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39980 No. 39980
Post #105


As completely bamboozling as all of this was, a part of me had finally started to wonder… why? Why me? Whoever Kay was, and wherever she was from, she must have come here to see Flandre, not me. After all, she’d talked about her in a way that was as about as close to “friend” as you’d be liable to get from a fractured mind like hers. So why was she talking to me, a nobody, and hiding from Flandre, a somebody? Why anyone at all for that matter? If she knew how to hide from the world, why bother letting yourself be found?

“I, don’t… really, know why you’re talking to me, Ms. Kay or whoever you are,” I eventually muttered out loud, still staring blankly at the hat. “Can, I ask why?”

“Hmmmmmm~… Can I ask why you ask why?” she answered back sweetly, over my left shoulder now.

Did she just want someone to talk to? Someone who’d give straight answers for a change of pace? Whatever the reason, I guessed that I didn’t really need to see her to talk with her. “Well, it’s just that… You’re Flandre’s friend, aren’t you?”

“Mmm, does she call me that? It sounds like maybe I should be flattered.”

“I guess she kinda does, I mean… You’re something to her, at least. But like me, I’m not very special. I’m just some boring little lady who doesn’t know very much.” I detected another metallic thunking to my side, almost like she was stepping up onto the washers or something. Still didn’t trust myself to see if she was actually there, though; I felt like being able to hear her was enough of a victory for now.

“Yes, that’s right. You are boring. Quite boring. I don’t care about people like you~” She let out a pleasant little sigh, rather at odds with her thinly-veiled insult.

“Well then, why are you watching me?” I responded legitimately.

“Oh, I’m not. I already watched you. Wanted to see what kind of person you were, but you’re too normal. Your head isn’t interesting at all. Hers is much more fun. Goodbye, Francesca Friday~”

“W-Wait, don’t go, please don’t go! I just want to know why you’re here!” I couldn’t help myself from reaching out and looking to the place I’d last heard her voice, hoping that maybe I’d catch a sleeve or edge of a skirt my chance. No dice, though; nobody there. I spun around and checked the rest of the room, but still nothing. When had she left? I’d just been talking to her; I was paying close attention, I’d even heard her climb up onto the washing machine! At least… I thought I had… I inwardly kicked myself for being so naïve. She’d done it again, hadn’t she? Waited until I’d gotten used to hearing her talk to sneak away again; probably knew how the throw her voice or something like that. It was like trying to catch the most invisible smoke with your bare hands.

But she’d still left her hat; of that I was sure. It looked, felt, smelled, and even tasted completely real. She couldn’t have really left, could she? Why leave the hat with me if I was too “boring” to talk to? Didn’t she say she liked it? I felt a little twinge of inferiority at that, really; there I’d gone thinking I was someone different to her, but for all I knew I was just some animal in a zoo, something to be looked at with vague interest for a few seconds, then passed by for more exotic creatures like the rare French Fractal Flandrigator. Or, Spanish, or Italian, or Belgian, or wherever it was she was from.

I picked up the hat and tucked it under my arm, just to be safe. “Kay? Kay, are you there? You, uhh, you forgot your hat… Please, don’t leave, I just want to know what’s going on between you and Flandre. She seems so… confused, talking about you, more than usual. Like she doesn’t know if you exist or not. I, I don’t like seeing her like that. Please, don’t be mean to her, okay?” No answer, no sly giggles, no voices inside my head. Either she was teasing again, or she was really gone.

I hated to give up like this, but maybe… maybe that was the way it was going to be. Perhaps she’d already had her fun with me, and I’d never catch a hint of her existence again. Still, that hat… I felt like I at least needed to be nice enough to return the hat, give it to Flandre for safe-keeping the next time she bumped into her. I knew that without it I’d never have any proof that any of this madness had ever happened, and whether I returned it or not might not matter if I never talked with “her” again, but it was the right thing to do, wasn’t it?

The hallways seemed so much calmer now that I wasn’t jumping around at shadows and listening to Flandre argue with herself. Even the dark staircase to the lady’s room seemed a little less bleak. This was the way it was supposed to be for a fairy like me, I thought: Don’t worry about those big things humans spend lifetimes never figuring out, just enjoy the good times of the now. Even so… the world was too interesting to not care about anything at all.

I was about to knock on Flandre’s miniature door only to find it already open. Out of propriety I knocked anyways and started to peak inside. “Hello? Flandre, Monica, you there?”

“By answering this question, I have answered this question, and thus this question is answered, for by answering this question, I have answered the question…” Flandre continued to cycle the phrases with slight deviations for the next ten seconds, to no one’s benefit but her own.

“I guess that means yes, Fran,” Monica replied much more simply, sitting on a beanbag and hugging a velvety cushion. “What’s that you got there?”

“Oh, this? It’s a, uhh… It’s…” I half-heartedly hid Kay’s hat behind my back, suddenly feeling all embarrassed about coming there at all. “Well, I guess it’s, a hat.”

“It’s Kay’s hat, isn’t it?”

“See, that’s the thing, I—wait, you knew? How’d you know it was her hat?” I walked into the room curiously, Flandre leaning back on two legs of a chair and using her wings to stabilize herself.

She shrugged, though I thought she seemed a little embarrassed at responding as well. “Because, I guess… she said you’d, be stopping by with her hat.”

My eyes narrowed suspiciously. “She… was here? In this room?”

“I told you before, I don’t think you pay very close attention~” I nearly jumped out of my skin as Kay’s voice suddenly voiced her opinion out of thin air. “You didn’t pay very close attention to that either, perhaps?”

How did she do that?! How had Kay snuck away from the washing machines and gotten down to Flandre’s room before me with time to spare? For that matter how had she known what I was going to do with the hat? For that matter why was Monica taking this so well?! I stood there dumbfounded for heaven knows how long, Kay’s hat dangling limply from my fingers as I got a flopping, sick feeling in my gut. Flandre just sort of unconcernedly thumbed over to the general direction of the mystery girl’s voice.

“I… you, you’re… You’re, taking this a lot better than me, Monica. I mean, I don’t even… gah, my head hurts so much… And today was supposed to be an easy day with Sakuya, too.” I flopped down on another spare beanbag not too far from Monica’s.

“Can, uhh, can you see her?” the pink-haired girl asked me, looking a little worried at me.

I sighed, rubbing my temple as I looked at her. “You can’t see her either, mmm? Isn’t it weird?”

“Well, n-no, ‘cause I, I can see her. She’s right over there, see?”

She pointed to a very specific cushion around Flandre’s dining table, which to me was totally and utterly empty. I didn’t understand… Monica could see her when I couldn’t? How? I don’t like to boast since I never have much to boast about, but… well, for the most part I was a clearer thinker than she was, and Kay’s tangled web of whatever it was certainly needed some clear thoughts. I bored a hole through that empty seat with my eyes, and it stayed just as empty as before.

“I, don’t… understand,” I finally muttered, frowning slightly. “I don’t see anything. I’m looking right there, and I don’t see a thing.”

“You see, this is another reason why she’s not interesting, Flandre,” Kay commented flatly from nowhere specific. “Not because she can’t see me, but because she inevitably will. It’s boring; common. If there were any chance of her not I might be compelled, but I can tell she’s a thinker. It’s just a matter of time…”

I scratched my head, still looking around the table for any sign of something that belonged which wasn’t there. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that Kay sucks and is a horrible person,” Flandre answered bluntly, flicking dirt out of her fingernails. “We’d love her anyways, except she doesn’t have a heart so there’s no point.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you really believe that, Flandre~” she emanated again, probably from the top of a bookshelf.

I floated upwards a little and pushed my beanbag right up next to Monica’s, resting Kay’s frustrating hat on my knees. “Well, I’m sitting next to my friend. At least she makes sense.” She pulled the cushion up to her eyes bashfully, probably covering up a blush.

“Oh, but then I’m sitting next to my friend too~ Did you know, Flandre? Francesca told me you said I’m your friend.”

“You are sitting on a chair of lies and deceit. Don’t believe a word of it, Françoise; she’s standing right behind you. That’s her hat, by the way; it’s not nice to take things that don’t belong to you.”

I stared at the hat, still clutched in my hands. Was she? Flandre would have known better than anyone else how to find Kay, most likely, but… could I be sure? Could she? Frankly, if her forte was hiding within the subconscious, I didn’t think a mind like Flandre’s would be very conducive of sorting out the truth from the lies. Then again, maybe that was the very reason she could find her: she was used to questioning reality by now.

A moment of truth. Of trust, of faith. I took a quick breath, steeled my nerves, and quickly spun around, hat proffered in my outstretched hand.

And I saw someone take it from me.

She wore a faded marigold blouse, with black lace; a long green embroidered skirt swished around her knees. Her hair seemed like a mixture of both Monica’s original guess and my own: a bland pastel hovering between light grey and light mint, gathered up in friendly waves that just kissed her shoulders. Pale, pale skin, like she’d lived her whole life away from the sun. So… this was Kay.

She twirled the hat around in her palms and plopped it back down onto her head, inevitably causing me to gaze upon her face. A totally indescribable face, mind, you, but I will do my best. At first I thought it was a cheerful face, a face that had known many smiles and joyful tears. Then it seemed more, pensive, a face that would have had its fair share of eyes both wide in surprise, and squinted under furrowed brows in deep thought. But the more I looked at it, the more I felt like her face was quite simply, blank. Her forest green eyes were not glazed, but simply vacant, eyes that felt like they looked at much but saw very little. The lips were an enigmatic thing, slightly open, perpetually curled just slightly upwards in a smirk, but showing no emotion to speak of. It was a face that looked like her voice sounded: youthful, pleasant, even otherworldly, but empty, empty and pitiful.

I need not dwell on the eye; I’m sure you know it well. Like many of you, at first I thought it just a charm, a curious badge worn over one’s heart. But as I traced the floating azure lines around her body to their source… as I felt the alien lid of that spherical eye waver and twitch in its endless slumber… my courage fell to my toes. I was no stranger to the weird and the wild, but this… Kay was different. When you finally see her for the first time, you don’t even have to question it. You know that she’s different.

“S-So… you, you’re… Kay…”

She smiled a not-altogether-reassuring smile, tilting her hat backwards. “The very few who think they know me, call me Kay. Because I told them to~”

“It’s her initials, Fran,” Flandre graciously interpreted for me, bringing her chair back to all fours. “K. K. She made a mistake once; let me borrow a handkerchief. She’ll make another one someday… won’t you, little girl?”

“Oh, but you don’t even know how old I am. You must think that it’s so unfair.”

Flandre got up and walked over to her bookshelf, barely even acknowledging Kay’s presence safe for her voice. “Well you wouldn’t know, would you? Got to have a heart to feel things like that… That’s what’s unfair.”

The visitor shrugged and circled around to the front of Monica’s beanbag, humming quietly to herself as she did it. Flandre and Kay… I think I could gather what they saw in each other, though whether that was a good thing or a bad thing was probably still up in the air. At least they weren’t at each other throats. That was a start.

She kneeled down right in front of the little fairy and stared at her, shamelessly invading her personal space. “You’re an interesting creature, did you know that? I don’t find any fairies like you anymore. I think it’s pretty fun when I find one, don’t you?”

Monica backed up in her beanbag, shielding herself with the cushion. “I, uhh, I dunn-no. Am I, s’pposed to feel good when I get finded?”

“Mmmmm… I don’t know either. What do you think, Flandre? Is it a good thing when I find someone that’s fascinating?”

“Never,” she answered nonchalantly, sitting down on the table with a book that she folded some sort of map out of. “And stop sticking your nose in her face; you’re going to break her, and we both know you’d only find that ‘fascinating’ for maybe an hour. Go ahead and climb over me all you want; I’ll take one for the team.”

This seemingly only provoked her to crawl even closer the Monica, hands resting mere inches from her tiny curled-up legs. “Well, I’ll pretend that’s it is good for now. Does this make you feel uncomfortable?”

“Y-yes, Miss Kay… Please stop. You, you sound v-very nice, but you, you’re starting to sc-care me.”

She leaned in yet again; their noses were practically touching now, and if she hadn’t pushed her hat back the brim would have long since been poking her in the forehead. “What about now? Are we feeling anything different now?”

“I… I… Y-yo-you’re making m-m-me uncomfortab-ble. P-P-Pleassse…”

I couldn’t take it anymore; my arm shot out to gently push Kay back a few feet. Being polite to new guests was one thing, yes, but said guests being impolite to friends was a bigger thing. “Miss Kay, she said please…”

My arm suddenly had nothing to push back; she wasn’t even there. As my hand vainly grasped at air as a reflex, I saw the real Kay (was that one even real?) floating behind Flandre’s shoulders like some kind of ghost, hands stuffed down the neck of her shirt.

“Flandre, when are you ever going to grow these out again~? There isn’t much for me to do back here when they’re like this, you know.”

“I’ll grow them out again when you let me visit your home. So, pretty much never. In case you didn’t already know, girls, she’s actually over by me.”

We looked at each other with more-or-less equal faces of bewilderment, hand-stuffing hijinks aside.

“How did—“
“Did you see—“
“Sh-she was right—“
“Are you all—“
“That made no—“
“We were paying—“
“But if we—“
“Wasn’t very nice—“

“Why do you do stuff like that, Miss Kay?” I finally asked after collecting my thoughts a little better. “If they’re supposed to be jokes I don’t think anyone’s finding them very funny.”

“Fathers are supposed to give permission before letting girlfriends come into the house, Flandre,” Kay cooed, totally ignoring me. “That’s something I’ve learned~ If they don’t, all sorts of things might happen. Things like girls getting pregnant, perhaps. I wonder why everyone thinks that’s not a good thing…”

“You’re not my girlfriend, your sister isn’t your father, you can’t get me pregnant, and you are not Spartacus! Thus have I invalidated your statement and exposed you for the unscrupulous vagabond you are.”

In an ill-aimed effort of good will (it sounded like a good idea at the time), or perhaps in an effort to make to sound less boring, I ventured to answer Kay’s quandary. “I, I know that answer, Miss Kay. Because, sex is important to people; it’s a big deal. And so’s not having sex. So, like, usually a girl’s father doesn’t want a big important thing like sex to happen to her unless the boyfriend’s someone he can trust. Did that make any sense?”

Still no response; Kay was busying herself with observing Flandre’s map while taking completely obviously glances at Monica. What was her problem?

My roommate tilted her head at me. “Francie, what’s sex?”

No. No. Not from me, not to her, not ever ever ever. “It’s… complicated. It’s really, really better if you didn’t know.”

“Oh… okay.”

>> No. 39981
Write in time?

[x] Show her
>> No. 39983
You are not Spartacus! Thus have I invalidated your statement!

Better than "Your zipper is opened! Your argument is invalid!"
>> No. 39986
Oh... Derp. I forget the bloody options!

[ ] Kay… For some reason I didn’t trust her with Monica, not if she found her “fascinating.” Maybe I could come up with a way to get her away from all this… provided she wanted to leave, of course.
--(Optional: come up with an escape plan for her)
--(Also optional: leave with Monica)
[ ] Hmm… Well, if Kay was going to ignore me for being too boring, I didn’t really know if there was much else to do there anymore…
--( ) …aside from just sit back and watch the show.
--( ) …and I did need to get back to working. Flandre was a pitiable woman, but Sakuya was a pitiable girl. After a fashion.
[ ] With Flandre more subdued, I wondered if I’d be able to sneak upstairs and get someone down there. Hadn’t someone said that nobody in the mansion believed Kay existed? (Specify who you want to go get)
[ ] This was rather disappointing… I knew I wasn’t the most exciting person, but being ignored completely because of it? There must have been something I could do… (write in an EPIC MANEUVER)
[ ] Some write-in about talking to Monica/Flandre/Kay.
[ ] Some other vote-combinan’ or write-inan’ gaem.
>> No. 39987
[x] Hmm… Well, if Kay was going to ignore me for being too boring, I didn’t really know if there was much else to do there anymore…
--(x) …aside from just sit back and watch the show.
>> No. 39989
[x] With Flandre more subdued, I wondered if I’d be able to sneak upstairs and get someone down there. Hadn’t someone said that nobody in the mansion believed Kay existed? (Sakuya)

She can stop time and carefully check every part of the room. Koishi won't be able to hide.
>> No. 39991
[x] With Flandre more subdued, I wondered if I'd be able to sneak upstairs and get someone down there. Hadn't someone said that nobody in the mansion believed that Kay existed? (Sakuya)
>> No. 39992
[x] Show her

>>39989
>>39991
That sounds like it'd either chase her off (Which might not be a bad thing), or Sakuya concluding Flandre's been rubbing off on us.

[X] Some write-in about talking to Flandre.
- So is Kay currently visible, or only to people who've 'seen' her? If Sakuya were to come in now, would she just see us three talking to thin air?
- Is there anyone else who's 'seen' Kay in the mansion?

Kay's gonna ignore us, so we'll just have to talk over her head.
>> No. 39994
>>39992

Yeah, I kind of doubt Kay won't suspect something even if Fran does say she has work to do. Fran has never acted insane before though, so I think Sakuya would believe her or at least indulge her for a bit.

It's not like Koishi becomes immaterial when she screws with people's heads so Sakuya would eventually find her using time stop.
>> No. 39997
[x] With Flandre more subdued, I wondered if I’d be able to sneak upstairs and get someone down there. Hadn’t someone said that nobody in the mansion believed Kay existed?
-[x] Sakuya
-[x] Ask her to let Remilia know (or tell her yourself later)
I NEED AN ADULT

Seriously though, neither Friday nor Monica have a reason to lie and our dear MC hasn't lied... in, like, ever.
>> No. 40019
Gonna let this vote run for a bit longer. Not to be rude or anything, but I do know I've got more than 5 regular voters. Plus it looks pretty split right now anyways.

How hard is it to vote in a semi-serious slice-of-life story anyways? It's not like anything bad is going to happen.
>> No. 40020
>>40019
Maybe holidays.
>> No. 40022
[x] Hmm... Well, if Kay was going to ignore me for being too boring, I didn't really know if there was much else to do there anymore...
--(X) ...and I did need to get back to work. Flandre was a pitiable woman, but Sakuya was a pitiable girl. After a fashion.

Come on people, what happened to the dilligent fairy?

>>40019
Well, I've cut back on voting since my CPU died, and the only other browser I have until the replacement arrives is my Wii. But I'll make more of an effort here, since this is one of my favorite stories here. I also have more respect for SLDT writing his stories on this thing. The text entry screws up corrections with its suggestions and tries to add '.us' at the end of every sentence.
>> No. 40023
>>40020

Well now I just feel horrible and heartless.
>> No. 40030
>>40020
Pff. Holidays just mean more time to read.
...right?
>> No. 40040
[x] With Flandre more subdued, I wondered if I’d be able to sneak upstairs and get someone down there. Hadn’t someone said that nobody in the mansion believed Kay existed?
-[x] Sakuya
>> No. 40045
File 127860254190.png - (442.47KB , 560x800 , 10072372.png ) [iqdb]
40045
>>39980
>“Flandre, when are you ever going to grow these out again~?
>again
Does this mean she's 'grown them out' before? Am I reading this wrong, or is she saying what I think she's saying?
I really have no idea what Flandre's and Kay's relationship is anymore. We start with Flan's minor breakdown and a big chase to find her, she seems to get away, and now Kay is hanging all over Flan and she's treating it like it's no big deal. Perhaps Flandre did it on a whim? Not out of the realm of possibility, and she did conclude with
>She’ll turn up eventually. She always does

On the one hand, it seems Flan's got this under control; she's been dealing with Kay for a while now (I think) and has a notion for how to deal with her. Kay is thoroughly involved with Flan, but she's sending worrying glances towards Monica. My first intuition was to take Mon with us and get back to chores with Sakuya, but I wouldn't want Monica to to get in trouble for not doing her job.

[x] This was rather disappointing… I knew I wasn’t the most exciting person, but being ignored completely because of it? There must have been something I could... stuff my hands down Kay's shirt and do what she was doing to Flandre
[X] Some write-in about talking to Flandre.
- [x] "Flandre, so any of the other seven fairies know about Miss Kay?"
-[y] "Where'd the other three of you go?"
-[z] "Who is Spartacus?"

I'm hoping that by stalling for time with "boring" conversation, Kay will eventually get bored and leave. And I love Flan's Spartacus rants.

By the by, any chance of seeing the EX 3 in this story?
>> No. 40052
>>Does this mean she's 'grown them out' before? Am I reading this wrong, or is she saying what I think she's saying?

Considering she's saying this while she's behind Flandre, and having her hands stuffed down what I assume to be the front of her shirt, I'm going to say that, yeah, she probably is talking about what you think she's talking about.

Especially in light of the complete and total lack of concern or respect for things like personal space that she's displayed so far.

As Flan says "Kay sucks and is a horrible person". I'm guessing she's not fond of Kay's brand of shenanigans, to put it mildly, but with what her ability allows her to do, there's really very little anyone can do about her.

