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33341 No. 33341
Huh. So I'm actually doing it. Not my first story, hell, not even my first fanfiction, but definitely my first CYOA and easily the first story that I've been motivated, really motivated, to write in ages.

So. Let's start.

Oh, and by the way, though choices will generally be handled as "option with the most votes wins", this can be subverted occasionally in the face of a particularly epic argument in favor of an option or a particularly epic write-in (yes, write-ins are not only allowed, they're encouraged, as is any feedback you might want to give - I haven't written anything in ages and would dearly like to know how well I'm doing at any given moment).

But anyways, I digress. On with the story.

-----------

The cold chill seeps into your bones, your mouth sputtering out spit and half-melted slush as you work to extricate your slender body from the snow that had started to pile up on your once-prone form. Panic assails you, the first emotion in an otherwise blank mind, and your green eyes widen as the only thing they see is white, the white of your ornate dress, of the thin, useless gloves that cover your freezing hands, and of the cold frost that surrounds you, an impossible snowscape that seems to go on forever.

But as your gaze casts out, something interrupts your vision, a glimmer of gold and silver underneath the snow. Instinctively, you reach out to grab it, and find yourself holding the ornate hilt of what you know is a rapier.

'Weapon,' your dazed mind provides as you stand up on shaky knees and pull out the sword from the snow with a practiced ease you had no idea you possessed, 'weapon keeps you safe.'

But even as you grip the hilt with as much strength as your weak left hand can provide, neither the fear nor the cold leave your heart. Neither does the uncontrollable shivering that assails your battered body as you miserably pull clumps of snow from your messy blonde hair.

But at least, as you look around yourself, you realize that the snowscape is by no means infinite - behind you lies the ominous edge of a forest. A short walk in front of you, glittering in the morning sun, the frozen form of a small lake crossed by a long stone bridge. And beyond that, the tiny, dark shape of a tall structure that you can't quite make out.

Words begin to form in your mind, turning into a torrent of questions.

'Who am I?' 'Where am I?' 'What am I?'

You have a name, of that much you're sure.

You're human. You know how to talk, walk, think. You know that cold is bad and fire burns. You know what the sword in your hand is for and the purpose served by your long white dress.

But besides these basic concepts, you're... empty.

The fear that had lingered in your mind turns into dread as the truth, which had long been nagging at you, finally sinks in.

You're a blank slate. You have no memory, no idea of why you're here or where here is in the first place, and you don't know who you are.

You shiver. The cold bites harder into your bare shoulders and neck, and your elegant white gloves can't hide the fact that your stiff fingers are starting to freeze. 'Move,' your body urges you. It doesn't matter where, it doesn't matter that you don't know where you are, moving in any direction is better than standing out in the cold.

Once again, you gaze around you. The forest behind you only fills you with foreboding - it has a dark feeling to it, and the tree cover is so thick it feels like you wouldn't even be able to see the sun if you went in. Not willing to brave it, you set your sights forward, and begin walking towards the lake. The trip is short, taking you less than ten minutes, but in the cold that feels like so much more.
Grimly, it dawns of you that if you don't find any shelter soon, you'll freeze to death.

As you reach the start of the bridge, the building in the horizon begins to blur into focus, taking the shape of something that appears to be a large house. And large houses mean shelter, that much you know. With shaky steps, you begin the task of crossing the bridge, trying not to slip on the thin sheet of ice that covers the stone. At one point, you almost do, and with a shriek you only barely manage to hang on to the stone railing for support. Hastily, you pull yourself together, left hand still gripping your rapier with a stiffness born thanks to the cold and your own strength. Then, just as you're well on your feet...

...a huge snowball smacks you in the face. The painful impact sends you reeling, and you stumble on the slippery stone of the bridge once more, falling and hitting the floor with a pained yell, your vision suddenly obscured by a cloud of white.

"Who... who did that!?" You rasp out the first words you've uttered since you woke up as you try to stand up without letting go of your rapier, slipping twice before managing to get back on your feet. A shrill, childish giggle fills your ears, and as you finally wipe all of the snow from your face, you see that somebody is blocking your path.

"It is I! It was my doing!"

She looks like a very young, very short teenage girl, fourteen at the most generous. She's clad in a pretty blue dress with matching blue ribbon and Mary Janes. But that's where the normality stops. The girl's hair is blue, and in utter defiance of gravity six long shards of ice float behind her back, forming what could only be called wings. Her right hand holds yet another snowball, arm drawn back for the throw. Her left points at you with an imperious finger as she glares at you with striking blue eyes. Just what is this girl?

'Fairy,' your mind instinctively provides. Something that would be useful, if you knew what a fairy was.

"Who... who are you?" you stutter out, bringing your rapier slightly forward. "What are you?"

The 'fairy' looks at you as if you'd grown a second head, but her expression quickly turns into one of indignation. "What do you mean who am I?" she shouts, balling her left hand into a fist, "I swear humans get dumber by the day, compared to my genius! I'm the ice fairy Cirno, human, and I am the strongest!"

You bring your right hand to your forehead, massaging your temples. You really don't have time for this. "Look," you mutter, trying to reason with the girl, "I don't care about the snowball, really. But... won't... won't you let me pass? I'm lost, and-"

"No!" Cirno interrupts, bringing her foot down on the floor for emphasis. "Did you think I threw that snowball at you for fun?"

You just stare blankly at her, trembling and mortified. She blinks, pausing for a second.

"Alright," she admits of her own accord, "maybe I did! But there's another reason, human! You haven't paid..."

Her face darkens dramatically, and she began to bounce her snowball on her hand.

"...the toll!"

"T-toll?" you manage to stutter out as another wave of cold air makes your whole body shiver, "what toll? I-I don't have any money..."

Cirno lets out an exasperated sigh, like someone dealing with a particularly stupid child. "What do you mean what toll?" she begins, "Don't you know that ever since this morning, I declared that this bridge belongs to me, Cirno? After all, that tengu rag I read yesterday says that the strongest people in the outside world have the most territory, so that means that I have to have lots of territory too, because I'm the strongest!"

"The... the strongest what, exactly?" The question comes unbidden from your lips, and you instantly know that you really, really shouldn't have asked it, because it looks like you touched a nerve. As she hears the question, Cirno's face turns red, and she glares
at you as she tries to sputter out an answer.

"I... I... eye... what do you mean the strongest what!? I'm the strongest, period, and also the geniusest! Anybody who says otherwise is an idiot! Take this, idiot!"

Her right arm snaps back and then forward, and another snowball flies at your face.

It happens in an instant. Without you so much as thinking, your left arm moves, the rapier flashes through the air, and the snowball is cut in half without ever coming close to your face.

There is a pause. All you can do is stop and stare. How did you do that?

Cirno herself looks thoughtful for a moment before giving you a wicked smirk. "Ooh, it looks like the idiot knows how to fight!" Her smile turns fierce. "Alright idiot, let's do this!"

Without further ado, she draws a thin slip of red paper from the pocket of her dress. The thing is glowing. For a moment, trepidation fills your heart, but then you feel your body move once more of its own accord, dropping into what you assume is a combat stance.

'Am I... am I really going to do this?'

-------

Options:

[] Yes! Forget the fear, forget the fact you're freezing! Your body knows what it's doing! You can get through this!

[] Haha, no. Turn back and run. Better safe than sorry. This girl looks pretty goofy, but in truth you have no idea what she could do to you. Besides, you were freezing just a moment ago! How can you fight like this?

[] Write-in.

>> No. 33343
[x] Yes! Forget the fear, forget the fact you're freezing! Your body knows what it's doing! You can get through this!

Hmmmmm
>> No. 33344
[x] Yes! Forget the fear, forget the fact you're freezing! Your body knows what it's doing! You can get through this!
>> No. 33348
[x] Yes! Forget the fear, forget the fact you're freezing! Your body knows what it's doing! You can get through this!
Let's see...
>> No. 33349
[x] Yes! Forget the fear, forget the fact you're freezing! Your body knows what it's doing! You can get through this!
>> No. 33350
[X] Leave me alone.
[X] Leave me alone.
[X] Leave me alone leave me alone leave me alone leavemealone leavemealone leaveleaveleaveleave
>> No. 33351
[x] Yes! Forget the fear, forget the fact you're freezing! Your body knows what it's doing! You can get through this!
>> No. 33352
[X] Yes! Forget the fear, forget the fact you're freezing! Your body knows what it's doing! You can get through this!
>> No. 33353
[X] You are MAD.
[X] Overdrive, let the fires of rage guide your sword, and warm your body!
[X] ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK!
>> No. 33355
File 126273159192.png - (572.34KB , 1110x1808 , cirno37.png ) [iqdb]
33355
Fighting wins by a landslide. Anon has violence issues.

Obligatory BGM: Adventure of the Lovestruck Tomboy [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_ctBy7syMk&NR=1]

Start!

-----------

Yes. Although you can tell from instinct that this 'fairy' is packing more power than she shows, and although you're not sure how you're going to manage it, you're going to fight. You have to fight. Running means freezing to death in the cold.

"Alright, idiot, let's start!" Cirno begins, brandishing the sleeve of red paper in her hand with theatrical flare, "two cards each, first hit loses! Now, you've made me mad, so I'm gonna make sure you're sorry! Freeze Sign..."

The moment she says those last words, something in your mind clicks.

'It's a spell,' the words run through your head like a mantra, 'it's a spell it's a spell don't let her cast the spell.'

At that point, you don't think, you act. Your eyes focus squarely on Cirno's neck, your legs propel you forward, and you bring your rapier up for a thrust.

[i]"...Perfect Freeze!"


Too late. The slip of paper in Cirno's hand glows blue and dissolves, and you stumble back as huge chunks of ice pelt you from out of nowhere. A massive gust of cold air batters you and with a crack, everything around you is covered in a huge sheet of ice. The cold is so strong it seems to freeze even the humidity in the air, forming strange but beautiful patterns of ice that float ethereally above the ground. The awesome spell gives you pause, and afraid you'll slip, you draw back, keeping your rapier pointed in Cirno's direction. For her part, the ice fairy stands in the center of the ice patterns, looking at you with unbridled derision.

"You got hit before the freeze even finished, idiot?" she taunts you. "Well, that means you lose, but it'd just be stupid to let a fight end in a second, even against a puny weakling!"

You grit your teeth. The insults are starting to get on your nerves.

"Three more hits," you mutter, starting to grasp the rules of this little duel, "give me a chance."

Cirno snorts and nods, bringing her right hand up in the air. "Alright, idiot weakling, three more hits! I'll show you how strong I truly am! Perfect Freeze - breaking stage!"

She snaps her fingers to the sound of a thunderclap, and the cold gusts of wind return as the beautiful patterns of ice floating around you sunder and break in an awe striking crystal storm.

But this time, you're ready. Your eyes grasp that the crystals follow a set pattern, and your body moves along with it, perfectly dodging the first wave, and then the second as you sprint, sword ready, towards Cirno, who with a growl and a wave of her hand moves her magic to change the pattern, the bullets of ice zigzagging in nigh-random directions.

But it's still too late to catch you off-guard! A first bullet hits you, but you shrug it off, jumping over three more. A second slams against your shoulder, but you ignore the pain, realizing you don't even care how many times you get hit. No matter how much this fairy screams that you lose, you're not about to back down and go die quietly in the cold.

A third wave of bullets swipes at your head, but you duck and slide underneath them, using the sleek stone of the bridge to your advantage before standing up, running a few steps and slicing at Cirno with your rapier! With a shriek, the ice fairy jumps back, barely avoiding the attack as her tiny wings propel her several meters away from you.

"Stupid idiot!" she screams, drawing another slip of red paper, "Why won't you just lie down and freeze? Ice Sign - Icicle Fall!"

"It doesn't matter!" you yell out as you run forward, a smile (your first?) drawing itself upon your lips as you propel yourself forward for the finishing blow. "It's too late!

You're right. In Cirno's fright and hurry, the desperate spell comes out botched, and though the ice reforms and launches itself at you, the patterns are sparse, easy to dodge. You leap over three consecutive waves with more ease than you'd jump a hedge before flipping in the air and landing in front of Cirno, who stares at you in terror.

"How...?" she asks meekly.

"It's too bad you can't keep your cool under pressure," you mock her, brandishing your rapier as you...

--------

[] Stab her! Take her down!

[]Punch Cirno in the face!

[]Vault over her, using her head for support!
>> No. 33356
[x]Vault over her, using her head for support!
hahahaha holy fuck what
>> No. 33357
[x]Punch Cirno in the face!

Not sure if this is spellcard rules or not.
>> No. 33358
It's technically spellcard rules, but the main character doesn't actually know that (she doesn't even know what a spellcard is), and Cirno never bothered to explain.

Therefore, anything goes.
>> No. 33359
[x]Punch Cirno in the face!
>> No. 33360
[x] Yes! Forget the fear, forget the fact you're freezing! Your body knows what it's doing! You can get through this!

Get the blood pumping.

Also, left-handed rapier-wielding girl in a dress? Sign me the fuck up. I do not know what it is about girls that go in for melee combat in a dress, but I like it.

It still may not be a girl, though. Chevalier D'Eon, anybody?
>> No. 33361
[x]Punch Cirno in the face!
>> No. 33362
[x]Vault over her, using her head for support!

Also, left-handed rapier-wielding girl in a dress? Sign me the fuck up. I do not know what it is about girls that go in for melee combat in a dress, but I like it.

It still may not be a girl, though. Chevalier D'Eon, anybody?
>> No. 33363
[X] Stab her! Take her down!
[X]Punch Cirno in the face!
[X]Vault over her, using her head for support!

Not necessarily in that order.
>> No. 33365
[x]Vault over her, using her head for support!
>> No. 33366
[x]Punch Cirno in the face!
>> No. 33367
[ø]Vault over her, using her head for support!
>>33362
Hell no, its a girl!
>> No. 33369
>>33362
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LadyOfWar
>> No. 33374
[x]Punch Cirno in the face!
Okay, violent Anon.
>> No. 33376
[X]Punch Cirno in the face!

Finesse break
>> No. 33378
Punching Cirno wins. Writing...
>> No. 33383
Left handed, rapier, and a girl.

http://soulcalibur.wikia.com/wiki/Amy
>> No. 33386
Yeah, touching an ice fairy will go real well..
>> No. 33389
>>33383

Does this mean that Soul Edge is in Gensokyo? Because if true, it will instantly send someone straight from cannon fodder to stage 3 boss right off the bat. And that's without powering it up with souls.
>> No. 33390
File 126276918087.jpg - (381.93KB , 700x1000 , cirnosystemfreeze.jpg ) [iqdb]
33390
>>33383

Close, but no. That sword sure doesn't look like a rapier (I know the SC wiki calls it that, but it's waaay too broad. Looks more like a very fashionable longsword), and, most importantly, I don't buy into the stripper outfits Soul Calibur calls clothing.

>>33386

Eh? Cirno's naturally colder than most humans, that much is canon, but nowhere near to harm you just by touching her. Prolonged exposure when she's very cold or actively trying to freeze your hand? Yeah. A punch? Not so much.

But anyways, on with the story.

-------------
"It's too bad you can't keep your cool under pressure," you mock her, brandishing your rapier as you thrust it forward in a feint, causing Cirno to stumble back, waving her arms around in fright.

You don't need a better opening than that. In a fluid movement, you snap your arm forward and punch Cirno square in the jaw. You appear to be uncharacteristically strong for your slender build, because the punch utterly floors the fairy, sending her stumbling several meters back before falling on her back with an anguished cry. The fight is finished.

You pause for a second, staring at the fallen Cirno with awe. You won. You have absolutely no idea how you managed it... indeed, now that the fight is over, you can feel the cold shivers slowly creeping back over your body, and it's getting hard to keep your knees from shaking.

But now's not the time to give up. The fight against Cirno took you all the way to the other end of the bridge. The house - no, more than a house, a large walled mansion is clearly discernible in the distance.

"Hey," you turn towards Cirno, pointing at the far-off mansion. "Do you know who lives there?"

The girl, who has managed to sit up, and is rubbing her jaw with a small hand, just glares at you, tears rolling down her cheeks. "You punched me," she whines, "you're meeeaaaaan!"

You almost feel a tinge of pity, and somehow know that in any other situation you might actually think of comforting the girl. But right now, you have slightly more pressing matters to attend to. Such as the fact that you're about to pass out from exhaustion.

With a sigh, you hobble past Cirno and into the path leading up to the mansion, not sparing the fairy a second glance. You figure you don't need to know who lives there, at any rate. Simply passing out in their front gate ought to be enough for them to give you a night of shelter from this frozen hell. And if not... well... you were already going to die. Frankly, you muse as you keep walking, you're too tired to be anything but apathetic.

"Hey! Wait! Idiot!" You look behind you. Cirno's caught up with you, it seems, and she's glaring at you through wet eyelids as she wipes the remaining tears from her cheeks. "I'm not done with you!"

That actually makes you worried. She's not going to try and fight again, right? You don't have an ounce of energy left to fend her off. You turn around fully to meet Cirno's gaze. "You... you're not..." you pause for a bit as Cirno blurs out of focus for a second. You're starting to feel dizzy. "...you're not going to attack me, are you?"

Cirno blinks, absentmindedly rubbing her jaw before shaking her head and pointing a tiny finger at you. "No!" she yells, puffing up with indignation, "No! Because even if you're obviously a cheater to beat me; I, Cirno, know how to take a minor setback such as this with honor and pride! Because I'm the strongest, you see?"

You let out a relieved breath, turning around and resuming your walk up the grassy path. "The strongest," you mutter, "right."

"Hey! Don't run!" From behind you, you hear the quick flutter of wings, and suddenly Cirno is standing in your way once more, having floated over your head. Vaguely, you wonder why the fact that she can fly doesn't seem to surprise you like it should.

"Hey, hang on!" Cirno continues, her little hands balled into fists, "You think you can get away this easily? I want your name! That way I'll know who to look for when the time comes for our inevitable rematch!"

That gives you pause. You stare blankly at Cirno.

Your... name?

Cirno frowns. "Um... alright," she begins, suddenly very interested in her shoes, "if you're too cowardly to say it outright, I suppose I can guide you to that creepy mansion in exchange for it!" She looks up at you, a tinge of red coloring her cheeks. "Right, idiot!?"

Your... name.

'I have a name.'

Once more, the cold truth downs on you. You remember nothing. Not who you are, not why you're here. A blank slate. But in the mist of that hazy fog lays a treasure.

You know your name.

-----

Options:

[]"My name is Alice."
[]Ignore Cirno, keep walking. It's none of her business. And it's not like you need a guide, anyways, you're very close to the mansion and the path is entirely straight.
>> No. 33391
File 126276939548.jpg - (46.02KB , 800x534 , 800px-Rapiere-img_0093.jpg ) [iqdb]
33391
By the way, on the rapier... here. Inlay the hilt with gold and silver instead of just iron to prettify it, and you've pretty much got the MC's weapon right there.
>> No. 33392
[x]Ignore Cirno, keep walking. It's none of her business. And it's not like you need a guide, anyways, you're very close to the mansion and the path is entirely straight.
>> No. 33393
[X] "My name is Alice."
We may need someone to carry us to the mansion pretty soon, with the cold catching up to us like it is. Besides, what sort of monster could hold a grudge against Cirno?
>> No. 33395
[X] "My name is Alice."
>> No. 33396
[x]"My name is Alice."
>> No. 33398
>>33393

This, since it's hard to be mad at Cirno for her antics.

[x]"My name is Alice."
>> No. 33406
[ø]"My name is Alice."
>> No. 33411
[x] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmIhZYCMgvI
>> No. 33443
File 126285550483.jpg - (166.87KB , 640x465 , crouchingcatfishhiddenmeiling.jpg ) [iqdb]
33443
No, Jonas. You are the demons.

But I digress.

------------------------
"My name is Alice," you say. It comes out flat, a mere statement of a fact you know nothing else about. For her part, Cirno looks surprised.

"Huh?" She blinks. "That's weird."

"How so?" you ask with a frown, wishing you could get a move-on already.

Cirno shrugs. "It's nothing," she reassures you, "you just reminded me of another person who didn't see a daidarabotchi."

...you won't even ask. "Look, um, Cirno... can we start moving now? I'm... not feeling all that well."

Cirno nods, and with a flutter of her tiny wings she floats several inches from the ground and starts heading up the path, motioning for you to follow her. "You can trust me entirely to guide you! I, the strongest, never lose my way!"

'It'd be worrying if you did,' you think to yourself as you trudge along behind Cirno, 'the mansion is right there.'

The journey up the path is entirely uneventful, except for the fact that for every step you take, you feel weaker. By the time Cirno announces your arrival to the mansion's large iron gates, your vision is getting blurry, and your movements wobbly, unfocused.

Still, the house is something to look at. The iron gate barring your path is beautifully wrought, and it protects the well-pruned pines and poinsettias of a snow-covered garden path that leads to the actual structure, a large gothic building topped by a clock tower. Any larger, and the dwelling would easily be mistakable for a palace.

"Amazing..." you rasp out under your breath. "But it doesn't look like there's anybody to let me in..."

Assuming that they'd want to offer you their hospitality, that is.

Cirno throws you a confused look. "What do you mean there isn't anybody? The gate guard's right there!" She points at a huge mound of snow laying by the gate for emphasis. You stare at it for a second, bewildered, until, to your horror, you see a slender foot poking out of the snow. "Is... is that... a-a person?" you gasp.

"Yeah," Cirno answers with a shrug, "she must've fallen asleep a few hours ago and the snow piled over her."

You bring a hand to your brow. Suddenly, you feel dizzier than ever. "Isn't that... lethal?"

"Nuh-huh," Cirno shakes her head, waving off your concern, "not for this idiot. Watch."

With a tiny gesture, Cirno activates her powers, forming a stick of pure ice in her hand. Calmly, she floats towards the mound of snow and begins to poke it with the stick. "Hey, idiot. Wake up." No answer. She pokes harder. "Idiot, I said wake up!"

Again no answer. You're starting to worry. Who'll let you in if the guard's dead?

Cirno, for her part, has lost her patience. "Okay idiot, you're not listening. Time for stronger measures." She takes a huge breath, puffs up her chest, and screams to the top of her lungs.

"CHINAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

"I'M TOTALLY AWAKE!" The mound of snow explodes, and out of it emerges a tall, disheveled looking woman, who looks around in utter bewilderment. "Huh," she mutters, "where's Sakuya?" Finally, her gaze falls on Cirno. "Oh, it's you," she says, deadpan, "that means I can get back to sleep."

Cirno looks outraged. "What do you mean saying it's me in such a tone! I'm Cirno! Have some respect towards the strongest!"

You give an exasperated huff. Enough of this. You're dizzy, weak, and freezing. You've no idea where you are or what's going on. But one thing's certain. You're not going to stand in this frozen hell for a single minute more. With visible effort, you push past Cirno and plant yourself in front of the gatekeeper, locking her surprised stare with yours.

"Uh... can... can I help you?" she looks concerned. No surprise, you probably look like a corpse.

You nod, not taking your eyes off her. She's rather good looking, you think, once you get past the snow in her hair and the lopsided beret. Tall and pretty and curvy in all the right places. Her wide blue eyes and shock of red hair seem to compliment, rather than clash, with the long Chinese dress she's wearing.

China. The name pops up in your mind. For some reason, you know that China is a country. Good. Very good.

"Hello, China," you mumble out to the gatekeeper. Then your vision blurs for one last time, your knees lose all their strength, and you promptly black out.

----------------------------------------

When your eyes open, you find your surroundings changed. You're now lying on the silky soft mattress of a fancy four-poster bed with the blinds pulled back. The cold no longer assaults you - the room is warm and well-lit by a pretty electric chandelier. To top it off, a delicious smell coming from the nearby nightstand assails your nose. Instantly, you sit up on the bed and turn towards it, smiling at what you find. Food! A pretty porcelain plate bearing a thick salmon fillet with a side of rice and broccoli. Suddenly, your stomach is filled with a hunger you didn't know you were capable of possessing, and, grabbing a fork placed nearby just for this purpose, you tear into the meal with gusto. It's lukewarm, which tells you it was probably placed beside you at least some time ago, but every bite you take is a piece of heaven.

When you're done eating, you feel re-energized, healthy, even. With a fluid motion, you stand from the bed intent to explore the room. The first thing you notice is something is something you missed in your initial frenzy for something to eat - your clothing has been changed. Your white dress, along with your gloves, lie on a nearby chair, folded and impeccably clean. Underneath the chair, your long white boots look impeccably polished, without any of the grime that got on them during the fight with Cirno. For your part, you're wearing a white nightgown. Deceptively simple, it's still rather comfortable, made from white silk. You frown. While the gesture of washing your clothes is touching, and you can't suppress a grateful smile at the thought of somebody who'd help a stranger like this, you're not sure how you feel about someone taking your dress off without permission.

'Still,' you reason to yourself, 'the dress was dirty and wet. I suppose there wasn't another way.'

Deciding to ignore your clothes for the moment, you walk around the room. Furnished entirely in mahogany, it's not at all an unpleasant place. A nice, large desk, on top of which glitters your rapier, thankfully not taken away from you. A huge, though empty, chifforobe. A doorway leading to a marble-covered bathroom with the water taps inlaid with gold and marked with a long, stylized S. A single small window, showing you that you're not only a few floors up, but that you've slept more than you think - outside, the full moon shines in the night sky.

And, in the furthest corner of the room, a beautiful full-body mirror.

