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File 12469804495.jpg - (542.38KB , 800x600 , Scarlet Lake.jpg ) [iqdb]
30207 No. 30207
The Scarlet Lake is always a little colder than the season would suggest, and that's just the way I like it.

The early morning sun still hasn't burned the fog away. Sometimes when I sleep near the north edge, I've seen the lady out on a balcony around now despite the light. I think she likes the view.

Sitting up, I brush the grass off my back and rub my shoulders. Wings are a little stiff, but I spent most of yesterday flying errands, so no surprise there. The reward, though, is that I've got nothing to take care of any time soon. Today's all mine. I could drop in to the human village, or maybe visit the Mansion. Still not sure where I'm headed, I kip up.

...Hmm. Leg's a bit sore. There might be some rain coming. Still, I'm not going to let that ruin my day.


So where should I go...?

>> No. 30208
[X] Meiling. Meiling? Meiling!

Meiling Meiling, Meiling. Meiling, Meiling.

Meiling Meiling.
>> No. 30209
>>30207
>>pic

Suddenly, FOEs! Thousands of them!

[x] Vanquish!

...

[x] Meiling.
>> No. 30213
>[x]Meiling
It's been a solid week or so since the last time I visited the Mansion proper. I think I'll drop in.

The air's still cooler above the water, and it feels great. Lazy rolling mist like the breath of a placid dragon drifts over the still surface. I've seen it a thousand times and it's still one of my favorite things about this place. Aside from a few ambitious birds, it's still quiet at this hour. Things will get more lively as the sun climbs overhead.

I see her from far out, a small red-and-green dot on the yellow cobblestone path of the front gate. I touch down a dozen meters away. Not that I think Meiling's particularly worried about me trying to get past her, but it never hurts to be polite. She gives me a smile and a wave as I head over.

"Good morning, Meiling."

"Hello again. How have you been?"

"I can't complain. Lovely day so far."

I always forget how tall she is--I mean, everyone is 'tall' to a fairy, but her even more so--it suits her lean and well-toned look. A result of her exercises, of course. Speaking of...

"Would you like to have another lesson? I was just warming up."

Meiling teaches me Tai Chi. I can't say I'm as diligent as I should be about keeping up with it between visits, but I've got the basics down pat. And she tells me I do just fine.

"I'd love to," I say.

Overall it's a productive half-hour as she takes me through a routine. I do fairly well and most of her corrections are minor ones. We chat a bit, and again she mentions that it'd help if we could find someone my size to partner up with, but for the most part I just enjoy spending the time with her. It feels sort of special having her teach me--Don't read too much into that, mind.

"I think that's good for now," she says.

I nod and find a nearby tree branch to sit on. "Thanks."

"So what brings you up here?" she asks, neatly squaring her beret atop her head.

"Nothing much, really," I reply. "I've got a day to myself--more than normal, anyhow--and I figured I'd say hello."

Well, that was a good start to the day. Well, as long as I'm up here, what else should I do?
>> No. 30214
[x] Ask if it's okay if you just fly by the front of the mansion, but of course you won't enter through a window. You could maybe see something exciting happen today. That would be only fair now that you've got a day off.
>> No. 30218
File 124699431183.jpg - (120.25KB , 600x600 , Meiling.jpg ) [iqdb]
30218
I could leave this a while, but an idea popped into my head and I can't get rid of it. Onwards!

>[x] Ask if it's okay if you just fly by the front of the mansion, but of course you won't enter through a window. You could maybe see something exciting happen today. That would be only fair now that you've got a day off.

"So what does your day off have in store for you next?" Meiling asks.

"We-e-e-ll..." I tap my chin in mock thoughtfulness.

"If you wouldn't mind, I'd reeeeally love to take a quick look around the mansion and maybe peek through the windows..." I'm really laying it on.

"I wouldn't climb into a window or anything, I swear. I just want to see something interesting. It's my day off, it's only faaaair..."

"Really now." Uh-oh. She doesn't sound convinced.

The gate creaks just the littlest bit as it swings open.

"Have fun. I certainly hope you won't take advantage of my trust and look around the top of the west tower where nobody patrols very often."

... What?
She just smiles serenely and walks back to her post, spinning her beret on one finger. Oh, I like her.

We're in. And whither then...?

[ ] Buzz the tower!
[ ] This is a sneaking mission, Solid Fairy. Sneak in through the west tower.
[ ] You know, I bet I've met at least one of the fairies that works here.
[ ] Other
>> No. 30219
>>30218
[X] Buzz the tower!

It's like I'm really Maverick!
>> No. 30221
[X] This is a sneaking mission, Solid Fairy. Sneak in through the west tower.
>> No. 30224
[x] This is a sneaking mission, Solid Fairy. Sneak in through the west tower.

Trust and temptation. I'm conflicted.
>> No. 30229
I should probably stop reading archives between writing these. I keep switching to second-person tense.
>[X] This is a sneaking mission, Solid Fairy. Sneak in through the west tower.

While the mental image of my wings silhouetted against that clocktower is a tempting one, I guess I'll try to sneak in. I might never get another chance to see the inside!

The tower's a bit higher than my comfortable flying height, but not too much. Meiling's advice was good, at least--I can't see anyone when I peer inside. These windows are enormous--tall, with individually-opening panes.

I look inside. Red. Lots of red. Most of all the carpet, with gold accents and trimming. Looks nice against the...marble? Tile floor. Okay, flitting around up here will get me spotted for sure. Let's try a window...

...Unlocked. Ever so gently I pull open a pane and slip in. Still no sign of alarm. Sconces on the walls send flickery shadows every which way. The lighting's dim, but it sort of adds to the appeal. And there's not a mote of dust anywhere. How do you clean a place this big? And speaking of big, this hallway is enormous. I can't see to either end.

...No sense staying here until I get caught. Thanks, Meiling. With that I sneak deeper into the mansion.

Doors, doors, doors. I'm starting to get a little vertigo from all of this. All these hallways look the same! Sconces, carpets, chandeliers, doors, windows--

Voices?

Eep. What do I do what do I do?

[ ] Hide! Somewhere!
[ ] Escape out a window!
[ ] There's a door there, ever so slightly ajar. Inside I see...
[ ] Bookshelves.
[ ] A long stairway, leading up...
[ ] Other
[ ] Other
>> No. 30230
[x] Hide! Somewhere!
[x] Pretend to be the carpet.
>> No. 30232
[x] Hide! Somewhere!
[x] Pretend to be the carpet.

At least whoever it is that's coming will have no trouble capturing us by wrapping the carpet around us and making us a nice little present.
>> No. 30233
[x] Hide! Somewhere!
[x] Pretend to be the carpet.
>> No. 30236
File 12470027332.png - (122.08KB , 500x500 , faceplant.png ) [iqdb]
30236
Protagonist fairy is not actually Cirno, for the record. This just seems appropriate.

>[x] Pretend to be the carpet.
Dive! Dive!

...

...

Okay, so maybe I don't react well to stress.

...

"...and we have to clean the dining hall by eight--"

Two fairy maids round the corner before they see me. Silence reigns.




This is not my proudest moment as a fairy.




"...Let's call the head maid. We've got another one."

Another one? Another what?

Well, no escape now. Maybe they'll drain me of blood for the Lady! Maybe they'll feed me to the monster in the basement! Maybe they'll crush me up into pixie dust! Maybe they'll...

...Offer me dinner, as it turns out?

Apparently fairies sneak in all the time, get lost trying to find a window out, and collapse. I was worried Meiling might get into trouble, but apparently her job is guarding the gate, and since there are so many ways a small body could get in, they just deal with it when it comes. So here I am, speaking with a thin, silver-haired maid. She's...elegant.

"...You won't be dining with the Mistress, of course," she continues in her very formal way, "She takes her meals alone on most nights."

I keep nodding. It seems like the thing to do.

"Now I know most fairies tend not to worry about it, but you'll need to clean up before we eat." Hey! "You can use this privy and I can get you some fresh clothing. If you'd like to spend the night I will prepare this room for you." With that she gives a very nice bow, and out she goes.

Well...?

[ ] I WOULD like to stay here, at least one night...
[ ] I wanna explore more!
[ ] Get cleaned up? It's not even midday! We'll get washed up later.
[ ] I've never taken a real, indoorsy bath before...
[ ] Maybe I should run for the hills.
[ ] Other
>> No. 30237
>[x] Pretend to be the carpet.
>DIVE DIVE DIVE HIT YOUR BURNERS PILOT

[X] I've never taken a real, indoorsy bath before...
>> No. 30239
>>30236
[X] I've never taken a real, indoorsy bath before...
>> No. 30242
[X] I've never taken a real, indoorsy bath before...
>> No. 30244
File 124701040333.jpg - (550.20KB , 800x700 , 6657a92c930ac6d50ceca5d975e99ac1.jpg ) [iqdb]
30244
[x] I've never taken a real, indoorsy bath before...

Hooray civilization!
>> No. 30246
File 124701547184.jpg - (138.06KB , 480x640 , bath.jpg ) [iqdb]
30246
>[X] I've never taken a real, indoorsy bath before...
Wow. Wow. Wow.

