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36567 No. 36567
Post #76

But there was no real harm in telling them basically what I’d told Sapphire just an hour or two before, was there? It’d ease their curiosity, at least. I twiddled my thumbs, trying to act casual.

“Ahh, well, it’s not like I know that much,” I began. “But basically, that human lady tried to get into Mistress Remilia’s room a few weeks ago, an’ I stopped her, but I think that’s another story. Anyways, the Mistress locked her up, but she escaped last night, except I guess now she didn’t because you and you and me—“ I pointed to Wendy, Thérèse, and myself “—stopped her again. Patchy went to go see her like an hour ago, but I… that was too complicated for me to understand. Something about demons and conspiracies and I don’t know; maybe the doctor just hadn’t talked to a human in a long time? Anyways, I don’t know what Miss Remi’s gonna do with her; I was just sort of following people around.”

“Soundth’ thpookeh’,” Monica remarked as she munched on a roll. “Doesh it shappen uh’ lauwt?”

“More than any of us would like, child” answered Tullia, face pensive. “Though far less that one might expect for a vampire staying in one place for so long.”

Thérèse nodded vehemently, pointing to the “elder” fairy though she addressed the table at large. “Now see, that’s the spooky part. I mean, Remi moved here what, some hundred years ago? Sure it’s out in the woods that no one cares about, but you’d think people would’a caught on. Traveling salesmen at least?”

“Wait, but didn’t she move because she wanted to be left alone?” Sunny wondered aloud. “I mean, Thérèse, you talk about it like it’s a bad thing. Didn’t you forget why we’re all here in the first place?”

Sunhilda’s rhetorical question, as casual as it had been, sombered the room up pretty quickly, like dust settling to the ground. All of us individually thought of our pasts, our lives outside these friendly walls that had become our new home. Through all different, each of our stories shared the same key truth: we were here because we no longer had anywhere else to go.

Perhaps Remilia was the same way, I thought. Even though not made of magic and able to live on, Natasha’s harsh story had illuminated me to the fact that the world didn’t really care about her any more than it did us. What humans believed in any sort of spooks and scary stories any more? I highly doubted a school teacher would regale her students about the legends of vampires, werewolves, and magicians. They were just children’s stories to frighten the kids, and later flashy films to entertain the adults. We were the reality of it all, and I chuckled half-heartedly at the sight of it. Fairies and vampires and humans who were no longer human, living in a beautiful mansion in a beautiful forest, in a corner of the world that wasn’t even hidden very well, kept safe only because no one bothered to look for us anymore.

But it was no worried Monica, comforting Tullia, joking Thérèse, down to earth Sunny, or apathetic Wendy who broke that awkward silence. The unreadable Flandre, who until now had been whispering to her own shoulder about “how to kill a mockingbird”, finally came back to us.

“…I am,” she said plainly, in a clear-as-crystal voice. Every head turned to her within a second. “I’m… the reason we’re here. S-Sorry. My fault.”

Tullia placed a warm hard on her mistress. “Now, don’t think like that, Flan. You had nothing to do with any of that.”

“No, it’s my fault. I mean, if I wasn’t here, then there’d be no one to ask you to come to lunch and hang out, and there’d be no one to make you play vidja games, and there’d be no one to waste your time by saying that it’s her fault, because if she wasn’t here, then there’d be no one to ask you to come to lunch and hang out, and there’d be no one to make you play vidja games, and there’d be no one to waste your time with an infinite recursive loop, and you don’t want to know how many times I’ve actually gone though one of those. It’s a lot. You should try it sometime. You end up putting emphasis on different words to make it sound different each time, but we all know you’re just wasting time and filling up space to make yourself sound smarter when you really aren’t, you know? Kay? Kay.”

The platinum blonde fairy wasn’t the only one who rolled her eyes at that statement. “Ahhh, Flan, Flan, Flan… you certainly are one of a kind, aren’t you?”

She put her finger up to her mouth questioningly. “Mmm, well, if we count the me’s inside my head, there’s at least three, maybe four sometimes. She’s just a freeloader; she’s not with me,” she added, thumbing at a blank piece of carpet right next to her. “If she was with me I wouldn’t talk to her as much, because talking to yourself is a lot more boring than you’d expect once you realize you don’t bring anything new to the table. And if you don’t bring anything to the table, that Four-Of-A-Kind you’re holding back there won’t do ya’ much good; go big or stay at home, but apparently you did neither. And by you I mean me. Stop watching me talk, is there not wonderful casserole to be eaten? If yah doooon’t eat yarr meat, yah caan’t have aneh puddang!”

As suggested, we returned to our meal, with Monica whispering “But there’s isn’t any meat in this…” and Thérèse mumbling something that sounded like, “You by the bike heads stand hill Abbie.” Though she always polluted my brain with ever more confusion, Flandre had that knack for completely ruining whatever the mood was, and in the end I really did feel much better. Wendy brought out the blueberry pie (I still didn’t feel like I deserved it), and per our Lady’s request we had to save the eighth piece for Sapphire. I just hoped she appreciated the thought more than Wendy would have.

“It’s still true, though,” Flan continued, motioning with her blueberried fork. “Remi wouldn’t’ve settled down in England if I was a nice, normal little sister like a sister is supposed to be.”

“Miss, please, don’t start that again,” Tullia implored. Flandre politely shot her down and ignored her.

“No, don’t worry I’m not resentful right now! Gimme fifteen minutes and then maybe, but I’m just telling it like it probably is, unless of course I’m just crazy and have no perspective. You know, you know? I’ll bet that if I hadn’t been me, and by me I mean the me that’s me, instead of the me that isn’t me, and by that me I don’t mean you, I bet that Mom and Dad could’ve held on to all of West Europe and been super-awesome for forever!”

“Oh dear, here we go again…” Thérèse groaned, trying to occupy herself by matching the color of her hair with the color of the blueberries. Personally I found it rather interesting, and listened intently, as did Monica. Mostly likely the other four had heard this before, and had ceased to be impressed.

“You lived in West Europe?” I asked, not really knowing what that meant even if I vaguely knew where it meant. “What was it like?”

“Meh,” she shrugged. “It’s a place. I mean, Spain was nice, but then they decided to be big jerks, then France was nice, but then they decided to be big jerks, and Italy would have been nice except we missed all the cool guys like Da Vinci and Mike and Shredder, no Shredder wasn’t actually there don’t tell me he wasn’t because I know he wasn’t it’s supposed to be funny! Then you got your Thirty-Years War; I’m so glad I was in the basement for that one. After that it’s just a big blur of ‘Hey, F-Flan? We’re going to insert random west-European province here, won’t that be fun? Maybe you’ll like it better there than here. Maybe… maybe you’d like to try and meet new people again? Flan…? Please… say something… Oh what’s the use, she’s not listening; Mei, just pick her up and let’s get in the carriage’ every few decades. Sometimes it was a boat. I don’t like boats. America was supposed to be a nice place. America didn’t have any wars or kings that got angry at kings for no good reason. Nothing bad would happen in America, right? I mean, the witch trials were all over, so that meant it was safe, right…?”

For once, Flandre’s mood didn’t degrade into sorrow and self-pity with this long reel of nostalgia like it often seemed to do. She was perfectly calm, sneaking in bits of pie where she could, just regaling us about a life full of “stuff and places and things” as she might say.

Monica was of course totally lost. “M-Miss, Miss Flandre, could you slow down? I don’t understand any of that.”

“In a minute, in a minute. So then they start a revolution and they done gone and broke America for us too, so Remi’s just like all right, the hell with this, we’re moving back to England and we’re going to find a nice quiet place in the country where nobody’s going to fight a war and nobody has to care about us unless we want them to, and Flandre can finally stop being afraid of everything. So we did, and we built a house, and like two hundred nineteen years, nine months, aaaand, twenty-six, days later? Here we are. Today’s the thirtieth, right? Yeah, the math’s good then. Don’t question it. But now you will. Guess what date its supposed to be? I thought it was cool at first, but now it’s like, does anyone really care? Do you care? Kay? Kay. You don’t care.”

She certainly seemed well-traveled to me, even if I didn’t understand half of the scope of what had happened to her; I had a feeling the only way I’d get a straight answer was by asking Remilia herself, and of course that would just be horribly tacky. Still, France, Spain, Italy, America… why’d they have to move around so much?

“Did ya see how I came full circle, girls?” she asked pridefully, looking at the “awesome” three. “Because, because we started with the whole it’s my fault thing, I purposely got off just so I could get back on topic, and now you know that the only reason we’re here is because we tried everywhere else, and the only reason we tried everywhere else is because I broke the one place that actually worked! Sorry Remi, I promise I’ll make it up to you some day…”

“You really can stop now, milady,” Tullia commented, setting down her fork on the finished pie plate. “I really don’t think these young girls need to get more confused about who you are.”

“No, it’s… it’s all right,” I said, trying not to play the lost little fairy. “I mean, I understood some of it. Thank you for sharing, Miss Flandre.”

“Coooool beans~” she replied, giving me a thumbs-up.

Another pleasant interlude followed as the rest of us finished up our pieces of pie, Monica hesitantly whispering to Thérèse about what Flandre had just said. I found it quite hard to concentrate on the whole of it considering how fast and nonchalantly she’d said it. Was it something I should have taken more seriously at the time, as I had with Patchouli? Of course, considering how easy the librarian had been to read as opposed to the childish lunatic, perhaps it wasn’t really a fair question.

“…This is it, then?”

Wendy?! She hadn’t said a peep since playing that bombing-man game, and now suddenly she joined in like she’d been there the whole time? Which, I suppose, she had been.

“What’s what, when?” Flandre asked, followed quickly by a similar “This is what?” from Thérèse.

“This,” the sullen fairy responded, stretching her arms out apathetically. “All of this. You have all said we are here because this is all that’s left for us. Is this the end, then? Do we all just languish here until the end of time?”

Sunny started massaging her temple, muttering “No, not the meaning of life question, please, I don’t want to think about the future and existentialism or however you pronounce it…” I must say, it certainly felt deep to me, and I most assuredly had no answer for her.

“It is a poor thing to ignore, Cousin Sunday. Surely any one of us have thought of it before. We are exiled from our true homes by an uncaring world of humans, forced into a corner we now call our ‘new’ home. I ask you, it is your intent to spend the rest of your lives within those eight outer walls of brick the Mistress Remilia has made for us?”

Tullia folded her arms underneath her breasts, tapping a finger against her skin. “I ask you, Wednesday: where would you go? If you could leave, where to?”

“I merely posit the question, cousin. My answers, such as they are, would seem juvenile to you.”

Sunny glared at the sudden proponent of sour looks and sad ideas. “I’d suggest backing up a disheartening question like that if you want us to consider it, Wen. You can feel it; we can all feel it. As soon as you go out there, as soon as you leave this place, it’s like you’re dying. The further you go, the worse it gets, until you can’t go any further. Your body just stops. I know you’ve tried, Wendy, and don’t you tell me to call you by your ‘full’ name while I’m talking! No matter what direction you go, it’s all the same. This is our island of faith, Wen. Even if there are other islands out there, how could we know? We don’t know where, we don’t know how, and we don’t know who.”

An uneasy silence followed, with Wendy saying nothing and Sunny breathing a little more strongly that she needed too, with a face a little redder than it should have been. Her face slowly moved back from annoyed to embarrassed, and she eased back into her cushion, sighing.

“Ahh, dear, I’m sorry, girls, I shouldn’t have said anything. Look, let’s not worry about it. I’m sure that if we were in any danger Remilia would—“

“There’s another island.”

Flandre butting in this time? Her eyes looked strangely focused, for once.

“There’s another island, I… I know there is.” She stood up and began pacing around in a circle, shaking her head but most definitely thinking about something. But just what was she saying?

“We’re, we’re not the only place left, I know we’re not. There’s… Look, I know I’m crazy, I know I’m crazy, and that means I’m not, and that means I am, and it just keeps going and going until the book is over and you ask yourself why did he need to keep crashing the plane. But we can’t be the only place left…”

“How can you know?” Wendy asked skeptically.

“I… I don’t know. I mean, I know, but… I can’t… prove anything… you can’t see it. But it’s there, I know it’s there! It has to be!”

“Where?” Sunny asked now, a little more than just intrigued.

“I… I don’t, know. I’ve, never, been there…”

I piped in, now curious myself. “But, you must know something, right?”

“I know… I know…” She stared at a point right on the label of her bookshelf, or… maybe a little lower than it? Or was she looking in front of the bookshelf? It was hard to tell from this angle. She seemed to slowly start forgetting that we were the people she was talking to.

“There’s a… a voice. Yes, I know there’s, lots of voices. And she’s, she’s inside my head. Yes… I know there’s, lots of voices there, too. They’re fake. She’s… different. Maybe, maybe she’s real… she sounds real. Sometimes she… she looks real, t-too. Am I seeing things? I see lots of things. Different things. She’s a, same thing. Not a sane thing. Normal people couldn’t see her. Why can I see her? Why can’t I? What’s she look like? Doesn’t look like me… doesn’t sound like me… but she’s there, there she is. Where’d she come from…? She, she won’t tell me. She plays tricks. I like, tricks. No, I, I hate tricks. Get out of my head, it’s my head, find your own head, you won’t like my head, it’s broken and pointy and full of blood and bad things…

“Is she me? Maybe she’s the me from before I was me, telling me what me did wrong. What did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong… not my fault… just nine, just nine, can’t blame me, not my fault… Tell me something I don’t know, tell me where you came from…? You visit me, can I, visit you someday? Can I, bring all my friends? No? But… we’re lonely. I could be with you, forever, and I won’t, have to be alone… I’m scared that you’re scared. Where’s our sister? Big sister always makes everything better… Even if five years, doesn’t matter… five years, matters. I’d be dead, we’d all, be dead, without big sister. That’s why you can’t leave… kay? You can’t leave, kay, because I promised, kay? I promised, I’d pay her back, and we’d all be okay, kay? Don’t, don’t leave me… Even when they’ll never believe… even when I hate you, always hate you… don’t leave me… kay?”

As I listened to her, talking to herself, talking to a person that wasn’t there, a voice inside her head that might or might not have been real, I couldn’t stop asking myself that same question. If there really was someplace else in this world where we could be safe… could we find it? The world was so big, and all of us together we so small. It could take centuries, even if we could move very far outside the mansion. And I was pretty certain that, as serious as Flandre sounded, in the end this was just one more voice, one more Flandre inside her head that did nothing but skew her perspective on life. She wasn’t real. Still…

What if she was?


Chapter Complete


Author’s Note – The next scene will take place on September 1st, 1996, four months from this scene. The next update will have Francesca narrating things that happened during the skip (don’t worry, they won’t be that important). I have a solid list of things that I’ll include regardless, but here’s your chance to suggest things you want to hear about. You can also take this chance to suggest specific small things you might want Francesca to have done (like buff up on her Tai Chi). If I think of any clarifications I’ll post them shortly.

>> No. 36568
[x] Buff up on her Tai Chi
[x] Study more about the outside world and their customs.
>> No. 36570
Yukari's been screwing around again...

[x] Try to get to know the other fairies better some more.
>> No. 36574
This story is coming along nicely.

[x] Buff up on her Tai Chi.
[x] Study more about the outside world and their customs.
- [x] Especially geography: You should really learn where America and France and England and Spain are.
[x] Try to get to know the other fairies better some more.
[x] Gardening or helping in the kitchen might be a good way to get over your fears of sharp objects.
[x] Keep an eye & an ear out for whatever happens to Miss Herod. Your many friends seem to think of you as an information source on this.

Fran kept the knife, but she's terrified of it. Using a knife to create something rather than kill should be therapeutic.
>> No. 36575
>[X] Try to get to know the other fairies better some more.
>[X] Gardening or helping in the kitchen might be a good way to get over your fears of sharp objects.
Was Wendy whittling with her knife earlier in the story, or am I imagining that/conflating with her cameo in the Fallout story? If she was, and could teach us, that might be a nice bonding experience.
>> No. 36577
>>36574
This.
Just keep up with learning things and socializing with fellow named fairies.
Maybe ask Patchy about some things that Flandre said? Especially about that 'other place'.
>> No. 36578
[x]Learn some more about/from Patchouli.
>> No. 36579
[X] >>36574

Works for me.
>> No. 36580
Fair enough, then. I'll take what you've given me and come up with a sort of retrospective update later tonight.

Also, found this a few days ago: >>/th/117372 While I find it pretty cool that I'm "unmaking time", it's a little sad that a year or two ago daily updates were pretty common, and now they're so rare they're a superpower.

>>36570
Except that would make AFT cliched and old-hat like so many other stories that bring in that old hag seventeen year old woman. Which is unacceptable. I prefer new hats; they look nicer.

>>36574
>This story is coming along nicely.
Thank you much; I'll keep the coming coming for you.

>>36575
Wendy was just twirling it around in her fingers once; no self-respecting, nature-loving fairy would whittle. Though could I have a link to that supposed cameo?
>> No. 36587
>>36580
I don't see much other way for Flandre to get clued in about Gensokyo, that is unless Flandre's state of sanity enables her to pick up on things that no one else can.
>> No. 36589
>>36587
Looks like you'll just have to wait and see, then. Good things come to those who wait~

But if must think about it, think outside the box. I'm sure that if you keep an eye on Flandre alternatives might come to mind.
>> No. 36590
File 127337137581.jpg - (455.78KB , 806x2398 , aftfloorplan.jpg ) [iqdb]
36590
The day continued onwards, as days often do, the six of us eventually returning to our normal lives and appointed duties. Monica and I finished up dusting the lounge and spent the rest of the evening together strolling around the hedge maze, or sometimes flitting about on top of it. It felt so much like any other day I had experienced in however many years I’d been at the mansion, and yet having someone whom I actually knew and cared about by my side changed everything.

Whatever became of the precarious meeting between China, Sakuya, and Remilia, I never truly discovered. Remilia certainly made no large announcement to the staff about anything important, her head servants remained mum about the subject, and as near as I could tell none of their demeanors suffered any marked change. While it was obvious that the testimony of Missus Natasha Herod had been a revelation to all the head residents, I simply couldn’t say what that revelation amounted to.

Natasha Herod… now there was a woman unlike anyone else in the mansion. She was angry, violent, and uncooperative with nearly anyone who came into contact with her; she acted like the breakdown I’d witnessed had never even happened. But if I had to put a single word to her, I would simply say that she was “real”. I knew then, and even moreso now, that the real world isn’t as nice a place as we’d like it to be. Lady Remilia’s mansion was a cloister shielded away from all that, and now Natasha was a little piece of what lay outside that shield. I didn’t like what she did, or what she said, but I certainly respected who she was.

Despite her vehement shouts to return to her son, for some reason or another she remained in the mansion, though whether as a prisoner or a guest I really couldn’t say. She stayed under guard in that room for several weeks, but eventually was allowed to move about the mansion, though you’d never see the human without seeing Sakuya nearby, always keeping at least one of her cool blue eyes on her. My cousins, and I as well, tended to avoid “that mean-looking scary lady” at first, though it wasn’t long before her mysterious presence soon became the talk of the mansion, and Natasha inadvertently became the “forbidden fruit” of curiosity, with the girls always trying to sneak peaks of her from around corners or behind vases, but hardly ever going up and talking to her. Of course, any time I tried to initiate anything meaningful with her, she’d cease to acknowledge my presence. I suppose you can’t win them all…

The end of spring gave way to the glory days of summer, and though they were happy times indeed, there’s really a good deal less that I can say about them than you might like, but I will share what I can. Patchouli eventually returned to her studies, and I her faithful aid for as long as she was in bed remained close by her side to fetch a book, or procure some obscure relic from her labs, or simply be another soul with which she could talk to. More than once she had me participate in some strange experiment, claiming that my existence as a being of pure magic was “indispensable”. Why that meant she needed to keep cutting me and putting my essence into tubes I’ll probably never know, but I trusted that she was smart enough to have a plan. After a while I sort of got used to it, and was just happy to help her out.

Whenever she had nothing for me to do outright, and even after she was well enough to walk and work by herself, she forced me to read, read and read and read until I wished I was blind, and even then she would have found a way to get me to read some more. Elementary primers, textbooks, chapter stories, encyclopedia entries… homework, she even gave me homework! I mean, ordinarily I would have been thrilled to learn more about the world and stop being such a naïve little creature, you know that. But of course, I’d never been to any sort of school before; I had no idea that reading things and doing homework was just normal. I jumped into it with enthusiasm, of course, but after the first few weeks of it I whined like a child every time one of my assignments was covered in red marks, which happened far more often than I’d like to admit.

Looking back on it, though, I knew she did it for my own good. She could see how much I wanted to grow up, and she pressed me as hard as she knew I could take. And in the end, I really was amazed at how much four months could teach a person given a good instructor. I was hardly the model student, but at least I could tell the difference between Austria and Australia.

As for Patchouli herself… She had clearly been embarrassed at letting me see her display of emotion, but was back to her old self in no time. She regretfully confirmed that everything she’d said was in fact her own story, and thirty years of her life had gone into that futile pursuit of making the world believe. While she didn’t seem to harbor nearly as much bitterness as her outrage had made it appear, she told me in rather more words than this that, “The world has shown that it has nothing more to do with me. Thus, I no longer have anything more to do with the world.” She had accepted her place in the universe, and was content with what she now had in this mansion. For that, I could find no complaint.

China, Miss Hong Meiling… The more I changed, the more she seemed to stay the same. Always strong of mind, strong of body, and strong of heart; ever-willing to come to the aid of even the smallest of problems, mine or anyone else’s. Tai Chi lessons resumed, and I could tell she’d seen the error of her ways in training me. Unlike the doctor who pushed me to my limit week after week, China was slow and steady, giving me one basic principle at a time, and then building upon what I’d learned week by week. I learned the true importance of footing and balance, of minding your surroundings and reading your opponent. It was still more mental and defensive than I had expected, but eventually she allowed me to just spar with people like Sunny or Wendy and let me learn for myself where I needed to improve.

And then there was our Sakuya. Always busy, always moving, and always worrying. I would have thought that with the power of time in her hands she’d be the most perfect maid on the planet, but the closer I looked the more I realized that was hardly the case. Remilia was always nitpicking, and Sakuya was always second-guessing. I hadn’t yet managed to catch her for a nice straight talk about just her. What did she like? What did she do in her spare time? Where’d she come from? And why did Remilia demand so much from her? No one seemed to know, no matter who I asked. I could only hope that once Patchouli finally let me go, I’d get a chance to shadow her for a change.

As for Flandre… I asked my superiors about the mysterious mention of “another island” and the enigmatic voice, with unfavorable results. Apparently this wasn’t the first time she’d talked about these things; for years, even decades, she’d believed with certainty that this voice was different than usual, and that it came from another safe haven like our own. Unfortunately, Remilia herself had told me that her sister went through odd periods of believing the strangest of things “with certainty”. She told me to pay it no mind; it was more trouble than it was worth, in her opinion. Easier said than done, perhaps, but it wasn’t very high on my list of things to worry about at the time anyways.

I’m sure by now, though, you must be getting bored with all this, and I understand. The rest we’ll just have to fill in as we go along, won’t we? Now, let’s see, where should I continue…? Ah, yes. September the first. Another date I’ve managed to remember out of the many in the year. I’ve told you how poor I am with dates, but this one… this one is special.

The sun had set for the day, and the work had as well for the most part. Whilst our cousins hurried to enjoy the night, Sapphire, Thérèse, Tullia, and myself were enjoying it in a different way:


Pick where you wish to be, and with whom

Location:
[ ] Consult the map attached to the update and choose any place inside or outside the mansion except the library, lab, Pachy’s room, or the ????? room (don't have an outdoor map yet, but you should know where everything is). You can only be in someone’s room if the tenant is with you.

Companion:
( ) Sakuya
( ) Meiling
( ) Remilia
( ) Flandre
( ) Natasha (Sakuya will be present as well)
(Patchouli isn’t an option!)
>> No. 36591
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36591
>>36587
>She’s… different. Maybe, maybe she’s real… she sounds real. Sometimes she… she looks real, t-too. Am I seeing things? I see lots of things. Different things. She’s a, same thing. Not a sane thing. Normal people couldn’t see her. Why can I see her? Why can’t I? What’s she look like? Doesn’t look like me… doesn’t sound like me… but she’s there, there she is.

After reading this, it wouldn't surprise me if another little sister took special interest in Flandre.
>> No. 36595
File 127337428385.jpg - (132.76KB , 850x854 , 1233424085337.jpg ) [iqdb]
36595
[x] Remilia's Room
(x) Remilia

If only because I think we need more Remi in the story.
>> No. 36598
>>36591
That was my first thought, too. Not exactly new territory, but not old hat, either, and considering how incredible Flandre is, I'd certainly like to meet Tepes' Koishi.

>>36580
Not even dead branches? I'd think it'd be a nice way to keep a few vestiges of nature around the mansion. (Although on the other hand, I suppose for a fairy that might be something like hollowing out dear old Uncle Albert's skull and using it as a coffee mug.)

Regarding Wednesday's 'cameo':
* You should really be reading Fallout Gensokyo already; it's pretty good.
* 'Cameo' is actually an astoundingly poor choice of words; 'affectionate parody' or 'roast' might be better.
* The thread itself is >>/th/112051; Ctrl+F "Miércoles" to skip down to the relevant sections.

[X] Theatre
(X) Remilia
Do want more Remilia, and I have a feeling Remilia and theatrics go well together. Plus it's pretty clear something's going down with Patchy, and the theater is nice and close to the library.
>> No. 36603
>>36598
[X] Theatre
[X] Remilia
Good point.
>> No. 36609
>>36567
>how to kill a mockingbird
I loved that flash.

>and it just keeps going and going until the book is over and you ask yourself why did he need to keep crashing the plane.
...All I can think of is that one Twilight Zone episode.
>> No. 36611
[x] Theatre
(x) Remilia

I am always open for some Remilia time.
>> No. 36627
>aftfloorplan.jpg

Whoa. This took effort.

>Whilst our cousins hurried to enjoy the night, Sapphire, Thérèse, Tullia, and myself were enjoying it in a different way:

[x] Remilia's Room
(x) Remilia

In Remilia's boudoir with Remilia and trying on all her makeup. That would be pretty funny.

Though I have half a mind to pick the ball room and expect Sakuya to drill them in ballet.
>> No. 36628
{Flandre...
- {...in the computer room...
-- {...with the chaingun.}}}

Doom LAN party go!!!
>> No. 36629
>>36628
Hahaha, ok.

{Flandre...
- {...in the computer room...
-- {...with the chaingun.}}}
>> No. 36635
[x] Hallway
[x] Sakuya

Fran did say she wanted to find out more about the maid.
>> No. 36636
[X] Theatre
(X) Remilia

What will we be watching? Scary movies?
>> No. 36638
[X] Theatre
-[X] Remilia
>> No. 36641
5 for Theatre & Remi
2 for Remi’s Room & Remi
2 for Computer Room & Flan
1 for Hallway & Sakuya

The votes have it, then. Took some time off for Mother’s Day, so I might not have this update ready until tomorrow morning.

>>36598
Took a look at the referenced section; I must say I’m very surprised that a rather minor character like Wednesday ended up in such a popular story, and am really quite honored. It was pretty funny seeing the difference between Wendy and “Miércoles” that’s for sure. Thank you much, Mr. or Ms. Fallout writer.

I really don’t have any plans to read the story though. I’ve heard it’s amazing, but I’ve never played even a little piece of Fallout, and what I saw of the writing style from that link (walls upon walls upon walls of text, mostly character dialog with minimal descriptions, and no paragraph spacing) just isn’t my cup of tea.

>>36609
>...All I can think of is that one Twilight Zone episode.
It was actually a reference to Catch-22.

>>36627
>aftfloorplan.jpg - Whoa. This took effort.
The planning was a little tricky, but I certainly enjoyed it, and once the basic shape was in my head it was just 8999 hours in MS Paint. I’ve been using that floor plan throughout the entire story for visualizing scenes; that May 2009 watermark isn’t a lie. I posted it before around update #15 or so, but I think a lot of people have forgotten since then. Eventually I’ll have the map of the grounds for you too, once I stop being lazy.

>Flandre in the computer room with the chaingun
As epic as that sounds, I’m very glad this didn’t win. Cute, though.

>>36636
Scary movies? Not a bad idea…
>> No. 36659
>>36641
>and what I saw of the writing style from that link (walls upon walls upon walls of text, mostly character dialog with minimal descriptions, and no paragraph spacing) just isn’t my cup of tea.
Because if you point your telescope at the sky and look through it, there's no reason to point it anywhere else, right? It's just gonna be more stars, right?

tl;dr, you saw nothing at all.
Besides, not liking formatting style is no reason not to read a story.
Start from the beginning.

>It was actually a reference to Catch-22.
Oh, riiiiiiiight.
>> No. 36673
Sitting clustered together in the upper balcony of the mansion’s theatre, with Remilia herself, no less, watching what I was told was an important piece of twentieth century Western culture. Which, according to Remilia, was Dracula. In retrospect, I suppose the Dracula story is very influential as far as modern vampire myth is concerned, but even so, one might except our esteemed hostess to be a little less overt about her opinion.

Then again, this is Remilia we’re talking about.

Though, perhaps I should explain. As you may recall, Lady Remilia had been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about the prospect of Patchouli summoning unknown spirits into her house. Regardless, I had helped Patchouli spend the next four months refining and improving her summoning techniques. Of course I knew nothing about any of that, and I wish I could say that she knew enough for both of us, but somehow we managed. After the fiery disaster in the basement, she returned back what looked like the basics, simply opening strange windows into strange realms at first, then carefully enlarging the window and plucking out a little of this or a little of that. For the most part it just seemed like chaotic black rocks or thick mist to me—hurt my brain just looking at it—but she studied them as if they were the key to the universe. Once she managed to actually pluck out a little smoky lizard sort of thing, or maybe a dragon? I could never tell; its wings never seemed to make up their mind whether they wanted to exist or not. It’s another story for another time, but that was a rather interesting week, to say the least.