A mirror. When you see it, something dawns on you: until this moment, you had no clear idea of how you actually looked. Mesmerized, you approach the mirror to look at yourself more closely, and your reflection does the same thing, throwing you a perplexed look from bright green eyes. You frown, and in an act of unbridled curiosity, cast off your silky nightgown, walking towards the mirror until you're only a few steps away from touching it.

Staring back at you is a girl no older than sixteen, with wavy blonde hair that reaches to her shoulders, sharp eyebrows, and bright green eyes. Your face is delicate and angular, your cheeks flush and your lips small and pink. Pretty, actually. Still, your body speaks of less than graceful circumstances. The white stockings and undergarments you wear to hide your modesty can't conceal the fact that you're thin. Too thin. Your ribs visibly poke out from your chest, and your arms are so slender you wonder how you managed to actually hurt Cirno when you punched her. Your hips are narrow, your chest, underdeveloped. It looks like you'd gone without a meal for quite a while.

Still, the overall effect of actually knowing how you look is enough to make you happy. 'So,' you think to yourself, as you raise a hand and touch the cold glass of the mirror, marveling at how your reflection does the same, 'this is me.'

You stay like that for a second, simply basking in the silence. Finally, though, you tear your eyes away from the mirror and survey the room one more time. It doesn't look like there's anything else to explore, so...

-----

Options:

[] Write-in.

[] Put your dress back on, grab your rapier, and go out to explore the mansion.

(Note: Recall, Alice has no idea that vampires live here. As far as she's concerned, everyone's asleep... right?)

[]That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.

[]It's dark and you're still tired. Put your nightgown back on and get back to sleep, you exhibitionist.
>> No. 33444
[X] You know how you appear. But that's not enough.
[X] This is your body. Touch it. Feel it. Know it. Love it, for you have little else.

Generic inappropriate self-exploration/masturbation vote. I cannot resist.
>> No. 33446
[x]That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.
[x]It's dark and you're still tired. Put your nightgown back on and get back to sleep, you exhibitionist.

Bath then rest. Hopefully then we can get some food into our heroine so she gets healthier (even in the perverted ways)
>> No. 33447
[X] That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.
>> No. 33451
[x] >>33444
[x] ...Then >>33446
>> No. 33453
>>33444
must.resist.
[ø]That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.
>> No. 33454
[X] That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.
>> No. 33455
[X] You know how you appear. But that's not enough.
[X] This is your body. Touch it. Feel it. Know it. Love it, for you have little else.
>> No. 33458
[x]That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.
[x]It's dark and you're still tired. Put your nightgown back on and get back to sleep, you exhibitionist.
>> No. 33461
[X] That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.
>> No. 33462
[X] That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.
>> No. 33468
[X] That bathroom looked so very nice. Do the logical thing and take a warm bath to ease your troubles.

As much as I'd like to go for >>33444, touching yourself when you look like you've just been released from a concentration camp is quite the turn-off.
>> No. 33481
>>33468

Yeah, sticks are creepy, hopefully we'll get some nice filling food that makes us look more like a girl than a stick. (THEN we can do self-exploration)
>> No. 33482
>Your hips are narrow, your chest, underdeveloped. It looks like you'd gone without a meal for quite a while.
I hope some hearty meals at the mansion will make Alice 'healthy'.
I agree with other anons that self-embracing should wait.

oh, and I've already voted.
>> No. 33491
I was suddenly struck by the strangest notion. Specifically, that the heroine is Shanghai (or one of Alice's other generic dolls), become human.She thinks of herself as "Alice" because of the fragment of her own soul that Alice puts in her dolls...which I don't think is canon, but it would resolve that angle quite neatly.
>> No. 33496
>>33491
Hmm I was thinking that this takes place after Alice first got to Gensokyo after running away from Makai, but your idea has merits as well. However, do Alice's dolls' eyes also change colour often like Alice's do? iirc all the dolls have blue eyes.
>> No. 33504
File 126291528873.jpg - (160.43KB , 1200x812 , furandure.jpg ) [iqdb]
33504
Ah, Anon. You offer him a vote for exploration in a vampire's dark castle, and he instead goes for the option with the most likelihood of the female main character getting naked. Nice.

Also...

>>33491

No comment. I won't say which parts of that are close and which aren't, as I don't feel like spoiling the plot four updates in. Still, I'll say one thing - you're entirely correct in assuming that the name "Alice" is not at all an arbitrary choice.


But whatever, on with the story.

---------

Briefly, you consider going outside your room, but decide against it for the moment - it's night, after all, and with the apparent size of the place, you wouldn't like to get lost and wake up half the inhabitants. Besides, if the lingering smell of sweat coming from you is any indication, you really need a wash.

Deciding that as a proper course of action, you enter the bathroom again. It really is very nice - all marble and gold. The owner of the house must be splendidly rich. As you head for the enormously large bathtub at the end of the room, you notice that a pair of fluffy white towels have been placed over a nearby sink, as well as a clean set of white stockings, garter belt, and other necessary undergarments. Almost as if someone had expected you to want to take a bath the moment you woke up. You frown. The hospitality of your unknown benefactor is so good it's almost unnerving. Not to mention, it embarrasses you somewhat - you've got nothing to repay it with.

Setting those thoughts aside for the moment, you open the gold taps on the bathtub, warm water rushing in. The moment it's full, you strip, climbing in with a contented sigh. The warm water banishes all thoughts of ever being cold from your mind, and for a moment you're at peace.

You take a few minutes to relax in the warm water, before turning your gaze to finding something to wash with. In a tiny shelf built into the marble wall that connects with the tub, you find a soft sponge and at least a dozen different soaps and lotions, all with different textures and smells. Amazed by the variety, you let out a childish giggle, and decide to try them all on a whim. You spend the next half-hour rinsing your hair and body with each of the concoctions. By the time you're done, your skin is warm and smooth, your wet hair feels like silk, and you smell of a strange mixture of strawberries, orange flower, and something you instinctively recognize as "patchouli", not that you know what that actually means. Knowing that you're thoroughly clean now, you calmly climb out of the tub and head for the towels.

That's when it happens. With a loud bang, you hear the door to your room being violently opened. You can't see anything, of course - you closed and locked the door to the bathroom for the sake of modesty -, but you can hear the intruder going into the room, walking around in it. For a second you consider going out to check, but something stops you.

A cold shiver down your spine. The same instincts that took over you during the fight with Cirno flare up.

'Don't come out. Don't come out. Don't come out, don't come out. If you come out of the bathroom, you're going to die.'

"Oh, there's no one heeereee..." a child's -a little girl's - voice rings out, singsong, but... there's something wrong with it. It sounds... plastic... fake. Its very sound is like a drill digging into your mind.

"But if there's no one here, why eeeeever did big sister Remilia leave the lights on~?" You can hear the intruder walking back and forth, hear the rustle of cloth as she moves the sheets of your bed, then, suddenly, a pause. For a second, the only sound you hear is that of your own pounding heartbeat. Then...

"Oh, look at this. It glitters! It- ouch!" A hiss of pain, and then a growl. "I cut myself, I cut myself, you disgusting little WORM! But still, it's so preeetty, it's so pretty my friends..." It's monstrous. The voice suddenly changes in pitch and tone, morphing into a dark, menacing wail only to change back to its usual childish inflection. For a moment, you almost wonder if there isn't someone else in the room. But no. You know it's the same person. You know.

"It's so nice," the childish voice rings out, "I'm going to take it~!" At that point, you hear a clatter of metal, the door closing, and then the shuffling sound of footsteps, fading in the distance. Gradually, the cold fear that kept you from acting goes away.

Taking a deep breath, you don't waste a minute, putting your stockings and the rest of your underwear back on and running out of the bathroom and into your room. The sheets on your bed have been thrown to the side, as if the intruder had been looking for something under them. Several drawers of the desk and chifforobe have been opened and then haphazardly closed. And...

A cold shiver runs through you. Your rapier is gone. The intruder took it.

You feel hollow, seeing the empty space where your weapon used to be. As if she took something bigger than just a sword.

Your breathing quickens, a scowl drawing itself on your features. In a flash, you move towards your clothes. It takes less than a minute to get the dress on, followed by your boots and gloves.

That weapon is yours. With a determined step you advance towards the door of your room, stretching out a hand for the doorknob. Then, you pause.

A sick dread fills your heart as you remember how you felt just from hearing the intruder, from knowing she was there. That... wrongness.

But... you're not going to let her get away with this, are you?

You take a deep breath, steeling yourself, and then open the door.

No, you're not.

With a sure step, you walk out of your room, closing the door behind you. You find yourself in a long, dark hallway, flanked with doors to what you assume are guest rooms similar to yours. The penumbra of the night sharply contrasting with your long white dress. To the right of you, the hallway leads to a staircase, which heads down to the unknown. To the left, it leads to a large, ornate door very different from the others. You can only just make out the major decoration in the ebony wood - a large cross.

-----

Options:

[]Go right, head down the staircase.

[]Go left, open the door and check what's inside.

Note: Fun fact - with the way my notes were set up, if you'd initially picked exploring, there was a 90% chance you'd actually miss seeing Flandre, only coming back to find your room a mess. Then again, you stayed, which means you got to meet her early. ^_^
>> No. 33505
[X]Go right, head down the staircase.

Towards Flan?
>> No. 33506
Oh shit, insane Flandre. Not sure if want.

[ø]Go left, open the door and check what's inside.
>> No. 33507
>>33504

I choose it because when being out in the cold like that a nice bath helps relax before going to sleep.

[x]Go left, open the door and check what's inside.

I think that sword is more important to 'Alice' that it might seem.

But I figure we should check to see if we can get some help.
>> No. 33508
>^_^

stop that.

right the fuck now.
>> No. 33510
>>33508
Take it easy.

To OP, the only smileys that don't bug me are the 2ch ones and ;_;.
>> No. 33511
[x]Go left, open the door and check what's inside.
Son of a bitch
>> No. 33512
>Towards Flan?
oh yes, here we go.
[x]Go right, head down the staircase.

>^_^
no, just no. Bad Writer.
>> No. 33514
[X]Go right, head down the staircase.
>> No. 33516
>>33504
[X]Go right, head down the staircase.

Good ol' insane Flandre, it sure has been a while.

And yeah, be careful with emoticons (aside from ;_; and ಠ_ಠ) around these parts. They tend to elicit quite a reaction from anon; it's never pleasant.
>> No. 33517
Going down into the basement has a 90%+ fatality rate, especially how Flan is in this.
>> No. 33518
[X] Go right, head down the staircase.
>> No. 33524
>>33508
>>33510
>>33512

Relax, people. It's just two accents and a line. If it bothers you that much I won't do it again.

Anyways, unless there's a sudden influx of voting, going down the staircase wins. Update will come tomorrow morning. Too tired to write right now.
>> No. 33526
>>33524
The problem is that it is more irritating than the sum of its characters, and furthermore, it is more than just something that bothers; it is completely unacceptable.

That dead horse beaten, I wonder if we aren't Alice Liddell or something.

Also:
>white stockings and garter belt
oh god yes
>> No. 33527
Given that we've just become the victim of a Flandre Swordjacking, I have to wonder if Alice's sword is named 'Equitas.'
>> No. 33529
>>33510
>To OP, the only smileys that don't bug me are the 2ch ones and ;_;.

Because mindlessly copying 2ch is infinitely more mature than mindlessly copying gaia or animesuki, right?
>> No. 33530
>>33510
>To OP, the only smileys that don't bug me are the 2ch ones and ;_;.

Because mindlessly copying 2ch is infinitely more mature than mindlessly copying gaia or animesuki, right?
>> No. 33569
>Flandre Swordjacking
>Flandre
>jacking
>Flandrejack
Don't say her na
>> No. 33572
>>33527
>Alice's sword is named 'Equitas.'

dear god...
>> No. 33591
File 126302887316.jpg - (186.43KB , 850x1020 , flandre.jpg ) [iqdb]
33591
>>33524

My idea of "morning" is rather skewed. <_<

------------

Obligatory BGM: The Centennial Festival for Magical Girls [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3XEz5WMLQg ]

You ponder your two options for a second, undecided, before something else settles it for you. At your feet, illuminated by the faint light coming from under your room's door, there are several tiny piles of grey ash, spattered in a way vaguely reminiscent of drops of blood. Though their size makes them easily fade from view into the penumbra of the hallway, you can tell they're headed to the right of you.

'Why ash, though?' you ask yourself. 'If that girl did cut herself, then any trail she left would be blood.'

What kind of monster bleeds ash instead of blood?

You shake your head, trying to tell yourself that you're being silly, that you're exaggerating, that maybe the cold got to your head, that the intruder that took your sword is just a mischievous child and not, as your mind keeps screaming at you, a monster, a hideous little monster, a devil you don't ever want to meet.

You sigh, feeling a shiver run down your body in response. But... now's not the time to lose your resolve. Turning, you head down the dark hallway, past the many doors that flank you, past the large grandfather clock that marks three o'clock, and past the eyes of at least a dozen paintings of glittering knights and of angels who gaze down upon you with stern eyes, as if you were unworthy of something your mind could not even begin to understand.

Finally you reach the top of the staircase and begin heading down, trying to make the least possible noise - you don't want that thing to know you're following it until the very last possible moment.

A few meters from the bottom of the stairs, you find yourself in some sort of circular lobby area. Walking towards the center, you can't quite make out the vast, intricate patterns engraved on the marble floor below, your eyes do pick up on another motif you'd seen not five minutes ago.

There are four exits from this area. The way to the stairs you came in from, and three other hallways. When taken together, they form the shape of a cross. You begin to get the impression that this mansion wasn't forged in the mind of just any architect.

But still, best not to get off track. Lacking any sort of trail, you arbitrarily decide to march forward into another dark, carpeted corridor much like the one you just left, your eyes scanning for any sign of movement.

That's when it happens. A childish giggle rings in your ears, and a flash of red and yellow passes by in front of you, just as the hallway splits into a different corridor. Clenching your fists, you run forward, only to find nothing.

"You're a shadoooow..." the voice calls out again, again in that singsong tone. But it doesn't fool you, you hear it for what it is - fake, monstrous, mocking. You frantically turn your head around. Where is it coming from?

"Shadow, shadow," the voice repeats. "Shadow, shadow, my new toy," again, its tone begins to change, the fake childishness replaced by the monstrous interior, "a worthless illusion, a tiny, pitiful little worm!"

Behind you! You turn around, and with a shriek drop to your knees. A clatter of metal rings through the hallway as your own rapier misses your body by less than half a meter and lands on the floor beside you.

"Oops, I missed~!" You ignore the voice's taunting and reach out for your rapier, your left hand securing firm purchase on the hilt. Breathing heavily, you stand up...

...and come face to face with the monster.

'How did she...'

The sight freezes you. The thing standing in front of you is shaped like, shaped like, a pretty little girl. She's dressed in the stained red and white rags of what may once have been a pretty dress, and her blonde hair and bright green eyes remind you of your own. But that's where the humanity stops. The girl's hands, clenched and veined, end in not nails but black, curved claws. From her back sprout, as if jammed into her by some unknown torturer, two large, rusted iron rods, and from them hang dozens of crystals that glitter all the colours of the rainbow. The girl's mouth is twisted into a hideous smile, showing rows of sharp and grimy animal-like teeth as she looks at you like you're something to eat.

"Hello, my friend," she says to you with a snickering laugh. That breaks the spell. You instantly react, trying to get away from her, but too late. She swings an arm, the back of her right hand catching you under the chest. The force is such that you're slammed back, tumbling down the hallway with a scream. It's a miracle nothing broke.

Though in pain, you waste no time to stand up. The monster, however, seems to share none of your hurry. She just stands there at the other end of the hallway, smiling at you even as you assume a guarded pose and point your rapier in her direction.

"Why are you so violent, my friend~?" the monster asks. She takes a step forward. You take a step back. Her hideous grin widens even further. "Shadows shouldn't be violent. After all, all I'm going to do is to eat you!"

At this, the beast brings up her hands, and the black claws grow longer, sharper. She begins walking toward you as you begin your own retreat, slowly pushing you back without so much as touching you. And you know you have to do something, anything, to save your life, but your own fear of spurring the beast into action keeps you from turning tail and running. It's so much faster than you... a race for the stairs would be no contest. Still, you're running out of room to retreat.

"Are you afraid~?" the beast presses the attack with her words, a trickle of drool dripping from her mouth. It may or may not know it, but the very sound of its voice is to your ears a thousand shards of broken glass. Something about it, about her very being, is so wrong and so vile it nearly makes you sick. "Are you afraid~?" it repeats, "For four-hundred-and-ninety-five years you filthy worms have been nothing other than afraid, haven't you? Haven't they, my friends? I don't like that." It gives you a hideous mockery of a pout as its steps begin to quicken. A quick look around you tells you that you've been forced back into the lobby area of this floor. If you were to run... no. You scowl at the demon as your heart pounds so hard it feels like it's going to burst out of your chest. No, if you're going to die either way, it won't be running.

When you reach the center of the lobby, you stop backing down. As if on cue, the beast stops her own advance, staring at you in twisted amusement. "I don't like it when my meat is afraid, worm," it tells you, " Terror makes things stiff. It's bad enough to go for centuries eating the preserved trash she feeds me, to have to put up with my meat not being tender the one time I get to feed on a fresh corpse. So why don't you be a good worm, lie down, and just... die!?"

With this, she moves, breaching the distance between you in less than a second. You ready your rapier for the clash, but...

The attack never comes. As the beast's claws swoop down upon you, there is a bright flash of light and a dull roar of flame fills your ears. A shockwave of hot, pressurized air shoves you back, nearly throwing you off your feet.

"Get back, Flandre!"

You shake your head, trying to get your bearings. The beast has stepped back, and standing in front of you is another woman, black-haired and dressed in a white nightgown, feet floating slightly off the floor, a feat powered by what you know is magic. She keeps her back to you, not taking her eyes off the beast for even a second. "Back, Flandre," she repeats. In response, the monster again makes that fake pout. It looks hideous, mocking.

"But Patchuuuuuu," she whines, "that's my fooood! Don't take it!"

"Get back, Flandre," the woman insists. Despite the fact that she's barely shorter than the monster, the way she stands when facing her makes you feel like you're looking at a giant. "Go back to the basement, or I swear I won't hold back!"

"But Patchu! I said that was my food!" the girl insists. Then, for a second, she pauses, twitches a bit, and the fake pout turns into that terrible grin you know so well. "Besides, what are you going to do, witch? Bleed on me?"

"Huh," the woman snorts, "you haven't glimpsed even a fifth of my power, Flandre. Besides, I won't be alone. Right, Sakuya?"

You snap your head to the side. There's someone else in the lobby now, standing in the shadows across the woman in front of you. A girl who looks barely a year or two older than you stares at the monster with sharp blue eyes framed by otherworldly silver hair. Between both her slender hands she holds at least a dozen knives which glisten in the darkness. "Right, Patchouli."

The monster takes one look at Sakuya and snickers. "Oh my," she says in that loathsome singsong tone, "it's Sakuya~! It's her, the dog of the devil, the vampire killer~! What will you do, vampire killer~?"

Sakuya smiles. "I'll call Remilia," she answers matter-of-factly.

At the sound of that, the monster's expression suddenly changes. The twisted grin disappears, replaced by an expression of honest surprise that for a brief moment actually makes her look like a real human. "Not... not big sister!" she pleads, suddenly looking terrified, "She'll be angry at me!"

"Oh?" Patchouli asks her. "Then I suggest you adjourn to your chambers."

"But I don't want to!" the monster -the girl, for all traces of the beast have faded, leaving behind a terrified child- whines. Even her voice has changed. It actually sounds... real.

"Leave, Flandre!" Sakuya commands, pouncing on the moment of weakness as she throws a knife at the girl's feet. She recoils, tears in her eyes. "You... you're mean!" she moans, before turning tail and running off into the darkness.

The three of you stand in silence until her footsteps finally fade into the night.

Then, a collective sigh of relief. Patchouli stops floating, turning around to regard you and Sakuya. You can see her face now, delicate and beautiful, but unhealthily pale. Her features look worried, purple eyes staring at the two of you with concern, and she is visibly shivering. "Heavens above," she mutters. "For a moment there, I thought..."

"I know," Sakuya answers, coming into full view and wiping copious amounts of sweat from her brow. Her knives have disappeared, and now that she's closer you can see her somewhat extravagant attire - a scrupulously clean servant's uniform, apron and all. The house's maid?

She notices your stare and turns to look at you. "I'm sorry for that," she begins, giving you a pained look. "It... it shouldn't have happened. It's not exactly a common occurrence. The blame lies on me for not acting quickly enough."

You shake your head and walk closer to the two women, making sure to keep your rapier pointed towards the floor. "No," you begin, "I... thank you. Thank you, you two..." You let out a nervous laugh. Though the monster is gone, the adrenaline is not. "You don't even know me, but you saved me. I thought I was dead."

"You were," Patchouli answers with astounding sobriety. "It was only by coincidence that you found me here - I decided on a whim to copy the paintings on the floor above us and was heading there when I found you. If that hadn't happened... Sakuya would've been too late. Still... I had no idea we had a guest here, Sakuya."

"It's a long story," the maid retorts.

"For another time, maybe," Patchouli nods, turning toward you and extending her hand. "I'm afraid we haven't been properly introduced. Patchouli Knowledge, at your service. Your name?"

You take her hand and shake it. It's every bit as cold as yours. "Alice," you answer. "Just Alice." Patchouli nods, looking thoughtful.

"Ah, I suppose I should introduce myself as well," Sakuya begins, giving you a little curtsy. "Sakuya Izayoi, Head Maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion."

"Wait," you interrupt, holding up a hand, a worried frown on your face. This conversation is getting entirely too nonchalant. "Wait. I... thank you for everything, but... a monster just tried to eat me. What was that thing? And this Remilia she mentioned? And... Scarlet Devil Mansion?" The words tumble out your mouth, one question after another, showing you just how little you know. You bring your right hand to your forehead, feeling a throbbing headache coming on. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but I can't just shrug it off. I... I don't even know who I am!"

A pregnant pause follows your outburst. Patchouli looks at you with a quizzical eyebrow, turning to Sakuya for answers. "Meiling found her knocked out in the cold," the maid answers. "We've no idea where she might come from or-"

"Please don't talk about me as if I'm not even here!" you cut in as Sakuya throws an irritated look at you. She clearly didn't like being interrupted. You don't care. The headache is coming in harder.

Patchouli raises a pacifying hand between you and Sakuya. "Perhaps it would be better if we told our respective stories elsewhere? This place holds much tension."

You think about that for a minute.

-------------

Options:

[]Write-in.

[]"Yes. Let's go. But make it somewhere safe. As far from that... thing as possible."

[]Hell, no. "I... no. No. You didn't see it, but I that thing beat me pretty hard. I'm tired, my body hurts, my head hurts, and I need sleep. Tomorrow. Tomorrow we can talk. But... I can't go back there. To that room. That's where it found me. I can't."
>> No. 33592
File 126302898840.jpg - (186.43KB , 850x1020 , flandre.jpg ) [iqdb]
33592
>>33524

My idea of "morning" is rather skewed.

------------

Obligatory BGM: The Centennial Festival for Magical Girls [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3XEz5WMLQg ]

You ponder your two options for a second, undecided, before something else settles it for you. At your feet, illuminated by the faint light coming from under your room's door, there are several tiny piles of grey ash, spattered in a way vaguely reminiscent of drops of blood. Though their size makes them easily fade from view into the penumbra of the hallway, you can tell they're headed to the right of you.

'Why ash, though?' you ask yourself. 'If that girl did cut herself, then any trail she left would be blood.'

What kind of monster bleeds ash instead of blood?

You shake your head, trying to tell yourself that you're being silly, that you're exaggerating, that maybe the cold got to your head, that the intruder that took your sword is just a mischievous child and not, as your mind keeps screaming at you, a monster, a hideous little monster, a devil you don't ever want to meet.

You sigh, feeling a shiver run down your body in response. But... now's not the time to lose your resolve. Turning, you head down the dark hallway, past the many doors that flank you, past the large grandfather clock that marks three o'clock, and past the eyes of at least a dozen paintings of glittering knights and of angels who gaze down upon you with stern eyes, as if you were unworthy of something your mind could not even begin to understand.

Finally you reach the top of the staircase and begin heading down, trying to make the least possible noise - you don't want that thing to know you're following it until the very last possible moment.

A few meters from the bottom of the stairs, you find yourself in some sort of circular lobby area. Walking towards the center, you can't quite make out the vast, intricate patterns engraved on the marble floor below, your eyes do pick up on another motif you'd seen not five minutes ago.

There are four exits from this area. The way to the stairs you came in from, and three other hallways. When taken together, they form the shape of a cross. You begin to get the impression that this mansion wasn't forged in the mind of just any architect.

But still, best not to get off track. Lacking any sort of trail, you arbitrarily decide to march forward into another dark, carpeted corridor much like the one you just left, your eyes scanning for any sign of movement.

That's when it happens. A childish giggle rings in your ears, and a flash of red and yellow passes by in front of you, just as the hallway splits into a different corridor. Clenching your fists, you run forward, only to find nothing.

"You're a shadoooow..." the voice calls out again, again in that singsong tone. But it doesn't fool you, you hear it for what it is - fake, monstrous, mocking. You frantically turn your head around. Where is it coming from?

"Shadow, shadow," the voice repeats. "Shadow, shadow, my new toy," again, its tone begins to change, the fake childishness replaced by the monstrous interior, "a worthless illusion, a tiny, pitiful little worm!"