I've heard of running water and hot baths and all of that. But this.

This thing has to be three times bigger than I am. Filled with hot water (a little TOO hot--I need to find a maid and make it cool down) and there's these metal pipes and things and all these bottles of bright stuff and...

Yeah. They're not getting me out of here for a while.




The floor's soaked and I've lost count of the little laps around the tub I've swam by the time I get out. Once or twice (okay, maybe more) some of the maids knocked on the door to ask me if I was okay--what a silly question. I may 'collapse' in here more often. I feel great! Relaxed and happy and healthy and... hungry. What time is it? Why's it so dark out?

Eheh. Oops.

I dry off with a fluffy towel I could use as a blanket and find some new clothes. ...Or maybe they're my old ones. I guess they did have enough time to wash and return them and all...

I can't help but notice the bed would make a decent house for someone my size as I leave.

"Excuse me..." It's that silver-haired one again.

"I beg your pardon, but there has been a change of plans. The Lady has requested you join her over supper."

She doesn't need to tell me how unusual this is.

"This is quite unusual, to say the least."

Oh. I guess she does.

"I would encourage you to see her. This is quite an opportunity."

I'm not nervous. Okay, I'm a little nervous. But she's right, this was definitely not on my list. And I am pretty curious.

"...Well, okay." With that she does another one of her bows, and leads the way.

"Oh, there is one other thing," she turns and looks back at me.

"What's your name?"

"I'm..."

>[ ]

Male? Female? It's up to you.
COMING SOON: Interview with a vampire, and a little actual plot!
>> No. 30247
[X] Applecake. And female.
>> No. 30249
[x] Kazuki, Male.

Never had a male fairy before. We're a freak.
>> No. 30251
[x] Kazuki, Male.
>> No. 30252
[x] Kazuki, Male.
>> No. 30253
[X] Kazuki, Male.
>> No. 30254
[X] Kazuki, Male.

The only male fairy in Gensokyo. This will be glorious.
>> No. 30255
[Q] Kazuki, Male.

Indeed, I like this already.
>> No. 30256
[X] Applecake. And female.
>> No. 30257
[X] Kazuki, Male.
>> No. 30258
[X] Applecake. And female.
>> No. 30259
[X] Applejack. And male.

Not just a breakfast cereal.
>> No. 30260
[X] Kazuki, Male.
>> No. 30261
[x] Applecake, male.
>> No. 30262
[X] Applecake. And female.
>> No. 30266
[x] Applejack, Male.

Jack for short.
>> No. 30267
I thought we were Cirno.
>> No. 30269
File 124705368787.jpg - (457.22KB , 700x785 , 079729666ea6d79cba58e324a754268d.jpg ) [iqdb]
30269
>>30267
I didn't.
>> No. 30272
File 124707051023.jpg - (264.33KB , 1000x707 , remi.jpg ) [iqdb]
30272
Not going to lie, it was really hard to get this part to condense. Hope you like it.

>[X]Kazuki

"...Kazuki." She waits a moment, like she's expecting me to say something else, before she nods.

"I see. Right this way, Master Kazuki."

The stairway up is a little bit longer than really seems practical, but I guess if you live in a tower, that's what you get. Everyone can fly, anyway. Speaking of, should I be walking? The maid is, but it's hard to keep up, and she doesn't have wings, would it be impolite or some sort of faux pas?

...I'm not nervous. No. Deep breaths. Okay. Flying isn't a bad thing, not ever. It's a lot easier on me this way. The head maid pushes open two double doors with practiced ease, into the room of the Scarlet Lady. A raised dais in the center with a massive four-poster bed. It's almost intimidating, as much as a mattress can be. No surprise what color the curtains are. In one corner is a bookshelf and a single table and chair, with a single book on a stand. Can't make out the title from here. There's a violin neatly resting in its case near it. All sorts of things in here, even another door or two, but I really don't have time to look before we're out onto the balcony. There's another, much wider table, set for two with a candelabra flickering in the center. And out at the rail, looking out onto the rising moon, is Remilia Scarlet.

The first thing that strikes me is her wings. They're too small. She'd never be able to fly on those, even if she was as light as I am. Second thing is her height--not much bigger than me.

"Milady," the maid--she's bowing again--"May I introduce Master Kazuki."

"Thank you, Sakuya." T--how many times is that now? Jeez. The maid bows, again, and leaves silently. But hey, I know her name now. And then it hits me--here I am, alone, with a vampire. All of us have heard the stories. I'm sure most of them are just that, stories, but that doesn't make this any less scary.

To be honest, this isn't actually the first time I've met Remilia Scarlet. Years ago when I first worked up the nerve to poke around, eventually I saw her on one of her walks and we had a brief, very formal, introduction. I'm sure she doesn't remember me.

"Good evening, Kazuki. How have your lessons with Meiling been?"

...Erk. "F-fine." She still hasn't turned around.

A few of the staff are bringing up food... I guess I was expecting them to bring a lot, but fairies don't eat much, and apparently scarlet ladies don't either. I'm still standing there kind of locked up when one of them mercifully gives me a sign that I can sit and start. Remilia breaks the silence again. Which is good, because I'm not gonna.

"I am quite sure you do not know much about me," she says precisely, "and that you must naturally be curious about what goes on here... and why I have invited you to dinner."

Well, yeah. What should I ask about first?

[ ] "How long have you been here?"
[ ] "Where did you come from?"
[ ] "Tell me about yourself."
[ ] "What's the story with the head maid?"
[ ] "Is it true you have a monster in the basement?"
[ ] "Why'd you ask me up here, of all people?"
[ ] Other
>> No. 30278
[X] "Is it true you have a monster in the basement?"
>> No. 30279
[x] "Tell me about yourself."

Friend makan gaems
>> No. 30280
[Q] "Tell me about yourself."

I really like this story so far.
>> No. 30281
[x] "Tell me about yourself."
>> No. 30283
[x] "Tell me about yourself."
>> No. 30288
File 124709359138.jpg - (665.58KB , 800x800 , meal.jpg ) [iqdb]
30288
>[x] "Tell me about yourself."

Awkwardly, I take a seat at the table. ...Oh hey, the backs of the chairs are designed for people with wings. I guess that shouldn't surprise me. Idly playing with a small potato on my plate I try to think of something to ask.

"...Well, could you tell me a little bit about yourself?" She's still just staring out at that moon, but I think I hear a little chuckle.

"Of course. My name is Remilia Scarlet." Well, I knew that one.

"I am five hundred years old, and a generous portion of that has been spent here in Gensokyo. Born mortal, and born again as a child of the night by the hand of Lord Vlad Tepes; the Lord Dracula himself." She fans her wings out--as much as they go, anyway, and runs one hand across the balcony rail. She seems to have a flair for the dramatic.

"...Oh." How do you reply to something like that, anyway?

"Scarlet Lake, of course, is named for my household, which I had brought with me when I traveled here, along with some of my attendants."

Well, that I didn't know. Her mansion had just always been there as far back as I remember.

I'm starting to calm down a little, now. Enough to start eating, anyway. Let's start with these teeny tiny potatoes. Ooh, they were cooked with some kind of herb. These are great! Om nom nom nom nom nom.

(Boys are now eating. Please watch warmly until Kazuki knows what to talk about next...)

[ ] Can't talk! Food. Om nom nom.
[ ] "So you brought some of your servants with you? Like who?"
[ ] "But you hired the fairies locally, right?"
[ ] "Tell me more about the people who live here."
[ ] "Uh, should I talk about myself?"
[ ] "You sure like the moon, huh?"

[ ] "How long have you been here?"
[ ] "Where did you come from?"
[ ] "What's the story with the head maid?"
[ ] "Is it true you have a monster in the basement?"
[ ] "Why'd you ask me up here, of all people?"
[ ] Other

Ridiculous option count is ridiculous. Feel free to check off a handful and I'll cover them all. Or check off a few at a time and I'll do some mini-dialogue updates. The choice is yours!
>> No. 30292
[ ] "So you brought some of your servants with you? Like who?"
[ ] "Tell me more about the people who live here."
[ ] "Uh, should I talk about myself?"
[ ] "Where did you come from?"
[ ] "Why'd you ask me up here, of all people?"
>> No. 30293
[ ] "So you brought some of your servants with you? Like who?"
[ ] "Tell me more about the people who live here."
[ ] "Uh, should I talk about myself?"
[ ] "Where did you come from?"
[ ] "Why'd you ask me up here, of all people?"
>> No. 30297
>>30288
[X] "Where did you come from?"
[X] "So you brought some of your servants with you? Like who?"
[X] Other: "Can you tell me any more about Meiling?"
[X] "But you hired the fairies locally, right?"
>> No. 30298
[ ] "So you brought some of your servants with you? Like who?"
[ ] "Tell me more about the people who live here."
[ ] "Uh, should I talk about myself?"
[ ] "Where did you come from?"
[ ] "Why'd you ask me up here, of all people?"
>> No. 30303
Stuff happens and things occur. Slight delay for life-related events, expect an update late tonight or tomorrow. Thanks for reading, all.
>> No. 30304
File 124718481645.jpg - (256.61KB , 1024x768 , charisma.jpg ) [iqdb]
30304
...But if things don't occur, than stuff doesn't happen. Okay, things cleared up a bit so I wrote more.


