Slave dream of holding the world in their hands…but the world already is held within the hands of the Citizens.

Wait…philosophy? Why are you wasting time with the meaning of life when you should be playing a card down of the table like a sane man? Now is the time to be winning! You calmly draw out a card from your hand and place it onto the table. It is a Citizen…just like you. You don’t care what symbolism you might have thought of before; you’re no Slave. No Slave could walk away from his home and into the unknown. No Slave could live a life of peasantry and dine like a king the week after. You are a free man, a “Citizen” of the world.

Remilia closes her eyes as if she is in deep thought. Her breathing becomes slow and quiet, and any tenseness she might have carried from her previous loss melts away. She opens her eyes for only a brief instant, but that’s all the time she needs to confirm…what? Victory? Defeat? Her strategy? Fate?

Before you can imagine what must be going on in Remilia Scarlet’s mind right now, a familiar feeling returns to your heart. That chilling, unsettling feeling right in your chest, the one that that you know, but just don’t quite “know”…

The feeling of the spectacles growing cold again.

[ ] Put them on, quickly!
[ ] Put them on, slowly, trying not to draw too much attention
[ ] Ignore them; they’ll be nothing but trouble
[ ] Trouble me no more! Crush the confounded things in your hands!
[ ] A different approach? (Write in your action)

====================

Apart from this story, there is one, and only one thought of the Touhou universe that I think of at this moment. It is a dream made true, worked and slaved over for time, time, and time again. My joy knew no bounds the very second that it was complete, and even now the memory puts a satisfied smile onto my face.

I have now 1cc’ed Embodiment of Scarlet Devil on Hard.
>> No. 20782
>I have now 1cc’ed Embodiment of Scarlet Devil on Hard.

As someone who, only one week prior, finally defeated Perfect Cherry Blossom's Phantasm stage after four hundred and thirty grueling attempts, I will heartily applaud your success. How can I not, when a similar sweet taste still lingers within me?

Although, I cannot seem to do what you have just done, thanks to a certain maid.

It seems that victory has made your writing of this segment particularly enthusiastic.

[X] Put them on, slowly, trying not to draw too much attention.

Too curious.
>> No. 20783
Her eyes are closed, right?

[x] Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."
>> No. 20784
[x] Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."

And congratulations on the win, I know how that can go.
>> No. 20785
These goddamn things are reacting to her fate manipulation! Both times during the game were after we played our card and she was deciding on hers. At that point, our free will is no longer influencing the game.

[x] Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."
Now I'm really curious. Will they show us something, or will they protect us from something?
>> No. 20786
>I have now 1cc’ed Embodiment of Scarlet Devil on Hard.

Congratulations.

[x] Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."
>> No. 20787
[x] Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."
>> No. 20788
[x] Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."

so do these glasses indicate when remi is fate fucking us or uses her fate controlling power at all?
>> No. 20789
[x] Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."
>> No. 20790
[x] Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."

"I can feel it. I can finally feel it. The waves of your heart, Kaiji-kun."
>> No. 20791
[Put them on as you speak: "Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."]

Time to see just what’s going on with these mischievous spectacles. Whatever they do, they haven’t done any real harm to you yet. It just seems symbolic, putting on a pair of spectacles to discover just what they really do. At the very least, you can distract Remilia by wearing such an odd accessory.

No one is really paying attention to you, so it’s no trouble to just slip the glasses out of your pocket. The single, cracked lens is foggy, but not pure white like it was right before it went back to normal that first time. The wire-thin frames are colder than ice, but you slip them on anyways. As you do, you whisper a short comment to Remilia.

"Miss Scarlet, if you wish for something that hard, anyone can hear it."

She doesn’t respond, and with Sakuya not looking at you, no one even knows the glasses exist right now. Even though you tried to bend them back into position, they still feel uncomfortable and don’t quite set right. Your right eye stares through the empty circle stupidly, while the left can barely see anything due to the fog. Remilia silently picks a card from her hand and starts to move it, ever so carefully, onto the table. The haze surrounding your left side grows thicker and thicker, finally reaching an extremely “empty” shade of white, and then instantaneously shifts back to normal.

You are frozen. Utterly. Completely. Frozen. You can’t move, you can’t speak, you can’t do anything. The world around you is as still as a photograph, impossibly fixed in the same position, the same moment. You can hear no sounds, sniff no smells, sample no tastes, feel no touches. Only you brain is cognizant right now, and it is telling you one thing, and one thing only: you are a complete and utter idiot. This is more than just being frozen in ice…this is being frozen in eternity itself. And you were the one idiotic enough to put those spectacles, onto your face, not even contemplating what might happen to you. For all you know, you’ve just condemned yourself to being numb and unmoving until the world ends.

However, you numbness is not quite complete. Your left eye is extremely hazy (or is the spectacle lens hazy?), but you can still feel like it’s working…somewhat. At least, you can see movement in it. A blurry, indistinguishable shape vibrates and shifts slightly, a mixture of light and dark blue. The sight is dizzying to behold: in your right eye the world is crisp and clear but as still as the beginning of time itself, while in your left you can see nothing but a blurry and broken representation of the same scene…except for that blue blob.

You try and figure this out. Okay, there’s your cards on your right eye, Citizen-Emperor-Citizen-Citizen. Now in your left...it’s tough, but you can barely make out a smear of blue and yellow where your cards should be. All right, so at least you’re looking at the same thing through both eyes. But why is there movement in your left eye? You try and pick out what it could be. There’s your stack of chips, an amorphous blob a white. There’s the champagne bottle, a dark patch against the slightly lighter patch of the floor visible through the table. There’s Remilia, a vaguely humanoid pink figure across from you. And there’s…Sakuya? Where the head maid is standing on the right half of your world, the mysterious moving mass shivers on your left. How can Sakuya be moving when everything else is frozen in…time…?

Realization hits you like a sack of bricks upside the head. The comments of both Cirno and Nathaniel ring inside you head, comments that you never gave a second thought to…

“…Sakuya can go all fast and stop time…”

“…From what Patchouli’s told me she has the power of time manipulation, or something to that effect. Whatever it is, she can do day-long tasks in the blink of your eye…”

Sakuya can manipulate time. And from what you can guess, you are currently frozen in time. If your brain is working correctly, she must be manipulating time right now, right in front of you. Whatever is going on here, she must be behind it. But just what is going on here? If time is really stopped, how can you still see movement? Unless…the spectacles? Those glasses, Sakuya Izayoi, and the flow of time itself must obviously be connected…but how? And why? From here you can only guess, and watch.

Sakuya leans over the table and makes some motion, you can’t tell what it is. She stays there for a while, shifting only slightly. And then you hear something. Some kind of garbled, buzzing noise resonates in both your ears. If you concentrate it just barely resembles Miss Izayoi’s tone of voice, but there are no words to be heard, only indistinguishable whispers. They continue for several minutes, never getting any more comprehensible, then subside. Both of your eyes become completely unfocused for a split second, and suddenly everything is back to normal. You can wiggle your fingers, hear your focused breathing, taste the lingering drops of wine in your mouth; everything is perfectly fine.

(Everything that has a beginning...)
>> No. 20792
(...has an end.)

What just happened there? Your only guess is that Sakuya just did…”something” to time, and then returned the…”something” back again. It’s as stupid as it sounds in your head, but it’s all you’ve got to go on. The spectacles still balance on the bridge of your nose, and you almost move to take them off quickly…but you hold back. If your hunch is right, no time at all has passed, and so technically you only put the spectacles on ten seconds ago. It would look very suspicious if you put them on only to take them off again, so you let them sit, hoping that Sakuya doesn’t decide to do “something” again.

Remilia seemingly confirms that hunch. For all the time you just experienced, she still hasn’t placed her card down on the table. And then, in mid-motion, she stops, pulls back, and returns the card to her hand. You almost want to call her on cheating because of that, but she didn’t really play the card yet, so you hold your tongue. She looks at her cards intently, then asks Sakuya a question.

“What do you think, little maid? What card do you think I should play?”

Miss Izayoi retains her neutral expression, but turns her face aside all the same. “It’s not my business to get involved in this game, mistress. Play whatever you feel is best.”

She stares down her servant intently, finally catching her gaze. “Yes, that’s right. After all, I’m the one playing here, aren’t I?” Without taking her eyes off her, Remilia picks a different card from her hand and sets it on the table. She then turns to you, seemingly paying no attention to your odd spectacles.

“So,” she says questioningly, “you say you could hear my wishing, could you? And just what was I wishing for?

It’s a fifty-fifty chance that you’ll get it right, and you don’t really want to miss this chance to be as over-the-top as you could possibly be. A sudden desire has enveloped your mind, too intoxicating to pass up. You grasp the bottom of your card, sweep it over your head in a wide arc, them slam it down on the table as you exclaim, “Emperor!”

The entire room seems to have gone silent as the echo of your fist bounces around the room. Both Nathaniel and Patchouli have stopped their chess match to look at you, and Meiling, her book long since discarded on the floor, is on the edge of her seat in anticipation. Remilia folds her cards together, sets them down on the table gently, and beings tapping the first three fingers of her right hand against palm of her left, slowly, in a painful mockery of a clap.

“Congratulations…you can’t read.”

She takes her card and bends it ever so slowly towards her. What is really seconds feels like hours as she scrapes it across the glass, hiding the face from your sight. As she finally lets go of the card, your eyes trace it in slow motion as it falls the two inches from her hand to the table.

Slave.

Im…impossible! A joke, a ruse, a trick! It’s…it’s all over in one play! You’ve won! You’ve bloody won! Your cards fall from your hand and clatter to the ground forgotten. It’s a miracle! Words and actions escape you, and you merely sit there in disbelief and elation as the amazing reality of victory, true victory, sinks into your soul.

Remilia leans back in her chair and stretches her hands out over her puffy pink hat. You can’t tell if she’s angry or happy, anxious or relieved. All you know is that it’s finally done, and you won “for real”. She looks at you lazily, and begins to speak calmly.

“That, as they say, is that. A game well-played and well-handled. Very well then, I won’t go back on my word. You wanted to play for real, and as he victor, a prize is in order. What would you wish for?”

It’s difficult for you to answer, being so full of joy, but somehow you manage. “A prize?! Well, umm…what can I choose from?”

She smiles playfully. “Oh, just about anything you could dream of, really. You’ve earned it, after all.”

[ ] Choose your victorious trophy! (Write in your prize request)
[ ] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you
[ ] Ask to be given some time to decide about your prize

Also…you’ve just won the Scarlet Devil Mansion E-Card Championship! What are you going to do next?!
[ ] Write-in only!

=====================

As this segment was written in multiple sections of time, with multiple levels of consciousness, I hope that there are not too many grammatical problems. Also, I had re-written a large portion of it halfway through, and may have missed important edits. If a paragraph, or even a sentence, does not sound exactly correct, please alert me, as I am prepared to fix it.
>> No. 20794
>For all you know, you’ve just condemned yourself to being numb and unmoving until the world ends.

I see what you did there.
>> No. 20795
[x] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.
>> No. 20796
[x] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.
>> No. 20799
[x] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.
>> No. 20804
[X] Choose your victorious trophy! I want a personal fairy maid.
[x] Take a bath with said fairy maid; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.
>> No. 20808
[x] You want Cirno to be forgiven for any past transgressions.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.

Get Remilia to revoke her ban on fraternizing with Cirno. It seems Mr. Nathaniel cannot be trusted, which leaves only the ice fairy. This also has the effect of making you look kind and bold.

Also, was I the only one who got the impression that Remilia was chastising Sakuya back there for interference?
>> No. 20811
>>20795 & >>20796 & >>20797 & >>20799

If you wish to "spam" your vote, the least you could do is disillusion me by making the posts appear different, and possibly adding in some additional text for flavor. As they are now, I really don't see how I can count this for more than a vote-and-a-half, perhaps two at maximum.

Of course, I am a foolish mortal, prone often to error. If this not in fact "votespam" by the same person, and simply happens to be four different people posting within minutes of each other by coincidence, I shall recant my blatant accusations, cower in a corner, and eat my bitter piece of "Humble Pie".
>> No. 20812
>>20808
I like this plan. It allows us access to the one essentially undoubtable ally we have.

[x] You want Cirno to be forgiven for any past transgressions.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.

Letting Remilia choose, however, is more polite and appealing... we shall see, I guess.
>> No. 20814
[x] You want Cirno to be forgiven for any past transgressions.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.

vote change (though i would still prefer a Meilig maid)
>> No. 20815
[X] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.
[X] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.

Stuffed or not, this should win. We've stretched Remilia's patience enough just by beating her, and she already agreed to treat Cirno better at dinner. (Not to mention that the fairy is anything BUT a reliable ally.) Be gracious, so she can think of this moment as something fun, even though she lost.
>> No. 20816
[X] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.
[X] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.

We have a dangerous balancing act between entertaining Remilia and wearing out our welcome.
>> No. 20817
[X] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.
[X] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.

^Sounds reasonable to me.

Though, we could ask for Mr. Nathaniel's head in a silver platter, but that would be rather gruesome and uncalled for...
>> No. 20850
[x] You want Cirno to be forgiven for any past transgressions.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.

I think asking her to choose for us could only be exasperating.
>> No. 20853
[x] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.
>> No. 20858
[x] Meiling as a prize is nice~
If only.

[x] Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.
[x] Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.
>> No. 20867
[Be a gracious winner; let Remilia pick out your prize for you.]
[Take a bath; you must be pretty grimy after that nerve-wracking game.]

Any prize you could dream of? You can certainly dream of quite a bit, and with the possibility of magic thrown into the mix, a lot of those dreams could easily become realities. What to choose, what to choose…For a while you contemplate an interesting thought: asking to let Cirno be forgiven for her past crimes. It’s certainly doable, and you still feel kind of bad that you’re the reason she can’t go near the mansion anymore. But would Remilia actually accept that request as a prize? And what’s more, would she even grant it? It’s a bit too iffy for your tastes right now, but you keep the idea in the back of your head.

There’s really only one way to prove that you can be a gracious victor despite winning so dramatically; let Remilia choose your prize for you. You’ve been showing her all night that you don’t mind if she chooses things for you, why stop now? It keeps her content, and thus keeps you content as well. A happy host is a happy guest, right?

“Well, miss,” you finally reply, “there sure are a lot of things I would wish for. But you know? A winner doesn’t take a prize, it is given to him. That’s why I would like you to choose my prize for me. I hope that’s all right with you?”