In short, I think Flandre regards Kay with a sort of irritated and begrudged acceptance/resignation normally reserved for things like family members. You know, the sort of people you might piss you off, but you put up with anyway because you're basically stuck with them.
>> No. 40067
[x] With Flandre more subdued, I wondered if I’d be able to sneak upstairs and get someone down there. Hadn’t someone said that nobody in the mansion believed Kay existed? (Sakuya)

An intruder, even if Flandre has come to some sort of understanding with her, is still an intruder.
>> No. 40070
[X] With Flandre more subdued, I wondered if I’d be able to sneak upstairs and get someone down there. Hadn’t someone said that nobody in the mansion believed Kay existed? (Sakuya)

I really doubt this'll work (my guess is that Koishi will sense our intent to expose her and skedaddle before we even reach Sakuya), but it's the principle of the thing.
>> No. 40072
6 for getting help from Sakuya
2 for talking to Flandre
1 for just sitting back and watching
1 for getting back to work

Hide-N’-Go-Kay; a strange game. The only winning move is not to play. Writing tonight/tomorrow. You just changed more than you think you did… for the more awesomer.

>>39981
The number of things that could go wrong with this considering Flandre and Kay are in the room are so numerous I almost would have liked to write it.

>>39994
>>39997
I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis’s “Liar-Lunatic-Or-Lord” trilemma. Minus the whole “Is Francesca God?” part; that’s just silly.

>>40022
>Come on people, what happened to the dilligent fairy?
She realized that Sakuya hasn’t been characterized well enough to get picked over not one but two twisted little sisters.

>But I'll make more of an effort here, since this is one of my favorite stories here.
Sweet deals; I really appreciate it. I wasn’t trying to force anybody to do anything, really, just reminding them that only they can prevent forest fires!

>>40030
And summer vacation means even more time to read!
…right?

>>40045
>Does this mean she's 'grown them out' before?
I direct your attention waaaay back to last June where a similar question was raised in >>29219
>But you’re flat right now
>right now
>Huh? Is Remilia ever not flat?
If you’re that curious, maybe you should ask her and not me~

>And I love Flan's Spartacus rants.
Repeating the same three words over and over again doesn’t exactly qualify as a “rant”. But it’s still love.

>By the by, any chance of seeing the EX 3 in this story?
Any chance of you reading spoilertags?
Not a chance. Koishi is just here because she’s one of the very few other Touhous that could possibly have a reason to be in a non-Gensokyan SDM, and I thought it’d be fun to see her “synergize” with Flandre since they have so much in common. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy adding Nue, but this isn’t the place for her.

>>40052
Charles, you got in my head!
>> No. 40080
>'grown them out'
I thought she was talking about her wings.
>> No. 40085
As intriguing as watching Kay was in its own twisted way, I’d started to think that I needed to do something. I had no idea what Kay and Flan’s relationship was, but I was worried about the effect it was having on my mistress; someone needed to intervene, and someone more sure of themselves than me. With Flandre more subdued and not guarding exits like a prison, I wondered if I’d be able to sneak upstairs and find some help. Anyone was better than no one at that point, but… I just hoped that I could find Sakuya. If there’s one thing I knew could stand up to a girl hiding in plain sight, it was a girl who could spend an eternity looking for her. I just hoped Kay couldn’t read my mind, or make me change it without me knowing, or whatever it was she could do.

Slowly, making sure to keep my head clear and focused, I leaned over to Monica and whispered, “Don’t feel bad; you’re doing just fine. Remember, Flan’s here to protect you if Kay does anything.”

“Y-Y-You’re, leaving?” she whispered back, whimpering minutely.

“I’m… just going to make sure I’m not slacking off of work too much. Don’t worry; I’ll be back soon.” I leaned in even closer, eying Kay to make sure she was still occupied with Flandre, and then staring lovingly into Monica wide pink eyes. “Trust me, kay?”

She blinked away the beginnings of tears and nodded. “Kay.”

“Hello? Do you want something? I can’t read minds, after all~ They’re not books, more like… hmm, a lovely-lovely sandbox full of toys. I could spend all day making sand castles~”

Kay wandered back over to Monica, towering over her like a colossus with that disquieting empty smile plastered on her face. I felt horrible leaving her alone with this… thing, as I got up out of my bag and gave Flandre a lukewarm farewell, walking back into the stairwell.

“She’ll be fine,” I whispered to myself once I was sure I was out of earshot, not trusting such a personal thought to my own head anymore. “She’ll be fine… Don’t worry about it. You’re going to get help, Fran. Sakuya’ll catch her for us. You’re not leaving her…”

I walked into the basement proper, and then began to fret a little. Sakuya… where’d she say she was again? She didn’t! Had to find her, had to find her… no, don’t panic. Don’t think. If you think, Kay will find out and run away and it’ll all be for nothing. Just do. Do and do it quickly.

So I did, and what I did was fly up to the first floor and whiz around the hallways hoping to get lucky. I’m pretty sure I startled just about every one of my cousins whose head I skimmed over, and I know the girl cleaning the light fixtures probably wasn’t too pleased with me, but it was a small price to pay for speed.

As I went I kept reassuring myself out loud that everything was going to be okay, spurring myself on. “You can do this, Fran; this’ll make it all better. Didn’t they all say Kay didn’t exist? That she was just another imagination that Flandre kept having like all the other ones? Yeah… yeah, this’ll prove it! Oh, where are you Sakuya, why can’t I find you when I need you the most? Why’d Flandre have to break my beeper-thing, that’d make this… wait. Wow I’m dumb.”

In my frantic rounds through the main floor I’d been peeking into open doors where I could, and happened across the old office room no one ever really used. It looked plenty official—you could run a not-so-small business from it, probably—but those days the only thing it was good for was storing old records and things that probably only meant anything to the sisters. A white-haired fairy was about the room, wiping down the desks and file cabinets with a rag, and she looked at me quizzically as I flew inside and ran up to “her” desk.

“O-Oh, h-hi,” she greeted unsurely. “Do you, umm, want something?”

I tried to slow down my heavy breathing as I replied. “I, huh, I jus’ need… Can I use your telephone?”

“My… telephone? It’s not mine, I guess it’s… well, I guess it’s the Mistresses. You’d have to ask her, wouldn’t you?”

I didn’t really wait to think of a good response, and just picked up the receiver and dialed Sakuya’s number. While I waited for the connection to go through I added, “I’m just calling Miss Sakuya real quick; I don’t think it’s that big a deal. Don’ worry about me, you just… kept doing what you’re doing.”

“Okay, I guess… Don’t know how a telephone is supposed to find Miss Sakuya, though…”

With every ring my nerves were strung higher and higher, but I’d always known she never answered on the first ring, or even the second. This time it took her four.

“Hello? Who’s speaking?” Sakuya sounded like she was trying to whisper.

I probably spoke a bit louder than I really would have needed. “Sakuya, it’s Francesca! Please, you gotta come over here, it’s about Flandre!”

She paused for a moment, or perhaps covered the other end of her phone. It sounded like maybe she was opening and closing a door. “Is it urgent? This is… kind of a bad time.”

“I know, I know it is, but if you don’t come now it’ll be too late!”

“All right, all right, calm down, I’m coming. Where are you?”

“I’m uhh, in that one office-place, I guess, on the first floor! Where are you?

“I’m… wait, why are you there, I thought you were in the basement? I’m right down the hall from you; check outside the door.”

I fumbled with the receiver for a while, setting it down then picking it back up, not really sure if I should hang up the phone. In the end I was halfway across the room when I doubled-back and hung it back up; she knew where I was, right? Sure enough, Sakuya was walking down the hallway towards me as I peeked out of the room.

I began to ask her, “Where were you? I mean—“

“Dining room; Remilia’s taking her lunch right now. So Mrs. Herod, Patch, and… that, that… koakuma.” She definitely seemed to be harboring some resentment with that last little bit.

“What’s a, Kohak-Ooma? I didn’t know we had one, whatever it is.”

She looked flustered and tried to steady herself again, brushing one of her braids past her ear. “Oh, sorry, it’s just… never mind, it means ‘little devil girl’ in Japanese. Roughly. It’s not important. Now what’s this about Flandre you said?”

That got me back on track; I make sure to calm myself down and talk more like an adult. After all, nobody was supposed to believe Flandre about this… I just hoped she’d believe me. “Miss Sakuya, do you… remember anything about Flandre talking about some invisible girl coming to visit her?”

The silver-haired girl instantly put a hand to her face. “Oh hell, not you too… Guhh, sorry; what did she tell you?” she asked with tangible skepticism.

I’d been afraid of that; I pressed on regardless. “No, Sakuya, please, please, it’s not like that. I saw her. Monica and Flandre saw her too! She’s downstairs, in Flandre’s room, right now. She’s real, and I think she’s making Flandre’s brain even worse somehow! Please, I’m telling the truth.”

Sakuya sighed and blinked sideways a foot or so after stopping time yet again. “I just checked, Francesca. There’s no one else down there except Mistress Flandre and little Monica.”

That poor news wasn’t enough to stop me, not when I’d seen her, felt her, worn her very hat on my head. “She hides, Sakuya. Somehow she hides in your brain, and makes you think your not seeing her when you really are. I don’t know how to explain it, but… she did it, Sakuya. I know she’s down there, but if we wait too long she’s gonna know I ran to get help and run away!”

“Perhaps I should talk to Monica about this… No offense, Fran, but you’ve grown up enough to know how to play bad jokes.”

“N-No, you can’t go down there in person; Kay’ll see you! That’s, that’s her name, Miss Sakuya… Kay. I’m, I’m not lying. Why would I lie? Please… believe me.”

She thought for a little bit on that one, wasting precious seconds I didn’t think we could afford to waste. Eventually she knelt down to my level and rubbed my shoulder. “All right Fran, all right, I’m sorry. I know you’re not a liar, I shouldn’t have thought that. But… are you sure you saw what you thought you saw? Flandre can do some pretty funny things when she tries hard enough, after all.”

“I’m… I’m not crazy, Sakuya,” I quietly but assuredly responded back into her enigmatic blue eyes. “I’m not crazy, and I’m not lying. That, doesn’t leave anything left, does it? Please, you have to look harder.”

Another hesitant sigh escaped her lips. “And what am I supposed to do if I find her? Yell olly olly oxen free?”

“I… I didn’t think that far ahead. Maybe, tie her up or something? I… I just want all of us to know that Flandre wasn’t making it all up in her head…”

She patted my shoulder again. “Hey now, don’t cry; I’d like to know that too. All right, I’ll look harder this time. Just wait here; I’ll only be a few seconds.”

It’s always been so hard to sympathize with Sakuya whenever she said that, though. A few seconds for you is a few hours for her, and even though you technically know she’s been working hard without you seeing, it’s not like you know know, you know? Does she want you to pretend like nothing happened and it’s magic, or do you treat her kindly because she’s been working so hard? I found myself asking that question yet again when she blinked back in front of me after “a few seconds”. And not to be rude, but quite frankly, she looked like crap.

“Fran, she’s not there,” Sakuya announced drably, her hair bonnet missing and her silver locks lank and frizzy. ”No one is there. I looked, bloody hell did I look hard. Five hours, Fran; if anything was down in that room I’d have found it. Felt around in the hard-to-reach spots and everything. There is no third person in that room. I’m sorry, Fran.”

My face fell into a concerned frown as I thought. No third person… had she escaped? Had she figured out we were after her? Had she moved into some other part of the basement? She could have done anything… or nothing. I barely knew how to look; how could Sakuya? There had to be a way…

“You’re sure you looked all over? Did you pay attention? She skips around in the corner of your eyes if you don’t focus; she might be sitting in a bean bag and you never looked there because it was too simple. I know she’s there, Sakuya, I know she is! I held her hat in my hands; I wore her hat even! It can’t be a mistake… she’s gotta be somewhere…”

“Francesca, look…” She slumped down onto the ground, rubbing her bloodshot eyes and staring at the ground languidly afterwards. How long had it been for her since she’d slept, anyways? “I believe you, okay? I, I trust you, I know you’re not lying. But this, Kay, was it? She’s not in Flandre’s room. She is not. And I’m tired… I can’t look anymore. I’m going to go crazy if I try any more.”

“You, you must have missed something; you must have! Please, it’s not for me; it’s for Flandre! If, if we can find her, sh-show her to Remilia or somebody…” I was starting to break down just like Sakuya from all this stress, but I couldn’t… I couldn’t let her beat me! I was so close… “I, don’t want Lady Flandre to be sad… I don’t want people to think she’s lying… You, you have to do it, Sakuya. I know you can do it. I, I can’t help you look… All I can do is tell you what I know about her. Please…”

The young lady’s face was pitiful to look at, filled with weariness and uncertainty and broken aspirations. She tried lifting her eyes to my level and couldn’t even manage that. “I, I-I can’t. I, I did all I could. Please… I tried. I really tried to do what you wanted… I’m not good enough yet. Please, let me do something else… I promise I’ll do better next time…”

“But, if we, if we give up… Kay wins, and we all lose. Flandre loses.”

”I’m not perfect!” She finally snapped her head up to look at me, not crying but might as well have been. “I’m not, I’m not! I try to be! I want to be! Remilia wants me to be! But I’m not. I’ll never be, I can’t be perfect… it’s impossible… always was…”


[ ] “You… you don’t have to be perfect, Sakuya… nobody’s perfect. I don’t want you to be perfect right now. I just… want you to be better than Kay.”
[ ] “I, I don’t care if you’re not perfect, Sakuya. I’m not perfect either. You can… you can still do a good job. You can still help people.”
[ ] “What’s… Sakuya, what’s wrong? Why do you need to be perfect?”
[ ] “Hey, Sakuya… don’t cry. I, I didn’t mean to make you feel bad. Just… you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.”
[ ] Sakuya… But I didn’t have time for that! If she couldn’t help I needed to find someone who could, and fast! (Remilia/Patchy/Natasha/that “little devil girl”) was right in the dining room, yeah?
[ ] It, it wasn’t worth it. I couldn’t put her through this anymore.
--( ) Reluctantly I went back down to Flandre’s room. Guess it would just always have to be our little secret…
--( ) Guess Sakuya needed a lot more help than I thought. Maybe I needed to ask her how I could give her some real help for a change.
[ ] Some other write-in/vote alteration?
>> No. 40086
[x] “You… you don’t have to be perfect, Sakuya… nobody’s perfect. I don’t want you to be perfect right now. I just… want you to be better than Kay.”
>> No. 40087
[X] "I... I can't make you do anything you don't want to, Sakuya. And I'm not trying to hurt you or make you feel bad. We're... friends, right?"
[X] "But I'm Flandre's friend, too. And... you are too, right? And you know how much this would mean to her."
[X] "So... just one more time? I won't be angry or disappointed in you if we can't find her. I just... I don't want to give up before we've tried everything!"

[X] It was just because Sakuya didn't know what she was looking for! She was there, I'd seen her! If only there was some way for both of us to look at once...!
[X] "Sakuya, could you... take pictures of the room instead of searching by hand?"

It's a long shot, but the canonical way to beat mind-warpers is with the cold, unfeeling eyes of technology. The camera probably won't work with time stopped, but if Sakuya can unfreeze time just long enough to take a picture, she could probably cover the room in the space of a few real-world seconds, which is too soon for Kay to go anywhere. Plus, there does remain the possibility that Kay really isn't in the room, and that Flan, Fran, and Mon have just all been hit by the same Matrix-tier mind worm that creates a perfect illusion of a person where there isn't one. That'd be kind of cheap hax, but if anyone could do it, it'd be Koishi.
>> No. 40088
Hmm, I'll buy that.

[X] >>40087
>> No. 40089
[X] "I... I can't make you do anything you don't want to, Sakuya. And I'm not trying to hurt you or make you feel bad. We're... friends, right?"
[X] "But I'm Flandre's friend, too. And... you are too, right? And you know how much this would mean to her."
[X] "So... just one more time? I won't be angry or disappointed in you if we can't find her. I just... I don't want to give up before we've tried everything!"

[X] It was just because Sakuya didn't know what she was looking for! She was there, I'd seen her! If only there was some way for both of us to look at once...!
[X] "Sakuya, could you... take pictures of the room instead of searching by hand?"

are we breaking the poor perfect maid?
i hope not...
>> No. 40090
[x]>>40087

Damn I wanted to have Fran ask about the "growing out issue" such as "Why would you want to do that? They just get in the way!" (wasn't aware of the new thread until today)

And I detect breast envy from Sakuya, surprisingly not over Meiling for once.
>> No. 40098
>>40087
>Plus, there does remain the possibility that Kay really isn't in the room
She could have just left, it's pretty obvious what Fran was going to do.
>> No. 40099
[x] “What’s… Sakuya, what’s wrong? Why do you need to be perfect?”

;_;
>> No. 40100
[X] "What's... Sakuya, what's wrong? Why do you need to be perfect?"

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result from previous attempts. Fran's about to demonstrate that if she keeps pressing Sakuya to look. It's time to give up; Kay has probably left the building, and poor Sakuya is having an emotional breakdown.
>> No. 40102
[x] "What's... Sakuya, what's wrong? Why do you need to be perfect?"

I don't care about catching Kay anymore. I don't even really think it'll prove that much. I just want this poor girl to take a break.
>> No. 40104
[x] Maby Kay followed me out! Look around and try to see if she is here.

If/whan that fails

[x] It, it wasn’t worth it. I couldn’t put her through this anymore.
--(x)Ask if there is anyone who can look after flander with Monica, to make sure she's safe.
--(x) Guess Sakuya needed a lot more help than I thought. Maybe I needed to ask her how I could give her some real help for a change.
>> No. 40105
[x] "What's... Sakuya, what's wrong? Why do you need to be perfect?"
-[x]...Remilia wants you to be perfect? But that's not possible! Why... why would anyone ask a friend to do something that can't be done...?
Please stand on one leg.
>> No. 40109
4 for “Why perfect?”
4 for “One more time” write-in
1 for “Better than Kay”
1 for “Thar’s a spah creepin’ round here!”

Well, yeah, it’s a tie, but trust me when I say that the end result of either isn’t really going to be much different. I’m not one to rush an emotional scene, either, so I’ll just take both options and combine them up; gives me more to work with. The update should be ready tonight provided I don’t get distracted by TF2’s Engie update. Movable sentries~

>>40090
There’ll always be another chance, especially for something cute and awkward like that.

>And I detect breast envy from Sakuya, surprisingly not over Meiling for once.
AFT: Blasting down your precious wall of fanon, brick by brick.

>>40105
And now stand on no legs.
>> No. 40111
>>40109
Then again Meiling's figure seems more 'natural' than Koakuma's.
>> No. 40114
This… this wasn’t what I had expected. This wasn’t what I had wanted. I just… wanted her to help Flandre… I hadn’t wanted this. Never. If this was the price to pay for capturing Kay… I didn’t know if it was even worth it anymore.

I’d seen a lot of different Sakuyas over the past months. The confident, expert multi-tasker. The caring, submissive servant. The scatterbrained, overworked housemaid. The timid, insecure young woman. They were all her, just as I was equal parts brave, curious, foolish, and shy. I accepted it; I welcomed it. Everybody should have different emotions in them, shouldn’t they? But there was a limit… a horrible, disparaging limit, when I wished hidden feelings could just stay hidden forever, and never hurt anyone. Sakuya had just hit that limit like a ton of bricks, and for the longest time I didn’t know what to do. Despair… sorrow… anguish…

“…Why?” I finally brought myself to ask timidly, dropping down to my knees and leaning closer to the distraught maid. “S-Sakuya, what’s… what’s wrong? Why do… you need to be perfect? Why would you ever worry about somethin’ like, like that?”

She shook her head back and forth, looking back at her rumpled white apron again. “I… I have to. It’s my, my purpose, m-my reason to keep l-l-living here… It’s all that keeps me from… from…” She trailed off, leaving me with heaven only knows how many possible conclusions to that sentence.

Dare I come closer and touch her? It might have done as much harm as good at that point; I resisted. “But, you… Sakuya, no one’s perfect, it’s… it’s impossible! Even with all the time in the world! We’re just… we’re not made to be perfect, aren’t we?”

“That… that doesn’t mean I can’t try… to get close.”

“But, whaah, why… what’s the point? Sakuya, you’re amazing already! We little kids can’t do much of anything at all; you keep this mansion clean all by yourself, and you still have time to be a good waitress, a good cook, a good babysister… a good friend! You’ve… you’ve got everything, Sakuya; why do you want more?”

“No… no I’m not. I… I’m not a good anything. Anyone can do a good job if they have enough time… and I, I still make mistakes. I forget… I spend so much time alone, I forget why I’m alone in the first place. When you’re important, even… little mistakes can be big… I can’t let Remilia down.”

The more she talked, the less she sounded like she was genuinely distraught, and the more it sounded like she was forcing herself to say what she was saying. Or perhaps, being forced… But it couldn’t be, no, I wouldn’t let it be that! I bundled up my courage and rested my hand on her thigh, trying to “act my age” yet again.

“Sakuya… is Remilia making you do all this? Come on, it’s okay… if you’re in trouble, you know there’s people here to help you.”

She shook her head purposefully this time, raising it so if I hunched down I could just make out her eyes. “N-No, no, it’s… not like that, Fran. Please don’t… just, don’t. I, I can handle it, it’s not your problem.”