Om nom nom. Nom? Ommm nom nom. Grom. Gulp. Ahh. Okay.

>[X] "So you brought some of your servants with you? Like who?"

"Wait...you had servants with you when you came? Who?" I catch a gleam of white. Did she just smile?

"You have met at least two of them. Sakuya Izayoi, the head maid, and of course, the guard, Hong Meiling. And then there is Patchouli Knowledge, the librarian." Oh. I met her once, too. I wanted to try and borrow some books. Short answer, no. Long answer, I still wake up from nightmares about big metal discs sometimes. She's...cranky.

"...And then there is my sister," she continues, "Flandre." She has a sister?

>[X] "Tell me more about the people who live here."

"I didn't know you had a sister. And...I thought that the head m--err, Sakuya, was human." I'm curious. This place is strange, but so interesting!

"She is. The situation is...complicated. And I have not made it widely known that I do. It is for her protection." ...I get the feeling she doesn't want to talk about it.

"My servants are very dear to me. You could say I saved them."

"What do you mean?"

She just smiles again.

>[X] Other: "Can you tell me any more about Meiling?"

"What about Meiling? She seems different. I mean, so do you--that is--in a good way I mean--" I'm going to die. Oh, she's laughing, lightly. It's...I read this book once, what's the word? Coquettish? (Still not nervous.)

"Meiling is from a land called China. I am sure between her longevity and her strength you have realized she is a youkai. I met her on a trip to the Orient." The where?

>[X] "Where did you come from?"

"You said you brought them, and your house, here. From where?"

"From my first home," she replies, "A world away from Gensokyo. I am from the nation France there."

>[X] "But you hired the fairies locally, right?"

"But the fairies, they're all from Gensokyo, right?" She inclines her head. As if on cue, one of them comes with a silver tray and a glass of-- wine. Yes. Very dark wine. Very dark red opaque wine. Wine. Yes. I'm not nervous.

"I could not think of a better staff for the manse," Remilia says as she takes the glass lightly. "They were naturally curious when a new building with an unfamiliar architecture appeared on the shore of their lake. They were timid initially, of course, but soon we found we could be much help to each other."

>[X] "Uh, should I talk about myself?"

"...I've been asking a lot of questions, haven't I." That was a question right there! "Should I let you ask me things?"

"You have, but I do not mind. If you would like to talk about yourself, please, feel free."

Well, okay. ...I didn't really plan any farther than this. "My name's Kazuki..." I wince a little. She knew that one.

"I'm...not entirely sure how old I am. I've been around a long time. I like reading and writing. I've got an anonymous pen pal I exchange letters with. ...Um, when the weather's bad my knee hurts." I stop there. It's quiet again for a bit, but at least it doesn't feel as awkward.

>[X] "Why'd you ask me up here, of all people?"

...Finally, though, I have to ask. "Miss Remilia...how come you asked to see me?" And then she turns around.

She's...I don't know how to describe it. Beautiful, sure. But... there's sort of this tension. Poise? Poise is the word. Every move she makes seems measured, controlled, planned three steps ahead. It looks tiring. But there's no denying it gives her a certain... charisma.

"It is complicated," she begins. "I suppose it was for a myriad of reasons."

"I called upon you because I met you once before, and it seemed wise not to question providence when you found yourself within the mansion. I know you are a friend of Meiling, and you've demonstrated more experience and acumen than most of your kind. And to be completely honest, I needed somebody to speak to." Something in the air feels anticipatory.

"Fairies are some of my favorite beings in Gensokyo. They are carefree, pure creatures. It is that freedom that I have been thinking on. Tell me, where do you go and what do you do?"

I understand. I want to hear where she's going with this. "I go where I want, and I do what I please."

"Precisely," she says smoothly. "But I am a vampire, and I am not free. I cannot go where I want. I cannot do what I please. Tell me, it is only fair that someone should enjoy that same freedom, correct?"

"Well, sure." It makes sense. Everyone likes to have the choice to do what they want.

"And if it was within your power, you would be justified in trying to secure that freedom?"

I'm really not sure. But then, I've never really been in that kind of situation. "Yeah..."

She nods. "Thank you. That was what I wished to hear."

She turns back to the moon. ... I'm not really sure what comes over me, but I stand and walk to the rail beside her.

"Beautiful, is it not?"

I nod. It really is, I have to admit. "The full moon is very pretty."

"Not full," she says. I swear I hear something like amusement in her voice. "It's full tomorrow." She turns and looks at me, the moon flashing crimson in her eye.

We sit there in silence again, the rail overlooking the lake.

"I think I want to go home," I finally say.

"I understand. I think that may be for the better anyway. And, Sakuya may recognize you eventually."

...Wait. She said she saw me before. If she remembers me, then does that mean she knows--

"Then--you know I didn't get lost ins--"

"I have no idea what you are talking about," she says with a gentle smile.


It's been a long day, but I've had a lot of fun. Settling in to one of my hangouts, I look over at the mansion, lit within and without in that not-quite-full moon. I'm tired, so tired I don't even read a little. Settling in, I give my wings one last stretch before I turn in. Good night, Gensokyo...

...Rumbling. I'm woken by a distant cacophony disturbing the morning serenity of the lake. What's going on?! I push myself up and see--fog. Thick, thick fog. This isn't like normal, though--I can barely see through it. It's dim, like a rainstorm is coming. Here and there in the fog I can see bright, flying motes-- other fairies. They're out in force! And, weird, they're all heading the same way. What is going on?

[ ] Ask a nearby fairy
[ ] Head toward the mansion
[ ] Go where they're going
>> No. 30305
[X] Ask a nearby fairy
>> No. 30306
[x] Ask a nearby fairy
>> No. 30309
[x] Head toward the mansion
>> No. 30310
[x] Take your clothes off
[x] Put it in
>> No. 30313
>>30310

Not yet.
>> No. 30315
[ ] Ask a nearby fairy
Yay! we caused EoSD!
>> No. 30316
[x] Ask a nearby fairy
>> No. 30317
[x] Ask a nearby fairy
>> No. 30318
File 124726882436.jpg - (654.76KB , 1024x768 , owned.jpg ) [iqdb]
30318
>[X] Ask a nearby fairy

Looking around, I pick out a nearby fairy in a yellowish smock, her wings buzzing angrily as she starts flying off with the rest. "Um, hey--"

...And she's gone. Another fairy almost body-checks me as he gets a running start. "Haven't you heard?!" he shouts back at me, "We're under attack!"

Attack? What? Who attacks a lake? That makes no sense. I'm not about to go diving in after the rest of these guys. Fairies are kind of excitable as a rule. But whatever has them on the warpath, someone must know first-hand.

"Excuse me--" Gone.

"Wait, can you--" Gone.

This is getting annoying. Maybe I should talk to someone already up in the air. I follow the last few up and take a quick look around... above the mist, there are hundreds. I didn't even know there were this many fairies on the lake! A rainbow sea of winged boys and girls up in arms. And that rumbling is getting louder.

Near me is a handful of them, all staring the same way. I'm getting an answer this time. Steeling myself, I fly over and take a deep breath.

Haaaap

"Hey guys what's goin'--" AUGH. I'm cut short as a blast of heat sends me spiraling, seconds before a cascade of needles runs up and down my side. Before I can even react to those a piece of paper sticks to my face and then blows up. And that's when the giant ball falls on me.

A few seconds of dizzy tailspin, then a long skid through the grass (I just got these clothes WASHED) and there I am facefirst on the ground, wings smoldering. Ow.

What happened? I just got wrecked.

Up ahead I see a red and white dot blazing a path through the ranks. Did I mention I hate danmaku? Because I hate danmaku. I'm terrible at it (even when I actually know it's coming), even if it's not dangerous it stings, I hate getting all messed up... it's just no fun for me. ...Something else is coming now, hot on the heels of the red-white thing.

"...sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry," it seems to be saying. "She's just in a hurry is all she takes her job very seriously--" I actually see this one coming this time-- one hand pressing her long hat firmly down while holding her riding broom steady with the other. A black bolt, cruising low, with a great wake in the water behind her. ... looming over my head oh great.

... Well at least my wings have stopped smoking. But those two, they were headed towards the mansion. Should I...?

[ ] Head straight to the mansion
[ ] Ask the other downed fairies
[ ] Forget this!
[ ] Other
>> No. 30319
[x] Head straight to the mansion

We're getting a fucking apology, somehow, before this day ends.
>> No. 30320
[X] Forget this!
>> No. 30321
[x] Head straight to the mansion
>> No. 30327
>Up ahead I see a red and white dot blazing a path through the ranks. Did I mention I hate danmaku? Because I hate danmaku. I'm terrible at it (even when I actually know it's coming), even if it's not dangerous it stings, I hate getting all messed up... it's just no fun for me. ...Something else is coming now, hot on the heels of the red-white thing.

Crotchety old neighborhood fairy is old and crotchety.