Behind you! You turn around, and with a shriek drop to your knees. A clatter of metal rings through the hallway as your own rapier misses your body by less than half a meter and lands on the floor beside you.

"Oops, I missed~!" You ignore the voice's taunting and reach out for your rapier, your left hand securing firm purchase on the hilt. Breathing heavily, you stand up...

...and come face to face with the monster.

'How did she...'

The sight freezes you. The thing standing in front of you is shaped like, shaped like, a pretty little girl. She's dressed in the stained red and white rags of what may once have been a pretty dress, and her blonde hair and bright green eyes remind you of your own. But that's where the humanity stops. The girl's hands, clenched and veined, end in not nails but black, curved claws. From her back sprout, as if jammed into her by some unknown torturer, two large, rusted iron rods, and from them hang dozens of crystals that glitter all the colours of the rainbow. The girl's mouth is twisted into a hideous smile, showing rows of sharp and grimy animal-like teeth as she looks at you like you're something to eat.

"Hello, my friend," she says to you with a snickering laugh. That breaks the spell. You instantly react, trying to get away from her, but too late. She swings an arm, the back of her right hand catching you under the chest. The force is such that you're slammed back, tumbling down the hallway with a scream. It's a miracle nothing broke.

Though in pain, you waste no time to stand up. The monster, however, seems to share none of your hurry. She just stands there at the other end of the hallway, smiling at you even as you assume a guarded pose and point your rapier in her direction.

"Why are you so violent, my friend~?" the monster asks. She takes a step forward. You take a step back. Her hideous grin widens even further. "Shadows shouldn't be violent. After all, all I'm going to do is to eat you!"

At this, the beast brings up her hands, and the black claws grow longer, sharper. She begins walking toward you as you begin your own retreat, slowly pushing you back without so much as touching you. And you know you have to do something, anything, to save your life, but your own fear of spurring the beast into action keeps you from turning tail and running. It's so much faster than you... a race for the stairs would be no contest. Still, you're running out of room to retreat.

"Are you afraid~?" the beast presses the attack with her words, a trickle of drool dripping from her mouth. It may or may not know it, but the very sound of its voice is to your ears a thousand shards of broken glass. Something about it, about her very being, is so wrong and so vile it nearly makes you sick. "Are you afraid~?" it repeats, "For four-hundred-and-ninety-five years you filthy worms have been nothing other than afraid, haven't you? Haven't they, my friends? I don't like that." It gives you a hideous mockery of a pout as its steps begin to quicken. A quick look around you tells you that you've been forced back into the lobby area of this floor. If you were to run... no. You scowl at the demon as your heart pounds so hard it feels like it's going to burst out of your chest. No, if you're going to die either way, it won't be running.

When you reach the center of the lobby, you stop backing down. As if on cue, the beast stops her own advance, staring at you in twisted amusement. "I don't like it when my meat is afraid, worm," it tells you, " Terror makes things stiff. It's bad enough to go for centuries eating the preserved trash she feeds me, to have to put up with my meat not being tender the one time I get to feed on a fresh corpse. So why don't you be a good worm, lie down, and just... die!?"

With this, she moves, breaching the distance between you in less than a second. You ready your rapier for the clash, but...

The attack never comes. As the beast's claws swoop down upon you, there is a bright flash of light and a dull roar of flame fills your ears. A shockwave of hot, pressurized air shoves you back, nearly throwing you off your feet.

"Get back, Flandre!"

You shake your head, trying to get your bearings. The beast has stepped back, and standing in front of you is another woman, black-haired and dressed in a white nightgown, feet floating slightly off the floor, a feat powered by what you know is magic. She keeps her back to you, not taking her eyes off the beast for even a second. "Back, Flandre," she repeats. In response, the monster again makes that fake pout. It looks hideous, mocking.

"But Patchuuuuuu," she whines, "that's my fooood! Don't take it!"

"Get back, Flandre," the woman insists. Despite the fact that she's barely shorter than the monster, the way she stands when facing her makes you feel like you're looking at a giant. "Go back to the basement, or I swear I won't hold back!"

"But Patchu! I said that was my food!" the girl insists. Then, for a second, she pauses, twitches a bit, and the fake pout turns into that terrible grin you know so well. "Besides, what are you going to do, witch? Bleed on me?"

"Huh," the woman snorts, "you haven't glimpsed even a fifth of my power, Flandre. Besides, I won't be alone. Right, Sakuya?"

You snap your head to the side. There's someone else in the lobby now, standing in the shadows across the woman in front of you. A girl who looks barely a year or two older than you stares at the monster with sharp blue eyes framed by otherworldly silver hair. Between both her slender hands she holds at least a dozen knives which glisten in the darkness. "Right, Patchouli."

The monster takes one look at Sakuya and snickers. "Oh my," she says in that loathsome singsong tone, "it's Sakuya~! It's her, the dog of the devil, the vampire killer~! What will you do, vampire killer~?"

Sakuya smiles. "I'll call Remilia," she answers matter-of-factly.

At the sound of that, the monster's expression suddenly changes. The twisted grin disappears, replaced by an expression of honest surprise that for a brief moment actually makes her look like a real human. "Not... not big sister!" she pleads, suddenly looking terrified, "She'll be angry at me!"

"Oh?" Patchouli asks her. "Then I suggest you adjourn to your chambers."

"But I don't want to!" the monster -the girl, for all traces of the beast have faded, leaving behind a terrified child- whines. Even her voice has changed. It actually sounds... real.

"Leave, Flandre!" Sakuya commands, pouncing on the moment of weakness as she throws a knife at the girl's feet. She recoils, tears in her eyes. "You... you're mean!" she moans, before turning tail and running off into the darkness.

The three of you stand in silence until her footsteps finally fade into the night.

Then, a collective sigh of relief. Patchouli stops floating, turning around to regard you and Sakuya. You can see her face now, delicate and beautiful, but unhealthily pale. Her features look worried, purple eyes staring at the two of you with concern, and she is visibly shivering. "Heavens above," she mutters. "For a moment there, I thought..."

"I know," Sakuya answers, coming into full view and wiping copious amounts of sweat from her brow. Her knives have disappeared, and now that she's closer you can see her somewhat extravagant attire - a scrupulously clean servant's uniform, apron and all. The house's maid?

She notices your stare and turns to look at you. "I'm sorry for that," she begins, giving you a pained look. "It... it shouldn't have happened. It's not exactly a common occurrence. The blame lies on me for not acting quickly enough."

You shake your head and walk closer to the two women, making sure to keep your rapier pointed towards the floor. "No," you begin, "I... thank you. Thank you, you two..." You let out a nervous laugh. Though the monster is gone, the adrenaline is not. "You don't even know me, but you saved me. I thought I was dead."

"You were," Patchouli answers with astounding sobriety. "It was only by coincidence that you found me here - I decided on a whim to copy the paintings on the floor above us and was heading there when I found you. If that hadn't happened... Sakuya would've been too late. Still... I had no idea we had a guest here, Sakuya."

"It's a long story," the maid retorts.

"For another time, maybe," Patchouli nods, turning toward you and extending her hand. "I'm afraid we haven't been properly introduced. Patchouli Knowledge, at your service. Your name?"

You take her hand and shake it. It's every bit as cold as yours. "Alice," you answer. "Just Alice." Patchouli nods, looking thoughtful.

"Ah, I suppose I should introduce myself as well," Sakuya begins, giving you a little curtsy. "Sakuya Izayoi, Head Maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion."

"Wait," you interrupt, holding up a hand, a worried frown on your face. This conversation is getting entirely too nonchalant. "Wait. I... thank you for everything, but... a monster just tried to eat me. What was that thing? And this Remilia she mentioned? And... Scarlet Devil Mansion?" The words tumble out your mouth, one question after another, showing you just how little you know. You bring your right hand to your forehead, feeling a throbbing headache coming on. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but I can't just shrug it off. I... I don't even know who I am!"

A pregnant pause follows your outburst. Patchouli looks at you with a quizzical eyebrow, turning to Sakuya for answers. "Meiling found her knocked out in the cold," the maid answers. "We've no idea where she might come from or-"

"Please don't talk about me as if I'm not even here!" you cut in as Sakuya throws an irritated look at you. She clearly didn't like being interrupted. You don't care. The headache is coming in harder.

Patchouli raises a pacifying hand between you and Sakuya. "Perhaps it would be better if we told our respective stories elsewhere? This place holds much tension."

You think about that for a minute.

-------------

Options:

[]Write-in.

[]"Yes. Let's go. But make it somewhere safe. As far from that... thing as possible."

[]Hell, no. "I... no. No. You didn't see it, but I that thing beat me pretty hard. I'm tired, my body hurts, my head hurts, and I need sleep. Tomorrow. Tomorrow we can talk. But... I can't go back there. To that room. That's where it found me. I can't."
>> No. 33594
[X] "Can it wait until tomorrow? I'm tired."
[X] "And I need somewhere else to sleep, too, after... all this."

I know it's probably trivial and ridiculous, but I feel too bad for Flandre to tell them that she hit us.
>> No. 33595
[X]"Yes. Let's go. But make it somewhere safe. As far from that... thing as possible.
>> No. 33596
[ø] "Can it wait until tomorrow? I'm tired."
[ø] "And I need somewhere else to sleep, too, after... all this."

This works. Although it's not like Flandre wouldn't be able to find where Alice's new room is if she tried.
>> No. 33597
[ø] "Can it wait until tomorrow? I'm tired."
[ø] "And I need somewhere else to sleep, too, after... all this."

This works. Although it's not like Flandre wouldn't be able to find where Alice's new room is if she tried.
>> No. 33599
[x]"Whatever. Lead the way."
>> No. 33601
[X] "Can it wait until tomorrow? I'm tired."
[X] "And I need somewhere else to sleep, too, after... all this."
>> No. 33608
[x] "Can it wait until tomorrow? I'm tired."
[x] "And I need somewhere else to sleep, too, after... all this."
>[x] "Maybe with one of you two."
>> No. 33616
{"Yes. Let's go. But make it somewhere safe. As far from that... thing as possible."}
>> No. 33633
[X]"Yes. Let's go. But make it somewhere safe. As far from that... thing as possible."

We got sleep, now time to gather intel.
Also, Flandre as insanity incarnate? uh oh.
>> No. 33634
[X]"Yes. Let's go. But make it somewhere safe. As far from that... thing as possible."
>> No. 33635
[X]"Yes. Let's go. But make it somewhere safe. As far from that... thing as possible."
>> No. 33638
>>33633

We didn't get that much sleep.
>> No. 33639
>>33633

She didn't get that much sleep, and that's on top of being hungry, and getting smacked by Flandre.

We'd be lucky if our heroine remembers half of what was said.

[x] "Can it wait until tomorrow? I'm tired."
[x] "And I need somewhere else to sleep, too, after... all this."
>> No. 33676
File 126320340074.jpg - (430.45KB , 1024x1024 , Patchouli Knowledge.jpg ) [iqdb]
33676
Ah, it took a while to get off my ass and write. I suppose it has to do with the fact that I just spent my entire afternoon browsing through Rinnosuke images through danbooru. It was... a manly experience. Seriously, after the third fanart of him being GAR with the Kusanagi and the mini-Hakkero, he skyrocketed from "that shopkeeper guy" to one of my favourite characters. I fucking love this fandom.

But on with the story.

---------

"Whatever," you croak, "just get me out of here."

Patchouli nods. "I'll take you to my study, then. You'll have to wait there for a minute." She turns to Sakuya. "There's something I'll need to tell you before Remilia calls you again."

"Yes," Sakuya says, though she looks for all the world as if she'd rather be somewhere else. "There is."

"It's settled then," Patchouli tells you. "Now, come with me."

"Wait," you cut in, "you don't expect us to go through the hallways when that thing-"

You never finish that sentence, as Patchouli's right hand latches on to your own. "Keep your mouth shut. First-time teleportation is never good on the stomach."

"Wha-!?"

You don't have time to register your own surprise as a vortex of light and sound obscures your eyesight, and your body feels like everything inside it is spinning...

Thud.

By the time it stops, you find yourself on your hands and knees over the carpeted floor of a well-lit and neatly furnished living room. But that doesn't matter.

What matters is that your stomach is about to violently exit your body through your mouth.

Your body can't take this much abuse in one day. The cold, the sleep deprivation, that hideous monster, and now this. Without thinking, you set aside your rapier, grab a nearby garbage bin, and let go.

By the time you're done puking out the entirety of your dinner, you feel, if anything, even worse. Your throat burns, your eyes water, and you're once more (and the horrible thing is that it's a sensation you're getting used to) trembling all over.

With a miserable groan, you grab the paper trash bag held by the garbage bin and unceremoniously toss it and its hideous contents into a nearby fireplace. Then, with great effort, you stand up, walk a few steps, and promptly collapse into a nearby armchair. Plush and nice, you almost feel like drifting off to sleep while you wait for that woman... Patchouli? Yes, definitely, that was her name. How strange. But you can't. Not yet, at any rate. Even in this room, presumably removed from danger, every flicker of a shadow still seems like a threat. That thing... You even regret leaving your rapier near the fireplace, but can't muster the strength to pick it up.

Fortunately, Patchouli doesn't take long, and just as exhaustion almost wins over you, she pops into the room in a flash of light and a gust of wind that ruffles your already messy hair. Unlike you, she lands gracefully on her feet, dusting herself off with extreme composure.

"How do you do that?" you ask weakly. Patchouli picks up on what you mean without a moment's hesitation. "Teleportation magic," she begins, "one of the hardest and most intricate fields of all magecraft, simply because of the immense requirements it places on the caster in order to subvert the natural laws of conservation of mass and energy to such a degree. As stated by Newton, Flamel, and others, it is an incredible jewel on the crown of that art held up by the four sorcerous principles, which..."

"Stop," you cut in. Patchouli does, surprised by the rude interruption. "Yes?"

"You're doing that thing again," you half-whisper, the pain in your throat keeping your volume to a minimum, "going off on a tangent as if I'm not even there."

For a second, you see a flash of irritation in Patchouli's eyes, but it's gone in less than a moment. "I apologize," she says stiffly, before pausing and regarding you with a critical eye. "You look terrible," she tells you, a tinge of pity in her voice.

"Puked my guts out," you groan, making a sweeping gesture at the garbage bin and the fireplace. "Yes, of course," Patchouli nods sagely, "teleportation takes time to get used to, and in your state..."

She approaches you, bringing up a hand and lightly touching your forehead with her delicate fingers. You don't resist, not that you could, and merely sink into the armchair, a very removed part of your mind idly musing that in other circumstances, being touched by a woman this pretty wouldn't be bad at all.

After a few seconds, Patchouli withdraws her hand. "At least you don't have a fever," she mutters with a grimace. "Still, Sakuya should have taken you to me the moment they found you. Just looking at you, I can see sleep deprivation, mild malnutrition, and onsets of shock from an overdose of stimuli."

Just hearing everything wrong with you listed of like that makes you cringe, but there's something that gives you pause. "Overdose of stimuli?" you repeat.

"You told me you didn't know who you were," Patchouli answers, turning away from you and walking to a nearby coffee table, where she fills an tiny, ornate glass with a clear golden liquid from a long bottle. "Taking it literally and extrapolating, you are suffering from a severe case of amnesia, possibly trauma induced. This makes everything you see new, uncertain, and it fills you with stress both psychological and sensory." She turns to regard you, holding the glass in her hand. "Am I correct?"

"Yes..." you rasp out. "I woke up in the snow, not too far from this place. That's all I know and..."

You shake your head. That horrid feeling invades you, that sense of everything around you being an open question, of knowing nothing and being even less. "Ugh," you moan, bringing a palm to your forehead.

"Worse than I thought, then," Patchouli mutters before handing you the glass she holds. You take it, careful not to spill it. "Drink that," she tells you, "it'll do you good."

You nod, and down the liquid in one gulp. At first, it tastes delicious, but as it travels down your throat it leaves a burning sensation that makes you cough. "Gah... what is this thing?" you question, frowning as you hand the glass back to Patchouli, who takes it with a tiny smile. "Swiss brandy," she answers, "I generally have little patience for Continental eccentricities, but this is one product that lives up to its many myths. You ought to be feeling at least slightly better by now, yes?"

She's right. The burning in your throat has subsided, and a warm, pleasant feeling is spreading in your chest. You're not trembling anymore. "Yeah," you mutter, "yeah."

"Good," Patchouli answers, "now, I assume you're bursting with questions, but that's going to have to wait until tomorrow, I'm afraid."

"What!?" you protest, trying to rise from the armchair only to sink back almost instantly, your strength long spent. "But wasn't that the one reason..."

"You feel terrible, don't you?" Patchouli asks. That gives you pause. You can't lie, and give her a begrudging nod. "Then you likely won't remember even half of what I tell you tonight. You need sleep, and tomorrow a hearty breakfast. Then we can talk."

You sigh. "Those things are hard to argue with, I suppose."

"Correct reasoning is hard to argue with, yes," Patchouli smiles. "Now, I know that no matter what I tell you, I won't be able to convince you that nothing will happen to you in the mansion after what's already transpired tonight. It's a fool's endeavor."

"A monster tried to eat me," you mutter, "it's hard to argue with correct reasoning." You smirk at that last part.

"Clever," Patchouli mutters. "You'll be glad to know, then, that despite appearances, we're not actually in the mansion anymore. Indeed, where we are, nothing in it can touch you, not if I don't want to."

"What?" you question with a frown. Patchouli returns your smirk with a tiny one of her own. "When I show you the outside of these chambers tomorrow, you'll be in for quite the surprise. For the moment..."

She turns around, pointing at a nearby door. "Koa!" she calls out, "I know you're listening. Come out now."

"Yes, Lady Patchouli."

With a click, the door opens, and out walks yet another interesting individual, whom you regard with curiosity. 'Wings,' you think. Two pairs, indeed. A large, leathery set sprouting from her back, folded tight as she passes through the door, and another, extremely tiny pair actually sprouting from the top of her red-haired head. Those last two could even pass for horns, were it not for the occasional flap. But that isn't it - indeed, everything about this girl is visually striking. The flimsy nightgown she wears is not at all enough to cover the luscious body underneath - flawless curves and perfect breasts. To top it off, the shy expression of her blue eyes as she waits for Patchouli's instructions is nothing short of adorable.

But surely Patchouli doesn't expect you to...

"Koa, I assume that if you were eavesdropping on me, then you've certainly talked to Meiling, is that right?" The girl nods. "Good. Then you know all there is to know," Patchouli says. "Take this girl to your room. Until we make a room available, she'll share your bed. Help her get up from the chair and undress her as necessary."

...she does. You turn to look at Patchouli with an incredulous stare. She merely shrugs and begins walking away to another door. Pausing before opening it, she turns to look at you. "Don't bother protesting. I'm not about to leave you alone, not in your state. Oh, and one more thing," she eyes the winged girl. "Koa, I trust you more than anyone. Good night, you two." The girl's eyes widen, and she gives her a serious nod.

With that last statement, Patchouli opens the door and withdraws from the room. You turn to look at the red-haired girl. She gives you a shy smile as she approaches you. "My name is Koakuma," she begins, offering you an arm as she helps you up and keeps you from stumbling, keeping you firmly pressed against her warm body. "I'm Lady Patchouli's personal assistant. Come, I'll take you to my room."

"Thank you, Koakuma," you mutter absentmindedly as she leads you into her own room - an almost exact copy of the room you'd previously been given yourself. "Now," Koakuma mutters, letting you lean heavily on her for support even as she closes the door behind her, "to undress you. We don't want to ruin that dress~."

"What?" you barely have time to ask before Koakuma's hands are peeling your white dress off you with utmost delicacy, following that by taking off your gloves and boots until you've been stripped to your underwear. Half of you wants to protest, but for the other half this is exquisite torture. Feeling any will to resist fading, you wonder if Patchouli didn't put anything else into that brandy.

"My," Koakuma mutters, "you're too thin, girl." She's close, now, unbearably close, her blue eyes locked with yours, her breath hot on your face. Somewhere along the line, her own nightgown was discarded, leaving her only in lacy black lingerie. "Still, it's nothing that a few meals and exercise can't fix, right~?" she asks you. Your only answer is to gasp - while one of her hands is still holding you up, the other is running over your taut stomach, steadily heading downwards. "Ko-koakuma?" you gasp, and are amazed by how girlish and weak your own voice sounds, "what... what are you doing?"

Just like that, the hand withdraws, Koakuma's grip on your shoulder stiffening and her face growing bright red as she eyes you with an absolutely mortified look. "Oh my," she mutters, "oh my, I almost..." She shakes her head. "And Lady Patchouli said she trusted me completely!"

"Please," you mutter, feeling weaker even than when you'd first met Cirno in the cold, "just let go of me."

With a gasp, Koakuma does just that, letting you sit down on her four-poster bed - bigger than the one you'd had, presumably to accommodate for her wings. "I'm sorry," she says, putting a hand over her mouth as she looks at you, "I'm sorry, I..."

"Look," you interrupt her, "I'm tired. I just want to sleep. Can we pretend... can we just pretend that never happened?"

Koakuma beams at you. "Really? I... I can sleep on the floor if you don't trust me..."

You sigh and raise a tired eyebrow at her. Even red-faced and humbled, she is incredibly gorgeous.

-----

[]Write-in.

[]Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know how I'm called right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."

[]Get her to sleep on the floor and do your best to crawl under the covers yourself. Yes, she's pretty. But nobody said she could molest you.
>> No. 33678
[x]Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know how I'm called right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."

Perhaps when we feel better we'll let her play. but I doubt she meant much harm (and it was a compliment that she wanted to molest us)
>> No. 33679
[x]Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know how I'm called right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."

Perhaps when we feel better we'll let her play. but I doubt she meant much harm (and it was a compliment that she wanted to molest us)
>> No. 33680
[X] Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know how I'm called right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."
>> No. 33681
[x]Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know how I'm called right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."
>> No. 33682
[x] Pass out already.
This girl is either a tank or a Youkai. No one can take that amount of stress, mental trauma and physical damage.
>> No. 33684
[ø]Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know how I'm called right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."
>> No. 33694
{Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know how I'm called right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."}
>> No. 33699
[X] Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know how I'm called right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."

What's that? Climb into bed with Koakuma or don't?

I do believe I'll be climbing into bed with Koakuma.
>> No. 33713
[x] Share the bed with her. She's just too nice to be mean to. "Look, I barely know my own name right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."

>a very removed part of your mind idly musing that in other circumstances, being touched by a woman this pretty wouldn't be bad at all.
\YES/

>>33526
I meant Carroll. Dammit.
>> No. 33714
[x] Anemia option.
>> No. 33717
[x] Genuflect
>> No. 33723
>>33714
>>33717

Those jokes were growing stale even by the time of MiG, let alone now.
>> No. 33737
>>33682
I'm guessing youkai, on the basis that a rapier doesn't seem a very tank-ish weapon.
>> No. 33739
>>33737

That and a seemingly malnourished waif is hardly a tank.

(A female tank would have a build more akin to say Meiling, Yuugi or Komachi's, and I'm not really talking about breasts)
>> No. 33743
>>33682
>>33737
>>33739

She could just have a high CON score.
>> No. 33745
>>33743
I kind of see what you mean, but the rapier still sort of kills the tank thing.
>> No. 33751
>>33723
[x] Mishap
>> No. 33758
File 126338267856.jpg - (124.21KB , 400x600 , Voile.jpg ) [iqdb]
33758
Hm.

Mayhap that I'll eventually write down a stat sheet for Alice. But that'll have to wait for later - we're getting deeper into the more exposition-filled part of the story. Interesting note: an amnesiac waif seems at first like an easy character choice. Then you realize how much description comes with that and how hard it is to make it believable without de facto handwaving the character's lack of memories a few thousand words in.

In other news, while writing the first part of this update, I did briefly toy with making Koa the stereotypical soul-sucking succubus and BAD ENDing Alice the moment she said yes to climbing into bed with her. But funny as that would've briefly been, it's still a pretty dick move.

And I don't like bad ends anyways. So many other ways to achieve the same result without wasting an update and 1,000+ words of writing time.

But whatever, at the rate I'm going my comments will end up longer than the update...
-------------

"Look, I barely know my own name right now, and I'm on the verge of falling asleep at this moment. I don't care what just happened, I'm frankly too tired to. Just help me get into bed."

Koakuma smiles broadly, but you've ceased to notice such details as your body begins to shut down by itself. Through heavily lidded eyes, you see her turning off the lights and climbing into bed with you, and the last thing you feel before drifting off into a dreamless sleep is the warm body of this girl you don't even know pressing against yours.

What a strange life you lead.

---------------

When your eyes finally open, you awaken on an empty bed, Koakuma long gone from your side. As you lay spread-eagled on the soft mattress, eye's fixated on the dark wood of the four poster's tester, full consciousness comes to you slowly, coaxed to the forefront bit by bit. Under the foggy veil of your fading drowsiness, your mind begins to recall the events of the past day - the only day you remember.

"How empty," you mutter tonelessly as, fully awake, you sit up on the bed, pulling back the four poster's curtains. As you stand up and grimace at the contact of your bare feet with the room's cold wooden floor, you can only assume that it's day - only now do you realize that this room has no windows.

Groaning, you half-walk, half-stumble through the darkness and flip on the light switch. Thus illuminated, you can see your dress piled up neatly next to your gloves and boots at the foot of a door you'd missed when Koakuma dragged you here the past night. With some effort you open it to reveal a bathroom much like the one in your previous room.

You don't think about it twice. Shedding your underwear, you walk right toward a nearby shower stall and turn on the cold water, gasping as the freezing shower hits you.