But that was then. This was now. She was ready, now. Ready to come back and summon something properly, this time. Something big, something smart, something she could talk to. Something that would stay, unlike the dragon-lizard that had eventually dissolved into nothingness. Of course, upon hearing those words Remilia became “less than enthusiastic” again, as you might expect. I won’t bore you with the details, but somehow Patchouli managed to convince her to try, “Provided!” she added firmly, “Provided I am there every step of whatever ritual you’re planning, and that you will stop if I tell you to stop!” I must say I found it most interesting to wonder whether Remilia’s ardent warning would actually manage to trump Patchouli’s lust for magical advancement when all was said and done.

Which brings us to our current position: Remilia and us four “summoning assistants” killing time in the theatre, waiting for the inevitable interruption when Patchouli would enter the room and tell us she was ready to begin. It was actually a very exciting time, finally seeing all the work I had helped her complete come to fruition.

But Dracula… now there was a film I simply wouldn’t have been able to stomach nor understand four months previous. The blood, the death, the conniving conspiracies, the passion, the sexual overtones… It would have simply been too much for the childlike me to handle. But I was… a little different. Mature? Hardly. But matureing. Time spent with friends who had walked down my road before had helped me more than I’d have expected.

We watched it mostly for my benefit, though Tullia hadn’t seen it either, and Thérèse had but several years previous. Our mistress had mentioned a director, “Frank Ford Copla” or something like that, and called the film one of the more tolerable renditions of the tale she’d had the fortune, or perhaps misfortune, of experiencing. Of course, as many people ‘round the world have said about so many movies, she also said I should just read the novel itself.

Though I’d received a lot of patchy information about the Count Dracula “legend” in the past, this was really the first time I’d gotten a clear view as to just what it was all about. I wasn’t sure if I really enjoyed it or not, to tell you the truth. I mean, I felt like I could see bits and pieces of problems that Remilia might have experienced in the past, but then again, Remilia wasn’t evil, was she? I can’t say I enjoyed the horrible picture they painted of vampires, either, but then again, Remi and Flan were the only two I’d ever met, and who’s to say they were just as nice in the past as they were now?

The credits rolled, as credits often do, and we returned to the real world once more. “Well… That’s a film I would have preferred not to see,” Tullia commented, stretching her arms.

“Understandable, I guess,” I replied. “But I mean, it was interesting. Never thought the Dracula story was like that, really…”

“It wasn’t,” Remilia commented, standing up and running her fingers through her hair. “Mister Coppola over-romanticized the story for the purpose of the screenplay. The Count was hardly a pitiable character in the original novel.”

“Depending upon your interpretation of vampires,” Sapphire added.

“I said pitiable, not justifiable. And like humans, vampires differ. You are hardly me, we are hardly Flandre, and none of us are The Count. Who, in all likelihood, does not even exist.”

Thérèse gave a fake whine, fooling no one. “Aww, really? I was hoping he was like your grandfather or something. That’d be awesome.” Remilia chuckled, but said nothing else. Just playing coy, or was she actually hiding something…? I still needed to work on my ability to read into people’s remarks.

“I mean no offense, milady,” Tullia continued, “but why must we have watched that film? I cannot say I enjoyed it very much; I don’t prefer such violence and graphic imagery.”

“Oh, let us say perspective; one can never have enough of it. Also, because we had time to kill, and I positively loathe doing nothing whilst waiting. Friday,” she announced suddenly, putting me on the spot. “Real vampires burn up in sunlight. True, or false?”

“Umm… false, right? I’ve seen you outside before.”

“Very good,” she replied flatly, giving me a little nod. “We do, however, lose the majority of our abilities under it Name one such ability the film incorrectly attributed to us.”

“Oh dear, umm, turning, into rats? I’ve seen you do bats before, well, once, but I don’t remember any rats…”

“Thursday, is she correct?”

Thérèse flashed us a thumbs-up, though she added, “I’m still working on those myself, though; gettin’ closer!”

“Everything in moderation, child,” Remilia commented coolly. “Don’t become so unconcerned with your form that you lose sight of what you really are. Tullia: do vampires detest the cross and crucifix?”

Looked like the mistress was just going to keep on going with this. Not that I minded; having Miss Meiling tell me a thing or two about vampires was one matter, but hearing an actual vampire confirm it was quite another. I just hoped she wouldn’t be keeping score.

Tullia furrowed her brow. “I would think that’s an unfair question, my Lady. Vampires, like humans, must have wildly differing opinions on religion.”

“Oh you~” she cooed, stifling a girlish giggle. It drove me up the wall, really, the way Lady Flandre and Lady Remilia never seemed to act their extremely old age. At least they acted older than they physically appeared, which was better than nothing. “Partial credit only, dear Tuesday. Sapphire? Expound.”

The so-called half-vampire straightened her tie, trying to look proper and intelligent. “Certainly, mistress. This misconception originates back from a time when vampires were true demons from the beyond, possessing humans in earnest, and they like fairies today were weak when faith against them was strong, crosses being symbols of such a faith. In modern days the vampire race is a remnant of what the demons left behind, beings so changed by strong magic than even without their source they remain. We are beings of fact, now, not faith; a cross brings physical pain only when you are struck across the head with it.”

I, am I being of fact dear; you, are something quite different altogether,” Remilia corrected not too softly. “I must remind you to learn you place, as I remind everyone. Those who know it not will either swiftly learn it, or stumble about lost, accomplishing nothing meaningful.”

“My apologies, Lady Remilia,” Sapphire responded, bowing subserviently.

I raised my hand halfway. “May I ask something, mistress?”

“You may.”

“I know that Mister Capriola-somethingorother probably isn’t a perfect vampire-maker or anything, but… I mean, did you at least like his movie?”

Our lady thought about that one in earnest for quite a while, until the silence started to get uncomfortable. Which, I’ll add, happened much quicker around Remilia than it tended to around other people. Eventually she broke into a mischievous, yet still fairly pleasant, grin.

“I think it was a decent attempt, yes. But, you know… I think we might try to do it better~” With that rather enigmatic remark she waltzed to the edge of the balcony and jumped down, wings fanning out like a parachute behind her. She waved to us all. “Come on, all of you, down here. We’re going to put on a show~”

“Is she…?” I asked to no one in particular, receiving only confused stares in return. One by one we all just shrugged and fluttered down to meet the mistress, who was already on the stage, directing us to and fro.

“Quickly, quickly now, before the doctor has a chance to interrupt our fun. I’m the director; this way everything will get done properly. Sapphire dear, over here; you’ll be the elder vampire. You are suave and regal; the world is at your fingertips should you reach for it. You never use more force than you need to, for there are always, hmm~ hmm~, ‘other’ ways to get what you want. Thérèse, Thérèse, of course you’ll have to be the human hero. The country asks for a savior; you are not she. Your family ask for revenge and retribution; you are an agent of neither! You travel into a land of darkness and mystery not for blood, but for truth. Ahh, and little François~ You shall be…”


[ ] …the young vampire. You are rich in body but poor in wisdom. Your reach exceeds your grasp; you want everything life can give you, and you want it now. You tempt fate, and she is a harsh mistress, is she not~?
[ ] …the lovable rouge. Past, unknown. Methods, questionable. Personal hygiene, lacking. How you got tangled into this mess no one can say, but you’ll be damned if anyone else tells you what to do!
[ ] …the distressed damsel. Whisked away by the wiles of the temptress, you are now her ever-willing slave, for you have not the strength to resist. Whoever shall save you from this house of blood?
[ ] …the apprentice adventurer. Life’s too short to spend it not doing something great; you crave the open road, the monsters of old, and the tales of the bards in every inn! You have much to learn, and in these dangerous times you had better learn quickly.
[ ] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.
[ ] If this isn’t an opportunity for a sweet-sweet write in, few other things are.


Author’s Note – Just ignore Francesca’s personality when picking a part; for all the world’s a stage, and all the fairies in it merely actors. What are plays, if not a chance to break out of one’s shell?

Props to >>36598 for giving me this silly idea that “Remilia and theatrics go well together.”

>> No. 36674
P.S. - And please don't hound me about this or that concerning vampires. There's so many conflicting viewpoints these days with no official canon, it's not worth it to nitpick. Unless you really think I'm doing something wrong i.e. vampires don't sparkle.
>> No. 36675
[x] …the apprentice adventurer. Life’s too short to spend it not doing something great; you crave the open road, the monsters of old, and the tales of the bards in every inn! You have much to learn, and in these dangerous times you had better learn quickly.
>> No. 36676
[ll] …the distressed damsel. Whisked away by the wiles of the temptress, you are now her ever-willing slave, for you have not the strength to resist. Whoever shall save you from this house of blood?

Just because I like the idear of Thérèse 'saving' Francesca.
>> No. 36679
>>36676
Why I agree with you, this other one is too good to pass up.
Especially for trying something different.

[x] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.
>> No. 36681
>François
Françoise, unless Remilia knows something we don't.

>[X] …the apprentice adventurer.
We're already fulfilling the Journeyman archetype in real life. Why not live a little?

[X] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.
>> No. 36685
I agree. It could be a funny scene.

[X] …the distressed damsel. Whisked away by the wiles of the temptress, you are now her ever-willing slave, for you have not the strength to resist. Whoever shall save you from this house of blood?
>> No. 36691
[X] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.
>> No. 36693
[X] …the distressed damsel. Whisked away by the wiles of the temptress, you are now her ever-willing slave, for you have not the strength to resist. Whoever shall save you from this house of blood?
>> No. 36697
>[ ] If this isn’t an opportunity for a sweet-sweet write in, few other things are.

[x] …The highwayman. Along the coast roads you did ride, with sword & pistol by your side. Many a young maid lost her baubles to your trade. Many a soldier shed his lifeblood on your blade.

Fran got her start cutting a woman's Achilles' tendon in order to defend a vampire, so I think she's uniquely suited to be either a faceless minion or even an incidental mid-boss.

Tullia is as well-adjusted and placid as a fairy can be, and best suited to play the passive heroine. And the 'monster' role sounds like some chthonic horror that only Thérèse would be able to pull off.
>> No. 36698
Yeah, lets have some fun with this.

[X] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.
>> No. 36700
[X] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.

Hmm... maybe we should have tried some of Thérèse's shapeshifting during the timeskip. It would have been useful for this role.
>> No. 36701
[X] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.

This will be the moment where all her experience with Fairies, Vampires, Youkai and Humans will show. Plus, all the time spent with Flandre must have given her some perspective about how someone alienated by his own self can feel.
This will be glorious I can feel it.
>> No. 36702
[X] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.
>> No. 36703
7 for the monster
3 for the distressed damsel
1 for the apprentice adventurer
1 for the highwayman

Pretty close vote there for a while, but looks we’ve got a taste for the unconventional now, don’t we? I certainly didn’t expect the monster to win, though; boy will I have fun with this one~ Writing tonight, but this is another “need to do it justice” scene so I’ll need to write tomorrow morning too.

>>36681
>Françoise, unless Remilia knows something we don't.
Ahh, stupid me. I’d always thought they were just alternate spellings. Thanks for pointing that out.

>>36697
An interesting choice, indeed. A pity it came late to the game when the momentum had just started picking up for the monster. Don’t lose that creative flair, though! I wouldn’t mind seeing more write-ins win in this story.

>>36700
Ahh, thanks for reminding me about that. I’ll put in a little blurb about that in the next update.

>>36701
From my perspective, it’s a glorious challenge to try and meet your expectations! And the challenge shall make the victory all the sweeter~
>> No. 36718
Quick status update: Post #79 is taking a little longer than I thought, so expect it to be posted more like this afternoon rather than this morning (which is technically already over). The content just keeps going and going without a good endpoint, and I'm not going to fabricate one for no good reason.
>> No. 36719
[x] …the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast.

It sounds evil and yet... not
>> No. 36721
Oh dear... I've gone and broken the 30,000 character post limit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“…the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she, a creature which no sane eyes have ever laid eyes on. Within a hide of stone and claws of steel lies a soul as real as any other. You fight on the side of any who would recognize your existence as more than a simple beast. Tuesday—don’t look at me like that, what is real life without a little foolishness? Oh fine, then, you will beee, hmmm, the researcher, yes. A cool head amongst hot blood. Knowledge is power, and the past the key to the future. Whether this queen of the night lives or dies, you seek only to learn from the experience, and live to share the wisdom you gain.”

I swallowed down a throaty lump. I was… the monster? That didn’t sound like me at all! Why couldn’t Thérèse be the monster, she’d be perfect! Sapphire even got to play the vampire; this just wasn’t fair!

“Now I’ll give you all a minute to let your characters sink into your heads,” Remilia instructed promptly, rubbing her hands together. “We don’t have any sets or costumes, of course, so mental imagery is key! Look deep within your soul, and find that part of it that is not you. You are no longer yourselves… The character in front of you is soulless, and boring. Who will breathe life into a husk that until two minutes ago did not even exist? Step into their flesh, their life. Feel them… know their past, their future, their hopes, their fears… Enter into a new world…”

As Remilia’s hypnotic voice slowly caressed my ears, I sunk backwards into the front row of chairs, thinking deep and thinking hard. My eyes were closed; I tried to focus. I heard Remilia’s instructions, and sought to understand them…

I am no longer myself…? Then who am I?

“You are the monster. What evil lurks within the walls of magic? You are she…”

Am I evil? Monsters shouldn’t be evil just because they look frightening.

Thérèse, what’s she like? She never cares what she looks like, what people think of her… no, no, I’m not Thérèse. I’m the monster. I’m not Francesca anymore. What do I feel like…?

I need a name. I have a soul. I have a brain. I should have a name. My name… my name… what about… Freya? Flandre wanted to call me that, didn’t she? It sounds… strong. Strong, and ancient. Freya… what are you like… what am
I like?

I want to be noticed… loved, not feared… everyone will run away from me… Why do they run? It’s not my fault that I look like this, that my… ummm… that my claws slice though a man like water! Ugghh, do my claws
really do that? This is going to be so weird…

”Places!”
the mistress shouted, clapping her hands and suddenly pulling me away from the imaginary world of Freya. The “elder vampire” and the “human hero” were on stage, Thérèse already haven taken the form of a rough farmhand with rural features, shape of her body and face such that I really couldn’t tell if she was supposed to be a man or a woman. I climbed up to the stage myself, “Director Remilia” wasting no time in pushing us around.

“Tullia, you and Thérèse will enter stage right. This is the castle’s foyer; a spacious room constructed of fine grey marble. Grand columns punctuate the wings of the room, stretching a dozen meters above you. You make uneasy conversation, but you discover that your arrival is expected. Sapphire will appear at a time you do not know, seemingly from thin air, features austere, but unsettlingly beautiful. To gaze into her eyes is to begin to forget that there is anything else in the world to gaze at; with this she has conquered whole provinces without a drop of blood being shed, save those on her own lips, as is our custom~” She chuckled regally, something I didn’t exactly find the most settling.

“Francesca,” I perked up, eagerly anticipating my instructions; this was becoming a lot more fun than I’d expected! “After the introductions have been made and events put into motion, you will also enter stage right, slowly and with caution. You are a nightmare to behold; though no lumbering hulk, your small form hides dense, corded muscles and talons like daggers our Sakuya would envy. The road has been unkind to you, and blood dries on your claws from the last frantic bounty hunter seeking to gain a trophy of your head.

“Obviously with no scripts, heartfelt improvisation will be paramount. Forget nervousness. Forget embarrassment. This is your world. Make it real!

Remilia jumped off the stage and balanced herself on the backs of two chairs. I looked around for a few seconds before realizing that the play was staring, and dashed to the dark wings of the stage. Wait… where had Sapphire gone? She wasn’t with us three, and I couldn’t see her on the other side—

“And now, presenting ‘The Duchess Dragonia’, a play in one act. Begin scene!”

+ + + + + + + + + +

“Figures, the night would be this cold,” muttered the traveler, shoving hair out of her face with one hand while keeping the other cautiously near her sword.

“Every night is a cold night at this time of year,” the other woman responded. “One can only hope that—“

+ + + + + + + + + +

“CUT! Cut cut cut! Tullia, what was that?!” Remilia glowered at the two actresses on stage (thankfully I wasn’t one of them).

“I, I don’t understand, my Lady” the fairy responded, looking back at her director. “I’m playing the part as best I can. You didn’t give me much time—“

“The researcher doesn’t sound flat, she sounds sage! You’re investigating a queen of vampires! Aren’t you elated?!”

“But, miss, it’s a dangerous castle. My emotionless voice would mask hidden fear.”

She sighed. “The Duchess is not a murderer who kills all trespassers on sight, and you are not a vampire slayer seeking to kill her! Do it again, take it from the top!”

+ + + + + + + + + +

“Bah, figures that this night would be so cold.”

“Every night is a cold night at this time of year,” the older woman responded matter-of-factly. “One can only hope that damp air does not mean damp spirits, dear Fredericka?”

“Just Fred, is fine… Professor Abigail.”

The two women’s footsteps echoed ominously through the hall of polished stone, themselves the only visible inhabitants within the castle’s grand foyer.

“Brrrr, an’ even when we’re out of the wind, it’s still cold.” Fred wrapped the weather-beaten cloak around her shoulders more tightly. “Just because it doesn’t care about heat doesn’t mean it’s guests don’t.”

“Manners, Fredrick, manners. The Duchess Dragonia is not some thing; she is very much real, and very much a woman. The traders from here to Denmark all tell tales of her beauty, her feminine grace, her skill at turning men to the softest cream with but one night of her company. We’d do well to make sure we are guests here, and not merely insects to be swatted.”

Fred chuckled. “Heh. Good thing I’m no man, then.”

”Even women may bow as men before me, child!”

+ + + + + + + + + +

“WROOOONG!”

Remilia tapped her foot impatiently on the metal chair backs, her arms stuffed into a tight pretzel across her chest; an ability I still envied. I didn’t care if my breasts weren’t really all that big in retrospect, they were still too big for me. I’d actually tried to practice Thérèse’s shape-molding techniques to make them smaller, but nothing had come of it at all. They felt bigger now, if anything. “Saph’, let me see your face, let me see it!”

I heard a rattling above me as the vampirized fairy swung down from a set of light fixtures behind the curtain and hung her head upside down at her matriarch, iridescent hair hanging upside down with her. So that’s where she had run off to!

“What was wrong with that, Mistress?” she inquired dully.

“First off, horrible wording. That is not the tongue that bewitched nations! Second, you’re coming off too strong. Are you intending to make them submit to you?”

“Well… I thought that was the idea. Aren’t I the villain?”

”NO!” Remilia screamed, loud enough to make me wince. “This is precisely the problem we are solving! It is the audiences’ immediate assumption that the vampire, a being inevitably attached with demons and death, is the antagonist! It is old, and I will not stand for it in my play! It’s not enough to simply cast the vampire in the light of being an affable and hospitable creature, because this too is precisely what Coppola’s Dracula was, and all too predictably he was obviously the villain!” Remilia drew her hands in close to her heart, emphasizing the dream of her little stage production. “We have to show them that the vampire does not have to be an antagonist! Nor even the antihero! But they will not believe it if you, Dragonia, do not believe it first!”

I took as many mental notes down as I could from my hiding place off stage. The more times Remilia stopped to correct the other three meant the more chances I had to correct myself. I knew I could do this, I just knew it! I’d never acted before, but I had nothing to worry about, did I? I was amongst friends In an empty theatre, there was nothing riding on how well I did, and it was just something fun to pass the time. As the other four went through the play’s opening again and again, fixing and re-fixing every little bit until Remilia was happy, I closed my eyes again and searched for that little piece of “Freya” inside of me…

Concentrate, Frankie, concentrate… Freya’s in here somewhere. I just have to find her.

Social outcast, yes, resentful, yes. Overly cruel? No, no, you only [i]look
like a monster. You’re not a monster, Freya. The world calls you that. You want to tell them different, or maybe, maybe find someone [/i]else that can tell them different. Is that why you went into this castle? That Duchess Dragonia… this is a time when vampires were respected, isn’t it? She’d be well-known everywhere. Freya, you knew this was her castle going in, didn’t you? Did you think she might be able to understand where humans wouldn’t?

No, she’s still too… there’s something missing. Monster. She’s, I’ve been a monster all my life. How do you live like that? I, I don’t know. I’m a fairy, not a monster. Even in the old days, humans didn’t run away from me; they weren’t afraid. What does it feel like, to be hated, feared, iso… lated…?

That’s it.

Flandre.

Flandre… is a monster, too. Too strong for the world… too dangerous to live within it. She’s alone. Alone, because anywhere else would just bring pain and sadness. But… she’s sad too. Souls… aren’t meant to be alone. People need to be loved; they want to know someone cares whether they live or die. If you die, in a ditch on the road, who will miss you? Who will miss a monster?

Other monsters.

That’s why, isn’t it Freya? Duchess Dragonia might be the only friend you have the possibility of ever having. What does it matter what the rumors say? What does it even matter if she kills you? Death might… be better, than a life alone. And the Duchess… perhaps she too is alone? Perhaps she’d like a friend as—


“Francesca of Friday, you are required!”

Oh, what? Again I was forcibly snapped out of my mental world to see a very annoyed Remilia glaring at me, one foot grinding against the stage. The other three were in various positions, their heads all turned in my direction. I blushed, and bowed apologetically.

“Oh, I’m, uhh, sorry. I was thinking about Freya.”

“Who the devil is Freya, and why should I care about her?!” the mistress snapped back. “This was a good take, too!”

“Freya is my character, Director Remilia. The, the monster, remember?”

At the mention of giving my character a name, she eased up a little. But only a little. “Hrmm, well, that’s no excuse! Are you ready this time?”

“Yeah, I can, I can do this. Did you want, umm, I mean, do you want me to take the story in any particular direction?”

“The vampire is not the villain, and overused clichés are unacceptable. That’s your direction. Direct yourself onstage now!”

I scratched my head. “But, aren’t I supposed to come in unexpectedly? I mean, the flow’s all ruined now and—“

”Are you questioning your director?”

“Eee! No, no ma’am, I’m going, I’m going, see?”

+ + + + + + + + + +

“Wait, what the bloody hell is that?!”

Fredericka suddenly turned around, drawing her sword out of instinct. Standing in the doorway was a beast, an awful thing unlike any of the three had ever seen. In size and shape it was no bigger than a child, but only Hell itself could have produced such an infant. Its skin was mottled and dark grey, like pebbles scattered atop a boulder, shielding a terrible network of muscles and organs man had not. In its hands were talons shaper than swords, and in its mouth fangs more deadly than knives.

It approached slowly, one step at a time. Its eyes, dull yellow orbs behind deep folds of flesh on its forehead, stared silently at them all, flicking from the youth to the sage to the beauty. Then it spoke, to the wonder of all, its voice a raspy, wheezing sound like a cold wind.

“Fear me… not.”

Fred had no comprehension of what stood before her, but she needed none. Her sword she raised to her chest, the tip glinting in the reflected moonlight. “Hold, creature, stand still, if you value yourself!”

It halted its advance, but did not relent. “I… come, from wandering. The world, it… it is… what is—I’m, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, you’re looking at me funny! Thérèse, I can’t help it, Tullie’s looking at me funny! Can we cut? Miss Remi, it just doesn’t, it doesn’t feel right.”

+ + + + + + + + + +

Remilia pulled the hat off her head and threw it to the ground violently. “We do not have the luxury of time at this moment, Ms. Friday! At any moment the professor is going to be shoving down that door and asking for results, and we will be ready for production at that time! Do you understand me?!”

I tried to calm her down, motioning downwards with my hands. “I know, I know, please, Ms. Director, just, just calm down. I can do it, I promise I can do it! But it’s like I said, you started in the middle; the rhythm was all off. I can’t get into character like that, I need to start at the start, you know?”

“Can I make a suggestion?” Thérèse interrupted, addressing the director. “I’m sorry, ten seconds here; it’s a little hard to visualize a monster who’s wearing a maid outfit. Sorta breaks the mood. Remilia, can we lose the costume?”

The mistress tapped her wrist impatiently.

My cousin ignored her, stepping in front of me properly. “Do you mind, taking off your clothes, I mean? It might help us both get into character more.”

“Oh? Uh, sure, sounds like a plan.” I unsnapped the buttons off my uniform and slid the whole thing over my head, pulling my skirt down as well. I moved to take off my underthings, but “Fredericka” stopped me.

“Actually, know what? Keep those on. It shows that you’re not just some wild animal. Go ahead and loosen the straps on your bra a little if you want, though. Aaaand, oh, I’ve got just the thing.” As I tugged as the little clips of my underwear, Thérèse circled around behind me and started fiddling with my hair, yanking my ponytail free and billowing the whole thing out like one big grassy mess. She smiled as she came back around to see, giving me a winking thumbs-up.

Muuuuch better. I can act alongside this. Lookin’ good, Frank!”

I blushed, hiding behind my hair. “Heh, you too… Fred.”

“Places, damn it all!” Remilia shouted, shoving the hat back onto her head. “Once more, from the top! Real emotion, this time; make me cry!”

+ + + + + + + + + +

“Bah, just our luck, that this night of all nights would be cold,” muttered the traveler, shoving hair out of her face with one hand while keeping the other cautiously near her sword.

“Every night is a cold night at this time of year,” the older woman responded matter-of-factly. “One can only hope that damp air does not mean damp spirits, friend Fredericka?”

“I told you; just Fred, is fine… Professor Abigail.”

The two women’s footsteps echoed ominously through the hall of polished stone, themselves the only visible inhabitants within the castle’s grand foyer. The entire thing was made of marble… both of them couldn’t even imagine the cost.

“Brrrr, rah, an’ even when we’re out of the wind, it’s still cold as hell.” Fred wrapped the weather-beaten cloak around her shoulders more tightly. “Just because it doesn’t care about heat doesn’t mean it’s guests don’t.”

Abigail held up an advising finger. “Manners, Fredrick, manners. The Duchess Dragonia is not some thing; she is very much real, and very much a woman. The traders from here to Denmark all tell tales of her beauty, her feminine grace, her skill at turning men to the softest cream with but one night of her company. We’d do well to make sure we are guests here, and not merely insects to be swatted.”

Fred chuckled. “Heh. Good thing I’m not a man, then, right?”

”Ahh, but women, like men, may appreciate true beauty, no~?”

The two travelers immediately jumped at the voice, which seemed to come from everywhere in the room at once, without origin. A voice like honey, like morning dew, like blood-red wine. Both their heads swiveled madly, but saw nothing.

“Where are you?” Fredericka cried, suddenly shivering from more than just the cold. “Show yourself!”

”Gladly, child~”

Swirling out from the ceiling, a fine red dust gathered, spiraling around the columns and across the floor, congealing at the top of a small step in front of them. Abigail watched in wonder, inwardly thrilled as the dust took human shape, solidified into a scarlet silhouette, and then dissipated, leaving nothing but a woman to show for it.

“So…” the farmhand stated simply. “You are the Duchess.”

The mysterious woman glided forwards, clad in the deepest of purple gowns, woven with silver and gold lace. The crimson ruby ring on her finger would have purchased a city and all inside of it. Her jet hair she carried in a complex bun, the height of style for the region. And her face… If angels might have carved out of the softest, creamiest stone the image of a woman, they could have done no better.

“I am,” she replied, smiling gently. “Dragonia, of the West, for it is the West which I protect, and which protects me. With whom now do I trade words?”

“Fredericka, daughter of Edward, of England.”

“And I, Abigail Auditore, of Verona.”

“Well met, daughter of Britain and daughter of Rome. Your company is welcome, on this, a most chill night. Have you supped?” She drew her hand outwards and motioned to the left. “There is a fire made in my study. There you may find food and warmth, or wine if you prefer.”

The elder took a half-step forward, before being stopped by the younger. “Forgive me,” she answered, not without some hesitance in her voice, “but I am a simple woman, from a harsh region. We have learned to be cautious of hospitality from strangers, even the very grand. Too many of us have lost coin or husband or home to a pleasant smile and a befuddling drink. For now, we shall stand.”

The Duchess chuckled and sighed. “Ahaaahhh, quite right. You are wise in doing so. I’m certain you’ve heard plenty of tales about me from across the sea; I’ll not pretend that all are false~ Nor will I pretend that I will be able to persuade you to trust me, or believe a single word—oh. Oh my dear…”

“Wait, what the bloody ‘ell is that?!”

Fredericka suddenly turned around, drawing her sword out of instinct. Standing in the doorway was a beast, an awful thing unlike any of the three had ever seen. In size and shape it was no bigger than a child, but only Hell itself could have produced such an infant. Its skin was mottled and dark grey, like pebbles scattered atop a boulder, shielding a terrible network of muscles and organs man had not. In its hands were talons shaper than swords, and in its mouth fangs more deadly than knives. Only the barest scraps of aged linen and tangled hair like mossy vines defined it as more than a wild animal, but how much more even the grand Duchess herself did not know.

It approached slowly, one step at a time, dragging its stained claws across the ground. Its eyes, dull yellow orbs behind deep folds of flesh on its forehead, stared silently at them all, flicking from the youth to the sage to the beauty. Then it spoke, to the wonder of all, its voice a raspy, wheezing sound like the cold wind it had just left behind.

“Fear me… not.”

Fred had no comprehension of what stood before her, but she needed none. Her sword she raised to her chest, the tip glinting in the reflected moonlight. “Hold, creature, stand still, if you value yourself!”

It halted its advance, but did not relent. “I… come, from wandering. The world, it… what is word… is not good. Sword put away.”