[x] Head straight to the mansion

Goddamn kids! Someone is getting a dressing down for this!
>> No. 30328
[x] Head straight to the mansion
>> No. 30331
[x] Head straight to the mansion
>> No. 30339
File 124732974961.jpg - (470.58KB , 620x877 , KO.jpg ) [iqdb]
30339
>[x] Head straight to the mansion

I'm not sure what comes over me. I'm worried for everyone at the mansion, but more than that, I feel... well, singed, for one thing. But angry! Angry! What did I ever do to them? I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more! If I still had sleeves, I'd roll them up right now. Taking flight, I--fall on my rear. Ow. Okay, my wings got a little crisp, maybe I need a running start. I get some distance, then jog towards the lake, leap, and...!

...And now I'm soaking wet again.

Of course you realize, this means war. I guess I'm hoofing it.

Trudging towards the mansion takes a long time. I'm a slow walker. The sun is a hazy disc above this thick fog by the time I can finally see the gate...mangled and blasted inward. Meiling!

I see her, slumped against the mansion wall itself, a furrow carved through the stones marking where she hit the ground and kept sliding. Her hair cascades over her face, masking her eyes. She isn't moving.

"Meiling! Meiling!"

"Mn... Kazuki?" I release a long-held breath. She's okay. I try to help pull her up. She looks pretty beat.

"I--nf--see you ran into them, too." I nod. I guess I probably don't look much better. "They're here because of the mist. I hate to be a bother, but...do you think you could...check on everyone for me?" I can only manage to nod again. "Tell the Mistress I...apologize...for...letting them..." ...Meiling? Meiling? ...Oh, she's only asleep. ...Who sleeps after a thrashing?

...Sleep well, Chinese girl. The front door yawns open with a heavy creak and I slip inside. I stop as I slowly push it closed again and my eyes adjust to the dim interior lighting.

I need to think. There's no telling if I could run into those two again. The maids might be up in force and repelling intruders--even me. I could be sneaky. I could be tricky. I could be brash. What tricks and skills do I have that could help me through...?

[ ]
>> No. 30341
[x] You could be brash! Full of outrage and righteous indignation!

We're the victim of a fly-by curtain shooting! We have to stand up to Oppression and the Man for all the little fairies who couldn't be here because someone burned their wings off!
>> No. 30342
>What tricks and skills do I have that could help me through...?
Undefined protagonist abilities?

[X] I can always rely on my uncanny ability to convince people of things.

All points into Bluff. All of them.
>> No. 30343
[X] I can always rely on my uncanny ability to convince people of things.
>> No. 30344
[x] You could be brash! Full of outrage and righteous indignation!

I want to see the reactions to this.
>> No. 30345
[X] I can always rely on my uncanny ability to convince people of things.

This actually seems plausible, in my strange little world.
>> No. 30346
{X} I can always rely on my uncanny ability to convince people of things.
>> No. 30348
File 124735685919.jpg - (106.40KB , 540x500 , Mukyu.jpg ) [iqdb]
30348
I couldn't get the idea of the hotblooded little fairy out of my head, so it's being written into the winner proper. I'm weak.

>[X] I can always rely on my uncanny ability to convince people of things.
"S-stop where you are!" I hear a squeak.

I'm confronted by two fairy maids, resolutely standing before a great banister staircase. One has her hands out, no doubt ready to shower me with danmaku. The other one is brandishing a broom. That's more cute than threatening, but then being whomped with one is so much no fun.

Okay, deep breath, resist the smile creeping up on me as I turn around, and pour on the magic. "Hey!" I bark. Both of them jump. "Watch your posture! Straighten your apron! Don't slouch, straighten up! The pride of this household lies on your shoulders! You're the first thing people see when they come in, you had best make a good impression!" They exchange a nervous glance.

"B-but, the mansion is under attack..." ventures the one with the broom.

"Well of course it's under attack! Do I look like I just stepped out of the bath?!" I pace back and forth, giving them a critical eye. "I gave 'em hell, though!" I plant my foot on the dais of a statue and point dramatically into the sky. "They won't soon forget the day they crossed Kazuki the Apple-picker!"

The one with the broom has stars in her eyes. The other slowly puts her hands down in utter bewilderment. The title thing gets them every time. I nod as if satisfied. "Right. I'm going in to check on things."

"But--the head maid told us to guard the front entrance..." one of them mumbles.

"Too right! But the invaders are in there, and you're out here. And more importantly, so am I!" I say this all briskly even as I make my way to the doors leading out of the foyer, deeper into the mansion.

"Now chin up! Show no fear! Do your mistress proud! And remember; always carry yourself with dignity! You are the face of this Scarlet Devil Mansion!" With that, I leave them behind and venture in once more. One of them is saluting.

Okay, now... Meiling asked me to check and see who was hurt. Given the damage they caused getting in in the first place, I'm going to look for a trail of carnage.

It doesn't take long to find. Slumped against the walls are an army of the recently-beaten, moaning fairies, rubbing sore shoulders and plucking out the occasional needles. If they're inclined to stop me, they certainly don't have the energy. The path of destruction leads through a maze of twisting hallways. The pattern breaks with an open door with a few books spilling through. A quick peek inside tells me I've found the library. And the upturned shelves, scorch marks, and craters tell me the fight came through here. I slip inside quietly.

This place... it feels infinite. I can barely see the far wall. Shelves, endless shelves, thousands of thousands of books. My hands twitch a little as I think about all the things I could learn. And I feel the color in my cheeks rise a little as I remember the treatment I got the last time I ventured to ask. I don't doubt that hostile librarian fought when she caught intruders in here. ...I think I hear someone. Faint, dry wheezing from someplace over to my left, behind some shelves. And something else...bustling around and clattering.

[ ] I may never get a chance like this again! Grab some books! Fight the librarian!
[ ] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.
[ ] Other
>> No. 30349
>>30348
[X] Grab some books! Fight the librarian!
>> No. 30350
[X] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.

Dashing and courageous, bringing only honor and manly tears to the uniform, we are more than just a fairy!
>> No. 30351
[x] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.

We're not here for books, not today.
>> No. 30352
[X] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.
>> No. 30353
[X] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.
>> No. 30355
[X] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.
>> No. 30356
[x] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.
>> No. 30361
[x] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.
>> No. 30366
File 124742297079.jpg - (345.78KB , 485x630 , Little Devil.jpg ) [iqdb]
30366
>[X] I told Meiling I would check on everyone. I'll check on Miss Elemental Harvester.

...No. I shouldn't. I'm a good little fairy. But I reserve my right to be cranky. With one last longing gaze at those shelves, I make my way towards the wheezing. Behind yet more shelves, almost forming a little room, I find the librarian lying on a pile of books, gasping and short of breath. With her back turned to me, rifling through things on a table is a red-haired woman in a black blouse. I can't help but notice the two sets of bat wings fluttering a little. I freeze up a bit when--Patchouli, that was her name--locks eyes with me. I think she recognizes me.

"Kh--" she rasps, "Khho--" The red-haired woman turns and sees me. And before I can blink she's standing between me and the librarian, arm outstretched. Now that I can see her up close, she looks tired. I guess she must have been fighting as well. I'm not here to fight, though. I raise my hands.

"Easy there," I start, "I'm not here to cause trouble." ...Okay, so I'm not surprised that she's not convinced. "I'm a friend of Meiling's. She asked me to come make sure everyone was all right." I lean to one side to get a look at Patchouli. "So...are you?"

The guardian turns and looks back at her for a moment, and then lowers her hands. I do the same. "Miss Patchouli is well, but tired. She has difficulty breathing after intense activity." Does everyone in this place talk like that? "I am her familiar and attendant, Koakuma."

"Koakuma? You mean like--" "Yes." Oh. I guess she gets that question a lot.

"I like it. Nice, fairy-like name." Hey, she cracked a smile. "Thanks."

"Well, if there's nothing else, I guess I should go. Or..."

[ ] Ask what she was looking for.
[ ] Offer to help. Maybe you can get on the librarian's good side.
[ ] Leave. You still need to check on everyone, and those two invaders are still in here somewhere.
[ ] Other
>> No. 30368
[ ] Ask what she was looking for.
[ ] Offer to help. Maybe you can get on the librarian's good side.
>> No. 30369
[X] Leave. You still need to check on everyone, and those two invaders are still in here somewhere.

Maybe if we hurry, we'll actually catch up with the duo.
>> No. 30371
[X] Leave. You still need to check on everyone, and those two invaders are still in here somewhere.
>> No. 30372
[x] Offer to help, but only if it's urgent. You still need to check on everyone.
>> No. 30373
[X] Leave. You still need to check on everyone, and those two invaders are still in here somewhere.
>> No. 30375
File 124744130572.jpg - (554.20KB , 1250x500 , The Usual Suspects.jpg ) [iqdb]
30375
>[X] Leave. You still need to check on everyone, and those two invaders are still in here somewhere.

...No, forget it. I don't know my way around this place, and no telling if the librarian will be in a foul mood once she catches her breath. Koakuma can handle it, and I bet that's exactly the way her master prefers it.

"Yeah, I'm going to go and check on the others. It was nice to meet you, Koakuma. And, um, feel better," I remember to add over my shoulder at Patchouli. Her eyes follow me until I'm out of sight. The heavy door shuts behind me with an equally weighty click.