For what feels like forever, you simply stand there, letting the water run down through your body as your mind wanders.

'Who am I?' The ever present question. 'Who am I, and why...'

'...is it so hard to care?'

Because it is, you think, closing your eyes as the drops of cold water pound your forehead. Right now, you think you ought to be brimming with curiosity. Why? Where? How? But those questions, while present, are overshadowed by a fog of numbness. And numb is how you feel - after all that happened to you yesterday, you know you ought to be feeling threatened, afraid, bewildered, not taking a bath in the same house where you nearly lost your life hours before. But a sense of aloofness seems to separate you from such normality. It is almost, and here a tinge of fear makes itself known in your chest, as if you were accostumed to not being, as if you'd always been a blank slate.

Shivering, you turn off the shower and walk out, taking care not to slip.

----------

After changing back into your white dress, you walk out of Koakuma's room and back into the living room where you'd talked with Patchouli. To your barely suppressed delight, you find on the little table at the center of the room a full English breakfast - eggs, cheese, ham, bacon, potatoes, sausage, toast and jam and a large jug of milk set next to an ornate glass.

It is, perhaps, the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. Heeding your rumbling stomach, you settle down on a nearby armchair and proceed to eat like a queen, wolfing down everything that looks remotely edible. The food is warm and delicious, the milk, cold and sweet. For a brief moment, all your worries disappear while you feast to your heart's content. When you're done, nothing -not even a crumb of bread- remains. Sighing contentedly, you lean back on the armchair before arcing a surprised eyebrow as your eyes find something interesting under a nearby plate. Moving it aside, you retrieve from underneath it a slip of paper, now stained with grease, egg, jam, and who knows what else, but somehow still readable. Elegant to the point of being contrived, the handwriting was obviously Patchouli's:

"When you finish breakfast, exit the room through the nearest door. You'll find yourself in a balcony. Take the stairs down to the next floor. From there, walk straight forward for two bookcases, then walk left for another two. I'll be there.

P.S. Please don't judge Koakuma too harshly. She's a fickle thing."


'Yes,' you think, feeling a blush creep over your cheeks, 'she has such big... fickleness...'

You stand up from your chair, figuring now's as good a time to head out as any. Heading for the door, you stop long enough to pick up your rapier - right by the fireplace, where you left it. Then, with a deep breath, you open the living room's door and walk out into the balcony.

You're floored.

You... your mind can't begin to comprehend it. Between the balcony where you stand and the next floor is a fall of at least fifty meters, and from your vantage point you can see yet another platform under that. Before you they stretch out, like a sea of interconnected wooden islands floating in the air, supported by gigantic metal columns and connected by long bridges of steel and imposing spiral staircases, all illuminated by the light of the morning sun, which filters through ornate windows larger than most buildings.

And then there are the bookcases. Nearly as tall and wide as the gap between each platform, they rise upward like imperious monoliths to a strange god, each of their hundreds of shelves filled with hundreds of thousands of books - more knowledge than any human could hope to absorb in his lifetime.

It is impossible. It defies so many physical laws of space and magnitude and of your own suddenly dwarfed imagination.

You pinch yourself. It's not a dream.

The words come, an unbidden whisper, to your mouth.

"Magic... library."

-------------

You're not sure how long you stood there in stupor, or even how you eventually managed to make your way down the spiral staircase leading from your balcony to the platform below it. But you did, somehow, and now you make your way forward under the colossal shadow of the bookcases. Two bookcases forward, then two to the left had seemed simple enough, but in the dimensions of the library it amounted to several hundred meters.

And your journey could be nothing but slow. At nearly every step, you stop to stare at the books arranged before you. The sheer depth of stored knowledge puts to shame the blank state of your own memory, but at the same time it manages something nothing else has before - to turn the spark of your curiosity into something akin to flame. Because there is everything here: "On the History of the Earth." "The Structure of Magic." "The Philosophy of Arms." And, to top it off a little book that instantly catches your eye: "Alice in Wonderland."

When you finally round a corner and come upon the long table filled with books Patchouli is seated at, you're carrying at least four different volumes under your right arm. The witch herself has her back to you, and is clad in a white gown and bonnet not much different from what she wore when you first met her.

"How," you ask her, not even bothering with introductions as you place your chosen books at your feet.

"Magic Archive Voilé," Patchouli responds, swiveling around in her chair to face you. "A legendary Bounded Field constructed long before the mansion, initially accessible only by a hidden portal in the main lobby. Discovering it is perhaps my life's grandest achievement. But..." she pauses, smiling at you, "perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself."

You nod dumbly. Much as you wish to learn more about this magic library, most of Patchouli's words simply flew over your head. You've no idea where "this mansion" is, the concept of a portal is but a vague notion, and a "Bounded Field" is entirely beyond your league. Besides, loath as you are to change the subject, there are far more important questions related to your immediate well-being.

"Sit," Patchouli tells you, pointing to a chair next to her.

---------------------

Options:

[] What to ask Patchouli: as it stands, it's 5:30 AM, and this writefag is all writefagged out and not in the mood to write dialogue options that will almost certainly be supbar. So it's time for Anon to exercise his creativity through a write in - what do you ask Patchouli now, particularly relating to your current situation?
>> No. 33763
[x] "Who or what am I?"
[x] "Why do I know certain things like this being a magic library before I came in?"
[x] "Is there a reason why I'd be so attached to my rapier?"

Just my shot at it.
>> No. 33764
[x] "Who or what am I?"
[x] "Why do I know certain things like this being a magic library before I came in?"
[x] "Is there a reason why I'd be so attached to my rapier?"

Just my shot at it.
>> No. 33766
[x] "Who or what am I, and you people?"
>> No. 33775
[x] what
[x] what is this i don't even
>> No. 33780
*arcs a fabulous eyebrow*

3 votes? Underwhelming, guys.

Regardless, short of a sudden influx of write-ins, update will be up early tomorrow.
>> No. 33781
[ø] Why do I not remember anything, is it a memory loss or is it... is it because I did not have any previous memory?
>> No. 33783
[9] Why do I not remember anything, is it a memory loss or is it... is it because I did not have any previous memory?

Sounds good to me.
>> No. 33784
>>33780
The problem with a write-in choice as open-ended as this one so early in the story is that:

A) we have very little sense of the character's personality/'voice', making it hard to guess what she would 'actually' ask; consequently,
B) it's easy to go overboard on metagaming and ask a question about every little detail we've learned so far, solely on the rationale that they may turn out useful someday.

To demonstrate:
[X] Who am I?
[X] What happened to my memory?
[X] Why do I still remember some things/how do I know how to fight?
[X] How did I manage to survive so long out in the cold?
[X] Why am I so attached to this rapier of mine?
[X] Whose house is this?
[X] Who are you/Cirno/Meiling/Sakuya/Flandre/Remilia/Koakuma?
[X] How did you teleport me out of the basement like that before?
[X] Why is Flandre so strong/capable of bleeding ash instead of blood/mad as a hatter?
[X] Why is Koakuma so adorable?

Listed in rough order of relevance, but you get the idea.
>> No. 33788
[X] Why do I not remember anything, is it a memory loss or is it... is it because I did not have any previous memory?

Anyone else believe that this could be Shanghai?
>> No. 33792
[x] >>33784
THIS.

>>33788
see
>>33491
>> No. 33793
Hmm. From Cirno's dialog in this, we can assume that this is post-UNL. 7 or so years after EoSD, minimum. Nobody seems to account for Flandre's aging... Flandre had her 500'th a while ago, didn't she? I suppose it's a minor detail, but everyone seems to call her 495...
>> No. 33796
>>33793

It was 6 years it seems if the Gensokyo timeline if the Wikia is correct. But folks for whatever reason are reluctant to actually age up the characters for whatever reason. (Which kinda makes me wonder about that considering after PoFV, there's a large time skip to MoF as opposed to it happening in next season as with the series in general, even post MoF)

Perhaps as a result of trying to match up the release schedules to the time in Gensokyo, such a time screw up might have happened.
>> No. 33822
>>33793

Flandre's sense of time is a tad... skewed. Besides, if you were Patchouli, and had to face Flandre down during one of her episodes, would you pause to tell her off for her faulty math?

Anyways, the update will be slightly delayed, as it's turning out to be bigger than usual as Alice finally gets a chance to speak instead of simply giving out concussion-influenced drawls after getting walloped by the latest threat. Add to that Patchouli's Knowledge Sign [Exposition Barrage], and we're looking at a pretty big chunk of text.

Still, it ought to be up by tomorrow afternoon, more than likely earlier.
>> No. 33832
File 126372170312.jpg - (161.76KB , 850x915 , sample-02aee447666236d526fc861380b45d14.jpg ) [iqdb]
33832
>>33822

I seriously need to shut the fuck up about my update times.

-------------

"Sit," Patchouli tells you, pointing to a chair next to her. You nod and obey, sitting on a plush chair next to her, and setting your rapier on the floor, beside your feet. Patchouli looks at the thing and smiles. "You really ought to get a scabbard for that. Lady Grey?"

She points to a kettle and a pair of cups. You frown. "That's tea, right?"

Patchouli nods, and begins filling the cups without further question, eventually handing one to you. As you take a sip, the warm tea tastes of orange and lemon, a tad too sour for your taste, considering it has no sugar. You resolve to drink it, however, if only out of politeness.

"I thought you drank brandy?" you ask with a tiny smirk. Patchouli smiles back. "Only at night."

"But enough of that," she sets down her teacup and gives you a scrutinizing stare. “You’re confused,” she says, “scared, probably, and most of all, you don’t trust me at all.”

You open your mouth to protest, but Patchouli raises a finger to silence you. “I wasn’t born yesterday,” she states drily, “if I were to find myself in your state, recovered from the wilderness by a band of strangers only to be placed in a situation of perhaps greater danger, I would be distrustful of those strangers, regardless of whether or not they acted like they wanted to help. That is how you feel, is it not? Be honest, or we might as well end this conversation right now.”

You try and fail to suppress a frown. You don’t like the way this woman is dissecting you, or the way she talks about what you’re feeling in such an authoritative tone. But the sad fact is, she’s right. Much as Patchouli has helped you, neither she nor any of the residents of this mansion have made a good impression. To do that would be impossible, after that… thing.

You look up to meet Patchouli’s gaze. Her stare is even, but there’s a hint of severity behind it.

Damn it, the best these people can get after what happened last night is brutal honesty.

“You’re right,” you say, raising your chin slightly. “I appreciate your help, after all you people did save me from freezing to death.” Your brows knit together. “But I take a dim view of being carelessly placed in the proximity of a hideous man-eating monster, yes.”

Patchouli smiles. “A moderately polite rebuke,” she says, “it’s been a while since I heard that from someone other than Koa… Sakuya I don’t talk much with and the mistress of the mansion can be… barefaced.

Calmly, she sets aside her teacup and clasps her hands together, forming a bridge under her nose as she stares at you with interest. You can’t help but look at her more closely. In the actual daylight she’s even prettier, her black hair neatly arranged and covered in ribbons, the purple of her eyes clashing and striking with the ornaments on her pink bonnet, topped by a pin made of solid gold, in the shape of the crescent moon. “If you must know, I’m helping you for my own selfish motives. The mansion’s mistress has been and is a notoriously negligent person, and,” her face darkens. “She might be my friend, but I can’t let people come in harm’s way because of that negligence. I owe you, at least, to answer your questions. Then you might leave.”

You regard her with a level gaze. Leave? You’ve nowhere else to go. But… even though this Magic Library makes you feel almost as if you were in another, separate world, you can’t help but still feel too close to that horror for comfort. After all, you only saw its retreat. You can’t understand how Patchouli seems to talk about it as if the problem had settled down. Just who are these people?

You take a deep breath. “That seems like a fine deal,” you state. “Let’s begin.”

“Ah,” Patchouli again raises her hand to halt you. “If we must do this, then I have to understand some basic things about you. You claim to have memory loss, but it’s clearly not thorough, not seeing how you handle yourself. So before trying to answer your doubts, I first want to learn what you do know. Leave nothing out.”

Though her tone is calm, once again you get the feeling it breaches no objection.

“Alright,” you mutter, grimacing as you see Patchouli turn around and refill your teacups. “I’ll try to remember…”

But what do you remember? You close your eyes, and once again that horrid feeling of emptiness assails you. As if you stared at your mind and all you saw were a blank wall.
But there’s hope. Among that wall of white, bits and pieces of colour. You don’t know where they come from, but as you open your eyes and look straight at Patchouli, you do your best to hold on to them.

“My name is Alice,” you begin. “I woke up in the snow not far from here with no memory of who I am and where this place is. But…” you frown. “I know the basics. I know that this is Earth. I know my geography, basic math, how to read, write, talk.” You stand up, pushing aside your cup of tea as you grab your rapier with your left hand. “I even know how to fight!” you say, expertly twirling the rapier in your hand before setting it down as Patchouli smirks. “I know that magic exists,” you go on, “even though a part of me says it shouldn’t. But… when it comes down to myself, to anything having to do with me as a… a person, all I come up with is a blank slate. As if the person named Alice had never even existed.”

Tabula rasa, your mind provides. An empty girl.

Patchouli observes you from her chair, thoughtful. “I wonder,” she begins, “what do you know of history, Alice?”

“History?” you question, “I…”

You pause, trying to delve deeper into your mind. “It’s… it’s all a mess,” you mutter, “I know some things. Napoleon was the Emperor of France. Hitler… wasn’t nice? I… “

You shrug helplessly.

“Interesting,” Patchouli says with a far-off gaze. “Your memories of the modern world are thoroughly fragmented, making it impossible to discern if you’re an outsider or a Gensokyo native. Then again, with your attire…”

“Wait, what?” you interrupt, “Outsider? Gensokyo? I thought you were supposed to answer my questions, not…”

“Calm down, Alice,” Patchouli cuts in. “I suppose I’ve heard enough that we can begin.”

She stands up, heading towards a nearby bookcase. The contrast is shocking – compared to the bookcase, Patchouli’s small stature makes her look like an ant trying to climb a mountain. The witch herself remains thoroughly unfazed, however, as she walks along the columns of shelves before finally stopping. Smiling, she looks up and snaps her fingers.
You look up, seeing nothing at first, but then the sound of gears and chains fills your ears.

“What-“

You never finish. A loud crash rings through the floor as a man-sized platform lands beside Patchouli with so much speed you fear that the floor might break beneath it.

“Voilé has built-in elevators for the purpose of navigating the bookshelves,” Patchouli informs you as she stands on the platform and pulls on a lever built into it. In response, the platform rises several shelves until Patchouli is standing a good ten meters above the ground. The woman rummages through the shelves in front of her, finally pulling out a long piece of parchment. “I do prefer flying,” she says as the platform lowers her toward the ground again, “but today I’m not feeling predisposed to physical exertion.”

As you hear this, the image of Cirno floating using her tiny wings flashes through your mind and you can’t help but picture Patchouli with the same ice crystals sticking out her back. She would look ridiculous. “Flying?” you ask.

“But of course,” Patchouli answers, “though you won’t be able to understand that until you understand this.” Hopping out of the platform, Patchouli heads towards the table and begins unfurling the scroll of parchment.

It’s a map, detailing a land you’ve never heard of before. There you see on its edge a tiny drawing marked “Hakurei Shrine”, to the side of it a dark forest leading to a “Great Fissure”, a nigh impassable scar on the terrain behind which is marked only “to Makai”. From the shrine itself stems a long path marked simply as “the long stony road”, which branches out in three directions, “The Forest of Magic”, “the Village”, and “the Garden of the Sun (to Mugenkan?)”. The whole map is like this, a collection of strange names and varied geography that changes far too much for the size of the territory. Almost like something out of a fantasy novel.

“What’s this supposed to mean?” you ask Patchouli. She smiles whimsically.

“Alice,” she begins, “what if I told you that not that long ago, a group of beings got together and decided to separate a tiny region of the country of Japan, a tiny place nobody would miss, and remake it into something different? Into, how shall I put it, into a world where those creatures that you would deem ‘fantastical’, could live in relative peace, away from the conflict that comes, as can be seen plain as day in any fairy tale, from living in the world you and I know? A place where fairies roam free, where humans regard magic not as either superstition or a secret to be kept hidden under the auspices of dark organizations, but as an open fact of life? What would you tell me in response?” She looks at you, expectant.

“I’d say you’re patently insan-“ the words stop in your mouth. Really? Was that what you would say, standing in this Magic Library? What you would say after seeing Patchouli and Koakuma do what they do? What you would say after fighting with that strange girl, Cirno? What you would say after looking at that monster in the face?

You look at Patchouli with a worried frown. “No,” you correct yourself, “I’d… believe you. Maybe. I’d have to see for myself.”

“You will,” Patchouli nods, “but for the moment, take a seat again, please.” She sits back down, and you do the same. “Ask me your questions. I will answer them. It is up to you whether to believe them or not.”

“Who am I?” you ask on reflex, knowing beforehand you’ll get no answer.

“Could I possibly know?” Patchouli retorts, sipping on her tea. “That’s not something I could tell you.”

You pause, briefly pondering the fact that you’re not sure you quite like Patchouli.

“Alright then,” you make a face. “I knew that would get me nowhere. But you can answer… “
The torrent of questions feels like it’s going to make your head burst. Who is she? Who is Sakuya, Koakuma, Meiling the gatekeeper? Who is Remilia? Who was that monster? And this place… this world Patchouli so nonchalantly tells you you’re in. Vaguely, you feel something stir inside you.

“This place,” you mutter, “this world you’re telling me about, it has a name. Tell me that name.”

“Gensokyo.”

The mere sound of the word makes your head feel like spinning. Gensokyo.

’Gensokyo. This place. This place this place this place… why?’

You know this place. Not intimately – everything in your mind is broken, fragmented. But you can remember things. Or were they always there to begin with? Faeries frolicking over a misty lake. The fragrant aroma of pines in a dark forest. The glittering aurora of a magic boundary. A distant shrine on top of a mountain. The hazy image of a blonde girl, whose face you can’t quite distinguish, reading a book on a dreary winter night.

You stand up. Patchouli draws back, surprised. The words and concepts gallop across your mind. You know them. The reason Patchouli’s casual talk of magic did not surprise you was because you’d known, instinctively, what magic was. The reason you’d known Cirno was a fairy was because you’d always known what faeries were.

“You…” you whisper, pointing at Patchouli with your index finger, “you’re a magician. The girl who led me to this mansion was an ice fairy from the Misty Lake. The reason Meiling, the gate guard, can live through being buried for hours under snow is because she’s a youkai. That hideous beast you people let wander through the mansion is a bloody vampire! But why, but why…”

You turn around, slapping down a hand on the map of Gensokyo on the table. “Why do I know these things, why do I know these things but barely know my own name?”

“Residual memory,” Patchouli answers, “as amnesia goes, yours is rather benevolent. Some cases wipe the patient entirely, to the point where they don’t remember even how to walk. Other cases show the patient having his memories intact, but being completely unable to form new ones. Yours, however, seems almost… guided. Your background knowledge left intact, but your personal history shattered.”

She frowns, her demeanor growing darker by the second. “I can only assume magecraft of some sort.”

You run a hand through your blonde hair, nervously tugging on a lock. “But then you can help me, can’t you?” you ask Patchouli.
“Perhaps,” she says, a tinge of colour gracing her pale cheeks. “But such charms are not easily broken. And sometimes… sometimes we must accept the possibility that they’re not charms at all.”

You pause. “That… the memories might be gone for good?”

Patchouli nods.

You shake your head. “But… but why should I even trust you?” you ask. “You people help me one moment and put me in danger the next! And, the mistress of this mansion, this… Remilia…”

Something in your mind tugs at you. Slowly, you begin to connect the dots. It makes no sense otherwise, not without diving into contrivance.

“Remilia is a vampire too,” you mutter. “There’s no other way she’d let that thing live otherwise, right? And you work for her!”

You don’t quite know how it happens, but by the time you finish that sentence, the tip of your rapier is firmly pointing at Patchouli’s neck. In spite of this, she looks thoroughly unafraid, and stares you down unfazed. Calmly, she brings a dainty hand up, and snaps her fingers.

You feel the impact in your stomach before even knowing that you’ve been hit, the air leaving your lungs with a painful gasp as you are literally sent flying back by a sudden, massive gust of wind, smashing into a nearby bookshelf with a groan. Several books fall on your head, and you wince at their impact.

’That was magic,’ your mind unhelpfully provides. Looking up, you see Patchouli standing up before you.

“You will calm down,” she states softly, her tone deadpan. “You are right, Remilia Scarlet is a vampire. Your memories in that area are presumably intact enough to clearly know what that implies. I do not work for her, but I am her friend. The being you saw last night was Flandre, her sister. You’re clearly smart enough to realize just why her mere presence was enough for Sakuya to be alarmed enough to look for you. No, their stories are not mine to tell.”

She points an imperious finger down at you. “I understand that you’re shaken, confused. However, I will not stand for threats to my person. Behave.”

With a groan, you stand up, rapier in hand.

You’re not quite sure how to respond.
----------------
[] Write-in.

[] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?

[] You really don’t need this. Even the cold outside beats this lunacy. Ask as politely as you can for the nearest exit, and leave.
>> No. 33833
[] You really don’t need this. Even the cold outside beats this lunacy. Ask as politely as you can for the nearest exit, and leave.
>> No. 33834
[x] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?

Going outside and freezing to death, just like what almost happened before? No thanks.
>> No. 33835
[x] You really don’t need this. Even the cold outside beats this lunacy. Ask as politely as you can for the nearest exit, and leave.

BAD END or MYSTERIOUS change of direction? It's anyone's guess, folks.
>> No. 33836
[x] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?

This is the right choice, it's a /sdm/ story not a going out and freezing to death story. Turning back in such a way always results in a bad end.
>> No. 33837
[x] You really don’t need this. Even the cold outside beats this lunacy. Ask as politely as you can for the nearest exit, and leave.
>> No. 33838
[x] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?
>> No. 33840
[×] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?
>> No. 33841
that temper! I really like 'Alice' already.
[x] You really don’t need this. Even the cold outside beats this lunacy. Ask as politely as you can for the nearest exit, and leave.
>> No. 33842
>>33835

Mysterious change of direction? I'd believe that if it wasn't a /sdm/ story. This is one of those infamous red pill blue pill choices in some CYOA's; take the wrong choice and the story ends in bland if not bad fashion.
>> No. 33843
[] You really don’t need this. Even the cold outside beats this lunacy. Ask as politely as you can for the nearest exit, and leave.
This might lead to a bad end but it looks more interesting to me right now.
>> No. 33844
[x] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?

People seem to be quite eager to go and get us killed. If we stay, we atleast have some safety. Hell, the only reason we got hurt in the first place is because we went charging after Flandre when she took the rapier.
>> No. 33847
[X] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?

Alice knows they don't want her dead; they'd have killed her in her sleep if they did. That's more than enough reason to stick around for me.

>>33842
>>33758: And I don't like bad ends anyways. So many other ways to achieve the same result without wasting an update and 1,000+ words of writing time.
More than likely, trying to leave would result in getting railroaded back to the mansion, but with a different set of character interactions; we might get more Meiling or Cirno that way.
>> No. 33848
[X] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?

Alice knows they don't want her dead; they'd have killed her in her sleep if they did. That's more than enough reason to stick around for me.

>>33842
>>33758
>And I don't like bad ends anyways. So many other ways to achieve the same result without wasting an update and 1,000+ words of writing time.
More than likely, trying to leave would result in getting railroaded back to the mansion, but with a different set of character interactions; we might get more Meiling or Cirno that way.
>> No. 33849
[×] Choose to trust her. She’s helped you this far, no?
>> No. 33852
>>33842

Aaaand here's something I should've made clearer from the very beginning: the reason this is an /sdm/ story is because, invariably, the strongest roles - villain, ally, mentor or friend (dependent on your choices for each character), are played by the EoSD cast. In that sense, all roads do lead back to the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

But don't be fooled - the length of those roads, and whether or not they take sharp detours along the way, are entirely dependent on the choices you make for Alice.
>> No. 33854
>>33852

Ah, though I wonder how they'd end up villains, well I'll just vote what I feel like voting and see what happens. Thanks for clearing things up though.
>> No. 33859
[x] You really don’t need this. Even the cold outside beats this lunacy. Ask as politely as you can for the nearest exit, and leave.
>> No. 33861
[x] You really don’t need this. Even the cold outside beats this lunacy. Ask as politely as you can for the nearest exit, and leave.

Alice has had enough of this shit.
>> No. 33863
[x] Choose to trust her. She's helped you this far, no?
>> No. 33868
Trusting her wins, update this afternoon.~
>> No. 33881
File 126388098644.jpg - (497.58KB , 1125x1313 , Marisa vs Pajuu.jpg ) [iqdb]
33881
After a brief pause, you nod, keeping your rapier pointed down at the floor.

"Alright," you mutter, keeping your eyes on Patchouli, who stares at you, impassive, from across the room. "Alright. I suppose if you wanted to hurt me you'd have killed me in my sleep."

"Not a particularly bad deduction," Patchouli agrees. With a casual gesture of her hand, her teacup rises from the nearby table and floats to her. She takes a sip with a contented sigh.

'How does she do that?' You almost ask, but decide to save the question for later. You've got a more pressing matter to attend to.

"That thing," you say. "Suppose I believe the mansion's mistress isn't out to suck my blood. Plausible enough. But that beast. How do you let her roam free?"