The tip of the blade wavered, but was not sheathed. The professor stepped forward, placing a pair of spectacles on her nose. It was like nothing she’d ever seen; not even any sort of unholy blemish could create this! She asked, quietly but with purpose. “What… are you?”

The creature glared horribly at Madam Auditore, and took a decisive step in her direction. “I… am not… WHAT!” Its bellow filled the foyer, bouncing off every pillar, every carving, every statue. The professor stepped back, but her companion actually took a step forwards.

“I… am… WHO!” it continued, raising a hand to the heavens. “I am Freya! Am Freya! I am me! I am exist!

As “Freya” proclaimed her existence to the world, Fredericka spoke over her shoulder hastily to the Duchess. “Duchess, do you know this beast?”

The grand lady gazed intently at the “Freya”, searching through her vast, vast memories. “This… is the first I have even laid eyes on. I know it not by name, only by myth, and only long ago.”

“What shall we do?”

“Ignore me not!” Freya cried, walking forwards again. “I am alone. Ever, alone. Do not want, die. Do want live. Do not want die, alone. Do not want ever live… alone.”

Lady Dragonia strode forwards, her presence positively eclipsing the other two. “What do you wish of me, wanderer Freya? I am the master here.”

“Unnn… Not care about, master. Wish, wish for, for safe. Safe from kill. Safe from… alone. Friend. Want… I want friend.”

A slight frown marred the Duchess’ perfect visage. “Safety… I can give. But for you, wanderer Freya, to be safe is to not be free. I can see the world does not accept you. I may yet do so. But to be truly safe from the world, you must give the world up.”

Freya’s face contorted, razor talons squealing across the ground as she thought. “Grrrn… And friend?”

“A friend cannot be given. Only earned, through time, and nothing else.”

“The devil you talkin’ about?” Fred interjected, apparently sick of all this high speech.

“I am Duchess Dragonia, because the world sees me as Duchess Dragonia,” the lady responded coldly, to all three at the same time. “I am trusted because there is reason to trust me, honored because my actions begat honor, and loved because I too know how to love. The world does not call me a demon… because I am not seen with other demons.”

“I am not, demon!” Freya responded, pounding her mighty fist into the marble, cracking it without effort. “I am Freya! Who are you? You are not friend?” She pointed a horrible claw and swept it across the room, now close enough for Fred’s sword to strike if she dared to. “None friend here?!” she added angrily.

“Madam Freya,” Abigail said, speaking up again imploringly. “Be calm, please. We have no quarrel here. You will make no friends by shouting and threatening.”

“Yeah, really,” the youth added nonchalantly. “You put those claws down an’ maybe then I’ll put this sword down.”

Freya considered this for a moment before lowering her hand, but not before looking at it and seeing the caked blood from a previous unwitting victim of hers. “Nnnnn… then how make a friend?”

“Do unto others,” the professor quoted, “as you would have them do unto you. Whatever you would want your friend to do for you… do that for your friend first.”

“How, I do unto? Have… no friend yet.”

“I know of a man who could help you. He’s far from here, but what is a destination without a journey?”

Fred rolled her eyes and tapped her sword on the ground impatiently. “Abbie, if you go on the road with that Freya, I swear to God I won’t be.”

“There’ll be no problem, then; Britain is in the opposite direction. I joined you in the pursuit of knowledge and truth, and though my aim was this illustrious Duchess, I see that perhaps my focus should now be elsewhere. No offense, milady,” she added inclining her head in Dragonia’s direction.

“None taken,” she answered coolly. “I’ve heard far worse. You are certain you won’t stay for dinner? It is after all quite rude to impose upon a hostess without purpose, and I can’t have stories circulating of travelers that did not leave my presence better off than they entered it.”

“Not care for hunger. Friend, want friend. Ab-ih-gale, is friend?”

The professor smiled. “I can… try to be.”

”You shall try no such thing!”
>> No. 36722
Instantly, with a decisive cut, the mood was slain, as a fifth voice echoed through the grand hall. Four heads turned simultaneously to see a figure emerge from the shadows, body and face hidden by a heavy cloak as black as pitch, gloves even concealing her hands.

The Duchess blanched, if such a thing was possible with her complexion. “You… G-get, get off our stage!”

Your stage?” A smile crept up the hidden face. “I believe it was you who told me that this castle was as much mine as yours, or have you forgotten, Dragonia? Abigail Auditore, this is one of the last places I would have expected to see you again… though not the last.”

The researcher screwed up her face, unsure what to say, and finding no conformation from anywhere else in the room. “I’m… I’m sorry, y-you are…?”

“Verit. And it is still Headmistress Verit, to you, Abigail. I wouldn’t expect you to remember me; hardly any of the inferior students would have had a reason to acknowledge my existence at all. Perhaps if they would have been aware how closely I watched them, they might have found reason. You’ve aged badly.”

“What do you want… Verit?” the Duchess inquired, clearly not liking her authority usurped in such a fashion.

Another mirthless laugh escaped the cloaked woman’s lips. “Want, hah… so old, Lady of the Dragon, and yet so young. What I want, and have ever wanted, is peace. Such already well within our reach, Dragonia, I now look to truth. And I see much need for truth here.”

“Truth,” Freya uttered, the term not so common to her as might have been expected. “What… truth?”

The Duchess turned away from her “guests” to address the woman Verit properly, likewise hiding the mounting concern on her face. She glided seemingly without walking towards the black-clad enigma, and despite all her displays of superiority the great lady remained shorter that she.

”…Don’t you dare start,” she hissed, low enough to avoid detection from the rest. ”Or the blood will be on your hands, whether or not I’m the one that sheds it.”

“Truth, Freya, is real,” Verit explained, ignoring Dragonia and approaching the other three. “Truth is what you can believe in, always. Truth, exists.”

The unknown creature pointed to herself. “I… exist. I… am truth?”

“You are a part of it, yes. The truth is that you exist. The truth is that I exist. The truth is that we stand inside a castle. The truth is that this woman—“ Verit pointed a gloved hand at Professor Auditore, “—is no friend of yours.”

“That’s not true! I don’t know who you are, but whatever academy you resided over I must have left thirty years ago! Forty years ago! How can you judge a woman by what she did as a girl?!”

As this accusatory question, Verit pulled up her hood, just enough for Abigail to see her face. It was a wholly unremarkable face, save the eyes. The eyes… they sparkled with a brilliant, magical gold that stung just to look at them, and both of them were focused straight at the now-trembling professor. Her mouth formed a thin, disappointed line.

“Because I can see, Ms. Auditore. I can see people, as well as they can see themselves. And I can see that you have not changed in any portion that matters here.” Verit turned to look at Freya now, her eyes lessening in intensity.

“This Abigail will take you to a place where many people will be interested in you. They will ask you many questions. They will be afraid of you at first, but they will not run away. You will become important to them. But their care will be a false care. They will care about you because you are a WHAT, not a WHO. You will be safe. You will be taken care of. But you will have no friends.”

“Not… friend?” Freya asked herself aloud, slowly understand Verit’s words. “Safe but… no friends?!”

“Liar! Who are you?! Perhaps you’re the real monster here!” Suddenly, Abigail carried a gun in her hand, pointed directly at Verit’s heart, her eyes full of rage. “Duchess! Duchess Dragonia, who is this woman?!”

The grand woman sighed, clearly not enjoying such a harsh and direct question, but enjoying the current situation even less. “She is Verit, as she has said; a powerful seer and a clairvoyant, under my protection. Also, I might add, ill-suited to recover from such a grievous wound at the weapon you currently hold would give. I implore you to put it away.”

“Can she read others’ minds?”

“I would ask you to—“

”Can she read others’ minds?!”

The room was quickly devolving into chaos. Abigail’s hand continued to be trained solely on Verit, who made no move to try anything one way or the other; her words were more than enough of a sword and shield. Freya sat dumfounded, shaking her head in confusion at the big, angry words everyone was using around her, and at her. The Duchess’ eyes flicked from one scholarly woman to the other, praying to whatever heathen gods she worshipped that she would not have to rend her guests’ head from her shoulders should so much as a grain of sand be fired at her trusted diviner. And Fredericka, once the hero, had now become a nobody, as confused as Freya herself was, sword hanging limply by her fingers.

“…Yes,” Dragonia finally replied in earnest. “She does have the ability to read others’ minds. But you, also, have the ability to see into your own heart, do you not? What mind should you give others, when you better than anyone else should know your own truth? I will not have blood being spilt in my halls.”

“What is truth?” Freya asked, to anyone who would listen. ”What is truth? I want truth!”

Fredericka dropped her sword, holding her head in both hands. “I don’t know, I don’t know! Gaaahh, I don’t even care anymore, everyone just shut up! Let’s just get outta ‘ere!”

“She’s lying! Verit is lying! Freya, I promise you! I will be your friend!”

“Lying would be of no benefit to me. The truth, however… the truth is always of benefit, whatever pain may come of it.”

Freya jerked her head around, from one woman, to the next, to the next, to the next, unsure what to do, or who to follow. Her mind, untrained but still very much as capable as any other woman’s, racked itself for an answer, a direction, an anything. And then…

[ ] …she walked over to Fredericka, touching her arm with the bumpy, non-bladed side of her hand. “You. You are, friend. Others I… I not know. I, I keep safe you. We are go.”
[ ] …she walked over in front of Verit, well-aware of what a gun was, and what it could do. She looked at the professor angrily. “You, Ab-ih-gale. You are… not truth. I do not want no friend never. Gun put away.”
[ ] …she walked over to the Duchess’ side, cautiously looking at the being she could sense was not human, and not weak. “You, Dragon Eeyah. You are… be kind. Other I… I not know. I will keep safe. Maybe earn some friend.”
[ ] …she walked over in front of Abigail, well-aware of what a gun was, and what it could do. “You, Ab-ih-gale. You are… truth. I will go with you. Gun put away.”
[ ] …she simply turned around and walked away, leaving the strange women to their strange games. “Not understand what is truth,” she muttered as she stepped back out into the cold.
>> No. 36723
[x] …she walked over to Fredericka, touching her arm with the bumpy, non-bladed side of her hand. “You. You are, friend. Others I… I not know. I, I keep safe you. We are go.”
>> No. 36724
Remilia tapped her foot impatiently on the metal chair backs, her arms stuffed into a tight pretzel across her chest; an ability I still envied. I didn’t care if my breasts weren’t really all that big in retrospect, they were still too big for me. I’d actually tried to practice Thérèse’s shape-molding techniques to make them smaller, but nothing had come of it at all. They felt bigger now, if anything. “Saph’, let me see your face, let me see it!”

Fran's a healthy fairy? Not a bad surprise. There might be a head maid that may be jealous.

[x] …she walked over to Fredericka, touching her arm with the bumpy, non-bladed side of her hand. “You. You are, friend. Others I… I not know. I, I keep safe you. We are go.”
>> No. 36726
>>36724
Clarification: No, she's not healthy; she's about a B-cup if you must know. She just has a different opinion on the value of breast size; she doesn't see the point of big breasts, and actually finds them annoying. It's been referenced a few times in the story before.
>> No. 36727
[X] …she walked over to the Duchess’ side, cautiously looking at the being she could sense was not human, and not weak. “You, Dragon Eeyah. You are… be kind. Other I… I not know. I will keep safe. Maybe earn some friend.”

She is the protagonist, after all. Even if we don't live, at least our death will be suitably tragic this way.
>> No. 36733
[x] …she simply turned around and walked away, leaving the strange women to their strange games. “Not understand what is truth,” she muttered as she stepped back out into the cold.

In the words of the original Monster: "I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other."
>> No. 36734
>>36727
Indeed.

[X] …she walked over to the Duchess’ side, cautiously looking at the being she could sense was not human, and not weak. “You, Dragon Eeyah. You are… be kind. Other I… I not know. I will keep safe. Maybe earn some friend.”
>> No. 36735
[x] …she walked over in front of Verit, well-aware of what a gun was, and what it could do. She looked at the professor angrily. “You, Ab-ih-gale. You are… not truth. I do not want no friend never. Gun put away.”
It is what I would do.
>> No. 36736
[X] …she walked over to the Duchess’ side, cautiously looking at the being she could sense was not human, and not weak. “You, Dragon Eeyah. You are… be kind. Other I… I not know. I will keep safe. Maybe earn some friend.”

The Duchess seems to be the best choice. She's been amicable and straightforward. Fredericka has shown nothing but hostility towards Freya, while Abigail and Verit are using her to prove their points.
>> No. 36737
>>36736
What he said

[X] …she walked over to the Duchess’ side, cautiously looking at the being she could sense was not human, and not weak. “You, Dragon Eeyah. You are… be kind. Other I… I not know. I will keep safe. Maybe earn some friend.”
>> No. 36738
[x] …she walked over to Fredericka, touching her arm with the bumpy, non-bladed side of her hand. “You. You are, friend. Others I… I not know. I, I keep safe you. We are go.”

Because despite the fact that she's hostile, she's also been the only one who's actually honest and isn't blatantly lying through her teeth to everyone around her.
>> No. 36742
>>36727
going with such a cliche might upset Remilia, who's trying to avoid some cliches with this.
>> No. 36743
I just realised that Francesca isn't a bad name. Don't know why I wanted Freija/Freya/NorseGoddess so much anymore.
>> No. 36758
4 for the Duchess
3 for Fredericka
1 for Verit
1 for nobody

I was going to let this run through the night, but my net connection went down (posting from a friend's house), so I've got nothing else to do. Duchess it is.

>>36733
Oho! Nice. Remi would have been real impressed with this one.

>>36738
Hence why it was a viable choice. Funny how that works out, isn't it?

>>36742
Well if she wasn't going to be before, she certainly will be after seeing this post. I'd laugh evilly, but it just doesn't transition well into text.

>>36743
I always knew you'd warm up to the idea~ Plus out of the goodness of my heart I gave you your Freya in the end anyways. Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?
>> No. 36768
>>36758
Harrumph. Well, if you're going to be that way, maybe I'll justify my vote with something other than a tired old trope! How's about that, hmm?

Very well, then. Put aside the issue of creating a compelling stage show for a moment. Anyone remember who Freya is based on?

>What does it feel like, to be hated, feared, iso… lated…?
>That’s it.
>Flandre.

And with whom do we wish for Flandre to go, metaphorically speaking? With nobody but herself, "back out into the cold"? (The voices in her head; madness.) With her new "friend", whose motives are as unclear as her past? (The new voice in her head.) With the wise professor, whose mind is clearly occupied by loftier goals than taking care of a monster? (Patchouli, both metaphorically and literally, given that she seems to be the one playing Verit on stage.)

Or with the vampire who, despite her impressive ego and flair for the dramatic, seems to be genuinely concerned for the monster? (No points for guessing this one.)

The choice seems obvious to me.

Couldn't find a place to fit Frederika into the (already tortured) allegory. Points for trying?
>> No. 36777
>>36768

Horrible stock response: Take it easy~

Actual intelligent response: Wow, that's some very nice analysis there; did you consider putting it with your vote proper, so other people can benefit from it? Just an idea; no idea if it's a good one or not. I just write this stuff.

Yeah, you probably tortured the allegory more that it needed to be. But hey, by virtue of your post, now this play's gone from a silly-but-entertaining time waster to a deep social commentary on the mansion itself!

I won't say I hadn't written it with those parallels in mind, but I won't say I'd thought it all through, either.
>> No. 36779
File 127376167834.jpg - (222.56KB , 1280x905 , i knew him horatio; a fellow of infinite charisma.jpg ) [iqdb]
36779
>>36777
>did you consider putting it with your vote proper, so other people can benefit from it?
I would have, had I actually come up with it back then and not ex post facto after seeing >>36758.

And for the record, my mock indignation was just that; I didn't mean to sound like the possibility of getting yelled at by the Super Director actually troubles me too terribly much. Posting dramatic Remilia to drive the point home.
>> No. 36780
…she walked over to the Duchess’ side, cautiously looking at the being she could sense was not human, and not weak. “You, Dragon Eeyah. You are… be kind. Other I… I not know. I will keep safe. Maybe earn some friend.”

Dragonia looked at her pensively, a wary eye still on the weapon trained at Verit. “You… would stay with me?”

“Yes. I would stay.”

“You know I cannot guarantee you happiness nor friends, wanderer Freya. Only a safe haven.”

Freya glanced at the other three, and shrugged. “Uhhhnn. Life is not ever garr-in-tee. Have no friends now. Have no happiness now. What is different there or here? Here is live. There is die.”

A small smile graced the lady’s lips. “Well said… Well said and well met, guest Freya. You are welcome here.”

Abigail watched the whole scene unfold, her rage-quivering hand slowly losing its target as her mind focused elsewhere. “S-So… So that’s it?! You’re just going to walk away from the problem like that?!”

“Is not my problem,” Freya stated simply.

“She is not a piece of meat to be traded, young Auditore,” Verit added, taking the opportunity of her foe’s distraction to edge closer to her hostess. “She is a soul, a living being. She may go whither she wills.”

“But you… You live here! You’ll fill her head with the same lies you’re filling it with now! How can she have any friends when all she learns is a lie?!”

Fredericka put a hand across Abigail’s own, gently lowering the gun to the ground. “Abbie, just let it go. It’s not worth it anymore.”

The professor pulled away from her companion, through the gun dropped meaninglessly to the floor in her anger and disappointment. “I came here to study! To learn civilly from a being this world did not create! I… I can’t…!”

“I am not barring either of you from staying here,” the Duchess commented. “Your road must have been long; you are quite free to stay a few days. I can provide you with supplies and safe passage to any city from here to the coast.”

”God damn you! Abigail spat back. “God damn you all to hell!” With that she turned her back on all of them, Fred included, and stomped out of the castle without another look back.

The remaining traveler shrugged and picked up her sword. “Well, to hell with her as well, then. Lady Duchess, if you’re offering hospitality, I’ll take you up on it. I’m bloody cold right now.”

“Yes, so I heard,” she replied, grinning bemusedly. “My study is this way; Verit can lead us.”

Fredericka nodded, lifting up her sword in salute. “On behalf of my family and of my country, I commend your good will. I shall tell the tale of your kindness at every inn and every house I bed at, for truth requires actions, not words, and you have shown your quality of both here.”

The Duchess inclined her head ever so slightly to Fred, acknowledging her praise. Together the four of them walked into the castle—

+ + + + + + + + + +

—and exited stage-left. All five of us waited until we heard Remilia’s poignant applause, slow and steady, to return back onstage. Thérèse and I actually bowed, slowly encouraging the other three to as well. I hadn’t expected the smile on my face to be as big as it was, and thinking about it only made it bigger and more unruly. I was… proud. Proud at a job well done. Proud that I’d actually managed to pull it all off, from start to finish. Remilia hadn’t even interrupted us once.

“Ooohhh, haahh, good, good job everyone, good job,” Remilia praised. Her words and tone suggested that it was just a minor ho-hum event and praise was more a formality than anything, but I knew how she really felt; I’d caught her wiping away tears from her eyes during the last scene.

“Yes, yes, well done. Perhaps we ought to have worked on that ending a bit more; came off as too melodramatic, don’t you think? We could do better. Sapphire, shame on you; you broke character on Verit’s entrance. Patches, nice save.”

Patchouli—who had of course played Verit—nodded her head not unlike the Duchess had done. “I did what I could. She who dares more could hardly be called a woman.”

“I have to ask, though,” the mistress added, raised a thoughtful hand to her lips. “Did Verit really see the future there, or was she lying?”

The real professor smiled. “It is left open for interpretation. Each viewer may decide for herself or himself whether Verit was the hero of the story, or the villain. Fitting, yes?”

“Quite,” she responded, visibly pleased this time. “Also, Francesca, liiiittle too heavy-handed with the lack of subjects and articles. But good show, good show, you did just fine. Excellent performance from an unknown right out of film school.”

I blushed and bowed again, while trying to remember what parts of speech “articles” were. Thérèse gave me an affectionate nudge in the shoulder, to which I responded likewise.

Remilia sighed, looking at the clock on the wall. “Oooohh, Patch, I don’t suppose you’ll let us run the ending again?”

“Ahh, no. No, Remi, I think I’ve been more than generous with my time here. The library has been prepared; please, follow me.”

Though flashing her friend a childish pout, Remilia followed her out of the theatre with us four cousins in tow, chattering away nonstop at every aspect of the play.

“I can’t believe it, I actually did okay! She said I was excellent!”

“Hey, don’t be modest, you were! And Tullie, wow, I didn’t know you had that in you! The gun? Hoo, girl, didn’t see that coming.”

“Oh, please, I was just playing the part. I’d never do that in real life.”

“I’m glad you never would either, Tullie. I mean, I was really scared there!”

“Hey, not as scared as I was when Saph’ came in. You did the mist and everything; where’d you learn how to do that?!”

“Obviously, from our Mistress.”

“Well, you’ve just gotta teach me that trick. ‘Cause, like, deconstruction is hard! I pretty much got the birds down now, but the mist? I don’t even want to talk about it.”

“Humility, Thérèse. We’re all glad that you have a talent, but please, don’t go flaunting it.”

“Y-Yeah. I mean, like, I tried to do it, like really tried? I didn’t feel nothin’! How’dya do it, Trease?”

“Practicing faith. Years and years of it. It’s not something you believe overnight, Fran. Don’t worry about it.”

“So… Tullie, were you really gonna be my friend? Freya’s, I mean?”

“Oh dear, I have no clue anymore; I was just going along with what Lady Patchouli was saying. You heard what she said; it’s all about what you want to believe.”

“Yeah… guess so. I don’t know what I want to believe. I guess I want to believe in what’s real, but… well, it’s like I said, you know? Where is truth?”

“Indeed…”

Our conversation blissfully brought us down to the library’s basement level, which really looked no different from any other level since there were no windows anyways. That day, though, it actually did look markedly different; towards the center of the room all the bookshelves were slid over into tight rows that made their texts inaccessible, creating a wide clearing of blank floor space. Inscribed (or perhaps just drawn?) upon the floor was a not-so-simple circular pattern perhaps ten meters across, the most notable feature of it all being a five-pointed star with circles at its tips, and plenty of rippled rings and symbols everywhere else. For the most part the entire thing was silver, with a dull red and ashy black accentuating specific complex parts. So… this would be the stage, would it?

“Talk to me, Patches, what am I looking at here?” Remilia demanded indignantly.

“This is a summoning circle,” the librarian responded, addressing all five of us. “One of my own design. Miss Francesca may notice that it is quite a deal larger than the ones I have used in the past; this is to ensure it will safely accommodate the entire process, as I have not attempted to summon anything quite this large before.”

Remilia’s eyes bugged out. “You’re summoning something that big?! No. No, no, absolutely not!”

“Peace, Remi, I am summoning nothing of the sort. My focus is on something of relatively humans size and shape. The size of the circle is merely a failsafe.”

She glared at the violet-haired woman, her eyes two red slits. “Nnnnnnngggg. Continue.”

“Thank you. Now…” She floated into the air, “Verit’s” black cloak billowing out below her, and positioned herself above the center of the circle, pointing to different locations as she explained the situation. She went slowly, for all our benefits, as none of us had any real idea what she was talking about. “Miss Friday, please try and forget my past summoning experiments; this one has been highly modified. The four of you will start within the circles of these four points of the pentagram. I will stand within the larger fifth, here. Lady Remilia, for the entire experiment, under no circumstances should you cross the outermost circle. Due to complexities I have yet to understand, the circle can only accommodate one physical soul, which must be the summoner herself; you feys are spiritual souls and thus do not interfere with the process. As such, you will be the foci, the link between this plane and the target plane.

“I will be opening a ‘window’ to the target plane first, which will appear as a vision on the floor. This window is for viewing the plane only, and is in all technicality superficial, but in all technicality I am a novice in these regards as well. From there I will be able to see and select a suitable being to summon. At that point I will activate the ‘door’, which will form above our heads and act as, in laymen’s terms, a pitfall, forcibly dropping the being out of its world and into ours. The critical portion of the experiment is not in procuring the target being, but in closing the door and window after it is procured; otherwise it is possible that the creature may overpower me and return to its own realm. Once both door and window are shut, the being is sealed within this world, under safe and secure wards which I have prepared beforehand.”

“Question,” Remilia stated dully, raising her hand for proprieties’ sake. “When you say ‘overpower’, do you meeeaaann…?”

Patchouli nodded, hardly concerned with the question’s implications. “Yes, Remilia. In all likelihood the being does not wish to be summoned. I assume not without knowledge that it is the inclination of all creatures across existence to dislike immediate and uncertain change to one’s surroundings. As I am the central focus of the experiment, killing me would halt the entire process and allow it to return to its own realm. Which is the secondary purpose of your four,” she added, motioning to us again. “After the creature is in our realm, I must devote all attention to closing the gate and window as quickly as possible. Should the creature move to attack, it will fall to you to defend me. You have prepared weapons according to your familiarities, yes?”

Sapphire straightened her tie again; she seemed to do that a lot whenever she wore one. “We failed to bring them with us, however—“

“I brought ‘em,” the mistress interrupted, thumbing over to a long table in the corner. She seemed to have fallen into a rather sour mood. “Don’t blame me if I brought the wrong stuff; I’m sure it’s your fault somehow.”

“If you would then, prepare yourselves,” the librarian responded, alighting back onto the ground and moving to another table full of books and other miscellaneous trinkets.

One by one we moved over to the side table, inspecting our belongings. I still got a queasy feeling in my stomach every time I looked at them; I’d never forget April 11th and Natasha Herod until the day I turned into lifeless dust. If it hadn’t been for China, I’d have never gotten over it, really. She was the one that had really helped me understand that weapons were to protect, not to harm, even if harm came of them in the end. It had taken some getting used to, but that was where Sakuya had come in. Sakuya had shown me the specifics where China had shown me the big picture. She’d helped me get a feel for the cold metals, old leathers, and dead woods. She’d taught me how to shoot a gun, hold a blade, throw a knife, swing a mace, dance with a polearm… She’d taught me that they were nothing to be afraid of. They were not toys, nor torturers. They were tools. And now I knew how to use them.


Esquire of Britain, arm thyself.

[ ] Fran’s primary weapon… (A weapon she would prefer to use in most circumstances. It need not be her largest weapon, nor her most powerful, but it is the one she knows how to use the best. Could be a pair of weapons.)
[ ] Fran’s secondary weapon… (A weapon she might use when her primary is unsuitable, or perhaps a weapon to cover for her primary’s weaknesses. She’s not as familiar with this one. Also could be a pair of weapons.)
( ) Optional: Fran’s tertiary weapon… (A smaller weapon useful only in limited circumstances, but not without merit, such as a knife or small pistol.)
>> No. 36781
Yes, Francesca’s finally gotten over her weapons taboo. She’s not a pro, but can handle herself well enough. This will probably be another “not a straight-up vote” choice depending upon how the write-ins stack up. You’ve got a lot of freedom here, but maybe keep in mind these guidelines:

1) Francesca is only 4 feet tall and has the strength of a child. Obviously a bulky & heavy weapon (warhammer, claymore, machine gun) would just be impossible for her to use, even if that’s all she’s holding.
2) Really there’s no hard cap on how much Fran can hold (for example, she could use half a dozen small swords or carry a large supply of throwing knives) but keep in mind that a fairy’s airborne dexterity is one of their primary assets in battle.
3) Possibly consider non-weapon aids as well (shields, nets/tripcords, smoke bombs, etc.)
4) Ignore the problem of mundane weapons not harming extraplaner beings. Patchouli fixed that for you, because she’s smart~
5) Not that it matters (seriously, it doesn’t; this is a story, not a video game), but Sapphire specializes in close-range assault, Thérèse does whatever the bloody hell she feels like, and Tullia flips between long-range support and close-range defense as needed.

Note #1: Yes, impending fight sequence. Obviously. I plan to write shorter updates faster to give you guys a piece of the action. Unless you don’t want that, in which case say so now.

Note #2: No, Patchouli isn’t going to die.

Note #3: Yes, you could get killed here. Try not to; there’s a cool scene if you survive.
>> No. 36785
[ ] Primary weapon: Knife (the same one that Remi gave her, earlier)
[ ] Secondary weapon: Taser (for subduing enemies when intimidation is not possible)
>> No. 36786
[X] Fran’s primary weapon…
- [X] A pair of stiletto daggers.

A good melee choice for someone without a lot of arm strength, and they fit decently with the martial arts we've been doing.

[X] Fran's secondary weapon…
- [X] A saber.

Something long and light that could be used outside stabbing range; somebody Fran's size could probably even wield one two-handed for extra power.

(X) Optional: Fran’s tertiary weapon…
- (X) A derringer/small-caliber pistol.

Anything bigger would have too much recoil, and I just can't imagine Fran being good with guns in the first place.
>> No. 36788
[X] Fran's primary weapon: small sword and parrying dagger.
Light weapons that take advantage of a more nimble fairy. Small sword in this case means the lighter version of the rapier that the foil was developed from. As for the parrying dagger, a swordbreaker would be nice, though the knife Fran took from Natasha would probably work if one's not available.

[X] Fran's secondary weapon: Taser
Subduing intruders is preferable to killing them.

[X] Fran's tertiary weapon: Walther PPK-L in .32 ACP
Not as much stopping power as other guns, but suitably sized for a fairy.
>> No. 36795
[X] Fran's primary weapon: small sword and parrying dagger.
Light weapons that take advantage of a more nimble fairy. Small sword in this case means the lighter version of the rapier that the foil was developed from. The Knife? The one Fran's had all this time.

[X] Fran's secondary weapon: Taser
Preferably the kind that shoots out.

(X) Optional: Fran’s tertiary weapon…
- (X) A derringer/small-caliber pistol.
>> No. 36798
[X] Fran’s primary weapon: A pair of stiletto daggers.