Now that I think about it, though, who is there? Remilia mentioned Meiling, Patchouli, her head maid, and her little sister, and then there's the lady herself. Of course, the trouble is I have no idea where any of them would be. I do know where to find Remilia, assuming she's in her bedchamber. It takes me a little while to pick up the trail again. The maids have cleared out, now, and it's just signs that the fight came through. I'm never going to catch up like this, but it gives me a path to follow, and a path leads someplace.

[ ] Follow the path the two took.
[ ] Go find Remilia.
[ ] Try to get my bearings! Maybe if I can find a map or convince a maid to give me directions...
[ ] Maybe I can see something from outside looking in.
[ ] Go aimlessly wandering looking for [Sakuya/Remi's little sister]
[ ] Other

Tiny updates are tiny. I'll try to make up for the little posts with a few more tonight, if there are sufficient voters.
>> No. 30376
[X] Follow the path the two took. What's the worst that could happen?
>> No. 30377
[x] Go find Remilia.
>> No. 30378
[X] Follow the path the two took. What's the worst that could happen?
>> No. 30379
[x] Follow the path the two took.

Anyone who needs checking on should be on this path. And I have no idea what we'd do if we were with Remi when they showed up, Reimu's clearly in DESTROY ALL OBSTACLES mode until she ends this incident.
>> No. 30380
[X] Follow the path the two took. What's the worst that could happen?
>> No. 30381
File 124744826269.jpg - (185.76KB , 571x800 , gravity wut.jpg ) [iqdb]
30381
>[X] Follow the path the two took. What's the worst that could happen?

I've got no idea if they know where they're going. But wherever they're going, I know where they've been. That's using your noggin! Onward!

Halls and paths crisscross through the mansion as I follow the signs of battle. Twisty passages take me deep inside, far from the windows and sunlight. Soon the light is dim, flickering down the halls from candles on the walls. It's spooky, and it's not long before I find myself feeling nervous again. I'm hardly the threat here, but that doesn't reassure me--I am not the scariest thing in this mansion, not by a longshot.

On and on and on I go. I don't know how long it's been. I feel this dead weight in the pit of my stomach. How long do these passageways go? I'm pretty light on my feet, but I still can't help but wince with my uneven gait causing a muffled racket (for a fairy, anyway) on the carpet. This is insane. There's no way this much hallway could fit into this place. But still the tracks go on and on and on and on...

I emerge, blinking, into a brightly lit room. It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust after all the dark hallways. ...I sort of wish they hadn't when I notice the furniture is on the ceiling. Table, chairs, a china cabinet... This room is giving me vertigo, not to mention the creeps. I give my wings a quick flutter and I manage to get a little altitude-it's sore, but I can fly a little bit by now. I head up and look at the table, a teapot hanging upside-downedly on a cozy like gravity still made sense. Maybe it's glued on or bolted down? I pull a chair. Feels heavy... and with some backward motion, I 'lift' it. I let go... and it falls up. This room is giving me a headache I'm getting out of here before I start hallucinating like a turkey leg behind the wallsconces or something. And we're walking, and we're walking...

...I hear murmuring. The moment of fear is replaced by a flood of relief as I realize it's more of the downed maids. I'm catching up again. Hustling now, I see them, resting against the wall in a line.

"Everyone okay?" They seem too weary to be wary and simply nod. "How long has it been since they came through here?"

"'They?' We only saw one." Oh great, they've split up? One of them speaks up, twiddling the tip of a bent wing in her fingers. "It was a little while ago--I'm not sure how long. I think they must be going after the mistress."

"Which one was it you saw? There's a red-white one, and a black-white one."

"The red-white," she mutters, "She seems really in a hurry." My stomach drops again. I'm kind of scared of that one. But I'm a fairy on a mission. ...The mission can wait a minute. I have to know something.

"What is up with these crazy hallways? There's no way they'd all fit in here." That elicits a giggle from them.

"It's the head maid," their spokesfairy explains, "to help defend the mansion she manipulates timespace." Oh, okay, that makes perfe

"THE HEAD MAID CAN MANIPULATE TIMESPACE?" This mansion. Sheesh. Throwing up my hands, I start off again.

"You're through the worst of it," she calls after me. "Once you get to the windowed halls again it's a fairly straight shot!"

Well, I'm feeling better after however long it's been, at least. I could probably risk flying to try and catch up, though my wings might cut out on me when I need them if I do. On the other hand, I really don't know if I want to catch up. Walking would give me more time to catch my breath.

[ ] Gun it!
[ ] ...Take it easy.
[ ] Other
>> No. 30382
File 124745132340.jpg - (53.13KB , 309x288 , castrol-use-your-dipstick.jpg ) [iqdb]
30382
[X] ...Take it easy.

We're a complete hindrance, and being able to get out of the way would be better than an idiot rush.

Also,
>That's thinkin' with your dipstick!
>> No. 30383
[X] Gun it!

FOR GREAT JUSTICE!!!!
>> No. 30384
[X] ...Take it easy.
>> No. 30385
[X] ...Take it easy.
>> No. 30386
[X] ...Take it easy.
>> No. 30387
File 124746350425.jpg - (945.73KB , 620x877 , Meidowned.jpg ) [iqdb]
30387
>[X] ...Take it easy.

Discretion is the better part of valor. Whatever that means. Take it slow, expend resources only when I have to. I survived the days when youkai really ate people, and humans hunted them down in response. And I did it by being cautious and a little clever. It distinguishes me from just another fairy, to be a little snooty. No sense rushing into things. Thus reassured, I walk on.

Sure enough, the trail continues through the twisting hallways and finally one final doorway intersects with a long, long hallway, with great windows spanning nearly from the carpeted floor to the arched ceiling. Hazy orange sunlight filters in and I can just make out the disc behind distant mountains. Is it that late already? How long was I in those passages?

I'm started out of my reverie by another great rumble, and I see something that sends me running to the windows, pressing my face up to the glass.

I can see the main tower from here, and I can see a great angry bolt of red climbing into the sky. It filters out slowly, and I see two figures take to the air.

I think one is the red-white, but I can't be sure. The other, of course, is Remilia. There's no question. Gone are the little, ineffectual wings, and in their place are two simply massive black pinions, bearing her aloft in graceful sweeps I swear I can hear from here. Rising in a lazy turn, I see strands of white and red that look like ribbons wrapped around her hands, streaming out in all directions and filtering out of existence meters from her slender frame. And shining in the setting sun is a great, broad-headed spear, crimson arcing down the haft.

It's beautiful.

I stand there, staring, until I realize the fight has started, and lances of energy are dancing in the evening sky. Got to get going, and I still haven't found--

"Sakuya?!" I don't believe it. She walks unevenly down the hall from Remilia's tower, uniform a mess. Revealed on one thigh is a concealed sheathe, and whatever weapon (a knife, maybe?) it held is long gone. Bracing herself against the wall she unsteadily makes her way over... humming.

"Oh, it's Master Kazuki. Good evening, sir. I see you encountered them as well."

"Yeah, this morning... more pressingly, are you okay?"

"Yes, I apologize for my state of appearance." Priorities, lady!

"Well, uh. Miss Scarlet is fighting the red-white..." "Yes, I saw. And her name is Reimu Hakurei." That sounds familiar. Should I recognize it? She goes on. "I'm sorry to say it's out of my hands now. She bested me handily not long ago. Now I must place my trust in my lady, and in fate." She places some emphasis on that word.

"I'm a little worried," I admit, "I've been following their trail since I got in, and they've left a trail of destruction and crispy maids in their path."

"Is that so? I had wondered where the staff had gone. I underestimated just how long the fight has lasted. I suppose I had best go and round them up."

"Round them up? For what?" She smiles.

"Why, to begin cleaning up the mess they made," she says grandly. I just. What.

"...You just got the beating of your life and you want to start doing chores?" I ask, bewildered.

"Well, the mansion needs it, does it not?" I turn and look at the path of destruction. Okay, maybe she has a point there. Still, she's crazy. This whole place is crazy. I must be crazy too, or I wouldn't have come. I laugh a little, despite myself.

[ ] Assist Sakuya in gathering the maids, and cleaning the mansion.
[ ] Forget cleaning. Make the lunatic sit down!
[ ] Ask about the other one, that black-white.
[ ] Remi's still fighting! Hurry!
>> No. 30389
[X] Assist Sakuya in gathering the maids, and cleaning the mansion.
[X] Keep a close eye on her, in case she needs medical attention.

If she insists.
>> No. 30390
[ ] Remi's still fighting! Hurry!
>> No. 30391
[ ] Remi's still fighting! Hurry!
>> No. 30393
[x] Remi's still fighting! Hurry!

Let's botch up the big damn heroes moment.
>> No. 30394
[x] Remi's still fighting! Hurry!
>> No. 30397
>>30387
[X] Ask about the other one, that black-white.
>> No. 30398
[x] Remi's still fighting! Hurry!
>> No. 30402
[X] Ask about the other one, that black-white.
[X] Try the basement.
>> No. 30403
[X] Ask about the other one, that black-white.
>> No. 30404
> Try the basement.