"We don't." Patchouli finishes drinking her tea and casually sends it floating back to the table, next to your still-full cup. "Flandre Scarlet," she begins, "five hundred and two years ago, she was bitten and turned by an unknown sire. That's as far as I'm allowed to tell you, as her life story goes. But suffice to say, when she turned..."

"Something went wrong," you finish for her. "But..." you clench your fists, indignation bubbling inside your chest. "That... she looked like a child. What kind of demon turns a child?"

"The worst kind," Patchouli retorts with a grimace. "But her age has nothing to do with what she is. There is... proof... to the contrary."

"You don't mean her sister..." you bite your lower lip, nervous. You're starting to feel vaguely sick. "She..."

"...is only a few years older than Flandre, yes," Patchouli says, "but she turned out normal. Well." She allows herself a small smile. "As normal as Remilia Scarlet could ever be."

"As normal as a creature who feasts on the blood of innocents could ever be," you mutter.

"I assure you, Remilia drinks preserved blood." Patchouli gives you a tiny smile. "If she were in the habit of leaving victims I would not associate with her."

"I don't know you enough to say," you smirk, walking beside the table as you run, absentminded, the tip of your rapier over the map of Gensokyo, stopping over a section in the northeast labeled "Scarlet Devil Mansion."

'Here's where I am.'

"But Flandre's mind," you go on, "it's clearly warped, but... there's more than that. She's... incredibly strong."

Your memory flashes back to when she hit you and you almost wince. If the whole thing hadn't been so terrifying it could almost be a blow to your pride.

"All vampires possess superhuman strenght," states Patchouli, "but Flandre's a special case. Her strength and destructive powers are of unbelievable magnitude. But she pays a price."

"Her mind?"

"More than that," Patchouli shakes her head. "All vampires have weaknesses - sunlight, garlic, direct contact with silver or blessed objects such as holy water, crosses, or exorcism talismans. But as a vampire, Flandre's weaknesses are increased tenfold." She gives a helpless shrug. "I can't begin to explain it. Vampiric powers weaken under the sun. Flandre starts to burn. Garlic is like poison to vampires yes, but with Flandre the mere smell of it has her writhing in agony. Silver is like acid and holy items set her skin aflame just by being close to them."

"So that's..." you stare at Patchouli from across the table with undisguised concer. "That's why Remilia keeps her confined inside, she can't let her out because Flandre is a danger to herself and to others, but at the same time..." You hesitate.

"She can't bring herself to end her," Patchouli voices what was already in your mind.

"So she holds her in the mansion, locks her up," you muse. "But then what was Flandre doing roaming out at night?"

With a sigh, Patchouli walks towards the table, placing her hands on the map of Gensokyo, running her fingers across it. "In a sense, every member of this mansion, no matter how carefreely they might live their lives, is a guardian for Flandre," she says, "but I had not truly realized what this meant until not too long ago."

With that, she moves to refill her teacup, but only a single drop pours out of the kettle. It's empty. Grimacing, she points at your own cup, which you haven't drunk from since she first refilled it. "Do you mind?" she asks, almost coy. You shake your head, and Patchouli waves a slender hand over your cup. The tea, once cold, starts to steam again, and she sips from the warm concoction with pleasure. "I'm sorry," she mutters, "but I need to keep myself properly hydrated. Talking is impossible, otherwise." You raise an eyebrow, quizzical.

"As I was saying," Patchouli goes on, ignoring your silent question, "a few years ago, Flandre broke the locking enchantment around her basement chambers for the first time. And ever since she realized she could do that, we've been unable to keep her restrained."

Patchouli's purple eyes meet your own. Her pretty face looks sad, tired. "No matter how many wards we place, it's the same result. It may take months, even up to a year, but eventually she realizes that the new wards around her are as fragile against her power as the old ones, and she lets herself out again. Fortunately, she seems to fear Remilia. The mere mention of her name is enough to get Flandre to lock herself up on her own volition for months on end."

"That's... horrifying," you whisper.

"Indeed," Patchouli nods. "But having seen Flandre, you did deserve to know."

You nod. She did try to kill you, after all.

"Perhaps we ought to move to another topic," suggests Patchouli, rolling up the map of Gensokyo and placing it under a stack of books. "About your memory."

You perk up. "Oh?"

"I'll need a few days to run some tests on you, then it might take up to a week or longer to device a counterspell to whatever ails you," Patchouli says, nodding thoughtfully.

"But you'll help me, then?" you ask, eager.

She nods. "So long as you behave," she says, and you almost feel sorry for your previous outburst. Almost. "Now, seeing as you have no place to stay, I assume you'll agree to rooming with Koakuma, at least for the period of time it'll take to get everything done."

Your eyes widen. "I-"

You never do finish that answer, as at that very moment a crash of thunder rings through your ears, and the ringing of alarm bells fills your ears. "What's that!?" You start, instantly moving your rapier closer to you. For her part, Patchouli's expression has gone from affable to a stone-cold look you'd later come to recognize as "livid."

"That rat," she mutters, pointing up. Your gaze follows her fingers, and you see, near the very roof of the library's massive ceiling, a black shadow weaving around several child-like fairy's and what looks like Koakuma.

"Minions!" Patchouli yells out, her face going red. "Destroy the intruder!"

You look around. From behind every bookshelf appear what look like dozens of fairies, all clad in the most ridiculously cute maid uniforms you've ever seen. With angry expressions on their faces, they fly towards Koakuma and her entourage, who regroup for another attack. But then the figure clad in black draws something from beneath the folds of her clothes and points it at her opponents...

"Damnable woman, she's using a spellcard!" Patchouli is actually shaking right now. "She won't get my books! I won't let her!"

Above you, there's a bright flash of light, and Koakuma and the faeries are sent scattering about through the air. The black-clad foe, now undisturbed, pulls out what looks like a large bag and flies towards the towering form of a nearby bookcase.

"No!" Patchouli yells, nearly as agitated as when you saw her after facing Flandre. "Quick, to the elevator!" With this, she turns, and -it's unbelievable- runs toward the platform. You sprint towards her, jumping on the elevator at the last minute. "The last time... she came... stole Plato's Symposium... seven hundred year old copy... won't let her!" Patchouli, redfaced and her breathing ragged, pulls on the lever, and you start rising, ten meters, twenty, thirty, until you realize, a deadly distance from the ground, that Patchouli intends to take you to the very top of the bookcase. "Good lord," you mutter, trying to withstand the vertigo as you go ever higher.

Finally, you reach the top of the bookcase. The thing is wider than an entire room in the mansion, so much so that even falling from it would take either an extremely dumb accident or a deliberate attack. "Amazing," you mutter, trying to keep your balance as you hop off the elevator. "Everything looks so... ant-like from here."

Patchouli ignores you, pushing you aside as she rushes to the center of the bookcase. "Marisa!" she yells, "Marisa Kirisame! You thieving rat! You sniveling coward! Face me! Oh, this would never happen back in England!"

A bookcase away, the black-clad figure turns to look towards Patchouli and starts flying towards you, reaching the opposite end of your bookcase in record time.

She's... the sight of her is both endearing and comical. She wasn't flying unaided - as she lands, she dismounts from a long bamboo broom setting beside her a bulging bag full of books. Her pretty clothes, all frills and ribbons, combine nicely with her long blonde hair and bright gold eyes, as well as her mischievous expression - her smile is all teeth. To top the whole thing off, she wears on her head a conical witch's hat that is far too large for her, forcing her to shift the brim up every few seconds.

"Yo, Patch," she waves, "what's wrong, ze? You look tired."

"Marisa," Patchouli mutters, taking a step forward, her breathing more ragged than ever. "The Symposium, I... ugh!" She never finishes, doubling over with a racking cough that makes both you and Marisa wince. You rush over her, supporting her under a shoulder.

"Chronic asthma," she wheezes out, "I knew since I woke up... that... this was a bad day... ugh..." She turns to stare at you, eyes full of hope. "But... you're here to help. I... leave this to you. Don't let her take... more... Plato..."

With that, Patchouli unceremoniously faints in your arms. Grimacing, you place her carefully on the floor before turning to look at Marisa. "Give the books back," you command.

Marisa gives you a quizzical look before shrugging. "Nah," she says, "but you can have them back when I die. By the way, who are you, ze? Never seen you before."

She runs her eyes over you for a bit. "You're not much to look at, ze. Too thin. Your dress has more curves than you." She grins.

That's it, you don't like her. "My name is Alice," you state, drawing a raised eyebrow from Marisa. Just what is so strange about your name anyway? "I'm a... friend of Patchouli. Now give the books back."

"Don't feel like it, Ali~," Marisa retorts. "'fraid you're gonna have to fight me for 'em. Still, a battle sixty meters up. I'd be worried if the bookcases weren't wider than my fricking house."

"Fight," you mutter. You don't like where this is going.

"Border of Duel, baby," Marisa grabs her broom, adjusting her hat as she does so. Her adorable smile mocks you.

"Alright," you whisper, twirling your rapier. "Fight."

It happens in a flash. Drawing on every available bit of your instinct, you bridge the distance between you and Marisa in a second, faster than any girl your size has any right to move, and thrust with your rapier. A threatening strike. Nowhere near enough to harm her but nasty enough to make her think twice and too fast for her to-

Thud.

Your eyes widen as you stand less than a meter from Marisa, still in your striking position.

Oh, she blocked it. She blocked your rapier.

With her broom.

"You wanna go?" she asks. "Let's go, ze!"

------------

[]"Let's." Be fierce, strike again. There's no way this girl has half of your fencing technique!

[]"Let's not." Pull back, attempt to swipe Marisa's legs from under her.
>> No. 33882
[]"Let's not." Pull back, attempt to swipe Marisa's legs from under her.
>> No. 33884
>ze
Okay, you get a pass, since you're a good writer, but please reconsider using 'ze' in English speech. It's a common masculine emphatic speech particle in Japanese, not some bizarre verbal tic that only Marisa uses, and can be emulated in speech by making her talk more like a guy, which you've already done a good job of. Seeing 'ze' shoved into random English sentences is annoying, in the same way that seeing people substitute 'kawaii' for 'cute' and 'neko' for 'cat' is annoying.

[X] "Let's." Be fierce, strike again. There's no way this girl has half of your fencing technique!
- [X] Be mindful of the fact that this isn't a formal fencing duel; this girl definitely has more tricks than this up her sleeve.
>> No. 33887
[x] "Let's." Be fierce, strike again. There's no way this girl has half of your fencing technique!
- [x] Be mindful of the fact that this isn't a formal fencing duel; this girl definitely has more tricks than this up her sleeve.
>> No. 33891
[X] "Let's." Be fierce, strike again. There's no way this girl has half of your fencing technique!
- [X] Be mindful of the fact that this isn't a formal fencing duel; this girl definitely has more tricks than this up her sleeve.
>> No. 33893
[X] "Let's." Be fierce, strike again. There's no way this girl has half of your fencing technique!
- [X] Be mindful of the fact that this isn't a formal fencing duel; this girl definitely has more tricks than this up her sleeve.
>> No. 33894
>>33884
My opinions are diametrically opposed to this guy. The use of 'ze' has been (mistakenly or not) assumed as Marisa's catchphrase on most of the western community, so if the writer wants to include it (along with any kind of japanese honorifics and the like) he should be free to do so.
>> No. 33895
[x]"Let's not." Pull back, attempt to swipe Marisa's legs from under her.
-[x] Focus your effort on destroying that broom. No matter how many abjurations it has, it'll break eventually, leaving that thief with no escape route.
>> No. 33903
File 126395016164.jpg - (241.15KB , 763x1080 , sample-20c83ffcd2ac91d8588f1c9a876b42f9.jpg ) [iqdb]
33903
"Let's," you whisper, placing your right hand on your hip. You can almost hear your heart pounding in your chest. Marisa's grin widens.

You move your blade. She moves her broom.

------

Obligatory BGM: Oriental Dark Flight [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Cg6fZ8xAWo ]

The fight is a flash, seeing you withdraw, the folds of your dress a storm of white, only to strike again and again, aiming high and low - her shoulders, her arms, her thighs, forcing Marisa on the defensive. But she handles her broom like a polearm, perfectly defending against your attacks, ducking under one blow, parrying the next.

But you won't give up. It's not in you to give up. You recover from each missed strike, twirling your rapier in the air as you cover Marisa in a flurry of blows.

"Ain't cha a bit eager?" she asks between breaths as she twirls her broom to block a particularly nasty thrust to her upper arm. "That thing looks pretty sharp!"

"I'm doing my best not to hurt you too much," you grunt, stepping back and stabbing at her calf. The blade comes within less than an inch of her skin, but Marisa jumps back at the last second with a muffled shriek.

"Sure doesn't fucking look like it!" she yells out, swinging her broom in a wide arc to place some distance between you. "Ain't killing the other guy against the spellcard duel rules?"

"What duel rules?" you ask, stepping forward with a downward slash that Marisa blocks.

"Shit," she mutters, looking at you with undisguised surprise. "That... doesn't bode well."

You shrug and strike again. The fight goes on as you force the offensive and try to get Marisa to yield. But the girl defends herself against everything you dish out. 'It's ridiculous,' you think. How can you not beat someone who fights with a damned broom? But even though you're faster than her, your technique infinitely more refined, Marisa is a nasty, quick-witted fighter, able to improvise herself out of her own mistakes with a variety of spins, twirls, and jumps that would have any fencing master rolling in his grave.

Finally, you clash for the last time. Angry, you strike out at her shoulder, are deflected, and your rapier ends several inches away from Marisa's face. You pull back to strike again, but Marisa grins and jumps forward, lashing out with the tip of her broom like a spear. Your reflexes save you from being hit in the stomach, but she manages to clip you on the left thigh as you pull back, eliciting a stumble and a hiss of pain.

"Aaaand that's gonna leave a bruise, yo!" she yells, stepping away from you and sitting on her broom, floating a good meter above the ground. Recovering, you point your rapier at her, wary.

"Just what do you think you're doing?" you ask, but don't dare make a move yet, for fear of her flying up on you, where you can't catch her.

"I'm seeing right through you, Ali~," Marisa retorts with a smile. "See, if I keep messing 'round, at one point or another I'm gon' get stabbed. And I don't like anyone who likes getting their ass stabbed-"

She pauses, thoughtful. "'cept maybe that Celestial girl. What a freak."

"So just hand the books back." You ignore the off-topic comment and calmly circle her, trying to find an opening, anything to help you get a strike in before she flies up. "And we can avoid this mess."

"Nope." Marisa wags her finger at you, amused. "Patchy-patch can have them back when I die, like I always say. She's been alive a hundred years, she can wait another hundred."

That gives you pause. "A... hundred years?" you ask. Something itches in your memory.

"Yeah," Marisa answers, "provided they don't get too sick and nobody kills them, magicians can find ways to not age or die. Patchu's done it, but I don't think I'm up to stealing the method just yet."

You say nothing, something flashes through your mind, a brief image you futilely try to grasp onto.

A large, leather-bound volume, pages covered in drops of blood.

You shake your head. It's gone. "Whatever," you mutter. "I'm not going to discuss magic with you. I'm here to stop you from taking the books."

Marisa sighs, shoving a hand in the pocket of her black dress. "Look, Ali, I'd dick around some more, but I've got shit to do." With this she pulls out a long sleeve of red paper from her pocket, and points it at you. "Figured out how to make it work without my hakkero, ze. It's gonna be beautiful."

You blink, and then suddenly recognize what the red paper means.

"Shit!" you curse, rushing at Marisa at all your speed, but it's too late - she's speeding up now, out of range. "I'm gonna get my bag now!" she taunts you, "Observe how this phantom thief makes off with all these rare grimoires... if you can! Love Sign ~ Non-Directional Laser! "

"Damn it!" You try to give chase, only to jump back as the place where you were standing is scorched by a massive blue beam. Just as you gain your bearings, another beam comes out of nowhere, barely missing your head. You duck, and nearly get smacked in the face by a star-shaped ball of magic, which lands, meteor-like, on the floor at your feet. Looking up, you see the source - Marisa is standing in the center of the beams, surrounded by an array of runic circles which twist and turn to shoot the magic. Waving at you as another beam fires in your direction, she begins making her way to the other side of the bookcase while all you can do is fall to the floor to avoid getting caught in the bullet crossup. She's going to get away!

You flash back to Patchouli's face. She looked so hopeful. Annoying woman.

With an angry exclamation, you sprint to follow Marisa, guiding yourself on instinct as the beams and bullets seem to follow you, actively trying cross each other to block your path. You jump, duck, and dive, getting closer each second. Marisa's grabbing her bag now, sticking her tongue out at you as she ties the books to her broom and-

"No!"

You don't know why you do it. It's stupid, dumb, brash, and deadly.

But you jump. And it works.

Sailing through the air, the white folds of your dress flaring out behind you, you grab onto Marisa's broom with your right hand as she takes off. Vaguely, you realize that the beams have stopped following you.

"WHAT THE HELL!?"

The broom spins wildly, the combined weight of Marisa, the books, and your own body far too much to maintain a stable flight.

"What are you doing!?" the witch yells, futilely attempting to steer the artifact with both hands. "We'll crash and die!"

"Maybe you just need to loosen the load?" you shout back, grinning as you bring your rapier to the bag of books, thoughtlessly trying to cut the knot tying it to the broom.

"Don't- do that!" Marisa tries to smack your hand away with her left foot, but though she does push the rapier away, it only causes the broom to spin harder in the air, its trajectory a mad journey as it alternately gains and loses altitude. "It's incredible," you randomly blurt out, tightening your grip on the broom as mad, joyful exhilaration fights in your heart against overwhelming terror. "We must be, what, a hundred meters up!? In this flimsy thing! It's amazing!"

Marisa turns to look at you, only to turn around to look and scream as the broom misses smashing into a bookcase by less than half a meter. "Are you... are you insane?"

"Honestly," you yell as you redouble your efforts to cut the books from the broom and Marisa redoubles her own to kick your rapier away, "I don't know!"

"You-" she starts.

"Sun Sign ~ ROYAL FLARE!"

"WHAT THE FUCK!?"

You feel the heat before you see it. And when you do see it, you scream.

A gigantic wall of flame, rushing towards Marisa and you.

"MARISA KIRISAME!" a voice yells out. "Give me back my Symposium!"

"What the fuck, Patchouli!?"

You don't know if it was you or Marisa who said that. Perhaps you both did.

"Oh, shit, oh shit, oh shit," Marisa mutters, trying to direct the broom away from the massive firewall, which actively chases the broom like a beast borne out of hell. "OH GOD THERE'S A WINDOW WE'RE GOING TO CRASH!"

----

Options

[] "ARRRRGH!" (Hang on to Marisa's broom for dear life, hope she can avoid crashing into the window and the Royal Flare.)

[]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)
>> No. 33904
[x]"Not me, see you in hell, bitch!"

I like how you handled Marisa's dialogue in this one.
>> No. 33905
[ø]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)

This seems like a "choose between Marisa and Patchy".
>> No. 33906
[x]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)

Lets do this.
>> No. 33907
[X] "ARRRRGH!" (Hang on to Marisa's broom for dear life, hope she can avoid crashing into the window and the Royal Flare.)
>> No. 33908
[]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)
>> No. 33909
File 126395276368.jpg - (11.94KB , 320x240 , Sgt__Allen_O'Neil.jpg ) [iqdb]
33909
[]"Not me, see you in hell!"(Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)
>> No. 33911
[X]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)

Sounds like fun.
>> No. 33914
[x]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)

Let's put that brazen audacity to good use.
>> No. 33918
[X]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)

Screw you Marisa, these aren't your books.
>> No. 33925
[X]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)
Steal THIS you ordinary thief.
>> No. 33936
>>33925

I am now imagining Marisa as some sort of evil villain that we are about to obliterate with our Eleventh Hour Superpower.
>> No. 33939
[X]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)
>> No. 33947
[x]"Not me, see you in hell!" (Cut off the bag of books and let go of the broom, hope to whatever God there is in Heaven that someone will rescue you before you meet the floor.)

>>33905
>This seems like a "choose between Marisa and Patchy".
Yeah, I thought so, too. And if it is indeed the case, I'm glad the votes are going this way.
>> No. 33950
File 126405351442.jpg - (135.21KB , 850x637 , sdm.jpg ) [iqdb]
33950
"OH GOD THERE'S A WINDOW WE'RE GOING TO CRASH!"

What?

'No.'

It's impossible. Stupid to the point of unbelievability. But it flashes through your mind as the only possible alternative.

And you do it.

"Not me," you yell, "see you in hell!"

"What are you-"

With a swift slash, you cut the knot on the bag and let go of Marisa's broom, instantly plummeting downwards. Above you, the massive wall of the Royal Flare engulfs your vision and the wind around, stronger than you've ever felt, you buffets your face and lifts up the folds of your dress, the entire form of this massive, Magic Library a blur of colour and motion.

And you fall to your death. Your brash, idiotic action is going to cost you your life.

But damn it if they won't call you brave.

'How stupid, I don't want to die...'

You close your eyes, your lips twisting into something that is half-grimace, half-smile. So this is the end...

"Miss Alice!"

Everything stops. You gasp and open your eyes as a pair of hands grabs you roughly under the armpits and a set of warm, labored breaths reaches your ears.

"Miss Alice, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. My... you're heavy."

You look around you, trying to control a sudden sensation of delayed vertigo. You're floating at least sixty meters above the ground, held tightly by Koakuma, whose wings -even the ones on her head- flap with great effort to keep you aloft. In front of you a group of five red-faced faeries struggle to hold the bag of books you saved from Marisa.

"Koa, you saved me," you rasp out, struck dumb by the sudden rescue. Your plan actually worked?

"Ah, Miss Alice..." she says between ragged breaths, her pretty face slick with sweat, " that was brash of you... but I hope this means... you can forgive me for yesterday?"

"Yeah," you whisper without much thought, "yeah."

"Oh, thank you Miss Alice, thank you!" Koakuma rocks back and forth in the air and starts landing kisses on your blonde head. Considering that you're floating sixty meters above the floor, the sudden display of affection is unbelievably terrifying. "Koa! Stop... stop!"

She does, looking mortified. "Ah, I'm sorry," she says, her adorable blue eyes shining with concern, "I got carried away but-"

"Ne-nevermind that," you cut her off, "um, are you going to try and fly, or is Patchouli going to help us."

"Ah yes," Koa mumbles, gesturing to the struggling faeries with a nod of her head to the side. The poor girls, who've been frantically working all this time to hold up the bag, look about ready to collapse. One of them, her face tomato-red from the effort, pulls out a slip of rune-covered paper and talks into it. "Mission..." she chokes out, "...accomplished."

"Oh, no," you murmur, wincing in anticipation.

The slip of paper glows blue and a flash of light covers your sight. The horrible spinning sensation again invades your stomach, and the teleportation spell drags you downwards...

------

"Ugh!"

With a grunt, you and Koakuma land on your knees beside each other, your rapier clattering along the floor not far from you. The faeries aren't so lucky, landing painfully in a tumbled heap on the floor of the library, next to the books you recovered.

You get up, moaning in discomfort as you do, and pick up your rapier. You feel dizzy, but at least you didn't vomit your stomach out like the last time you teleported somewhere. With a tired sigh, you stumble up to Koakuma and extend a hand to help her get up. She takes it, blushing, and fives you a smile as she stands. "Teleportation sleeves, Miss Alice," she says, gesturing at the collapsed faeries. "Everyone in the library has them - they teleport you back near the exit if you get lost."

She walks closer to you, her smile never leaving her face. An awkward silence descends between you as she clearly expects you to say something, but you can't figure out just what.

"I, uh, thank-"

"My books!" Patchouli's voice reverberates through the hall, and you and Koakuma turn around to see her walking towards you, and then right by you, ignoring you in favor of the bag full of books. Carelessly pushing aside the fainted faeries, she opens it with uncharacteristic delight, grinning widely as she pulls out each intact book. Finally, she stands up, steps toward you, and takes one of your white-gloved hands between her own.

"You saved my books," she tells you in stunned disbelief, "I could go on for days about how brash and hopelessly foolish you were while doing so, but you saved my books."

"I... it was nothing," you mumble, feeling a blush creep to your cheeks as Patchouli gives no sign of letting go of your hand. "Um... what about Marisa?"

Patchouli raises an eyebrow, not taking her eyes off yours. "That woman? It won't be the first time she's crashed into something and come out unharmed. She can use magic after all." She pauses. "You saved my books," she repeats, "even Sakuya can't save my books."

"I do take offense to that," a soft voice speaks. Patchouli finally lets go of your hand and you both turn around. Sakuya is walking towards you from the other side of the hall.

'How did she get here without making any noise?'

"Ah, Miss Sakuya," Koakuma steps in, raising her hands in a pacifying gesture. "What Lady Patchouli meant was that-"

Patchouli gives a drawn out huff, interrupting Koakuma as she steps forward and points an accusing finger at Sakuya. "I meant every word," she says, "you're friends with that black-white sneak thief, to the point where you've offered her tea and hid her from me several times!"

"So?" Sakuya asks, folding her arms under her chest. "It's not as if you don't invite her over for tea yourself."

"Not when she's in a stealing mood, no!"

"Hmphm. Besides..." Sakuya raises a slender finger. "The enma said 'be nice to people'. I've been trying to follow that advice."

"You've been nice to her long before that," Patchouli retorts. You blink. What are they talking about?

"Enough," Sakuya says, a tinge of red coloring her pale cheeks. "You," she turns to look at you, raising her chin. "Lady Remilia wants to speak to you."

"Inside... the mansion?" you instantly ask.