That still stunk of conspiracy. But I couldn’t just barge into her heart… anyone could tell it was weak enough already. “I… I don’t want to tell you what’s best for you, Sakuya… I probably don’t even know what’s best for me to begin with. I… I just want you to be happy.”

“I, I… I’m happy, Fran. I’m happy with… this. R-Remi, she… she just wants me to be happy too, you know.” She softly took my hand between hers, dusty and dirty and sore as they were, and smiled weakly just below her tatty hair.

I had a nigh-impossible time smiling back, and never did manage to do it in the end. “Then… why would she force you to be perfect? You said it yourself… it’s impossible, it always was. You… can’t be happy trying to do the impossible. You’ll just get sad, and frustrated, and… miserable. I… that’s not happy.”

Her eyes drifted to the side as she sighed, feeling like she was looking back into the past… or the future. “It’s not her… I’m, I’m forcing myself, Fran. Remi just… makes sure to remind me of it. A little too hard sometimes, but… it’s, it’s okay. I probably deserve it.”

“You’re… Sakuya, that doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t.”

“You… don’t know the story.” She flopped her head over to the other side, still avoiding eye contact as she worriedly massaged my hand to pass the time. “Awwwhh, I’m, I’m no good at telling it… sometimes I even wonder if I remember It right. Ask… Ask Mei. She was there. Probably, she’ll say it’s not her business… heh, just like her, so polite. But if… you tell her Sakuya wants you to know about The Sixteen Nights… she’ll tell you.” She finally took a deep breath and looked at me properly, smile lethargic and eye-sockets dark and baggy. What was this…? What story?

“Francesca, I… I was a bad person, once. I, don’t… think, that there’s a worse person living in the mansion… not even Lady Flan. I was… younger. Wilder. Life was sweet, and fun, and pleasurable… and pointless. Remi… Remi saved me before I destroyed myself… she was like, like the mother I never had. And she, she taught me how to live a better life, for… for other people. Being perfect, that’s… that’s, just… It, gives me something to do with my life. I, can’t grow up… so at least I can grow out.” She struggled for more words, but finding them nowhere she ceased to look and exhaled another bedraggled sigh. “Mei… Mei knows the rest. Well, so does Remi, I guess… if she’d tell you.”

I sat there, in that unbecoming hallway, Kay and Flandre and Monica left forgotten in the basement. Sakuya… just who were you? Where had you gone? What had you done? What had you wanted, and what had Remilia given you? You said you were fine… You said you were happy… then why did you look so sad, so tired? Why couldn’t you just take a break? Why couldn’t you just rest? China knew… Remilia knew… did I want to know? Or would it just make me as inwardly dreary as her?

After neither of us spoke for some time, she eventually let my hand slip away and stood up. “I’m… I’m sorry. You must have your own problems… there I go making you worry about mine, when they aren’t even problems. Life is harsh, sometimes… but that’s life, isn’t it? If you don’t know the bad times, how will you know the good times…?”

I got to my feet as well, realizing suddenly how wobbly and uncoordinated I felt after my soul had been cemented to the floor for what felt like ages. “That’s… that’s right, Sakuya. I, I forgive you; don’t worry about it. It’s bad to worry.”

She nodded, and then paused for an eternity. “Yes……… I, think I’m ready to look for that girl again.”

My brain skipped a few seconds. ”What?”

“I, I want to look for her again.”

All the progress my heart had made from the lowest point of Sakuya’s condition upwards suddenly crumbled as I began to panic. No no no, this was the wrong direction! “N-No, no, you don’t have to do that anymore Sakuya! Forget Kay; you were right, she probably ran away. It doesn’t matter… she’ll come back one day. We can, we can catch her later. I, I just want you to take a break.”

She sighed for about the tenth time in as many minutes, but the sigh felt like it had some life in it again. “Well… I just did. I sat down, I sorted out my thoughts, I talked to a friend… I can live with that.”

I bit my lip; don’t… don’t force it… can’t force it. "I... I can't make you do anything you don't want to, Sakuya. And I'm not trying to hurt you or make you feel bad. We're... friends, right?"

She patted me on the head. “We’re friends. But… we’re Flandre’s friend too, aren’t we? And… I know. And you know. We know what it’d mean to her, don’t we?”

“You… you don’t have to do this… you tried really hard already.”

“No, no, I guess I don’t have to… but I want to. It’s a… challenge, for me. And if you don’t even challenge yourself to be your best… how can you challenge yourself to be perfect?”

As I listened to her words, words that had started to come from the soul once more, I felt like maybe I’d fit one puzzle piece next to another. A challenge… a challenge to be the very best… to be perfect… Was it just a race? An endless race with no finish line and no winners? Because after all… even if you can’t win, it doesn’t mean running won’t make you stronger. And… if you never run, then you’ve already lost.

“Just… one more time, then?” I asked her politely, resolve returning to my heart. “I won't be angry or disappointed in you if we can't find her. But if you want to… then I don't want us to give up before we've tried everything!"

She nodded resolutely. “This time… I’m going to do my best. Now, I need you to tell me everything you know about how Kay hides, and about where she hides.”

We were back on the clock; I had to talk fast and forward. As briefly as I could I gave to her whatever I could think of. She was a trickster… she liked games… she liked interesting people… she hid in plain sight but she wasn’t stupid… she used your own brain against you… silver-mint hair and a boring black hat… Eventually my information slowed to a trickle, and Sakuya thanked me for giving her a direction.

“Oh, one more thing,” she added, scribbling notes furiously on a pad of paper. “You said we wanted to try everything. So I just want to know… how far do you think she could have gotten from the time you left to now?”

At first, I began to count the minutes that had passed on my fingers before realizing what she was really asking. And I suddenly felt very, very nervous. “S-Sakuya, you’re not… you’re not thinking about s-searching… everywhere, are you?!”

“It’s been about twenty minutes, Fran,” she remarked, checking her pocketwatch. “Do you know how fast she can move?”

“I, I, I don’t know. She was just bobbing around in the air sometimes…”

“Well, we’re going to have to estimate high, then. We don’t know what she is, but if she’s a mind-reader I wouldn’t think she can move as fast as a fairy. Sixty miles per hour, max? No, no, estimate high… hundred miles per. Twenty minutes, so, thirty-three miles. Estimate high… forty. Forty miles.”

She placed a firm and unshaking hand on my shoulder. “Francesca, Kay exists. You, and Monica, and Flandre saw her here, in the mansion, twenty minutes ago. That means she is somewhere within a forty mile radius. And I am going to find her… no matter how long it takes.”

I was speechless. Forty miles. Forty miles. And Kay was invisible. Even if Sakuya stopped her from moving… this was impossible! No one person could do it; Sakuya didn't even know what she was looking for! If only there was some way for both of us to look at once...!

"Sakuya, could you... take pictures of the room instead of searching by hand? I mean, then maybe, I could help look, or maybe Kay can’t hide from a picture!”

She shook her head sadly. “Too risky. It’s easy enough for me to move around by myself, or even pick up things, but a camera… There’s light particles bouncing around and affecting things, and every little thing is one more thing I have to concentrate on… I’ve told you before, time magic isn’t magic. There’s fussy little rules, and electronics are fussy little things. Took me long enough to make the PDA work in there. No, no, it’ll need to be with old-fashioned elbow grease, Fran.”

“But, if you could just, uhh, unfreeze for a teeny tiny second, maybe?”

“And risk Kay getting wise and jumping into a spot I’ve already checked? I know you want to help, Francine, I really do, but when you’re trying to defy Old Father Time at his own game, I’ve learned that it’s all or nothing. Trust me… this isn’t the hardest thing I’ve had to look for.”

I reluctantly had to concede; she had a point. If we wanted to find a brain-girl, the simpler the plan was the better. I couldn’t help asking in jest though, “What was the hardest?”

“Well, there’s been a few, I guess, but the one that comes to mind…” She smirked and held out one finger for every condition she listed. “Needle-In-A-Haystack. Five clues. Prize goes down with every hint. Boundaries: North America.” Shrugging, she added. “Remilia was seriously worried that I’d suffered permanent brain damage from it afterwards. But the prize was well worth it. AND, I only used three.”

I didn’t want to even attempt to comprehend the scope of that search. To this day I still don’t. “Woah… I’m sorry I asked. I, uhh, guess you’d better get going, or something?”

Reluctantly she nodded, cracking her knuckles. “Yeah, guess I’d better… Unngh, it’s been a while; sure hope I’m up to it.”

“So, uhhmm, should I be worried if you don’t come back or something…?”

“Oh, no no no; life on this side of time is too important for me to kill myself over on the other side. Sorry, uhh, if that joke’s in bad taste. Can’t say I haven’t thought about it before, though.”

“O… kay, Sakuya, that’s a little creepy.”

“Well…” she winked coyly at me, “I’ve never officially been to a psychiatrist this century. So who knows? Ahh, and one more thing—“

She kneeled down in front of me and suddenly gave me a long, warm embrace, burying her face in the fields of my grassy hair. Unexpected… awkward… confusing… but, still… nice.

“It gets pretty lonely out there; it’s nice to feel someone who’s alive before I go away~”

I blushed, rapidly. “S-Sakuya, that’s… that’s… I, don’t know what to say…”

She drew back and tussled my hair, even going so far as to give me a little kiss on the forehead! “Just say that I’ll find her, Francesca.”

“Sakuya… you’ll find her. I, I believe in you; you’ll find her!”

I noticed a little blush in her cheeks as well, but it was nothing compared to the beet red of mine. She’d… kissed me?! Yes, yes, I know, it was just a peck on the head, but still… was that something?

“All right, then, Fran,” she instructed me kindly, myself kindly obeying back. “I want you to sit down against the wall, soft and comfy, and close your eyes. There you go, there you go. Eyes tight shut? All right, now I want you to count to five, nice and slow, and by the time you get there, everything’s going to be all right. I promise you. Go ahead… you can start.”

Why was my heart beating so fast? I wasn’t the one who was about to embark on an epic quest, was I? All I had to do was count to five…

“All right, Sakuya. Here I go. Ooooonnnne…”

It’s gonna work, Fran. You did it, you beat Kay!

“Twwooooo…”

Wait, this isn’t Kay, is it? Am I me? I’d better be me! Go away not me if you’re not there!

“Thhhhrrreeeeee…”

What are we supposed to do after this, anyways?

“Fffoooouurrrr…”

Here we go, fasten those seat belts and table trays, I suppose…

“FIVE!”

+ + + + + + + + + +

Post-it notes.

I was covered… in post-it notes.

I’d barely even felt the time-jump on the “FIVE!” was out of my mouth. Had she stopped time yet? Nothing felt different. Except for the fact that I, and a fair part of the walls, was filled with all the post-it colors of the rainbow.

And every single one of them had the exact same message on it: I DID IT!

A smile as stupid and large as one of Flandre’s split across my face. She’d done it. She, had, done it! I could have cared less that I looked like a cheap cartoon puppet that crinkled when she walked—let Sakuya fool around all she wanted to after that!—because just like she had said, everything was going to be all right now.

Stuck to my right hand was a slightly larger post-it with a slightly-more-useful message on it:

I DID IT I DID IT I DID IT!!!

Found her floating in the sky sixty feet up, just outside the gate. Facing the mansion, though; not sure if she was running away or not. Anyways, duct-taped her up REAL good and brought her back to Flandre’s room; guess I’ll have to explain myself to them, won’t I? Why don’t you come down and say hello, maybe she’ll find you a little less boring now!

Hugs and kisses~
-Sakuya


I saw no reason why not; not to be haughty, but I dare say I’d earned just a little bragging rights! Arms trailing joyfully out behind me, I ran down the halls towards the basement, ironically realizing that all these post-its were going to have to get cleaned up by Sakuya, wouldn’t they?

“SAAKUUYAAAAAAAAA!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?!?!”

Oh. Yeah. Remilia. I had to hand it to her, her voice carried quite well; I was already almost into the basement and I could still hear her clear as a bell from the dining room!



[ ] Maybe… I should clear things up with the Mistress first? As carefree as it was for me, I didn’t exactly think it was Remilia’s brand of humor. (Also remove, or do not remove Post-its?)
[ ] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--( ) There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible! (Also remove, or do not remove Post-its?)
--( ) I waited for a spell before going into Flandre’s room; just long enough for Sakuya to probably tell them just what happened. (Also remove, or do not remove Post-its?)
--( ) Why not make a grand entrance to celebrate our victory over the “Kay-In-The-Haystack”? (Write in an EPIC MANEUVER!)

Regardless, you’ll probably also want to write in what questions/comments/actions you want to ask/tell/do to the people you’ll be visiting next update! I’m looking at you, >>40090!
>> No. 40116
[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--(X) There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
----{X} Remove the post-it notes? No time!

Assuming a perfect hemisphere, a 40-mile radius is ~134,000 cubic miles. That's ~1/30th the volume of the Arctic Ocean, or ~50 Grand Canyons.

So yeah, I would ordinarily vote to mollify Remilia, but it is imperative that we get to Sakuya and give her a hug and/or brofist as soon as physically possible.
>> No. 40117
[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--[X] There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
---[X] Remove the post-it notes? No time!
----[X] Hug Sakuya when I get the chance.


Awesome Sakuya is awesome.
>> No. 40118
File 127883063585.jpg - (184.30KB , 580x700 , 744bc09a79706d651dd827e497ce0d0a.jpg ) [iqdb]
40118
I've said it before, but this Sakuya kicks every other Sakuya's ass.
>> No. 40119
[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--[X] There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
---[X] Remove the post-it notes? No time!
----[X] Hug Sakuya when I get the chance.
Sakuya!
>> No. 40120
[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--[X] There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
---[X] Remove the post-it notes? No time!
----[X] Hug Sakuya when I get the chance.
Sakuya!

Well some things have Sakuya and Meiling as very good friends as it seems the case here.
>> No. 40123
[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--[X] There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
---[X] Remove the post-it notes? No time!
----[X] Hug Sakuya when I get the chance.
----{X} Remove the post-it notes? No time!

She may not be perfect but she's damn close.
>> No. 40125
>>40116
>134,000 cubic miles
She was 60 feet above the mansion gate, Sakuya probably didn't even have to leave the grounds before spotting her.
>> No. 40129
Don't forget to write-in questions or comments for other characters, you all! I won't have you complaining about why you didn't ask Kay her three sizes when she obviously couldn't have stopped you from measuring them yourself anyways!
>> No. 40132
[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--(x) There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
----(x) Leave the Post-Its on.

Fran isn't the type to burst in and yell "How you like me now, bitch!?" The stickies will make that statement for us.

Questions:
- The best time for "Why would you grow them out anyway? Wouldn't they get in the way?" would be right after Flandre feels her up and says, "So when are you going to grow these out? Oh wait -- you can't."
- We should also ask where she came from. The magical deadzone around the mansion has been there for quite a long time. Has she been here the whole time? Did she pass through it or go around it, like Koa getting summoned but not? Since Flandre was right about Kay, she may have been right about other "oases" existing.
>> No. 40133
>>40132 's questions

[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--(x) There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
----(x) Leave the Post-Its on.

Did i mention i will have to start preparations to make a statue in your name Tepes?
>> No. 40137
[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--[X] There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
---[X] Remove the post-it notes? No time!
----[X] Hug Sakuya when I get the chance.

Questions:
- The best time for "Why would you grow them out anyway? Wouldn't they get in the way?" would be right after Flandre feels her up and says, "So when are you going to grow these out? Oh wait -- you can't."
- We should also ask where she came from. The magical deadzone around the mansion has been there for quite a long time. Has she been here the whole time? Did she pass through it or go around it, like Koa getting summoned but not? Since Flandre was right about Kay, she may have been right about other "oases" existing.

Also this story has just knocked Retrospective and Astronomical Narraration of the top of my 'best thing ever written at THP' list.

Good show Tepes.
>> No. 40151
About a thousand votes for let Remilia stew a bit. Give or take a few.
Zero votes for anything else. Give or take none.

A bit surprised that nobody voted for Remilia, but it’s fun either way. Writing/updating tonight unless my friends drag me away, in which case it’ll be tomorrow morningish instead. But you’ve heard that story about twenty times now; I should just make a copy-pasteable template for it instead, but templates like that are forbidden that takes all the fun out it.

>>40116
But wouldn’t that be a hofist?

>>40117
>>40118
Which is funny when you think about it, considering her awesome-yet-ass-kickable personality would easily get her ass kicked by every other bitchy and elegant perfect meido out there. As far as you know~

>>40133
So long as I get to choose my own silly hat and memorable quote.

>>40137
Woah, now! RaAN is a legend; you sure about saying that out loud? I’m, I’m flattered… But d-don’t think this means I like you or anything, b-because I do! Wait, no, I don’t! Y-you’re making me all confused!
>> No. 40184
[X] Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways!
--(x) There was no need to dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible!
----(x) Leave the Post-Its on.
Comments later
>> No. 40185
Herein lies Princess Tepes. Creator of fairies, protector of meidos.

Wait, that's more of an Epitaph, right?
>> No. 40188
But, Remilia could wait; a little playful humor would be good for her! We’d be coming back up to show her the rat we’d caught anyways! And I’m sure she’d forgive Sakuya in the end once this was all sorted out. I thought about waiting for a smidge to peel the post-it notes off me and give Sakuya a chance to explain just what had happened to the others, but no time! I couldn’t dally; I wanted to catch the looks on everyone’s faces as soon as possible! Remilia’s annoyed screaming eventually dampened as I got lower into the mansion, and for Sakuya’s sake I was glad it didn’t reach down to Flan’s room. I had to hand it to her; she’d really gone the extra mile with those post-it notes. Even the basement hadn’t escaped her stickied fury. I had a feeling I’d be helping her pick them up later on in the day, but it was worth every second.

I was really quite glad nobody had bothered to close Flandre’s door in a while; having to knock on it each time was such a hassle. I burst through into the warm little room, itself devoid of the post-it rainbow, and saw to my great satisfaction a duck-taped worm wriggling around the carpet wearing dull mint hair and a black hat. Sakuya was sitting on top of the dinner table, both feet stretched out in front of her using Worm-Kay as a footrest, while the other two girls in the room carried equal looks of confusion and awe.

“SAKUYA~!!”

I hadn’t exactly intended to tackle her off the table, but in the end it was the same thing. At least the table was short.

“Ahhgk! Ahh, Fran, okay, okay~! I’m—uhn—I’m happy to see you too!”

“I, I can’t believe you actually did it, Sakuya! You did it! Sakuya, you’re so awesome~!”

“Okay, I get it, I get it! You’re—hehn—you’re kinda pinning me to the ground here, Fran! And it’s, huhn, it’s getting a little hard to breathe, too.”

“Screw that; dogpiiiile!” Flandre flopped down on top of me without warning, vainly attempting to stretch her little arms around us both. “Come on, Kay, you’re missing all the fu~uuun~”

“I don’t really see what’s so enjoyable… Will anybody be turning me around at some point?”

“Nnnnope~!”

Evevtually Flandre rolled off of me and let me bounce back off of Sakuya. As I helped her back to her “seat” at the table, I noticed she looked… different. Happier, more carefree, more satisfied I suppose. I figured she was still basking in the afterglow of her huge success, but I wondered if maybe the casual clothes had something to do with it? That was a good point, after all; I never saw her in anything but her frilly maid uniform, or a snappish pantsuit on some rare occasions. So seeing her in stuff like a navy tank top, black biker shorts and bare feet… It made me smile on the inside. Even she should be allowed to “let her hair down” once in a wile, shouldn’t she?

“Francie… why are you covered in paper?” Monica asked, pointing to my less-than-stylish garb.

I chuckled a little and shrugged. “Oh, heh heh, that. It’s, uhh… Sakuya, how far have you gotten, anyways?”

“Somewhere,” she answered, flopping her noticeably tiny feet back down onto Kay (to keep her from flying away, maybe?). “You can tell them if you want; there’s not much more to say once you think about it.”

“Ahh, nah, thanks, but I’d just be interrupting. Hi again, Miss Flan. I hope you liked our present~”

The little sister rolled down to the ground on all fours and crawled up right next to Kay’s face, poking the prisoner’s nose like a curious cat. “Is it supposed to do something?”

“I think it’s a, mind puzzle, or something,” I replied coyly, pulling up a beanbag next to Monica again. “You know, like those funny things you fiddle around with for hours and never get anywhere with?”

She put on a frown I didn’t think was entirely fake. “Oh. Those. I hate those. They make me sad and frustrated and want to strangle something. Hey look! This mind puzzle comes with a built-in neck for just such an occasion!” She started to wrap her hands around Kay’s neck and flop her head back and forth like a rag doll before Sakuya gave her a rather withering stare.

“If I were anybody but the anybody who I am, I think maybe I’d be morbidly afraid right about now. But I’m not. This is really quite fascinating~” the duct tape worm commented as Flandre let her body roll back down to the floor, hat tipping off her head.

Giving credit where credit was due, I thought Kay was handing her predicament rather well. Being wrapped into submission completely out of the blue, and surrounded by people whose relationships with you are dubious at best… I’d be pretty scared, at least. In fact, the fact that she was not only not scared, but seemingly unconcerned at all, was a little frightening in its own right. The pitch of her voice never changed, the blank look on her face never wavered; she might as well have still been floating around the room stuffing her face into people’s personal space.