She didn’t expect that response at all, but is certainly happy to receive it. She places her hand over her heart and stretches out her fingers, making a motion to herself. “Me? Oh you dear sweet man, how thoughtful of you! And even after such a boisterous win, too! I would be delighted to pick out a prize for your enjoyment. But now, what to get you…hmm? Surely such an act of charity should deserve a fine prize indeed. I’ll have to give it some thought. You won’t mind waiting just a little while, of course?”

“Of course not,” you confirm cordially, “Please, give it all the thought you need. I will wait expectantly for it.”

You slide yourself out of your chair calmly, stretching deep to get all the tension out of your muscles after such an aggravating game. As Remilia and Sakuya tidy up the E-Card pieces, Meiling stands up and congratulates you, impressed with your victory.

“Wow! Great job! I didn’t think you’d actually do it!”

“It was tough, no doubts there. I think I just got lucky,” you answer.

“Well, yeah, but that was still a lot better than I could do. I lose every time I play…”

You incline your head, curious as to her response. “Oh? You’ve played E-Card before?”

“Just a few times, but I never really got the hang of it. I think Miss Remilia got bored with it after I didn’t get better, so she stopped making me play.”

“I heard that!” shouts Remilia, smirking playfully.

You conversation with Meiling trickles off after a few more sentences, and so do your thoughts. For what feels like years you’ve been playing this ten-card game, and now that it’s finally over…What are you going to do with yourself? It looks like Remilia isn’t going to ask you to stay any longer, so perhaps you’re left to your own devices now. You look around the room absentmindedly. You’ve had enough of Remilia’s company to last you quite a while now, and Sakuya seems like a tough nut to crack as far as casual conversation goes; you don’t have nearly enough willpower to try it right now. Nathaniel…you don’t have any idea what to do with him right now. Reconcile? Antagonize? Ignore? Or should you actually try and “find Justice”?

Catching an unpleasant odor, you realize that the taxing events of that most memorable card game have make you sweat profusely. Right now you think it’d feel pretty good to just soothe your muscles in some steaming hot water and give your brain a chance to rest for a bit. You walk over to the center table and clear your throat to get Remilia’s attention.

“If I’m no longer required here, Miss Scarlet,” you announce, “I think I’ll be taking a bath for a spell, if you don’t mind.”

She nods slightly and waves you away. “Of course, of course, you’re done here. Go and cleanse your body of it’s weariness. Meiling, dear, come here if you would, I need to talk to you about your guard duties.” The gate guard gulps and shivers a bit, apparently anticipating some strict reprimand of some kind. You give a quick “Don’t worry” as an encouragement as you pass her by, which cheers her up just a little bit.

There’s a definitely spring in your step as you walk through the hallways towards your second-floor bathroom. Well, it’s not really yours, but you’ve found that with the multitude of them in this mansion it’s just easier to remember if you call that specific one “yours”. But in any case, you can finally walk without worrying about Citizens, Slaves, or Emperors for a change. As you look back on it, the game really does seem incredibly absurd. But the way it’s played just sends shivers up your spine. Hopefully you’ll never have to play that game again for as long as you live.

Before you even reach a staircase, you slow down and stop, looking at something odd. There’s a door hanging just a crack open to your right. As you think about all you’ve seen in this mansion, you realize that you’ve never seen a door that is only partially open. Either they’re completely open, or else closed, but never anywhere in the middle. And furthermore, you swear that this door was one of the locked doors you encountered on your trip through the mansion this morning. What’s it doing open now?

Curiosity piqued, you open it all the way and look inside. There’s a small room with some empty shelves and coat racks, and at the far end a staircase…leading downwards. A basement floor? None of the other stairwells in the mansion went any further down than the first floor...Why would there be a separate entrance to the basement? Furthermore, if the door is supposed to be locked, why is it open?

You wonder if you should go down and investigate further or not. You [i]do/[i] have the key to the mansion, so it wouldn’t be suspicious if you were found exploring around the basement. But you’ve already gotten yourself worked up for that hot bath, and you’re not sure if your brain can take any more new experiences right now. And there’s another reason, too…This mansion is big enough to hold a lot of strange things, some of which you’ve already seen or suspected. And if stories are to be believed, families often hide their most closeted secrets in the dark corners of their cellars. A magic mansion, then, must have some very odd things down that flight of stairs. But is that a reason against exploring…or for it?

[ ] Into the abyss! You’re not afraid of the dark!
[ ] Go down the stairs, but slowly and cautiously; back out if “things” start happening
[ ] Save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards
[ ] Close that door now and lock it tight. Secrets are secret for a reason…

====================

>>20858
Hmmm…hmm?...Mmmm…mmHHhhmm…mm?
>> No. 20868
[x] Save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards

> [ ] Close that door now and lock it tight. Secrets are secret for a reason…
If Flan found out we locked her up, she'd just do "kyuu" and we wouldn't be a problem anymore.
>> No. 20870
[ ] Save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards
>> No. 20883
>You wonder if you should go down and investigate further or not. You do have the key to the mansion, so it wouldn’t be suspicious if you were found exploring around the basement.

We were told it doesn't open every lock.

[x] Check to see that the key actually works in this lock.
[x] If it does not, check it out, for this may be your only chance.
[x] If it does, save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards.
>> No. 20885
[x] Save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards
>> No. 20891
[X] Into the abyss! You're not afraid of the dark!

Not that the dark is what we have to be afraid of...
>> No. 20892
[x] Save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards

In before Flandre masturbates us while we're relaxing in the tub.
>> No. 20894
[X] Check to see that the key actually works in this lock.
[X] If it does not, check it out, for this may be your only chance.
[X] If it does, save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards.

Ayup.
>> No. 20896
[x] Check to see that the key actually works in this lock.
[x] If it does not, check it out, for this may be your only chance.
[x] If it does, save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards.

Excellent.
>> No. 20899
>>20867
>Hmmm…hmm?...Mmmm…mmHHhhmm…mm?

;_;
>> No. 20901
[x] Check to see that the key actually works in this lock.
[x] If it does not, check it out, for this may be your only chance.
[x] If it does, save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards.

I like this one. Hopefully if we meet flan it'll at least be more interesting than sudden death.
>> No. 20902
>>20883
This makes sense

[X] Check to see that the key actually works in this lock.
[X] If it does not, check it out, for this may be your only chance.
[X] If it does, save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards.
>> No. 20903
[Check to see that the key actually works in this lock.]
[If it does not, check it out, for this may be your only chance.]
[If it does, save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards.]

As you contemplate your decision, you realize that there’s no burning desire in your heart to go into the basement, not right now at least. You know where the door is, so you can always come back to it later if you want. You exit the area and almost decide to shut the door…But then an idea hits you. You take out your silvery mansion key, red ribbon dangling limply, and test it in the keyhole. You hear a click in the door mechanism as the key turns. Seems to work just fine, so you try it again with the door shut this time. Sure enough, it opens and locks just like it should. No problems.

Still thinking about the basement, you continue traveling onwards. A locked basement door isn’t anything weird, right? Most of the time there’s no real reason for a guest to ever go into the cellar of an inn, or even of a friend’s house for that matter. And now that you think about it more, you’ve seen plenty of houses where the stairwells going up are different from the ones going down. Still…Why was the door open? It was probably just left open when Sakuya went to get everyone’s wine. It’s all perfectly fine; nothing to get worked up over.

Walking up the stairs to the upper levels, you think you hear something, or someone, behind you. Looking over your shoulder, you realize there’s no one there; must’ve just been your imagination. But no…maybe thirty seconds later, you swear you can hear a footstep or two in the hallway just out of sight. You stop, wait for a moment, then begin walking again. The only sound now are your own feet on the floor. You spin around unexpectedly, hoping to catch the noise-maker by surprise, but you’re the only person anywhere in the hallways. Your eyes dart around every corner, looking for a telltale sleeve or lock of hair peeking out behind a wall. Nothing. You shake your head and take a few deep breaths. Get a grip; it was probably just a maid walking down a nearby hall, nothing to be afraid of. Everything seems to put you on edge around here…You definitely just need to get to that bath to relax yourself; all these suspicions are beginning to get out of hand.

The bathroom greets you with it’s familiar marble décor and wide open spaces. You walk over to the large pearly tub and begin to fill it from the faucets, making sure the water is the perfect temperature for lounging in. Although the water is coming out in torrents, the basin is extremely large to compensate; might be a while before it’s ready.

On a whim you decide to lock the door, more for the sake of privacy than safety. Right now you don’t want any external bother or perturbing conversation, and in your past experiences both seem to always happen at the worst possible moments, such as when one is bathing. You realize, though, that such a lock probably won’t make much difference in the long run. Sakuya and Remila definitely have keys to any door in the house, and some of the maids probably do as well. Not to mention that someone like Patchouli or Meiling could easily acquire one if they asked. For that matter, is there any real point to locking the door in the first place?

Yes. Nathaniel. Nathaniel blatantly stated that he didn’t have or need a master key. Locking a door might only serve as a reminder that the room is occupied to anyone else in the mansion, but for Nathaniel, a locked door is still a locked door. And if there’s one person you really don’t want to talk to right now, it’s him. Not exactly because his odd behavior has estranged him from you, but more just because you don’t know what to think of him, and until you do, avoidance is an action you’d definitely like to pursue.

As you think about keys and locks, you wonder a rather odd question; two, actually. First, Remilia said your mansion key will open “most any door you wish within these walls”, but does that mean there are some doors it won’t open? And second, which doors would they be? You withdraw that mysterious ring of three keys from your coat, the ones that just happened to “appear” in your lap. Are they the missing piece to the puzzle? Will they unlock doors that the mansion key will not?

You continue to hold the ring in your hand as you undress and slip into the refreshing bathwater. Ahhh, yes, this is definitely the way to think about one’s troubles and questions, surrounded by the soft caresses of this manmade hot spring. Your mind instantly relaxes, and all the questions you once had melt away into a calm puddle of cheerful speculation, which you sift through slowly, at your leisure.

(Patience is a virtue…)
>> No. 20904
(…catch it if you can.)

The three-key ring…Where did it come from? Who gave it to you? Who is your secret ally? Even after meeting everyone in the mansion, you still don’t have a clue. Anyone here could have their own secret motives…In fact, everyone here probably does. But they don’t want to be known. For fear that someone else with find them out, or for fear that you will? Who here has the most to lose if they turn out to be someone they’re not?

Your mind wanders to a new subject: Nathaniel. What’s his game? He acts like a friend, like a gentleman, then like some kind of religious zealot or something. What is he trying to gain by antagonizing you, then keeping you in the dark? There’s no doubt he wants something from you, or wants you to do something, but all you’ve got to go on is a vague rant about finding justice in this mansion. Which makes no sense to you at all: you were punished for your rash actions by getting impaled by Cirno. “Justice”. You were branded the fool after masquerading as the gentleman you weren’t. “Justice”. You’ll be given a prize for your hard-earned victory after risking who knows what on your end. “Justice”. The world isn’t perfect, or fair, but so far there’s been enough justice here to make you wonder why Nathaniel thinks there isn’t.

Time travel. Alternate universes. How did you come here? Magic is of course obvious, but “magic” doesn’t tell you anything you want to hear. Why did you come here? Someone or something has to be behind your presence in this world, it can’t just be random chance. What is a “Yakumo”, and why does Sakuya think “it would explain much”? Or is this all a dream? There’s plenty of choices that explain some problems, but a dream explains them all. But this can’t be just a dream. No dream is this real, this vast, this tangible. There’s no hiding behind the illusion of dreams here; you have to face reality.

And then the mansion as a whole. So many questions…so many assumptions…so many worries…You can’t even begin to sort them out onto a list. It’s all just one big tangle of curiosity to you. It’s only been one day here, though; you can’t expect to know everything within only one day. Just give it time. Be calm, be collected, be polite…be yourself.

The bath is long and enjoyable, but you know that you can’t spend the rest of eternity in here. You exit the water, towel off, and clothe yourself again as the basin drains. Out of curiosity you check your watch. 11:47 already?! For it being so late, you don’t feel tired at all. Must be because you spent all afternoon comatose with two dozen spear wounds in you. Hopefully Remilia won’t mind if you burn the midnight oil a bit.

[ ] The mansion is yours to enjoy. Where will you go? (Write-in only)

====================

The personality of this mansion guest is completely up to you to determine. However, in order to better write his actions, it would be helpful if I knew exactly what he was thinking and wondering. In essence, what you are thinking and wondering. I can assume bits and pieces from your short comments already, but I would not mind in the least if you were to flesh out your ideas with some more specifics just this once. For example, just how do you feel about the other inhabitants of the mansion? How suspicious are you of strange occurrences and impending complications? What are your future intentions? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

>>20901
>Hopefully if we meet Flan it'll at least be more interesting than sudden death.
There are ways to make “sudden death” quite interesting indeed…
>> No. 20905
Not related to anything current, but I wonder if Nathaniel's name means anything. It's a variant of Nathanael, which means "given by God," and I suppose that might have something to do with his so-called "Justice."

I'm probably just thinking too much. Anyway...

[X] Check to see that the key actually works in this lock.
[X] If it does not, check it out, for this may be your only chance.
[X] If it does, save your basement escapade for another time; continue onwards.
>> No. 20907
>>20904
Dammit, if the shenanigans with Nathaniel hadn't turned out so weird I'd B-line for the library and hunt out a book about currencies of the world and put the odd coin we discovered into context. I'd also love to try and coax some dialogue out of this Patchouli; seems like it could be harder than E-cards and I like a challenge. But as it stands, I don't feel like dealing with Nathaniel without more information/a weapon. Before the night is done I definitely want to check out the basement as well. But anyway...

[X] Try to find the kitchen

Good general knowledge for the future and chance for Sakuya encounter. Mostly the latter, because of all the (traditional) residents, she's been the most direct in our interactions(the freak out when we let Cirno in). Maybe get her impressions of the evening and the E-card game. Also good to keep the glasses on or near to see what she seems to use The World for.
>> No. 20908
Thoughts, eh.
Upsides - The writing is phenomenal, easily the best here, and I love the atmosphere and the hints about where things are going to go.