Haha no.
>> No. 30405
File 124752146537.jpg - (631.29KB , 715x1000 , dead parrot.jpg ) [iqdb]
30405
>[X] Remi's still fighting! Hurry!

Sakuya will be okay. I think. Maybe. I'm worried about Remilia.

"I'm going to go on ahead. If you're looking for your maids, I'd suggest following the path they took and checking rooms near it if they've pulled themselves up."

"I will. Thank you, Master Kazuki." And so we part ways. Behind me she begins humming again as she totters away. I take flight, moving as fast as my burnt wings let me. Windows flicker by as the light quickly fades outside. My shoulders yell protest as the light grows darker...and then brighter. I glance out the windows as I rocket by. It's the moon. Bright and as red as everything else in this mansion, it's the largest moon I can remember seeing. The light blooms in the halls, glittering off discarded knives littering the floor below. Everything is washed blood red tonight in that glow.

I've lost track of time again soaring through. It feels like this is taking hours, but I know somewhere in the back of my head it's because the goal's in sight. Outside, the tower grows closer as the moon climbs. Finally it disappears from view as I glide around a corner, and--there. The stairs up. They blur together beneath me and I go up, and up, and up. The chamber doors are thrown open and I dive through, turning sideways, coming out of the roll as I clear the balcony doors. They're both up there. The sound is distant and faint, but the light of their battle crisscrosses the night sky. ...Well, I'm here.

Okay...

Slowly, in case my wings cut out, I ascend. I doubt they can even see me. The fight's gotten intense. I suddenly have to bank to one side to avoid a stray blast from one of them. One or two become six or seven and soon it's everything I can do to avoid them. Cascades of amulets and brilliant rays rain down. At this rate, I'm going to get shot down, never mind those two. Suddenly, that's a non-issue. Remilia's going down.

Those sail-like wings have been shot to pieces, spiraling around her as she plummets in a tailspin. Before the thought of trying to catch her has even parsed, she's already past me. All I can do is turn and dive after her. Angled into a full dive, she hits the balcony, smashes straight through it, and tumbles to earth. She hits, bounces, skids, and trailing dust, her little body comes to a stop amidst the rubble of the balcony. I hit the ground running a few seconds after, Reimu Hakureis and crazy mansions forgotten.

"Remilia! Remilia!" ...I can't believe it. She's hauling herself up after that, a bloodied show of defiance. She doesn't even look at me. Her eyes are fixed skyward, at the distant dot of the victor.

"Oh, hello, Kazuki. It's good to see you." That formal tone has vanished. She sounds all business, like her head is still in the game up there. My disbelief shows through in my tone. "Are you all right?!"

"I'm used to it," she mutters, "I'm French."

"That's not what I asked. I asked if you were all right."

Her eyes widen slightly, and she's quiet a moment. Was I too brash...?

"...Yes, Kazuki, I'm all right. Thank you." She finally looks away from Reimu and nods to me. I swear, I think she's grinning. We share a quick glance and then both of us look back up. Reimu is flying closer.

[ ] Yell at her! She shot you down!
[ ] Yell at her! She beat up EVERYONE!
[ ] Keep your distance. She's scary.
[ ] See what she has to say.
[ ] Other
>> No. 30406
[X] Yell at her! She beat up EVERYONE!

Joik.
>> No. 30407
[x] Yell at her! She shot you down!
>> No. 30408
[X] Yell at her! She beat up EVERYONE!
>> No. 30409
[X] Yell at her! She beat up EVERYONE!
>> No. 30410
[X] Yell at her! She beat up EVERYONE!

"You bitch! Yoooouuuu biiiitch!!!"
>> No. 30411
>"I'm used to it," she mutters, "I'm French."

I laughed.

[x] Yell at her! She shot you down!
>> No. 30413
>>30405
[X] Yell at her! She beat up EVERYONE!
>> No. 30414
File 124753805693.jpg - (129.08KB , 547x645 , tea and friendship.jpg ) [iqdb]
30414
>[X] Yell at her! She shot you down!
>[X] Yell at her! She beat up EVERYONE!

As she floats down, I get my first good look at Hakurei. She's a shrine maiden (THAT'S where I remember the name from). In one hand is a slightly crooked gohei stick, and I realize she doesn't look so hot herself--I guess an entire day of taking on an entire mansion leaves its mark. Her face seems exasperated rather than smug.

"Now that that's over with," she says in a world-weary, put-upon tone, "Will you finally go and--"

"You set me on fire," I say quietly.

"...What?"

"You set me, on [/i]fire.[/i]"

I point at her. She just stares.

"You set everyone on fire. Who in their right mind flies around tearing things up without so much as a word of warning? I was just minding my own business this morning and you set me on fire. What's wrong with you?"

Blank staring. I feel the heat rising and my mouth feels dry. I keep going, still.

"So Remilia made it a little foggy out. That doesn't give you carte-blanche to blast a hole from here to the far side of the lake! And ooh, nobody really gets hurt, so danmaku is okay, no! No danmaku is not okay! I bet half the fairies you wrecked today are going to have a complex because of it! You will give them a perpetual, crippling fear of sweeping the floor because they were just doing their jobs and you came in and you set them on fire. Who knows how many were just going to see, 'hey, what's going on over there?' A lot, I bet! Some of us don't have fancy exploding paper, or--" with a grunt I yank one of those needles out of my side (why didn't I do that earlier?) and flick it at her. "fancy throwing thingies or giant glowy orbs or one iota of actual combat experience."

"And as for the people you actually had business with do you know how overboard you went? Meiling passed out against the wall, you apparently drove the head maid insane, you managed to give the librarian a conniption fit, and you cooked the wings of every fairy you came across do you know how much we hate that?"

"I don't care what your business was, today you have behaved like a colossal jerk and it's probably going to cost millions to fix the mess you made to say nothing of injured pride and you've beaten the stuffing out of a bunch of my friends and you set me on fire."

I spend a few seconds doubled over catching my breath. Remilia and Reimu don't say a word. ...Finally, the shrine maiden cracks a smile. Remilia starts laughing.

"Feel better?" she asks as the vampire continues giggling hysterically.

"...Yes, actually." I think I needed that.

"I'm sorry." Reimu's shoulders slump as the last of the tension slips away and she gives a gentle, tired smile. I suddenly realize I've been walking all day, since I got up, and it all hits me right there.

"Well," Remi sits up, wiping away tears, "I guess that's my loss. Now, shall I put on some tea...?"

I've never had this kind of tea before. You can put in sugar and milk and it's a little bit like drinking candy. The trouble seems all over, and here I am, having a friendly drink with its two instigators in a debris-strewn courtyard beneath a scarlet moon. I'm introduced to Reimu as 'a friend of the mansion.' I like that.

I'm about ready to go to sleep, but a few questions are still nagging at me. Questions for Remilia. Questions about Reimu. About what's happened today. Questions like...

[ ]
>> No. 30415
X] Yell at her! She beat up EVERYONE!
>> No. 30418
[x] "So why did you attack, Reimu?"
[x] "Where'd the black-white one go?"

Commas, they are your friends :P
>> No. 30419
[x] "So why did you attack, Reimu?"
[x] "Where'd the black-white one go?"
>> No. 30420
[x] "So why did you attack, Reimu?"
[x] "Where'd the black-white one go?"
>> No. 30421
[x] "So, do you usually resolve incidents by maiming everyone you see until one of them happens to be guilty?"
[x] "Where'd the black-white one go?"
>> No. 30422
[x] "So why did you attack, Reimu?"
[x] "Where'd the black-white one go?"
>> No. 30428
File 124759496376.jpg - (23.17KB , 526x743 , The Monster in the Basement.jpg ) [iqdb]
30428
Ha ha ow wow. I love you guys.
>[x] So why did you attack, Reimu?
>[x] "Where'd the black-white one go?"

"So," I ask casually, "do you usually resolve incidents by maiming everyone you see until one of them happens to be guilty?"

"No," she says wryly, "but I make an exception for smartmouthed fairies." Grinning, she takes another sip of her tea and continues. "No, actually, but things tend to go that way anyway. What happened was, I followed the mists through the forest and came to the lake. And, well, I started asking around, and one of the fairies..."

I pull a face. "Wait, don't tell me. Blue dress, blue hair, icicle wings, and a chip on her shoulder?" She nods. I knew it. Cirno is a legend on this lake, and for good reason. On the one hand, there's no denying her power. Among fairies, she really is the strongest. A lot of us see it as an inspiration, someone who can stand up for the little guys. And, of course, on the other hand, she's an idiot.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about her. In a weird way I sort of see her like a daughter, someone I try to watch out for to keep from getting into trouble. She hates that. I know I'm older than her, though not by how much. I'm curious about what makes her so strong, and I have to admit I admire her. Still, all the power in the world doesn't do you much good when your entire philosophy is 'throw ice at it until it goes away.'

"Once I beat her, the rest of them nearby got upset, and well, one thing led to another." I massage my temples. That is so perfectly typical. "Your guess about the fog was spot-on, Kazuki. That mist spread from miles and miles from here, and it was still going."

Remilia chimes in. "I was hoping to obscure the sun enough that I could travel during the day. As it stands I can never be more than a half-day from here before I have to return."