"Inside the mansion," Sakuya answers. "I..." She turns to Patchouli, as if asking for confirmation for something. "I've told her," Patchouli says in response.

Sakuya nods. "I assure you, Flandre is thoroughly restrained, and she will be for a while, though she did not... she didn't like it."

You look down. From what little you've heard, it's a sad enough story that you almost feel pity for that horrible little monster. But not quite.

"Come along, then," Sakuya says, turning around and starting to walk away. With a brisk pace, you follow her.

"Bye, Miss Alice!" Koakuma's cheerful voice rings out from behind you, and Patchouli's follows soon after. "We'll talk more over lunch, Alice."

You turn around to give them a nervous wave, before noticing that Sakuya is almost out of sight. With a groan, you run after her to catch up.

------

As you walk behind Sakuya, the Scarlet Devil Mansion in the morning offers a stark, nigh brutal contrast with your experience chasing Flandre at night. Now that day has come and its inhabitants are awake, the floors of the mansion are lit by bright, gilded chandeliers, and the maze-like corridors are painted scarlet and gold. Everything around you is larger than life - the expensive furniture, the jewel-encrusted suits of armour, the priceless vases made of chinese porcelain, the gigantic, utterly imposing paintings of angels, knights and heroes who slay dragons. If the Magic Library was a towering monolith to knowledge, the interior of the Scarlet Devil Mansion is a long, beautiful ode to wealth and grandeur.

"How could anyone have this much... of everything?" you ask Sakuya as you pass by yet another troupe of twenty fairy maids who are busy cleaning the scarlet ceiling.

"Lady Remilia's family had a long history of wealth," Sakuya answers in a flat tone, "and five hundred years of accumulated interest only added to it."

"Incredible."

"Not really. Keep moving." She says nothing else, leaving you to follow her as you make your way up for several floors, up the same stairs which you followed down to find Flandre, past the imposing cross-shaped lobby, by the corridor leading to your old room, and past the imposing mahogany door marked with a cross you now see is painted with liquid gold.

"That door," you keep your eyes on it even as Sakuya walks by the entrance to the corridor without so much as glancing at it. "Where does it lead?"

"The Lady's chapel. Don't enter it."

You nod, following her as you suppress the urge to snap back at Sakuya's increasingly curt tone. Just what is her problem?

After walking some more, you finally reach a pair of ornate oak doors marked with a large, golden S and fixed with diamond-encrusted gold handles shaped like lions. The whole thing is so striking as to be nearly gaudy.

"We're here," Sakuya says. She turns around to look at you with an impassive scowl. "You will meet Lady Remilia now. She will talk to you, I could not say for how long. At some point, she may proposition you with one or more... arrangements." For a wild moment, you think you see a sudden flash of worry in her blue eyes, but it's gone almost instantly. "Were I not utterly devoted to milady's will, I would ask of you not to accept them."

You blink. This is a five-hundred-year-old vampire who she's talking about. This... can't be good.

"Sakuya, I-"

"No time," the maid answers, opening the door and ushering you into the room. It's large and spacy, but dark, lit only by a roaring fireplace. In the center of the room is a tall coffee table surrounded by plush chairs, and behind the table...

You gasp. Out of the large, high-backed swivel chair, which faces away from you behind the table sprouts a massive pair of black, leathery wings, each nearly as big as you and topped by ivory white claws.

"The guest is here, milady." Sakuya says stiffly. "Will you need anything else?"

The wings stretch, shaking slightly, before folding back into a relaxed position. "Yes, Sakuya~," a childish voice rings out, sweet like honey. "Where is my foot massage~?"

Sakuya blinks. "Your what, milady?"

"Exactly, Sakuya," the voice answers. "What is a foot massage?"

"I-"

The chair swivels around, and its occupant glares at you and the maid with terrifying blood red eyes. "A miserable little pile of-"

She pauses for a second, and then frowns. "I... can't think of anything." She blinks. "Pretend I said something witty and whimsical, Sakuya."

"Yes, milady," the maid mumbles, looking mortified. "I am humbled by your wit."

"Of course you are, Sakuya," the girl in front of you says, fanning herself with a pale hand. "You may leave now, and if you stop by the library, tell Patchouli that she's now obligated to be humbled by my superior intellect. She may not argue~."

"Yes milady," Sakuya mutters dejectedly, turning around to leave. "Good luck," she whispers to you. "Remember what I said."

"Bye, Sakuya~!" the girl says, "Oh, and I heard that, by the way."

"You did not, milady, stop pretending."

With those final parting words, the maid takes her leave, shaking her head as she closes the door.

You are left standing inside the room, alone with Remilia Scarlet. Patchouli wasn't lying - as you run your eyes over her, you see that she looks just like a little girl, no older perhaps than eleven years old. W frilly white dress with a matching bonette. Delicate limbs. A slender neck. An angel's face, framed by hair so blonde it's almost white. But the rest of her appearance belies her - her wingspan is easily wider than you're tall, from her tiny smile poke out gleaming fangs, and her bright red eyes show no innocence, but rather a kind of cunning amusement.

"You're staring~," she points out, her smile widening to show more sharp teeth. With a surprised huff, you bring your eyes up to meet her gaze, and have to suppress the urge to shiver. While you don't get the same feeling of utter sickness that you did when you faced Flandre, your still can't shake the sensation that there is something innately wrong about a child vampire, something that tells you of the breaking of some unspoken law that marks the end of morality.

With a sigh, you speak up.

------

Options:

[]Write-in.

[]"So," you mutter, trying to sound nonchalant. "You are Remilia."

[]"Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. "You called for me?"
>> No. 33953
>"You saved my books," she repeats, "even Sakuya can't save my books."
Damn, she really made an impression uh?
>"Were I not utterly devoted to milady's will, I would ask of you not to accept them."
Does she always tell this to newcomers?

[x]"So," you mutter, trying to sound nonchalant. "You are Remilia."
>> No. 33957
[]"So," you mutter, trying to sound nonchalant. "You are Remilia."
>> No. 33958
Is there an actual reason that some of the characters don't have their normal hair color?
>> No. 33961
[x]"Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. "Would you still like that foot massage?"
[x]Maintain a serious expression.
[x]If yes: Make it as awkward as possible for Remilia. Be sure to comment on the sensual curves of her feet. Following that, begin to breathe heavily as if you're enjoying this a little to much.

Let's humor the little snob for a bit.
>> No. 33962
[x]"Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. "Would you still like that foot massage?"
[x]Maintain a serious expression.
[x]If yes: Make it as awkward as possible for Remilia. Be sure to comment on the sensual curves of her feet. Following that, begin to breathe heavily as if you're enjoying this a little too much.

Let's humor the little snob for a bit.

>>33958

I've been wondering about that as well.
>> No. 33965
[x] >>33962
>> No. 33966
[x]"So," you mutter, trying to sound nonchalant. "You are Remilia."
>> No. 33967
[ø]>>33962
>> No. 33969
changing vote
[] >>33962
>> No. 33971
[x]"Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. "Would you still like that foot massage?"
[x]Maintain a serious expression.
[x]If yes: Make it as awkward as possible for Remilia. Be sure to comment on the sensual curves of her feet. Following that, begin to breathe heavily as if you're enjoying this a little too much.

In soviet russia, guest mindfucks you!
>> No. 33974
[x]"Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. "Would you still like that foot massage?"
[x]Maintain a serious expression.
[x]If yes: Make it as awkward as possible for Remilia. Be sure to comment on the sensual curves of her feet. Following that, begin to breathe heavily as if you're enjoying this a little too much.
[x] If not: "I suppose I wouldn't be good at amassing a miserable little pile of secrets. But Lady Remilia, what is it that truly called me here for? "
>> No. 33975
File 126410325196.png - (311.12KB , 512x738 , 11475.png ) [iqdb]
33975
>>33974
Nice one but... shouldn't it be massaging instead of amassing? Unless you want to start collecting Remilias, which is an endeavor I fully support.
>> No. 33976
File 12641035166.png - (311.12KB , 512x738 , 11475.png ) [iqdb]
33976
>>33974
Nice one but... shouldn't it be massaging instead of amassing? Unless you want to start collecting Remilias, which is an endeavor I fully support.
>> No. 33977
File 126410759232.jpg - (247.96KB , 700x727 , uu.jpg ) [iqdb]
33977
>collecting Remilias
>> No. 33978
[X] "Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. "Would you still like that foot massage?"
[X] Maintain a serious expression.
[X] If yes: Make it as awkward as possible for Remilia. Be sure to comment on the sensual curves of her feet. Following that, begin to breathe heavily as if you're enjoying this a little too much.
>> No. 33979
>>33976

Amassing refers to an actual pile of miserable secrets, not so much actually massaging.
>> No. 33980
[x]"So," you mutter, trying to sound nonchalant. "You are Remilia."

...this is Remilia, for crud's sake. She's got an ego the size of Mills Darden.

If anything, she'll be overjoyed at finally finding someone who reacts appropriately to her magnificent presence.
>> No. 33981
File 126411117922.jpg - (168.60KB , 400x400 , u.jpg ) [iqdb]
33981
>>33979
I thought you were still talking about the rejected massage offer. My bad.
>> No. 33991
>>33981

It was a joke in reference to the foot message since Remilia was about it call it a miserable pile of secrets, so in the event of saying no, Alice would have remarked that she'd been terrible at the foot message anyways in this particular manner, perhaps getting Remilia to laugh.
>> No. 33994
[x] "So," you mutter, trying to sound nonchalant. "You are Remilia."

I think we're in some kind of slightly-alternate Gensokyo. It's clearly very current-day, as the events of 12.3 are mentioned by Cirno. In fact, she --along with Marisa-- recognizes the name, so this is probably not some Alice-less Gensokyo. We also seem to still remember the grimoire, which is odd.

Also, Sakuya x Marisa is an interesting twist.
>> No. 33996
>>33994
>Sakuya x Marisa

They become friends after EoSD's Marisa endings.

It's canon.
>> No. 33997
[X] "Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. "Would you still like that foot massage?"
[X] Maintain a serious expression.
[X] If yes: Make it as awkward as possible for Remilia. Be sure to comment on the sensual curves of her feet. Following that, begin to breathe heavily as if you're enjoying this a little too much.
>> No. 34001
>>33994

Perhaps we're the Grimoire itself come to life or something? Or it's memory of Alice personified?
>> No. 34008
Oh shit. Maybe not just that; what if we're the Ultimate Magic that the grimoire contains?
>> No. 34012
>>34008

Not sure what to think for this. Could go either way.
>> No. 34044
File 126432929990.jpg - (166.91KB , 850x685 , totallyawake.jpg ) [iqdb]
34044
>>34001
>>34008
>>34012

No comment.

Also...

>an actual reason that some of the characters don't have their normal hair color

There are two possible explanations.

a) Through my unique writing style, I, a prodigious master of the pen, describe the characters as I see them, not as vague appearances may posit that they are. This is, thus, the culmination of true and ultimately undeniable art, an entirely new way for me, a genius writer, to interpret the characters. Gesamtkunstwerk, gentlemen. This is some deep shit.

b) I'm just taking advantage of the fact that this is fanfiction to relieve myself of a pet peeve of mine regarding hair colors. Mainly, if Flandre is blonde, why does Remilia, her sister, have outlandish blue hair?

I suggest you go with the "total artwork" one, myself. Logic is for critics, not for the intellectual elite, comrades. Tell all your friends I'm a genius!

------------

"Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. Something about that scarlet gaze boring into you makes you nervous, robs you of thought.

“Yes?” she asks, her voice sweet like nectar, completely unlike the tone she’d taken with Sakuya. Heat creeps up your cheeks. She’s doing something to you, you realize – there’s something about her that gives you pause, makes your breath hitch. Just looking at her, you can imagine yourself kneeling down, kissing her hands, peeling back your dress to reveal your vulnerable neck. Just what is she doing to you?

“Lady… Remilia?” you rasp out, more weakly this time.

“Yes?” she asks, never taking her eyes off of yours. “You’ve said nothing~.”

You take a step forward, your breath growing heavier, huskier. Heat blossoms in your chest, but so does panic. Get out, get out, do something while you can still control yourself.

“Lady Remilia,” you say for the third time, blurting out the first thing on your mind, “would you… would you still like that foot massage?”

Remilia starts, her red eyes widening. “What?”
That breaks the spell. The heat leaves your body as quickly as it had come, but is quickly replaced by anger. How dare she… You have to resist the urge to do something rash. If this is some sort of test, then you’ll press the advantage while you still can.

“Would you still like that foot massage, milady?” you repeat, trying to keep your face as emotionless as you can muster. “I could not say that I am anywhere near as experienced as Miss Sakuya, but your feet look pretty enough for me to want to try.”

Remilia just stares at you in astonishment for a few seconds before shaking her head. “You…” her tiny smile widens, and she starts giggling uncontrollably before she draws her head back and breaks into a peal of joyful laughter. “You… oh my…” Her wings spread as she tries to steady herself with a deep breath. “Oh my,” her red eyes shine with mirth. “You’re brave. Come on, sit, sit!”

She gestures magnanimously to a plush chair across the table from her. With a wary look, you step up and take a seat, settling your rapier beside you, pointing down.

“So ,” you say, unable to suppress a nervous smirk. “About that foot massage.”

“Hmmm…” Remilia smiles warmly, placing her elbows on the table. “Oh no, no, before anything else, something to drink.”
She gestures to the edge of the table, whereupon sit two large, ornate glasses filled with a strange milky green liquid. “Sakuya was kind enough to prepare some French absinthe for us. I assure you, it’s delicious.”

You smile back. “I’m afraid I’m not drinking anything you give me until you answer me about that foot massage, milady,” you say. Inwardly, your anger is starting to die down, struggling against a sudden spike of doubt – much as you feel insulted by… whatever… Remilia just did, overstepping the bounds of politeness when confronted with a five-hundred year old vampire isn’t the smartest thing to do.

Remilia gives you a whimsical expression.

“Well, Alice dear, maybe when we know each other better.” She smirks mischievously. “Then maybe you’ll get to peel off more than just my shoes.”

You draw back, your face as red as a ground cherry. “I… you…” She can’t be serious, can she? She looks so young it would be… you frown, shaking your head. “Enough, “ you declare, green eyes narrowing. “Tell me what it was that you just did to me, milady, because after nearly being eaten, roasted and shot, I take exception to this kind of treatment.”

Grinning, Remilia grabs her own glass of absinthe and takes a sip. “You’ve got guts talking to a vampire like that, Alice.”

“I know,” you snap back on reflex, drawing your own glass of the green liquid closer to yourself without taking a sip. “I keep getting the feeling that I’m supposed to be a smart person, but I seem rather intent on disproving it.”

“Oh, you do,” Remilia agrees, taking another sip of absinthe with a happy sigh. “Such wonderful taste,” she says wistfully. “I miss France.”

Calmly, she sets the glass down, her expression one of calm amusement. “The truth is, Alice, vampiric charm is overrated. Any person with a moderately strong will can break it. Real mind magic is better, but it runs the risk of you turning into a drooling husk if the opponent turns the tables on you.”

Your left hand slowly makes its way to the hilt of your rapier. “So that’s what you tried,” you whisper with a glare.

“Oh, do relax,” Remilia waves you off. “Let’s not pretend this wasn’t a test to begin with, Alice, or that, in the event that you’d failed it, I would have done something nasty to you.”

“It’s still not very polite.”

Remilia shrugs. “That’s what you say?” she asks, mocking. “And yet I haven’t even gotten a ‘thank you for saving me from the cold, oh my absolutely beautiful and striking and stunning Lady Remilia’ from you."

“After how many times I’ve nearly died? You’re not getting one.”

Remilia draws closer to you. “Are too.”

You stand your ground. “Am not.”

“Are too.”

“Am not.”

Remilia moves back, smiling. “Oh, you’ll thank me at some point.” She pauses, thoughtful. “I rather like you, Alice. And you’re pretty~!”

She says those last few words came out with a childish carelessness that makes the tension drop noticeably as her smile seems to noticeably grow warmer.

You sigh, relaxing just a bit. “I suppose it’s fine,” you say, tugging on a lock of blonde hair with your hand, wrapping it around your finger as you pull. With a tiny smile, you take your glass of absinthe and sip from it, only to instantly put it down. It tastes horrible, a strange mixture that manages to be sickeningly sweet and horridly bitter while at the same time burning your throat. “Agh,” you croak, “I… suppose you called me here for something, milady?”

“Hmm,” Remilia sighs contentedly. “Say it again.”

“…milady?” you repeat, confused.

“Yes~,” she says. “So long since I’ve heard anyone but Sakuya address me with due respect. Patchouli won’t stand for calling me anything other than my first name, and Meiling tries, but she slips into ‘boss’ once about a sentence or so.”

“What about Koakuma?”

Remilia blinks. “Who?”

“Patchouli’s assistant.” You reply. Can she really be this clueless?

“Oh, yes, I suppose she’s polite too,” Remilia shrugs. “She certainly has huge… politeness.”

“Very huge,” you mutter without thinking, before gasping and bringing a hand to your mouth. Remilia giggles, “Don’t worry, we’ve all thought of it. Though I daresay Meiling gives her a run for her money.”

With a flowery gesture, she drinks some more absinthe, nodding in approval. “Lovely… but back to the point. I didn’t call you here just to mess with you, Alice. I could do that with any fairy.”

You look at her, expectant. This was clearly not a normal greeting from a host, so there had to be something important coming up.

“You’re a strange case, Alice,” Remilia begins. “Where you any other guest I would have probably ignored you until you left, but… hm. No memory, no identity, and either brave or dumb enough to talk back to me… that leaves an impression, Alice. And suffice to say, I heard what happened in the library. Patchu’s ecstatic with you.”

You frown. “Wait, the library thing was less than half an hour ago, and that’s counting the time it took me to get here. How…”

“Trust me, I knew in five minutes,” Remilia cuts in with a smirk. “Being the mistress of the mansion has some perks. At any rate, considering how Patchy has taken somewhat of an interest in you, I suppose you’ll be wanting to stay here for a while, see if she can help you with your own… unique problem. I’m right about this, of course.”

“I suppose you are.”

“Of course, I’m always right~.” Remilia’s expression grows smug as she places a delicate hand on her chest. “But at any rate, let’s cut to the chase, Alice.”

Without further ado, she stands up, folding her wings tightly behind her, and walks to the other side of the room, where the light of the fire doesn’t reach. “Alice~,” she says, her back turned away from you. “You have no money, no home, and no friends. Your one lifeline is Patchu, whose help you’ll require. Now, I am extremely generous, so let’s assume I let you stay here for a few weeks while you figure out your problem."

“But then,” Remilia turns around, and walks toward the table. She now holds in her hands a long, thin, leatherbound case, which she places on the table without much care, “what about afterwards? These things don’t solve themselves. You might need more time. And you’ll have nowhere to go.”

Bemused, you stand up, rapier pointing down, and take a closer look at the case. “What are you implying?”

“I’m implying that perhaps we ought to deal with this problem on a more permanent basis,” Remilia says magnanimously. “You’ve caused a positive impression. Patchouli trusts you. You need my help, and I find you amusing enough that I won’t get bored with you for a while. Who knows, we may actually end up friends, Alice!”

She punctuates this with a mischievous giggle that sends a shiver down your spine. This… You bite your lower lip, nervous. Just what are you getting into?

“What do you mean?” you ask.

With a flourish, Remilia opens the case, revealing an ornate belt and a thin leather scabbard inlaid with gold and jewelry.

“Work for me, Alice.”

-------

Options:

[]Take the scabbard.

[]Don't take the scabbard.
>> No. 34045
File 126432966889.jpg - (166.91KB , 850x685 , totallyawake.jpg ) [iqdb]
34045
>>34001
>>34008
>>34012

No comment.

Also...

>an actual reason that some of the characters don't have their normal hair color

There are two possible explanations.

a) Through my unique writing style, I, a prodigious master of the pen, describe the characters as I see them, not as vague appearances may posit that they are. This is, thus, the culmination of true and ultimately undeniable art, an entirely new way for me, a genius writer, to interpret the characters. Gesamtkunstwerk, gentlemen. This is some deep shit.

b) I'm just taking advantage of the fact that this is fanfiction to relieve myself of a pet peeve of mine regarding hair colors. Mainly, if Flandre is blonde, why does Remilia, her sister, have outlandish blue hair?

I suggest you go with the "total artwork" one, myself. Logic is for critics, not for the intellectual elite, comrades. Tell all your friends I'm a genius!

------------

"Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. Something about that scarlet gaze boring into you makes you nervous, robs you of thought.

“Yes?” she asks, her voice sweet like nectar, completely unlike the tone she’d taken with Sakuya. Heat creeps up your cheeks. She’s doing something to you, you realize – there’s something about her that gives you pause, makes your breath hitch. Just looking at her, you can imagine yourself kneeling down, kissing her hands, peeling back your dress to reveal your vulnerable neck. Just what is she doing to you?

“Lady… Remilia?” you rasp out, more weakly this time.

“Yes?” she asks, never taking her eyes off of yours. “You’ve said nothing~.”

You take a step forward, your breath growing heavier, huskier. Heat blossoms in your chest, but so does panic. Get out, get out, do something while you can still control yourself.

“Lady Remilia,” you say for the third time, blurting out the first thing on your mind, “would you… would you still like that foot massage?”

Remilia starts, her red eyes widening. “What?”
That breaks the spell. The heat leaves your body as quickly as it had come, but is quickly replaced by anger. How dare she… You have to resist the urge to do something rash. If this is some sort of test, then you’ll press the advantage while you still can.

“Would you still like that foot massage, milady?” you repeat, trying to keep your face as emotionless as you can muster. “I could not say that I am anywhere near as experienced as Miss Sakuya, but your feet look pretty enough for me to want to try.”

Remilia just stares at you in astonishment for a few seconds before shaking her head. “You…” her tiny smile widens, and she starts giggling uncontrollably before she draws her head back and breaks into a peal of joyful laughter. “You… oh my…” Her wings spread as she tries to steady herself with a deep breath. “Oh my,” her red eyes shine with mirth. “You’re brave. Come on, sit, sit!”

She gestures magnanimously to a plush chair across the table from her. With a wary look, you step up and take a seat, settling your rapier beside you, pointing down.

“So,” you say, unable to suppress a nervous smirk. “About that foot massage.”

“Hmmm…” Remilia smiles warmly, placing her elbows on the table. “Oh no, no, before anything else, something to drink.”
She gestures to the edge of the table, whereupon sit two large, ornate glasses filled with a strange milky green liquid. “Sakuya was kind enough to prepare some French absinthe for us. I assure you, it’s delicious.”

You smile back. “I’m afraid I’m not drinking anything you give me until you answer me about that foot massage, milady,” you say. Inwardly, your anger is starting to die down, struggling against a sudden spike of doubt – much as you feel insulted by… whatever… Remilia just did, overstepping the bounds of politeness when confronted with a five-hundred year old vampire isn’t the smartest thing to do.

Remilia gives you a whimsical expression.

“Well, Alice dear, maybe when we know each other better.” She smirks mischievously. “Then maybe you’ll get to peel off more than just my shoes.”

You draw back, your face as red as a ground cherry. “I… you…” She can’t be serious, can she? She looks so young it would be… you frown, shaking your head. “Enough, “ you declare, green eyes narrowing. “Tell me what it was that you just did to me, milady, because after nearly being eaten, roasted and shot, I take exception to this kind of treatment.”

Grinning, Remilia grabs her own glass of absinthe and takes a sip. “You’ve got guts talking to a vampire like that, Alice.”

“I know,” you snap back on reflex, drawing your own glass of the green liquid closer to yourself without taking a sip. “I keep getting the feeling that I’m supposed to be a smart person, but I seem rather intent on disproving it.”

“Oh, you do,” Remilia agrees, taking another sip of absinthe with a happy sigh. “Such wonderful taste,” she says wistfully. “I miss France.”

Calmly, she sets the glass down, her expression one of calm amusement. “The truth is, Alice, vampiric charm is overrated. Any person with a moderately strong will can break it. Real mind magic is better, but it runs the risk of you turning into a drooling husk if the opponent turns the tables on you.”

Your left hand slowly makes its way to the hilt of your rapier. “So that’s what you tried,” you whisper with a glare.

“Oh, do relax,” Remilia waves you off. “Let’s not pretend this wasn’t a test to begin with, Alice, or that, in the event that you’d failed it, I would have done something nasty to you.”

“It’s still not very polite.”

Remilia shrugs. “That’s what you say?” she asks, mocking. “And yet I haven’t even gotten a ‘thank you for saving me from the cold, oh my absolutely beautiful and striking and stunning Lady Remilia’ from you."

“After how many times I’ve nearly died? You’re not getting one.”

Remilia draws closer to you. “Are too.”

You stand your ground. “Are not.”

“Are too.

“Are not.

Remilia moves back, smiling. “Oh, you’ll thank me at some point.” She pauses, thoughtful. “I rather like you, Alice. And you’re pretty~!”

She says those last few words came out with a childish carelessness that makes the tension drop noticeably as her smile seems to noticeably grow warmer.

You sigh, relaxing just a bit. “I suppose it’s fine,” you say, tugging on a lock of blonde hair with your hand, wrapping it around your finger as you pull. With a tiny smile, you take your glass of absinthe and sip from it, only to instantly put it down. It tastes horrible, a strange mixture that manages to be sickeningly sweet and horridly bitter while at the same time burning your throat. “Agh,” you croak, “I… suppose you called me here for something, milady?”

“Hmm,” Remilia sighs contentedly. “Say it again.”