Downsides - There aren't enough hints about where things are going to go. Right now we're lacking in hooks, and somewhat in pacing. The mansion is intriguing, but in character, I don't think mere curiosity is enough of a motivation for us to stick our necks out exploring it. Especially when everything we HAVE seen screams "This place is incredibly dangerous, keep your nose out of it or suffer horrible death and/or worse." The pacing has kind of reflected this as well, I really wasn't a fan of how long the E-Card dragged out because there wasn't any apparent purpose to it other than entertaining Remilia.

As it stands, going purely on what's in the story, we should just go back to our room and rest, spend the next few days similarly entertaining Remi, keep our nose extremely clean, follow orders to the letter, avoid Nathaniel, and then take our leave when our novelty wanes and continue our see-the-world trek. That's what I'm thinking in character, everybody is nice enough on their own but potentially very scary when angered, and we are in far over our head.

Of course, this isn't going to fly, for a few reasons. It'd be boring, and probably not-so-many people are interested in focusing on Remi again because of HY's story, and even if we did try it I can smell mysterious intervention coming from a mile away. Probably in the form of Nate snapping or Remi eating us. But that would also not be much fun, and doesn't particularly help in charting our course until or unless it happens. Mile away and all.

So to keep the story interesting, it feels like we should shoehorn in some sort of initiative on the protagonist's part and get started on picking a route now.

Eeeney, meanie, miney, maduya, I'm interested in... Sakuya!

[X] Wear the spectacles and poke around in random rooms, especially ones that seem interesting. Look for Sakuya. If she can be found, ask her about herself, and if she does not wish to discuss that, ask her about her relationships with Remilia, Patchouli and Meiling. Possibly tease her a bit about that last, given what happened at dinner.
>> No. 20909
The writing is very good. I have no complaints about the pacing or the characterization.

Patchouli and Nathaniel are likely still engaged in their match, and Nathaniel is likely to retire once it's finished given that he didn't sleep last night. >>20907 has a good idea about the coin, and we haven't yet met Koakuma. Before that, though:

[x] Return to your room. Write an entry in your journal and open the sealed envelope.

"For when the need arises." We need to know what's inside to know when we'll need it. I'm betting it's a spellcard. Given that it seems Flan is tailing us, it'd be safer to have it on our person in case she reveals herself and decides she wants to play a "card game" with us as well.
>> No. 20910
>>20908
>>20909
I believe he was asking readers to make it clear what your thoughts are when choosing writeins, i.e. "[X] Check to see that the key actually works in this lock." (This is an obvious one due to the other actions, but bear with me). Why are we checking this? The door is already opened, so why would we put the key in it? Normally you'd only put a key in a unlocked door to lock it, which is not what we want to do.

Remember, the reasoning behind your actions isn't available to the writer, so he may not know what your intentions were. That's why he's asking you to explain why you chose [x], what you hope it will accomplish, why you think it's a good idea, etc.
>> No. 20912
>>20910

Yes and no at the same time. You are correct when you state that "the reasoning behind your actions isn't available to the writer", and explaining them is of course helpful to me. However, the comments of >>20908 and >>20909 are still very much appreciated and useful to me, particularly >>20908. If there is something that you feel could be improved in the story, do not hesitate to bring it up! I cannot guarantee that I will give you an answer that you like, but I can say that your words will not fall on deaf ears.

But let me clarify what I meant before:

So far I have left the main character’s opinions and feelings fairly ambiguous, veering towards him merely questioning what he should think rather that actively thinking it. This is because I do not know what he thinks. You do. Does he hate Nathaniel with a passion, or does he assume that deep down he means well? Is he completely afraid of all these odd goings-on, or does he brush them off as worthless? Does he want to explore this mansion from top to bottom, exposing every secret, or does he wish to interact with the residents more? All these questions can be answered easily by anyone who has an opinion about the situation, and it is your opinion which answers them, not mine.

I ask this because when situations such as character-versus-character or character-versus-environment crop up, the opinions and feelings of the characters involved determine how they react to the situation, and thus, determine how it is written. I will provide the personalities for the other "non-player-characters", but the power rests with you to provide that for the adventurer.

Bottom line: This tale is "Choose Your Own Adventure", and the less I have to choose for you, the more of your own adventure it will be.

To the owner of >>20908 , your comments are being contemplated over with great sincerity. I may decide to reply to specific points in the near future. In either case, I laud you for making your opinions known, and hope that others will do the same.
>> No. 20914
>Does he hate Nathaniel with a passion, or does he assume that deep down he means well? Is he completely afraid of all these odd goings-on, or does he brush them off as worthless? Does he want to explore this mansion from top to bottom, exposing every secret, or does he wish to interact with the residents more? All these questions can be answered easily by anyone who has an opinion about the situation, and it is your opinion which answers them, not mine.

I'd rather you leave the interior monologue ambiguous and situational as it has been. As written so far, the character makes minimal assumptions of others' character and maintains a very open attitude towards the strange circumstances he find himself in, and I think this innocence is something that contributes to his continued survival.

Given his ready forgiveness for the fairy, and his apparent inability to hold a grudge against Sakuya or Nathaniel for threatening him, I'd say this shows neither a lack of curiosity nor a calculated attempt for survival, but rather the utter absence of malicious intent.

This is an everyman, one of simple passions and simple morals, who accepts everything and expects only decency. A conceit, maybe, but one that has been stuck in my head throughout the story.
>> No. 20955
X] Wear the spectacles and poke around in random rooms, especially ones that seem interesting. Look for Sakuya. If she can be found, ask her about herself, and if she does not wish to discuss that, ask her about her relationships with Remilia, Patchouli and Meiling. Possibly tease her a bit about that last, given what happened at dinner.

This sounds like fun, that, and we can possibly figure out if the spectacles react again when Sakuya is around.
>> No. 20966
A lack of votes, while somewhat bothersome, shall not derail me from updating in a relatively timely manner. I shall return within four hours or so, and put to pen whatever is winning at the time.
>> No. 20967
File 122332538158.jpg - (19.63KB , 413x429 , 1801253.jpg ) [iqdb]
20967
>>20966
Huzzah!
>> No. 20968
The main character needs a goal, even if it's just an arbitrary one. How about we push for 100% map completion of Dracula's castle Remilia's mansion?

[x] Return to your room for now. You're too awake to retire just yet, but you'd like to change into some clean clothes after your bath.
[x] Open the letter.
[x] Write the day's entry in your journal.
[x] Draw yourself a crude floor map using the paper in your journal. It'll help to mark off what rooms you've visited, which doors are usually locked, and which keys work in them as you explore the mansion.
>> No. 20970
[x] Return to your room for now. You're too awake to retire just yet, but you'd like to change into some clean clothes after your bath.
[x] Write the day's entry in your journal.
[x] Draw yourself a crude floor map using the paper in your journal. It'll help to mark off what rooms you've visited, which doors are usually locked, and which keys work in them as you explore the mansion.
[x] Wear the spectacles and poke around in random rooms, especially ones that seem interesting.
>> No. 20985
[x] Wear the spectacles and poke around in random rooms, especially ones that seem interesting. Look for Sakuya. If she can be found, ask her about herself, and if she does not wish to discuss that, ask her about her relationships with Remilia, Patchouli and Meiling. Possibly tease her a bit about that last, given what happened at dinner.

lol k.
>> No. 20989
[Return to your room for now]
[Write a new entry in your journal.]
[Open that envelope? Maybe…]
[Draw yourself a crude floor map using the paper in your journal. It'll help to mark off what rooms you've visited, which doors are usually locked, and which keys work in them as you explore the mansion.]
[Explore random rooms wearing the spectacles]

With the interesting events that keep happening to you within these walls, you deem it best to have one constant, one base you can always return to. For now, at least, that constant rests within your room, in the pages of that journal. No matter what happens to you, at least there’s something solid you can trust in, even if it’s just immobile parchment.

There’s also that envelope…for when “thy need” arises. Is it safe to open it yet? There might be something useful inside, something that you could really use right here and now. But at the same time, is your need really that dire? Sure, you’ve got some questions, and more than a few suspicions, but you haven’t noticed anything that seems outright antagonistic to you yet; except for perhaps Nathaniel, and he’s still an enigma to you, albeit a frustrating one.

As you curve through the short path to your room, you remember something that was asked at dinner, something you never really answered for yourself. Just what are you going to do here? You’ve got a lot of options, but no real decisions have been made in your mind. You’ve got to find something concrete to do, some goal to try and achieve. Otherwise, you’ll just be twiddling your thumbs for days on end, wasting time, wondering what new ways you can define the word “sloth”. But what to do…so many choices in a mansion so big...

You’ve got it. It’s so simple, and so close to your new-made heart, you wonder how you missed it. Exploration! Miss Knowledge remarked that the inside of the mansion was impossible to measure due to…what was it, size manipulation? Whatever the case, this mansion is no different than an unexplored new world. There’s secrets to dig up, natives to talk to, rivers to ford, towns to visit; everything you want in an adventure is all wrapped up in a nice red package called the Scarlet Devil Mansion. With four keys and plenty of time to spend, why not truly experience all this manor has to offer? It might only take a day or two, maybe even less, but at least it’ll keep you occupied. You might even start drawing a map of the place, too. This could get pretty interesting, really.

As you step inside your room and shut the door, you realize that you are not alone. Meiling rests in a chair by the window, straight-backed, looking more than a little nervous. Curiously, she’s dressed in a bulky, rust-colored traveling cloak, not unlike the one you used to have (one of these days you should really look into that), rather than her evening wear. As you make eye contact with her, she pops up from the chair in a flash.

“Oh, Miss Meiling!” you exclaim, not expecting such an abrupt appearance on her part. “What are you doing here? And why are you wearing that cloak?”

She seems very concerned about something unknown, just like she was as the beginning of dinner before your antics broke the ice. There’s more than a little tremble in her voice as she responds, but she’s making every effort to be as serious as she can.

“I…Remilia was talking to me about a few things.”

“Oh, do you mean your guard duties? How did that go?”

“She, she really wasn’t all that interested in that. She asked me…She asked me about what kind of prize she should give you…”

“Mmm, understandable. I’m sure that it’s a tough choice; after all, she probably doesn’t know me all that well. It’s hard to give someone a gift when you don’t know their personality very much.”

“Y-Yeah.” She begins fidgeting with the buttons of her cloak subconsciously, popping them in and out one by one, trying to occupy her hands with something to calm herself. “She was wondering…wondering what your tastes were, what you liked. She tried to think of what you said during cards…and, umm…and during dinner.”

This conversation is starting to get a little confusing. It seems to be going nowhere, but there’s obviously something on Meiling’s mind. You respond as such.

(The proverbial calm…)
>> No. 20992
(…before the storm.)

“What’s this all about, Meiling? What did you really want to talk about?”

She doesn’t respond for quite a while, twirling her hands around the folds of the cloak and looking everywhere but in your eyes. You can almost see the internal struggle in her face as she fights to express what’s really on her mind. She finally musters up the courage to speak a single, stammered sentence.

“Remilia decided…decided that, that…I’m your prize.”

She slips her arms out of the coat sleeves and drops the obscuring shroud to the floor around her feet, which you just now notice are bare. Except…that’s not the only part of her body that’s bare. From head to toe she is wearing only three things: A gold flower pinned to her hair in place of the old star, a wide scarlet ribbon tied with a bow around her breasts, and a similar, wider ribbon encircling her hips.

You’re speechless. You mind goes completely blank. You try and look away, but you just…you just can’t tear your eyes from her. She’s beautiful. No, she’s gorgeous! Her body is smooth and sculpted with care, seemingly without a single blemish. You can see the underlying muscles beneath her silky skin, but they’re unobtrusive, perfectly sized to where they show Meiling’s strength without subtracting from her beauty. Her bosoms are ample and full, like ripe apples in autumn, but again, they go just far enough without going too far. The luscious curves of her hips could not be more masterfully carved unless angels themselves carved them. She’s perfect…No, that’s impossible. No one is “perfect”, not one. But the way she’s standing there, the way she looks…she’s close enough for you.

Either Meiling doesn’t notice your occupied gazes, or she doesn’t care, because she continues to speak even as your eyes rebel against the rest of your body.

“She said, she said that you can do anything you want with me for a whole day, and she won’t get angry; not even one bit. I can’t do anything or say anything except what…what you want me to.”

It’s amazing. Impossible. The best prize of your life. It’s too good to be true! But no, it is true! A beautiful woman that is yours to command entirely for a full day? You’ve had a few good experiences with women in the past, but let’s face it: you’re no Casanova. This is everything a man could desire, more that a man could desire! She’s all yours for the taking!

There must to be something wrong. There has to be a catch. Meiling was nervous about something, too nervous. It wasn’t normal anxiety; she knew something, something that she didn’t want to know. The way she looked around, those eyes…What did you see in those eyes? What are you seeing now? Fear? Sadness? Anticipation? Submission? Or is it just the lifelong desire of an isolated guard come true, too wonderful to believe? She said Remilia won’t get angry. No rage, no displeasure…no consequences at all. You could get away with anything you want! But…what do you want?

[ ] You. Meiling. Bedtop sports. Now.
[ ] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do
[ ] This is wrong; tell her to put the cloak back on and leave. You are a man of honor
[ ] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like a servant
[ ] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like a slave
[ ] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like normal
[ ] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like a girlfriend
[ ] A naked obedient girl, in my room? The possibilities are endless! (Write in your choice, or reword one of mine!)

[ ] If you choose to “Accept your prize”, also state your next movement/destination

====================

Today’s segment goes out to Mr. >>20858 for putting this idea into my mind, which was already contemplating such an option. Be careful what you wish for…

>>20914
You make a most astute point. This is an interesting way to look at it, and I must say I hadn’t even considered this possibility. Thank you for drawing my attention to this manner of thinking.
>> No. 20993
[X] Ask her to put the cloak back on, for now.
[X] Ask her why she's so nervous, just what sort of employee is she that Remilia can command her to do this sort of thing, anyhow, and most of all - what does she want, herself?

Well, that's disappointing. I was hoping for a serious story and that the lol random hump Moeling crowd would be disregarded. Oh well. I guess be nice to her.
>> No. 20994
File 122334431889.jpg - (43.49KB , 640x468 , hakbkaabe.jpg ) [iqdb]
20994
>>20992
[X] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like a friend.