Sure, sounds cool enough.

[X] Fran's secondary weapon: Throwing daggers

If the enemy is too dangerous to face in melee.

[X] Optional: Fran’s tertiary weapon: A derringer/small-caliber pistol.

As a last resort.
>> No. 36805
File 127379769483.jpg - (395.21KB , 986x1069 , baseball_grenade.jpg ) [iqdb]
36805
[x] Primary weapon: Knife (the same one that Remi gave her, earlier)
[x] Secondary weapon: A derringer/small-caliber pistol.
(x) Tertiary weapon: A single grenade

The sword and main gauche style of fighting doesn't scale well down to Fran's size since almost any opponent is going to out-mass her, and thereby will 'crush' her guard even if she uses her off-hand to block in perfect form. Likewise, it is a fool's errand to attempt to trap or break the weapon of an oversized opponent, which is the major offensive benefit of using two swords. Fran should be taking advantage of her small size and aerial agility by dodging hits, rather than attempting to deflect or block them.

As another consequence of her size, her weapons will have low mass, meaning she herself is at higher risk of having her weapon broken, and, in combination with her inferior strength, she is also at great risk of being disarmed, either of are likely to happen if she attempts to hack through her opponent's guard. This is especially a problem if her weapon is made out of silver rather than tempered steel: silver has heavier mass (the specific gravity of silver is a little less than that of lead) but has inferior hardness. A small knife that she's comfortable with, and suited to both slashing and stabbing, is what she should use. With allies, she should focus on harrying or getting into her opponent's blind spot. When alone, she should attempt to get inside her enemy's guard through foot- and wing-work, rather than swordplay, going for the vitals, eyes, or disabling her opponent (say, by going for a tendon, as she has down twice I believe).

Throwing knives are cool. However, the derringer is superior to the throwing knife here because Fran can't maximize the lethality of a thrown missile. Sure, she might hit the target (as she is able to swing a mace, under Meiling's training), but there isn't enough force behind it to penetrate deeply, both on account of Fran's inferior strength and the necessarily low mass of the missile, and the maximum range is similarly decreased. Now the pistol fires a projectile with a mass and velocity that is not a factor of the strength and mass of the user: If she can pick it up, she can fire it, and if she can fire it, she can kill someone with it. Recoil has no real effect on a single-shot weapon, since distance is usually point-blank and the risk of a repetitive stress injury is low. This is why even multi-shot derringers such as the COP 357 use high-power cartridges, in this case the .357 magnum.

The weight will have an effect on aiming the first shot, and a fairy hovering in flight is unlikely to be purely stationary, however there is no disadvantage here that wouldn't also be shared by throwing knives. Carrying more knives just means that there's less force imparted to each knife thrown due to decreased mass, whereas carrying more bullets does not decrease the lethality of any individual bullet. This brings up a secondary scaling problem for Fran as we must assume that Fran's maximum wing load is less than her maximum ground load, the back (wing) muscles having to work much harder than her legs to keep her aloft.

Now I'm not sure what the era is. Fran ate a face full of buckshot, but tasers may not yet be in vogue. However, hand-sized grenades had been used on the battlefield in large scale the West since the 1600s, with a few examples dating back to antiquity. The other strike against the taser is that she has been receiving close-combat training from China, so a less-than-lethal close range weapon adds little to the fairy's total capacities. If she was to routinely employ a taser, her training is superfluous and she should do something else with her time, as there are not many opponents you can KO with kung-fu but not a taser. However she knows how to non-lethally disable an opponent with a knife, having done so twice already.

Now a grenade is a weapon with considerable limitations on its use, fitting the 'tertiary weapon' role, especially if you can't throw it very far. However, it enables you to bring down foes much, much larger than you, something that isn't provided for by a small pistol or the knife, and is one weapon that is uniquely suited to a rapidly-regenerating fairy. In both earlier situations where force had been required, stabbing a weak point had an effect, but Fran died in the process, and she likely would have fared similarly with a pistol, maybe getting off one poorly-aimed shot due to weapon unfamiliarity and recoil. Now with a grenade, dying in the process is still expected, but she can do more than simply distract an enemy. The extreme lethality of the grenade not only increases Fran's capacities, it gives her an ability that wouldn't (readily) be taken over by another fairy; the suicide weapon paradoxically makes her even less disposable as an asset.

Excessive lethality seems to be an obvious strike against the grenade, but that only applies to a high-explosive or fragmentation grenade: A smoke grenade can be used to effect a retreat, or blind an opponent so that Fran can take advantage of her relatively high competency in CQC and knife-work. A tear gas grenade can also be used to 'suicidally' disable an opponent, while a chlorine gas grenade were widely used since WWI for area denial, and if the mean are not available to acquire them, or if the technologies are not available to make them, Patchouli could probably fashion together a magical equivalent. Finally in respect to her own survival, with any type of grenade Fran can take advantage of a fairy's 'primary assets in battle' by simply flying up to a safe distance, pulling the pin, then dropping it on the target.

The willingness to carry and employ a clearly suicidal weapon so as to protect the other members of the household shows an emotional investment that is sure to endear Fran to Remilia. Or at least give her a laugh.
>> No. 36812
[x]>>36805
Can't possibly be wrong.
>> No. 36819
[x] A short chinese sword in her good hard, the dagger Remi gave her in the other.
[x] A bo. Wildcard.
[x] A derringer/small-caliber pistol.
Trump card.
>> No. 36820
[x] Primary weapon: Knife (the same one that Remi gave her, earlier)
[x] Secondary weapon: A derringer/small-caliber pistol.
(x) Tertiary weapon: A single grenade

Yeah, that works.
>> No. 36823
Let’s see here, what have we got…

PRIMARY
4 for “the knife”
3 for a small sword and “the knife”
2 for dual stilettos

SECONDARY
3 for a taser
3 for a derringer or small pistol
1 for a saber
1 for throwing knives
1 for a bo

TERTIARY
5 for a derringer
3 for a grenade

I’ve got a few ideas for a thing or two in the story myself, so here’s what I’ll do:
+ Her old knife as a primary weapon (she’s familiar, and it fits the fighting style of her size)
+ A smallsword as a secondary weapon (light & small enough to not be a bother in flight, and increases her range without needing great strength)
+ A COP 357 derringer as a secondary weapon (again, small enough to not be a bother, gives her a very helpful long-range advantage, and has 4 shots in case something goes wrong)
+ A light fragmentation grenade as a tertiary weapon (high-power last ditch effort. The “light” fragmentation is because the whole point is that Patchouli wants her summoned creature intact. This one is only going to kill something if it’s holding it in its mouth.)

Once again, writing some tonight, update late morning tomorrow.

>>36805
Woah. Words. You’re awesome, did you know that? I need to make sure you realize that you, are, awesome. I won’t even attempt to touch your analysis; I’d just screw it up. Thank you for plying your talent for my stories’ sake; I appreciate it.

But for future reference, the year is 1996, and the setting is an unsettled forest in England.

Not Gensokyo! A few of you have still managed to miss that.
>> No. 36873
The knife came first. You remember, yes? That knife that was the source of all my worries for so long. I’d hated it in the past, but at that time it had become just as Remilia had said, “a souvenir of bravery”. It had turned out to be not silver at all; merely silver-plated, with the steel on the inside as good as any knives’ steel should be. Of course I didn’t even come up to Sakuya’s knees measuring my skill against hers, but I did well enough for me.

Aside from the knife there had never really been any weapons I’d wanted to call “mine”, considering there had never been any real need for them until that night. But Patchouli had requested several days before that we should be prepared, so Sakuya and I worked out the best collection of defenses I’d need: a short rapier which Patchouli said was a “smallsword”, a tiny four-bullet pistol (Pachouli called that one the COP 357 Derringer. Honestly, humans gives weapons the oddest of names…), and one single grenade, specially-made by the doctor herself. She called it a “light-fragmentation grenade”, whatever than meant.

To my embarrassment, however, it was at this time I realized that I was wearing nothing but my underwear; my uniform lay discarded back at the theatre. Not that I’d have minded going through all this as I was—I’d trained with China a number of times in the nude so my silly uniform wouldn’t restrict my movements—but I was quite a sight standing there with a sword in one hand and a knife in the other, having absolutely nothing to attach them to. All I could do was shake my head and chuckle, trying to ignore my red cheeks.

“What’s wrong?” Tullia asked me as she strapped a heavy metal gauntlet to her left hand.

“My… heh, my clothes,” I replied softly, pointing to my waist. “Left them upstairs. Can’t really strap this sword to my belt if I don’t have a belt, mmm? Gaah, I’m such an idiot…”

Thérèse wandered over to us, never having had any real need for weapons herself (“I am my own weapon!” she’d always say, morphing her arm into some spiky and bladed monstrosity). “What’s this now, Fran’s lost her clothes?” she joked. “Now how’d that happen? I bet someone told her to take them off for a completely innocent and uncompromising reason that has absolutely nothing to do with me.”

“Please stop trying to be Flandre,” Remilia commented from the side. “You’re no good at it. Francesca, you say you need clothes? What should I have Sakuya fetch for you?”

“Oh, you’ll have her…? Well, umm, I guess, normal ones? Nothing frilly like our uniforms, just something I can move around in, really.”

The mistress nodded, printed my request down on a pad of paper, clicked a button on that pager she and all the other residents carried around, and with a twitch of time and a blink of an eye I found a new set of clothes waiting on the table before me. As I’d asked for, it was just a simple cream-colored skirt and green tunic that fit just a little too snug, along with a solid belt for my blades and that grenade; my pistol I strapped to my thigh.

I sighed, glad there was no mirror nearby; I must have looked like some kind of clichéd idiot all dressed up like that. How did Sapphire manage to pull it off? She wore as much as I did—a versatile side-sword and a pair of pistols she called “Colt Nineteen-Elevens”—but she managed to make it all look so natural, like they were made for her. I could only assume that Remilia had taught her a thing of two about vampiric elegance or something of the sort.

Having prepared myself as well as I could, I helped Tullia with her other gauntlet. Despite the fact that she was probably more accurate with a gun than anyone in the mansion save Sakuya, her heart had ever been for keeping other people safe. I just hoped she’d be able to fly with that much armor on her; not that a pair of gauntlets, shin guards, and a small breastplate counted as “much” per-se, but it was certainly more than I would have wanted to wear. In all honesty I didn’t quite know why Patchouli had picked Tullia to protect her when she could have picked Wendy instead, but I’m not one to know much about battle tactics, after all.

The four of us walked back over to Patchouli’s side, who by now had taken off the bulky cloak, exposing her familiar black dress slacks and violet turtleneck. New to the ensemble today, however, was an old white hat not unlike a nightcap, adorned with multicolored ribbons and a crescent-shaped charm. Compared to everything else Patchouli wore it looked old and worn out. I raised my eyebrow at it.

“What’s with the hat?” I asked.

She stared at me with her unreadable, unblinking purple eyes for at least five seconds, before responding, “…for luck.”

“Oh. I didn’t know you believed in luck.”

“I don’t.”

“Then, why… would… uhhh…” I trailed off, not really understanding. Thankfully Patchouli picked up where I left off.

“It’s personal.”

“Oh… oh, ‘kay.” I was sorry I’d even asked.

The librarian looked over a few more notes, then started moving a number of papers and miscellaneous crystals into a sidebag. Remilia, curious, picked one of them up and inspected it, her sour mood not improving.

“Paaaaatch… What are you planning on doing with these?”

It was at that point that I took a closer look at the crystals too, and my face quickly became as skeptical as the mistresses as I realized where I’d seem them before. Patchouli, of course, looked wholly unconcerned with the problem.

“Power sources for a barrier around the circle, Remilia, among other things. It is a shame to waste such vast quantities of stored energy when they could be put to better use. Your sister was happy to oblige.”

“Providing heat and electricity to the house is not a waste, you know. Unless you want to run a power line all the way out here yourself?”

“Touché. Are you quite finished nitpicking my experiment to pieces?”

Remilia gave a girlish “Hmmpphh!” and sat down on the table, pouting again. The rest of us carefully took our places inside the four points of the star while Patchouli set the barrier crystals floating above us, explaining more of the specifics to us now.

“Stay completely within the small circles you currently stand until the creature has been transferred to our plane. Stay completely within the largest outer circle until both the gate and window are fully-closed. Remilia, do not enter the largest outer circle until the same time. Failure to do so will disrupt the process, and I cannot guarantee what will happen as a result. Are we all in accord?”

“Yes, Ms. Patchouli,” we all said in our own way. Truthfully I was not completely in accord, but then again out of us four fairies I was the one who was probably the most comfortable with the summoning. The most-likely-inevitable fighting? Ehh, not so much, no. But I’d pretty much grown out of that ridiculously timid side by then.

The doctor nodded and withdrew a sheet of parchment from her bag. “I am going to activate the barrier now. If anyone has anything else to say, please speak now and not later.”

Remilia raised her hand again, walking up just so her toes touched the aforementioned outer ring. Still flustered, she looked like, but a bit more calm now. “Look, Patches, I know. I know I’ve given you a lot of guff about this whole summoning whatever it is, right from day one. It’s just, I want all of us in this house to stay in one piece; I can’t bear to lose any of you to some idiotic mistake. It’s not like I don’t believe in you; you’re the best magician I’ve ever met! I just…”

“I understand. You need not be emotional; I realize you’re poor at it.” The mistress smirked bemusedly at her friend again; must have been yet another inside joke.

“Oh, and Patch?”

“Yes?”

“Happy birthday.”

Wait… it was her birthday?! Why had nobody told me?! Unless… nobody else knew?

[ ] “Wow, it’s your birthday, Ms. Patchouli? Congratulations!”
[ ] “Well, happy birthday, Dr. Patchouli! Do you mind, if I ask how many years you’re turning?”
[ ] “Woah, I didn’t hear about this. Is that why you chose today to do all this?”
[ ] I was happy for her, but I didn’t say anything. There was work to be done; celebrations could come later, like after this mystery creature was summoned.


Author’s Note – A sort-of weird spot to end, I know, but it was getting late and I didn’t want to leave you with nothing at all.
>> No. 36878
[x] “Well, happy birthday, Dr. Patchouli! Do you mind, if I ask how many years you’re turning?”
>> No. 36882
[X] “Woah, I didn’t hear about this. Is that why you chose today to do all this?”

Summoning a demon? Best. Birthday. Present. EVER.
>> No. 36889
[X] “Wow, it’s your birthday, Ms. Patchouli? Congratulations!”

It's kind of hard to tell if Patchy would react to the age question with annoyance or indifference. Better to just be polite.
In before Remilia actually forgot when Patchy's birthday is.
>> No. 36914
File 127389067542.jpg - (144.66KB , 550x800 , 2bc08ff9a144df411d11bd834d89aac5.jpg ) [iqdb]
36914
[x] “Woah, I didn’t hear about this. Is that why you chose today to do all this?”

There's all sorts of d'awww with sharing your birthday with the newest resident. Patchu is surprisingly-but-not-really-that-surprisingly romantic.

>But I’d pretty much grown out of that ridiculously timid side by then.

They grow up so quickly, don't they?
>> No. 36935
[X] “Wow, it’s your birthday, Ms. Patchouli? Congratulations!”

>>36882
>Summoning a succubus? Best. Birthday. Present. EVER.
Fixed that for you.
>> No. 36944
[x] I was happy for her, but I didn’t say anything. There was work to be done; celebrations could come later, like after this mystery creature was summoned.

I think Patchouli would rather have a focused mindset than a celebration at this time.

>The four of us walked back over to Patchouli’s side, who by now had taken off the bulky cloak, exposing her familiar black dress slacks and violet turtleneck. New to the ensemble today, however, was an old white hat not unlike a nightcap, adorned with multicolored ribbons and a crescent-shaped charm. Compared to everything else Patchouli wore it looked old and worn out. I raised my eyebrow at it.

A prototype of her would be 'classic' hat?

My opinion of Fran is still positive, but she's becoming date material. Monica is just D'awww inducing.
>> No. 37002
[X] “Wow, it’s your birthday, Ms. Patchouli? Congratulations!”
>> No. 37003
[X] I was happy for her, but I didn’t say anything. There was work to be done; celebrations could come later, like after this mystery creature was summoned.
>> No. 37017
>>36944
>My opinion of Fran is still positive, but she's becoming date material. Monica is just D'awww inducing.

Just wanted to pop in quick and ask what you mean by date material. Do you mean "date" as in dated, such as old-hat and unappealing? Or do you mean "date" as in datable, such as a girlfriend/romantic situation?

If the former, I'm just asking if you consider that a bad thing. I'll admit I haven't been very focused on writing Francesca as an original and inventive protagonist; her point is to just be a Plain Jane, really. I'd hate for her to become boring and unlikable, though, so just tell me what you think is wrong, if anything.

If the latter, I really have no idea where you're going with that. Care to explain, please?

Or perhaps it's just a joke, I don't really know. I just want to make sure there's no misunderstandings; everyone's been saying lately that's what kills stories.
>> No. 37020
>>37017
Romantic interesting material; generally one doesn't think of fairies as that due to the notion they're tiny little kids like Monica. And even in the site's past, fairies were more of a little sister than love interest.

Fran comes off as a short, cute kinda plucky young woman.
>> No. 37069
[x] I was happy for her, but I didn’t say anything yet. There was work to be done; celebrations could come later, like after this mystery creature was summoned.

>>37017
No, it's lack of updates that kills stories. After that, the common causes are lack of planning, author depression, and author disinterest/apathy.

Somewhere much further down are misunderstandings and retarded choices by Anon.
>> No. 37081
3 for simple congratulations.
3 for saying nothing.
2 for asking if this is all just as planned.
1 for asking a woman her age.

Gah, leaving me with a tie like this. Well, it’s not as if the response will be overly meaningful in the long run, so I’ll just side with saying nothing as per this coin I just flipped. Writing now; should have this done before I go to bed.

I think I might post a quick update-by-update summary of all of AFT thus far, too, just as a useful reference. Might help you remember what’s happened a little better, as well.

>>36882
You’ll get more mileage out of it than the latest blockbuster movie or a t-shirt with a witty saying on it, that’s for sure.

And then Flandre goes and custom-makes her own shirt with the phrase, “New for Patch 10.0 – Added support for Dev-IL OS”

>>36914
>There's all sorts of d'awww with sharing your birthday with the newest resident. Patchu is surprisingly-but-not-really-that-surprisingly romantic.
She was young once, too. There’s some old traditions not even the most logical ones can give up.

>They grow up so quickly, don't they?
Quick in knowledge, slow in wisdom. No matter how big the kids get, they can always stand to learn more from mom and dad.

>>36935
>Summoning a devil of unknown variety? Best. Birthday. Present. EVER.
Fixed that for you, too. Because the best prize is a surprize.
I’ll just say that I’m going in a different direction.

>>36944
>A prototype of her would be 'classic' hat?
The hat itself, actually. Unless I got the color wrong (I can never find out of it’s officially white, lilac, or pink), which I came later blame on poor lighting if I have to. That’s the great thing about a first-person past-tense narrator; it makes retcons easier if they’re nessecary.

>>37020
Ahh, I see. Cute. Well, as long as you consider that a good thing, I’m happy with it and I’m glad you enjoy her.

>>37069
Looks like I’m safe for a while, then. Only one I’m liable for is the lack of updates, which I’m trying as hard as I can to make a thing of the past.
>> No. 37088
>>37081
I understood your worries about misunderstandings, considering what happened with HY's Fairy Maid story.

And I do find Fran being as such a good thing, it widens one's understanding. And I'll wish her the best of luck in finding someone that'll treat her like she deserves.

Also your take on Flandre is also eye opening as I can imagine possibly some folks adding a bit of kookiness to the ever familiar moe and/or scary mix.
>> No. 37130
I was happy for her, but I didn’t say anything. There was work to be done; celebrations could come later, like after this mystery creature was summoned. Some of the others offered a few words of congratulations and encouragement, but it looked like we were all a little too focused on the task at hand, as was Patchouli, who just responded with a simple thank you before focusing intently on the paper before her.

“Let us begin. I am now activating the barrier...”

With a few foreign words and a five-fingered hand gesture, the crystals above us began to glow faintly like Christmas tree lights, and I noticed that all around us in a ring the air seemed distorted, like rippling cellophane. Remilia stepped back from the summoning circle, reluctantly acknowledging that the professor knew what she was talking about.

It was a chilling atmosphere I found myself in, confined to a small circle about at big as I was tall, watching my cousins be confined to the same locations. We all were mature enough to know how to “do not move” of course, but the simple fact that we had to played havoc on my mind. I found myself twitching and fidgeting more than usual, the holster strapped to my thigh itching like crazy and my palm starting to sweat around my knife. Was it the anticipation of battle? The fear of impending disaster? I certainly hoped the other three were faring better than I was.

Patchouli had already closed her eyes, a hand outstretched towards the center of the circle. I’d seen her do this before; she explained it as “feeling”, searching with her mind and spirit for the right “place” to begin a complex spell. But as the seconds became minutes without any change in her expression or arm, I started to worry. What was she looking for? She’d summoned things before—small things, yes—but she knew where to begin at least, didn’t she? How I wished I could have asked any of the other three fairies around be what their thoughts were… But even without a strict command from her, I knew Patchouli would have wanted silence, so it was silence I gave her.

At last her face firmed up, her half-open mouth closed, and she focused her now-opened eyes on the parchment before her. The incantations she spoke were in no language I understood or ever remember now, and though she did not speak very loudly, her words were forceful and crystal clear, each strange syllable rolling beautifully to the next. As her speech continued she began using her free hand to sketch invisible symbols in the air, pointing to different parts of the circle and raising or lowering her voice in intervals. At once point she was looking right at me, and though I gazed back at her to try and give her a look of encouragement, she seemed not to notice my emotions so much as just my presence in the circle. But soon I had other things to worry about.

I didn’t feel it outright at first, just sort of an inkling the back of my head, that I should pay attention to the inside of the star. After a while I actually started to feel something deep inside my soul, like a light was shining towards my very spirit and I was a mirror to reflect it towards the center of the five points. I could tell even from a distance that the others felt the same way. It wasn’t wholly unfamiliar of a feeling—Patchouli had “channeled” a spell through me before—but this was far greater than anything I’d felt before. I wanted to move, to drift towards the center. The center was important… My heart told me the center needed me… I had to go, I needed to be by the center, in the center, I had to—no! Stay there! You have to stay within the circle, I shouted back at myself! Everything revolves around staying inside the circle, doesn’t it? You can’t leave!

And then with a sudden noise that sounded like glass sliding on glass, the urge disappeared, and there it was. The “window”. I gazed intently at it, immensely curious; Patchouli had never really let me get a good look at whatever she saw when she peered into this other plane that she’d found. To my eyes, though, there wasn’t a lot to see. Not that I couldn’t see much—the entire floor had become a moving picture—but what I saw I could make no sense of. For the most part I saw just a hazy grey-black mass of some flowing substance; liquid or gas, I couldn’t tell. Various colors drifted along with the flow, mostly reds and blues, and the colors, at least, seemed to move with some kind of purpose. But just what was I looking at? Where was the ground, and where was the sky? Were the moving colors creatures, or was it the black haze that was alive? I certainly hoped Patchouli knew what she was doing, because this mess made less sense to me than Flandre had on my first Friday with her. And that’s saying something.

Though she remained within the boundaries of her circle, Patchouli levitated herself into the air, getting a birds-eye view of the parallel realm. On occasion it looked like she might have focused the window in on a particular indistinguishable blob, but then again it might just have been another chaotic ripple in that enigmatic black sea. She scanned the window for the longest time, neither speaking nor motioning. I could see Remilia from beyond the rippling barrier, perched on top of a bookshelf to see better herself. All of us could only wait and watch, at the mercy of Patchouli’s knowledge and expertise.

Finally, mercifully even, Patchouli withdrew another of Flandre’s spare crystals from her sidebag and carefully levitated it towards the dark miasma, hovering it over what looked like a particular swirl of bright red. The crystal felt to me like a child’s hand, hovering over a boiling pot of stew, trying to reach in and grab a trinket that had accidentally fallen in. It weaved back and forth over the red swirl, following it wherever it meandered, sometimes edging closer to the image on the floor, and sometimes backing away. It was utterly maddening to me, watching Patchouli toy with that crystal and flash of red like a fishing bobber, never knowing when or if something would come—

A flash of light. A crystal being slammed into the ground, into the ground that wasn’t the ground, into a world that wasn’t a world. One instant became an eternity… My soul jumped out of my throat and entered a dream I didn’t understand… My body traveled to places that would never exist but inside the mind of another… Half of me died and was reborn so that the other half might die and I would still linger on forever… My eyes saw pitch blackness more clearly than the brightest sunlight could ever illumine. Nothing made sense, because I had no senses to make anything out of.

This was but a taste of the horrible tangle of things I felt, saw, tasted and touched, all transpiring within a split-second of the moment that crystal crashed into that mystic window. I won’t ask you to understand it, because there’s nothing to understand. For only a flicking moment my soul had existed in that other plane, that plane of unknown unknowns. Not before, nor since, have I ever felt anything so completely foreign to me before. All I can tell you is that it is worse than traveling to a country you know nothing about, worse than stepping into a past you forgot or a future than you didn’t predict, worse even than that fragile, inexplicable boundary between the dream world and the real world. It was an entirely and completely different universe itself; everything you think you might know about anything or everything becomes meaningless.

But as quickly as it had started, it had finished. An instant later I was back in the library’s basement, standing inside the same silver circle as before, my quaint fairy body working just like it should. Only two things had changed. One, a second “window” had appeared above us, hovering in the air within the five barrier crystals Patchouli had set, a perfect mirror image of the window below. Two, there were no longer six people in that basement. There were seven.

If “person” was even accurate for the entity that now existed in the center of us all.

To look at it was to immediately start to get dizzy just trying to understand it. As near as I could tell it was vaguely two meters tall and had about as loose of a definition of “humanoid” shape as you could get without being outright wrong. On what might have been a head sat the bright red wisp Patchouli had been chasing in the first place, which might have been some kind of hair, which is to say it traveled down one side of the body and stopped about halfway. Its composition was the same as what I’d been seeing in the portal, just a black swirling mess of who-knows-what.

Beyond that nothing was certain about it. Sometimes it had what looked like two legs, sometimes three, or sometimes it was just a dark miasma. Arms, wings, and tails disappeared as often as they existed, and whenever there was a head-like shape at all it was devoid of a face; not so much as an eye or toothy maw gave it definition. The sheet of red floated and rippled only slightly less often than the black “body”, but whether it acted like hair suspended in invisible water, living snakes, lank cords, or something entirely indescribable was certainly not under any noticeable control.

I was scared of this. I was terrified of this. Death I’d begun to learn how to handle; I’d even let Flandre use her destructive magic on me once, of my own free will (another story for another time, perhaps). Embarrassment I’d begun to learn how to handle. Anxiety of the future, the past, the lives of others, the things that might have been… I could live with those. Even Flandre as a whole I’d managed to come to terms with, though her bags of insidious tricks was deep indeed, and no soul could be prepared for every horror she could pull from it.

But this? This was… I don’t even have a word for it after all these years. I couldn’t understand what it was, what it could do or would do, I couldn’t even understood what it looked like! Was it friendly? Was is hostile? Did it know that it had just been summoned? Was it looking at me? Should I have been looking at it? Unknowns upon unknowns that I had no hope in this universe of getting answered. I stood there, frozen with terror at this paradox of a creature, unable to even react when it actually started doing something.

And the first thing it did was, curiously enough, rise upwards, spiraling like a pillar of smoke towards the upper window that I could only assume was the “door” our magician had mentioned earlier. From the corners of my eyes I could see Tullia and Thérèse starting just as entranced as I was at the being, while Sapphire was nervously fingering one of her pistols.

“DON’T LET IT GO BACK!” Patchouli suddenly bellowed out of nowhere, her voice alone enough to return our sanity to functioning levels. “KEEP IT AWAY FROM THE GATE! GO, MOVE!”

That was all the inspiration our vampire cousin needed, and before the librarian’s echoes had finished dying they were quickly replaced by the report of a gunshot, and Sapphire arrogantly shouting at the creature as she herself shot after it. Thérèse had focused herself enough to mold her body into the form of a terrible bronze-scaled bipedal dragon, enhancing her size to a height that rivaled Patchouli’s.

[ ] I still couldn’t bring myself to move; I wasn’t going to chase after that unknown until Sapphire had finished testing the waters.
[ ] I quickly shouted a hurried question to the other two, trying to formulate some kind of battle plan before we did anything rash. (Add a question if you wish)
[ ] I needed to move; the creature was more than halfway to the gate. In a flash I whipped out my—
--( ) knife
--( ) smallsword
--( ) pistol
--( ) grenade


Author’s Note – Write-ins are going to be useful for a while since you’re orchestrating your side of a fight scene. Do what you can, and I’ll do my best to make up the difference.
>> No. 37133
[X] I needed to move; the creature was more than halfway to the gate. In a flash I whipped out my—
--(X) knife
[X] The creature's shifting form made it hard to distinguish any vulnerable areas, so I focused on parts that were close to the gate.

Patchouli doesn't want it to reach the gate, so we'll keep it from reaching the gate. I hope Sapphire has grabbed its attention, because otherwise it'll focus on Fran.
>> No. 37140
[X] I needed to move; the creature was more than halfway to the gate. In a flash I whipped out my—
--(X) knife
[X] The creature's shifting form made it hard to distinguish any vulnerable areas, so I focused on parts that were close to the gate.

This works
>> No. 37143
[X] I needed to move; the creature was more than halfway to the gate. In a flash I whipped out my—
--(X) pistol
[X] The creature's shifting form made it hard to distinguish any vulnerable areas, so I focused on parts that were close to the gate.
[X] Remember to lead your shots!