We sit there a moment, when something occurs to me.

"Wait a moment, didn't you come here with someone else?"

"Oh, you mean Marisa? Yeah, she's probably still in the mansion somewhere. We split up after the library. She said she was going to go check out the basement."

Remilia's teacup shatters on the stone. "Oh God," she whispers, eyes wide.

"What is it? What's wrong?"

"My sister is--we have to go and find your friend." Already she's on her feet and heading for the door.

"Eh? Marisa isn't going to hurt her." Reimu stands slowly. I'm already flying after her.

"It's not Flandre I'm worried about," Remi replies as she reaches the door. Something's wrong. She's scared.

"Kazuki, you should stay here. This...you will be in danger."

[ ] She seems serious. "... All right."
[ ] "So what else is new? Let me help."
[ ] "In your condition? Nothing doing."
[ ] Other
>> No. 30429
[X] "So what else is new? Let me help."
>> No. 30430
[X] So what else is new? Let me help.
>> No. 30431
>>30428
[X] "So what else is new? Let me help."
>> No. 30432
[ ] "So what else is new? Let me help."
>> No. 30433
[ ] "So what else is new? Let me help."
>> No. 30434
[x] "So what else is new? Let me help."

We respawn when we're killed, right?
>> No. 30436
[x] "In your condition? Nothing doing."
Manly fairy is manly.
>> No. 30438
>>30434
But without memories. Something like Rei II.
>> No. 30439
File 124762301532.jpg - (33.88KB , 354x347 , cirno wait what.jpg ) [iqdb]
30439
>>30438
>> No. 30441
File 124763298563.png - (22.19KB , 400x500 , the mad god.png ) [iqdb]
30441
>[X] "So what else is new? Let me help."

Flatly, I turn her down. "Remi, I have spent this entire day over my head. I know my limits. I'm still in better shape than either of you, even if I can't fight."

She still looks unsure. "I..."

"I won't blame you, or your sister, for anything that happens to me. I know what I'm getting into."

"No, you don't," the lady replies with a frown, "but you've convinced me. Let's go."

"Can either of you still fly?" They shake their heads. "I can. I'll go on ahead."

"...All right. Take every left turn you see until you see the arched stone door; Sakuya's maze is designed that way for emergencies like this. ...Good luck, Kazuki."

Swallowing hard, I return to that dizzying maze of corridors. Flickering candles leave streaks when I blink as I move with all the speed I can muster. Left, another left, another left. I don't feel the anxiety about missing the entrance--from Remi's description, I can't miss it. Instead I'm wondering about this Flandre. She lives in the basement. The Monster in the Basement. Remilia said she was keeping her sister secret for her own safety. Left, another left, another left. What am I going to do? I can't fight, so subduing someone is out of the question. I doubt I can talk my way out of a fight underway. And why don't I hear anything? Is the fight already over? Left, another left...

There. It looks like it might lead to a wine cellar or something if I didn't know otherwise. The door's closed, and it takes hauling with all my force to push it open. Below lies darkness, and a long spiral stair stretching beyond the edge of my vision. No hesitating, now. As I place a hand on the wall, I realize with a start I can feel vibrations through it from far below.

And it feels warm to the touch. The heat begins rising as I fly lower. This stone must dampen the sound. But it can't mask the vibrations. It grows hotter as I go deeper, and soon the stale air shimmers. Then I come at last to the bottom.

It's the first room in this place that doesn't seem too large; and it's the first time that I wish it was. The walls are cracked and battered. The burning remains of some personal items are thrown around. One wall is still glowing red-hot, smoking from a recent impact. In one corner is the black-white, panting, hair mussed with sweat hanging limp from beneath her hat.

And on the other wall I see her. If it weren't for my heart hammering against my chest I'd be disarmed by her apperance. Cheerful bright colors and a carefree smile on that little girl somehow makes it even more frightening.

"Hey...hey, fairy boy, you shouldn't be here...this is dangero-"

Marisa is interrupted by Flandre Scarlet. She laughed--and for a moment I couldn't tell if she was crying or not. I shudder at the sound.

"Someone new to play with?"

The air around her begins to shimmer and her hands take on a glow.

"... Hey. Black-white." I swallow, hard. "I can't do any damage. It's up to you. I'll...I'll do what I can."

BATTLE STRATEGY: [ ]
Admittedly, I'm cutting it off here to make the conclusion a more conducive, separate piece. Suggest how Kazuki will make his way through and I'll try to incorporate it.
>> No. 30442
Go for the wings!
>> No. 30443
[X] Latch on to the wings and don't let go.
>> No. 30445
Play keep-away with her hat!
>> No. 30453
[x] Distract Flandre anyway you can, taunting, insulting, anything to give Marisa a chance to take her out.
>> No. 30454
[x] Steal her hat
>> No. 30455
[x] Distract Flandre anyway you can, taunting, insulting, anything to give Marisa a chance to take her out.
>> No. 30457
[x] Steal her hat
>> No. 30459
File 124772158723.jpg - (84.94KB , 980x735 , destruction.jpg ) [iqdb]
30459
>[x] Go for the wings!
>[x] Distract Flandre anyway you can, taunting, insulting, anything to give Marisa a chance to take her out.

There's this faint, ringing sort of hum coming from those wings. I think it's the crystals. I guess those will be my target. It'll help keep her distracted.

She throws a palm forward, but I see it coming--I vault, and I can feel the heat pass below. The doors, which I didn't pull shut behind me, are blasted open, slamming against the walls. I guess they're resistant too. But more importantly, I've got an exit.

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, Flandre in the basement can't catch me!" I duck the doorframe and fly out the new exit. I can hear those crystals sing through the air as she pursues me up the stairs.

...Only I didn't fly up the stairs, I hid on the ceiling near the doorjam. I fly down after her, and quickly tap her on the top of the head and run my hand through her wings, producing a jingle like a wind-chime.

"Tag! Cute little vampire who lurks in the dark, who can say if your bite is as bad as your bark?" the rhymey sing-song is awful, but I suppose that's the point. Getting her mad may not be bright, but it's going to keep her distracted.

She whips around, her hand raking through the air inches away as I pull back. I'm feeling a little less worried now. I mean, I'm terrified, but I have room to maneuver in this big stairwell.

"Come here," she mutters, smiling with the devil's teeth.

A spray of bright green energy splashes over her back and she yelps. Marisa's pulled her attention away and that gives me the chance to get my distance again. She deflects an angry red bolt with a magic circle and returns fire with a blue beam of her own. It carves a line up Flandre's side that she doesn't so much as flinch at. Before they break into another slugfest I dive down beneath Flandre and fly between her outstretched arms, knocking her aim askance. I narrowly evade it myself as I dive-roll and land on all fours.

"OoooooooooooOOH! Stop that!"

"Can't~" I kip up and narrowly avoid her fist plunging through the stair. She's quick, but clumsy. Marisa once again showers her with danmaku as she pulls her arm free.

"Why not?!" She almost shrieks as she swipes at me.

"I pro-mised," I chirp. Marisa ducks and loses the top of her hat as Flandre fires wildly. Both take to the air and I keep my distance. Up the stair they fly, trading blasts it hurts to look at.

I dive again and give her wings a tug. They're sharp! Still, I hold on and start straining to get a little distance against her flailing weight before dropping her. But there's a problem even as she tumbles a few steps before taking flight again. We're running out of stair, here. If she gets up top--I need to slow her down--I dive for her an

...aAAH...

Something--my wing. She...

"I had these once," she says quietly as she turns it end over end in her hands.

I can't see her. I fumble for the wall and start pulling myself up. Tearing up, eyes blurry. Burning runs through me as she incinerates my other wing. Hurts...hurts...!

She's saying something. Can't hear. Feeling faint. Blue glow... tired...tired...
>> No. 30460
File 124772164817.png - (293.96KB , 600x390 , flan.png ) [iqdb]
30460
Remilia and Reimu hurried to the basement in heavy, uncomfortable silence.

"They'll be fine," the shrine maiden said, more to herself than anything. "Marisa can take care of herself. And that fairy's pretty plucky."

"Mm. We're almost there." She tried not to think about how bad things could go. Flandre was brought here for her protection, too, but also for everyone else's. Secrecy had been the best defense she had employed, and without that...

"Marisa?!"

At the top of the stairs, clothes burnt and blackened, was the witch, grinning lopsidedly. On her back, sleeping peacefully, was Flandre Scarlet.

"I made a friend," she panted.

"But what about Kazuki?"

Her face fell. "In here..."
>> No. 30461
File 124772179618.png - (444.01KB , 1200x1200 , Manipulation of Fate.png ) [iqdb]
30461
Where am I? Dark. My vision slides back into focus slowly.

...My wings! Frantically I scramble away from Flandre, who--... is not there. What happened? Where is everybody?

...My wings! They're-- not there. Oh man. Oh man. She tore off--!

Big fey don't cry. Big fey don't cry. They'll grow back. Deep breaths...okay. I need to find out what's going on. I'm near the top of those steps. I push it open and blink in the sudden light. It's day. Early afternoon, I think. And--windows? There weren't windows opposite this hall. Is the mansion back to normal...?