Wrap her back up, sit on the bed with her, talk, get her some real clothes, ask her to join in our little adventure. Not completely throwing away the chance for bedtop sports, but we apparently have a whole day. I'd like to enjoy Meiling's company before inevitable awkwardness. Or maybe it's too late for that...

Pic because
>>rivers to ford,
got me thinking of Oregon Trail.
>> No. 20995
oh fucking wow.

[ ] You. Meiling. Bedtop sports. Now.

i see no problems with this
>> No. 20997
[x] Remilia's cruelty here is nauseating. "Oh. Oh no. Oh no no no! You poor, poor girl!" Wrap her back in her cloak and gesture for her to sit down on the edge of the bed, then sit down next to her.
[x] "Here's what we'll do Meiling. I don't want you being punished as a result of my own moralizing, so we'll keep up appearances. I'm going to take you to your room, you'll change into your normal clothes, and we'll decide how to best spent your day off and put this nasty business behind us. Okay?"
>> No. 20998
>>20994
>got me thinking of Oregon Trail.

You're not the only one.

>>20993
>Well, that's disappointing. I was hoping for a serious story and that the lol random hump Moeling crowd would be disregarded. Oh well. I guess be nice to her.

What 'crowd'? This is a serious story, and the decision you make here will have repercussions.
>> No. 21000
Remilia won't get angry, Meiling can't do anything, and the maid will do interesting things to us for touching her door guard? Of course, this Sakuya might be different.

[x] "What a troubling prize. Your dazzling beauty threatens to overwhelm me. But..."
[x] Put the cloak back on her.
[x] "Giving another person as a prize without even considering her feelings--this is just wrong."
[x] Ask her how Remilia can command her to do this sort of thing, anyhow, and most of all - what does she want, herself?
>> No. 21001
File 122334676374.jpg - (61.61KB , 700x525 , this_thread.jpg ) [iqdb]
21001
In before...
>> No. 21002
>>20998
See >>20995 and >>20804 and >>20814 and the citation leading the author to compose this turn of events. Consequences, yes, does the audience care, apparently many don't, is Mr. Owen now writing towards that sector, it seems so.
Not that I can begrudge Mr. Owen for this turn of events, as it is evidently what many people deeply desire. Having expressed my personal displeasure I will henceforth drop the matter.
>> No. 21003
>>20993
>>21001
>>21002
Do not think, even for one second, that I am catering to the few who have expressed interest in getting close to Hong Meiling. I have a legitimate reason for doing what I have done in this last segment; the few comments merely made me realize that I could use the character of Meiling to my advantage in this particular juncture. I am still being quite serious about this story, and if you disbelieve me, you shall be in for a very rude awakening when the time comes. I have tried to set a mood of suspense and mystery with this tale, a tone that will not be so easily shattered, no matter how many pleas of "Fanservice!" or "H-Scenes!" I receive.

That does not mean, however, that the story will not turn unexpectedly. Such as right now, for example.

Too long; did not read: >>20998 is correct. I award him one vague non-monetary award.
>> No. 21005
>>21002
>Not that I can begrudge Mr. Owen for this turn of events, as it is evidently what many people deeply desire.

Funny you say this when you're the only one who seems to hold such strong opinions on the matter.
>> No. 21007
[+] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do

Oh god... DO WANT Meiling, but DO NOT WANT to force her into this...

The inner conflict! It is agonizing!
>> No. 21008
[x] You. Meiling. Bedtop sports. Now.
[x] This is wrong; tell her to put the cloak back on and leave. You are a man of honor
[x] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do
[x] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like a slave
[x] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like a servant
[x] This is wrong; tell her to put the cloak back on and leave. You are a man of honor
[x] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like normal
[x] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do
[x] A naked obedient girl, in my room? The possibilities are endless!
[x] You. Meiling. Bedtop sports. Now.
[x] A naked obedient girl, in my room? The possibilities are endless!
[x] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do
[x] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like a girlfriend
[x] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do
[x] Accept your “prize”, but don’t do anything drastic yet; Treat her like a slave

Not necessarily in that order.
>> No. 21010
File 122335155535.png - (332.97KB , 600x600 , 1594911.png ) [iqdb]
21010
>>21003
Thanks for keeping an eye on your story. Discussions and opinions are good, but it's better to nip misunderstandings in the bud.

>>21007
Yeah, I'm in some kind of infinite WANT/DO NOT WANT feedback loop.
>> No. 21011
[X]"I can't do this."
[X]"Go change to your normal clothes and I'll meet you at the mansion entrance, I'm going to need help making a map of the mansion."
>> No. 21012
Even when we were joking around at the table, she was nervous but not against being with anon. As much as I want to vote bed top sports it'd be best if we at least tested the waters before diving in.

[ ] Smile
[ ] Move close to Meiling and give her a small gentle kiss followed by a more passionate one
[ ] pay attention to her reaction
>> No. 21013
[ ] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do
>> No. 21014
[x] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do.
[x] However, if she decides not to, steal one kiss and then wrap her up again.
>> No. 21015
[X] Cover Meiling back up, with the coat or your own shirt if you have to.
[X] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do.

As tempting as so many of those options are, I feel the best way to go is to treat Meiling with the dignity and respect that her mistress clearly does not. But first, it will be hard to do that so long as she's just standing there with nothing but a couple thin strips of fabric covering her.
>> No. 21016
[x] "What a perplexing prize. Your beauty threatens to overwhelm me, but...giving away a person as a prize without even considering her feelings--this is an injustice."
[x] "You said that you will only do or say what I want you to. Then I want you to tell me this: if you were able to choose, right now, without any consequences--if you were free to follow your heart's desire, what would you do?"
[x] Let her do it.
- [x] If she can't answer, put the cloak back on her and have her sit somewhere so she can calm down.

Trying to avoid words that would make her feel rejected, and to get an honest answer. We just won at E-Card, we can handle this.

tl;dr [x] Be a gentleman; let Meiling choose what to do
>> No. 21017
>>21016
THIS! Finally! >>20994 here; this is the write-in I was waiting for. Changing vote.

I refuse to delete my post because I love that picture.
>> No. 21018
>>21016
>>21017
You have my monocle as well, sirs!
>> No. 21020
>>21007 here.
>>21016 is essentially the same in spirit, but I like its form better.

Alas, my ability to delete my old vote seems a tad hindered, thus I would be most appreciative if Mr. Owen would be kind enough to accept >>21016's vote as the flavor in which mine would be cast.
>> No. 21022
>>21016
This.
>> No. 21023
File 122336220581.jpg - (866.77KB , 1600x1280 , awesomewall.jpg ) [iqdb]
21023
Holy Jesus Christ on a pogostick made of thunder and lightning, I'm so fucking stoked that I was taken into consideration in a non-negative way.

>>21016
[x] "What a perplexing prize. Your beauty threatens to overwhelm me, but...giving away a person as a prize without even considering her feelings--this is an injustice."
[x] "You said that you will only do or say what I want you to. Then I want you to tell me this: if you were able to choose, right now, without any consequences--if you were free to follow your heart's desire, what would you do?"
[x] Let her do it.
- [x] If she can't answer, put the cloak back on her and have her sit somewhere so she can calm down.

You have my axe, good sir.
>> No. 21024
{X} "What a perplexing prize. Your beauty threatens to overwhelm me, but...giving away a person as a prize without even considering her feelings--this is an injustice."
{X} "You said that you will only do or say what I want you to. Then I want you to tell me this: if you were able to choose, right now, without any consequences--if you were free to follow your heart's desire, what would you do?"
{X} Let her do it.
- {X} If she can't answer, put the cloak back on her and have her sit somewhere so she can calm down.
>> No. 21032
{X} "What a perplexing prize. Your beauty threatens to overwhelm me, but...giving away a person as a prize without even considering her feelings--this is an injustice."
{X} "You said that you will only do or say what I want you to. Then I want you to tell me this: if you were able to choose, right now, without any consequences--if you were free to follow your heart's desire, what would you do?"
{X} Let her do it.
- {X} If she can't answer, put the cloak back on her and have her sit somewhere so she can calm down.

Axe, etc.
>> No. 21033
I am quite amazed. I retire for the night confused, knowledgeable that I have taken a leap of faith in writing my most recent update, unsure as to how it will pan out. I return from my slumber to find a veritable flood of response from you, all accepting what I have penned, and all taking it seriously. This is the dream I have dreamed for as I brainstormed the post, that you would see past the beautiful woman and the enticing situation, and take it as something more than just pandering to the male persuasion. I thank you all, very much.

The next post is nearing completion, to be finished whence I return from my brief shift of work. Estimated time of return: three hours.

>>21023
>awesomewall.jpg
I have just found my new desktop. And it is good.
>> No. 21036
>The next post is nearing completion, to be finished whence I return from my brief shift of work.

hooray!
>> No. 21037
File 122339106992.jpg - (90.12KB , 500x600 , 1204777865050.jpg ) [iqdb]
21037
>>21033
I just love Meiling and want her to be happy. I'm hoping to romance her and do this right, eventually.
>> No. 21048
["What a perplexing prize. Your beauty threatens to overwhelm me, but...giving away a person as a prize without even considering her feelings--this is an injustice."]
["You said that you will only do or say what I want you to. Then I want you to tell me this: if you were able to choose, right now, without any consequences--if you were free to follow your heart's desire, what would you do?"]
[Let her do it.]
[If she can't answer, put the cloak back on her and have her sit somewhere so she can calm down.]

You want to take her. You want to wrap your arms around her and caress her soft body until the world ends. But you can’t. You shouldn’t. This is too unnatural, too sudden. Despite all the internal shouting of your male hormones to tear those ribbons off and get her on that bed as fast as possible, you can’t bring yourself to do it. Being given as a prize? What is Remilia thinking?! How can such a cultured and refined mansion treat someone as important as the head guard like some kind of sex slave? She’s nervous for a reason, and though you still don’t know exactly what it is (though you’ve got a pretty good guess), it can’t be anything beneficial. You don’t want Meiling to feel uncomfortable with this situation, because her discomfort can easily become yours, especially if you get intimate. But what to do now? The words come out of your mouth seemingly from nowhere, confident and resolved, even though your inner self is anything but.

“What a perplexing prize,” you whisper, both to yourself and to her. “I must say your beauty threatens to overwhelm me completely, to where I cannot think. But…giving away a living, feeling person as a prize without even considering her feelings? This is an injustice.”

Your guest remains silent and unmoving. Because she was instructed to, or because of her impending fear? You look up at her eyes, forcing your gaze to not dip lower, and continue on, still not entirely sure of what you’re doing, but knowing in your heart that it’s right.

“You said that you can only do or say what I want you to. That there will be no anger and no consequences for my actions. If this is truly the case, then I want you to tell me this: if you could choose right now, without any anger or consequences for your actions…If you were free to follow your heart’s desire…What would you do?”

Meiling still looks very cautious, but now confusion has been added to the mix. She can’t bring herself to meet your eyes, and only looks vaguely downwards with a vacant stare. “I-It’s not about me right now. It’s about you. Just you. Prizes don’t get to choose how they’re given.”

You’re not going to get off so easily, and continue your inquiry. “No, I’m making it about you now. Pretend our positions were reversed. No matter what you do, I’m not going to get upset over it; I swear it on my life that I will not. I want to do what you want me to do. What would you choose?”

She’s shaking her head ever so slightly, unable to decide what she wants, or why you want her to choose her own path. Her voice seem to be stuck on a single indecisive syllable. “I-I…I, I just…I…I…”

She suddenly runs over to you and kisses you full on the mouth, arms wrapped tight around your chest. You almost stagger backwards from the impact. Her breathing is deep and labored as she draws out the kiss for much longer than you expected, the seconds drawing close to minutes. You try to remain focused even though you can feel her warm breasts pushed against your body. Should you hug her back?

And then as suddenly as it began, it’s gone. Meiling staggers backwards, herself not sure just what happened. She’s holding her head in disbelief, tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry, it’s just…j-just…it’s been so long, I…jus’ wanted-ed…w-wanted to…”

She crumples onto the floor, sobbing uncontrollably, both hands in her face. You kneel onto the ground next to her, tentatively putting a hand on her shoulder. She’s shaking something awful. Her words are barely distinguishable amidst the rain of tears and cries she is now emitting.

“W-Why? Why d-does…does this always-s-s ha-happen to me? ‘G-Go work the night sh-shift, Meiling,’ ‘Play a game w-with me, Meiling,’ ‘C-Come t-t’ dinner, Meiling,’ ‘Put th-this on and wait in-n’is room, Meiling.’ She does this e-every, every time!”

You pat her shoulder compassionately and drape the cloak back over her shivering body, consoling her as you do. “There, there, don’t cry. It’s not your fault; you don’t have to do this.”

“But I do!” she cries, finally looking into your eyes, tears and frowns marring her lovely face. “I, I have to! Remi-Remilia’s the mistress, I have t-to, to do what sh-she wants! She g-gives me a j-job and a h-home and foo-od, I can’t-t-t go against her!”

“Why? You’re a free woman; why do you take this? This isn’t a job; this is slavery! Remilia’s whoring you out to me for her pleasure and mine! What about your pleasure? What about your freedom? Fight back!”

That look in her eyes, those beautiful, round eyes…It’s so pitiful it almost hurts. She honestly believes what she’s saying. She honestly believes that Remilia has to be obeyed, through and through. Even though she’s struggling on the inside-even though you can tell she doesn’t like it-on the outside she simply doesn’t have the will to fight back.

“I…I can’t. She…she just…I can’t leave. I have to stay here.”

You want to comfort her. You want to kiss her and hold her and make all the bad feelings go away. But you can’t. You said you wouldn’t. All you can do is sit there on the ground with her and be a sympathetic presence. She cries softly for a few minutes more, saying nothing, and you remain silent as well. Finally, she sniffles and motions towards the bed.

“So do…umm…Do you want to, umm…with me?”

“I will only if you want to, and nothing else.”

“N-no. Not really. I just…I, I’d like to be alone for a little while.”

You nod and stand up. “I’ll leave.”

She gets up quickly as well and tries to stop you. “No, no! I’ll go, ‘s your room, I don’t want t-to be a bother.” You try not to notice that the ribbon around her chest is dangerously close to slipping off now.