You don't know the composition of the enemy; keep it at range for now, once it "solidifies", we can go melee on it, attacking "vital" parts. Even if we do draw it's attention, Sapphire's 1911s have more ammo, so she can quickly draw the attention back to her.

Also, for future refrence, we should get Friday a SMG or something, like an MP5K, or Mini-Uzi; they would allow her to move and still have a decent chance of hitting her target without aiming (well).
>> No. 37144
Anonymous 10/05/16(Sun)05:26 No. 37140
[X] I needed to move; the creature was more than halfway to the gate. In a flash I whipped out my—
--(X) knife
[X] The creature's shifting form made it hard to distinguish any vulnerable areas, so I focused on parts that were close to the gate.
Logic makes sense!
>> No. 37146
[x] I desperately implored the "person" to stay here. If "it" knew how everyone here felt how important it was for "it" to stay... maybe, just maybe, "it" would resist the inclination to return to where "it" used to belong and join everyone here... just like me... us...

Plucked from their natural habitat and placed into an unfamiliar setting that, while weird at times, is ultimately satisfying on so many levels. Maybe too meta, but I'd like to think as much... and on the off chance we can avoid a fight even after all the time we spent arming ourselves
>> No. 37153
[x] I desperately implored the "person" to stay here. If "it" knew how everyone here felt how important it was for "it" to stay... maybe, just maybe, "it" would resist the inclination to return to where "it" used to belong and join everyone here... just like me... us...
[x] If that fails, quickly shift to plan B ( >>37143 )
>> No. 37163
3 votes for moving up with the knife
2 votes for attempting diplomacy
1.5 votes for moving up with the pistol

Like I mentioned, I’m going to try shorter, faster updates for this fight scene. My goal is at least two a day, maybe more depending on how fast I can get votes. Just an FYI.

>>37088
>I understood your worries about misunderstandings, considering what happened with HY's Fairy Maid story.
Or Owen’s ASSM for that matter. But let’s not open up cans of beans like those right now.

>And I do find Fran being as such a good thing, it widens one's understanding.
That’s been one of AFT’s main purposes, after all: widening people’s understanding of the characters they already know.

>Also your take on Flandre is also eye opening as I can imagine possibly some folks adding a bit of kookiness to the ever familiar moe and/or scary mix.
I still find it rather interesting that even though Flandre’s options have usually been limited to “Holy hell batshit insane!” and “Moe Moe Flan-chan~”, I somehow managed to find a feasible Option #3 that seems to be working ever better. It’d certainly be pretty cool if Flandres of the future borrowed a little from mine. Thanks for the comment, by the way; I always enjoy civil discussion.

>>37143
An SMG really wouldn’t help Fran all that much. She’s too small to handle the recoil unless she really braces herself, and moving (especially flying) takes that option away. Not to mention that an accuracy-by-volume approach isn’t very effective when you’ve got such a small clip size, and she can’t really afford to carry too many extras, if any at all.

But like I said before, it’s not that big of a big deal; Fran shouldn’t be fighting enough to where critical consideration of arms is going to make or break the story.

>>37146
Not so much “too meta” as there’s no meta to go off of to begin with. Just work with what the story gives you, for now. Seriously, there’s practically nothing concrete about Koakuma except a small ZUN interview, and even that’s sketchy. And we all know I haven’t been following fanon very much in this story.
>> No. 37165
>For only a flicking moment my soul had existed in that other plane, that plane of unknown unknowns. Not before, nor since, have I ever felt anything so completely foreign to me before.
The thing we summoned is probably feeling the same way.
>> No. 37166
THREAD ONE >>28203
Post #1) Story begins. Our protagonist is a random fairy working in Remilia’s mansion. Exposition about some things.
Post #2) Our fairy works hard polishing light fixtures. She spots a shifty human maid who is totally not up to something.
Post #3) Oh no, the human maid is actually an assassin! Our fairy tries to stop her but gets knifed! The humanity!
Post #4) Our hero pulls the knife out of her own chest and fights back! Sakuya saves the day; Remi wants to know what’s up.
Post #5) The fairy tells it like it is. Remilia is pleasantly impressed. Sakuya is not a perfect and elegant maid in this story.
Post #6) Remilia tells the fairy to “babysit” Flandre tomorrow. She has mixed feelings about that. Skip to new day.
Post #7) Clean fairy must be clean. Gratuitous bath scene that isn’t really gratuitous. Is Sakuya late for work?
Post #8) Sakuya is late for work. There’s a wall of text about how to treat Flandre. It’s not that important.
Post #9) The strongest update. Our hero meets Flandre, who has a broken brain-mouth filter. Extremely broken.
Post #10) Star Wars reference; Flandre continues to refuse to shut up. Our fairy is more confused than she is scared.
Post #11) Some visual description you probably don’t care about. The two girls cook some omelets.
Post #12) Flan attempts to break the ice with some random questions and statements. She also knows how to cook.
Post #13) Flandre’s wings are capacitors in this story, and they’re detachable. She’s not a child; she just needs perspective.

THREAD TWO >>28692
Post #14) They decide to restock Flandre’s pantry today. Our fairy is rather afraid of telephones. Slight hijinks ensue.
Post #15) Sakuya’ll be down in a few minutes to help them; Flandre doesn’t believe her. The fairy doesn’t know what to do!
Post #16) The two go to the kitchen. Flandre teases some of the other fairies and explodes a head of lettuce on purpose.
Post #17) Sakuya needs help fighting Medusa Heads in the Clocktower! Not really; just fixing some gears. Flandre is snarky.
Post #18) Our fairy just wants to help! Many hands make light work, and they’re done in no time.
Post #19) Flandre experiences an unfortunate hostile break down; no one gets hurt. Now they’re in Patchouli’s office.
Post #20) Patchouli teaches Flandre about The Lord of The Rings. She’s a good student, if somewhat tangential.
Post #21) Flandre experiences another break down; some canned food gets hurt. Our fairy is quite scared now.
Post #22) Our hero hugs Flandre and makes all the bad feelings go away. D’awww~ Wanna watch a movie?
Post #23) The Princess Bride is a nice movie. Flandre and the fairy play dress-up. Darkstalkers reference.
Post #24) Now they’re at the theatre. Sakuya asks the fairy how her day’s been. More exposition you don’t care about.
Post #25) Our hero wishes she could understand the world better. Remilia and Flandre are sisters. End scene.
Post #26) Skip to next Monday. Sakuya has a new assignment for our fairy.
Post #27) The fairy makes oatmeal in the kitchen. Sakuya timestops so much she forgets how to multitask correctly.

THREAD THREE >>29518
Post #28) Let’s be Meiling’s apprentice for now; she’s cool, right? Now if only anyone knew where she was…
Post #29) Meiling is calm and motherly (also ponytail). She lives in a log cabin near the garden.
Post #30) Questions asked and answered. Our fairy doesn’t like to hurt people.
Post #31) More questions asked and answered. Our fairy likes Meiling’s body, but not like that.
Post #32) Meiling uses an allegory of a dandelion to explain why Remilia is selfish. Back To The Future reference.
Post #33) Skip two weeks ahead. Our fairy doesn’t understand how to practice Tai Chi.
Post #34) Fight scene between our heroine and China. The gatekeeper explains the importance of proper balance.
Post #35) Suddenly, Patchouli’s reach exceeds her grasp! She summoned something she shouldn’t have. Turtleneck moe~
Post #36) Our hero decides to be Patchouli’s personal aid until she recovers from her burns. Remilia throws a hissy fit.
Post #37) Apparently fairies get sick to their stomach when there’s too much order in a room. Like Patchouli’s, for example.
Post #38) Our fairy takes deep breaths and calms down. It’s not so bad. She decides to spruce up the room with flowers!
Post #39) Fairy Versus The Telephone, Round 2. She wakes up Flandre by accident, who affectionately calls her “Friday”.
Post #40) Flandre and Friday chat for a while about nothing in particular. A Comic Book Guy reference doesn’t happen.
Post #41) Suddenly, a visitor! China comes to Friday’s aid. Also Patchouli’s aid; burn ointment and such.
Post #42) Friday suggests lavender and patchouli flowers to brighten the room up. China is moved by the thoughtfulness.

THREAD FOUR >>30877
Post #43) China leaves, Patchouli sleeps. Soooo boring; there’s nothing for our fairy to do until Patch wakes up.
Post #44) Friday asks Patchouli why people wear clothes. The librarian is flustered, but explains what she can.
Post #45) Friday wants to know more! Patchouli tries to oblige, but Remilia interrupts. Hijinks are imminent.
Post #46) Remi and Patch tell Friday about the birds and the bees. Each in their own strange ways.
Post #47) Friday gets a few things clarified about the above topic. Remilia doesn’t want any lesbian fairies in the house.
Post #48) Our hero goes to visit Flandre and meets “Tuesday”, another of Flandre’s personal maids. Cue three-month hiatus.
Post #49) Flandre performs a magic trick, but not really. Apparently Flandre has a special maid for every day of the week!
Post #50) Friday meets “Wednesday”, the buzzkill fairy. She doesn’t like to be called Wendy. Flandre makes a Die Hard reference.
Post #51) Wednesday is SRS BSNS all day every day. The two fairies fly around a bit, then look for “Thursday” in the orchard.
Post #52) Wednesday disapproves of Patchouli; says she dabbles too much. Thursday must be hiding inside that old spooky cabin!
Post #53) Friday plays Hide-and-go-seek in the dark to find Thursday. Thursday is a shape-shifter, and is sort of like Flandre Lite.
Post #54) We finally discover what our protagonist looks like. Thursday vaguely explains the philosophy of shape-shifting.
Post #55) Suddenly, a gunshot! Thursday investigates, and Friday follows. Oh no, some human is beating up on a fairy!
Post #56) A more epic rendition of what happened 52 posts ago. Friday gets shotgunned. Fairies don’t die when they are killed.
Post #57) Friday heads back to Patchouli’s room. The librarian sends her on a stereotypical book search.
Post #58) But first, Friday visits Remilia, the Princess of Texas. Sakuya is on-edge for some reason. Also an unevil vampire fairy.
Post #59) Our hero talks with Saturday, the half-vampire fairy. Then she gets back to work. Finding books is hard!
Post #60) Patchouli’s office is a mess; Friday works around it. Wendy is a dues ex machina and helps carry a stack of books.
Post #61) Friday heads back to Patches’ room. The woman talks about how magic works, and admits she doesn’t know why.

THREAD FIVE >>33875
Post #62) Patchouli visits our resident vampire hunter and gives her the silent treatment. It works a little too well.
Post #63) Wall of text. Patchouli starts off as Sherlock Holmes, then bares her soul to the world. We learn her backstory.
Post #64) Friday is concerned for dear Ms. Patches. She runs to China and asks for her advice.
Post #65) We learn more of Patchouli’s backstory. Meiling and Sakuya have a short scene that is cute but hints at a bigger picture.
Post #66) Friday wanders around and finds “Monday”. Monday is tiny, pink, young, and nervous moe~
Post #67) Our two girls take solace in the common ground of their inexperience and confusion. Somebody needs a hug~
Post #68) Enter Sunday, the fairy who looks like Meiling but isn’t. They shoot the breeze for a while. Cue one-month hiatus.
Post #69) Flandre’s throwing a party, and cool people are invited. The young’uns run into Thursday again, who messes with Monday.
Post #70) Friday helps Monday gain a little more self-confidence. Sisters gotta help each other out!
Post #71) More of Flandre being Flandre. This time she’s wearing a hoodie and playing Darkstalkers 2. Cue one-month hiatus.
Post #72) Friday tries to play vidya games, but Flandre break down again and tries to kill her. Thursday snaps her out of it.
Post #73) Friday’s name is now Francesca. Not Freya. They all play Super Bomberman to celebrate. Our hero fails badly at it.
Post #74) Francesca talks to Flandre and makes sure everything is all right. It is. They sit down to eat foodstuffs.
Post #75) Our hero says a non-denominational table grace. Dinnertime chatter and gossip follows.

THREAD SIX >>36567
Post #76) Flandre talks about her past, Wendy brings up gloomy stuff, and Flandre goes all weird and mystical. Are the voices real?
Post #77) Skip ahead four months. Francesca narrates the summary of what happened during the skip.
Post #78) Fran, Saphhire, Tullia, Thérèse, and Remilia kill time in the theatre, watching Dracula. Some info on vampires.
Post #79) The five of them put on a play to satisfy Remi’s charisma. Fran plays the monster. This update broke the new post limit.
Post #80) Everyone is happy that the play did so well. Cut to the basement, where Patch is trying to summon something again.
Post #81) Fran arms herself to protect Patchouli. An explanation on how summoning works that isn’t based on anything.
Post #82) Overly long description of Patchouli summoning a creature from the beyond. It doesn’t look like Koakuma very much.
>> No. 37168
I knew I needed to move; the creature was already more than halfway to the gate. In a flash I whipped out my knife and jumped off the ground to help Sapphire out. The pistol bullet had certainly gotten “its” attention, but it seemed dead-set on heading straight for that gate. My bat-winged cousin had already unsheathed her sword and was making threatening slashes into the black miasma from above, though whether or not it was doing any good I couldn’t say. I had to remind myself we weren’t trying to kill it; we wanted it alive and well, in fact! Just had to keep it away from the otherworldly door and away from the doctor…

The creature's shifting form made it hard to distinguish any vulnerable areas, so I focused on parts that were closest to the gate. As I sped by the thing to join my cousin I dragged my knife across what to a humanlike shape would have been its back. The resistance I felt was… unexpected. It was like running a spoon through a thick stew, chunky and heterogeneous. The changing consistencies almost made me lose my grip on the knife.

“Saph, Fran, do you have it?” Tullia asked nervously from below.

I didn’t respond; I didn’t even know what there was to “have” in the first place. A dark tendril reached out for Saturday, who slashed it away as though she was fanning away smoke.

“Tuesday, guard the professor!” she shouted back, directing our efforts like a general. “Friday, push it back with me! Thursday, get the bloody hell up here and pull it down!”

As the two of us together worked as a mobile shield between “it” and the gate, our draconic ally jumped up and grabbed at the lower half of the being, using her improved size to drag it down to the ground. It looked like she was trying to clutch black silk with her bare hands, but she must have found some sort of handhold, and slowly it fell back to the mirrored floor. What looked almost like hands and arms spouted from its free half, trying to pry away Thérèse’s grip to no avail. Once it hit the floor, though, a black gust lashed out and managed to knock our cousin away, her rust-colored claws squealing across the ground.

Two more shots issued from Saphhire’s pistol at mid-range, disappearing into the center of the enigma. It wasn’t until then that it finally registered in my mind that the being had made hardly any noise. Its movements sounded only as rustling leaves in the wind, even on the ground, while our attacks caused it to emit a rumbling like soft thunder. It was horribly eerie, fighting with a silent opponent, but at least they were sounds I could hear.

From out of nowhere a very distinctive arm-shape sprouted from the bottom half of “it”, holding a very large and very real-looking cleaver, black like the rest of it but more solid, like dark steel rippling with heat and steam. It swung unexpectedly in a roundabout arc, trying to catch both me and Sapphire with one blow.

[ ] I dodged backwards, hoping to avoid it’s long reach.
[ ] I dodged to the side, rolling away but staying in the fight.
[ ] I shot forwards, ducking inside the blade’s edge, and nearly buried my body inside it’s mass.

If the dodge is successful…
( ) I countered quickly with (insert weapon here)
( ) For a moment I held back, gauging the opponent’s movements.
( ) Suddenly, I had a crazy idea… why had no one just simply tried to talk to this thing?
>> No. 37169
[x] I shot forwards, ducking inside the blade’s edge, and nearly buried my body inside it’s mass.
-[x] Arm grenade and shove it into the beast.
>> No. 37171
[X] I dodged to the side, rolling away but staying in the fight.
(X) I moved to the side opposite Sapphire before attacking again with the knife. I wasn't going to let it attack both of us at once again.

>>37169
Let's save the desperation attack for when we really need it and not the beginning of the fight.
>> No. 37176
[x] I shot forwards, ducking inside the blade’s edge, and nearly buried my body inside it’s mass.
-[x] Arm grenade and shove it into the beast.
>> No. 37177
[x] I dodged to the side, rolling away but staying in the fight.
(x) I moved to the side opposite Sapphire before attacking again with the knife. I wasn't going to let it attack both of us at once again.

While I'm inclined towards diplomacy, I feel compelled to offset the unnecessary elevation of hostilities represented by sticking an explosive directly into this creature. As bad a movie as Armageddon was, the bit about holding a cherry bomb in your hand and letting your wife open your ketchup bottles for the rest of your life stuck with me.
>> No. 37178
[x] I dodged to the side, rolling away but staying in the fight.
(x) I moved to the side opposite Sapphire before attacking again with the knife. I wasn't going to let it attack both of us at once again.
>> No. 37182
[x] I dodged to the side, rolling away but staying in the fight.
[x] I moved to the side opposite Sapphire before attacking again with the knife. I wasn't going to let it attack both of us at once again.
>> No. 37184
4 against 2 for side-dodge and counter with the knife. Writin' it up now.
>> No. 37186
I dodged to the side, rolling away but staying in the fight as my companion dodged backwards. The cleaver slipped through the stale air, brushing back my wild locks as the slice just narrowly missed me. Sapphire was only slightly less fortunate, having caught her foot on the blade when she’d kicked her leg backwards.

“Sapphire, y’allright?!” I asked hurriedly, not daring a longer question.

“Fine, just a nick! Tullie, we could use yah!”

Quickly I moved to the side opposite Sapphire; I wasn't going to let it attack both of us at once again. Off to the side I saw Tullia running towards us and Thérèse getting back up again. Good; four against one could hold something off, even something bigger than us. I made a quick counterattack with my knife, darting in and darting out before it could react. Looking back on that day, I pitied the creature, how I poked and prodded it when it had done me no harm. But such pity is of course possible only because I am here, calm and collected, away from danger. Back on that night I was fueled with stark terror and confusion, my actions a patchwork of mimicking Sapphire’s elegant dance of her blade, of obeying the command “Keep it away from the gate,” and of a mishmash of fight scenes I’d remembered from movies past.

By splitting up we’d made our move, and the being countered with one of equal strength: a second arm, wielding a second thick sword. The weapons began their assault, whirling around the black body like wobbling fan blades, and it was all either Sapphre or I could do just to remain uncut and stay in range; getting closer was out of the question. It must have noticed Tullia’s approach, because it jumped into the air and sped towards the gate yet again, which I now realized had become two-thirds of its original size. That’s right… Patchouli was working as hard as we were at finishing what she had started. As long as we could keep distracting it, keep it away from her, we could win.

Thérèse ran forwards, still dizzy from her previous buffeting. She took a massive jumping lunge, tackling “it” mid-rise and slamming it back to the ground, though not without avoiding a black cleaver stuck through her bronzed wing. The other sword spun out of its hand and landed at the edge of the barrier, smoking like a piece of charred meat.

“We’re your problem, visitor, not the gate!” the dragon fairy snarked at “it”, though she was definitely grimacing at the obvious presence of a sword in her wing. The creature rumbled an unknown reply before expanding outwards in a burst, tossing Thérèse off yet again. I frowned; even now that she’d become so big, she just wasn’t big enough—

My focus had left the discarded sword; bad idea. Without warning it sprung to life and spiraled towards me. My brain had time to scream only one word at me, and I didn’t have time to argue.

[ ] Jump!
[ ] Duck!
[ ] Roll!
[ ] Dodge!
>> No. 37187
[x] Graze!
>> No. 37188
[X] Jump!

Duck and roll wouldn't be very useful. I'm hoping Fran can ascend quick enough if it's coming in vertically.
>> No. 37189
[x] Do a Barrel roll!
>> No. 37190
>>37188
It's approaching in front of her head-on, at vaguely torso level, but its spinning and Fran's lack of attention makes the exact target impossible to determine.
>> No. 37194
[X] Jump!
>> No. 37197
>>37195
Rolling is a terrible idea in combat. It's not any faster than a dodge and disorients you. If you don't end up in cover, your enemy can freely attack you while you're recovering.
>> No. 37199
>>37197
Jumping in this case means you'd get your legs taken out, leaving you in sorry shape at worse.
>> No. 37205
>makes the exact target impossible to determine.

This worries me, since it could be attempting to barrel through us and hit Patchouli or an unsuspecting Tullia.

[x] Deflect. Hurl your own sword at it.

Since the writer advises playing fast-and-loose with the write-ins.

Knife probably doesn't have enough mass, but if a spinning solid chunk of metal hits another spinning solid chunk of metal at an oblique angle, then they're both going to be knocked badly off course. And losing the sword is not a big deal; you weren't even using it. You still have the knife, the gun, and the grenade. Bullets would probably work, but there's no telling if you might hit the thing or not.
>> No. 37208
[x] Deflect. Hurl your own sword at it.

I like this write-in
>> No. 37209
>>37208
[x] Deflect. Hurl your own sword at it.

me too.
>> No. 37213
[x] Deflect. Hurl your own sword at it.

Changing vote. Defense!
>> No. 37215
[x] Deflect. Hurl your own sword at it.
>> No. 37218
[魚] Deflect. Hurl your own sword at it.

Awesome write-in.
>> No. 37220
Aaaand the write-in comes from nowhere to steal the show! Writing now while watching the movie "Unleashed", so it's possible I'll get distracted and won't get the update out until tomorrow morning.
>> No. 37223
File 127406023688.jpg - (280.76KB , 886x627 , 614ecae614a786e8cbbc1760507f6264.jpg ) [iqdb]
37223
That is a silly movie.
>> No. 37246
Deflect!

Without thinking I snapped my off hand to my side and flung the smallsword out of its sheath and into the path of the approaching blade. With a metallic hum it sang through the air and clashed against the heavy projectile; hardly stopping it, but enough to send them both flying over my head and out of harm’s way. I didn’t need the sword; in this fight there wasn’t going to be enough time to worry about proper armaments and technique. Don’t let it near the gate. Don’t let it near Patchouli. Don’t let it kill you. Those were the only three rules, and if the past had told me anything, the last one was more of a suggestion anyways.

Sapphire had taken to the high ground, sword in left hand and gun in right, firing warning shots with discretion. Tullia paced worriedly around the librarian, still too concerned for Patchouli’s safety to enter into the circle of madness, though the creature had made no move to attack her. But it had become madness. As the gate continued to shut the being’s attacks grew more frenzied, but hardly unfocused. With two arms it swung the black curved cleavers purposefully, giving itself a bladed shield; I was no expert, but I could see one at work, and it knew that I couldn’t approach it without getting swatted away.

I could see Thérèse waiting for an opening, her draconic size limiting her options but opening up new ones as well. I flanked it the same way but found myself blocked at every opening. There was a feeling inside me that whatever “it” was it was used to fighting like this, and seemed to take advantage of its questionable form, swinging its “arms” from angles no creature of this world should have been able to, and even reaching out smoky tendrils with no Earthly counterpart as distractions.

“Thérèse, get in!” Sapphire shouted, and with a frenzied dive she twirled past the first cleaver, barely deflected the second with her gun, and drove her sword deep into the ebony unknown. For just a handful of seconds the blades shivered and dissipated back into the central mass as our foe rumbled in what must have been intense pain. It was the only opening she needed, and the bronze-scaled fairy burst forward with a massive bear hug, clamping her fanged mouth into whatever solid portion of the blacked chaos she could find.

I used the precious seconds the two had bought us to reassess our situation. Above us the gate was winking shut, barely big enough to fit an automobile through now (though why one would have ever been in the mansion is a question only Flandre would have taken seriously). Behind us Patchouli continued to focus her efforts tirelessly under Tullia’s watchful gaze. I could see the horrible strain on her face, sweat running down her brow and closed eyelids flickering as her mouth whispered words I doubt anyone would have heard to begin with.

“Auggh, Fran! It’s, nnnghh! It’s loose!”

I’d used one precious second too many, and as I whipped my head back around I could see the remnants of a dark red fire blast fading away, both my cousins flat on their backs and the creature hurtling itself towards the gate. It was slow enough... I could beat it to the gate! But, what if…? What if I couldn’t? For the next ten seconds, I was the only one who had the ability to act fast enough.

[ ] Keep it away from the gate… had to keep it away from the gate! Gritting my teeth I grabbed the grenade from my belt…
[ ] My pistol only had four shots… but they were good shots. If I had a purpose, I could make every one count.
[ ] No, I COULD make it, and I WOULD make it! My knife and my body had been sufficient before; they’d be sufficient again.

Author’s Note – Again, it’ll be useful to expound on any of these options so I don’t misinterpret your purpose.
>> No. 37247
>>37223
I suppose it was, yes, but I enjoyed it. It was really quite endearing; made me sad in the inside even though I've seen these sorts of movies before.

Plus that picture kept me on the lookout for anything I could use to add to AFT. Not sure if I found anything or not yet.
>> No. 37249
[x] Keep it away from the gate… had to keep it away from the gate! Gritting my teeth I grabbed the grenade from my belt…

Probably the best chance at blowing the demon back. Bonus points if we can manage to get the grenade inside of it's body. Not sure if Fran can manage that when we would be coming in from behind and that is assuming it has a mouth.

Fran isn't really afraid of death anymore. Even if she can't get back in time this will probably let the gate close.
>> No. 37252
>>37249
True but I think we'd miss out if Fran gets taken out as well.
>> No. 37253
[X] This was the creature's last chance for escape... I had to do everything in my power to keep it here!

Or, to be more explicit:

[X] Move to intercept the creature, emptying the pistol at it on the way.
[X] Drop the gun, draw the knife, and defend the gate.
[X] Prepare to throw the grenade, just in case the creature manages to get past.

I think our best option for success is putting ourselves between the creature and the gate, but at this stage of the fight, there's no point in holding anything back. Bullets still in the gun are just as useless as bullets fired and missed.
>> No. 37254
>barely big enough to fit an automobile through now (though why one would have ever been in the mansion is a question only Flandre would have taken seriously).
The Studebaker, man. Remember?
>> No. 37259
>>37253
Is right.
Voting for that.
>> No. 37267
[X] Move to intercept the creature, emptying the pistol at it on the way.
[X] Drop the gun, draw the knife, and defend the gate.
[X] Prepare to throw the grenade, just in case the creature manages to get past.
Nice. He/She/It is going down, Moe Fairy style.
>> No. 37269
>Don’t let it near the gate. Don’t let it near Patchouli. Don’t let it kill you. Those were the only three rules, and if the past had told me anything, the last one was more of a suggestion anyways.

Awesome.

[x] Move to intercept the creature, emptying the pistol at it on the way, while drawing the knife if you haven't already.
[x] Drop the gun, pull the pin out of the grenade with your teeth, and defend the gate with the knife.

The first thing is that the knife is already drawn, and if it wasn't you don't want to imply she's carefully firing with two hands when she should already be drawing the knife on the assumption the gun will fail.

The second thing is that, if you're already defending the gate at knife range from the creature, you don't have any time to throw the grenade, and you certainly don't have any room to throw the grenade.

If the knife fails, the fairy is probably already mortally wounded (in fact that probably is what determines what failing with the knife is, not a moment of brief introspection before coming to the conclusion 'no this just isn't working out the way I planned'), so you want the grenade to be not just ready, but armed, so that when she loses her grip on it, it goes off. Now this way, no matter what happens, the creature isn't getting out, which is more important than survival. Survival is good. Hope for survival. Prepare for failure. And you don't want to fail safe. You want to fail deadly.

Being absolutely sure is worth a few harrowing moments of Fran trying to reinsert the pin back into the grenade. And before someone says 'hey, you can't actually pull a pin out of a grenade with your teeth' 1) these are magical, fairy-ergonomic grenades, and 2) if you really wanted to jump the shark, Fran would have one in either hand, popping the handles off with her thumbs, yelling 'Geronimo!' while Wagner plays in the background.
>> No. 37275
Looks like we’ll be going with “Move to intercept while shooting gun, switch to knife, drop gun and prepare to throw grenade” then. Writing faster, harder, and stronger (better is a matter of perspective).

>>37269
Sounds like a plan; this is the kind of stuff I mean when I say “expound”. Thanks much.

>these are magical, fairy-ergonomic grenades
That’s the spirit! Be awesome! We’ll have the author sort out the details later! Wow, this is coming off as a lot more sarcastic than I hoped it would! What a disappointment! I should probably stop taking now!
>> No. 37281
Keep it away from the gate… had to keep it away from the gate! I flipped my knife into my off hand and drew my miniature pistol. There was no time to aim; if I closed the distance fast enough I wouldn’t need to worry about that.

One! Perhaps I should have aimed that first shot after all. Just a wasted bullet, now. My palm and wrist stung horribly; Sakuya had warned me about the kick on this gun. No time to use both hands here, though.

Two! It looked like I’d hit at least a part of the black void. Was I even doing any good? No time to worry; I was almost on top of it!

Three! The barrel of the gun was practically shoved right into the creatures “body” as I overtook it and cemented myself between it and the gate. Had it slowed down? My arm felt like it was on fire just shooting with one hand; it was almost hard to fly straight like this.

Four! Another solid hit; I could see it visibly slowing down with the last two shots. Not wanting to waste any “ammunition” I flung the empty derringer at my foe as well, returning the knife to my good hand and grasping for the grenade on my belt with the other. I knew I was too small to be a wall—even dragon-Thérèse had been too small to be a wall—but all I needed was to buy time. Seven seconds would be enough.

“It” didn’t even bother with swords this time and just swept at me with solid-yet-gaseous tentacles, trying to brush me away like a fly. I wove in between them, the maneuver no different than veering away from trees as I careened through a forest, poking and slashing at whatever seemed closest to reaching the gate. Inwardly I kept repeating in my head over and over again, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m not trying to hurt you; I just want Miss Patchouli to be happy for her birthday!”