It was at least intriguing enough to get me out of my beanbag for a while and crawl up next to her; there was no need for me to repay her disinterest in me with more of the same. “So, uhh, hi again Miss Kay. Sorry about all-a this, but I… Well, you were just being mean. And Flandre wanted to prove you exist.”

She smiled pointlessly again. “Oh, look, it’s the boring girl. How did a little boring girl like you catch somebody like me?”

It took me a few seconds to come up with a good retort, but it was worth it. “I guess… hmm… I may be little, but, little’s a lot when you have a big friend.” I cast a quick, bashful glace to Sakuya, who quickly covered up the cute little smile on her face.

“Well that proves nothing; she’s boring too. She thinks she too busy to pay attention to people like me. Repressed guilt, false sense of insecurity, shooting for the moon and missing just to land among the stars, if I wanted that I’d have stayed at home.”

Flandre leaned in closer. “Oh, you’ve got people like that at home? Do tell~”

“No~”

Sakuya tapped her heel against the prisoner playfully and rolled her over again. “Well this boring girl took some time out of her busy schedule for once. And it turns out you’re not really that good at hiding.”

“Mathematically, it’s one day of victory for you, and quite a number of years of victory for me. Why is everyone celebrating suddenly? Does it make you win more?”

“It’s not who wins the most, Kay-Kay, it’s who wins last! So you lose, good day ma’am, and I hope you have fun here in County.”

Kay rolled her eyes lazily. “You won’t keep me here~”

The vampire quickly pushed Sakuya’s feet away and sat on Kay’s stomach, straddling her like a horse. She looked at her seductively, licking her lips. “Sayeth who~?” I sure hoped that insinuation was just a joke…

The mind puzzle tried to shrug, discovered that duck tape is pretty strong, and just tilted her head back and forth instead. “Oh, you know who.”

“Dang, Sakuya, she’s got a point there. Curses, foiled again! I swear, one day I’ll find that mole! I know you’ve got a mole right under your left boob, Sakky, but that’s probably not the kind I was talking about! Also yeah there’s no mole, I’m my own worst enemy, but The Shadow doesn’t know what lurks in the hearts of men, because I’m a woman, and also not human. Is he your ex, Kay? Don’t answer that.”

After that heartwarming reminder that Flandre was Flandre, she gave up on mounting Kay and tried to worm herself into my beanbag instead. Any other day I’d have told her there wasn’t enough room before predictably getting shoved out of the chair, but that day… well, she could sit on top of me or something; we’d make room.

“Are we having fun over here in this awesome chair, Frank?”

“Well, more fun than I was in it thirty minutes ago, I guess. Or thirty seconds ago, now that you’re sitting in it too. You’re a pretty fun girl after all, my lady.”

“Really? I try not to be; fun is only fun as long as it’s fun, and once it stops being fun and starts being not fun, that’s not fun at all. Not fun things can be fun too, though, if you just stop worrying and try to have fun. But that’s only the kind of stuff I can do because I can change a murder charge to a manslaughter charge, plead insanity, and break out of the mental institute later on good behavior! No I haven’t actually done that. This century. That you know of~”

Flandre talking too fast to be understood has its benefits too, I suppose; helps you not realize the kind of awful things she’s making jokes out of. Currently I was just trying to wiggle myself into a little more comfortable position while still trying to keep a line of sight to Sakuya and Duct-Kaype. Not easy when Flandre’s legs were busy getting tangled up with mine, her wings were acting like guard rails, and she kept elbowing my chest “accidentally”. Which reminded me…

“Hey, Flandre? I, uhh, I was just wondering, I guess, eehhh…” Why does nobody teach you how to talk about the things you’ll actually have trouble talking about? Probably so they can laugh at you because they had the same problem when they were little. Live and learn, I reckon. “W-Well, when Kay asked why you don’t grow, uhh, those out more… what was she talking about, exactly? I mean, I kinda know, but I don’t, really, uuhhh… know.”

Was that Sakuya who had just snorted, or Kay? I sure hoped it wasn’t Monica; all hope would be lost, then. “Oh, those?” She reached behind her back and unceremoniously squeezed one of my breasts.

“Aack! Wh-wha?! Flandre!”

“Those are called breasts, boobies, busoms, tits, jugs, and/or melons. You have some, ‘cause you’re like a couple hundred years old or some buggery like that. I don’t, ‘cause I’m nine.”

“W-well, yeah, I knew that already… wait, melons? But no, no, I mean, uhh, girls can’t, just, grow them out, right?”

She turned her head around and looked at me endearingly. “Oh, you poor poor sweet little girl… you never read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, did you?”

“I, uhh, watched the movie!”

She glared at me suddenly with fiery eyes, stepping back just far enough to shove her finger into my face. “YOU! YOU ARE THE CANCER THAT’S KILLING SOCIETY! OUR PAST WILL BE LOST BECAUSE OF YOOOOOU! It’s some vampire thing, Fran,” she added calmly, suddenly sitting back into my lap cool and collected like nothing had ever happened. “Drink more blood, look younger. Drink less, look older. I can’t believe Hollywood never exploited that more. ‘Cause I’m all like pretty and sexy-tall when I’m grown up, if I’d care, which I don’t, ‘cause there’s no one to sex here anyways and Remi gets jealous. Helps a lot with running around Europe pretending you’re a different person every few decades while trying to seduce peoples and marry yourself into power before staging your death and calling yourself your own daughter. But I was in the basement for all that; go bother Remi. She likes to be bothered.”

I stared as her quizzically (as well as I could at least, being cemented under her), looking her up and down. An adult Flandre? It makes sense when you think about it. Blood is life-food, or something, so why couldn’t a vampire get “fat” or “thin” on life just like humans get on food? “That’s… pretty cool, actually, Miss Flan. Kinda like Thérèse a little, and she’s cool too. I, think I’d like to see that some day, maybe.”

“Heh, you say that,” Sakuya commented, grinning, “But it’s only cool for about the first two minutes. You think she’s a handful now when she’s four foot one, try and keep her still when she’s six foot five!”

“Six six, Sakuya, I so deserve to be as tall as Michael Jordan! I thought we agreed my head was in fact flat when you took that measurement!”

“Well your chest sure wasn’t~”

“You’re dodging the issue!”

“Uhh, ex, excuse me? Excuse me? Can, we, talk about something that makes a, a little more sense, please?” Monica had been attempting to get our attention for quite a while, it looked like, but of course mustering the courage to interrupt us took some doing for a sprite like her.

“Ahh, sorry, Monica, I forgot!” I exclaimed, getting too caught up with Flandre to remember the slightly more pressing issues at hand. “Go ahead, Sakuya, you’d better finish your story.”

“Right right, now then… Umm, where was I again?”

“How soon you forget such a simple thing~ I’m beginning to think it really was just luck; this type of person can’t possibly know how to control her own mind.”

Flandre lightly smacked Kay’s face with her own hat. “Hey, a you, shut up! You’re in no position to feel superior, little rat-in-a-trap!”

“But I never feel anything, Flandre; shouldn’t you know that by now?”

It was just more of the same all the way through Sakuya’s remaining explanation. The way Flandre was acting I really couldn’t tell if she actually hated Kay or not; their playful banter was just a little too casual and too cryptic to tell. I had a feeling their relationship wasn’t as tense as I’d first thought, but whether it was or not, Flandre was certainly enjoying herself, and Sakuya too for that matter. Eventually we managed to finally get all of us caught up to speed, at which point I asked a simple question that I thought was pertinent enough, but only sent Flandre rolling into a fit of laughter.

“What?!” I responded indignantly. “What’s so funny, I’m just asking where she’s from!”

“Heeheehee, tha-hat’s what funny-hee-hee! Oooohhh, Francis, you’re a real piece-a pie. Cake. Work.”

“I don’t get it.”

She finally slid off my lap and slung her arm over my shoulder. “Girl, I have been asking her that for God-know-how-long-because-I-lost-count-God-knows-how-long-ago. An’ she’s been stonewalling for longer than that; don’t question it because it doesn’t make any sense. She knows that I know she knows I know I think she knows I’m pretty sure I know that it’s the most important thing she knows. Which is why the little bitch won’t say anything, isn’t that right?” She glared at her “friend”, who of course did nothing but stare back at her.

“Non-associative profanity really isn’t of any benefit when you know I won’t take offense to it, Flandre~”

“It’s a game to her, Fran,” she continued, calming down a little. “Game after game after game. One of her Top Five most interesting minds of all time… it’d be a shame to waste it, wouldn’t it? Why not see how she reacts when I do this, or that, or take this away from her? Sane people do sane things; sane people are boring boring boring. But crazy people… well, you just don’t know, do you? Even their subconscious is broke, isn’t it? What fun I’ll have with the little vampire in the basement, she says~ I don’t have a heart, so it doesn’t matter that I’ll never tell her where I live, she says~ Does she want to know so she can come visit me? I don’t know, I can’t read minds, she says… If I wasn’t so busy feeling sorry for you on the inside I’d hate you on the outside, Kay.”

“Fascinating, Flandre. Always fascinating to listen to you try and complain. I don’t even have to do anything~”

The room slowly died down a bit, the so-called lover’s quarrel breaking our previously-ecstatic mood. Not that we weren’t still having a good time, of course, it was just a lull. Flandre had the magic ability to create those out of thin air.

Monica piped up again. “Sooooo… what now?”


[ ] What now indeed? I’d help you out but I’m lazy. Write something so I don’t have to.
>> No. 40193
[x] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war
BLOOD FOR THE UU~ GOD.
Dunno, thought she may like a bit more 'intruder action' after that meeting with the Hunter.
>> No. 40194
>Duct-Kaype

gunfingers.jpg

I didn't think of this earlier but it occurs to me that I want to know.

[X] "Sakuya, how long were you searching for?"

Then

[X] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war.

Then

[X] Take off the post-its.
>> No. 40195
>So seeing her in stuff like a navy tank top, black biker shorts and bare feet…
Mmmmm.

[X] "Sakuya, how long were you searching for?"
[X] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war.
[X] Take off the post-its.
>> No. 40196
[X] "Sakuya, how long were you searching for?"
[X] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war.
[X] Take off the post-its.
>> No. 40198
[X] "Sakuya, how long were you searching for?"
[X] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war.
[X] Take off the post-its.

And then Fran was this story's Mikuru.

http://danbooru.donmai.us/post/show/403130/

Might this be akin to Adult Flan?
>> No. 40201
[X] "Sakuya, how long were you searching for?"
[X] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war.
[X] Take off the post-its.

Koishi has been here for years? Stop messing around with Flan, dammit.
>> No. 40203
Awesome. Just amazing. This really made my day.
It was a mistake reading these last two updates during a break at work. I was really hard pressed not to laugh or cry.

[X] "Sakuya, how long were you searching for?"
[X] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war.
[X] Take off the post-its.

In that order!
>> No. 40208
[x] "Sakuya, how long were you searching for?"
[x] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war.
[x] Take off the post-its.
I love my spoils of war
>> No. 40209
[x] "Sakuya, how long were you searching for?"
[x] Carry the duct tape worm to Remilia as spoils of war.
[x] Take off the post-its.

Good idea. Let's show that to Uuu~ Mistress, so Sakuya can be complimented.
>> No. 40224
File 127905538345.jpg - (971.53KB , 880x1200 , FlandreAdultMaybe.jpg ) [iqdb]
40224
9 votes for to the victor’s sister go the spoils.

Sometimes I feel like I’m doing something wrong if the vote is completely one-sided. Then I remember I knew the vote was going to be one-sided in the first place, and this is just a thinly-veiled excuse to write two 2,000 word updates instead of one 4,000 word update. Still, if any of you think the update endings/vote options could be handled better for a more intriguing variety of voter possibilities, feel free to passive-aggressively call me out on it.

Oh yeah, updating sometime this evening, and stuff.

>>40194
>gunfingers.jpg
POW! HA HA! I AM CREDIT TO TEAM!

>>40195
I can’t draw it, so it’s the next best thing~

>>40198
>And then Fran was this story's Mikuru.
Point, but Sakuya would make a much better Mikuru to Remilia’s Haruhi, leaving Francesca open for Kyon’s spot.

>Adult Flan
A fine lady, to be sure. That one looks too elegant and reserved to be AFT’s Flandre, though; reminds me too much of Yukari. This one I’ve got here is a little closer to the image I’ve got in my head, but it’s still missing something. I’d really rather let my words do the painting when it comes down to it.

>>40201
But it’s fun. And you know she deserves it.

>>40203
Making your day makes my day, too~
Disclaimer: AFT should not be consumed if you are grimdark, SRS BSNS or may become SRS BSNS. Possible side effects may include drowsiness, spontaneous laughter, light-headedness, awesome.jpg, sympathy for the devil, and SO MOE I’M GONNA DIE! If symptoms persist consult your musician. Ask your writefag today and see if AFT is right for you.

AF & T: Their world. Delivered.


P.S. – I kept reading it as “post tits”. No, you won’t see that in the update.
>> No. 40230
>“post tits”

I just imagined Flan dragging Koakuma somewhere, stripping her to her panties then putting a couple of post Its to complete the joke.

>A fine lady, to be sure. That one looks too elegant and reserved to be AFT’s Flandre, though; reminds me too much of Yukari. This one I’ve got here is a little closer to the image I’ve got in my head, but it’s still missing something. I’d really rather let my words do the painting when it comes down to it.

That's more in general than AFT's one, and I reserved isn't something I think of with Yukari. Then again I'd imagine Yukari taunting Reimu and Remilia with her figure just for fun.
>> No. 40237
>No, you won’t see that in the update.
Aaawww.
>> No. 40238
File 127907328669.jpg - (35.55KB , 490x620 , 0b8895ecd9ff488b18eb3a16a72e08ca.jpg ) [iqdb]
40238
>> No. 40245
File 127908119598.jpg - (797.72KB , 1500x1487 , FlandreAdultAlsoMaybe.jpg ) [iqdb]
40245
>>40230
>I just imagined Flan dragging Koakuma somewhere, stripping her to her panties then putting a couple of post Its to complete the joke.
I… really have no comeback for this. I wouldn’t even know how to hypothetically put that into AFT period! Good show; you’ve stumped me.

>That's more in general than AFT's one, and I reserved isn't something I think of with Yukari.
By Yukari I meant that’s she’s just sitting there all smug like, “Yeah, I know what’s what, and I’m gonna sit here and play coy with you, but in the end I’m the mastermind and you’re a worm.” The long flowing hair and suspicious eyes seem very Yukari-like to me as well.

>>40237
Oh fine; I’ll post tits for you. But only because it's another vaguely-close-to-vision adult Flandre pic.

>>40238
That is awesome, and you are equally awesome for finding that awesomeness.
>> No. 40249
I shrugged. “Take ‘er to Remilia, I guess. That’s what this is all about, after all.”

Flandre perked up. “I’ve yet to be informed of that; who gave you that information?! Who are you working for?”

“Flan, it’s… your idea, wasn’t it? Catching Kay to prove she exists?”

“You’ve achieved nothing; you’re doing nothing but repeating every word I say!”

“Nnno, I’m, I’m actually not.”

“I’m sick of your double-talk!” She jumped up and snatched up Kay like she weighed no more than a pillow and slung her over her shoulder; an impressive feat considering Kay was a good deal taller than her. “You don’t deserve this present anymore, Franc! I’ll give it to someone who appreciates it! Like my sister! Giving rats to their masters is a cat’s job!” With her free hand she reached out and stroked the back of Sakuya’s hair affectionately. “Nice kitty~ Nice kitty caught big fat rat for mistress~ Kitty want take rat to mistress~?”

Sakittya rolled her eyes and smiled warmly. “Kitty’s fine, milady. Go show your sister what we found.”

“Yay! Sack-a potatoooooes! We’re gonna have good eats tonight because I’m soooo noooot Iiiiiriiiish!” She hoisted Kay over her head with both arms and shot out the doorway. How she managed to avoid smacking the girls’ head on the low-hanging door I still can’t really understand, but somehow she managed.

“Did… anyone understand what that was supposed to mean…?” Monica asked politely, starting blankly at the open door.

Sakuya held her hands up and sighed, getting back to her feet. “To the victor goes the spoils, I guess…?”

“That still doesn’t help. Francie? Do you know?”

“I think it means we’d better follow her before she tries to feed Kay to Remilia.” Not that I actually thought she would, but… well, when it came down to it, she was annoyed with her, and they were vampires. I started to roll out of my chair, Monica already out of hers and giving me her tiny hand to help. Not that it make much difference, really, but it was still a nice thought. Sakuya swirled her finger at me skeptically.

“You, uhh, might want to take those stickies off-a you before heading up. Just… in case.”

I wouldn’t say I’d completely forgotten about the post-its, but it’s amazing the kind of things you can get used to when you’re busy thinking about other things. A lot of them had already fallen off anyways after all the hugging and getting sat on, and the rest brushed off not more harder than dry leaves in autumn. Whilst “undressing” myself I pointed a similar swirling finger back at Sakuya.

“You, uhh, might want to take those biker shorts off-a you before heading up. Just… in case.”

“Wait… I’m still wearing those?!” She was dressed back in her maid uniform in a flash, but the blush on her cheeks had still not managed to dissipate. “I knew I’d forgotten something… heh, sorry you had to see that.”

“You, you don’t have to apologize, Miss Sakuya,” Monica commented as we slipped out of the room and Sakuya locked it behind her. “I, still think you look nice in normal-y clothes too!”

The maid smirked as she patted our little friend on the head. “Well, thank you for that, Miss Monica. I think so too, but Remilia’s Remilia after all. She does like living in style, and stuff like that throws it off.”

We were just about to go up the stairs when we saw Flandre flying down them, handing Kay off to us like an oversized baton. “Forgoterhat gottagogetit isitlockigot akeydonworry, heeroldthis!” Sakuya just managed to catch the girl and heft her to a standing position before Remilia’s sister vanished around a corner again, nearly knocking poor Monica over in her rush. Fortunately I caught her midway, and she flew back to her feet.

“Uhhn, I’d’ve thought I’d’ve gotten, used to that by now…” she lamented, her face falling slightly.

“Hey, hey, don’t be like that, Mon’!” I consoled, straightening her uniform a little. “You know, not getting used to it is a sign that you’re still sane. Life’s fulla stuff like that, after all.”

“Well… sometimes I think life’s a little too full.”

“Don’t we all, girls, don’t we all,” Sakuya added assuredly, checking Kay over and even brushing her hair a little straighter with a magically-produced hairbrush.

“You are very superfluous, aren’t you Sakuya?” Kay commented dreamily.

Sakuya make no reply at first, and only continued to brush Kay’s hair for her. Eventually she replied, “You might not care how you look in front of the mistress, but I do. I’m expected to do superfluous things.”

“I can’t help that; I’m a rat in a trap right now, aren’t I~?”

“No, you’re a fox in a henhouse, Kay,” Flandre interjected as she reappeared and jammed Kay’s hat back onto her head, much to Sakuya’s chagrin, “and Old Farmer Withers is here with his blunderbuss to give the meddling Scooby gang what for! You have made me cry foxy wolf for the last time, Starscream! Now transform and roll with the gangstas!”

Monica and I looked at each other; nope, neither of us caught one bit of that. If Sakuya did she sure wasn’t saying anything. Flandre took Kay back again and kept walking, with us trailing behind.

“By the way, Sakuya… how long were you looking for Kay, anyways?”

“O-Oh, that? You really don’t want to know.”

“Well… yes, I do, ‘cause otherwise I wouldn’t be asking.”

She twirled a braid around in her fingers. “It’s, uhh… hard to say, really. I mean, there’s no days or nights in there; I just sleep whenever I get too tired. Sometimes it’s twenty-four hours, sometimes it’s not. I didn’t, really, keep track.”

Sorry Sakuya; she should have known better than to think that’d be good enough for me. “Come on, you’ve gotta know something. Can you remember how many times you went to sleep, at least?”

“Ehh… forty, I guess? Or maybe fifty? It only took like five sessions or so to catch her once I went outside; I remember that much.”

Fifty day-ish sessions… A month and a half. All day, every day, looking for one thing. I could barely even comprehend that, let alone the North America Incident. “Woooahh… that’s, that’s amazing Sakuya. You’re perfect enough for me, at least~”

“Oh shush, no I’m not. Like I said, if you know what you’re doing and have enough time, anyone can look like an expert. I’m probably one of the most incompetent time-mages in the world for my level of ability.”

“Well, duh,” Flandre sassed back, the five of us finally outside the dining room, conspicuously silent. Had Remilia yelled herself out of breath? “Of course you’re the most incompetent, because you’re the only one left!

I noticed Sakuya twitch a little at that comment, as well as a… slightly-increased smile from Kay? That was just uncalled for… We all knew in the backs of our minds that the world was running out of magic… no need to remind us…

“Psst… someone wanna open the door for me?” Flan whispered. “Wanna pretend like everything is fine and nothing is wrong because nothing is wrong~” Sakuya rolled her eyes again, but held the door open for us all anyways, Flandre quietly tiptoeing in first.

“REEMMMIIIIIIEEEE! IT FOLLOWED ME HOME, CAN I KEEP IT, CAN I CAN I?!”