Both of you stand there silent for a spell. Even though Meiling said she would leave, she seems very reluctant to start moving. A cold wave sweeps through your torso; the spectacles again? Before you even have time to touch your pocket the feeling is gone again in mere seconds. The last time they went back to normal, it was because Sakuya manipulated time; does that mean she just did it again? You wish you knew more about how those things worked, even though you picked them up out of nowhere.

[ ] Let Meiling leave; write in your journal, open the mystery envelope, think about what just happened, etc.
[ ] Leave the room; she’s in no fit state to be moving around. Go to…? (Write in your destination)
[ ] Stay here with Meiling; she really shouldn’t be alone until she’s better emotionally
[ ] Go with Meiling to her room; familiar surroundings might be better for her, and she needs a friend right now
[ ] Her psyche is too fragile to damage further; you need a specific plan (Write in your actions)

====================

>>21008
This post made me laugh. If you were joking, it is a good one. If you were being serious, then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

>>21018
And for this post, you have my pocketwatch.

>>21037
Seeing through the false woman does not mean there isn’t a true woman behind her as well. It is good that you care about her feelings, and I am sure she will thank you for it when the time comes.
>> No. 21049
Since she probably didn't have anything other than what she was wearing when we found her, I would say try something like offering her some of your clothes for her to put on, but I don't remember if we have any to spare.

If we did, I'd say do that, let her have some privacy, but let her know that if she does want some company or at least just someone to be there and talk to, that you'll be right outside.
>> No. 21051
Didn't we want to have Meiling show us some moves? Are we at least going to take advantage of our prize so we can do that?
>> No. 21052
File 12234139734.jpg - (155.64KB , 400x593 , bb72df419c95364332b736a8c2cd9dd5.jpg ) [iqdb]
21052
>>21049
We found plenty of clothes in the armoire the first time we were in here. The shirts might not fit her too well, though...
>> No. 21053
File 122341422451.png - (147.93KB , 638x900 , spiderman can't read the mood.png ) [iqdb]
21053
>>21051
Go back to bed, Spiderman.
>> No. 21054
>>21048
[X] Her psyche is too fragile to damage further; you need a specific plan (Write in your actions)
[X] Leave the room; she’s in no fit state to be moving around. Go to…? (Write in your destination)

I don't like that the glasses just flared up. Dunno if they always activate when Sakuya stops time or if there's some proximity. I'll err towards the latter and assume she just snuck a peak.

My ideal plan: ask Meiling to stay in our room, since I'd hate it if either Sakuya or Remilia saw us sending her away. Ask where her room is and if it's okay to go in. If yes, good, if no, where can we find some suitable clothing? Either way get Meiling in on our little story (read on) and go get some decent clothing. If we get stopped, behave and talk as lasciviously as possible, some filth about wanting to tear her out of something nice. On the way back, try to detour to the kitchen to get some water/light snacks. If someone asks why: wouldn't want to get stopped by hunger (I know I just ate; it'll be that long)/need some special foods (any fresh cucumbers?) Hopefully enough time ellapses for her to calm down by the time we get back.

Stupid long write-in, disregard if desired.
>> No. 21055
[X] Address her warmly. No, I'll just step out a moment so that you can get changed, there should be something in the armoir.
[X] If for some reason there isn't, just knock. I'll try and find you something.

And if she's seeming even more distraught:

[X] If you feel you must do something so badly, could you teach me some moves? That kick was amazing. (make it clear that you mean martial arts, not anything /else/.)

I personally am not aiming for 'doing' anything with Meiling, but she needs to be shown some kindness. She's led a cruel enough existence already. Also debating whether to ask for training anyway, a return to normal service would help her stabilize more quickly perhaps, but she is seriously shaken up, I think we should give her time to relax and settle down.
>> No. 21057
>>21054
Having not seen this post as I was constructing mine and thinking it a good idea, I propose a sort of combination of the two. Takers?
>> No. 21059
[x] Address her warmly. No, I'll just step out a moment so that you can get changed, there should be something in the armoir.
[x] If for some reason there isn't, just knock. I'll try and find you something.
[x] Leave the room, but take the spectacles with you. Put them on and pose yourself against the doorknob, making it impossible for, hypothetically, Sakuya to reach the doorknob without touching you.
[x] Keep the spectacles on for now.
>> No. 21063
[X] Address her warmly. No, I'll just step out a moment so that you can get changed, there should be something in the armoir.
[X] If for some reason there isn't, just knock. I'll try and find you something.
[X] Leave the room, but take the spectacles with you. Put them on and pose yourself against the doorknob, making it impossible for, hypothetically, Sakuya to reach the doorknob without touching you.
>> No. 21064
[X] Address her warmly. No, I'll just step out a moment so that you can get changed, there should be something in the armoir.
[X] If for some reason there isn't, just knock. I'll try and find you something.
[X] Leave the room, but take the spectacles with you. Put them on and pose yourself against the doorknob, making it impossible for, hypothetically, Sakuya to reach the doorknob without touching you.

Hooray Meiling~
>> No. 21065
>>21057
If I were to combine the two, I'd make a split. If there's something in the armoir and our brief retreat is enough to let her calm down, then we can try to distract her with talk of martial arts and such. If there's nothing in the armoir, or she is still visably upset even with new clothes we should take a hike and give her more time. The first one was a bit rail-roady but not wholely unreasonable. Together it's kinda all out.

My preference is mostly >>21054 with a kung-fu follow up, baring anything unfortunate in the interim. But I can understand anon wanting to get more weepy Moeling.
>> No. 21069
Sure is spammy here~
>> No. 21073
>>21069
Oh no you don't.
>> No. 21074
[♱] Address her warmly. "No, I'll just step out a moment so that you can get changed, there should be something in the armoire."
[♱] "If for some reason there isn't, just knock. I'll try and find you something."
[♱] Leave the room, but take the spectacles with you. Put them on and pose yourself against the doorknob, making it impossible for, hypothetically, Sakuya to reach the doorknob without touching you.

On the plus, having Meiling accompany you makes exploring the basement a much more viable prospect.
>> No. 21079
Hmmm... exactly how tired/frazzled are we, or more importantly, Meiling? Because I would suggest sleeping together in the same room after this choice- with us in a chair against the door, and Meiling gets the bed. Guarding the gate guard, so to speak. If we want to do anything afterwords, it's only about 8-12 hours we used up.
>> No. 21085
I'm wondering about something.

Given how badly she's treated already, would acting afterwards as though we DID do the deed with Meiling (Unless Sakuya peeks in and sees that we didn't) be worse, or better for her treatment by Remilia?

I mean, someone who freely provides her employees as bet payments is probably not someone who wants to hear that her gift was not appreciated, or even used. It's very easy to imagine Remi taking out her irritation over this on poor Meiling even more.

However, encouraging the idea that we did do that with her may lower ourselves --and to a lesser extent, her-- in the eyes of all the other mansion residents. So how could we avoid that?

Simply put: We must live the lie, and in the best way possible: Anon and Meiling must appear to have a thing for each other, after tonight.

At first, we will stay away from each other, and blush and stammer when talking about anything that happened, should we be asked. But then, we must be seen talking to her more and more often. Spending time with her. Doing things with her.

The end result? This rather ugly incident is turned into something positive, everyone's reputations are intact, Remi is not taking out anything on the gate guard, and Meiling does not get ravaged by Anon.

And if we're really, really lucky, this lie will become the truth, instead. I'm halfway there already: I, for one, have fallen for this Meiling, and hard.

In short:
[x] Whatever the best winning option is, followed by
[x] All that stuff I just said up there.
>> No. 21086
>>21048
>and I am sure she will thank you for it when the time comes.
Don't you mean "she'll do so when thy need arises?"

>>21054
>she just snuck a peak
>peak
I believe that you are confusing her for Carmen Sandiego.
>> No. 21087
I don't see why there should be any need to try to pretend that we did anything with Meiling that we didn't do. After all, Meiling herself said:

>>“She said, she said that you can do anything you want with me for a whole day, and she won’t get angry; not even one bit. I can’t do anything or say anything except what…what you want me to.”

If Remilia did truly say "anything" we want, then it shouldn't matter what we do with the gate guard either way. She left the choice entirely up to us, and doing "nothing" to Meiling should be just as valid a choice as anything else we might choose to do with her, and thus Remilia shouldn't get mad if that's what we chose to do. "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice," and all that.

Oh, I do think we should do something WITH the gate guard, of course. If done properly, this could become like a somewhat pleasant day off for her, and she certainly seems like she could use one. Even if we don't "use" her for what Remilia was intending, she shouldn't hold it against us if we don't have an interest in basically raping the poor woman.
>> No. 21088
>>21085
I sincerely doubt faking that would be helpful. Remilia saw right through us at dinner. She knows what kind of person we are in general, and despite appearances I don't think she'd be THAT cruel to Meiling if she actually thought we'd do this and that to her. This whole situation is almost certainly a test to see what we will in fact do, both Remilia and the writer taking advantage of our character and Anonymous' general sentiments about Meiling to probe.

[X] Yonder standard nice writein
[X] When Meiling is ready, ask her what she would like to do with her day off... and should the opportunity for conversation arise, ask her to give us the real scoop on the mansion and its inhabitants.
>> No. 21091
Pray tell, I ask, what day is it?

"Wednesday", the chorus replies.

Yes, indeed, Wednesday it is. And that means, once again, I must make myself scarce before computer screens. An evening exam looms before me on top of the multitude of classes I must attend, and it is not altogether a wholesome prospect. I have already gotten a head start on the forthcoming update to compensate for this fact, but I fear you may not see me again until very late in the evening. However, I promise you that I will not rest my head upon a pillow tonight until my words are posted on this very board. But for now, I shall take my leave.
>> No. 21097
>>21091
Many a writefag have proclaimed their determination to set forth an update before sleep beckons, and many a writefag have failed. While this determination is good to have, and while I do have faith in you, Sir Owen, I must ask that you keep in mind the old and tried preference of quality before quantity. Your writing is of the highest class, and I'm sure many anons would be all too happy to wait for it should you find that sleep deprivation has an effect on your efforts' outcome.

And while it is certainly too late to reach your eyes while relevant, I still feel compelled to send only my best wishes for your upcoming exam.
>> No. 21109
Quite the opposite of this >>21097, and minus the preening as well; Writefag, even your throwaway updates are desired.
>> No. 21112
>>21097
A good point you make, and I certainly do not wish to sacrifice the quality of my work for a mere increase in the average velocity of the story. However, I have had several experiences with writing story updates in the not-so-distant past, and if there is one thing that will destroy my ability to write, it is the lack of willpower and structure. If I compromise my schedule due to external reasons, even legitimate ones, it will be all the easier to delay the next time, and the time after that, my motivation lowering successively, because “I can always wait an extra day.” All you good people reading my story keep me in line and keep giving me content to write. If you are not going to slack off, then neither can I. I can only imagine what would have happened if the iconic Hungry Youkai lowered his posting standards while writing his adventure.

>>21109
I am most glad you appreciate even the worst I have to offer. Although, if I threw away my updates, how could I post them? A “shirou.jpg” may or may not be applicable here.

But enough of my jabbering. Onto the text…

====================

[Address her warmly. No, I'll just step out a moment so that you can get changed, there should be something in the armoire.]
[If for some reason there isn't, just knock. I'll try and find you something.]
[Leave the room, but take the spectacles with you. Put them on and pose yourself against the doorknob, making it impossible for, hypothetically, Sakuya to reach the doorknob without touching you.]

Meiling might be strong physically. But from what you’ve just seen, she’s not nearly as strong mentally. Maybe she could make it back to her room without breaking down again, maybe she couldn’t, but you don’t want to take any chances. She needs to be alone, you’re sure of that, but she should stay right here, and you should stay close by just in case. You’re not sure how long it will take for her to truly calm down, but you’re prepared to sit outside all night if you have to. What’s a few hours spent immobile when you might be helping someone in great need?

You hold out you hand in the air, gently motioning her to stop. “No, it’s no trouble, you stay right here. Look, there’s some spare clothes in the armoire over there, I’ll just step out while you change into something a little more commonplace. When you’re ready to talk again, just knock; I’ll be right outside the door if you need me.”

Meiling mumbles a quick little “Mhmm,” and inches over to the wardrobe. You turn your back to leave, but then quickly decide to do just one more thing. Meiling can’t see you from this angle, right? You silently slip over to your bed and quickly hide your diary in the folds of your jacket, then do the same with the letter opener in the desk drawer. Even though you don’t want to be acting secretive in front of this damaged woman, she’s still more or less a stranger, and you’d like to keep some things only to yourself.

The door clicks shut as you re-enter the hallway. Good, no one in sight. You lean against the doorknob and start preparing for what could easily be a long wait. You really wish you had a book to read or something; no telling how long Meiling needs by herself. At least you’ve got your journal. And speaking of which…

You slip the unopened envelope out of the book’s pages, keeping it as hidden as possible within your arms. “For when thy need arises…” Thy need, thy need, what do you need? How can you tell between what you need and what you want? Come on, it’s just a letter, open it! What’s the worst that could happen? No, fool…magic land, magic creatures, magic things…magic traps. Opening that letter could burn the eyes out of your head at a glance, or permanently leave you a gibbering shell of a man just by reading a single word of the contents. Need…need! Why is this so hard?! Your hand is shaking in confusion and anger, fueled by the recent events just past the door behind you. So many problems…so many questions...

Answers. You need answers. All day you’ve been asking yourself questions without result, fabricating suspicions on a whim. The questions are stupid and not worth asking aloud…but you still need to know. Something, anything at all is good enough for you. You don’t even mind if questions are added to the list in your mind, so long as you feel like you’re making progress. You need to know what’s inside that letter.

Someone could come around the corner at ay second; you’d better make this quick. A gentle swipe of the letter opener is enough to pop though the wax seal easily, and you withdraw the contents.

You hold four things in your hand. Three look like oversized playing cards, more than twice the normal size, with a curving, chaotic pattern of plum, crimson, and gold foil. The fourth is a scrap of paper with another single phrase on it, written in the same hand as the address on the envelope:

Use them once…Use them well

You flip the cards over. As expected, they’re not normal cards at all. Rather than pips or portraits, each one carries a different message on it, some more than others. The background is blacker then the blackest night you’ve ever seen; it practically eats up any light exposed to it. The text itself is impossible to describe in words. It shimmers and glows unnaturally, shifting like images under a moving stream. You can still read it despite the fact, amazingly enough, but you have a feeling—no, you’re certain—that not just anyone who picks it up could do the same. The first has what looks like a title at the top of it: First Wish, 「Fate of the Past」. Underneath it is an inscription:

“The magic of ages gone by, torn out of time and given as a gift. The soul wishes to return to days of old, happier times under better circumstances. Present this card to the heavens with a purpose, and the magic shall flow upon you. Fate, which was once set in stone, shall unravel behind you, giving what all desire, but few receive: a second chance. Worry not about when you will return, for this has been preordained by the fate you make for yourself. Worry instead about how you will act when you do.”