But ultimately my pinpricks had been futile. As if the creature no longer wanted to put up with my pitiful defense, it simply plowed right into me, enveloping my child’s body with an otherworldly fluid one thrice my size. My gut reaction to the feeling was “dirty”, but as I looked back on it “foreign” would have still been the better word, as it had been before. I felt unknown things brush against my arms and my legs, smelled a dark scent that had no scent to smell, saw flashes of shapes I’d have only thought up in a nightmare… Dirty might not have been what I experienced, but my body certainly felt dirty after I started to tumble away from the miasma.

No, I couldn’t do that! I couldn’t let myself tumble away; I had to stop it! My knife slipped out of my grip as I desperately tried to grab a hold of a piece of my quarry. An arm, a leg, some unnamed limb no one understood, anything that would keep me in the fight. Whatever it was I managed to grab, I grabbed it, and held on for dear life. With no other cards left to play, I clutched onto Patchouli’s special grenade and pulled the pin out with my teeth. Like a flea climbing a giant I tried to pull myself up higher, hoping that the imminent explosion might blow the creature off-course for just the few priceless seconds Patchouli needed to shut the gate in its entirety. As I heard the subtle ticking and burning of the mechanisms inside the grenade, my mind drifted to what the professor had said just two days before:

“I constructed this device to ward, not kill. It produces significantly more inertia than a normal fragmentation grenade, but significantly less fragments. Short of a detonation directly near one’s head or chest, a death blow is medically unfeasible.”

I could only hope she was right, because the thing was neither on my head, nor in my chest; it was in my hand.

…I’ve been blown up by Lady Flandre before. Multiple times, in fact. And if she does it right (it’s really quite difficult to do it wrong, she’s told me), it doesn’t hurt at all. A quick pressure near one’s chest, a comfortable warmth, and then everything just goes dark in an instant. A short time later, your spirit pieces you back together and you’re as right as rain. The perfect, elegant death.

Let it be known that a grenade is neither perfect, nor elegant. Nor painless.

My body slammed into the ground like it’d been hit by a train, shattering my bones if I’d have had any bones to shatter. An imaginary fire consumed my insides just as real fire began to consume my hair and tunic. My eyes saw only a dark brown blur, my mouth tasted only ash and gunpowder, and my ears heard only a high-pitched metallic whining. Out of immensely painful curiosity I tried to move my left arm. Hand? Gone. Elbow? Gone. Shoulder? Might as well have been gone, and I doubted my entire left side was looking very beautiful at the moment either. How had I survived that… Why had I survived that? I would have really just preferred death, right there; death felt better. I couldn’t even tell if I’d accomplished anything with that last ditch effort.

I was vaguely aware of a pair of hands patting out the flammable portions of my body and moving me into a sitting position. Someone mumbled something unintelligible at me. A slightly higher voice mumbled something equally unintelligible. I closed my eyes, trying to let my body focus on one thing at a time. Legs first; remember how to stand. Arms… Arm next; remember how to hold on to someone else. Wings, wings can come later. Eyes now; remember how to focus…

My sight returned to the real world, though my left eye was pretty fuzzy. Tullia grimaced a little, but breathed a sigh of relief. I could see Sapphire reloading one of her pistols, and Thérèse loosely holding my knife and smallsword with a gracious claw.

“Did, I… Did we win?” I asked, attempting a weak half-smile with the right side of my mouth, my left predictably numb.

“Yeah, gate’s shut,” Thérèse answered, smiling back. “Ya did good, Fran. That took some real courage.”

Sapphire shook her head seriously, priming a bullet into her pistol with an ominous clack. “We’re not finished; it’s getting back up. Break time’s over.”

It was then I got a look at the bigger picture. The gate was closed, but… then why was Patchouli still as focused as before? The smoke creature—who had until several seconds ago just been a lump on the ground—had “stood” back up and was lumbering towards the librarian now, crescent cleaver back in its “hand”, certainly not looking like it was very “warded” to me.

“But… but the gate’s closed…” I commented, more confused and dizzy than normal. I really wished my skin would hurry up and knit itself back together; I’d still have to deal with the pain of having no arm, but at least it would have hurt slightly less.

“The window isn’t,” Tullia answered shakily, returning to her guard post in front of Dr. Knowledge. “Patchouli said it’s not complete until the window’s closed too! That thing isn’t done with us yet!”

Thérèse slid my weapons over to my feet and ran to meet the oncoming threat. But what was I supposed to do? I was already spent and the battle was only half-over?!

[ ] Pure write-in this time. The creature is headed straight for Patchouli. You are in pain, inefficient, and in the way.
>> No. 37284
>>37281
[X] Apologize to the "person" and ask it to please stop fighting.

Down a limb, beat up, exhausted, and pretty much out of the fight (barring focusing all Fran's remaining strength in recovering or throwing ourselves at its feet to trip it up), I think it's time to try the one thing no one has attempted yet.
>> No. 37285
Damn, I really don't know what to do.
>>37284
Might as well try that...
[X] Apologize to the "person" and ask it to please stop fighting.
>> No. 37293
[x] Ask for one of Sapphire's pistols.

Can't really do much else and I doubt conversing would do much at this point.
>> No. 37301
File 127413210721.png - (1.67KB , 161x147 , april96.png ) [iqdb]
37301
>>37166

Huh... I was thinking about making another one of these things. Since it's just about done anyway, I could slap the post numbers to those and stick it up in a new thread. (Although now I'm wondering whether it makes more sense to do a thread-by-thread update or a chapter-by-chapter update. I am also wondering whether or not to stick in the dates, but I've run into a minor problem regarding those.)

Re : Dates. I am mildly curious about the dates - Post #33 is after a two-week time skip, which makes it at least April 29th, but Flandre had Tuesday with her, so that would make it seem like it's Tuesday, making it April 30th then. Later that day, our girl Friday gets killed and takes all night to recover, making it May 1st. Flandre however, considers that day still the 30th. Maybe Tuesday was covering for Monday that time? Friday was working off of physical appearance rather than day-of-the-week to determine her identity.
>> No. 37304
[x] Ask for one of Sapphire's pistols.

It's a bit late to negotiate, isn't it?
>> No. 37305
[x] Ask for one of Sapphire's pistols.
>> No. 37306
[x] Ask for one of Sapphire's pistols.

Fuck yeah, grenade fairy.
>> No. 37307
4 against 2 for borrowing a pistol, then. Once again I'll try to get the next bit out before bedtime.

>>37301
This is me screwing up and forgetting what day it was. The days of the week are correct, as are the fairies that attended to Flandre on those days; I'd just forgotten that a day had passed and it was May 1st, not April 30th. Fortunately, it doesn't hurt the story; we can just say that Flandre incorrectly assumed it was the 30th. It's an honest mistake that we all make from time to time.

As far as the summary goes, please don't worry about making a whole new thread; it's not so important that it needs to clutter up the /sdm/ front page, and it'll most likely just fall off before too long anyways. Simply posting an updated version each new thread would be enough, and that way people won't have to hunt around /sdm/ for it. So yeah, probably better to update thread by thread if you must; the "chapters" were a lame idea I never really followed through on very faithfully. I mean, after 82 posts we're only technically on Chapter Five, which makes no sense. But I thought it unprofessional to just forget I made them.

Putting in the days and post links would be nice, though; thanks for your help.

>>37304
Those would have been the exact words out of Sapphire's mouth had the diplomacy option won.
>> No. 37311
Ehh, maybe not before bedtime. I'm smart enough to know when my brain's too tired to write. I'll finish the post up in the morning.
>> No. 37324
I picked up my blades clumsily and sheathed them both, realizing how much of a liability I was going to be if I stayed up close. Before she left to join “Round 2” I asked Sapphire for one of her pistols so I wouldn’t be entirely useless. She tossed me her spare and returned to the fight, as I painfully limped off to the side and took aim.

The creature had definitely been as wounded as me by the grenade, even if it didn’t look any different. It moved slower and less chaotically, acting more like a creature from this world and less like one from some other world. Its swords still lashed out at Thérèse with the same intensity as before, but it no longer employed the “bladed shield” approach it once had, opting for slower and more purposeful strikes that pushed my cousin back and pushed itself forwards. Sapphire took up my vacant role of circling overhead and being an utter nuisance with her side-sword, deftly dodging the flyswatter-like slaps from “it” like a gymnast.

I soon realized how worthless my position from afar really was. With blurry vision and an arm shaking from the loss of its sister, I really had no hope of successfully threading a bullet between both of my kinswomen and hitting the ebony target. I didn’t want to give up… I didn’t want to just think like I’d filled my quota of bravery for the day… but my body just didn’t feel like it had anything left to give.

Unfortunately, it looked like the same might have started becoming the case for my two cousin combatants as well. Thérèse had been jumping and tackling and trading blows with our opponent since the gate had first appeared; I could see her starting to wear out, letting herself get shoved to the side more than she should have before getting her balance back. The being from he beyond might have been feeling the same way, but quite frankly it was bigger than she was, making Sapphire’s slowly lessening efforts a little fruitless as well.

The distance from the creature to Patchouli closed twice as fast as the extraplanar window itself was closing, Thérèse simply not strong enough to keep holding it back anymore. I managed to finally start getting clear shots at it, but it just wasn’t slowing it down enough. Halfway across the circle… three-quarters across… In desperation I ran up and put myself between the predator and its purple-haired prey, only to get predictably swatted down with the flat of its blade. It just didn’t seem fair; for what felt like ages we’d pelted that thing with slash after slash and bullet after bullet, and it was still stronger than us!

And then it approached Tullia. Tullia, who hadn’t struck a single blow the entire fight, who hadn’t been near the creature the entire fight. I didn’t have any bitterness left at the moment to feel resentful; she’d just been protecting Patchouli, always being prepared. And now she was in all actuality the only good fighter we had left.

“I am sorry for your suffering,” she said to the creature respectfully, “but I don’t wish for you to hurt this woman. Please, stand down.”

“It’s… haaahhh, it’s a bit late to diplomize, don’ch’ya think?” Thérèse wheezed as she slowly peeled herself off of the ground for the tenth time. Like the enigmatic being, she didn’t physically look hurt (most likely she could just morph away her wounds), but her once-perfect coat of metallic scales were losing their focus, showing patches of human flesh underneath, and her hands were following suit.

The creature seemed to agree with Thérèse’s conceit, spinning a cleaver around its temporary fingers and made a sweep for my cousin’s head. Tullia crouched down and used her gauntleted hand to push the cleaver away without effort. The second blade chopped from above, which she sidestepped, and then stepped again as the first blade returned with a forehanded swing.

As the foray continued, I realized that Meiling had definitely left her mark on Tullia; her Tai Chi was better even than Sunny’s, who seemed to follow China around like she was her daughter. She never blocked outright, only deflected, whether it be with her arms or her legs, and both of which had been armored perhaps for this very reason. Swipe after swipe came at her, and even after a while after Patchouli herself, the creature attempting in vain to ignore Tullia’s presence, but she was definitely there, edging the blades away only as much as required to keep the good doctor safe; I could tell she was well aware of the difference in size between them.

It must have noticed the final seconds the window had left to live as it finally ignored its own blades and, much like it had with me, simply attempted to envelop Tullia outright to get to Ms. Knowledge. Which was precisely why there were four of us. Sapphire’s sword went in, my pistol went off, and Thérèse’s strong-but-tired arms pulled the thing back one last time, sending all four of them tumbling down to the ground in different directions.

But now it was really over. The floor had once again become wooden boards inscribed with runes, there was no unsettling portraits of other planes and flowing darkness… it was normal again. Yes, normal included me without my arm, Thérèse just barely holding on to her dragon form, and the room smelling of gunpowder, but that was a normal I’d gladly take over the string of unknowns we’d all just been through.

[ ] I staggered over to Patchouli, where Tullia was already checking up on her.
[ ] I staggered over to Thérèse, helping her up as best as I could with only one arm.
[ ] I staggered over to Sapphire, giving her back her pistol.
[ ] I staggered over to the smoky pile on the floor, which for the moment seemed to be getting ignored in favor of everyone else catching their breaths and recuperating.
>> No. 37326
[X] I staggered over to the smoky pile on the floor, which for the moment seemed to be getting ignored in favor of everyone else catching their breaths and recuperating.
-[X] Not too close in case it lashes out again.

Better make sure the fight is actually over.
>> No. 37327
[X] I staggered over to the smoky pile on the floor, which for the moment seemed to be getting ignored in favor of everyone else catching their breaths and recuperating.
-[X] Not too close in case it lashes out again.

Remi can help if it attacks now, right?
>> No. 37328
[X] I staggered over to the smoky pile on the floor, which for the moment seemed to be getting ignored in favor of everyone else catching their breaths and recuperating.
-[X] Not too close in case it lashes out again.
>> No. 37330
[X] I staggered over to the smoky pile on the floor, which for the moment seemed to be getting ignored in favor of everyone else catching their breaths and recuperating.
-[X] Not too close in case it lashes out again.
>> No. 37332
[X] I staggered over to the smoky pile on the floor, which for the moment seemed to be getting ignored in favor of everyone else catching their breaths and recuperating.
-[X] Not too close in case it lashes out again.
>> No. 37334
[x] I staggered over to Patchouli, where Tullia was already checking up on her.
>> No. 37336
[x] I staggered over to Patchouli, where Tullia was already checking up on her.
>> No. 37337
File 127421503916.jpg - (211.53KB , 1000x750 , 10669820.jpg ) [iqdb]
37337
>>37324
[X] I staggered over to Sapphire, giving her back her pistol.

I just figure Patchu would want to be the first to welcome him/her/it to this plane of existence.
>> No. 37338
5 for the smokey creature
2 for Patchouli
1 for Sapphire

I'll call it here, then, just so I can ruminate on the scene without worrying about the vote changing on me. This'll probably be another delayed update since I'm dealing with a black smoke monster of my own tonight, a.k.a. "Lost". Ignored it for three seasons, but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt one last time. In before nothing gets explained, even at the bitter end. Though the other reason it'll be a later update is because I've got to firmly cement in my head how I want "it" to interact with the rest of the characters on both a short and long-term basis, and write accordingly.

Though along that same topic, if any of you think you might have an interesting idea for me here, check out the mild spoilers below.

So, yes, this new creature is Koakuma, or at least as close to Koakuma as AFT is liable to get. The next few updates should clarify a lot there, but that's not what these spoilers are about.

Fact is I'm a little hung up on what to do with Koakuma's name. Obviously koakuma is just Japanese for "little devil", which is more this character's species than it is its name. The interview with ZUN only half-canonized "Koakuma" as the specific name of the red-haired girl in EoSD, and since this is all taking place in England, using Japanese out of the blue would be a little out of place. Now, I've got a few ideas of my own on how to deal with this, but I thought I'd ask you guys as well.

Do any of you have a witty and/or inventive way to name "Koakuma" that doesn't seem awkward? This isn't a vote, just me seeing what else might be out there and giving you readers some input.

As a side question, would any people be horribly opposed to me giving "Koakuma" an outright actual name, if I decide that's the way I want to go?

>> No. 37343
You could call her "Little" (ironic if she isn't little in certain aspects) and change it to "Koa" when they move to Gensokyo: "Rittoru" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Though I'm fine with giving her a different name if you feel like it.

Also, this battle gave me a silly idea if Fran figures out shapeshifting and is telling a scary story. She hides her left arm before she even starts telling it, and when she walks up to the creature, "All I could think about was the arm I lost fighting this thing. It owed me for that. So I took one of its arms as a replacement." Cue Fran showing her left arm, now longer than normal with black smoke and talons.
>> No. 37344
Spoilers might be cool if you're talking about spoilered material. Not that it's really that much of a spoiler in retrospect, but meh, propriety.
>> No. 37346
1. Koakuma morphs from the black shadow chaos monster thing.
2. She can't remember her name.
3. Flandre or Remilia or whomever: "Well you are a little devil so that is what I'll call you!" Everyone follows suit. I know it isn't a name but SDM crew can just assume Koakuma will eventually remember her name and decide against making one for her.
4. Reimu or Marisa call her Koakuma.
5. ???
6. Profit! Roughly.

I don't care if you change her name.


Whoops, missed a line in there. Spoiler meta stuff!
>> No. 37347
[x] I staggered over to Patchouli, where Tullia was already checking up on her.
>> No. 37363
I've got nothing, but go ahead and name her. As long as it sounds good.

>>37343
>arm idea
Awesome.
>> No. 37408
I could go either way really.
>> No. 37448
I staggered over to the smoky pile on the floor, which for the moment seemed to be getting ignored in favor of everyone else catching their breaths and recuperating. It sure felt like it was over, but it felt that way a minute ago, too, back when the gate had closed. I probably couldn’t have done much if it got up again anyways, but I just felt that someone should be watching it for the time being.

Once again the creature was impossible to read. It lay there on the ground, a massive black lump of vapors and clouds and liquids with no form or distinction save for the long cape of bright red that I still found extremely out of place. Was it alive? Was it breathing? Did it even need to breathe? Fairies didn’t, after all, and I was pretty sure this didn’t need to either. For how vigorous it had just been, now it merely lay there unconcerned. Did it know that it’d been “caught”, perhaps? I frowned at myself as soon as I thought of using that word; it made Patchouli and us seem like the bad guys. We weren’t bad; after all, this was just a test, right?

I saw no need to stand any more, so I just took a tired seat next to the thing, rubbing my burning shoulder. It would probably take another hour or so for my arm to come back; a great deal faster than my healing had been in the past, but still painfully slow considering I had to sit through it while conscious. Supposedly Thérèse could heal any would in seconds and come back from deconstruction in minutes, so if she was the pinnacle to aspire to, I had quite a ways to go.

“I’m sorry about all of the fighting and the grenade, spirit thing,” I remarked, talking more to ease my own conscience than to actually make contact with the thing. “I’m not a bad lady, really! It was just an, an experiment, you know? Ms. Patchouli just wanted to test out her summoning. She’s a real sciency person, you know; she likes experiments. I guess, get mad at her, not me, if you want to. I’m not really anybody important.”

“It” moved a slow vaporous arm at me, more to shoo me away than to attack me, but curiously the arm dissipated right before it touched me, like smoke being blown away by a fan. I really didn’t know what to made of that, so I just said “Well, maybe I’ll let you be alone for a while,” before inching away and focusing on the others, though I couldn’t stop eyeing “it” occasionally.

Everyone else seemed to be coming around just fine from my angle. Thérèse had returned to a normal fairy’s shape and size, but kept her claws and wings, not to mention turning her hair a magnificent shade of bronzed gold. Remilia had finally entered into the circle (I assumed she was allowed to now) and seemed to be coaching her so-called “daughter” about something or other... or perhaps lecturing, if Sapphire’s face was any indication.

“Has it—ehouff, ehouf—done anything since the window closed?” Patchouli asked me, walking limply over to where I’d been sitting with Tullia holding her up.

I shook my head before remembering the sweep it’d made. “Oh, well, it tried to touch me, but the hand sort of melted away.”

She nodded. “Ahh, good; at least one of the wards is in effect, then. Miss Tuesday, a chair I think, if you would.”

“Right away, doctor,” Tullia replied, bowing hastily before whisking away and coming back swiftly with a chair from the nearby table of summoning tomes.

“Was it, uhh, I mean did you plan for this to work out like it did?” I wondered out loud.

“It was sufficient. I had not expected the creature to focus so ardently upon the gate, however; my apologies. You and your cousins must have had quite the difficulty in holding it back. Forgive me for not watching, but I focus better with closed eyes.”

“Of course, professor, of course. I do too.”

Patchouli leaned forwards, putting her arms across her knees as she observed the creature, pushing her “lucky hat” up and wiping her brow. She looked like she was whispering something, but whether a spell or her just talking to herself I couldn’t say. I wondered if maybe I should move to the side more and let Patchouli do whatever it was she was planning to do without me getting in the way, but now that I’d already sat down and relaxed myself I didn’t much feel like getting up again.

“Visitor…” Patchouli asked calmly, speaking to the creature, “can you speak English?” There was no audible or visible answer, so the professor began speaking short phrases in other languages as well. I’ve never really learned anything save English (at least nothing extensive enough to mention yet), but I thought I might have heard amongst them pieces of Italian, Latin, Russian, Japanese, probably two or three other Asian-sounding sentences, and a veritable handful of quick mumbling things I made no sense of at all. The creature responded to none of them, or at least made no response that made any sense to me. She scratched her chin, and I found myself doing the same. I never really considered the possibility that a creature from some otherworld wouldn’t know any of Earth’s languages; it made sense though. I only hoped that if I could have thought of it now, Ms. Knowledge had already thought of it weeks ago and been prepared for it.

“Visitor, there is no need to be curt. I am a foreigner to your languages, but it appears now that you are not to mine. English is my preferred language; this will be much simpler if we converse outright.” Converse outright? It hadn’t said anything yet; how did Patchouli know it could understand her? Thérèse seemed to be watching us, but from afar, as were the one-and-a-half vampires that were currently on the room.

The librarian sighed and pointed to a sooty black sigil on the summoning circle. “Visitor, I am of peace. I do not wish to force anything upon you. But I remind you that I have the power to, should I choose to use it. If you will not cooperate, I may be forced to compel you otherwise. Now, again I ask… can you speak English?”

”......yyyess.”

A dark voice emanated from the creature, very slowly and reluctantly. I heard the voice with my chest as much as I heard it with my ears. It wasn’t a very loud voice, or even a deep one, it was just… low. Low, and smooth; a voice that could slip right under your comprehension if you weren’t paying attention. I didn’t like it. It was foreign, like the creature was, covered with a thick otherworldly accent human ears wouldn’t be able to understand. When it spoke, it vibrated more than just the air waves in your ears; it vibrated the essence of your spirit. I shivered a little as just the simple three-lettered word crawled around inside me before slowly fading away as any voice eventually does.

Patchouli and the rest exhibited similar expressions of discomfort at the voice, but she pressed on regardless. “Do you understand where you are, visitor?”

”......yyyess.”

“I must apologize for your rough treatment. Are you injured?”

”...nnnothhhing of yyyourr conccccernnn.”

“I assure you it is. I take full responsibility for any discomfort you are feeling, and will see to it that you are taken care of to the best of my ability.” Almost as an afterthought, she added, “Forgive me, but you appear to be struggling even now with physical speech. Is there anything we might do to make conversing easier for you?”

”...ggooo to…hhelllll.”

“I… beg your pardon?” said Patchouli, seemingly off-put by the sudden insult.

”…I…ssssaiddd……”

It took me several seconds before I realized the creature had trailed off; it spoke so slowly it was hard to tell at first. But by the time I had, my focus had turned to something much more obvious and pertinent: the disappearance of the miasma. Like vapor that had run out of boiling water to fuel it, the dark swirl of chaos slowly thinned, dissipated, and was no more. My heart skipped a beat, and as a knee-jerk reaction I shouted stupidly, “Ahh, it’s, it’s disappearing!” About three seconds later I mentally smacked myself in the face for jumping to conclusions, looking closer at the receding blackness and realizing that the cloud was simply being replaced by something much smaller inside of the cloud. And definitely not a something I would have expected (though perhaps you would have): a woman.

Or, girl, seemed more accurate: larger than a fairy but still quite a bit smaller than a full-grown human. Her (or would it still be “its”?) lily-white skin contrasted starkly with the cherry-red of her long hair, which seemed to be the only real remaining vestige of the being’s original appearance. She was a dainty little thing, too. Unnaturally thin, tiny feet, tiny hands, miniature button nose, hardly any sort of muscles to speak of… The only thing that wasn’t little about her was her breasts, come to think of it, and their immensely voluptuous size seemed doubly so by comparison to the rest of her petit body. Large enough to feel utterly unnatural, in my opinion, but I’m sure you’re a better judge than me about such things. Aside from her pale naked skin and red hair, the only other mark of color on her was a pair of devilish black wings, located not on her back but the sides of her head. Most curious, I thought; whatever could they be useful for?

It (she?) knelt on the ground on all fours, hair slipping down its shoulders and back like threads of fine silk. The uncanny, “low” tones of “it” faded away with the vaporous mass, replaced by the honey-coated voice of a young woman not yet privy to the cruelty of the world. Odd, considering how cruel its own words were.

”I sssaid… go, to, hell. Die in a fire. Hang yourselves. Damn this world, and damn you all to highest hell!”

I didn’t exactly expect that. Not very much, no.

The explosion of emotion had started to draw the other three towards what the action was in earnest. The good doctor squinted at the “newborn” girl, as did Tullia by her side.

“That is—ehouff, ehouff—rather harsh, lady visitor… Am I correct in calling you lady?”

The “girl” moved to a seated position, curling her legs underneath her. “Do whatever you damn well please. We don’t use what you would call genders; this body’s just to shut you up about your damned English. Though, hemmm… looks like a dearth of men around here, so I expect you whores’ll be wanting me to change—“

“You will do no such thing!” Remilia interrupted, she alone unphased by the creature’s foul mouth and bad attitude. The mistress strode defiantly forwards, joining the growing circle of confused people. “I run no brothel, and I house no harlots. Most of these girls do not even remember the last time they saw a man, and they are the better for it. The only whore I see here is you, little devil.”

The headwinged girl laughed mirthlessly and returned Remilia’s jab in turn. “Haaah haaah, a vampire, are you? You’re more a devil than I, little princess. How many men did you bed before you got where you are today? Doubtless you’ve killed a hundredfold that—“

“Remi; no,” Patchouli cautioned as she caught Remilia poised to give the otherworldly being a slap across the face. “It is warded; it can neither touch nor harm any living thing inside the walls unless I allow it to. Its only weapon is its tongue.”

“Nations rise and fall from duels with a tongue, Patch; I liked it better when it didn’t talk.”

“Likewise, bitch.”

”I WILL STRANGLE YOU WITH YOUR OWN HAIR!” Tullia slid from Patchouli’s side to place a warding hand on the now-furious Remilia’s arm, who predictably snatched it away. “Who are you?! Who are you to insult me in my own house?! Patch, send it back! I don’t care how hard it was, I will not have this thing under my roof!”

The battle had never really finished, I realized; it had just changed forms. Tullia and Sapphire both were trying in vain to calm the mistress down, while the professor continued to take in everything with a grain of salt, mentally registering every little thing this “visitor” did and said.

The girl-shaped creature flashed a cheerless and hateful grin at all of us. “Who am I? Who am I?/i] Who are [i]you?! Who the hell are any of you? You drag me from my home into this depraved living hell of lust and greed and sloth you call “Earth” against my will, without warning, kick me and shove me and fill me with your damned metals, force me to answer your pointless questions, then force me to creep into this pathetic shell when I do! I’ve been a slave for damn well longer than any of you have been alive; I’ve a right to not like it! You give me one good reason why I should give a damn about any of you!”

[ ] There was really nothing I felt I needed to say. After all, she did have a point.
[ ] I wanted to answer, to defend Remilia’s honor, but I knew I’d just make more of a mess than the mess we were already in. Hopefully someone else had a better idea than me.
[ ] Against the sharp words and fiery hate of this strange creature, I offered my humble suggestion:
--( ) “You… You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, should you? Not everyone’s the same, you know.”
--( ) “Because… because we’ll give a damn about you, if you’ll let us!”
--( ) “Well, what do you want us to do for you?”
--( ) “I guess, for starters, I’m not a human; I’m a fairy. And we’re… different.”
[ ] Write-in? Cool. Use that silver tongue of yours!

Here's to hoping I don't get shot down mercilessly by taking Koakuma in a different direction.
>> No. 37452
[x]"We're family."

Short & easy.

I rather like Koakuma being devilish.
>> No. 37455
[X] "What kind of cruel world did you come from that would make someone a slave for so long? ...I'm not going to say I can truely understand what you feel, but once, I was on the run from a world that no longer wanted anything to do with my kind. I felt despair, afraid that I was going to die, and then I found this mansion. The people here showed me kindness when no one else did, and I'm sure they'll extend that same kindness to you, if only you would let them."
-[X] "And I really am sorry about attacking you. I didn't have much choice at the time."

>Here's to hoping I don't get shot down mercilessly by taking Koakuma in a different direction.
If her backstory is as tragic as I think it is, I'd say it's the right direction.
>> No. 37457
[X] "What kind of cruel world did you come from that would make someone a slave for so long? ...I'm not going to say I can truely understand what you feel, but once, I was on the run from a world that no longer wanted anything to do with my kind. I felt despair, afraid that I was going to die, and then I found this mansion. The people here showed me kindness when no one else did, and I'm sure they'll extend that same kindness to you, if only you would let them."
-[X] "And I really am sorry about attacking you. I didn't have much choice at the time."

Brave fairy using silver tongue!
>> No. 37469
[X] "What kind of cruel world did you come from that would make someone a slave for so long? ...I'm not going to say I can truely understand what you feel, but once, I was on the run from a world that no longer wanted anything to do with my kind. I felt despair, afraid that I was going to die, and then I found this mansion. The people here showed me kindness when no one else did, and I'm sure they'll extend that same kindness to you, if only you would let them."
-[X] "And I really am sorry about attacking you. I didn't have much choice at the time."
Makes sense. Why the hell do you want to back to a place (hell) where you will be nothing more than a slave when brought, by force, no less, to a place where you'll be much more than that?
Also, greed? Only Remi cares about that. Lust? They just said no. Sloth? Hah! Ask Sakuya.

She's much better in the SDM, she just has to know it.
>> No. 37472
>>37455
>>37457
>>37469

Clarification: You seem to have read it a little wrong. "Koakuma" is accusing Earth and humans of being the things that enslave her, not her original world. Saying "I’ve been a slave for damn well longer than any of you have been alive" means that humans have been summoning her to do their bidding for centuries upon centuries.