In hindsight, did any of us really expect her to do anything different?

Any of us that weren’t Monica?

The dining room had always been a funny place. Built to accommodate dozens with the highest class, yet currently set up to accommodate dozen. A single lonely round table sat offset from the center of the room, close to the convenient kitchen door. Dining rooms in big mansions with vampires are always supposed to be scary and ominous, aren’t they? Because even at nighttime, ours just always looked so… sad. Empty, and longing to be filled with more than it was being given. I had no memories of grand dinners and luxurious entertainment, but I could tell our mistress had, even if none of them had happened in the room itself.

The mistress in question was seated with Mrs. Natasha on her left, and Patchouli on her right. Surprisingly the demon-girl was seating next to Patchouli as well, finally dressed in a comfortable looking black dress with divided skirts, and simple white shirt underneath. Had her breasts shrunk? There was no mistaking their reduction in size even from that distance. I didn’t pay it much mind though; more importantly, she was… behaving? She certainly wasn’t shooting her mouth off at everyone and berating them into the ground, though the human and her seemed to be exchanging very harsh glances.

Post-its were still scattered around the walls as the remaining three of us walked more reservedly into the room behind Flandre, who was busy leaning up close to the table across from her sister hugging Kay like a stray kitten. Which would have been a perfect parallel except for the fact that kittens’ fur isn’t duct-tape silver in color, and Kay was over a head taller than her captor, forcing Flandre to stick her head off to the side instead.

Remilia lowered her eyelids at the spectacle, dessert fork in the middle of spearing some strawberry confection. Predictably getting no use out of staring at the two “special” girls, she turned to our pack of maids instead.

“…Explanation?”


[ ] Too lazy to word this in the first person right now. Pick which of the five conspirators you want to give the “explanation”, and I’ll make it work, somehow. (Yes, you can even vote for Kay.)
[ ] Don’t know how you can write-in this, but whatever.
>> No. 40252
[X] Fran
-[X] "I'd like you to meet Kay, Flandre's not-so-imagininary 'friend'." (Air quotes on friend optional, but preferred.)

More proof that crazy people don't lie, they just say the truth according to their view.

>as well as a… slightly-increased smile from Kay?
She's waiting to drop that bomb, isn't she?

And did Sakuya practically re-wallpaper the whole mansion?
>> No. 40254
>>40245
Heh, but I can imagine your Flan doing something like that (She went about groping Fran); dunno about now seeing how Patchy did something to reduce the lewdness of Koakuma's breasts.

[X] Fran
-[X] "I'd like you to meet Kay, Flandre's not-so-imagininary 'friend'." (Air quotes on friend optional, but preferred.)
>> No. 40255
[x] Kay
>> No. 40259
[x] Flandre
I honestly don't want her to explain, but I wouldn't be such a dick as to steal her triumphant thunder.
Now I'm just waiting for Kay to reveal that it was really her who was behind Sakuya, and escape somehow.
>> No. 40261
[X] Fran
-[X] "I'd like to introduce you to 'Kay' She's our intruder du jour and Flandre's not-so-imaginary 'friend'. Her hobbies include, but are not limited to, trespassing into private territory, insulting maintenance staff and bothering your sister."
>> No. 40262
[X] Fran
-[X] "I'd like you to meet Kay, Flandre's not-so-imagininary 'friend'."
>> No. 40265
File 127914038572.jpg - (424.68KB , 600x877 , Basically this minus panel two.jpg ) [iqdb]
40265
4 for Fran
1 for Flan
1 for the Klan KKK: Koishi “Kay” Komeji

Would normally let this vote go longer, but I’ve got more time to write now than I do in the evening, and a few more hours probably wouldn’t be long enough to tip over a three-vote lead. So we’ll go with than, then.

>>40252
>More proof that crazy people don't lie, they just say the truth according to their view.
Works in principle, but if they’re wrong, they’re still wrong, even if they think they’re not.

>She's waiting to drop that bomb, isn't she?
Waiting for the appropriate time, perhaps. The bomb has to be hot first, then she can drop it.

>And did Sakuya practically re-wallpaper the whole mansion?
No no no, nothing that thick or that extensive. She hit the hallways and a few select rooms, but they’re only about half as dense as the below link:
http://www.adaptivepath.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/post-its.JPG

>>40254
>Heh, but I can imagine your Flan doing something like that (She went about groping Fran)
I can too, but the problem is Koa probably wouldn’t let her, and even if she’s not stronger than Flandre she’s slippery enough to get away. I suppose I could think of something if I had to.

>dunno about now seeing how Patchy did something to reduce the lewdness of Koakuma's breasts.
Any sufficiently simple technology is indistinguishable from magic. Picture related.

>>40259
Getting everyone to believe that Kay is actually Sakuya and Sakuya is the captured one would be the epicest of epic mind tricks. But not even brain power and a spacy smile can stand against the might of duct tape. And after all, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game~…
>> No. 40268
Hooray!
>> No. 40269
{Monica,
- {"Th,this is Kay. We were playing hide-and-seek."}}

Inconsequential vaton geams~
>> No. 40273
Oh damn, forgot to vote. Ah, well, this works too.

>Waiting for the appropriate time, perhaps. The bomb has to be hot first, then she can drop it.
Without first ensuring that the pimp is, in fact, in the crib? Monster.

>Basically this minus panel two.jpg
Wait, does that mean something like panel 3 did happen?
>> No. 40275
>>40265
I guess even Koa at first wasn't at Komachi's level of Lewdness.
>> No. 40280
Monica looked at me; I looked at Sakuya; Sakuya looked back at me. Guess I’d been outvoted. I stepped forwards and bowed before Remilia.

“My lady, I’d… like to introduce you to Kay.” I motioned towards the ubiquitous intruder. “She’s Flandre’s not-exactly-imaginary friend.”

“I am a fly in the ointment~” Kay introduced in her own strange way.

Remilia raised an eyebrow and stared at the interloper, face entirely unreadable. “And what is… Kay, doing here?”

“I… You’ll forgive me, I’m not exactly sure. Do you mean here in this room, or here in the mansion?”

She lowered the eyebrow on her other eye. “Well obviously all she’s doing in this room is interrupting my dessert and looking entirely out of place. The mansion, Miss Fran.”

“Well, she’s, umm, playing a… a very weird game, Mistress. A game with people’s minds, I think; especially Flandre’s, that’s why she’s so—“

“Françoise, you’re gonna ruin the story; let me tell it!” the vampire in question interjected.

“Flan; sit. You had your chance; I’ll hear it from her first.” Flan sat, thumping Kay down unceremoniously into an adjacent seat. “Fran, go.”

“Ahh, okay. I don’t know all of it; I mean, I just found out today and all—“

“Go means go, Miss Francesca.”

“Sorry, sorry! I guess I should start at the beginning. Kay is, uhh… well, I don’t really know what she is or where she’s from. She can, manipulate the back of people’s minds, or something like that; maybe them think things they don’t know they’re thinking. That’s, umm, how she can turn invisible, too, by just making you think you don’t see anything. Does that make any sense, Miss Remilia?”

She waved the back of her hand at me. “Keep going; when I have a question I’ll ask it.”

“Okay, uhmm…” I still had my train of thought mostly on track, but it moved abysmally slow for just a few seconds as I randomly looked around the room. Monica had timidly slunk over in front of Sakuya, who’d wrapped her hands over the little one’s shoulders, keeping each other out of trouble for the time being. Patchouli, in slightly-less-than-classic Patchouli fashion (which would have had her reading a book), was scribbling out some chart of runic symbols on a spare sheet of paper. The same couldn’t be said of the devil-girl, who was just barely not continuously narrowing her luminous eyes at Mrs. Herod, to which she just glared right back, though with noticeably more turning away in disgust.

“Umm, well… Miss Flandre said that, I guess, Kay’s been here for years now—“

”Visiting for years!”

“Right, right, visiting here for years, without any of us knowing it. Well, except for Flandre, but…” I trailed off momentarily, not really sure how to word the continuation without making everyone else seem like a bunch of faithless doubters. “…Well, I guess Kay just hung around her more, so she was the only one who caught on. You, uhh, you don’t think she’s lying, do you? N-Not to cause you any offense, Mistress! I just… well, she is sitting right there.”

For a good while Remilia just stared at the blissfully-uncaring Kay, the room silent. Finally she slid her chair back and walked over to our side of the table, staring eye to eye with the enigmatic lady.

“Hi~” Kay greeted happily. “You’re very repressed, aren’t you?”

The mistress stared at her for about three more seconds, then stared down at the ground next to her chair. “And you’re very slippery.” Without warning she picked Kay up from the ground (it’s impossible to explain what a visual paradigm shift looks like; I apologize) and sat her back in her chair. Gack! Again! She’d done it again, right in front of me! How did this keep happening?! And why could the vampires catch it and I couldn’t?!

“Oh, yeah,” Flandre mentioned, shrugging it off like it was no big deal. “Yeah, she rolled off her chair about twenty seconds ago. Wanted to see if anyone’d notice. Slackers.”

“Yes… I see what you mean, Miss Friday,” Remilia commented as she walked back to her seat, ignoring her sister’s nonchalance. “Quaint, Miss Kay, very quaint, but I don’t appreciate that sort of thing coming from uninvited guests.”

“I know. But it’s so fascinating to do it anyways~ Wouldn’t you say?”

“No.” Remilia returned to eating her dessert for the time being, seemingly triggering Patchouli to finally look up from her work and take interest in the matter.

“Remilia, if I may?” she asked plainly. The older sister waved her off, fork in mouth, and Patchouli propped her chin on top of her folded hands, inspecting Kay with curiosity. “Why wait until now, Miss Flandre? If she’s been bothering you for years, surely—“

”Visiting for years!”

“My question remains valid.”

Flandre shrugged. “Dunno. She’s someone to talk to that’s not me. Do you know how boring it is talking to yourself? Let me tell you, and I know you will ‘cause I’ve told you before and you didn’t care then, after the first hundred years or so it gets very old. The only hope is that people smarter than me come along and build more stuff I can argue amongst myselves about. Woo, vijya games~…”

“You have maids for that, Flandre, do you not?”

She flopped her head back behind her chair and looked at Monica and me, shrugged, then went back to Patchouli. “Meh. They’re small. And cute. And fun. And simple. Whilstwise Kay is not small. And not cute. And not fun. And not simple. There’s something to that, you know?”

Patchouli furrowed her brow momentarily, then turned to Kay and asked, “Good afternoon. Might you possibly contribute anything to the conversation?”

Kay just kept weaving her head back and forth like a stalk of grass in the breeze, seemingly oblivious to the world around her. And yet she actually answered back… somewhat. “Other men are lenses through which we read our own minds~”

“Mmm… indeed, Ms. Emerson. But it appears that your lens is shut.”

Kay looked down at the mysterious azure eye around her chest, which had ceased to levitate around her shoulder ever since Sakuya had taped its threads down. I’d never had the chance to ask… what was it supposed to be? Apart from it Kay looked perfectly human, but I’d never heard of any creature with such a strange appendage; not even Thérèse had manufactured anything close to it. She smiled effortlessly again. “Yes.”

A most perplexing situation, if I did say so myself. Remilia didn’t appear too concerned, but anyone could tell she wasn’t going to just let Kay do whatever she wanted in her house. Unfortunately, with Kay remaining as cryptic and lackadaisical as ever, I had a feeling this could go on for either a very long time, or a very short one, depending mostly upon what kind of tactless statement any one of Flandre, Kay, Natasha, or the little devil was liable to blurt out. In either case, though, I figured I might as well see it through to the end; not like there was much else for me to be doing at the time anyways.


[ ] Or… was there? (specify something else Fran should be doing)
[ ] I asked Remilia if the others and I could sit down; all that standing around in the background was getting a little disconcerting. (specify where you want to sit)
[ ] I moved over to my other two companion maids and tried to see if Monica would let me hold on to her for a while. Sakuya needed to be by Remilia, after all.
[ ] Standing around like this was annoying, but I figured I needed to get used to it sooner or later. Remilia did like her household’s propriety, after all…

If Fran is staying there, specify your general intent:
( ) The mood felt like it could take a turn for the worse very quickly. I brought it upon myself to attempt to make sure it remained casual and comfortable… whatever the cost.
( ) I felt like this wasn’t really my conversation. I needed to be there and look proper, but not much beyond that. This was between the people who weren’t fairies.
( ) This was important enough to get involved into, I thought. Asking questiosn wasn’t going to be looked down upon here, would it? (specify questions/comments to make)
( ) I was a part of this. As humble as I tried to act, Kay was here because I helped get her there. I needed to take this seriously and dig for answers. For Flandre’s sake.

Additionally… Something wicked this way comes. But what?
{ } Endearingly loopy.
{ } Unsettlingly crazy.
{ } Definitely insane.
{ } Stark. Raving. Mad.

Clarification:
While writing I got an idea out of the blue for a rather important and powerful scene in the next update. Problem is with AFT being the kind of slice-of-life story it is, I’m not sure how well it would go over with you the readers. So I figured I’d let you vote on how much “power” you want to see. Personally, I’m confident that AFT can handle the worst of it; it’s hardly been sparkles and lollipops the whole way when you think about it. But I’m not going to leave it up to me. So here’s a general comparison of what kind of things you could expect:
Endearingly loopy = “Classic Flandre rambling” tier.
Unsettlingly crazy = “Flandre telling herself to shut up” tier.
Definitely insane = “Koakuma’s wrath against Patchouli” tier.
Stark. Raving. Mad. = “This is the worst thing in AFT to date” tier.

I promise you AFT won’t completely shift gears because of this, even if you choose the last option. It’s just a chance to see the other side of the coin for a change. Your call.
>> No. 40281
[x] I moved over to my other two companion maids and tried to see if Monica would let me hold on to her for a while. Sakuya needed to be by Remilia, after all.
(x) The mood felt like it could take a turn for the worse very quickly. I brought it upon myself to attempt to make sure it remained casual and comfortable… whatever the cost.
No Risk, no gain.
{x} Definitely insane.
Do not blame me.
>> No. 40282
[X] Or… was there? (...Say, whatever happened to that laundry?)

[X] I moved over to my other two companion maids and tried to see if Monica would let me hold on to her for a while. Sakuya needed to be by Remilia, after all.
(X) The mood felt like it could take a turn for the worse very quickly. I brought it upon myself to attempt to make sure it remained casual and comfortable… whatever the cost.

No point trying to interrogate Koishi, really, and this Koakuma-Herod situation looks like a time bomb waiting to go off. Also, that "…whatever the cost" made me think of Fran and Mon leaping onto the table and doing a slapstick comedy routine to ward off the grimdark, which may be the most moe thing.

{X} Stark. Raving. Mad.

I've had nowhere to get my fix since The Game ended. Gimme the hard stuff, man. So long as the tone of the story really doesn't change for good. I wouldn't really call AFT slice-of-life (that's more for stories like Yotsuba which have virtually no overarching plot), but it does have an lighthearted bent overall, and I'd like it to stay that way.
>> No. 40283
>>40280

[x] I moved over to my other two companion maids and tried to see if Monica would let me hold on to her for a while. Sakuya needed to be by Remilia, after all.
(x) The mood felt like it could take a turn for the worse very quickly. I brought it upon myself to attempt to make sure it remained casual and comfortable… whatever the cost.
{X} Stark. Raving. Mad.

Do your worst. We can take it.
>> No. 40288
So I'm guessing Koishi's going to crack someone's skull open, figuratively. 4 levels of FFFFFF, probably for each of the 4 dessert guests.

In order of severity, as listed by Tepes:

Patchy: Mocking her and her thoughts. Might make her a little angry, but she can take it.

Koakuma: Mocking her newly-"human" thoughts and experiences and whatnot. Probably going to piss her off something fierce.

Remilia: Exposing a lot of Remi's past and the crazy shit she's gotten up to or is thinking. Remi has (or damn near has) a meltdown.

Natasha: Possibly the worst. Might end in Natasha committing suicide, since she's a plain vanilla human with a bunch of baggage and has neither the benefit of years of experience dealing with trauma nor the supernatural know-how to deal with her shit.
>> No. 40289
[X] I moved over to my other two companion maids and tried to see if Monica would let me hold on to her for a while. Sakuya needed to be by Remilia, after all.
(x) The mood felt like it could take a turn for the worse very quickly. I brought it upon myself to attempt to make sure it remained casual and comfortable.
{X} Stark. Raving. Mad.

Sutel but (what I think is an) important diffrence
>> No. 40290
[Å] I moved over to my other two companion maids and tried to see if Monica would let me hold on to her for a while. Sakuya needed to be by Remilia, after all.
(Å) The mood felt like it could take a turn for the worse very quickly. I brought it upon myself to attempt to make sure it remained casual and comfortable… whatever the cost.
{Å} Stark. Raving. Mad.
>> No. 40292
[x] I asked Remilia if the others and I could sit down; all that standing around in the background was getting a little disconcerting. Sit next to Remilia.
(x) I was a part of this. As humble as I tried to act, Kay was here because I helped get her there. I needed to take this seriously and dig for answers. For Flandre’s sake.

Oho. I like the slightly annoyed Remi. Let us push our luck and see if we can make a difference.

{X} Stark. Raving. Mad.

Goes without saying. If you offer us something different like that, we have to try it. And whilst your sparkles and lollipops are fantastic, I enjoy your emotional scenes too.
>> No. 40294
And here we... go
>> No. 40295
>>made me think of Fran and Mon leaping onto the table and doing a slapstick comedy routine
>>And here we... go

Haha! Oh wow, for some unknown reason this made me think of It's a Long Way to Tipperary.

Something like:

Up to mighty Remi
Came an Fairymaid one day.
As the streets are paved with blood
Sure, everyone was gay,
Singing songs of Scarlet Devil,
Maids and Gen~so~kyo,
Till Francie got excited,
Then she shouted to them there:

It's a long way to Tip-a-Flandre,
It's a long way to go.
It's a long way to Tip-a-Flandre
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye, Scarlet Devil,
Farewell, Gen~so~ki~yo!
It's a long long way to Tip-a-Flandre,
But my heart's right there.


...And then I remembered we're not in Gensokyo yet, but couldn't be bothered to re-write it.
>> No. 40296
[x] Standing around like this was annoying, but I figured I needed to get used to it sooner or later. Remilia did like her household’s propriety, after all…
(x) The mood felt like it could take a turn for the worse very quickly. I brought it upon myself to attempt to make sure it remained casual and comfortable… whatever the cost.
{x} Stark. Raving. Mad.
>> No. 40304
File 127922437566.jpg - (376.71KB , 850x566 , LooksLikeAdultFlan.jpg ) [iqdb]
40304
5 for exchanging custody of Monica
1 for sitting down
1 for standing there

6 for be the Casual Comfort Police
1 for be serious

6 for stark, raving, mad.
1 for definitely insane.

On you own heads be it, then. Don’t say I didn’t give you a chance to stop me. I’ll be spending Friday and Saturday on a quick vacation without easily-assessable internet. Whether I get the next update posted tonight or not (probably not since I don’t want to rush this one) you probably wont hear anything else from me until Sunday. Which is fine; I can always work on more MVTSK to pass the time.

Image unrelated; Interesting thing about it is that the image has absolutely nothing to do with Touhou, and yet is still freakishly similar to adult Flandre. Thought that was pretty neat.

>>40282
>made me think of Fran and Mon leaping onto the table and doing a slapstick comedy routine to ward off the grimdark, which may be the most moe thing.
A pity Monica wouldn’t be able to improv that fast, but we’ll see what can be done.

>Spoilers
Ahh, yeah, my bad; I get slice-of-life and lighthearted mixed up a lot. But don’t worry, the tone will remain mostly positive. This’ll just be a stark reality check.

>>40283
This isn’t the worst I could do, trust me. And I’m pretty sure I can think of a few things you couldn’t take. But many of them would skirt the border of Troll and Snow, so let’s not think about those.

>>40288
Anything I say could and would be used against me in a board of lol.

>>40292
>If you offer us something different like that, we have to try it.
That’s a given, but sometimes different is not good, and you won’t know until it’s too late. I’d reference ASSM, but it looks like I already did; bugger.

>And whilst your sparkles and lollipops are fantastic, I enjoy your emotional scenes too.
Thus is a good story about little monster girls written.

>>40294
If you’re referencing what I think you are, I’ll do you one better:

Koishi circles around you, poking her nose into your personal space, eyes sparkling and face full of interest. She motions nonchalantly to her stitched-up, lifeless third eye with that knife of hers, and smiles as she holds the knife up to your cheek. “D”you wan’ta know how I got this scar…? So I had a sister once—beautiful, like you—who tells me… I worry too much~ Who tells me I oughta smile more. Who gambles, with her life, and gets in too deep, with people’s minds. Hey, hey, pay attention~ One day, they carve our house up, chase us away~ Well we got no money for buildings, no magic for safety~… she just can’t take it. I just wan’ta see her smile again~ I just want her to know that I don’t care about their hate. Soooo~… I take a scissors to my eye, and do ‘this’, to myself~ And you know what? She can’t stand the sight of me; she leaves me… But now I see the funny side. Now I’m always smiling~”

>>40295
Cute~
>> No. 40305
I was just about to vote too. Oh well. Wasn't going to bring anything new to the table
Hooray.jpg, I guess.
>> No. 40307
>>40305
Me too.