The card behind it bears a similar title: Second Wish, 「Fate of the Future」. It, however, bears no inscription. The third card is completely blank.

(Pick a card…)
>> No. 21113
(…any card.)

You’re more than a little disappointed. You had hoped for some kind of letter, something to explain what’s going on here, or what you’re supposed to do. Instead you get another enigmatic message and three magical cards that you haven’t a clue what to do with. Well, no, not exactly: the first card is at best a riddle to puzzle out, and the second at least seems to follow in the same mold as the first. You place them back inside the journal and wad it up inside your jacket, which you take off and set on the floor.

Still no knock from Meiling, but you want her to take all the time she thinks she needs, and then some. Besides, you really need some alone time of your own to try and think things through.

Remilia and Meiling…Now there’s a real sticky relationship. If the level of agitation the gate guard showed is any indicator, Miss Scarlet must have been treating her poorly for years. Probably more than just “poorly”, more like downright inhuman. Calling Meiling’s treatment “slavery” isn’t too far off the mark. Guarding a gate day after day that might have maybe one visitor a week, commanding her to do menial tasks with her spare time, and now treating her like her own personal whore. Now that you think of it, some slaves even get treated better than that.

Then again, perhaps you’re being a little too quick to judge Miss Remilia. From what you’ve seen thus far, she treats Sakuya the same way: orders without end, no matter how menial the task, and never once saying “please” or “thank you”. Sakuya, however, has not complained once at the treatment; she seems to almost enjoy her place in life. And you can tell that Remilia does have it in her to be kind and cordial every now and again, though she also behaves like a spoiled child the rest of the time . Could it just be that Meiling herself is high-strung? You don’t want to put either of them at fault too hastily, but someone, or perhaps something, is definitely to blame for what’s going on between those two, and the scales seem to be tipped against Remilia for the time being. You wonder if it’d be a good idea to confront her about it; get you thrown out, most likely, but it’s a thought.

There’s a soft tap on the door behind you which makes you jump, forgetting momentarily that you told Meiling to knock when she was done. You can hear her soft voice from the other side, but the wood blocks her message out. You enter the room cautiously and close the door, testing the waters of Meiling’s personal healing one step at a time. For an armoire full of men’s clothes she’s not too poorly dressed: a common pair of brown slacks that are a few centimeters too short, and a roomy white button-down shirt. The scandalous vestments (if they can even be called “vestments”) she was wearing lie discarded in a pile under the desk, even the gold flower. You keep the journal hidden in the palm of your hand beneath the coat draped over you arm. No time to hide it again right now; looks like you’ll just have to be careful.

She definitely looks better than she did before, but not quite as good as you’d hoped. Her eyes are free of tears, but still red, and she still looks uncomfortable. You don’t want to screw this up now; a few wrong moves could send her right back to where she was or worse, and then you’d be the one to blame.

[ ] Ask her a question or two (Write in your inquiry)
[ ] Don’t do anything; let her speak first
[ ] Don’t say anything, but do something in place of words (Write in your action)

And how will you act about Miss Scarlet?
[ ] Don’t even bring up Remilia’s name at all; you know it’s a sore subject
[ ] Make a few comments about Remilia, but don’t push the matter
[ ] Focus most of the discussion on Remilia; this needs to get solved now, not later
>> No. 21114
Ach, foolish me! I have forgotten that you wished to wear the spectacles during this juncture! It is too late to change now, but you deserve just compensation. Therefore, I shall give you just a sliver of meta-knowledge: nothing would have happened differently if you wore the glasses. You would not have noticed any additional cold feelings or seen any sort of dilation in time. Wearing them would also not have changed how you saw the mysterious cards you just discovered.

I hope such oversights may be avoided in the future, but it is possible that they will not. If anyone deems in necessary to "call me out" on a request I forgot to write, and if the claim is justified, I am prepared to give similar compensation for my slight.
>> No. 21115
A problem between Remi and Meiling isn't something that will be solvable in any short period of time, for now comforting Meiling should be the main priority. We can gather info and maybe make steps towards fixing this in the coming days; cheering up Moeling is the best thing for now.

Not voting yet because I'm not sure how to handle this
>> No. 21118
>>21114
I do have a piece of advice for you, Good Sir Owen. More than once have I posted and suddenly after made realization of error, but remedy this with deletion and modification. Do hold this in mind, if the future grants you opportunity or need of such changes. Even to this very post have I committed such process.

>>21115
and to you, I agree. Though I most certainly wish to vote sooner, I shall withhold until better thoughts grace me.
>> No. 21121
File 122351606139.jpg - (374.34KB , 850x1150 , GetBack!!.jpg ) [iqdb]
21121
>>21120
Fuck year, I wasn't first! Time to delete~

>>21119
I like the dialogue, but I'm not sure how she'd handle sudden contact. Hmm...
>> No. 21122
Hmmm, until something else comes up with something better, I'll put in this.

[x] Does she need to rest a bit? Maybe she'll feel a bit better after sleeping.
[x] Let her take the bed to herself, you'll take a chair and watch over/sleep in front of the door.

Needs a bit more in here, IMO.
>> No. 21123
>>21122 here.

I really should pay attention more. Try combining in >>21119 's dialogue, but I'd tone down the physical contact at the moment. Maybe put a blanket around her, or smooth out her hair.
>> No. 21124
[x] Make a light joke. Point to the hem on her pant legs. "I see you're taller than me; obviously, our relationship would never have worked."
[x] "So, how do you want to spend your day off Meiling? Ah, quickly now, you only have 23 hours and..." Check your watch, "33 minutes left."
[x] If she doesn't have any ideas, suggest she tag along while you go exploring.
[x] Don’t even bring up Remilia’s name at all; you know it’s a sore subject.

Personal guided tour. Don't ask her about the cards until the air has been cleared. Meiling is a youkai and probably doesn't even need to sleep, so make the most of your time by staying up... all night.
>> No. 21125
> Meiling is a youkai and probably doesn't even need to sleep

Maybe not need... but remember how we first met her?
>> No. 21126
File 122351774716.jpg - (531.97KB , 1000x750 , 1754107.jpg ) [iqdb]
21126
I'm of the opinion that she still needs some time alone. It's the only thing she's expressed that has contained any sort of personal will, aside from the kiss... which was awesome. Everything else she has said has been complaints, reciting what she has been told, and responding to us. I guess that's it, really: she's constantly having to respond to, or even obey people. First Remilia and now us. She hasn't had the opportunity to take the initiative and do something she wants to because there are always people telling and treating her like they know best. For the first time in a while, I think we should do what she wants and give her some space. How to encapsulate that in a write-in, I have no idea.

As an aside, this image? It is what we need to aspire to.
>> No. 21128
>>21126

Guard the outside? Make sure no one comes in until she's ready?
>> No. 21129
>>21125

Meiling is not going to sleep with you tonight, guys. No, not even "just" in the same room; however you frame it, your desire is completely transparent. Don't even offer because she'll reject you right out and then proceed to lock herself in her room for the entire day unless otherwise ordered. And even if you did manage it, she'd be insomniac with anxiety and probably end up spending the entire night staring at the ceiling.
>> No. 21131
>>21126
>I'm of the opinion that she still needs some time alone. It's the only thing she's expressed that has contained any sort of personal will, aside from the kiss... which was awesome. Everything else she has said has been complaints, reciting what she has been told, and responding to us. I guess that's it, really: she's constantly having to respond to, or even obey people. First Remilia and now us.

Oh ho, why not retcon ourselves?

>Meiling might be strong physically. But from what you’ve just seen, she’s not nearly as strong mentally. Maybe she could make it back to her room without breaking down again, maybe she couldn’t, but you don’t want to take any chances. She needs to be alone, you’re sure of that, but she should stay right here, and you should stay close by just in case.

You heard her before:
>“But I do!” she cries, finally looking into your eyes, tears and frowns marring her lovely face. “I, I have to! Remi-Remilia’s the mistress, I have t-to, to do what sh-she wants! She g-gives me a j-job and a h-home and foo-od, I can’t-t-t go against her!”

So yeah, let's just leave her to convince herself how everything is her fault and she's just being ungrateful. Oh, and to be threatened by Sakuya. That too.
>> No. 21132
>>21127
>I'm ectually quite afraid she might take that seriously. Conclude we have a complex of some sort.

A man's height is a more important factor to women than I think most men realize, but there's no mistaking that you're making a joke here. You've all but told her you want to have sex with her.

>“I must say your beauty threatens to overwhelm me completely, to where I cannot think.

>“So do…umm…Do you want to, umm…with me?”
>“I will only if you want to, and nothing else.”

Of course if you have Asperger's and can't grasp intonation or body language, then yeah, you might have trouble here.
>> No. 21133
[X] Don’t do anything; let her speak first
[X] Don’t even bring up Remilia’s name at all; you know it’s a sore subject

Rather then trying to start things off ourselves, which could wind up with us just dominating over the conversation, why not let Meiling be the one who has to make the first move? If we're to help her get out of this trap of cowing to the will of others, she needs to continue exercising her own will to strengthen it, much like a muscle that has atrophied due to lack of use over a long period of time.

Let her be the one to decide when to speak, and what to speak about. Remilia is a topic she probably won't want to bring up on her own, but neither is she ready to confront and deal with the issue, so that's probably for the best at the moment.

The important thing is to just let her ease into this, and not rush her. This is the result of years, possibly decades of this sort of thing going on. You're not going to be able to undo even a fraction of it in just a day, or even a week.
>> No. 21134
File 122352120924.jpg - (82.29KB , 713x789 , 1390285.jpg ) [iqdb]
21134
>>21133
This sentiment is an avenue worth exploring, but I'd like to extend it to doing what she asks as well. Perhaps leave that as the default reaction if she doesn't bring up anything or becomes increasingly upset.

Albeit in an overly sarcastic fashion, >>21131 points out that speaking/behaving/leaving without considering what constitutes a core set of beliefs (absolute servitude to Remilia) would be foolish. There has to be a way to allay, or at least bypass them, before we move forward.
>> No. 21137
[X] Don’t do anything; let her speak first
[X] Don’t even bring up Remilia’s name at all; you know it’s a sore subject

you make a good argument
>> No. 21138
>>21134

meiling is heug
>> No. 21143
[x] Don’t do anything; let her speak first
[x] Don’t even bring up Remilia’s name at all; you know it’s a sore subject
>> No. 21144
[x] Don’t even bring up Remilia’s name at all; you know it’s a sore subject
[x] "If you ever feel like you need to talk to anybody--complain, cry, rant, whatever--I want you to know I'm available, okay?"
[x] Be courteous and escort Meiling to her room.

It's best to tell her that she's got a friend who'll listen to what she has to say.
And make sure she gets to her room safely, Sakuya may cut her off if she goes alone.
>> No. 21151
[Don’t do anything; let her speak first]
[Don’t even bring up Remilia’s name at all; you know it’s a sore subject]

You think about your actions deeply. Meiling has spent way too much time answering to others, doing their desire rather than hers. Even if it’s so much as asking her a simple question, doing so would put her on the defensive by having to respond to you. You want her to do whatever she wants and whatever she needs…But that means you have to let her make the first move. You have to take this slow, as slow as the gate guard wants, even if that means you don’t make any more progress tonight; at least the seeds will have been sown.

Meiling still has a lot of trouble making eye contact with you, and she opens her mouth several times without saying anything. It’s slightly annoying, but you hold your tongue and remain motionless, not even uttering so much as a, “well?” After what must be over two minutes, she finally starts to speak in a meek and unsure voice.

“Thanks for…Thank you for the clothes.”

“You’re welcome. It’s no problem.”

The next sentence seems much more forced and nervous. “We should…umm, we should probably stay here for a while, right? I mean, Remilia expects us to be doing stuff together, or something, I guess…”

It sounds like a good plan—keep up appearances and all that—but the way she said it makes you reconsider. She seems to be in a mood where she knows what she wants to do, but she’s too nervous to actually say so, and thus will suggest something else to avoid confrontation. It’s entirely possible that she might say one thing just to make you more comfortable, even if it’s not making her more comfortable. After all, that’s what she’s been forced to do for who knows how many years, and she’s seemingly lost the will to fight against it. You decide to try and get her to show her true desires.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, you know,” you respond gently.

Her voice still holds the same tone when she replies. “But, Remilia…she’ll get mad if she sees me walking away, won’t she? She’ll think you don’t like her gift or something.”

You don’t want to sound pushy, but you want her to understand that she’s in control of her own actions right now. “You told me yourself that ‘I can do anything I want with you for a whole day.’ She is letting me do whatever I want, and I’m letting you doing whatever you want. If you don’t want to stay here, then just leave. She can’t get mad if she’s letting me choose, so she can’t get mad if I’m letting you choose, either.”

She ponders this for a while before muttering, “I…I guess so.” She picks up the cloak off the ground and drapes it around her again, bringing this entire scene full circle. “If you think that she won’t, won’t get mad, then…I’ll just go back to my room. I think I just need some sleep right now.”

You nod and move away from the door, adding one final word before she leaves. “If you ever feel like you need to talk to anybody, about anything, I want you to know that I’m always around, okay?”

You don’t see or hear any outright response from her, but her face looks a little better. As she stands in front of the door, she whispers something to herself, but you’re close enough to just barely catch it.

“…it hurts more when I get involved…”

Before you have time to say anything else, she’s out the door and shuts it behind her.

You stand there for a few seconds for symbolism’s sake, then flop down on the bed, exhausted beyond belief. This is getting to be too much. You know the world doesn’t revolve around you, but now all your little concerns sound petty next to Meiling’s. What’s worse is that you suspect that it’ll take far longer than you’ve got to set her life straight; is it even worth it to try when you know you won’t be able to finish? You rest on the soft down blanket until you can’t count the breaths you’ve taken anymore. You know that you should update your journal, but you’re just too drained emotionally to try, and stuff it back into it’s mattress hide-a-way.