Something's out there in the vast courtyard. It looks like there are some long tables set up under tents, with people milling around them.

...Are they throwing a party? Let's go have a look.

As I get closer...slowly...I notice a few familiar shapes. I think I see Meiling there, as well as a few of the maids, and possibly Reimu and that Marisa. And there's this floating blob of darkness bobbing around near the ground. Doesn't seem to lively for a party.

"Hey guys," I call, "What's going on?"

Everyone turns to look. They look kind of--

OOF. I'm clotheslined by a blur of green and red.

"G--good to see you too, Meiling..."

"You're okay! We--we weren't sure--"

"We knew fairies are reborn," comes a formal, and familiar, voice from the ball of darkness, which I now see is hanging under a parasol. It tilts back, and in the dimness inside I can see two red eyes and a smile. "But we did not know how long it would take--or if you would want to be near this mansion after what you saw."

"So we held a memorial in your honor," says Reimu. "It only seemed right."

I sit up in Meiling's lap. She's still holding me. "You...really?"

"Only seemed right, kid." It's the witch. "You saved me back there." She tousles my hair with a smile. Is she crying a little...?

"Nice of you to show up for your own funeral," Reimu says placidly from a little bit back. "And nice to see you again."

"...Tom Sawyer..." I mumble. Then I get a terrible idea. "Remilia!"

"Y-yes? What is it?"

"I...I've never died before. Your sister was the first."

"I am sorry, Kazuki. It was--"

"I need more than an apology!"

I put on my best innocent look.

"Your sister was my first. I hope you'll take responsibility."

There's a moment of silence, before Meiling and Marisa burst out laughing. Reimu chokes on her tea.

Even Remi suppresses a giggle. "I suppose I can arrange that. If you would like, we can give you a room in the mansion. And you will always be welcome here."

"Well? Do you want to have something to eat? It's been a week." Well as a matter of fact, I would.

The 'memorial' lasts a while. Remilia asks me aside as night falls. Tucking away her fancy dark parasol, she holds a hand out. Those ribbons I saw before once again materialize from the air. Red and white, they look like streamers of silk.

"There was one last thing I wanted to ask you. A gift I can offer. These," she pulls gently and the ribbons come taut, "are lines of destiny. I can change them somewhat, and read them. My power is that over fate itself."

It really is something to behold. I don't know what to say. She goes on.

"Fairies are embodiments of nature, I imagine you know. But none but the oldest, or the strongest," I am briefly greeted by the image of that ice fairy. "Start to demonstrate their power. If you wish, I can look into your fate and tell you yours. But fate is a changeable thing. If you wait, and pursue it yourself, you may find in your development it has become something else entirely. Will you...?"

[ ] Figure it out yourself
[ ] Learn your power from Remilia
>> No. 30462
[x] Learn your power from Remilia

What's the point of waiting in case our fate changes if we don't know our fate in the first place? It's a complete unknown either way. Better to know it now and make the most of it.
>> No. 30463
[X] Figure it out yourself

Being told your destiny is boring.
>> No. 30464
[] Figure it out yourself
>> No. 30466
[~] Learn your power from Remilia
Given he's already as old as if not older than the STRONGEST fairy around and has a bit more going on in the term of mental faculties, I'm pretty sure he can pick out that this is a hell of an opportunity. Besides, fate isn't set in stone~
>> No. 30470
[x] Learn your power from Remilia
>> No. 30471
[x] Learn your power from Remilia

Willingness to learn is itself a superpower amongst fairies. And besides, we can always redouble our lessons with Meiling, and that extended tussle with Flandre proves the fairy is a natural pit fighter.

Also, my love for this story shot up two or three notches for this update.
>> No. 30472
[x] Learn your power from Remilia.
>> No. 30478
[X] Learn your power from Remilia
>> No. 30479
[X] Figure it out yourself

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-fulfilling_prophecy
You'll note that a lot of these end in death.
>> No. 30480
>>30479
>Start to demonstrate their power. If you wish, I can look into your fate and tell you yours.

She's not telling him his death or whatever, just what his power specifically happens to be.
>> No. 30481
>>30479
That's because they tend to be fulfilled at the end of the story, and most of them are about dying anyway.
>> No. 30482
>>30481
>>30480
That's not really the point. Whatever she tells us, we're going to strive for, and we're not going to try to expand or change the power because we've already attained our prophecy.
>> No. 30483
>>30482
That's, uh. Kind of the choice we're making. Kind of exactly the choice we're making. It's in the post and everything. I think people know what they're voting for.
>> No. 30484
>>30483
And that sucks!
>> No. 30485
File 12478102092.jpg - (85.61KB , 720x487 , Stage One CLEAR.jpg ) [iqdb]
30485
>[x] Learn your power from Remilia

I have to think about it a minute. Do I want to know? Curiosity is a very fairy-like impulsivity. Somethi--

...You know what? I am a fairy. And I'm damn curious. Brimming with anticipation, I swallow and make my choice.

"Okay, tell me."

She smiles. Taking one of the ribbons, she lays it over her arms and closes her eyes.

"You are...change. Kazuki, you have the power to bring change wherever you go. Alteration, forward progress, development, transforming things from what they are to what they should be. With your attention, I see you will be able to manipulate and control this to some extent, though wherever you go you will always cause a little of your own brand of chaos. Though limited in scope, the application of this power will be broad. And with time, you can change more and more, of yourself, of others, of Gensokyo."

And with that she opens her eyes. The ribbons slowly fade away.

"I suppose that does not surprise me. What do you think?"

"I think I have some practicing to do."

THE END

ACHIEVEMENTS UNLOCKED!
Encroachment of Sylph's Discovery: Caused EoSD
Master of Disguise: Failed so hard you won
My Name Is: Named your fairy
Interview with a Vampire: Had dinner with Remilia
Mikowned: Caught in the crossfire of a danmaku fight
For the Trickster Like Me: Fast-talking fairy
By Any Other Name: Learned your fairy's title
Hotblood: Righteous indignant rant on Reimu
The Monster in the Basement: Came to Marisa's rescue
Huckleberry Fairy: Crashed your own funeral
Changer of Ways: Learned your power

Thank everyone for reading, and I'm intending to do a second part with Kazuki. And what that will entail, exactly will depend on you.

Do you want to take Remilia up on her offer and live in the mansion? Or do you want to sleep under the stars, like before? Perhaps some of both?

Would you like to go on having a hand in major Gensokyo events, watching the fairy progress? Or would you like a timeskip to 'modern' Gensokyo, where Kazuki's skills will already have been developed?

And as an aside, this was my first story here. Did you like it? Any suggestions for what I could do better?

Last of all, thank you for reading and voting. I had a ton of fun, and I hope you did too.
>> No. 30486
+55 T.A.P.

>Do you want to take Remilia up on her offer and live in the mansion? Or do you want to sleep under the stars, like before? Perhaps some of both?
[X] Both
Wanderer style?

>Would you like to go on having a hand in major Gensokyo events, watching the fairy progress? Or would you like a timeskip to 'modern' Gensokyo, where Kazuki's skills will already have been developed?
[X] No Timeskip
That's where all the fun is!

>And as an aside, this was my first story here. Did you like it? Any suggestions for what I could do better?
I liked it. I think one-thread stories are cool, and easier to track. See if you can keep it like this.
>> No. 30487
>Do you want to take Remilia up on her offer and live in the mansion? Or do you want to sleep under the stars, like before? Perhaps some of both?

Both. Sometimes we'll sleep in our room. Sometimes we'll sleep on the lawn. Sometimes the roof or a sofa or the carpet (again) or maybe we won't even sleep at all. He's s fairy. and inconsistency is his middle name.

>Would you like to go on having a hand in major Gensokyo events, watching the fairy progress? Or would you like a timeskip to 'modern' Gensokyo, where Kazuki's skills will already have been developed?

We're change, so we should be causing incidents or preventing them from happening in the first place. Kazuki already played the catalyst to ESOD: The proof is in the pudding as far as I'm concerned. I do think the journey as (if not, more) important as the end result, so no timeskip.

>And as an aside, this was my first story here. Did you like it? Any suggestions for what I could do better?

One thing is to capitalize on the protagonist's nature as a fairy. You did that with the funeral, which was good, almost RAN-like. I would include more derision and surprise from strangers in just how human his intelligence is. Fairies are ubiquitous in Gensokyo, but everyone beats on them because they're cowardly and weak individually, which only seems to increase their tendency to fuck up or run away. The fairies of Gensokyo need a demagogue, like the shrine maiden is of the humans, and Yukari is of the youkai. Cirno while immensely powerful for a fairy, is too self-absorbed and dumb to ever take up the reins.

And yes, it was an interesting read.
>> No. 30488
I love it. Not sure exactly what, but part of it has to do with the narration style.

Also: both, and no timeskip.
>> No. 30490
>Changer of Ways
Turns out Tzeentch is a fairy, who'd of guessed?

[x] Both
[x] No timeskip
>> No. 30491
[X] Both
[X] No timeskip
>> No. 30492
[X] Both
[X] No timeskip
>> No. 30950
... well that was stupid. IGNORE ME.