Seriously Tepes, if you're going to update in the middle of the night and then call the vote before I get home from work, the least you could do is have the next update ready for me to read.

Making sure I get my vote in this time.

[X] It's simple - rape the little devil girl.
[X] Try to get the gun before Kay, she's nearer but you've got to try!
[X] Close the blast doors on the rancor.
[X] Kiss Remi.
>> No. 40308
>>40307

I know, I'm sorry. I'm not actively trying to prevent people from voting or anything, it's just that my writing schedule is constantly changing, and I have to take what free time I can get. If I'm shooting for daily updates, the sooner I can manage to start writing the better. Plus when I see an obvious majority that 98% of the time won't get beaten back with a few more hours of votes, I--

Oh wait. You were being sarcastic there. How silly of me.

At least I think you were being sarcastic. It's hard to tell. I'll just default to a one-size-fits-all response:

Take it easy~
>> No. 40309
>>40308
For what it's worth, I would have gone with >>40281's vote.

What now?! It's like, 6 votes to 2 for the insanity thing. That changes everything!
If you fuck this up Tepes, when my vote could have been the deciding factor, I'll hate you forever. What then?! You'll be hated by someone on the internet! How does that make you feel?
>> No. 40314
>>40308
Pretty sure he was.
Anyway, looking forward for the next etcetera
>> No. 40316
File 127925620551.jpg - (563.53KB , 1164x996 , ohfuck.jpg ) [iqdb]
40316
>Stark, raving, mad wins.

Oh no, I'm too late!

Time to lie back and think of England.
>> No. 40317
File 127926067914.jpg - (84.66KB , 531x372 , Portal2GLaDOS.jpg ) [iqdb]
40317
>>40309
>What then?! You'll be hated by someone on the internet! How does that make you feel?
You monster.

>>40316
I'd just like to point out that you were given every opportunity to succeed.
>> No. 40318
Feeling a little lonely, I moved over to my other two companion maids and tried to see if Monica would let me hold on to her for a while. I felt that Sakuya needed to be by Remilia, after all. The little one switched “owners” without a hitch as I waved Sakuya off to go stand by Remilia’s side once more. I hugged her gently from behind, resting my head on top of hers and keeping her safe… whatever it was we needed to be safe from. A quiet, satisfied humming reached my ears from her, but she said nothing else. Which was perfectly fine, in my eyes.

Remilia set down her fork and pushed the empty plate away from her. “Well, Flandre? What do you want to say?”

Her sister cocked her head. “What do you want me to say? That’s a loaded question, y’know.”

”Flan.”

“Right, right, right right right. Well, the things I want to say, I can’t say, because there’s women and children in the room. You know who you are. Sooooo, I guess… love the sinner hate the sin~?”

“Are you referring to Kay or yourself when you say that.”

“Well at this point I doubt there’s much of a difference anymore…” Flandre trailed off, looking down into her lap with a fake look of disenchantment on her face.

Remilia dulled her eyes and sighed, running her petit fingers over her forehead and temple. “Flandre. For once, attempt to talk straight for a change. If you think this is serious, you’d better act like it, otherwise all I’m going to do is kick this girl out of our house and make sure to keep the doors and windows locked at night. Which, by the way, is supposed to be happening anyways, though someone keeps forgetting.” She nudged Sakuya’s side playfully, most likely not actually meaning what she said.

“I’m not locking the fairies out of the house, Mistress; they live here too,” Sakuya replied calmly. Remilia just handed her the dessert plate and waved her away, making no comeback.

It took Flandre some time, but eventually she came up with a solid, and straight, response. “I, don’t… want her, to leave, Remi. I… I like her.”

Her sister raised an eyebrow, interest piqued. “In what way?”

It was too far away to tell if Flandre was blushing at that or not, but she kept going. “Oh, well, not like that… At least, I don’t think so. No, no, ‘cause Kay would’ve rubbed salt in that wound a loooong time ago, if I did. She… knows how to, find, things. Even though she can’t read minds… she can, play around with them. And, mine is… she, she likes mine. M-Maybe a, a little too much…”

“There’s no need to flatter yourself, Flandre; you’re not unique. No one is~ Not with my tolerance level anyways. I just haven’t found anyone else similar enough for me to get bored yet.” Why couldn’t Sakuya have taped Kay’s mouth shut too? If she was anything like half of the rest of us, breathing was optional anyways.

“When I want your commentary, Miss Kay, I will ask for your commentary,” Remilia reprimanded.

Kay flopped her head around again. “No, no, I don’t believe that you will~ You’re not that kind of person.”

“I do not need you to tell me what kind of person I am, Miss Kay, whether you can read minds of not. You’re not impressing anyone.”

I bit my lip. The mood felt like it could take a turn for the worse very quickly, with comments like that. I brought it upon myself to attempt to make sure everyone remained casual and comfortable… whatever the cost.

“H-Hey, not to interrupt or anything,” I interrupted, “but aren’t we just trying to find out what’s going on here? We don’t need to make fun of anyone or try to one-up people; let’s just take it easy, everyone.”

“A capital point, Miss Friday,” Remilia said, snapping her fingers in approval. “Flandre, I believe you were saying something?”

Flan’s mind had seemingly wandered away into its own little world, and at the mention of her name it jolted back into her as she sat straight up again. “O-Oh, yeah, sorry. I was… thinking. About, what to think about. Where… where was I, again?”

“You were talking about why Kay likes you, I recall.”

“Yeah, that. Because I’m broken. Or, my mind’s… broken. It’s the, the subconscious, see? That’s where she lives—no, not lives, not lives—walks around in, every now and then. Opens a window and leans in… rearranges your silverware drawer, bats at the curtains, tries to steal the pie cooling on the windowsill, just… little things.”

“Nothing about the non-physical mind is little, Miss Flandre,” Patchouli observed, definitely a part of the conversation now. “Every part can, and may, affect every other part, in unforeseeable ways. You should know this, of all people. I’m fairly certain that Miss Kay already does, to great effect.”

Flandre batted her down with an unconcerned hand. “Yeah yeah yeah, but it’s… it’s not like that. I can… I can tell. The way she… talks, to me, in my head… she’s, just curious. There’s billions-a people out there, you know… millions of them are crazy, and thousands of them are so messed up they, don’t even have a very good word for them… She, she wouldn’t have chosen me if I wasn’t different from them… If, if there wasn’t something about my head she liked…”

“Didn’t I just say something like that, though~?” Kay butted in again without warning. “Maybe I should say it again just to make sure.”

“Hey, Kay, y-you’re not really helping!” I started inching closer to the table, just in case my self-appointed peacekeeping position needed a more hands-on approach. “Waiting your turn is polite; didn’t anyone teach you how to be polite?”

Kay glanced at me airheadedly, like usual. “Oh. No. I forgot how to do things like that~”

How could someone forget how to be polite? I could see it if she just wasn’t raised very well, but… Ah well, most likely just another subtle joke Flandre got and I didn’t. “Well, anyways Miss Kay, if you want to get un-duct-taped faster, maybe not interrupt so much, m’kay?”

Whether she decided to take my advice or not, she kept quiet long enough for Flandre to keep going, who almost sounded like she’d never stopped in the first place. “I mean, okay, yeah, I get it, Kay’s kind of a heartless bitch, but it’s not like she’s trying to be a heartless bitch, you know? She just… is. Can you blame her? It’s, it’s just kinda, sad… you can’t hate her. You want to, bloody hell how you want to… but you just can’t. An’ after all… no one really blames me, either. Does that make her insane, you ask? That’s a good one… asking the insane person if the monster under her bed is insane too. It’d make sense, though…”

Remilia sighed, tapping her pink-painted fingernails across the table like a keyboard with one hand, and leaning cheek into the other. “So what do you want us to do, Flan? I’m happy you found a new… ‘friend’—really, I am!—but this isn’t something I can just sit back and allow to happen. Not if she’s getting into your head… seriously, Flan. We’ve been over this; you know that.”

“I-I… I, know… sis.” Flandre slowly lowered her head onto the table, thumping it rhythmically. What was she thinking about? What was Kay thinking about?! What were the demon and demon-hunter thinking about, for that matter? I couldn’t tell if I was in a room with a half-dozen powder kegs waiting to explode, or if it was all just a string of misunderstandings colliding in such a way that no one could explain anything for fear of running into someone else’s problems. Which, unfortunately, amounted to the powder keg incident in the end anyways.

The younger sister finally mumbled, “I, just… want to, play… play with someone my own age, for once… you know? Someone who, thinks like me… someone who gets my jokes… someone, who, understands… Kay’s, messed up too, you know. She’s, got an older sister, like me… you know? But she doesn’t understand… she can’t. She doesn’t, know how to. She, didn’t go through that hell we went through… hugs and kisses and giving us nice little pets to play with, only goes so far… You just, wish… you had someone else to talk to that you didn’t need to hide anything from…”

“Flan…” Remilia looked imploringly at her, futilely leaning into the table to try and be closer to her sister. “Why can’t you tell me? Why can’t I understand? I want to, Flan, please… Please, don’t think I don’t care…”

Please… Had I ever heard Remilia even say please before? If I had, it couldn’t have been more than once or twice. She was someone who told people what to do; she didn’t have to ask. And what Flandre had said… I knew it was true, but still… What could a complete stranger understand better than your own sister? Your own sister who had lived with you for almost five hundred years, both the good and the bad?

Flandre either didn’t want to stop her train of thought to address Remilia’s concern, or didn’t hear it to begin with. She started staring at Kay instead, who for once actually seemed genuinely compelled to look at Flandre with more than just a fleeting fancy. “But she is hiding things from me, isn’t she…? Why? Why would you do that… Aren’t we supposed to be, friends…? I don’t, even know your name… I don’t know where you live…” She placed two wobbly hands on Kay’s shoulders; not to shake her or push her, just… to touch her. Maybe just to know that she was still there.

“Kay, please… why, won’t you tell me? You, you know I want to know… it’s written everywhere, isn’t it? The walls… the walls of my mind, so many scribbles… You’ve seen them, haven’t you? What do you want me to do…? What will, it take…? I, I’ll come visit you every day it you want; you can sleep over at my place every night, I’ll make popcorn! I’ll buy you a new hat! You can buy me a new hat! You want me to play a trick on your sister; I can do that. Lesbianism? Bicuriosity? Sure, why the hell not, I’m open to suggestions. Nothing I haven’t tried before; you know, four hundred seventy-nine years is a lot more boring than it sounds. Throw me something slightly more than a freakin’ bone here!”

Regardless of Flandre’s pitiable pleas unto Kay, she was getting too excited again; I needed to reach in and calm her down. Waving my hand out as a signal, I said lightly, “Flandre, hey, uhh, Flandre, you know, when you talk that fast normal people can’t hear you! Maybe Kay isn’t exactly normal, but I think the rest of us are! You’re gonna wear yourself out if you keep doin’ that.”

“Don’t quit your day job; comedy clubs’ll tear you apart,” she replied nonchalantly, giving me about three seconds of eye contact before returning to Kay. Not as much of a lift as I could have hoped, but it broke her momentum, and sometimes that was enough. “Yes, Kay? You were about to make all my dreams come true?” Flandre playfully cupped her ear and turned it towards Kay’s face. The mystery girl emitted a girlish, giggling sigh, and leaned in closely, responding in something a little louder than a whisper.

“…Why in the world would I ever tell you where my house is, when there’s so many more interesting things in yours~?”

“GODDAMN IT KAY THIS IS SERIOUS!!” Flandre immediately shot up and stood on top of her chair, her soft hands now suddenly clamping down on Kay’s shoulders and red eyes ignited with righteous anger. “This isn’t a fucking game, Kay, do you think I don’t know that?! We, are, dying, here, dying! Do you still have enough of a heart left to know what dying means?! It means that we are dying!”

“Flandre, that’s enough,” Remilia announced, standing up herself. “I though we agreed—“

“No, you do not start with me, Remi, you do not tell me how to deal with my own demons!” She jabbed a finger as her sister poignantly, holding it there long after she’d stopped talking. This was… not, good. I’d seen Flandre get angry; it was never good. But I’d never yet seen her get truly angry at someone… I had to think fast. Something to calm her down, to break the tension!

Flandre snapped back to Kay, who’s calm expression and wide, sparkling eyes were a slap in the face to everybody in the room. “You know we’re dying too, Kay, you bloody know it! And you’re not doing a damn thing to help! What, do you want to watch us all burn?! I’ll tell you how we’re all going to burn, it’ll save you centuries of trouble!”

“F-F-Flandre…” Monica whimpered pitifully, stepping out of my arms and wandering closer towards her charge. “D-Don’t be like this, y-you’re, you’re scaring m-me… I don’t, want to be scared…”

“You’re making the little girl sad, Flandre,” I added, latching onto whatever mood-breaking comment I could find at the moment. “You wouldn’t want to make her cry, would you? You’re not going to be that mean, are you?”

Flandre stopped, looking at the watery-eyed pink little ball of innocence. Her eyes softened, and a trembling hand started to reach out for her maid…

“No… NO! Forty-three!” she shouted, jarringly fixing her focus back on the defenseless Kay. ”That’s how many are left in this ‘interesting’ house: forty, three! I don’t care if getting rid of someone answers the question of life the universe and everything, do you know how small forty-three is?! Five residents, one devil, one human, seven cool chicks, and twenty-nine fairies! We used to have three hundred! This is what happens: the fairies go first, one by one, they don’t even know it’s happening! Their own cousins don’t even know it’s happening! Poof, we don’t believe in you says the world of science and jerks! The cool chicks go next; they’re cool but not cool enough! We still don’t believe in you says the world of Patchy-haters!”

Remilia interjected again, calm and lovingly. “Flandre. That is enough. Please—“

“We’re down to seven! Natasha Herod’s human; dies in the next sixty years! Down to six! Patches eventually lays more demons than she can put down, or her Philosopher’s Stone breaks! The new girl poofs away with her; down to four! Meiling isn’t immortal, give her a few more hundred years and she’ll wear out too! Three! Sakuya can’t cheat death forever! Two! Remi and I commit a sisters’ double suicide because there’s nothing left to live for and because you are a heartless-fucking-bitch!” She held her thumb and middle finger in the shape of a big O and held it in front it her face, hand vibrating with sheer wrath. ”Zero. We are all dead, including you, because I’ll have killed you myself long before then. Game, bloody, over.”

Silence. Stark, dead, silence. Nobody moved, nobody spoke, nobody breathed. Flandre held that horrible zero in Kay’s face for what must have been a good ten seconds, driving the horrible message home.

Dying… I, I hadn’t… I mean, I’d known, but I… When did… My, my… my cousins. All my happy, free-spirited cousins. They were… dying? Disappearing…? Right in front of me? But, but I’d seen groups of them, flying around… the job board was always so full… someone, someone would have told me… right? Surely Sakuya… she’d have told us if we were dying, yes? Her little maids? The cake to her frosting…? I didn’t want it to be true. It couldn’t be true! But… deep down, not in my mind but my heart, somewhere I hoped to the highest heavens Kay couldn’t find… I knew Flandre wasn’t lying. The truth is more powerful than lies… and even an insane person will try and tell the truth as they perceive it.

I’d known we were in trouble. I’d known that the world’s apathy had been pushing us back for years. I’d just thought… Remilia’s mansion was immune. The walls shut out all the bad… kept in all the good. It was, supposed to be, our little island of protection… an oasis, in the desert. Why couldn’t we even be grated just one small piece of this giant world…? And that was the reason, wasn’t it? The reason why Flandre had to know where Kay came from. Because Kay didn’t just know where another island was, she lived on it. Flandre’d told us all that, months ago! And Kay… wasn’t going to tell us…

The silence was broken, painfully, with a whimsical sigh from the fly-in-the-ointment herself. “Hmmm… Do you really think the shouting and profanity helps~? I could hear you just fine if you talk normally. But I’ve heard all that before; won’t you come up with something new for a change?”

Flandre narrowed her eyes to the narrowest of slits; butted her forehead right against Kay’s and touched the tip of her nose with her own. Through clenched teeth, she hissed with a resolve arrows would splinter upon, “With God as my witness, Ms. K. K., if I have not found out where you live by the turn of the millennium, then I, will, kill you, the very next time I so much as even smell you. So God help me, I will kill you.”

I’d had it. Patchouli, Sakuya, Natasha, the devil… they were all just looking on in horror, doing nothing. Remilia was biting her hands into the table, her pearly fangs gnawing nervously into her lower lip… and she was doing nothing. Monica was kneeing feebly on the ground, crouch in a fetal position with her hands clasped over her ears… and was doing nothing. Perhaps worst of all, Kay was seated in her chair with that perpetual look of blissful apathy welded onto her heartless face… and was doing nothing.

I was going to do something. It would be pointless. It would be embarrassing. It would be demeaning. It would be emotionally painful. It would right no wrongs, answer no questions, and find no magical oases. But it would be something.

I stomped, not walked, over to Kay’s chair, and easily pushed the girl out of it, letting her hit the ground with a muffled thwump. I climbed onto the top of Kay’s now-vacant seat and looked the immobile Flandre straight in the eyes, standing shoulder to shoulder with her, every inch as tall as she was. I clumsily tore off the stifling top of my maid uniform and threw it onto the table, knocking over a vase of flowers. I unclipped my flimsy bra, held it up to Flandre’s face as she’d done with her ominous zero, and slapped the garment onto the floor. And then I jumped forwards onto Flandre, latched my legs around her waist, hands around her shoulders, and stuffed my two “melons” right into her face.

“And I am going to keep on doing this, until you calm, the fuck, down!”

+ + + + + + + + + +
>> No. 40319
Five minutes later, we were all still laughing.

Somewhere along the line Sakuya had managed to compose herself long enough to fetch a plate of pastries, but no one was in any real condition to eat them. Patchouli and Natasha was pretending that they were “civilized” enough to not learn their chairs onto two legs and slam their hands on the table with mirth, which only ended up making them look even more ridiculous considering such actions were inevitable for them in the long run. Remilia had fallen backwards onto the floor within the first ten seconds and, despite four attempts to climb back into her chair, remained there immobilized with high-pitched giggles. Even the little she-devil herself was covering up her face’s massive smile. We might have managed to collect ourselves after the first three minutes, had Flandre not started sucking on one of my nipples and then complained that I was dry.

“I, I still don’t get what was so funny!” Monica whined eventually once we had somehow miraculously managed to calm “the fuck” down. “I mean, I-I was just laughing because everyone else was!”

“Aaahhhhww, heeheehee~, we’ll tell you when you’re older, Monica,” Remilia giggled back, seemingly perpetually rolling her eyes. “Ooohhh, Francesca, Francesca, that’s going to be a whole month of gold stars for you. I still can’t believe this~…”

“Schrew golth thars, thee detherffs ah twoffee fool aff bwesth impwanths!” Flandre interjected, attempting to talk with a face full of cranberry muffin.

“It, it wasn’t… wasn’t anything, really… really! I just, well, someone had to do something!” I remained topless, much to the skeptical eyes of Mrs. Herod and the devil-girl, but Flandre had pilfered my bra and Remilia my uniform, calling them souvenirs and refusing to give them back.

“Definitely something I wouldn’t have done,” Sakuya replied, finally being allowed by Remilia to learn back in her own chair for once. “Haaaahhnnn, good show, though, good show. Only in a mansion full of women, ey?”

Remilia raised an empty tea cup ceremoniously. “Here here! To estrogen! Let no man say we ladies gathered here cannot have a good time without them!” Several of us raised whatever receptacles we could find with her in unison; Monica raised a salt shaker; Flandre raised my bra.

“Getting back to the point, though… Did we ever decide what’s going to happen” I asked, immensely enjoying the atmosphere but still not wishing my efforts to be wasted. After all, it’d be better to solve the problem when we were all basking in the afterglow of our laughter than later on when it was all but forgotten.

Flandre nodded. “Yeah, didn’t you hear? I was being serious; she knows I’d actually do it, too. I’m killing her in three years. Or, four. Millennium starts on two-thousand-one, right? Don’t worry though, don’t worry,” she added, looking down at the ground where everyone had just decided to let Kay remain. “She sucks, but she’s not stupid. She’ll milk those four years for all they’re worth then tell me sometime between December 27th and December 30th. Until then, keep on hellraising, little hellraiser~”

I wasn’t really sure whether to take that lightly or not. Remilia hedged her bets by remarking, “Flan~ I sure hope you know what you’re doing.”

“Can’t make an omelet without breaking a few Kayggs, Remi. Trust me~”

“It’s not you I don’t trust. It’s the you laying on the floor there.”

Flandre mimed an expression of fake alarm and quickly pulled Kay back up into her seat. “She’s not laying on the floor anymore; do you trust her now?

“Mmmmm… more so. I still think you should get a second opinion.”

Flandre clapped her hands together and pointed both of them at Natasha. “Eeyy! All right, we’ll ask her!” She quickly put on a businesslike face and tilted her chair to the side, draping one arm over it casually. “You’re a human, right? Seein’ all this craziness with an open mind, right? Natasha… whaddya make of all this.”