More out of boredom than necessity, you check your watch. 12:12. That entire incident only took a half-hour? Time flies when you’re having fun, only stands to reason that it grinds to a halt when you’re not. You get up and pace around the room for a while. The Meiling incident was troubling, but you can’t let it run your whole life now; you’ve still got some scenarios on your own side to run as well. You glance at the ribbons and flower lying on the ground, and pick them up on a whim. They’re extremely soft and fine, if a little damp; from sweat, tears, or something else? The flower is a type you’ve never seen before, and though the petals shine like pure gold, you’re certain it’s real. They’re a testament to all that just took place here, a testament to the broken side of Meiling. Why do you hold them in your hands? What do they mean to you?

As your mind wanders for an answer, it stops upon a sentence you uttered not too long ago. You only now realize the implications of what you said.

“Giving away a living, feeling person as a prize without even considering her feelings? This is an injustice.”

Injustice. You yourself spoke the word, knowing that it was the right thing to say. Injustice. Nathaniel’s raging sermon suddenly doesn’t sound as implausible as it once did. If Meiling’s treatment is truly unjust, and it is, how much else might you be missing that justice forgot?

[ ] Throw the items away. Bad memories should be forgotten
[ ] Toss the items back on the ground. They’re not important to you
[ ] Keep the items; put them in a drawer. Might be useful later
[ ] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are symbols of the truth.

As for those magic cards…
[ ] Keep them in the diary
[ ] Keep them in a drawer or your pack
[ ] Keep them on your person

Afterwards…
[ ] Plenty of time to spend. Whither shall ye go? (Write in your destination and/or actions)

====================

Such in-depth discussion and commentary! It helps me just as much as it helps you, so please continue with all confidence in doing so. I am most impressed with your thoughts; they show intelligence and logic from both sides of the argument. Do not lose that spark of knowledge, for who knows when it will be truly put to the test…
>> No. 21154
>>21151
[X] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are symbols of the truth.
[X] Keep them in the diary
[X] You're restless; check out that basement from earlier.

I'm pretty uneasy with how this situation was resolved. I don't think Meiling understood what we were trying to accomplish by letting her decide; it felt more like she was still complying with our demands. Granted, this may not be something we could resolve at this time. Fostering confidence and independence after a lifetime of servitude isn't a one-night endeavor, but I'm still upset with her demeanor as she left. Surely we could have left her feeling less guilty. Oh well, it is what was voted for afterall.
>> No. 21155
>I'm pretty uneasy with how this situation was resolved. I don't think Meiling understood what we were trying to accomplish by letting her decide; it felt more like she was still complying with our demands.

I'm more uneasy at the ominous last words she left us with.

>“…it hurts more when I get involved…”
>> No. 21156
[x] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are symbols of the truth.
[x] Keep the first two on your person and leave the blank one in the diary.
[x] Get some sleep, you're going to have to deal with Cirno in the morning.


Don't forget that Remilia has some plans for us tomorrow.
>> No. 21162
>>21156
>Don't forget that Remilia has some plans for us tomorrow.

Where did she say that?
>> No. 21167
File 122360664981.jpg - (111.86KB , 418x611 , 1800892.jpg ) [iqdb]
21167
>>“…it hurts more when I get involved…”
Well okay, what does this little gem mean?

Oh god. Ten seconds after writing that and it started clicking.

Hrm...

I'm formally inquiring if it would be alright to post potential plot-mind understanding of the story. Thoroughly and unnecessarily presumptuous, and god damn I hope I'm wrong, but better off safe than sorry.
>> No. 21169
>>21167

I give you leave to share your thoughts and feelings. There is nothing wrong with making your presumptions known to the public; knowledge in and of itself is not harmful, only actions based upon it are. I cannot, of course, reveal whether you are right or wrong in your theory. But please, talk away, and let me see what my readers are thinking.

Hopefully you will have more luck understanding my words than I have understanding your accompanying picture. Quite inventive, though.
>> No. 21170
>>21167
I thought to be blazingly apparent that we are not expected to egress from the SDM in a living state, and we are simply the most recent in a long line of people who have met their end here. The hints have strewn everywhere.

Unless, of course, that was not your meaning, in which case disregard this.
>> No. 21172
>>21169
Danke (particularly for the quick response). Anyway...

This has happened before. More like, it always happens. It keeps happening. Random travelers, largely forgotten to the world, find themselves at the doorstep of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. They're welcomed warmly, then wined and dined. Perhaps they're even challenged by the mistress of the mansion in a game of skill, and beyond all odds, they happen to best her! Fate surely smiles upon them! The travelers are shown that despite their devilish appearances and monstrous abilities, our hosts are kind and generous beings. The travelers go about their merry way, enjoying all of the luxuries the mansion has to offer...
And then something happens. I don't know if it will be a single event or a long chain of events (most likely the latter), but the culmination will be unbearably tortuous despair and madness. The traveler is destroyed: physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's yet another victory in a sadistic game played by the mistress of the mansion: to take innocent (and not-so-innocent) travelers and, regardless of their skill, knowledge, fortitude, etc., and dominate them utterly. It's why Remilia was particularly upset about Cirno nearly killing us: she just got a new toy to play with and it would be a tragedy to lose it so quickly. Warnings from victims past manage to materialize, but without context they only seem to compliment the fact that we bed with demons.
Meiling is despairing because she has been used as a pawn in this game before. She has become emotionally connected to the victims before, and their annihilation always effects her more when she is part of the scheme. Hence “…it hurts more when I get involved…”
The story has been hinting at this, as well as hinting that something is controlling all of SDM to achieve this. Now, two possibilities arise. First, by divine providence, we happen to be the "chosen one" that will break this insane cycle and either return the SDM to its original state or wipe this abomination from the face of Gensokyo. The other is that part of the game is that the travelers are always lead to believe that they are the "chose one," and that their failure is particularly traumatic because they know that they have failed their destiny.
Admittedly, this doesn't take Nathaniel into account: he could be another unfortunate victim, our mysterious benefactor, or some existence willed into being by Remilia or Patchouli to throw us off our guard.

...

Like I said, I hope I'm wrong.
>> No. 21173
>>21170
More or less, yeah. Just more "Just as planned" and "I'm in despair!" than usual.
>> No. 21174
>>21172

tl;dr: Love is over.
>> No. 21176
>>21172
My take on it is along those lines, except without the part where anyone is allowed to leave the mansion. Indeed, I cannot recall anything in the story pointing towards the possibility of egress; even a simple walk outside results in an encounter with an impassable ice wall, a restraint from the one character we might consider a friend.

Meiling's behavior makes it clear that this has happened before, down to this exact situation, and not all of the guests in question have been as generous to her. In fact, her kiss and her explanation of it are some of the most telling lines of the story thus far, to me. They suggest that she has come to enjoy her physical part in the proceedings, albeit while feeling oppressed and maintaining some moral qualms about the inevitable fates of her partners... maybe.

The cold fact of the matter is that we cannot count on Meiling to aid us, no matter how well we treat her. Not until or unless her loyalties are broken and their causes removed, and if we can accomplish that, we likely will no longer need her help. Nor should we be so quick to assume her treatment is an injustice. To do so is to be seduced, as much as if we had succumbed to her physical charms. We must discover the truth for ourselves.

Koakuma may not be the only succubus in the estate.

[X] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are meaningful, though in what way remains to be seen.

The cards speak of fate. We've heard of fate.

[X] Keep them on your person.

Afterwards…
[X] Poke around. Explore the mansion further. Learn its layout. Open doors and examine the rooms within. Leave no metaphorical stone unturned; our most important discoveries to date have come from the simplest and most overlooked of places, like coat pockets. Most of all, attempt to find Sakuya. Ask her about Meiling, and Remilia's... gifting... of her to you.
>> No. 21177
>>21176
>>They suggest that she has come to enjoy her physical part in the proceedings, albeit while feeling oppressed and maintaining some moral qualms about the inevitable fates of her partners... maybe.
FFFFFFFFFFFFFF

Love the way you think. >>21154 changing vote to this.
>> No. 21179
[X] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are meaningful, though in what way remains to be seen.
[X] Keep them on your person.
[X] You're restless; check out that basement from earlier.

this is the wagon I'm banding on. we may find flandre or we may find a chamber full of living blood bags, who knows!
>> No. 21182
>>21176
I see. Rather than breaking down from realization that she was being used, Meiling's apologies were because she felt she was using you.

>>21152 here; changing vote.

[X] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are meaningful, though in what way remains to be seen.
[X] Keep them on your person.
[X] You never did change into clean clothes, did you?
[X] You're restless; check out that basement from earlier.
>> No. 21183
[X] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are meaningful, though in what way remains to be seen.
[X] Keep them on your person.
[X] You're restless; check out that basement from earlier.

>>21172
>>21176

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
>> No. 21186
>>21182
Ok anon this story right now seems geared more towards survival and mystery. Meiling isn't my favorite SDM touhou but, should we go a route it has to be Meiling. Owen's Meiling is awesome.

Come tomorrow we should spend more time with Meiling, we had 24 hours of her time and only burned up half of one so far!
>> No. 21188
>>21186
Agreed, but I would add a caveat that perhaps we should try to ply her for knowledge confirming or denying this emerging theory. Unfairly critical? Certainly. Helpful? I can only imagine.
>> No. 21190
>>21186
What
No.
Sakuya route. That's where the horror and mystery is. Meiling is just the standard abused girl, which is never appealing to me, doesn't at ALL fit well here, and HY's coming back in a few days if you really feel the need for her.
I do like this Meiling, but only because I'm currently perceiving her as another manipulative horror luring us toward destruction.
>> No. 21193
>>21190
>>HY's coming back in a few days if you really feel the need for her.

What?

No.
>> No. 21197
>>21172
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

I think that just DESPAIR'd me more than Snowfield end.
>> No. 21199
>>21190
Like >>21186 observed, this story is more geared towards mystery and survival than romance. There are probably no "routes" to speak of.
We suspect Remilia is the main villain in this story, who is now playing with us like a cat with a mouse. I think turning to "Remilia's Dog" for help would be foolish in this case.
And lastly, my votes:
[x] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are meaningful, though in what way remains to be seen.
[x] Keep them on your person.
[x] You're restless; check out that basement from earlier.
>> No. 21203
>>21199
You are correct in assuming that romance is not my main goal when writing this story. However, this does not mean it is completely non-existent, or that it is worthless to attempt. You might consider it an optional "side-quest" to the main plot. Character interaction is not "required" to complete the adventure, but you may receive extra advantages which you would not have gained otherwise.

I see there is much talk over the theories presented in >>21172 and >>21176. Would you wish me to add these speculations and fears into the mind of the character? And if so, to what extent?

The next update will most likely take place in the late evening due to homework procrastination once again. However, if the work fares better than expected, you may see my writings by the early afternoon.
>> No. 21204
>>21203
>I see there is much talk over the theories presented in >>21172 and >>21176. Would you wish me to add these speculations and fears into the mind of the character? And if so, to what extent?

I think that would be prudent, at least to the point of questioning that there is a fact of the matter regarding "justice" here. We know from the game with Remilia that the main character picks up on nuance and tends to consider every possibility.
>> No. 21213
>>21203
I'd add some recognition. You've really hammered home the you are him/he is you, so it should probably occur to him that something truly sinister is afoot. Perhaps while meditating on Meiling's words, he starts putting the pieces together. Maybe have it be a running internal monologue as we go through the motions of executing the votes. There will be a lot of paranoia based on a vague theory, but paranoia isn't a bad thing in this story.
>> No. 21217
Site is fucked: time out when posting, but posts show up half an hour later. This has happened before, right? Just in time for the weekend to boot!

Take this opportunity to write a wall U.N. Owen.
>> No. 21220
Somehow, this thread is miraculously devoid of double posts.

This is divine providence. The heavens are with you, writefag.
>> No. 21224
>>21217
Seems to have fixed itself. Still want a wall though.
>> No. 21232
[X] Keep the items; put them in your pocket. They are meaningful, though in what way remains to be seen.
[X] Keep them on your person.
[X] You're restless; check out that basement from earlier.

You clench the ribbons in your hand with resolve. You’ve just got this feeling that they mean something, something important. They could be the symbols of Meiling’s oppression or Remilia’s lack of compassion. They could be the symbols of your honor or of your solitude. Or perhaps there’s still a dirty little part of your mind that wants to hold onto things that have caressed a woman’s secret areas. Whatever the case, you’re going to keep them with you, just in case.

You’ve got get your mind off this whole gate guard deal for now. You need to get back to your purpose; exploring and discovering. The past half-hour has proven to you that something is definitely wrong here, even if it’s just a matter of mistreated servants. And if you want to uncover the truth behind these wrong-doings, you had best start finding your own answers, rather than asking others for them. That basement stairwell calls out to you, and you think now is as good a time as any to answer it. You empty your suit coat and suit pants, placing everything onto the dresser’s top, then remove your dinner garments. If you’re going to venture into the unknown, you want to be dressed in something that feels a little more casual and free. It’s difficult to find such clothes within the armoire, but in the end you pick out a pair of brown pants made of tough cotton, a simple linen shirt, and a thick overcoat with plenty of pockets. You almost wish you had you old clothes and old adventure gear back; it would really get you into the mood. Might be useful to ask Sakuya or Remilia about trying to get them back; they should be pretty clean now, right?

It’s time to stock up on your “equipment”. There’s a few things you just don’t need to take, or don’t want to, but the rest find their way into your pockets.

On your person you have:
+A compass. It’s crudely made, but very trustworthy.
+A coin pouch. Contains all the money you own…plus a strange Yankee coin.
+A fountain pen. Discovered earlier in a pare of spare pants. Writes with a deep red ink.
+A blank page from your diary. You never know when you might need some paper.
+A ring holding three keys. What secrets might they unlock?
+A silvery gleaming key. It’s the master key to the mansion!
+A small silver pocket-watch. Tick tick tick. It reads 12:17.
+Three mystical cards. Perhaps they hold some hidden power.
+A letter opener. Long and thin, almost like a knife.
+A pair of broken spectacles. They seem to grow cold when Sakuya meddles with time.
+Two silk ribbons with a gold flower. Meiling was wearing these as your “prize”.