“…milady?” you repeat, confused.

“Yes~,” she says. “So long since I’ve heard anyone but Sakuya address me with due respect. Patchouli won’t stand for calling me anything other than my first name, and Meiling tries, but she slips into ‘boss’ once about a sentence or so.”

“What about Koakuma?”

Remilia blinks. “Who?”

“Patchouli’s assistant.” You reply. Can she really be this clueless?

“Oh, yes, I suppose she’s polite too,” Remilia shrugs. “She certainly has huge… politeness.”

“Very huge,” you mutter without thinking, before gasping and bringing a hand to your mouth. Remilia giggles, “Don’t worry, we’ve all thought of it. Though I daresay Meiling gives her a run for her money.”

With a flowery gesture, she drinks some more absinthe, nodding in approval. “Lovely… but back to the point. I didn’t call you here just to mess with you, Alice. I could do that with any fairy.”

You look at her, expectant. This was clearly not a normal greeting from a host, so there had to be something important coming up.

“You’re a strange case, Alice,” Remilia begins. “Where you any other guest I would have probably ignored you until you left, but… hm. No memory, no identity, and either brave or dumb enough to talk back to me… that leaves an impression, Alice. And suffice to say, I heard what happened in the library. Patchu’s ecstatic with you.”

You frown. “Wait, the library thing was less than half an hour ago, and that’s counting the time it took me to get here. How…”

“Trust me, I knew in five minutes,” Remilia cuts in with a smirk. “Being the mistress of the mansion has some perks. At any rate, considering how Patchy has taken somewhat of an interest in you, I suppose you’ll be wanting to stay here for a while, see if she can help you with your own… unique problem. I’m right about this, of course.”

“I suppose you are.”

“Of course, I’m always right~.” Remilia’s expression grows smug as she places a delicate hand on her chest. “But at any rate, let’s cut to the chase, Alice.”

Without further ado, she stands up, folding her wings tightly behind her, and walks to the other side of the room, where the light of the fire doesn’t reach. “Alice~,” she says, her back turned away from you. “You have no money, no home, and no friends. Your one lifeline is Patchu, whose help you’ll require. Now, I am extremely generous, so let’s assume I let you stay here for a few weeks while you figure out your problem."

“But then,” Remilia turns around, and walks toward the table. She now holds in her hands a long, thin, leatherbound case, which she places on the table without much care, “what about afterwards? These things don’t solve themselves. You might need more time. And you’ll have nowhere to go.”

Bemused, you stand up, rapier pointing down, and take a closer look at the case. “What are you implying?”

“I’m implying that perhaps we ought to deal with this problem on a more permanent basis,” Remilia says magnanimously. “You’ve caused a positive impression. Patchouli trusts you. You need my help, and I find you amusing enough that I won’t get bored with you for a while. Who knows, we may actually end up friends, Alice!”

She punctuates this with a mischievous giggle that sends a shiver down your spine. This… You bite your lower lip, nervous. Just what are you getting into?

“What do you mean?” you ask.

With a flourish, Remilia opens the case, revealing an ornate belt and a thin leather scabbard inlaid with gold and jewelry.

“Work for me, Alice.”

-------

Options:

[]Take the scabbard.

[]Don't take the scabbard.
>> No. 34047
[X] What's the catch?

We need more information.
>> No. 34049
[X] "All that talking, and all you'll offer me is a position as your servant? I think I can do better."
[X] Don't take the scabbard.

Alice seems to be of a somewhat rash temperament, and Remilia isn't making any secret of how much better than us she thinks she is. I'd rather go back to the library with someone who treats us as something close to an equal. Not to mention Koa and her... politeness.

>I'm just taking advantage of the fact that this is fanfiction to relieve myself of a pet peeve of mine regarding hair colors. Mainly, if Flandre is blonde, why does Remilia, her sister, have outlandish blue hair?
Awesome. While you're at it, you should change Flandre's wings, too; after all, why should she have crazy Christmas lights when her sister has standard bat-like wings? ಠ_ಠ

Seriously, I'm all for a little selective acknowledgment of canon, but you couldn't come up with any reason why they might be different, and decided that the best course of action was making a significant feature of Remilia's appearance different from your readers' usual mental picture of her?
>> No. 34051
[X] "Lady Remilia," you say as politely as you can, though it comes out stiff. "Would you still like that foot massage?"
[X] Maintain a serious expression.
[X] If yes: Make it as awkward as possible for Remilia. Be sure to comment on the sensual curves of her feet. Following that, begin to breathe heavily as if you're enjoying this a little too much.

I dunno though, maybe it could be Alice's vision that's kinda messed up? I mean she's gone through ridiculous amounts of stress within a couple of days. Though only Patchy's and Remilia's hair color have so far been viewed as different.

On another note...a female protagonist in a CYOA?! I rather like this idea, and this guy isn't disappointing with descriptions.
>> No. 34052
[X] What's the catch?
>> No. 34053
File 126434696831.png - (318.51KB , 600x600 , 5a7ad72518c697413d8ccbb5b017c3e1.png ) [iqdb]
34053
[x]Don't take the scabbard.
-[x]Ask this question again once I've recovered my memory or it has proven to be an impossible task.
>> No. 34055
[n] What's the catch?
>> No. 34056
[X] What's the catch?
>> No. 34058
>>34049

Oh, I assure you, I didn't particularly put much thought into it. As I am a lazy fucker, I tend to end up writing very late at night, which leads to some "hey man, that sounds cool, throw that in" moments which aren't exactly the pinnacle of human reasoning.

The question now is rather whether to leave it in or arbitrarily change it again.
>> No. 34060
>>34058

You might want to rethink that since your writing will suffer eventually.

That and I'll still imagine the characters with their normal hair color. (What kind of person applies logic to a land of magical beings?)

[X] What's the catch?

>Huge Politeness

I chuckled at that.
>> No. 34061
[x]Don't take the scabbard.
-[x]Ask this question again once I've recovered my memory or it has proven to be an impossible task.
>> No. 34064
Goodness, you're making me want to be dominated by Remilia.

[X] What's the catch?

>>34008

Nah. We don't seem to have a "Property of Yuuka Kazami" tramp stamp, so odds are we're not the Ultimate Magic.
>> No. 34065
[x] >>34049

>>34051
>female protagonist in a CYOA?!
You must be pretty new. We've got more than a few such stories here at THP. See >>/gensokyo/1764 and >>/gensokyo/2274 for the list(s).

I'll be compiling them into their own thread sometime soon, along with the ones that have appeared since then.
>> No. 34066
>>34064

Having never beaten LLS, I never got that ending. From what I've been able to glean (mostly bits and pieces), Yuka stole Alice's grimoire, which contains the ultimate magic, right?

Which instantly makes it not canon, seeing as Alice still has her grimoire, as seen in her character art and mentioned by Marisa and the Three Mischievous Faeries.

Am I right?

Feel free to point me out if I went wrong with this assessment. I wouldn't generally discuss things that are by definition so close to the main secret of the story, but chances are Yuuka's going to be very important to the plot later on, and I want to get some information on this.
>> No. 34067
Having never beaten Mystic Square, I never got that ending. From what I've been able to glean (mostly bits and pieces), Yuka stole Alice's grimoire, which contains the ultimate magic, right?

Which instantly makes it not canon, seeing as Alice still has her grimoire, as seen in her character art and mentioned by Marisa and the Three Mischievous Faeries.

Am I right?

Feel free to point me out if I went wrong with this assessment. I wouldn't generally discuss things that are by definition so close to the main secret of the story, but chances are Yuuka's going to be very important to the plot later on, and I want to get some information on this.
>> No. 34068
>>34067

Actually it's said Yuuka got the ultimate magic as the prize for winning the competition in Phantasmagoria of Dim Dream, not that she stole it from Alice. It's said that Alice doesn't use it these days out of a need to hold back for the sake of her own pride and confidence (Losing at full power would be too much for her) Take this with a grain of salt.
>> No. 34077
[ø] What's the catch?
>> No. 34078
>Which instantly makes it not canon

One might say the same of all PC-98 endings.

>seeing as Alice still has her grimoire, as seen in her character art and mentioned by Marisa and the Three Mischievous Faeries.

Actually, Zun says Yuka acquired the 'ultimate magic' in his commentary for a Seihou game, where Yuka is the EX boss. There's nothing to say that the 'ultimate magic' is any more unique than say 'master spark' which has at least four different users (Yuka, Mima, Marisa, and Gengetu). Yuka doesn't appear with the grimoire as the EX boss, so it's unlikely to do with the grimoire herself.

This is just as ZUN makes the famous 'youkai moe' comment and admits that he doesn't know what the 'ultimate magic' actually is, just that it's 'moe'.
>> No. 34079
File 12643892006.jpg - (39.60KB , 395x560 , yuka055.jpg ) [iqdb]
34079
>>34067

That's not exactly it. I don't think Mystic Square elaborates on what happens to Alice's grimoire after Yuuka trashes her in the Extra Stage. Presumably Alice hangs onto the grimoire itself, because she clearly has it in the Windows games.

That said, ZUN states flat out in Yuuka's Kioh Gyoku profile:

>Also, after Mystic Square's extra ending, as planned, Yuka received the ultimate
magic. The author himself doesn't know exactly what is it.

That's Word of God, and more concrete information about which ending happened than we usually get, which effectively renders Yuuka obtaining the Ultimate Magic canon. Given that Alice still has her grimoire, this could mean a couple different things. It's possible that Yuuka simply thumbed through the grimoire and learned the Ultimate Magic, then left the book behind. She could also have just torn the pages detailing the magic out of the grimoire, and tossed aside the book itself, not considering it a worthwhile prize. There's also the possibility that ZUN is a drunken bastard, and didn't really think it all through.

It's up to you how you handle it, but I think it's a safe bet that Yuuka canonically knows the Ultimate Magic, whatever it may be.
>> No. 34080
File 126438931121.jpg - (39.60KB , 395x560 , yuka055.jpg ) [iqdb]
34080
>>34067

That's not exactly it. I don't think Mystic Square elaborates on what happens to Alice's grimoire after Yuuka trashes her in the Extra Stage. Presumably Alice hangs onto the grimoire itself, because she clearly has it in the Windows games.

That said, ZUN states flat out in Yuuka's Kioh Gyoku profile:

>Also, after Mystic Square's extra ending, as planned, Yuka received the ultimate magic. The author himself doesn't know exactly what is it.

That's Word of God, and more concrete information about which ending happened than we usually get, which effectively renders Yuuka obtaining the Ultimate Magic canon. Given that Alice still has her grimoire, this could mean a couple different things. It's possible that Yuuka simply thumbed through the grimoire and learned the Ultimate Magic, then left the book behind. She could also have just torn the pages detailing the magic out of the grimoire, and tossed aside the book itself, not considering it a worthwhile prize. There's also the possibility that ZUN is a drunken bastard, and didn't really think it all through.

It's up to you how you handle it, but I think it's a safe bet that Yuuka canonically knows the Ultimate Magic, whatever it may be.
>> No. 34093
File 126440096832.gif - (14.83KB , 275x300 , slowpoke.gif ) [iqdb]
34093
>>34065

34051 here. Yeah, I actually am. Thanks for those references though.
>> No. 34094
File 126440164957.jpg - (354.56KB , 500x1500 , 125514754367.jpg ) [iqdb]
34094
>>34078
>>34080

...I see. Thanks a lot. Looks like I'll have to think some things over.

But anyways, update.

--------

Almost without thinking, you reach out for the beautiful scabbard, but just as quickly you stop, realizing the consequences you'll have to face if you do pick it up. Looking up, you see Remilia smiling at you expectantly. Though you have to grudgingly admit to yourself that you don't dislike her nearly as much as you should, do you really want to work for this woman? Is there really no other alternative?

"There's a catch," you declare, absentmindedly rubbing your chin with a velvet-gloved hand.

"Oh~?" Remilia's eyes widen in adorably fake innocence. "I assure you, there's no such thing."

"I assure you I doubt it, milady," you say, stoic. Remilia seems to like someone who can answer back, so you might as well tell her what you think. "Very much so."

"Nu-huh," Remilia shakes her head and takes another sip of absinthe, her glass already half-empty. "I'm a very straightforward employer, Alice. You get free room and board, three meals a day, and a uniform that in your case I'll forgo for the sake of that pretty dress. Oh, and," she smirks, her expression devilish, "no salary~."

You blink. "No... salary?"

"Yes~."

"Milady," you say, taking a deep breath. "Nobody works without a salary."

"Really now?" Remilia asks impishly. "I assure you they do, here - and there's two classes of them. People who want to be here, and people who don't have anywhere else to go." She pauses, eyes widening as if she'd suddenly remembered something. "Oh, and I suppose faeries who want free food," she goes on, nonchalant, "but then again, faeries aren't people, so I tend to forget them."

You flash back to Cirno. She wasn't that bad.

"Still, milady," you say, green eyes running their stare over the scabbard you're being offered. Gold and diamonds. The craftsmanship is so beautiful you're tempted to say yes simply out of a selfish desire to possess the thing. Just as Remilia's planned. "You're implying that I have nowhere to go."

"I'm saying you don't," Remilia states matter-of-factly. "It's not exactly debatable."

"Or is it?" you counter. "What if Lady Patchouli pulls through? You seem to have little faith in it."

"Lady Patchouli?" Remilia raises an eyebrow. "You sure seem to instinctively grow politer when you want something, Alice. Why is that?"

"You're avoiding the question, milady."

Remilia shrugs, her wings spreading behind her slightly as she does so. "I may have reasons of my own to doubt it."

You take a good look at the scabbard for one last time before giving a dejected sigh. "And I have my own reasons to reject your offer, milady."

That wipes the smile off Remilia's face in an instant, her features fading into a stony mask as her eyes narrow. "So it's 'no'," she declares. "Hm."

Then she's standing less right in front of you, wings spread, a cold, pale hand cupping your cheek. 'How did she move so fast?' Her red eyes bore into your own, and the rapier in your left hand feels like a pathetic afterthought against her.

"You know," she begins, calmly caressing your cheek as all you can do is look on, stunned. "I ought to make this a one time offer only." Her hand moves down, softly stroking your neck as her red eyes narrow dangerously. "That way, when you inevitably rethink your choice, I'll be able to give you a delicious 'no'."

"But I won't do that." Blinking, you realize that she's stepped back from you and is already closing the scabbard's case. "I'll give you two weeks. Once that time's past," she smiles again, revealing all of her very sharp teeth, "I assure you you'll be back to say 'yes'."

"Maybe, milady," you say stiffly, trying to keep from shivering. This girl... woman? Is truly more than she lets on.

"Definitely," Remilia retorts. "Now, leave my sight before you bore me~." With a nonchalant wave, she dismisses you, focusing her attention on her absinthe. Gritting your teeth, you turn around and exit the room.

'Just what in the world am I involved in?'

Closing the ornate doors behind you, you find yourself in the long, empty hallway, with absolutely nowhere to go. Walking around, you find the corridor that leads to the stairs to the lower floors (and from there to either the library or the outer grounds), but also can't help but stare, in a mixture of fear and curiosity, at the corridor that leads to your old room... and the imposing door of the chapel just a few meters away.

You give a tired sigh. You really need time to clear your thoughts. What to do?

-----

Options:

[]Write-in.

[] Screw the rules, explore the chapel.

[]Head back to the library. Patchouli did say she'd want to talk later.

[]Fresh air. You need fresh air. Head down and explore the outer grounds.
>> No. 34095
[X] Head back to the library. Patchouli did say she'd want to talk later.

After that rude encounter, I think I need some politeness. In huge quantities.
>> No. 34096
[X] Head back to the library. Patchouli did say she'd want to talk later.

Did Alice eat yet today? Just wondering since frankly the girl could stand to eat big time.
>> No. 34097
Two and a half updates, and I already want to punch this Remilia. Good show, writefag.

>>34096
She had a huge breakfast in >>33758.

[X] Fresh air. You need fresh air. Head down and explore the outer grounds.
Meiling~
>> No. 34099
[x] >>34095

I had a strange and sudden idea that I'd like people to consider and tell me whether or not it sounds unlikely/insane. It may very well rank up there with "become Hina's shrine maiden" in terms of taking stories in entirely unplanned but awesome directions, and moreover, it depends entirely upon whether or not KW will allow it or if it fits into his plans, as well as if his characters would allow it...
But.
What if we contracted with Patchy to become her second familiar? She thinks well of us, she's not at all an unpleasant sort, she'd be vastly preferable to Remi as a boss, we provide battle-proven library defense capabilities, and I'm sure she'll cream her panties when she realizes she's made the Ultimate Magic (or whatever this Alice is) literally hers. Depending on how KW handles the mechanics of familiar binding, she might not need to be supplied with magic or sex or whatever fuels Koa.

Just something to consider.
>> No. 34100
[X] Head back to the library. Patchouli did say she'd want to talk later.
>> No. 34102
[ø]Fresh air. You need fresh air. Head down and explore the outer grounds.
>>34099
Interesting thought, but I'm more interested in what Ms. Margatroid has to say about Alice.
>> No. 34103
[X] Head back to the library. Patchouli did say she'd want to talk later.
>> No. 34104
File 126443251448.gif - (34.44KB , 612x566 , SexyKoPatch004.gif ) [iqdb]
34104
>>34099
>she might not need to be supplied with magic or sex or whatever fuels Koa.
>not need to be supplied with sex
>not need sex

I think I've spotted the fatal flaw in your suggestion.
>> No. 34105
>>34104
>flaw
>> No. 34123
>>34099

That is what write-ins are for, dear anon. It is definitely allowed... if you can figure out a way to steer Alice there based on the upcoming choices that will show up as the plot thickens. However, as with anything, it'll be a hard road, and I reserve the right to throw plot twists, obstacles, and outright tragedy in your path at any moment~.

>>34102

Worry not. There's, after all, a reason the first picture in the thread is our puppeteer's personal sigil.
>> No. 34129
[]Fresh air. You need fresh air. Head down and explore the outer grounds.
>> No. 34140
File 126457538328.jpg - (768.75KB , 800x2400 , c573e4ffdb2dfca8a0753ec09438b1c5.jpg ) [iqdb]
34140
After some thought, you decide to head for the library. Though it ought to be at least a while until lunchtime -something your already grumbling stomach disagrees with-, you figure Patchouli only mentioned that timeframe because she assumed Remilia would keep you longer.

You shudder at that thought. There is something about your benefactor that makes her both charming and antipathetic, delicate but brutal. To be frank, she scares you.

Pensive, you head out, pausing only to observe the entrance of the chapel at the end of the leftmost corridor. Like before, there's something about that closed door that makes you curious, confused.

"The lady's chapel," Sakuya had called it, implying current use. But what kind of vampire maintains a chapel?

You shake your head, bemused. Curious as it makes you, now's not the time to be invading Remilia's privacy by peeking around. Not after how angered she seemed by your rejection of her offer.

You walk, thus, along the hallway, past that corridor and all others like it, enduring once more the severe stares of the angels in their paintings. They stare you down, more stern and austere than their counterparts in the lower floors, as if you were something offensive, unnatural.

You do your best to ignore them, heading down the stairs. Who cares how some inanimate characters look at you? If they should be wanting to chastise anyone, it ought to be the mansion's arrogant mistress.

At the foot of the staircase, you reach once more the cross-shaped lobby, and almost immediately have to suppress a shiver.

You'd not really paid attention while following Sakuya, who moved so quickly she constantly threatened to leave you behind, but now that you're standing alone in the silence, the memories of having been cornered here by Flandre bubble back up to the surface, shrouded in your own fear.

"Horrible little monster," you whisper into the air, downcast.

Taking a heavy step forward, you realize that now that the chandeliers are lit, you can finally read the inscriptions on the polished floor that so puzzled you the previous night.

"At spes non fracta," you read aloud. "What-"

"'But hope has not been broken yet,'" a voice interrupts you. "Latin."

You start at the intrusion, turning around with your rapier up.

"You're a skittish individual," Sakuya tells you as your green eyes widen in recognition. The maid stares at you down your pointed blade with a tiny smile.

"Yesterday night is still fresh in my mind," you mutter, lowering your rapier. You can't help but notice that Sakuya's carrying something this time - a silver tray containing a large, beautifully wrought cup of strawberry pudding. "Dessert?" you ask with a sideways nod.

"For milady," Sakuya replies, impassive. She doesn't take her eyes off you.

A good half-minute passes while the two of you stare each other down. Finally, you shrug and give the maid a calm grin. "I left it on maybe."

"Hmph." Sakuya doesn't seem too pleased. "I do hope it doesn't turn into a 'yes'. You've seen how the peace of this mansion can turn to hell. I can't guarantee your safety if you accept milady's offer."

"In two weeks, there's a chance I won't be able to guarantee my safety if I don't," you retort, inwardly hoping it won't come to that.

Sakuya raises an eyebrow. "I really don't know what they see in you-"

She stops, ignoring your glare. On the collar of her uniform, a tiny silver pin shaped like a flower begins to glow blue and vibrate slightly. With a sigh, Sakuya places her thumb and forefinger over the pin, stopping the faint light. "Yes?" she asks, speaking into her collar. So that's how Remilia had time to talk to her not even a minute after you left her room!

"Sakuyaaaa," Remilia's voice rings out in a childish whine, "where's my pudding? You're half a minute late."

"It's on the way, milady," Sakuya replies, rolling her eyes.

"Forty seconds late now~..."

"On the way," Sakuya repeats, letting go of the pin. "I hate it when she gets into one of her moods..."

Sighing, she begins to walk away from you.

"Wait," you say, eyes narrowed, "what did you mean by-"

"No time," Sakuya cuts you off. And just like that, she's gone.

Literally. One moment you blinked, and the maid wasn't there anymore.

You shake your head, exasperated. These overabundance of teleportation spells is starting to annoy you.

As is, you think as you make your way down to the lower floors, Sakuya herself.

------

After much walking around, you manage to make your way to the mansion's large foyer, and from there to the massive entrance to the library. The enormous oaken doors look for a moment so large as to bar your entrance simply by being too large to push aside without help, but to your surprise they move with no resistance when you place your hands on them -magic, no doubt-, and reveal...

...nothing.

The great library is not there, but rather a large, round, and empty chamber, occupied only by a pedestal erected in its very center, itself topped with a large stone sphere.

"What in the world..."

Frowning, you walk forward, your footsteps echoing loudly throughout the chamber. Finally, you stand before the stone sphere, and read the inscription carved on it:

"A posse ad esse non valet consequentia."

You sigh. "Again with the Latin," you mumble, frustrated. "What to do..."

You say nothing else, gasping as at that very moment the letters engraved in the stone seem to shift and flow like water, reforming the phrase in a language you can understand.

"From a thing's possibility one cannot be certain of its reality," you read aloud. "Is this some kind of riddle?"

"In a way~," a voice rings out from behind you. You turn around to see Koakuma beaming at you as she walks toward you, her cute forked tail wagging behind her like a happy snake. "Hello, Miss Alice," she says with a smile, "it's great that you're done!"

"Ah, Koa," you answer, somewhat surprised. The girl's warmth, though utterly endearing, does make for a rather jarring change from your cold conversations with Sakuya and Remilia. "I..."

----

[]Write-in.

[]"...expected you to be in the library. Care telling me why you're out here?" (Let's be friends~!)

[]"...am a tad stuck here. Care telling me the riddle?" (Straight to business, before she starts molesting you again.)
>> No. 34141
[X] "...expected you to be in the library. Why are you out here?" (Let's be friends~!)

Friends~
>> No. 34142
[x]"...expected you to be in the library. Care telling me why you're out here?" (Let's be friends~!)

She has always been friendly, time to return the favor some.
>> No. 34143
File 126457974370.jpg - (602.85KB , 1112x800 , koa024.jpg ) [iqdb]
34143
[X] "... expected you to be in the library, but a friendly face is always welcome. I'm glad to see you right now, in fact. Care telling me why you're out here?" (Let's be friends~!)

Koakuma is love. I wish to love her. Physically as well as emotionally.
>> No. 34144
[ø]"...expected you to be in the library. Care telling me why you're out here?" (Let's be friends~!)
>> No. 34154
[x] "...expected you to be in the library. I also sort of expected... the library. Care telling me why you're out here?" (Let's be friends~!)
>> No. 34160
[x]"...expected you to be in the library. Care telling me why you're out here?" (Let's be friends~!)
>> No. 34161
File 126471498684.jpg - (213.29KB , 579x744 , 8426529.jpg ) [iqdb]
34161
>>34140
[X]"...expected you to be in the library. Care telling me why you're out here?" (Let's be friends~!)

Just caught up. I like the story and where you're going with it.
>> No. 34170
File 126474768964.jpg - (300.47KB , 785x925 , koakoakoa.jpg ) [iqdb]
34170
"Ah, Koa," you answer, somewhat surprised. The girl's warmth, though utterly endearing, does make for a rather jarring change from your cold conversations with Sakuya and Remilia. "I expected you to be in the library," you state, curious.

Koa looks away from you, a tinge of pink coloring her cheeks. "Um... yes... I... was doing something else!"

"Oh, what was that?" you ask, giving her your best smile. Despite that initial little slip-up (which you do intend to ask Patchouli about), Koa hasn't been anything other than friendly to you, so you might as well try to return the favor.

The tiny wings on Koa's head give several quick flaps as she giggles mischievously. "Well, um... you know how we have faeries working as maids here?"

"Yes... what about them?"

"Well, they're fair workers most of the time, but," Koa looks positively delighted now, "once in a while one of them will pull a prank."