Natasha just shook her head and moved her chair back an inch or two. “Pssh… Lady, I don’t even have an opinion.”

Flandre raised her eyebrows. “Well you gotta have an opinion! I mean, do you think that God came down from Heaven and stopp—“

Natasha’s head ceased to exist.

A sick, wet pop. A cloud of red. A sudden chorus of shocked screams and profanities. To Monica and myself, a surge of raw mystic force.

Flandre wiped a splash of blood from her eyes. “Ahh, man, I shot Marvin in the face…”

“WHY THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT?!?!”

“Well I didn’t mean to do it; it was an accident…”

“THIS ISN’T PULP FICTION!” Remilia was livid… uncontrollable… In less than two seconds she had picked up the entire dining table and flipped it to the side, rushing in front of her sister and shaking her like a rag doll. Red… red… red… everyone on Remilia’s side of the table was dripping with red, and everyone else was sprayed with it instead. “THIS ISN’T PULP FICTION! WHY THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT?!?!”

Flandre stared at her blood-smeared hand, which began to quiver more and more. She didn’t seem to even know what was going on, repeating the same two phrases over and over. “Well I didn’t… mean, to do, it it was… an, accident… Mean to, do, it, it, was… Ohh man, I shot, Marvin… in the face… shot… shot…”

Chaos… chaos… what was once Natasha had slumped over to her… its… her, side. Patchouli was kneeling on the ground, gasping for breath as her devil stood beside her, looking back from Natasha to Patchouli and back again, face unreadable. Sakuya was somehow still coherent, standing over Monica’s seated and unmoving form, speaking words to her my ears didn’t know how to understand. And Kay… was doing exactly the same thing she had been doing from the first moment I’d ever laid eyes on her.

No… no, no no no no… Wasn’t happening, wasn’t happening… I’d laughed myself to sleep… I was watching a scary movie… Kay was putting images into my head… wasn’t real, wasn’t real, couldn’t possibly be real… Flandre’d wouldn’t do that… she was so nice, so pleasant… She knew how to control it… she knew what reality was… she knew when to end a joke… she had to, she had to! If she didn’t… if she didn’t know what reality was… if she didn’t know when to end a joke… that meant it was all, really, happening…

“I… shot… Marvin… in… the… face…?”

“Flandre! Flandre!” Remilia shouted to her sister, point-blank, trying to get a response out of her. Nothing… She ripped off her hat, searching the inside of it desperately for a patch that wasn’t stained with blood. Finding one, like lighting she wiped clean the side of her right hand and promptly bit it, stuffing the bleeding appendage into her sister’s mouth. “Flandre! Flandre, it’s me, it’s Remilia! Your sister! Wake up, please wake up, this is real! If you can touch it, if you can taste it, it’s real! I’m real, Flandre, I’m real!”

The little sister’s eye flickered beneath closed lids, her lips barely recognizing that there was anything between them at all. What was going on… I didn’t understand anything anymore. It was all red, all chaos, all a mystery… Why was Remilia shaking Flandre and making her drink her own blood…? Why didn’t Natasha have a head anymore…? Why was Sakuya yelling at me; why couldn’t I understand her…?

“Fran! Francesca! Speak to me, are you hurt? Please, say something!”

“I… I-I-I’m… not, hurt… but, what… happened…?”

“Don’t worry about it, don’t look at it! Please, get Monica out of here!”

I wanted to move; I wanted to hold Monica again and take her away from the red. Why didn’t my legs want to get up? Why did my eyes want to keep watching the vampires? Why did a part of me feel better when Flandre finally started moving and looking around?

“No, no, I… I shot… Natasha, in the face…” Flandre mumbled, eyes still trying to focus on something concrete. “I shot Natasha in the face… why the fuck did I do that…?”

And then she snapped back. Her eyes returned to reality, and they saw nothing but Kay. She pushed her sister away who was even then trying to wrap her arms around her in consolation, and lifted Kay out of her chair and high into the air.

“WHY THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT?!?!”

“Flandre, Flandre, put her down, please, put her down! I’m your sister!” Remilia implored, still desperately trying to get herself into her sister’s cone of existence.

“It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me! It’s her, she did this to me! She knows how, she knows how! Kaaaay! Why… what…?!”

Kay merely smiled. Not one of superiority. Not one of malice. Not one of comfort. Just a meaningless, lifeless smile. “I told you your house was more interesting. You didn’t believe me, did you?”

“She’s… you…! Kay, that was… You killed her! You just killed that woman!”

“No, I can’t kill people with my mind. But I believe you can~”

“Shut up, shut up! What’d she do to you?! We felt sorry for her! We, we cared about her!”

Kay tilted her head to the side. “No you didn’t. I’d have known about something like that, wouldn’t I? She wasn’t here a year ago, and now she’s not here again; she wasn’t important. But now she’s served a greater purpose~”

”Goddamn you, Kay! I’m gonna kill you! Goddamn your house; why’d I ever want to live in that hellhole?! GET, OUT, OF, MY, HEAAAD!!”

“Enough.”

+ + + + + + + + + +

There was nothing to remember between that word and the bedroom. I was tucked safely into my soft bed and warm sheets; Monica was right beside me in the same bed, awake but… not awake. There was no red, no broken dining table, no screaming Flandre. Sakuya sat on Monica’s bed, breathing calmly as if nothing had happened.

“I’m sorry,” she said softly, “but I had to do something. I, I had to stop it… I took everyone back to their bedrooms; they all have notes explaining. Remilia is with Flandre. Kay is… Kay is someplace very safe right now, where she can’t hurt anyone. Natasha… she’s, dead. I’m, I’m sorry… You didn’t imagine anything.”



One of these:
[ ] “I… I want to see (insert character here)”
[ ] “Go… go away… wanna be, alone…”
[ ] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
[ ] “What… What…?” (write-in questions to ask Sakuya)

Also one of these (though some combinations don’t work, obviously)
( ) I crawled out of the bed and into the other one… alone, wanted to be… alone.
( ) I nudged Monica. “Mon’… Mon’, you okay?”
( ) I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.
>> No. 40322
...Fuck.

>"It’s, it’s just kinda, sad… you can’t hate her. You want to, bloody hell how you want to… but you just can’t."
Can fucking too.

[X] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(X) I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.

What would the less severe choices have entailed, I wonder?
>> No. 40323
Damn it....Why did I read this right before going to bed? This almost makes me want to boot up SA again, so I can fail at Extra even more in an overly long attempt to kick Kay's sorry ass.

[x] "Go... go away... wanna be, alone..."
(x) I hugged Monica close to me. Didn't want to be alone... not alone... alone was bad.

The only desire I have is to take cold comfort in being alone together with our little sister...
>> No. 40324
>Fran's melon attack
I laughed and thought some not so clean things

>"Marvin being shot"
I'm at a lost for words, well anon asked for it...

[x] “What… What…?” (write-in questions to ask Sakuya)
-[x] "Was there even a plan before... this? It's scary to think someone I know might just vanish"
-[x] "Aren't you scared that there's someone more... different than Flandre?"
(x) I nudged Monica. “Mon’… Mon’, you okay?”
>> No. 40325
File 127926368613.jpg - (47.67KB , 640x480 , 1278938333304.jpg ) [iqdb]
40325
[x] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(x) I nudged Monica. “Mon’… Mon’, you okay?”

Remember that feeling of rage you had in SDM:LA when Sakuya put us underground after we fucked Remi?

It's kind of like that. Waiting warmly for the [x] Koishi has lost the right to live choice.
>> No. 40326
How are the little fairies going to survive the next few years before Gensokyo? ;_;
>> No. 40329
[X] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(X) I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.

I hope she gets what's coming to her. This is one Touhou I would be fine with writing out of existence. At least in this story. No tea drinking and chummy antics after, either.
>> No. 40331
To be honest, Tepes, you just carried on a rather common bit of fanon about Koishi: Mind rapist Koishi. Though it's the second case of her stunts causing a tangible effect. (First was ULA where she caused Taizo to choke himself.)

If I had a "Head full of fuck" picture, I'd post it.
>> No. 40332
[X] “What… What…?”
-[X] "Even though Kay made Flandre kill Natasha, how could she act so casual about it? I... I don't think I'll ever forget that horrible scene."
-[X] "Was there even a plan before... this? It's scary to think someone I know might just vanish."
(X) I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.

I want to joke that Flandre got her answer to life, the universe and everything, but I just can't follow through. That was some seriously heavy shit. Monica must have been traumatised.

The fact that Koishi can commit murder by proxy before the proxy even realizes what they're doing? Grade A Paranoia Fuel.
>> No. 40333
[X] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(X) I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.


That whole scene was beautiful.

Flan was awesome, then Fran was awesome, there were some laughs, Flan being awesome again, it makes you start to forget certain things, right up to the moment where those very things come crashing down on you.

I feel bad for Natasha, but worse for Flandre.
The person with the most in common with her, with the potential to be the closest friend she could hope for, is also in the one most capable of hurting her in the worst possible ways imaginable.

...of course, the same could be said of all relationships.
>> No. 40334
[x] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(x) I nudged Monica. “Mon’… Mon’, you okay?”

Need to make sure Mon' is ok.
>> No. 40335
[x] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
-[x] I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.

That was some heavy stuff.
>> No. 40336
>>40334
too bad we're the only people who think so.

If i could draw I'd make "At first I was was... then I was...." style picture about this update.
>> No. 40337
>>40336
>> No. 40338
Well... damn... I'm at a loss for words.

[x] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(x) I nudged Monica. “Mon’… Mon’, you okay?”
>> No. 40340
File 127927475591.png - (5.52KB , 400x400 , 1253837237077.png ) [iqdb]
40340
[x] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(x) I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.
>> No. 40349
[x] “Go… go away… wanna be, alone…”
-(x) I crawled out of the bed and into the other one… alone, wanted to be… alone.
I think she needs some time to herself instead of trying to console another.
>> No. 40360
[x] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(X) I nudged Monica. “Mon’… Mon’, you okay?”

>>40325
You're right, it does kinda feel like that. I don't know if I'm upset or relieved I didn't catch the previous vote because the "Stark. Raving. Mad." vote essentially killed Natasha. All she wanted to do was get back to her son, and now that'll never happen because we wanted to see how far we could go.
>> No. 40361
[B] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
-[b] I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.
>> No. 40363
>>40360
I'm not sure if we could have opposed the tide, everyone wasn't expecting the 2nd part of the update... I have to wonder just how we'll get back to the regular flow after something like this. Since unlike Pulp Fiction, this could not be laughed off at all.

My head is still pretty filled with Fuck.
>> No. 40365
[x] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
-[x] I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.

This was...amazing.
I was wondering what would happen to Natasha eventually...
>> No. 40369
I stand by my previous vote.

[X] >>40307
>> No. 40370
>>40360
I suspect that Natasha would have died no matter what, and the craziness choice just made it more poignant. The lowest two might have had it happen "off camera" or covered up by narrator-Fran not wanting to go into as much (or any) detail. But damn; now we know the stakes. About 90% of the mansion's original crew of fae, gone. I had suspected that time wasn't on our side, but I was expecting a discovery that the safe zone was shrinking.

[-] “What… What…?”
- "Sakuya ... how could I have not noticed? Why, why didn't you say anything? Maybe I couldn't have handled it back around when all this started but didn't I deserve to know?"
- "Those other faeries, the ones I don't remember -- will you tell me about them?"
(&) I nudged Monica. “Mon’… Mon’, you okay?” She's been severely traumatized. She's probably not ready to start dealing with it, but we still need to check on her.
>> No. 40376
[x] “I… I want to see Meiling"
(x) I nudged Monica. “Mon’… Mon’, you okay?”
I don't expect Monica to be alright at all, as Fran is pretty messed up, so we should poke her and say some encouraging words. As for ourselves, we will be right as rain as soon as we have a nice sit down with sagacious Meiling.
Sage cause I'm way to late to the party. Again.
>> No. 40393
Found some spotty wi-fi at a little library; I'm just sitting down long enough to check the votes and glance at the comments. I might get a chance to write some this afternoon, so I'm calling this combo the victor:

[X] “Don’t… don’t leave us. Don’t, talk, but… don’t leave us, Sakuya.”
(X) I hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad.

I'll respond to comments properly tonight.
>> No. 40404
File 127941385424.jpg - (756.03KB , 1020x1410 , HeadFullOfKoishi.jpg ) [iqdb]
40404
Proper vote tally, this time:
11 for “Don’t leave…”
3 for “What what?”
2 for “Go away…”
1 for “I want to see…”

9 for hug Monica
7 for nudge Monica
1 for crawl away
Aaaaaand also >>40369

Well… woah. 17 votes. Not sure where y’all came from, but I sure hope you stay; bar’s always open, and I hear the entertainment isn’t too bad. Just want to thank you all for appreciating the update for what it was, even if you might not have liked what happened in it. Now all I ask is that you’ll trust me to eventually carry AFT out of the bad and back to the good. Might take a little while, but the bitter makes the sweet even sweeter. I hope.

Updating either tonight or tomorrow morning-ish.

>>40322
”Definitely Insane” would have been identical up until the start of the Pulp Fiction exchange. Someone (probably Remilia) would have caught the reference, known what was coming, and stopped Flandre in time. She would still have been mortified and livid at Koishi, but slightly less so since there’d be no concrete proof she did anything.
“Unsettlingly Crazy” would have been identical up until the melon attack aftermath. The mood would have remained light afterwards, and everyone would eventually go about their daily business.
“Endearingly Loopy” would have had Flandre going a lot easier on Koishi during the “we are dying” speech, and she wouldn’t have been swearing as much. The melon attack would have probably been replaced with something more tame. Obviously, no Pulp Fiction exchange.

The reason not everything would have killed her, >>40370, is because I’m not that cruel, and because AFT definitely isn’t that dark. An extreme consequence required an extreme vote, which is what I got. I hate to say I told you so, so I won’t.

>>40323
Uggh, I hear you. I can unelegantly crawl my sorry ass through Patchouli and immediately lose a life on Cranberry Trap before I barely manage to beat Flandre well enough and wish I could beat Koishi too for the matching EX-Sister set, but Sanae screws up my run every single time.

>>40324
>I laughed and thought some not so clean things
But what could be more clean and pure that a little fairy’s breasts~?

>>40325
Obvious flaw with that plan: Can’t take a Koisheye for a Koisheye when the victim’s already blind.

>>40326
Clap your hands if you believe.

>>40329
What did she ever do to you…? ;_;

>>40331
I’ll give you that, but then allow me to retort! in my defense I think there’s a few noticeable differences here that add up. Regardless, it’s not like I’m exactly trying to deviate from fanon/canon just to write different characters, but I’d rather wait until the end of the story to keep talking about something like this.

>If I had a "Head full of fuck" picture, I'd post it.
Image related; I’ve got you covered.

>>40332
>I want to joke that Flandre got her answer to life, the universe and everything, but I just can't follow through.
Good man; that statute of limitations might take a while to run out.

>Monica must have been traumatized.
Less than you might think; I’m still working on that.

>The fact that Koishi can commit murder by proxy before the proxy even realizes what they're doing? Grade A Paranoia Fuel.
Subconsciously, we’ve all thought about what it’d be like to kill someone, haven’t we? And all Koishi needs is a spark. Flandre just… thinks a little too much.

>>40333
That update in a nutshell; there’s really nothing more I need to say except thank you for enjoying it~

>...of course, the same could be said of all relationships.
The horrible truth.

>>40335
>some heavy stuff
VICH VONE OF YOU IS CRYING?
You’re gonna carry that weight.
Yes it was.

>>40336
I think photoshoop’s a cool guy; eh uses copy-paste and isn’t need to know drawing.

>>40360
>All she wanted to do was get back to her son
I guess we both know that isn’t going to happen. You chose this path; now I have a surprise for you…

>now that'll never happen because we wanted to see how far we could go.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s not as if you knew what was going to happen, and to be fair, I probably teased a little more that I needed to with it.

>>40363
>I have to wonder just how we'll get back to the regular flow after something like this.
Learn from the past. Live in the present. Plan for the future.

>>40365
themoreyouknow.jpg

>>40369
That’s going to be a whole month of gold stars for you.

>>40370
>I suspect that Natasha would have died no matter what,
What story are you reading? I’m reading AFT: Amazing Fun Times. I believe you have me confused with AFT: Absolutely FFFFF-ing Traumatizing.

>>40376
That’s okay; I saved you a piece of cake.
>> No. 40408
>An extreme consequence required an extreme vote, which is what I got.
You said that the vote was for "how much 'power' you want to see", emphasis mine. I read "see" as "witness through the eyes of the main character", implying that the events to occur would be the same regardless. Admittedly, it could also mean "see" as "occur in the story", but I discounted that possibility because... well, because I think giving a story-altering choice without allowing the reader to assess the possible consequences of that choice in a meaningful way beforehand is kind of a shitty thing for a writer to do.

But hey, it is what it is and the above is full of blame gaming signifying nothing. If I'm unreasonably upset, it's at least partially because you wrote that scene so well that I'm still somewhere between Anger and Bargaining in the Kübler-Ross model 3 full days later. Good show, and I'll do my best to take it easy.

For what it's worth, a side story where Natasha gets a happy end would make me feel a little better.
>> No. 40410
>>40408
>For what it's worth, a side story where Natasha gets a happy end would make me feel a little better.

I second this.
>> No. 40411
>>40408
Thirded
>> No. 40416
Didn’t imagine…? I couldn’t, think… forgot how to think. Red, all red, red tablecloth, red clothes, red hands… Now white sheets, white nightdress, white Sakuya headdress… it wasn’t right. It was real… but, not right. I’d seen it, seen it all; Natasha… Kay… Lady Flan… It couldn’t go away just like that. It wouldn’t, it shouldn’t, it wasn’t allowed to! I’d just seen an innocent woman die, right in front of me! Flandre, Kay… they’d killed her! How was that all supposed to just go away?! I kept seeing it, in my head… why couldn’t I see it with my eyes?! Not right… not fair… Natasha deserved, better…

Natasha… dead. Dead… I knew what, death, was. I, understood what death was, even. But, seeing it, there, in all its redness… feeling its redness, hearing its redness… no. No, no, no, please… this wasn’t supposed to happen. She was supposed to annoy us with her religious naysaying, try and escape again, make friends with Remilia and go home… raise her son… be someone who believed… not, supposed to happen. Why… why wasn’t I allowed to deny it? Why wasn’t I allowed to doubt myself? Why did I have to keep feeling the red in my face, that wet popping in my ears… Why had Koishi not just created something twice as worse for us in her mind-world? At least then… she’d, still be alive…

I clutched my soft quilt, pulling it up to my chin as a shield. So soft… too soft. Why was it so soft? It wasn’t supposed to be soft… it was supposed to be red, and wet, and loud and angry and smile without being happy or sad or angry or anything at all what had happened to all the red it was supposed to be all red… I curled up into a little ball inside my sheets. This wasn’t supposed to be happening… People weren’t supposed to die here… We were nice people, we didn’t kill anyone… Wrong, wrong, all wrong, all real but all wrong…

“Don’t… don’t leave us,” I finally managed to whimper out loud, looking pitifully at Sakuya. “D-Don’t, don’t, talk, but… please, d-don’t leave us, Sakuya. I don’t, want to be… alone.”

Sakuya nodded silently, her image one of seemingly perfect calm. I could tell it was fake—she kept blinking time on and off three times a minute—but if I tried hard to ignore it… it felt real. Just having someone near me, someone I could see… it helped. Near me…

Monica. Without even thinking about it I reach over and hugged Monica close to me. Didn’t want to be alone… not alone… alone was bad. Not feeling was bad. Kay… I didn’t care if Sakuya said she was far far away… She was in my mind whether she knew it or not. I needed to know that the people I loved were still real, still there right beside me. Now that I knew that… anyone, anyone at all, might be taken away before I even had time to understand.

“F… Francie…?” Monica whispered, probably getting crushed by my paranoid hug but hugging my back tightly just the same. “What’s, what’s wrong? You’re crying…”

“I, I-I just… She’s, she’s… it’s… M-Mon’, a-are you okay…?”

She nodded, face hardly the visage of confusion and worry mine was. “Y-Yeah, I, I think so… but all the… everything’s, different; why are we in our room? Sakuya, was that, was that you?” The head maid nodded to her, but respectfully remained silent.

“Francie… Francie, are you okay? You l-look, scared…”

I couldn’t bare to look at her; I didn’t even care what kind of example I was setting. It was all I could do to just keep shivering and stuttering out my few words. Why was this happening, why did I have to see it, why couldn’t I stop seeing it and yet why wasn’t I seeing it anymore?!

“Did, d-did… don’t you, know, what happened in there…?”

“I, uhh, I think… You, you told me about it once, I think… Miss Tasha’s, she’s… dead?”

I nodded weakly into her shoulder. “Yeah… she’s, she’s dead. You… you remember, what dead means, don’t you?”

“It’s… it’s when you… end, isn’t it? Oh, what’d you say, uhh, uhmm, everything that has a beginning has an end. That. But, I… I didn’t think it’d be, so… messy. Or, loud.”