Normally I'd just let you see how the vote pans out in due time, but it looks like you didn't understand what she meant by slave, and I don't want you voting under false pretenses. Apologies for the confusion; your choice whether or not you want to rethink your vote now. Or you could just keep it as-is and watch Francesca's misconception pan out in the story itself.
>> No. 37487
>>37472
>>37455 here, in that case, just remove the first sentance from the write-in. The main point I was going for is that nobody here is treated like dirt as long as they display some decency. Basically, a way of saying "We'll give a damn about you" that fit my image of the polite Francesca who couldn't even tell Flandre to shut up.
>> No. 37489
[x] Against the sharp words and fiery hate of this strange creature, I offered my humble suggestion:
--(x) “You… You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, should you? Not everyone’s the same, you know.”
>> No. 37490
[X] "What kind of cruel world did you come from that would make someone a slave for so long? ...I'm not going to say I can truely understand what you feel, but once, I was on the run from a world that no longer wanted anything to do with my kind. I felt despair, afraid that I was going to die, and then I found this mansion. The people here showed me kindness when no one else did, and I'm sure they'll extend that same kindness to you, if only you would let them."
-[X] "And I really am sorry about attacking you. I didn't have much choice at the time."

I think it would be rather interesting for Fran to misunderstood like this. Especially, considering that Fran's 'world' (the mansion) isn't really human 'world'.
>> No. 37491
[X] "What kind of cruel world did you come from that would make someone a slave for so long? ...I'm not going to say I can truely understand what you feel, but once, I was on the run from a world that no longer wanted anything to do with my kind. I felt despair, afraid that I was going to die, and then I found this mansion. The people here showed me kindness when no one else did, and I'm sure they'll extend that same kindness to you, if only you would let them."
-[X] "And I really am sorry about attacking you. I didn't have much choice at the time."

I concur, we are no used to the world of deception that lies outside the walls...
>> No. 37494
[X] ...I'm not going to say I can truly understand what you feel, but once, I was on the run from a world that no longer wanted anything to do with my kind. I felt despair, afraid that I was going to die, and then I found this mansion. The people here showed me kindness when no one else did, and I'm sure they'll extend that same kindness to you, if only you would let them."

Removing the misconception, and the bit about being sorry. I'm sure we are, but the fact is that Francesca probably did have a choice not to cooperate with the summoning (Wednesday wasn't there, after all), even if we the readers didn't explicitly make that choice.
>> No. 37495
[X] "...I'm not going to say I can truly understand what you feel, but once, I was on the run from a world that no longer wanted anything to do with my kind. I felt despair, afraid that I was going to die, and then I found this mansion. The people here showed me kindness when no one else did, and I'm sure they'll extend that same kindness to you, if only you would let them."
>> No. 37496
eh, i stand by my vote, we misheard, it's only fair the poor fairy could have misheard too...
>> No. 37518
[x] ...I'm not going to say I can truly understand what you feel, but once, I was on the run from a world that no longer wanted anything to do with my kind. I felt despair, afraid that I was going to die, and then I found this mansion. The people here showed me kindness when no one else did, and I'm sure they'll extend that same kindness to you, if only you would let them."

I like this one; maybe a little too elaborate for Fran, but I like the spirit of the vote.

Also, this little devil is awesome. It's the kind of cynical and pessimistic attitude you'd expect an immortal being would have adopted after being subjected to the same shitty situations for as long as she can remember. I imagine the first couple times she might have been curious about the whole affair, and maybe even a little kind. But after the 37th time you've been summoned as a tool for destruction/sexual gratification, the whole routine is played.

About the name, just some ideas: Demona (derp), Velna (Latvian in origin, means female devil), and Civa (Tamil for things red by nature, I think; started poking around on various dictionaries after I noticed that 'Patchouli' is derived from Tamil. There was also Lakshmi, the red one, but it doesn't sound as nice).
>> No. 37524
4 votes for the write-in with the misconception.
4 votes for the write-in without the misconception (>>37487 being taken into account)
1 vote for family
1 vote for book-cover judging.

Derp; another tie. I really don’t want to wait with the writing, so I’ll just sort of meet the misconception halfway. Might be a shorter update tonight depending on how fast the words come to my head.

All right, so quick status update. I just got a call to work full-time Monday thru Friday of next week only. Ironically enough, I’m pretty much going to be a maid; lots of gardening and interior spring cleaning. Go figure. This shouldn’t affect update speed, but ideally I’d like to write and post updates in the evening, get votes overnight, and then plan out the next part of the story during the next workday. Personally I think that’ll be the smoothest route for the story next week. So if you could, try to post any votes either late at night or early in the morning when I’m still home. If not, meh, doesn’t really matter; just a silly thought. Thank you.

>>37452
>>37455
>>37518
Thanks for the input, and I hope you stick with your opinions in the near future as well. I’m always afraid of my gambles when I break fanon, so it’s nice to know that I’m at least not missing the mark.

Thanks for the suggestions; I’ll keep them in mind when/if I decide to give “Koakuma” a name in the story. Demona is indeed derp.
>> No. 37525
I'm tempted to suggest Lilith.
>> No. 37528
File 127440771148.jpg - (87.41KB , 514x641 , lil1.jpg ) [iqdb]
37528
Uuummmm...
>> No. 37529
File 127440774731.jpg - (181.23KB , 740x800 , lil2.jpg ) [iqdb]
37529
Eeeehhhhh...
>> No. 37531
File 127440791077.png - (321.04KB , 800x607 , lil3.png ) [iqdb]
37531
No.

Flandre's so going to end up calling her Lilligan now. I think you can figure out why.
>> No. 37534
>>37531
It was more a reference to the biblical Lilith, whom Adam apparently wasn't happy with, leading to Eve. It'd have reflect her bitterness at being used and discarded.
>> No. 37539
>>37534
Ahh, I see; very good call on that one, then. Though in that vein Lilith might be too grand a name for just a minor spirit, but I'll definitely take it under consideration.

Thanks for inspiring yet another Flandre joke, too; it means a lot more than you'd think.
>> No. 37541
File 127440875578.jpg - (439.90KB , 800x640 , ce2a3aec1077b1f3dad7e8c41d77a11d.jpg ) [iqdb]
37541
>>37531
Did you... did you just misspelled yes?
>> No. 37543
If you really want to be cheap, 'Koa' is a Hawaiian name. (http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/names/hawaiiannames.htm , means brave/bold/fearless/warrior. Considering her first act upon arriving here...)
>> No. 37553
Predictably the awkward proposition was met by an equally-awkward silence. Remilia looked like she would have very much liked to just “not give a damn”, but the blow to her honor was completely unacceptable for such an egotistical woman as she. Regardless, she gave no reply, nor did anyone else. Personally, I hated awkward silences. And if no one else was going to say anything…

“Well, I… Look, here me out miss visitor, or, umm, maybe mister…? Anyways. Now, I’m not going to say I can truly understand what you’re feeling, because I can’t. I’m not you, I don’t know you. But I do know what it’s like to live in a world that doesn’t care about you or want anything to do with you, ‘cause I’m living in it right now. Earth doesn’t… doesn’t care about magic anymore. I’ve felt despair too… I’ve felt sadness and loneliness too… Every minute felt like dying; every day you woke up afraid that, that you’d die before another one, came…” Though I intended to slow down with that list anyways, I ended up hesitating a lot more than planned; I tried not to dwell on the past, so when I did, it… wasn’t the best feeling.

“But then,” I continued, avoiding the devil/spirit/whatever’s loathsome eyes by focusing on her head-wings instead. “I found this mansion. This mansion’s a… a different world all by itself. And everyone here’s shown me nothing but kindness even when nobody knew who I was. And I’m sure, I’m sure that they’ll do the same for you, if you’ll let them. So I really don’t know what kind of cruel slave-world you came from, but… this world’s better. I promise.”

The creature pondered deeply over my words for a few seconds, then raised an eyebrow and nodded her head. “Wow… that is a positively beautiful piece of absolute shite! Come up with that all by yourself did you?”

“Umm… yes?” I answered meekly. Frankly no one had yet taught me the contexts of some of the vulgarities she/he/it was using, and I was a little out of my depth trying to maintain a conversation with them.

“Pssh, damn Earth feys never cease to maintain their hopeless optimism. Makes me sick. You know nothing, ya’ damn mite. How many countries have you visited? How may wars have you had to fight? How many useless baubles have you been commanded to steal? How many humans have you been forced to fuck? This devil tramp here knows what I’m talking about, don’t you, Remi? That your name? You can go to hell with the witch too, for all I care, Remi.

“I would certainly appreciate it if you keep your vulgarities to a minimum, visitor,” Patchouli commented on the side. “You foul our minds as much as the air with them.”

The redhaired girl squinted ominously at the doctor, a wicked grin creeping up her face. “Ohoho? Did fuck become taboo while I was back home? I’d always suspected it might. And hell no, I’m not going to ‘minimize’ a damn thing, know why?! Because it’s the only language you damned whores actually understand! Because humans’ll listen to vulgarities even when they ignore every other word you say. And you’re sure as high hell listening to me now.”

“Actually, I’m not,” Thérèse mentioned from off to the side, attempting to balance a book by its corner on her palm. “I stopped caring after you said somethin’ ‘bout genders. Should I be?”

The creature merely motioned a hand at her. “That. That’s what I’m damned well talking about. Why should I care when you won’t?! And another thing; I’m the one coming from a slave-world?” She turned back to me with that accusation. “Whelp, this is the slave-world! My world’s a damn paradise compared to this hell-hole, and it’s not even close to perfection! You whine about dying, I am dead here! I’ve died and gone to hell and the only respite is that maybe, maybe there’s a glimmer of hope that once I get out I won’t ever have to go back… What year is it, anyways?”

“Nineteen-ninety six,” Patchouli answered politely.

“See? See? I haven’t been dragged here in over a hundred of your years! Do any of you pieces of living shite know what it feels like to finally be home for that damn long, believing that this time the wretched Earth has finally forgotten about you, and then you just get dragged back to hell again?! Little bitch, you try that and then tell me you know what despair feels like. You shut the hell up.”

You shut the hell up.”

“Oho, little miss perfect witch has an edge aft—“

At a moment’s notice Patchouli pinched her thumb and forefinger together, instantaneously silencing the belligerent spirit; a ward we were certainly glad she had placed. All of us breathed an immense sigh of relief, Remilia even whispering “about damn time…” under her breath. The librarian edged her chair up and leaned forwards until she was practically on top of her so-called “slave”.

“You listen to me; I am tired of your shit. I spent every waking hour of my last four months bringing you here so I could have a civil conversation, and obviously I won’t have it tonight. You’ve made it quite clear that you despise Earth and everything you’ve seen of it. What you were until so very recently doing was deriving pleasure out of hearing yourself talk. I have had students who talked more frequently and derived more pleasure out of their voices than you, I have ceased to be impressed by it, and I have ceased to tolerate it. I will spend my time dealing with you personally, but you will waste their no longer. I will not sink to your level, but I give respect only where respect is due.”

It was really quite an awkward situation we’d ended up in. All of our minds had finally been given a chance to restart themselves and realize just what in the world (after all that swearing my mind couldn’t help but phrase out “what the hell” instead) had happened. Remilia simply spun around and strode out of the room briskly, Sapphire hot on her tail. Patchouli massaged an aching temple while the three of us just sort of milled about silent wondering if we could leave, or more specifically where we’d leave to.

[ ] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.
[ ] Not wanting to stick around any longer, I invited (Thérèse/Tullia/both of them) to walk with me for a while.
[ ] I’d certainly had enough “new experiences” for one night. Wishing my cousins a pleasant evening I exited the room myself and headed…
--( ) …after the vampires; I wanted to ask Remilia about this whole matter straight.
--( ) …out to the garden. Even though it was late, China’d be up; she was always up.
--( ) …outside. I needed some fresh air and some clear skies to recollect myself.
--( ) …back to my new room on the fourth floor. Monica would be waiting to hear from me.
[ ] Don’t forget write-ins! They’re always fun during free-roaming choices.
>> No. 37555
[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.

Be brave Fran!
>> No. 37560
[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.
>> No. 37561
[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.

I'm not sure if I said this before or not here, but there's a disappointing lack of Koa as Morrigan pictures.
>> No. 37565
[x] I left to prepare some tea for Patchouli and our new... visitor. The whole summoning process was obviously very difficult for her, and considering what she was dealing with now and her health, some refreshment was definitely needed. I should also probably grab some clothes for her/him/it while I'm at it.

I expect some chaff from the little devil over this, but it's not going to help getting down or discouraged over her venting of some obvious and understandable gripes.
>> No. 37566
[X] I’d certainly had enough “new experiences” for one night. Wishing my cousins a pleasant evening I exited the room myself and headed…
--(X) …after the vampires; I wanted to ask Remilia about this whole matter straight.

Patchy said it; we're not going to be getting anything useful out of Koa for a while. Besides, I still want more Remi.
>> No. 37568
>>37541
>Did you... did you just misspelled yes?
>misspelled
>> No. 37569
small fairy status update? do remember we just blew a limb... i dont think fran is in any shape to be making tea.
Unless fairy regeneration is really fast in that case:

[x] I left to prepare some tea for Patchouli and our new... visitor. The whole summoning process was obviously very difficult for her, and considering what she was dealing with now and her health, some refreshment was definitely needed. I should also probably grab some clothes for her/him/it while I'm at it.
>> No. 37582
[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.
>> No. 37584
>>37569
>I saw no need to stand any more, so I just took a tired seat next to the thing, rubbing my burning shoulder. It would probably take another hour or so for my arm to come back; a great deal faster than my healing had been in the past, but still painfully slow considering I had to sit through it while conscious.

>>37561
There is. I'm even more surprised at the depressing lack of Flandre-as-Lilith pictures. I've even seen a few Remi-as-Lilith ones, which makes me wonder why they chose her over Flan.
>> No. 37602
>>37584
I think that's due to hair color (closer to Lilith's) and Remilia having actual bat wings. And the only cosplay trend for Flandre that isn't Reimu, Marisa or Meiling is her as Sol Badguy. If Flan was in the GGverse, she'd be the real reason japan got DESTROYED. All due to her trying out Napalm death!
>> No. 37604
[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.
>> No. 37608
[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.

Regenerate, than make tea.
>> No. 37610
[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.
>> No. 37631
7 votes for staying
2 votes for staying + writein
1 vote for following Remi & Saph

Angry pissed-off demonesses are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for the growing young lady, and anyone who’s thinking IYKWIM right now is reading the wrong story; A Certain Devilish Library is right over here >>37402. Sometimes I wonder hypothetically what would happen if that story’s OC fairies and this stories OC fairies met up.

I’d actually like to thank you for opting to stay with Patch here. I was pretty tired last night and sort of rushed the update, so I didn’t get to cover as much plot-relevant Koakuma material as I wanted to. But now I get a second chance, so huzzah for all of us! Writing now, but no guarantees on an update tonight.

>>37602
Mmm, I see. A shame really, since Flandre’s personality shares more than a few uncanny similarities with Lilith. But the internet will be the internet, and you can’t expect people to always look beyond the skin.

Suddenly, Orin as Felicia.
>> No. 37636
>>37631
I don't think your fairies would have much to worry about. And I think the Male Demon OC wouldn't go after normal fairies anyways.

Your Koa's highly bitter personality does not end itself well to THOSE thoughts, in spite of Fran's observations.
>> No. 37643
Knowing Koakuma's reasons, it's hard to be sympathetic with her captors. I mean, I felt bad about the vampire hunter because of her son she's now estranged to, but her treatment was justifiable given her malicious designs and actions. Seeing this very bitter, outspoken Koakuma, unwillingly silenced by a compulsion from Patchouli, and rectifying it with the fanon Koakuma who is usually placid and silent, well the implications leave a bad taste in my mouth.

I wonder if this is the kind of thin Wednesday takes issue with Patchouli on. It would certainly explain her absence, and Fran indeed wonders (perhaps naively) at why Tullia is assigned to protecting Patchouli instead of Wendy. The situation, however, like all things provides room for Fran to grow. Alone, if necessary.

[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.

I wanted to celebrate your birthday with a bang, but I lost my arm in the process. Pity you don't like your present very much; I'll try harder next year.
>> No. 37644
>>37643
Who to say we'd get Fanon Koa in the end? Tepes doesn't exactly play to the old standards. Just look at how she does Flandre.
>> No. 37647
>>37644

Her Flandre seems pretty Flandre to me. She's a destructive, trivially-minded, manic obsessive-compulsive, possessed of deep-set psychological trauma, and who can't be trusted to not kill her personal servants (something which the main character has apparently been subjected to repeatedly now).
>> No. 37649
>>37647
But fanon is prone to downplaying her intelligence and quirkiness and up-playing the moe-ness and/or monstrous nature.
>> No. 37658
[x] Though… I felt like I shouldn’t leave. Patchouli might have still needed some help, and I just didn’t feel right going to bed without knowing I’d tried everything.

She needs more ranks in discipline, seeing how she was disarmed so easily.
>> No. 37670
Though, as I thought about it more… I felt like it wasn’t really my place to leave yet. After all Patchouli hadn’t officially dismissed me as her little maid-in-waiting yet, and I figured that on tonight of all nights she could use an extra hand, considering how worn-out she now looked. Not to mention that, well… Frankly, I thought that maybe I’d done a rather mediocre job at trying to approach the newcomer. It just didn’t set well with me going to bed before I’d tried to set things straight between us. Not to mention that I was rather curious about its strange mannerisms. It reminded me a lot of Mrs. Herod, but… there was definitely a difference.

Thérèse tapped me on the shoulder, probably noticing that I was looking dazed and confused. “Well, Fran, me’n Tullie are gonna head out; prolly swing by Sunny’s room and get her in the loop so she’s got something to keep Flandre happy tomorrow. Wanna come along?”

“Wha? Oh, ehh, no, you go on ahead. I’m going to… stay here, for awhile. In case Miss Patchouli needs anything.”

“Mmm, suit yourself. Hey, s’your arm doing all right?”

I looked down at my shoulder, and made a weird face. Looking on the bright side of things, at least the wound wasn’t full of horrid-looking blood and bone, yet another benefit of fighting as a fairy; just my aqueous glittery aether. But it still ached, and I said as such, though I tried to put on a tough face.

“Yeah, well, take it easy,” she replied, patting me on my good shoulder instead.

“Indeed,” Tullia added, smiling. “That was quite a display you managed in there; you deserve a rest.”

“Ahh, I was just… doing my job, like always.”

The two bid me farewell and let us go our separate ways. With their departure, the room felt strangely… alone. Patchouli maintained a weary seat in her chair, closely observing the muted devil-girl who was herself closely observing the giant summoning circle. I knew that it was probably just the stark difference between the previous action and the current calm, but it was a tenuous calm at that, and neither of my companions really felt like the cheery type. The cavernous clearing we were standing in didn’t help matters, either.

I walked back over to the professor’s side. “So, uhh, do you need anything? Tea or one of your books or something? I figured I’d stick around for a while, since, well, I’m still your maid-in-waiting or whatever.”

“Sakuya brought some coffee while you were talking to your sisters. If you wish, you may fetch me some; it’s over on the table your weapons were on. With cream, if you don’t mind.”

Tipping my head in recognition I scurried off to the so-called coffee table where indeed a tray had already been laid out; it actually made me wonder why Sakuya hadn’t shown up that night at all. True, she might not have been able to do very much—Remilia certainly hadn’t—but shouldn’t a maid attend to her mistress during important events? In any case, I focused my current worries focused on the more mundane problem of doing everything one-handed. A full glass coffeepot certainly becomes a lot more wobbly in one’s hand for a girl my size, especially when the table your pouring onto on comes up to your chest; I was surprised I managed to not slosh it all over the tray. Even taking that heavy weapon belt off didn’t help my balance much. As I reached for the small container of creamer, I came to the rather blunt observation that there was more than one color to choose from; a rather lame problem, to be sure, but I tended to be one of those people that sweated the small stuff.

“Hey, umm, Patchouli? There’s, uhh, more than one type of cream here.”

“I prefer the chocolate cream, Miss Friday.”

Chocolate cream, hmm? I’d never heard of that before, but it certainly made the coffee smell a lot nicer. After quickly realizing that balancing the entire tray on one hand was a bad idea, I reluctantly settled for just bringing the lone china mug back to Ms. Knowledge. She took the cup and nodded peacefully, still keeping both her eyes on the wandering headwings girl. “Much obliged.”

I brushed the hair out of my face for what felt like the tenth time since the fighting had stopped; removing the ponytail might have been better for “The Duchess Dragonia”, but I think people forgot just how much of a floppity mess my hair really was.

“So, umm… happy birthday, Ms. Patchouli.”

She cooled the coffee with a slow puff of air. “Thank you. It is of little consequence in the grand scheme, but still worthwhile to remember.”

“Do you… I think maybe this is rude, so forgive me, but do you mind if ask you how old you are?”

“A woman in my position cares little about hiding her years. When you are young, you tell others that you are older, and when you are old you say you are younger. Frankly, I have ceased to be either. And this is the one-hundredth anniversary of my birth.”

I covered my mouth in slight surprise. “Oh? Oh! I, well gee, I didn’t know that this year was your centennial! Well congratulations, Ms. Knowledge! I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything special; you’ve been so nice teaching me, too.”

She looked wistfully at the third person in the room. “I think one birthday surprise is quite enough for me right now, and your aid with its success is gift enough. Thank you, child.”

I smiled gently, blushing only as much as my humility allowed, then turned my eyes upon the silent girl. I had to say, without her venomous tongue she was a real beauty to behold. The way her hair flowed down her back like a ruby river, offset by her equally silky alabaster skin, made me a little jealous of my own numerous imperfections (I’d have just cut my rebellious hair shorter, but that in its own right fell wrong to me). I wondered if possibly in the who-know-how-distant future when her temper had cooled down I could ask her about her chest, though; demon-creature or no demon-creature, it looked entirely out of place. Maybe there was a story behind it?

“So, what, uhh… What’s your plan with her, or, it?” I asked.

Her face returned to the familiar pensive seriousness I’d become familiar with whenever she was working. She sighed, and took a sip of her coffee. “That will depend largely on what its plan is with us. Perhaps with fewer people in the room to be targets of its tongue’s ‘collateral damage’, I’ll get a clearer answer.”

“I know, I know, be reserved and act my best, right? It’s a delicate situation, like back with Mrs. Herod, right?”

“Hardly; using the word delicate here is a travesty. We’ll make more progress by just being ourselves, if progress is even an option here.”

She motioned towards the girl and brushed her thumb against her forefinger again, removing the muting ward on her. “I apologize for your abrupt silencing, visitor, but that conversation was helping no one. You may speak freely now.”

“The hell is this?”

“I’m sorry?”

The newcomer thrust her finger sharply at a dark red cluster of sigils and characters near where Patchouli had first stood. She did not look pleased to see it, whatever it was. “This. What, the hell, is this?”

“Ahh, that. That is the duration of your summon.”

“I damn well know that, fool; what is it doing here?!

“Obviously, preventing you from returning to your plane of origin until I am—“

“Shut the hell up!” The girl stomped over to Patchouli’s chair, still pointing at the floor. “I’m not an idiot; I’ve seen even piece of shite summoning circle there is to see and I don’t give one iota of a damn if you call yours ‘speeeciaaal~’ That is a permanency seal, and I want to know why the hell it’s on this floor!”

“Assurance,” Miss Knowledge replied, sipping her coffee again. “You’ll forgive me, but I am still quite a—“

“Speak English, damnit!”

“I am.”

“No you’re not, you’re being an elitist! You don’t want me to waste their time, don’t bloody waste mine!

The number of times Patchouli would have pushed her glasses up her nose that night, had she been wearing them, would have dizzied the imagination. In fact I almost wanted to go get her a pair just so I could have a visual cue for whenever she was getting annoyed. I supposed that her rubbing the bridge of her nose would have to do, though, and she did just that before setting her coffee cup down.

“Very well; I’m an amateur. I haven’t summoned a single sentient being before in my life, so I made the circle extremely redundant; I didn’t want anything to go wrong. The permanency seal is to guarantee your summon’s duration would take effect.”

“Duration?!” She threw her arms up in disgust as she rolled her otherworldly eyes, the irises a dark, dark red that might as well have been black. “Damn this all to hell, you’re such a child! Did it ever, possibly occur to you that maybe permanency means it’s bloody permanent?!

Patchouli faltered a little. “The… The books I read about it all said that the ‘permanency’ was a failsafe in case the summoned creature or another summoner found a way to alter the original duration. Yours is inscribed there as one hundred days, linked to the permanency seal so that no one can change it.”

Biting her lower lip hard, the girl-creature attempted to slap Patchouli right out of her chair. Of course, the same thing happened with her as with me; the slap turned into wispy black smoke as it passed right through the librarian, unfazed. It almost looked like the devil girl was going to start crying the way her eyes looked right then.

“And you thought that you were smarter than them by adding your own damn little modification, did you?!” she yelled, snapping her arm out and reforming her hand in an instant. ”Pride! Horrid, tainted, damn human pride! It doesn’t work that way, Ms. Patchouli! Your little ‘failsafe’ refers to any means of removing me from this world; permanent means permanent means god-damned permanent! Unless you die, which is a big slap in the face since somehow you managed to at least get your little “harmless” seal right so I can’t kill you myself. Bravo. Brah, vo.” She clapped painfully slow, making sure our ears twitched uncomfortably with each slap of the hands, and continued to clap as she sat cross-legged on the ground

Patchouli sucked at the tip of her thumb, definitely worried, which put me on edge as well. A mistake… Of course she wasn’t perfect, and I knew this was her first time, but still… I honestly didn’t know who to feel worse for; Patchouli, or the visitor. On the one hand you had this hard-working, genius of a woman who tried so hard just so she could understand the magic she worked, only to get it thrown right back in her face. And then you had “it”, who… well, I was still working on that.

“I… I’m…” Patchouli stuttered, shaking her head minutely as her eyes dimmed. “I’m sorry, I… made a mistake. It was never my intent, to… is, there anything I can do?”

The redhead glared at her with heavy lids before turning away. “Go kill yourself.”

“…Barring that?”

“Go fuck yourself.”

She frowned, but gave no reply except to finish the last of her coffee and close her eyes. Silence permeated the room for at least a minute, which I’d have broken if I knew of anything to say that just wouldn’t sound stupid or useless; Patchouli might not have considered the situation delicate, but I certainly did. Patchouli looked almost asleep, but eventually got out of her chair and looked at me.

“I believe I shall retire for the night, Miss Francesca, and sleep on this. Stay or leave as you choose; either way, I’d like to see you before noon tomorrow. Visitor, I mean no offense, but you are confined to this circle until I can trust that you won’t damage my property unsupervised… Are you certain I can’t get you anything? Clothing, history books of the last one hundred years?”

“You do whatever the hell you want; humans always do.”

The professor picked up her sidebag and slowly walked up the nearby stairs to the higher levels of the library. Just to feel like I was doing something I dragged her chair back to its proper place and cleaned up her coffee cup. On a hopeful whim I asked the girl:

“Hey, umm… can you, drink, stuff? ‘Cause there’s some coffee here, if you want it.”

She/it looked at me with the same heavy-lidded eyes she’d looked at Patchouli with. “Don’t feel like it.”

Ehh, it was worth a shot. I decided to pour myself a cup anyways; figured I’d try out that chocolate cream Patchouli had liked. Blowing on the steamy-hot beverage I walked back over to my companion and sat down across from her.

“So, I’m, uhhhhh, sorry for hitting you with that grenade, back there. It was just a sort of… impulse, I guess. Did I hurt you? I mean, you like fine right now, but, you know…”

“Saying that because you actually care, or you’re just trying to ease your aching conscience?”

I really didn’t know what to make of that; was there even a right answer? I let the question die before pressing on, trying to break the thickest ice the world ever knew. “Well, heh, maybe in retrospect it was a bad idea; I mean, looks like you heal a lot faster than I do. Nnnngh, and I can’t say I’ll enjoy being in pain for the next hour, either.”

“Known plenty of humans that did,” she stated matter-of-factly. “Damn fools, using their filthy minds to bridge the gap between pain and pleasure. It’s sick; this world creates new ways to deprave itself, like it’s not satisfied with how much of a piece of shite it is already. And that was back in your nineteenth century; can only imagine the hell it is now.”

I sipped experimentally at the coffee; ack, nope, too hot still. I really needed to ask Sakuya or someone why it needed to be so hot in the first place. “So’s that why you… hate the world?”

A wearying and sarcastic stare was flashed back in my general direction. “I hate this world because nobody actually gives a damn. They’ll take what they want and leave what they don’t, waste their short-term gains on pittances and then spinelessly try and avoid all the long-term losses. They’ll ignore every word you say and expect you to listen to every one of theirs. Honor is dead, kindness is an illusion, and greed is law. And then they have the gall to go and poison me with all their shite too. Pah, that purple witch gives respect where respect is due? Why not show some in the first place, you bitch!”

“But, she did try to. I mean, she apologized and asked if she could help. It’s not her fault she made a mistake, is it?”

“Naïve. Why must you damn feys always be so naïve? Of course it’s her damn fault, she’s the one who started this bloody problem in the first place! I don’t give a damn if she didn’t plan to shackle me here until she died, because what she planned to do was shackle me period! No respect, none. She wants to respect me, she jumps herself into my world for her damn civil conversation!”