"Really?" you ask, calmly leaning against the stone pedestal. "What did they do?"

"Weeeell, turns out that one of them made a bet to steal a bottle of Lady Patchouli's brandy, and she did it when Marisa came in... and... and..." She can't take it anymore. Her words end as she breaks into a peal of laughter, bending down and clutching her stomach as her wings flap excitedly. "Have you," she gasps out between uncontrolled giggles, "have you ever seen a drunk... fairy?"

"Um... no..." you mutter, not quite sharing in the excitement.

Koakuma walks towards you, grabbing one of your hands as if to support herself. You start, feeling your face heat up. This girl is really big on the touching. "They can't hold their alcohol, Miss Alice, they're like... like little spinning tops with wings on them... one of them even threw up on Lady Patchouli's fireplace and nearly scorched her own face, it was ridiculous!" She grins. "Milady was furious, of course. It took all my effort to get the poor things out of the library before she turned them all into frogs."

At this, you can't help but laugh a little yourself, causing Koa to look even happier. From what little you know of her, Patchouli's face must have been priceless.

Letting go of your hands, Koa gives you a quizzical look. "But you know what's weird?" she asks. "I swear that not one of the three faeries who drank the brandy ever worked at the library before. I think I saw the one with the blue ribbon somewhere, though, but..."

"Eh, doesn't matter," she shrugs, dismissing her own concerns. "I'll put them on hallway cleaning duty once they recover, because being anywhere near Lady Patchouli won't be good for their health."

Nodding to herself, she stands beside you, putting her hands on the stone sphere. You turn around, observing her inquisitively. "So you're stuck here, I guess?" she teases you, slowly running her hands over the orb.

"Ah..." you grimace. "I knew Patchouli told me that this place used to be hidden, but I didn't know it was still sequestered."

"It isn't, really," Koa shakes her head. "I wasn't there when it happened, but Lady Patchouli tells me the entrance was so covered in concealing enchantments only a trained magician would've been able to so much as notice there was something out of the ordinary in the mansion."

"But then... what about this?"

"This is the library's last line of defense against entrance," Koakuma grins. "Less of a security measure and more of a pleasant acknowledgment to the nature of the library's mission. Lady Patchouli would sooner hang herself than remove it."

You pat the sphere with a gloved hand, pensive. "From a thing's possibility one cannot be certain of its reality," you repeat. "It's... not really a riddle. It's a statement, so..."

You pause, feeling the answer on the tip of your tongue. "Go on," Koa encourages you with a little wave, the wings on her head flapping excitedly.

"An argument," you state, your words more guess than measurement. "You have to argue against it."

"Or for it," Koa adds, tapping the tip of her tail against the sphere with a dull sound. It's rather charming, you can't help but think. "As long as the sphere thinks you're convincing, the library will open up."

"The sphere thinks," you state flatly.

"A figure of speech," Koa retorts, unruffled. "The enchantments on it are so advanced it might as well. At any rate, either you give your argument, or state the quick-password Lady Patchouli set. Without one of those, it won't let you pass."

You nod. "So..."

Koa blinks innocently at you. "So~?"

"What's the password?" you ask.

At that sentence, Koa's expression turns positively wicked, her smile like a little devil's. "I'm not about to tell you," she smirks. "You have to put some effort into it, Miss Alice."

You sigh, slightly irritated. Figures even someone as nice as Koa would turn out to have a way to annoy you.

"Alright..."

-----

Options:

"From a thing's possibility one cannot be certain of its reality."

So,

[]Write-in
[]"I suppose this is right. We can hope, I guess, in something, and base that hope on anything we think justifies it. But doubt is always there. That's what hope is, after all, no? We see that something we don't like might happen, but we hold on to and strive for the possibility that it won't. If we held absolute certainty for everything we might believe possible, wouldn't that kill the incentive to make it so? Or am I just rambling?"

[]"I don't think so. If there's a chance something exists, and I want it to exist, then can't I believe in the certainty of its existence, even if it may not be so? That's the concept of faith, right?"
>> No. 34171
File 126474935827.jpg - (147.18KB , 1024x768 , fairies2.jpg ) [iqdb]
34171
>"I swear that not one of the three faeries who drank the brandy ever worked at the library before. I think I saw the one with the blue ribbon somewhere, though, but..."
"Nobaaadee knooowsh... *hic* ...the trouble we've scheeen..."

[X] "Of course. All it means to say that something is 'possible' is that there's nothing that makes makes it impossible. It's possible for me to turn around and walk out of this room right now, but if I don't decide to, it won't happen. Whether something actually exists in the real world depends on people's actions, and 'possibility' is nothing but a thought."

Alice is a no-nonsense kind of girl. Besides, "yes" is the only sane response for anyone who isn't aware of what Gensokyo is.
>> No. 34172
[x] "Open up, you rocky bastard."

>>34171
>"Nobaaadee knooowsh... *hic* ...the trouble we've scheeen..."
That is not how drunks sound.
>> No. 34175
[x]"I don't think so. If there's a chance something exists, and I want it to exist, then can't I believe in the certainty of its existence, even if it may not be so? That's the concept of faith, right?"

Dragons don't exist. Fairies don't exist. Magic don't exist. Yet, 's all here. Why? Because Gensokyo hosts all things that have lost the faith of its existence. No body believed on them, yet here they are.
Wouldn't that be akin to the nature of dreams? This wonderland is the last refugee for people who believe in what the rest of the world don't.
>> No. 34176
>>34170
[X] "If you acknowledge that a possibility for something exists, you can be confident in its reality. It's only after you've deemed something impossible that you cannot determine its reality."

Stone, I respectfully disagree.
>> No. 34177
[x]"I don't think so. If there's a chance something exists, and I want it to exist, then can't I believe in the certainty of its existence, even if it may not be so? That's the concept of faith, right?"
>> No. 34179
[X] "True enough. Possibility is just that, and nothing more. Though you can jump through hoops and toy with semantics all you like, reality is something that you have to have some evidence to verify. If possibility were all that was required to be certain of reality, there would be a myriad of contradictions in the world. Can we not conceive of a myriad of possible objects, each bearing the same quality of being in a specific location? Why then do we not have an endless deluge of objects occupying the same point in space? Because possibility does not bring about creation. You cannot define things into existence."
[X] "It's important to remember that fact. We cannot rely on possibility alone; if one desires a possible outcome, then it is one's responsibility to bring it about."

Because the ontological argument is bollocks, and pisses me off to no end.
>> No. 34180
[x] "Direct mathematical route: If "reality" is simply taken to mean a realised event, and "possiblity" is probability as defined in probability mathematics, then yes, probability does not implicate existence."
>> No. 34184
[+] >>34179
Well said.
>> No. 34185
[x]>>34175
>> No. 34194
[x] >>34179
>> No. 34198
{"If you acknowledge that a possibility for something exists, you can be confident in its reality. It's only after you've deemed something impossible that you cannot determine its reality."}

I like this one.
>> No. 34202
>>34198

Why? It doesn't make any sense. "If something is possible, it is real, but if it is impossible, then it may or may not be real?" Seriously?

If something is possible, you can be confident that it it has a chance of being real, because that's what being possible means. If something is impossible, then by the very definition of impossible it has no reality. In other words, you can determine that its reality is false.
>> No. 34203
>>34202
>but if it is impossible, then it may or may not be real?
>In other words, you can determine that its reality is false

You're in no position to be talking about what makes sense, bro.
>> No. 34204
>>34203
By all means, then, explain >>34176 for us simpletons, because all I'm seeing is pseudo-intellectual bullshit. "If you acknowledge that a possibility for something exists, you can be confident in its reality"? Here, let me quote the good vote: "If possibility were all that was required to be certain of reality, there would be a myriad of contradictions in the world."

Now, if you wanted to make an intelligent argument against the sphere, you could try something like predestination: "Because everything that happens has been predetermined from the beginning of reality, things that exist are the only possible things; things that do not exist are not possible. Something must be possible in order to exist. By formal logic, the set of possible things and the set of things that exist are equal."

But that requires redefining "existence" in a nebulous sort of way, and it doesn't sound like something Alice would believe in the first place.
>> No. 34205
>>34203

If you're trying to say the second point is wrong, you're fighting an uphill battle. The option I criticized claims either one of two things: 1) the reality of impossible subjects cannot be determined, or 2) that prematurely concluding that something is impossible will prevent you from ever testing it. The latter is a claim that's irrelevant to the argument with the stone, and the former is patently stupid. If something is impossible, it cannot exist, and the state of its reality is clearly determined as nonexistent. Of course, the first statement of that option is still stupid in either case.

If you're trying to point out how stupid the first quote sounds, or that the two quoted portions of the post contradict each other, then I think you need to shut up and read that post again.
>> No. 34207
Additionally, I'd like to point out that >>34176 isn't even an argument. It's just a baseless statement.

>"If you acknowledge that a possibility for something exists, you can be confident in its reality.

Okay. Now tell me why.

>It's only after you've deemed something impossible that you cannot determine its reality."

That does not explain the previous point. It is a separate, almost unrelated statement.

There are two claims here, with no backing evidence, and no argument behind them. Worse still, the second statement might be nothing more than a comment on attitude, in which case it has no relation to the argument at hand, and leaves the first statement as the lone reply to the stone, and one with no support at that. Essentially a reply of "I disagree" followed by silence. That is just not going to cut it.
>> No. 34209
>>34204
>>34205
Am >>34203 but not the original vote, but now I think I know why there's a dissonance in thought. The original vote (>>34176) is arguing the exact opposite of the stone: "From a thing's possibility one can be certain of its reality." Reality is the state of being actual or real. "From a thing's possibility one can be certain of its state of being actual or real." Knowing the possibility or impossibility informs you whether something is actual/real.

>but if it is impossible, then it may or may not be real?
It's definitely not real
>In other words, you can determine that its reality is false
Doesn't a false reality = something not real = impossible. In which case knowing the (im)possibility lets us know about about the reality.

>>34207
>"If you acknowledge that a possibility for something exists, you can be confident in its reality.
>Okay. Now tell me why.
Doesn't the concept of possibility presuppose the chance that something exists, even if it's of the minutest of odds?

>It's only after you've deemed something impossible that you cannot determine its reality."
>That does not explain the previous point. It is a separate, almost unrelated statement.
Impossible is impossible, no two ways about it. Possibility assumes something might exist, impossibility doesn't. The two points build off each other.
>> No. 34210
>>34209
>Doesn't the concept of possibility presuppose the chance that something exists
Yes, the chance that something exists, but the portion of >>34176 you quoted says "you can be confident in its reality."

>Impossible is impossible, no two ways about it.
So once you've deemed something impossible, you can 'determine its reality', which is the opposite of what >>34176 says. I'm sorry, but your explanation isn't helping me understand how >>34176 makes even the slightest bit of sense.

Incidentally, we're tied at 5-5 between arguments for and arguments against the stone.
>> No. 34211
[x] "Let me into the library and I will lick your wings."
>> No. 34212
>>34210
>So once you've deemed something impossible, you can 'determine its reality',
Yes
>which is the opposite of what >>34176 says.
No.

First part says when you acknowledge a possibility, you can be confident it's real. The second part says that when something is impossible, it cannot be real. Either way, like you've said yourself, you can determine its existence from its possibility, an argument directly against what the stone says.
Made sense when I wrote it. Still makes sense to me, but I'm thinking the "It's only after you've deemed something impossible that you cannot determine its reality" is what bothers everyone. I see that and think "When something is impossible, it can't be real," while most everyone else is probably thinking it means "if it's impossible, the state of reality cannot be determined." Am I more or less right on this? Probably should have tarted that up a little more comprehensive, but spewing lines like it was copy-pasted from a text book doesn't seem to fit the scene.

Sorry for the confusion and the ensuing arguments. People are getting irrationally angry over this vote. >>34211 is clearly the superior vote anyway. Fuck the stone, let's just play with Koa.
>> No. 34213
>most everyone else is probably thinking it means "if it's impossible, the state of reality cannot be determined." Am I more or less right on this?
Yes, that is what I was thinking, because that's almost exactly what the vote says. To quote: "It's only after you've deemed something impossible that you cannot determine its reality." I don't see how that can be understood as meaning the same thing as "when something is impossible, it can't be real" at all.

But at any rate, I do understand and agree with the statement "when something is impossible, it can't be real", so we're cool there, but I still don't understand how the first half of >>34176 makes any sense. "When you acknowledge a possibility, you can be confident it's real"? I suppose you can be confident that the possibility is real, whatever that means, but you can't be confident that the possible object is real. Maybe you could explain your interpretation of that half of the vote, too?

And for the record, I don't think anyone's particularly angry here (except >>34204, who seems like kind of a dick); I just don't think >>34176 makes much sense, and if Alice ends up saying it, I'd like to at least understand it.
>> No. 34214
[X] "True enough. Possibility is just that, and nothing more. Though you can jump through hoops and toy with semantics all you like, reality is something that you have to have some evidence to verify. If possibility were all that was required to be certain of reality, there would be a myriad of contradictions in the world. Can we not conceive of a myriad of possible objects, each bearing the same quality of being in a specific location? Why then do we not have an endless deluge of objects occupying the same point in space? Because possibility does not bring about creation. You cannot define things into existence."
[X] "It's important to remember that fact. We cannot rely on possibility alone; if one desires a possible outcome, then it is one's responsibility to bring it about."

If that should fail

[x] "Let me into the library and I will lick your wings."
>> No. 34215
Holy cow, that's a lot of posts.

Well, I'm busy with schoolwork and want to wait for the discussion to wind down a bit to count the results, so the update will be coming tomorrow.

Well, it'll be coming tomorrow if I can actually get on the site, that is. For the past day and a half, so much as viewing the main page has been hell for me.
>> No. 34217
>>34214
I am glad to see somebody is prepared to not take this seriously. You guys are getting waaaay too worked up over this.
>> No. 34252
File 126527011354.jpg - (179.13KB , 750x741 , pajuuuuu.jpg ) [iqdb]
34252
"...I think it's right," you say to the stone after some thought. "After all, in the same way that something that's in front of you won't pop out of existence just because you don't believe in it, reality needs evidence to verify it."

You pause for a second, ordering your thoughts. This is harder than it sounded. "Otherwise," you go on, making a sweeping gesture as you pace around the stone, "otherwise even thinking about something would bring it about, and if that would happen every time someone thought of it..."

You wheel around, pointing at the stone with your rapier. "If that happened, the universe would break down!"

"Possibility doesn't bring about creation. Even matters of faith, which are based entirely around belief, have some basis on the believer's conception of reality. You don't believe without proof, even if that proof is as abstract as a hunch."

You turn to Koa, who stares at your display of enthusiasm with dumbstruck awe. "That's right, isn't it?" you ask her, not waiting for an answer before turning toward the stone. "In life one can't rely on possibilities alone. If I, for example, want my memories back, then its my responsibility to bring that outcome about by helping Lady Patchouli. If I were to just stand here and wish for them, it would never happen. That alone proves the argument!"

With nothing else to say, you stop, brows knit in a frown as you breathe heavily in anticipation.

The stone, however, stays cold and unmoving for a good minute.

"Um... did it... did it get that?" you whisper, feeling a blush creep to your cheeks.

As if on cue, the stone glows a bright yellow, and once more the words engraved in it twist and change.

"A fair enough argument. But remember that there are exceptions to every rule," you read, thankful that the words are now in a language you can understand.

The letters change again.

"Welcome to Voilé."

As soon as you read that, you feel a tingle run down your spine. Knowing what this means on instinct, you bring your right hand up to find it glowing a faint blue.

"Oh God, not again..."

----------------------------------

"Oomph!"

The teleportation spell unceremoniously drops you on your behind at the foot of a bookcase, leaving you to moan in pain as you try to get up, the world spinning around you.

"Hate it..." you choke out, "hate it... when that happens."

A warm hand clasps your own, and your vision settles as Koakuma helps you up with a coy smile. "I'm sorry, Miss Alice." She rubs the back of her neck. "I know it's hard to get used to it, but teleportation's pretty much the only way to get around in a place this big."

"What a horrid invention," you moan, looking around to find that you've been brought to the same place where you'd talked to Patchouli this morning. "So I made it?" you ask.

Koa smiles, and clasps her hands with a nod. "Ah, yes, Miss Alice! You're so smart!" As always when she gives you a compliment, her cheeks tinge slightly pink. "It's not every argument that the sphere accepts."

"It oughtn't be," you hear behind you. Patchouli. You and Koa turn around and nod in acknowledgment. "Koa," she says, looking rather displeased, "I trust you dealt with those little monsters?"

"Um, I'll put them on cleaning duty once they recover, milady," Koa answers sheepishly.

"Too good for them," Patchouli states flatly. "But I suppose, whatever gets them out of my hair..."

Koa nods, bringing a hand to cover her mouth. Though outwardly she looks embarrassed, you can tell she's hiding a grin. Patchouli turns to you, her features softening. "So, you managed to convince the sphere." She smiles. "Well done. I must admit to liking your style... Sakuya claims to never have time, and Remilia's too lazy not to use the password, but a good argument is good for the brain."

With an approving nod, she slips a hand into the pocket of her gown and pulls out a tiny gold pocketwatch, checking the time before returning it. "So," she says, "lunch. Come along now."

Agreeing, you and Koakuma follow her, walking past the endless rows of bookcases towards the staircase leading to Patchouli's chambers, with you trying your best not to stop and gape every few steps or so - you are, after all, not yet used to the massive size of the Magic Library, and can't help but marvel at its intricacies. Who built it? Why? And how?

While you ponder these things, Patchouli and Koakuma seem patently unfazed by the wonders that shock you so - a testament, perhaps, to people's ability to get used to anything.

Finally, as you reach the foot of the spiral staircase and start climbing, a sudden thought interrupts your reverie, a strange curiosity you can't hold back. "Patchouli," you start, idly scratching your chin, "if the sphere is the only way to get to the library, how does Marisa manage to come in? Did she steal the password, or-"

"Ha!" Patchouli turns around so suddenly that she nearly knocks Koa, who stands beside her, off her feet. "That horrid thief never got a hold of the password, no. Even if she had, I could just change it. No, she..." She makes a face, her cheeks reddening. "She actually makes a sport of inventing the most fanciful, most utterly fallacious arguments she can for the sphere, and the stupid thing actually lets her in. It's horrifying."

"Ah, Lady Patchouli," Koa interjects, worried. "Don't get mad, your asthma will start up again..."

The plea has the opposite effect, Patchouli's beautiful purple eyes widening in indignation. "Not mad!?" she asks, "Not mad, when everyone in this mansion is an accomplice for that thieving rat? Remilia tolerates her, Sakuya helps her, and Meiling couldn't guard a gate to save her own hide."

With a shuddering sigh, she turns around and begins making her way up the stairs again, you and Koa in tow. "I swear, Koa," she mutters, "you and I are the only sane people here."

You frown. "What about me?" you blurt out.

"Not after the stunt you pulled with Marisa. Though..." Patchouli glances back at you with a smile. "I suppose you did save my books, so I'll forgive your insanity."

With that, she lets out a tiny, beautiful laugh that you and Koa can't help but follow with giggles of your own.

---------------------------

Entering Patchouli's hidden living room, you are happy to find food arranged and ready on the center table - roast beef and bacon covered in gravy alongside huge helpings of mashed potatoes. Indeed, before Patchouli or Koakuma have even finished seating, you're already attacking your meal, fork and knife in hand.

"Hungry much?" Patchouli asks, earning a giggle from Koa. "Maybe breakfast wasn't enough for her?" the girl suggests as she picks up her own fork.

"Yes and yes, to both," you mutter absentmindedly as you bring another piece of beef to your mouth. The meat is rare, juicy and tender. You could sing.

"I'd criticize anyone else, but I suppose you do need the food," Patchouli nods. "Well, Koa, let's tuck in. I'd offer you two brandy, but those beasts drank it all..."

The meal progresses quite peacefully, the silence broken only by the sounds of chewing and the happy flapping of Koa's wings. There is a sort of peace in eating besides these two people you've only just met, a kind of quiet warmth you can't help but like.

When the meal is over, Koa leans back on her chair, scratching her flat tummy as the wings on her head flap contentedly. "Ah... I should get going," she mutters, "I still have a few pages left on that catalog you asked me for, milady."

Patchouli nods."You do that. In the meantime, I want to talk with Alice for a bit."

"Good," you mutter, already feeling a tad sleepy from the meal, "I have a few questions to ask you anyway."

"Alright then," Koakuma stands up from her seat, stretching with a yawn. You can't help but feel your breathing quicken a bit as the action flaunts her breasts rather nicely. "See you later, Miss Alice!"

The girl waves at you with a smile and leaves, tail wagging happily behind her. As she closes the door, you and Patchouli are left alone.

"So," you begin. "What did you want to tell me?"

Patchouli raises a hand, the same gesture you've noticed she always uses to halt someone's premature enthusiasm. "Perhaps," she says, deliberate, "it ought to be best if you asked me what you wanted to first. It'll make for a smoother conversation, if anything."

You nod...

-------

[]Write-in
[]"I just talked with Remilia... can you tell me why she is the way she is?"
[]"I'll be frank," you say, "I want to make myself useful. I don't like freeloading, and I'll be here for two weeks..."
[]"Just who is Sakuya?"
[]"Why is Koakuma so affectionate?"
[]"How'd the food get here so fast?"

Note that one question might lead to others from the list.

Also, write-ins are very encouraged. Let's see if there's something interesting you can fastball Patchy with~.
>> No. 34255
[x]"I just talked with Remilia... can you tell me why she is the way she is?"
[x]"This library is... amazing. Could you tell me how it came to be?"
[x]"I'll be frank," you say, "I want to make myself useful. I don't like freeloading, and I'll be here for two weeks..."
>> No. 34264
[X]Where does Marisa live? I could try to get your books back.
>> No. 34271
[X]"Where does Marisa live? I could try to get your books back"
[x]"Why? Well, I'll be frank," you say, "I want to make myself useful. I don't like freeloading, and I'll be here for two weeks..."
>> No. 34279
[x]"Where does Marisa live? I could try to get your books back"
[x]"Why? Well, I'll be frank," you say, "I want to make myself useful. I don't like freeloading, and I'll be here for two weeks..."

Sounds like a plan to me.
>> No. 34280
[x]"Where does Marisa live? I could try to get your books back"
[x]"Why? Well, I'll be frank," you say, "I want to make myself useful. I don't like freeloading, and I'll be here for two weeks as far as I know it"
[x] []"Why is Koakuma so affectionate? I don't mind her friendliness, I'm just curious."
>> No. 34282
[x] >>34271
[x] "So, you wouldn't happen to be in the market for a new familiar, would you? I like this place, I like Koakuma, I like you, I need a place to stay and steady work but I don't want to work for Remilia, and I would be honored to protect both you, the library, and the knowledge residing here."

...That a fast enough ball for ya?
>> No. 34289
...I hate it when my vote comes in too late.
>> No. 34291
[X] >>34282
>> No. 34292
>>34282

While I'll be taking votes like this into consideration, you realize you've been here for less than a day, right? Lifelong magical contracts won't come easy for the same reason you guys voted to say "no" to Remilia toying around with you.
>> No. 34297
>>34292
That's why we tell her afterwards that it was probably a joke. Probably.

...But now we've planted the idea's seed in her mind.
>> No. 34298
[x]"Where does Marisa live? I could try to get your books back"
[x]"Why? Well, I'll be frank," you say, "I want to make myself useful. I don't like freeloading, and I'll be here for two weeks..."
>> No. 34300
[x]"Where does Marisa live? I could try to get your books back"
[x]"Why? Well, I'll be frank," you say, "I want to make myself useful. I don't like freeloading, and I'll be here for two weeks..."
OKin.
>> No. 34303
>>34297
>...But now we've planted the idea's seed in her mind.

Like a cordyceps!
>> No. 34304
>>34303
A what now?
>> No. 34305
>>34304
It's a kind of fungus.

After infecting a host, the vegetative portion invades and eventually replaces all of the host's soft tissue. Of course, the host itself is still alive during all of this.

Probably, the most well-known is the Cordyceps unilateralis, which infects certain species of ants. The whole soft tissue event proceeds as usual; however, once the fungus is ready to spore, it grows further--into the ant's brain.

Influenced by the cordyceps, the ant begins looking for a stem to climb. Then, once it reaches a certain height, it clamps its mandibles around the stem--and the fungus kills it. It just dies there, still hanging, after which the fungus continues to grow, fortifying the ant's exoskeleton in its own way, as well as sprouting out of the body to anchor it to the plant itself--to keep its home secure, you understand.

Now, the cordyceps is ready to reproduce.

The host is long dead, but it is now that its head suddenly breaks open. From within, the fruiting bodies of the cordyceps grow. And once they are fully grown, they explode, releasing spores which drift from their height, to infect anew.
>> No. 34307
>>34350
I'm hearing this in the voice of some smooth-voiced Discovery Channel documentary narrator.
>> No. 34308
Huge update is turning out huge, so it'll take a while. Expect it this week, though, no worries, along with a new thread, since we seem to have hit 250.
>> No. 34310
>>34308
Hooray!
>> No. 34369
>>34308
The week is over. Updates?
>> No. 34378
>>34369
I'm also warmly waiting for the promised update/new thread.
>> No. 34381
It's still Sunday where I live. Relax.
>> No. 34417
File 126630110997.jpg - (110.08KB , 1027x957 , Shanghai09.jpg ) [iqdb]
34417
>>34381
Shanghai heard there would be updates, and just look at how happy she is! You wouldn't want to disappoint her... would you?