Left behind you have:
+A comb. Smooth and polished, good for looking like a gentleman (In your pack).
+A thick diary. Already it’s pages begin to fill with adventures (Hidden in the mattress).
+An open envelope. “For when thy need arises” (Hidden in the diary).
+A scrap of paper. “Use them once…use them well” (Hidden in the envelope).

Your affairs set in order, you boldly walk out and venture towards that basement door. You’re feeling more than a little cautious right now, so you take it slow and make sure your path is clear before moving down a hall. Fortunately, you only have to make one detour for a passing maid, who doesn’t notice you as you slip inside an empty bedroom. During your trek the spectacles grow cold again, and you manage to put them on quick enough to witness the halt of time once again. It’s still extremely dizzying to experience the juxtaposition of focus between your two eyes, not to mention the complete inability to move at all. However, you don’t notice anything move in the foggy lens, and after some time the world reverts back to normal. Too bad you can’t turn your head during those situations; for all you know, Sakuya could have been standing behind you the whole time! The thought chills your soul as you continue onwards.

It’s only a short while before you find yourself standing outside the door to the basement. The mansion key clicks in the look smoothly as the door swings open; good, it still works. You take a deep breath, compose yourself, and bravely descend into the depths of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. The stairs are longer than you expected, and seem to drop down as least two floors’ worth of height rather than one. The air grows colder and more dank, and the light dims, but there’s still enough periodic lamps hanging from the ceiling to see clearly. As you exit the stairwell, you can instantly notice a change in the surroundings next to you. The floor and walls are no longer laid with scarlet carpet or rich wood trim, but only blank grey stone. Smooth and polished stone, of course, but the transition is shocking, almost like you’re not in the same building anymore.

Even though the mansion is by no means full of ambient noise, walking into this basement is like walking into a tomb. There’s absolutely no sound anywhere except your own breathing, which echoes strangely into the unknown darkness. You hold your breath and see if there’s something you’re not hearing. No drifting clatter from upstairs, no rushing of drains, not even the distant roar of a furnace. Silence. Complete, oppressive, silence.

The basement, like the floors above, is divided up into hallways rather than a single open room like most houses. Marking your starting location on the scrap of paper from your diary, you pick an arbitrary direction and begin to explore. There’s plenty of rooms simply filled with dusty furniture covered in sheets, and some look like they haven’t been visited in years, maybe even decades. A large pantry stretches on for the length of an entire hallway, though most of the food is sealed up in crates; perhaps this is only a storage area, with the main pantry resting in the kitchen. You find closets filled with cleaning supplies and other miscellaneous knick-knacks that could be used around a house. Someone of it looks fairly useful; you might have to come back here after you’ve explored and pocket a few things. Hopefully no one will miss a little item here or there, but then again, best to be cautious around here; no doubt outright thievery won’t be tolerated if you’re caught. You are also interested to find that there’s more than one set of stairs going to and from the basement; five in total, including the one you went down.

(Insert vague philosophical statement…)
>> No. 21233
(…here.)

It isn’t long before you run into your first question. You find a room marked “Wine Cellar A”, and sure enough it’s loaded with racks upon racks of every shape and color of bottle you could imagine, with plenty of other large wooden casks besides. However, another room next to it, “Wine Cellar B”, is locked and won’t yield to the mansion’s master key. You mark the location on your hand-drawn map and plan to return later.

You run into similar problems over time, and by the end of your journey three other doors are marked on your map. One is a door amidst a uniform corridor of what looks like old servant’s bedrooms by the cramped spaces and double-bunked beds, bearing the number 101 on the brass rectangle above it. A second is located in what looks like the center of the basement if your map is correct, and is made entirely of iron with a double row of rivets on the edge. The third lies at the back of a short dead-end hallway, and looks like it was once a masterfully carved oak door before centuries of abuse and age had at their way.

Leaning against the cold stone wall, you rest for a bit. You expected the “master” key to fail you eventually, and it’s no surprise that down here, in this dead silent cellar, there’s more than a few locked doors you can’t pass. Perhaps it’s best to respect your host’s privacy and leave well enough alone…Except for the fact that you have something more than just a master key. The enigmatic ring of keys you received in your coma dangle from your fingers, enticing your curiosity. You can just tell that these things will open at least one of the doors down here. But where to start? You’ve got four doors to choose from, and any one of them might reveal a secret that makes you forget completely about the other three. Or…it could be a horror strong enough to kill you where you stand.

Horror. Now there’s an emotion that has been building in you ever since Meiling left your presence. It started off indistinguishable from your normal feelings of doubt and uncertainty you’ve had ever since you got here, but it has since aged into a force all it’s own. Without the warm comforts of elegance and the bright lights of the mansion to cheer you down here, this creeping fear has begun to chip away at your mind, small though it may be.

“It hurts more when I get involved.” It means something. It has to. You’ve noticed it plenty of times with other people in the past: they wait until the absolute last minute to reveal what’s most important, even right on their deathbed. This shadowy “doorknob question” must be what is truly bothering Meiling. But what does it mean? Getting involved with anything in life is bound to carrying the risk of pain; it’s impossible to do anything unknown without risking pain. But what is she getting involved in? Love? Sex? Relationships? Other people’s problems? Perhaps her own problems? You just can’t concentrate with this nagging horror bearing down on you. A little demon in you ear is already whispering to you, “You’re afraid…you’re afraid…everything is out to get you…everything wants to stop you…you are going to die…they are going to kill you.” You push it away and purge your mind of such thoughts. Conspiracy? Death? Murder? You’d surely see those things coming from a mile away! If you’ve really fallen this far, gotten this paranoid over vague assumptions…maybe you really did lose your mind when you first saw Cirno on that fateful night.

List the order in which you will try and open the doors (or choose to exclude some of them if you wish):
[ ] Wine Cellar B
[ ] Bedroom 101
[ ] The iron-clad door
[ ] The dead-end door

[ ] Don’t bother with the doors; rummage around the closets for useful items (specify any items you’ll try to find)
[ ] Something different entirely? Or perhaps, not so different? (Write in your idea, or augment mine)

====================

>>21204 & >>21213
This segment did not exactly lend itself well to self-realization with the guest’s mind set more on exploring, but I did what I could. There will be other opportunities in the future to better illustrate your assumptions, I am sure.

>>21217 & >>21220 & >>21224
I was unfortunately (perhaps fortunately?) absent for this technological malfunction, and could not take advantage of this opportunity. Regardless, this particular segment is poorly-suited for a large, wall-like post. Additionally, I am under the impression that the majority of my standard posts already rival the length of other writers’ “wall” posts (8192 character limit, you may kindly disappear from this world via self-inflicted homicide), so technically, I am already providing the walls you wish . I do not want to progress the story too far without allowing voter input, as walls tend to do.

Unless you really a single segment that will stretch on for three posts will be beneficial…
>> No. 21238
>>21233
>>Unless you really a single segment that will stretch on for three posts will be beneficial…
When updates regularly span two posts, I fully expect such 3+ post walls from you for the epic parts of the story. No pressure.

Anyway, rampant speculation time!
>>Wine Cellar B
Remilia's storage of extra blood/gruesome corridor of enslaved blood-bags
>>[ ] Bedroom 101
Sakuya's (old)/her predecessor's room
>>[ ] The iron-clad door
Flandre's room
>>[ ] The dead-end door
Short-cut to Remilia's room/the library

Playing the presumed "safe bet" I'd take room 101 or wine cellar B. But honestly, a triple reinforced room in a building stuffed to the brim with danger? Shear curiosity blows logic and self-preservation out of the water.
>> No. 21240
Masterfully crafted.

[1] Bedroom 101
[2] The dead-end door
[3] Wine Cellar B
[4] The iron-clad door

Bedroom 101 looks forgotten (so we're least likely to encounter someone) and seems most mysterious, so I place it first. The dead end door is second because although it's the most important-looking door, it is also hence the one we are least likely to have the key to. Wine Cellar B is almost certainly the blood stores, which leaves us with a higher chance to run into Sakuya, so that's third. Iron-clad is probably Flandre and will almost certainly prevent further exploration, so that one is last.
>> No. 21241
>>21172
>>21176
Yeah, I've more or less been assuming this sort of thing from the beginning, and been sure of it since we found the first message to us from a previous guest.

Why else do you think I added the write-in vote oh so long ago about "Let's start keeping entries in that convenient journal"?

We aren't meant to survive. We are meant to be the help to the one who comes after us.

Think like Keiichi in the last minutes of the first arc of Higurashi. He had to set everything up as best as possible for those who would come after to find out what happened.

He failed, but our words will be found.

Why else do you think it's called "A scarlet-stainedMemoir"? It sure as hell isn't because we're using red ink in the journal, although that may just be a clever reference by UN Owen.
>> No. 21242
>>21241
Hrm... what in the hell are you talking about with adding to write-ins? Either identify what choices you've contributed to or adopt a name like Dunefaggles so we can call you out later.

Regardless, I guess I will request some meta knowledge from U.N. Owen: Are we inferently fucked or is there redemption at the end of the tunnel?

FYI, your trip is a bitch and a half to type out.
>> No. 21243
>>21241

tl;dr: No Anonymous, you are the Nathaniel
>> No. 21244
[1] Bedroom 101
[2] The dead-end door
[3] Wine Cellar B

I would exclude going into what may be Flandre's room (it's likely to mean an instant BAD END).

Also, saving the discovery of Remilia's favourite brand of "wine" for last, as it may be a bit too much for the protagonist's mind.
>> No. 21248
>>21242
Let me consider it for a while. In the meantime, I may be more comfortable replying to your meta-knowledge statement if I knew how to use spoiler tags correctly. The code for strike-through text would be equally appreciated.

>FYI, your trip is a bitch and a half to type out.
I certainly hope that means my identity is secure; I would hate for it to get stolen.

>>21238
>When updates regularly span two posts, I fully expect such 3+ post walls from you for the epic parts of the story. No pressure.
I am fully capable of writing large amounts of text in a single sitting without user input. But are you capable enough to reach the scenarios in which such epic walls occur?

>>21241
Finally! An unintentional reference to something I have actually seen! I was wondering if this would ever happen (after three unrelated instances to the contrary, thus bringing my record to one-for-four).
>> No. 21250
>>21248
>In the meantime, I may be more comfortable replying to your meta-knowledge statement if I knew how to use spoiler tags correctly.

[%spoiler%] [/%spoiler%]

>The code for strike-through text would be equally appreciated.

[%s%] [%/s%]

Remove the percent signs.
>> No. 21253
>>21250
You assistance is greatly appreciated. And now a small test to see if I can put such knowledge to use...

This was not actually written. Yes it was.

Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's antagonist.

Rosebud is the term for a specific flower not yet in bloom.

Severus Snape kills Harry Potter's grade point average.
>> No. 21260
Possible spoilers are present in this post. For the sake of the original inquirer (who was kind enough to black out his question), and for those who do not want any additional speculations on their mind, I have blacked out my response as well. Be wary of the movement of your mouse.

>>21242

Meta-knowledge question:
Are we inherently fucked, or is there redemption at the end of the tunnel?

Meta-knowledge answer:
I have decided that I am not going to answer this question. The knowledge of one's impeding doom, or lack thereof, can drastically change a person's actions and outlook on life, up to the point where they are not even the same person anymore. Information of this caliber could run the risk of completely removing the suspense of the tale, because then you would then know beyond a shadow of a doubt whether or not your paranoia is justified.
>> No. 21261
>>21253
>>21260

It's good to see that you're using your newfound powers for evil responsibly.

Now get back to work nigger
>> No. 21262
>>21261
With great power comes great responsibility.
When one receives a boon most advantageous to oneself, a certain care must be taken so as not to abuse it. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Thus, the wielder must temper fury with reserve, bravado with level-headedness, and justice with mercy. I am no stranger to such a philosophy.

I think that more votes would be slightly beneficial for the time being, always considering that those who cannot reach a computer with haste still have a voice, and should be given the opportunity to speak. My current plan is to venture off to both work and play for some time, returning mid-afternoon to review the situation and continue the story.
>> No. 21263
>>21262

Cut back on alcohol. Seriously. Take a tip from the elders.
>> No. 21265
>>21263

Shut up. He can put himself on an ethanol IV drip if it'll keep him writing.
>> No. 21267
[1] Bedroom 101. Abandoned, perhaps? Interesting, exactly the sort of place we were looking for... but knock first. Just in case.

[2] Wine Cellar B. Probably just where they keep the good stuff, but we should read some of the labels on the bottles there and remember them for future dinners.

[3] The dead-end door - where does it go? Probably into some musty old ruined passages, we'll explore that last.

[Let be] The iron-clad door. We are in a mansion of monsters. Curiosity is one thing - wantonly opening obviously reinforced doors is quite another.
>> No. 21269
[1] Bedroom 101
[2] The dead-end door
[3] Wine Cellar B
>> No. 21270
>Bedroom 101

Depending on what we find in there, this apparently disused bedroom may become the perfect hiding place when the shit hits the fan, but also in more peaceful times a good place to do our journal writing and store any especially sensitive materials.

Two things that might go without saying when entering the rooms, but I want to be sure about them:
[x] Bring a torch or some other light source before entering any darkened rooms.
[x] If it looks safe, lock the door behind you before further inspection.
>> No. 21271
>>21270
Seconding these of course.

It occurs to me that Bedroom 101 may in fact be Remilia's room. Very outside possibility, but still.
>> No. 21273
File 122374723940.jpg - (36.67KB , 720x576 , silenthill2map.jpg ) [iqdb]
21273
>>21271

I'm sure it's something important to the mansion's history, but one whose significance won't be realized until later. All I expect us to find now is a typewriter rococo-period writing table, and a wire frame bed. A save room, essentially.

Also, that marking off of locked doors on the "map" in red ink gives me Silent Hill vibes. I can only hope the color of our notebook is an appropriate crimson.
>> No. 21274
There are going to be rats.
>> No. 21275
>>21274
Yeah, but the largest ones tend to keep to the library area.
>> No. 21276
>>21274
>There are going to be rats.

Luckily, we're carrying along our +1 letter opener.
>> No. 21277
>>21276
But we as a first level commoner have 0 BAB.
>> No. 21278
>>21277

Wait, are we talking rats or dire rats here? Because that's a world of difference for a first level commoner.