“Can, look, can I just ask, what good does being angry do anymore? I mean, you’re here, and you can’t go back, and you can’t change that, so why not just make the best of things? This mansion’s not really Earth, you know; we’re sort of our own little world in the middle of nowhere that doesn’t bother anyone else and doesn’t get bothered. Plus there’s only one human here right now, so maybe it’s not as, uhh, depraved and corrupt as you think. Well, okay, technically there’s four humans, but some of them aren’t, uhh, really that human anymore…”

“Are you still talking?” the creature snapped at me. “What makes you think you’ve got a right to ‘fix’ my life and make me all cheerful with this hell?!”

“N-Nothing!” I stammered, going more on the defensive to try and soften the mood again. “I, I just thought, you know, when life gives you lemons made lemonade, right?”

“Peh… I plan to. But when all you’ve got to work with is shite, it doesn’t matter how pretty you make it look, it’s still shite. You live your damn life, fey, and let me live mine.”

Sound words, I thought, and for a while I just let things cool down again. This creature… it didn’t think like I did, or like Patchouli did. It probably had every right to be angry and bitter at all of this; who wouldn’t be after getting put through such a drastic change of life! But did it need to be so hostile to the people around it that were willing to help? I mean, I could see what it was coming from talking about a cruel and evil world—all the head residents had reluctantly admitted to the same thing at one time or another—but it wasn’t even giving us a chance!

And then Patchouli… was she the real bad guy here? Was is people like her who’d made this girl, this being so resentful at the entire Earth? I’d heard it said once that “some of the worst mistakes in the world are made with the best intentions.” But did that have to make those best intentions a bad thing? I knew Patchouli now, after her heart-bearing with Natasha coupled with four months of close exposure. I knew she no longer cared about pride or popularity or depravity, or whatever else she’d been accused of; that was the reason she cut all ties to the world that has rejected her in the first place. She was like me, now: a young creature in a big world, curious and making her own way however she could, wishing only that she could understand the things she saw a little better.

[ ] All this gloom and doom made me think of Wendy, actually. Hadn’t this been what she’d said about Patchouli all along? I thought that maybe I should go talk to her; she’d hopefully be more amicable than the creature, at the very least.
[ ] But Patchouli had the right idea; this was just something we needed to sleep on. The summoning had become an open wound for the creature, and sticking around would only be rubbing salt into it. No doubt she’d just get more defensive and I’d only serve to prove her point that “nobody gives a damn”.
[ ] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach. (Pick a few questions or write in your own; try not to make the list too excessive)
--( ) “Umm… do you mind if I ask about your breasts? It’s just that they look… big.”
--( ) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
--( ) “So, what do you do for fun, while you’re on Earth, I mean?”
--( ) “I was just wondering, what’s your home like?”
--( ) “What are those wings on your head for?”
>> No. 37671
[x] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.
--(x) “I was just wondering, what’s your home like?”
--(x) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
--(x) "If you'd like to ask me something, I'll do my best to answer them for you."
--(x) “What are those wings on your head for?”

Curious fairy is curious.
>> No. 37672
[X] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.
--(X) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
--(X) “What are those wings on your head for?”
-[X] If she isn't hostile after those:
--(X) “I was just wondering, what’s your home like?”

Asking about her home might draw attention back to her situation (hence the qualifier), but asking what she does for fun on Earth definitely will. And asking about her breasts will only make Fran more self-conscious about her own.
>> No. 37673
[X] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.
--(X) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
--(X) “What are those wings on your head for?”
-[X] If she isn't hostile after those:
--(X) “I was just wondering, what’s your home like?”
>> No. 37674
>>37672

This Anon makes a good case.

[X] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.
--(X) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
--(X) “What are those wings on your head for?”
-[X] If she isn't hostile after those:
--(X) “I was just wondering, what’s your home like?”
>> No. 37675
[x] All this gloom and doom made me think of Wendy, actually. Hadn’t this been what she’d said about Patchouli all along? I thought that maybe I should go talk to her; she’d hopefully be more amicable than the creature, at the very least.

I'm more curious as to what Wendy'd have to say than dealing with an rather irate "Koakuma"
>> No. 37679
[x] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach. (Pick a few questions or write in your own; try not to make the list too excessive)
--(x) “Umm… do you mind if I ask about your breasts? It’s just that they look… big.”
--(x) “What are those wings on your head for?”
--(x) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”

Better to ask her about herself, and not mention earth/her world, or she'll just get more upset.
>> No. 37683
[x] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach. (Pick a few questions or write in your own; try not to make the list too excessive)
--(x) “Umm… do you mind if I ask about your breasts? It’s just that they look… big.”
--(x) “What are those wings on your head for?”
--(x) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”

It's Always good to start with out of the left field question, if you want a change of topic.
>> No. 37698
[x] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach. (Pick a few questions or write in your own; try not to make the list too excessive)
--(x) “Umm… do you mind if I ask about your breasts? It’s just that they look… big.”
--(x) “What are those wings on your head for?”
--(x) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”

Delicious Koa
>> No. 37704
[x] All this gloom and doom made me think of Wendy, actually. Hadn’t this been what she’d said about Patchouli all along? I thought that maybe I should go talk to her; she’d hopefully be more amicable than the creature, at the very least.

>All this gloom and doom made me think of Wendy, actually.

Say that to her. She'll be flattered.
>> No. 37706
[B] All this gloom and doom made me think of Wendy, actually. Hadn’t this been what she’d said about Patchouli all along? I thought that maybe I should go talk to her; she’d hopefully be more amicable than the creature, at the very least.
>> No. 37707
[X] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.
--(X) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
--(X) “What are those wings on your head for?”

As much as I want to see Fran stutter out a breast-related question, I think it'll set Koa off on another rant about her unfortunate life as a sex object.
>> No. 37713
[x] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.
--(x) “Umm… do you mind if I ask about your breasts? It’s just that they look… big.”
--(x) “What are those wings on your head for?”
--(x) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
>> No. 37716
[x] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.
--(x) “I was just wondering, what’s your home like?”
--(x) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
--(x) "If you'd like to ask me something, I'll do my best to answer them for you."
--(x) “What are those wings on your head for?”
>> No. 37718
[X] Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.
--(X) “Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as.”
--(X) “What are those wings on your head for?”
>> No. 37725
11 votes for staying, of these:
-- 11 votes for the name question
-- 11 votes for the headwings question
-- 5 votes for the home world question
-- 4 votes for the breasts question
-- 2 votes for answering a question yourself
3 votes for talking to Wendy

Looks like I’ll pretty much be going with the original >>37672 write-in, then. Writing with all haste so I can post the update before the inevitably anti-climactic Lost season finale. My prediction? Everyone dies except Jack, Hugo, Desmond, and one of the remaining females; all other characters are expendable. Their survival is irrelevant because in the alternate timeline Charlie manages to save the world with the power of rock. Everyone who died died for nothing, because in the end the plane never crashed and the entire 6 seasons of the show are reconned from existence. We never find out the answers to any questions that are actually relevant.

>>37643
A good post; I like seeing this kind of thought. And now those implications are leaving a bitter taste in my mouth because I can’t stop imagining that behind all the seductive overtones and timid librarian glasses, every Koa in every story secretly hates you all. ;_;

>I wanted to celebrate your birthday with a bang, but I lost my arm in the process. Pity you don't like your present very much; I'll try harder next year.
Certainly more believable than “I baked you a cake, but I eated it.”
>> No. 37729
>>37725
That's just one possibiity, another would be perhaps Patchouli taking time to summon a particularly docile one.
>> No. 37737
Perhaps I just needed to get away from sensitive topics; break the ice with some more mundane conversation. Maybe it’d help the newcomer understand better than the direct approach.

“So, umm… Do you have a name, or something? I really don’t know what I’m supposed to think of you as. Like, if I’m supposed to call you he or she or it or, I don’t know.”

Predictably I was met with another withering stare. “Do you have a name?” she asked scathingly.

“Well, yeah, actually. My name’s Francesca, but you can call my Fran or Friday if you want. It’s a long story.”

“Chose that name yourself, did you?”

“Well, no, Remilia’s sister—you saw Remilia, yeah?—she gave me that name. Before that I… uhh, well, I guess I didn’t have one. I was just me, you know?”

“Where there you have it,” the creature replied sarcastically, gesturing to me with her hand. “You’re just you. Francesca ain’t your name, that’s just what the other bitches around here call you. What good would a damn Earth name do me; ain’t gonna use it back home, and you’ll just call me whatever the hell you want.”

That… really didn’t make much sense to me. But then again, I suppose it did; before Flandre I was just ‘cousin’ or ‘little one’ or ‘you fairy’. I didn’t feel like I needed a name, because I’d never had one before. Then again, I hadn’t ever needed to pick out any specific cousin from a crowd before, and everyone I cared about now had a name attached to them. Save this one.

“I… That makes sense, I guess. But still, I mean, isn’t there anything you—“

“Why the hell do you even care?!” she yelled at me as she folded her arms defiantly under her sizable bosom. “You want a name? How about Velna; it’s Latvian for she-devil. Or take Civa, it means something red! La Diabla, Akuma-chan, Demona, Little Red Riding Hood, Goddamn Bitch, I don’t care! It’s all the same shite to me anyways.”

“Oh… sorry, I didn’t mean… nevermind.” I decided to give up on that front for the time being; I felt like any name I gave her she’d just resent as some kind of label, like she was a product. And anyways, if anyone should ‘name” her it should have been Patchouli, not me. Unless perhaps Flandre’s unique mind could dredge up something worthwhile, which I never ignored as a possibility.

Still, there was just one little extra question I had to ask, just to satiate my brain with a definite pronoun. “Can I at least ask if you’re a girl or a boy?”

“Peh… Are you a girl or a boy?” Same song, second verse, it seemed.

“Well, I’m a girl, right? I mean, I’ve got girl parts, not boy parts. Same as… ooohhh, wait… I think I get it.”

“Bout bloody time,” she hissed through clenched teeth, rolling her eyes at me. “Boy parts, girl parts... If I was a slut like that vampire I could grow a goddamn penis a foot long right now and fuck you all night; doesn’t make me any more of a man, doesn’t make me any less of a woman. I’m not a damn encyclopedia, that’s for sure. You’re just some nature spirit, ain’tchya; is nature a boy or a girl? Answer that first, child, and maybe by the time you do I won’t get my worthless time here wasted any more than it already is.”

That was certainly a mouthful to swallow, you can imagine, and the fact that I didn’t quite know what “fuck” meant back then only complicated the matter more. Like Flandre before her, I felt that perhaps it was just best to let the creature’s string of insults fall upon deaf ears rather than try and make sense of them. Understanding would just have to come with time, as I’d reluctantly accepted.

Scratching my head again I meekly responded with, “Well… I’ll just call you a she, for now.”

“You do whatever the hell you want; feys always do.” So much for asking her her name. But I decided to try my luck again.

“So, not trying to be nosey of anything; you don’t have to answer, but… What are those wings on your head for?”

She looked up at the wings above her, and picked at them with her tiny hands. “Oh. So that’s where they ended up this time. Hell of a lot better than my ass, at least.”

“They move around?”

She didn’t respond right away and instead kept feeling at the base of the black stalks. I thought for a foolish moment that maybe she’d try and pluck them off and stick them on her back instead; an aftereffect of spending too much time with Thérèse, I supposed. The reality was a bit more stark, as without warning the wings erupted into pillars of dark flame and she slammed them down just inches from my curled-up legs, having subtly transformed themselves into her all-too-familiar matching pair of arced cleavers.

“Yes… frequently,” she answered with an eerily straight face, twirling them back again and replacing the weapons as innocuous heads-wings once more. Needless to say, that was not something Thérèse had ever done before, and I certainly hoped she never learned how to.

Despite knowing that she couldn’t touch me, I figured that little display meant I’d pushed my luck too far for the night, and doing something like asking about her home world would have turned into a worse jumble than the time I asked Patchouli about sex. Draining the rest of my coffee as the professor before me had done (I definitely preferred chocolate coffee to the regular kind) I stood back up and returned my cup to the tray; cleaning up would have to wait until I’d gotten my arm back.

“Well, uhh, it was nice talking to you, miss,” I said, trying even at the end of it all to be cordial. “Sorry if I bothered you too much; I just, want to learn more about what I don’t understand. Good night.”

“Good for you, maybe.”

Resisting the tickling urge to rebut, I let the girl be and made my way to the cool basement hallways. A little wave of nostalgia hit me as I remembered waking up to these hallways for month after month, always cool and always quiet. Still, the truth is that I never had liked a room with no windows, which is why I’d finally worked up the courage to ask Remilia if I could move to the fourth floor. Surprisingly enough for me she agreed in a heartbeat; that wasn’t the embarrassing part. The ]embarrassing part was asking Monica if she wanted to move in with me too.

Unfortunately, that is most definitely another story for another time, and frankly one only Remilia could tell with great justice. Personally I’m just glad Sakuya made it out of the ordeal with her decency mostly intact. I wish I could say the same for Thérèse, but… well, she’s never had much decency to begin with.

Long story short, she agreed, and was definitely the better off for it. Unlike me she didn’t share my thirst for knowledge and “the new”, so it had really become interesting seeing her every day as a sort of reflection of the me I had once been; at least it was once I’d finally given up trying to make her more like me. She wasn’t like me, I’d discovered. She was young, and content to be so. She took joy in the little things that had slowly become commonplace to me, and despite her ardent timidity her heart never once faltered like mine tended to. The world needs all kinds of people, after all. I’d hate to live in a world full of mes; within a month it’d just explode into one big question-mark-shaped cloud… or would it?

[ ] I figured maybe if I hurried I might catch Monica before she went to bed; she tended to be one of those early to bed early to rise types those days.
[ ] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring {insert character(s) here} would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find them.
[ ] There was still some “awakeness” left in me before I reckoned I’d start feeling tired, and I fancied a visit to {insert destination here}.
>> No. 37739
[ ] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Wendy would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find them.

This amounted to much as I'd expect.
>> No. 37749
[x] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Wendy would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find them.

I think Monica would be distressed at our state of disarmedness, and the last set of votes put it in my head that we need to visit Wendy. I'm just happy >>37739 filled in the blank for me already.
>> No. 37750
>Unfortunately, that is most definitely another story for another time, and frankly one only Remilia could tell with great justice. Personally I’m just glad Sakuya made it out of the ordeal with her decency mostly intact. I wish I could say the same for Thérèse, but… well, she’s never had much decency to begin with.
You tease, you. I certainly hope you have plans to write side stories for some of the events you've mentioned since the timeskip.

[X] I figured maybe if I hurried I might catch Monica before she went to bed; she tended to be one of those early to bed early to rise types those days.

We've had enough depressing thoughts for one day; it's time to hug a little pink fairy.
>> No. 37754
>>37749
Same here I'd have thought that talking with Wendy would be more productive than "Koa" and for all the good it did, we might have well asked the breast question.

I'd think airing out our thoughts with the brainy fairy of the bunch would do more good than worrying the little one.
>> No. 37755
[X] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Meiling would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find her.

I figure Wendy's going to grumble about how Patchouli should have stopped researching demon summoning months ago when she got hurt. Meiling's a good listener and might have some sage advice.
>> No. 37760
[x] I figured maybe if I hurried I might catch Monica before she went to bed; she tended to be one of those early to bed early to rise types those days.
>> No. 37763
[x] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Meiling would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find her.

Almost voted for this last time. I doubt Wendy wants to have anything to do with this, Meiling's more likely to be helpful.
>> No. 37768
>>37763
Not sure if Meiling would know more about this sort of thing than Wendy.
>> No. 37769
>>37768
It's not just knowledge, it's willingness to share that knowledge. I don't think going to Wendy with moral/existential quandaries is the best idea. I could be wrong, though.
>> No. 37774
[x] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Meiling would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find her.
>> No. 37782
[ ] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Wendy would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find them.
>> No. 37792
[x] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Meiling would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find her.
>> No. 37804
[x] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Meiling would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find her.

Good stuff, I've been putting this story at the top of my priority list. I enjoy your take on the SDM personalities, plus the original fairies are great.

However, it just might be me, but this update felt a little rushed. Koa's personality thus far is deliciously different from the norm, but I can't help but feel that her personality thus far has been rather flat.(No pun intended) Granted, she just got introduced and all, but she's been at the center of the last 4 updates.

Thoughts?
>> No. 37805
[x] Still, “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring China would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find her.

>>37804

Wait for Koakuma to calm down before you judge. We can't really get a good representation of her character when she is currently lashing out at everyone that attempts to interact with her (and for good reason).
>> No. 37808
6 for Meiling
3 for Wendy
2 for Monica

It’s so nice to have someone to talk to that will listen politely and know what to say. Writing now-ish.

>>37750
>You tease, you. I certainly hope you have plans to write side stories for some of the events you've mentioned since the timeskip.
It’s not just the timeskip; I’ve got plans for a number of miscellaneous side-stories I’d like to write about AFT; the question is just whether I get to them before, or after the story’s finished. Most likely both depending upon how much of a spoiler they’d be. I’ll keep you posted, and thanks for expressing interest!

By the way, if anyone has scenes they want to see as side-shorts, either canon or hypothetical, might as well float them out here and I’ll consider them.

>>37804
>Good stuff, I've been putting this story at the top of my priority list. I enjoy your take on the SDM personalities, plus the original fairies are great.
[heavy]MANY THANKS![/heavy] I’ve always wanted a different flavor of the SDM; figured I might as well write it myself.

>However, it just might be me, but this update felt a little rushed. Koa's personality thus far is deliciously different from the norm, but I can't help but feel that her personality thus far has been rather flat.(No pun intended) Granted, she just got introduced and all, but she's been at the center of the last 4 updates. Thoughts?
First off, thanks for taking the time to think about this; I can never tell whether I’m hitting or missing with AFT, and sometimes people get so caught up in what they like they might forget to think about what they don’t. I’m grateful that you didn’t forget.

I was going to explain my reasoning, but >>37805 said pretty much what I was going to say as well. She’s currently in a knee-jerk-reaction mode where she’ll spit in everyone’s face whether they deserve it or not, simply because they’re from Earth and she loathes Earth. Give Koakuma time, then make your judgment. If she still seems flat then I’ll reassess the situation and tell you what I was thinking.

But yes, I won’t deny I rushed the last one a bit. In my defense, for the story’s sake there was really nothing I could do; Koakuma wasn’t going to be amicable to Fran no matter how politely she asked, and since Fran herself didn’t want to push Koakuma more than she dared, there was really nothing more to say between them.
>> No. 37809
>>37804 here,

>>37807
Excellent, thanks for the clarification. All in the spirit of good constructive criticism.
>> No. 37810
That reminds me. Before I forget again, Post #86 could possibly be summarized as "Chocolate creamed coffee for the century-old conjurer chastised by the captive Koakuma."
>> No. 37812
Running out of steam for tonight; hopefully I'll have enough to post the update in the morning.
>> No. 37814
File 127476512518.png - (673.19KB , 900x1200 , 1229079173519.png ) [iqdb]
37814
>>37812
No worries; looking forward to the update.
>> No. 37826
Still… “she” had left me with a number of things I wasn’t sure I wanted rattling in my head all by themselves while trying to sleep. Figuring Meiling would be the best to talk to about it, I took off to find her. No matter how late it was, or how long she’d worked, Meiling would always listen. Good old reliable China.

September really didn’t feel much different than April to me, once I stepped outside. Warm days leading to cool nights, with beautiful sunsets either way. The sun had long since set by then, graciously retiring his shining throne to the moon and her children, the stars. Fewer fairies than normal flitted around the mansion roof, but I begrudgingly did have to concede with “her” on one point: Feys will do whatever they want. Though, I don’t exactly think many fairies want much to do with hell.

I strolled through the garden for a while, admiring our groundskeeper’s labors of love. So many colors, so many kinds; Remilia had gathered the beauties of the entire world into this little rainbow island. Perhaps in one hundred years, when the world stopped caring about flowers too, we’d finally be able to give them something worthwhile back… Provided we lasted that long.

Tapping at the door to Miss Hong’s cabin, I heard a muffled “Door’s open” and let myself in. The interior was the same as always, I supposed: barer than most houses but strangely more homey. A small fire crackled in the fireplace as Meiling leaned over her knees on the couch, playing some kind of game with tiles. With her hair tied in a bun and clothed in an old red kimono like a nightgown, she was looking particularly like a “China” to me. I sat down across from her in the rocking chair.

“Good evening, Francesca,” she greeted softly, removing a pair of like-etched tiles from a stacked pyramid of similar ones. “Nice to see you again. How are you tonight?”

“Oh, I’m okay, I guess… I mean, I’ve been better. But I’ve also been worse, too.”

“Some kind of trouble up at the mansion?”

“Well… not really. Kinda. I, don’t know. What’s that you’re playing?”

“Oh, just a solitaire game. Have you ever heard of Mahjong?”

The name didn’t ring a bell to me, nor did the tiles themselves. I looked closer at them; they almost looked like little playing cards. Except with circles, sticks, and some funny squiggly things for suits, and a bunch of other things that didn’t make much sense. “No, sorry. It looks beautiful, though, a lot better than some paper cards.”

“Isn’t it, though?” She handed me a tile from her discarded pairs to look over. I ran my fingers over it, admiring the smooth, well-worn surface, the lovingly chiseled symbol and the rich red paint. If I remained absolutely still I could almost feel a little spirit pulsing through the tile; amazingly faint—tinier than a blade of grass, even—but it was there. Which made me wonder…

“These are… bone tiles, aren’t they?” I asked, squinting at the one in my hand.

“Ahh, you can feel them too?” She smiled and removed another pair. “They are indeed. An authentic seventeenth-century set I bought myself back in my younger years; I expect any life that’s in them now would be more from me that the creature who’s bones they are. Aaahhhmmm… It’s be nice if I could have saved the set my father gave me, but… Time takes away many things.”

“Yeah…” I replied wistfully, not really having to much experience with time taking things away. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to make you remember about the past. I mean, I’m sure you’ve lost a lot…”

“Without the past, what do we have?” she questioned rhetorically, moving pairs quite a bit faster now that the pile was thinning out. “We are who we are because of who we once were, and before of who the people were that came before us. Don’t ever forget the past, little Fran, even the very worst of it. It’s easy to forget, but it’s hard to remember.”

I thought about that one for a while as my friend finished up with the rest of the tiles. If you were supposed to remember the past, I’d felt like I’d already failed. Decades and centuries for me were a blur of identical days before I found the mansion; thousands of days of experiences lost, never to be returned. And even the handful of years I’d spent in the mansion seemed forgotten. I mean, before April 11th, had I done anything worth remembrance? No, no, I didn’t need to worry about that stuff then. One thing at a time, and time was something I had enough of.

“So how do you play, uhh, this Mahjong?” I asked, just making idle conversation.

She shrugged as she removed the last of the pairs from the “board” and pushed them aside. “Well, this is just solitaire using the tiles. Proper Mahjong is a four-player game, and quite popular in the East. Perhaps one day we can gather up Miss Sunny and Sakuya together and teach you how to play.”

“Oh, you taught them how to play too? I wouldn’t think Sakuya would have time to.”

“Well, I just taught Sunday; Sakuya already knew how to play. Though, of course, she still forgets from time to time that we only play with her Japanese rules if it’s in the mansion; out here I still prefer the Chinese.” She shook her head bemusedly.

“Oh, house rules or something…?” Wait… something there didn’t seem normal to me. What kind of rules again? “Wait a minute, did you say… Sakuya’s Japanese?”

“Yes. You didn’t know?” Meiling acted like it was common knowledge, which wasn’t exactly the case for me. “Her name isn’t odd-sounding for nothing; that’s where the Mistress found her in the first place. But, hmmm… I can’t say it’s my place to talk about that; it’s a personal matter between those two. I’m sure you understand.”

“Oh… well, yeah, I understand. She likes to keep things to herself a lot…” I ruminated on that small revelation for a while as China returned the Mahjong tiles to their box. It wasn’t really that big of a shock to find out; I mean, I’d known that her name was Japanese for a while. Still, I was never one to assume too much, especially concerning names. Flandre’d mentioned coming from Spain or something-or-other, but I recalled her sister saying “Flandre” was supposed to be Belgian. Not to mention me, whose name has “France” right in it without having lived a single day there. That didn’t stop me from wondering about the Sakuya’s story again, but frankly I’d wondered about that for years without result, and I didn’t really see the need to worry about it too much now.

China nodded at my comment, latching up the game box and leaning back in the couch, face peaceful as always. “She does. I’ll just say that it’s not her fault; there’s quite a number of things about her past she’d like to try and forget, and her case my just be one of those few exceptions I’d allow. But that’s neither here nor there. About this ‘kinda trouble’, then… Do you want to talk about it?”

“Ahh, that. Well, yeah, I mean that’s why I came over here, I guess. It’s Ms. Patchouli.”

“Mmm, yes, I can imagine. I’ve heard she’s been trying to summon a demon lately?”

“Well, I’m not really sure what it is, but, yeah, she definitely summoned it. Oh, it’s not dangerous, don’t worry! At least, I’m pretty sure it’s not. But it’s, uhh… angry at us.”

She rubbed a hand across her lips, thinking. “Angry how?”

I shrugged. “More like not angry how? It’s really weird, China. She looks like a really nice girl—sounds like it too—but she just, she hates us. I mean, as soon as she started talking she was just insulting everyone and being rude and swearing and I don’t know. We didn’t do anything wrong; we didn’t do anything period! How can she be mad as us if she doesn’t even know us? And she won’t give us a chance either; it’s just like, ‘oh, you’re from Earth, so I hate you, damn hell whore,’ or whatever it was she said; sorry if I said something bad, that’s... well, that’s just what she said. I even tried to be nice and stuff too. I don’t get it…”

Meiling sighed, looking up at the ceiling. “Hmmm… I can’t say I’ve met any devils before, but… if it’s what I think it is, I believe I understand, if only just.”

“You do? But then, what’s the problem?”

“I wouldn’t really call it a problem, child; just a, misunderstanding. It’s not your fault. She’s… different.”

“Well, yeah, that’s a given.”

“No, no, you don’t seem to understand. She is different.” China stressed that last word with particular emphasis, using her hands to help her. “She’s as different from you or me as can be. You see, Francesca, she’s not from Earth. She’s from someplace else. Do you know what that someplace is like?”

I stuttered around for a bit, searching for an answer that sounded right. “Well, u-uhh, no, I don’t know anything about that… Do you?”

She shook her head. “I don’t either. That’s our problem; we don’t know. How can we know what kind of a world this person came from? How can we know what it’d be like to be born there, to live there and grown up there? How can we know what that world values and what it doesn’t? We can’t, because all we know is Earth. Even though you’re a fairy, and I’m… not quite human, ‘she’ is something altogether different. It’s just how things are.”

“But then… wait, if… Patchouli wanted to summon her so she could learn about that otherplace, right? So maybe we can know!”

“Maybe… maybe. But you’ve read about China in books before. Do you know what it’s like?”

“Yeah. Well… kinda. I mean, I know history and stuff.”

“And perhaps, for our Patchouli, that will be enough for her. But no matter how much you read, watch, or are told, you’ll never know just what China is until you go there. Even then, you won’t know what China really is unless you live there. I think it’ll make more sense if I explain it like this: you can know, but you can’t understand.”

For me, that certainly hit home, as expected. Just like China to know what to say to cheer me up. “So then… what do I do about ‘her’?”

She smiled and leaned forwards, rubbing my shoulder. “Miss Francesca, you do what you do best: be yourself. And let that girl be herself too.”


[ ] I felt like staying with China a while longer (specify what you want to do/say)
[ ] It was getting late; I should probably have been going to my room.
[ ] I didn’t feel much like walking back to the mansion; perhaps China would let me sleep with her for the night?
[ ] Some other write-in

Author’s Note: Sorry for the poorly-worded votes and lack of proofreading, but I’m out of time for the morning.
>> No. 37831
[x] It was getting late; I should probably have been going to my room.

Don't want to unduly worry Monica.
>> No. 37843
[x] It was getting late; I should probably have been going to my room.
>> No. 37847
[x] It was getting late; I should probably have been going to my room.
Wise MeiChina
>> No. 37852
[x] It was getting late; I should probably have been going to my room.

Don't want people to have to look for us.
>> No. 37870
[X] It was getting late; I should probably have been going to my room.

Get some sleep, tomorrow's looking to be a long day.
>> No. 37874
[X] It was getting late; I should probably have been going to my room.

So... Meiling didnt notice that Fran has one arm? Seems odd.
>> No. 37882
Well, looks like there’s no need to count. gb2 /bed/ it is. Might probably end up as a shorter update so’s I can still post it tonight. In all honesty I might just have to give up trying to do an update every night until I stop being a “maid”, in order to avoid dropping in quality. Fairy maids have it easy; at least they're not held to strict standards.

>>37874
Oh. Derp. Derpity, derpity derp. This is what happens when I don’t proofread. Thanks much for pointing this out; I’ll fix it as best as I can in the next update.
>> No. 37901
>>37882

But I love daily updates!
>> No. 37906
>>37901
I love daily updates too. But I love good updates more. So I'm just saying if I think it's got to come down to the two, I'll go for the latter.

Of course, good and daily updates are the best.

P.S. - Gonna picture-sage this thread out to 250 posts; it won't last another update.
>> No. 37908
File 127484293941.png - (414.90KB , 600x800 , RemiFlan.png ) [iqdb]
37908
This stuff is by who I believe is called "F7 Eiki". A very weird scratchboard-style art that I find incredibly artistic.
>> No. 37909
File 127484314513.jpg - (306.09KB , 850x1202 , Remi3.jpg ) [iqdb]
37909
I'm sure the cross and window are symbolic. I'm just not exactly sure how.
>> No. 37910
File 127484323727.png - (294.91KB , 800x800 , Flan.png ) [iqdb]
37910
This artist was made for Flandre.
>> No. 37911
File 127484328781.png - (173.72KB , 800x800 , Flan2.png ) [iqdb]
37911
One more for good measure.