“It’s… it’s n-not. It was an… an, accident.” Dare I tell her? Dare I tell her what had happened? How Kay had gotten into Flandre’s mind, how Flandre had taken one of her fun little jokes too far? How… we were dying? All us fairies… disappearing, one by one as the world gave up on us, stopped giving us their hearts, their faith? I hadn’t known… I hadn’t expected… How long did we have? How long before all our cousins were gone, before it was just The Seven? And Monica, she was so… small, so weak… How long did she have? Months? Years? How long did I have? Would I feel it, feel myself fading away? Or would I just… vanish? Now you saw me, now you didn’t, gone in a single second just like… Natasha…?

I could hear Monica sigh. “Well, I, I guess… I didn’t really like her t-that much anyways… she was always so mean to everyone…”

“N-No, no, Monica, d-don’t say that!” I pulled myself back to arm’s length, quickly rubbing my tears away. “Death is… death is, bad! We’re not supposed to i-ignore it l-like it’s no big deal! We’re… we’re supposed to, to feel something when people die…” It was so pathetic, I thought, explaining something so simple, so universal to every living creature. But Monica… she was different. Remilia’d found her right after she’d come into existence… she didn’t know. She’d never learned anything by herself, just what we’d taught her over little more than a year. Which would have been fine—I enjoyed teaching her little things here and there—but it was just… Kay. Kay… didn’t care. Didn’t feel. Didn’t do anything except smile and talk and get into people’s heads… and make them kill each other. I didn’t want Monica to turn into someone like Kay… ever.

For a long time we just lay there in the bed, looking at each other and thinking. I wished… how I wished I didn’t have to think. I didn’t want to ever have to think about the sad things… the real things. I did, but… I didn’t. I wanted to know, I’d always wanted to know the heart of the matter, but… at what cost…? Was it worth it to watch someone die, just so you knew what death felt like? I’d “died” myself, but compared to this… fake. A joke. Because when you really die… you’re dead. Humans don’t, come back from being dead. It’s just… game, bloody, over.

“I… I, don’t… want, you to die, Francie,” Monica said out of the blue.

“…Wha…?”

“I don’t want you to die. Because then I’d be, sad. I don’t, wanna to be sad.”

I tried to put on a phony, reassuring face. “Wh-why am I going to die, Mon’? Fairies don’t, we don’t die, Monica. I’m not going anywhere. You don’t need to be sad about that.”

Monica frowned, furrowing her little brow. “But, Miss Flandre… she, she said somethin’… ‘bout us, all dying. One by one… I, I don’ understand it, but I’m… I’m scared, Francie. I… I don’t wanna you to die and leave me all alone. And I… I don’t wanna die and leave you alone either neither…”

I squinted shut my eyes, feeling the tears wet my cheeks. So little… so young… and she could still figure these things out on her own, couldn’t she? Life, death, loneliness, abandonment… Even back in the past with nature, I knew about those kinds of things. Going a day or two without bumping into another living creature, or seeing a staggering old fox just give up and flop to the ground in a simple, unmoving heap…

I hugged my little cousin, my little sister, close to my chest again, felt her squish against those stupid, silly “melons” of mine. It wasn’t fair… one minute we’re laughing about the most embarrassing thing I’d ever done in my life, and now… I didn’t even have time to think about it.

“I’m not going to die, Monica… and neither are you,” I whispered into her ear. “I’m making you a promise. We’re not ever going to have to make each other lonely.”

“B-But… she said, we… we wouldn’t even know…”

“I don’t care. Somehow… somehow, we’re going to stop it. We’re going to make our cousins stop disappearing. If we don’t, Miss Patchouli will, or Miss Remilia… They’re not going to let us die.”

“You… you promise?”

I hugged her even closer, threading my hand into hers and twining our fingers together. “Yeah… I promise.”



[ ] When you’re at the bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. Also, write-in.

*******************************************************

>>40408
For what it’s worth… If I told you what was going to happen, would you have still voted for it? I’m not trying to blindside anyone—that’s left for grimdark and mindscrew stories—but I just think if I’d explained out everything, the impact would have been lost, and the impact will make a difference. I promise Natasha won’t have died for nothing.

But I appreciate your concern, and more importantly your willingness to still try and take it easy. I’ll do my best to think dangerous choices through better, as well.

You might ACTUALLY not want to read this part; definitely has possible future spoilers!
As much as it pains me to say it, I can’t bring myself to do an alternate-world happy end when we all know she’s still dead in the real one. It’d just feel like a cheap and hollow victory.…but what if the Yama gave her a second chance…?
>> No. 40417
[X] Just... sleep, and let your mind rest. You won't forget... you'll never be able to forget... but you aren't going to be able to do anything, feeling the way you are now.
[X] Go talk to Flandre first thing after you wake up.

Man, I cannot even begin to conceive of how Flandre feels right now. Sakuya and Remilia seem to be taking care of her right now, and I think it's best to leave it that way for a little while, but she's definitely first on the list. Assuming she's in a fit state to be talked to and doesn't seclude herself beyond our reach.

Other things we should probably do:
* Talk to Patchouli to make sure she's doing all right. Her feelings are probably getting ignored in favor of the less stable members of the household right now, but she may well be the one who was hit the hardest by this. Plus, if Tepes hadn't promised that the story was going to stay lighthearted, I wouldn't be surprised if Koakuma decided to take this opportunity to punch her ticket back to Makai.
* Talk to Remilia about the belief situation. We just made a promise and we need to see to it that it gets kept.
* Talk to Meiling about Sakuya's past. Geez, I hope somebody's already let her know what's going on so we don't have to be the ones to tell her.
* Talk to Sakuya to ensure that Koishi is still rotting away in whatever dungeon she's being kept in. Seriously, fuck her.
>> No. 40421
>>40416
By far and away, this is probably the toughest decision that has been laid upon the feet of anyone that has been following this story, ever. I made it a point of tracking down the origins of this story, and I think I'm adequately equipped to label this the heaviest than way too heavy decision ever.

[x] Make sure Monica was asleep and okay
[x] "I... we... someone... ... I needed to make sure Flandre was alright."

I had eleven twelths of a mind to say "Fuck it" and consign Fran to absolute despair (like every other single living being was after the last update), but that wouldn't be fair to her or the the story. I still feel compelled to say FUCK YOU AND THE DISEASED BEAST OF A NAG YOU RODE IN ON to anyone who though "Stark. Raving. Mad." was a good idea. I hope that decision follows you to your grave and beyond.
>> No. 40424
[X] Just... sleep, and let your mind rest. You won't forget... you'll never be able to forget... but you aren't going to be able to do anything, feeling the way you are now.
[X] Go talk to Flandre first thing after you wake up.

Remilia is with Flan right now.

>>40421

I still feel that stark raving mad was the best decision. It is the most in character, and we hadn't seen Flandre go insane and kyu anyway yet. Even if it was Koishi's fault.

Feels good to rage every once in a while, and this breaks up the normal slice-of-life to keep it from getting boring (not that it was, mind).
>> No. 40427
>>I still feel compelled to say FUCK YOU AND THE DISEASED BEAST OF A NAG YOU RODE IN ON to anyone who though "Stark. Raving. Mad." was a good idea. I hope that decision follows you to your grave and beyond.

I must disagree. I didn't vote for that, but knowing what we do now, I think it was the best option because it illustrated two very crucial points.

First, how dire the SDM's situation truly is, especially since it's Flandre explaining how screwed they all are if something isn't done. Something like the imminent death and extinction of everyone you've ever known and loved is something that warrants just the kind of reaction Flandre had.

While there was another option that would have supposedly had her basically do the same thing, any other option than this one would have lessened the impact of the second point.

Namely, just how absolutely dangerous Koishi truly is, especially when paired up with someone like Flandre. Between the fairly innocuous activities like Hide and Seek and groping Flan's chest, it's easy to overlook the notion that an unstable girl with the power to destroy anything at will palling around with a girl who can't feel emotions and can mess with your mind is, possibly, not a good idea.

As they say, it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then some.
>> No. 40439
[x] Make sure Monica was asleep and okay
-[x] "I... we... someone... ... I needed to make sure Flandre was alright."
Despair would have been good, but I guess our fairy is stronger than I thought.
>> No. 40440
>>40427
Well said

I am one of the people who voted for it, and I'm not ashamed of the fact in the slightest.

It's like... we just walked down a corridor, going through innumerable green doors. Behind each was sunshine and lolipops. Then we came across a green and a red door.
"Oho!" Said Anon, "Why not see what the red door holds?"
But behind the red door was baby-eating.

You could blame human curiosity and thrill-seeking nature, but it won't get you anywhere. If people only see suffering for themselves, but not others, they will chose freely.
And that's the crux of the issue - we saw suffering for ourselves in grimdark writing, but didn't expect baby-eating it to significantly effect the lives of the characters.


Oh yeah! Voting.
[X] Just... sleep, and let your mind rest. You won't forget... you'll never be able to forget... but you aren't going to be able to do anything, feeling the way you are now.
[X] Go talk to Flandre first thing after you wake up.

Everyone needs some time. Poor Sakuya included, though she'll probably have to go back to Remi soon.
>> No. 40446
I honestly expected something worse out of "Stark. Raving. Mad." It was downright tame if you ask me. Hey, least it was quick and painless.

I would've expected all votes in that regard to lead to the same outcome, but be different in tone. I'm rather disappointed the author has said that is not the case. But eh, whatever.
>> No. 40450
[x] Make sure Monica was asleep and okay
-[x] "I... we... someone... ... I needed to make sure Flandre was alright."
>> No. 40451
[X] Just... sleep, and let your mind rest. You won't forget... you'll never be able to forget... but you aren't going to be able to do anything, feeling the way you are now.
[X] Go talk to Flandre first thing after you wake up.

Think it'd be better to wait until tomorrow so Flandre's calmed down hopefully.
>> No. 40456
[X] Just... sleep, and let your mind rest. You won't forget... you'll never be able to forget... but you aren't going to be able to do anything, feeling the way you are now.
[X] Go talk to Flandre first thing after you wake up.
>> No. 40467
{Just... sleep, and let your mind rest. You won't forget... you'll never be able to forget... but you aren't going to be able to do anything, feeling the way you are now.}
{Go talk to Flandre first thing after you wake up.}
>> No. 40502
6 for sleeping now & Flandre later
3 for get Monica to sleep & Flandre now

Moving right along, then; writing now, updating later. I’ve actually got half a mind to keep making these write-in only options, just as a little failsafe in case I try and railroad the story into “lol plot” territory, because that’d just be boring. Opinions?

>>40417
>Second spoiler bar
Woah… I wasn’t even thinking about that possibility. But yes, I did promise.

>Third spoiler bar
Someone can tell her while you’re sleeping. Boring exposition that the readers already know is boring.

>Talk to Sakuya to ensure that Koishi is still rotting away in whatever dungeon she's being kept in. Seriously, fuck her.
In an alternate world not so different from ours, Prince Tepes is writing a story called “A Cat Tale” from the perspective of one of the many pets the Komeiji’s keep. The protagonist has played with Koishi many times in her life, and knows her horrible, sad story. From the cat’s perspective, Flandre is some hopelessly crazy, emotionless shut-in no sane person would ever love, but she’s good for a laugh and a pinch of moe. Flandre also kills innocent people. An anon not unlike you is at this very moment typing “Talk to Satori to ensure that Flandre is still rotting away in whatever dungeon she's being kept in. Seriously, fuck her.”

Think about it.

>>40421
>this is probably the toughest decision that has been laid upon the feet of anyone that has been following this story, ever.
I wouldn’t say it’s the toughest, but future votes are definitely going to be tougher than usual.

>I had eleven twelths of a mind to say "Fuck it" and consign Fran to absolute despair
Shame on you and the diseased beast of a nag you rode in on.

>>40424
You make some good points. I baked you a cookie, but I eated half of it. You can have the other half~

>>40427
I just baked some more cookies. You deserve a few; give one to the guy who was just ahead of you in line, too.

>>40440
>You could blame human curiosity and thrill-seeking nature, but it won't get you anywhere.
Perhaps the same could be said of all anons pointing fingers. No I’m not calling you one of those anon, just thought those words could be used elsewhere. Or something. I should get back to writing soon, yeah.

>>40446
Sorry to disappoint, but I wasn’t trying to go all the way. I wanted a scene that was powerful yet meaningful, yet with the potential for the characters to still bounce back. Would making the scene any more dark really improve the story over all? But eh, whatever.
>> No. 40508
Neither of us said anything more; I’d said all I’d wanted to, and Monica had said all she’d needed to. This promise… it was a promise I didn’t know whether or not I could keep. To keep it meant finding out where in the world we could run to to be safe. It meant actually getting everyone in the mansion to that place. And it meant doing it as fast as possible to save as many of our cousins as we could from extinction. I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I just hoped after that horrible, horrible incident in the dining room that everyone else might realize the urgency of the situation too.

I wanted to keep thinking. I wanted to figure it all out right then, right there, wasting not one more precious minute. But as I felt my mind scramble more and more, my body shiver and shake, I eventually admitted defeat. Sleep… I just wanted to sleep, and let my mind rest for a change. I knew I wouldn’t forget… I’d never be able to forget… but feeling the way I felt then, sick to my stomach and as confused as a tangled ball of yarn, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Sleep… get a fresh start. A new day, with new challenges and new hopes. Today had not been a good day… Tomorrow would be better…

+ + + + + + + + + +

When I woke up, I really had no idea how long I’d slept. The sky way dark outside my window, but that might have been the beginning of night, or the end of it, and I was liable to have slept long enough for either. My eyes were sore and weary; I didn’t even bother opening them as I flopped around in my bed. I noticed a definite lack of Monica next to me; had she fallen off the bed, or was she up already? She did tend to get up before I did on any given day, so I didn’t worry about it. I knew I had other things to worry about.

My sleep had been peaceful, and the last conscious moments before it liberating as I told myself over and over, “Figure it all out when you wake up.” Comforting words, but of little comfort once you wake back up. I rubbed my face and groaned. It was all still there… still real… still so disparaging to think about. I hated thinking about it… but I had to. I was a part of this now, whatever “this” exactly was, for better or for worse. I’d been there when we first looked for Koishi, I’d talked to her alone, I’d been the one to give Sakuya the strength to catch her, I’d been the one that had sacrificed my dignity to calm Flandre down, and I’d been there when Flandre had violently ripped the rose-colored glasses off of my face and ground them into dust before me. There was no running away from this now.

Flandre… How much I knew, and yet how little. Month after month, she told be to be wary, to never underestimate her. She told be to never stop being afraid of her, even if and when I loved her. I knew… and never truly understood. Never understood that she was dangerous, she was detached from reality, and that she could kill anyone at a moments notice. Flandre… I had to go see her. As soon as possible. I had to know she was all right, that she was still aware of what was going on, that she was still her, and not… someone else.

Kay…

A soft little snoring jolted me from my introspection, triggering a reflex of bolting up in my bed and smacking my head against the headboard. “Ahh, oww! Who… someone there?”

As I rubbed my head with one hand and my eyes with the other, I finally realized that I wasn’t exactly alone in the room. Tullia had pulled over a chair and was sitting diligently by my bedside, though not diligently enough to avoid drifting off into a soft sleep. For once, she’d let her hair-bun down, and I was surprised to find it was long enough to travel all the way down her back. Seemed her sleep was rather soft indeed, since the simple banging of my head and voice was enough to bring her back.

“Hummnum…? Ahhhn, o-oh, awake?” She rubbed her eyes as well, retuning her posture to a more upright position. “Good… morning, I think it is. Very early morning, mind.”

“Good morning too… when did, you get here? And where’s Mon’?”

“Oh, well, Miss Sakuya left you both after you’d gone to sleep, but I just thought you’d like some company when you woke up, is all. I… heard, what you saw yesterday…” she added somberly, looking away.

“Oh, y-yeah… Well, at least, at least I don’t have to tell you, then… I, don’t know if I could… And Monica?”

“She woke up a few hours ago or so; she’s with some of the other Seven right now, don’t worry. They were going up to the Observatory; at least they were. Might be in the music room now.” Tullia reached out and rested a hand on my thigh, looking into my eyes. “Are you… doing all right?”

“Yeah… yeah, I, I think so.” I took deep breaths and tried not to keep imagining that scene in my head. It had happened… but it was over. I couldn’t make it go away by worrying… “I, I just needed some rest. I think, I think I’ll be all right after a while. But I… I need to see Flandre, right away.”

Tullia looked rather somber at that request. “So does Mistress Remilia… so does Dr. Knowledge… so do I, what with it being Tuesday and all that.”

“What, do you mean?”

“She’s locked herself in her room. It’s a special latch you can only pull from the inside… even Sakuya can’t get in, not unless she tried to drill through the walls. It was a… fail-safe, Flandre insisted on being installed when they built the mansion. To prevent our hearts from getting in the way of our heads, I think she likes to say…”

I was stunned. “She locked…? When, why? Did she say anything?! She’s not fit to be alone, Tullia, she should know that!”

“Calm down, calm down Francesca!” She tried to ease me back into my pillow, worry painted all over her face. “Shh, it’s all right. She and Remilia talked for a long time after… it happened. Whatever they talked about, Remilia seemed to think it was for the best. She didn’t physically prevent Flandre from going down there and closing the door, at least, which… has happened, on occasion. Calm down, Francesca; they’ve been through this sort of thing before.”

In my heart I nodded, but my body still shook its head, pouting. “Not like this… not with Kay. Kay’s… different. Flandre treats her different. I still don’t know how they really feel about each other, but… Kay changes things.”

“Maybe, but we can’t change what’s already happened. Flandre locked herself in there for a good reason, after she’d calmed down and stopped shouting. She might not always know what she’s doing, but she knows who she is. You have to trust her, Francesca.”

I wanted to trust her. I wanted to know that all the “adults” were on top of things and would fix all the problems. But I couldn’t. It was Flandre. How could I trust that she knew what she was doing? How could I trust her anymore to not kill the next person she laid eyes on?! I wanted to trust her… but I didn’t know how anymore.

“What… what’s happening now, then…?” I finally asked after a period of silence.

Tullia sighed as she leaned forwards in her chair, platinum-blonde hair streaming down her body like a beautiful robe of moonlight. “We’re… thinking. All the young cousins are going about business as normal; we don’t want them to have to worry about any of this. The rest of us…? We’re just trying to deal with it as best as we can; we all know what happened by now, one way or another. Do you… want me to leave you alone? I’ll understand if you do.”


[ ] “Yes… Yes, I think I need to do some thinking myself, too.” (specify what you need to think about”
[ ] “No, Tullie, you’re fine, you’re fine. Just… keep talking. About anything’s, fine. Tell me about yourself or something.”
[ ] “No, I… I need to get up anyways.” (Obviously choosing one of these means you want to go see them. Might want to add things you want to ask/do with them)
--( ) “You said Monica and the other girls went to the music room?”
--( ) “Where’s China?” (Also, ask about the Sixteen Nights, or wait for a while?)
--( ) “Where’s Sakuya?”
--( ) “Where’s Patchouli?”
--( ) “Where’s that devil girl?”
--( ) “Where’s Remilia?”
--( ) “Where’s Kay?”
--( ) “Where’s… Natasha…?”
>> No. 40510
I have half a mind to go down to Flandre's room and try to talk to her through the door, but...

[X] "No, I… I need to get up anyways."
--(X) "Where’s Patchouli?"
--(X) “Where’s that devil girl?”

We need to get everyone back on their feet before we try to do anything about moving the mansion. The sleep did Fran some good, Flandre and Remilia seem to have been able to come to an understanding of some sort, Sakuya seemed to have things under control last evening, and Mon is being looked after, so I think our priority is checking up on the remaining two members of the fateful party.

>>40502
>In an alternate world...
Is that so wrong? In this world, we have plenty of first-hand evidence that Flandre is a victim of her own insanity, whereas all we have to go on for Koishi is Flandre's admittedly unreliable testimony. Sure, if I try, I can summon up some feeling for Koishi, so it's not like I'm going to vote to behead her and stick her head on a pike outside the mansion, but I'm also not going to be all that sympathetic towards her until such time as evidence is produced that she's not just an evil little monkey.
>> No. 40511
{"No, I… I need to get up anyways."
- {"Where’s Patchouli? And that devil girl?”}}

After Mon' and Flan' (and us), Miss Patchu probably needs the most attention, though she won't show it.
>> No. 40515
[X] "No, I… I need to get up anyways."
--(X) "Where’s Patchouli?"
--(X) “Where’s that devil girl?”
afterwards
--[x] "Where's Meiling?"

What does the 16 nights refer to again?
>> No. 40517
>>40515

Back five updates or so when Sakuya broke down, she said that if Francesca ever wanted to know the rest of her story, she should ask either Remilia or Meiling about "The Sixteen Nights".

The Japanese characters for Izayoi also literally mean "Sixteenth Night".
>> No. 40519
[x] “No, I… I need to get up anyways.”
--(x) “Where’s Patchouli?”
(Might want to add things you want to ask/do with them)
--(x) "How are you doing?"
--(x) "How is she... I think someone called her 'Koa kuma,' how is she?"
--(x) "How do you think Flandre is?"
--(x) "...what happened to Ms. Natasha?"

Patchouli's connection to Natasha was pretty obvious. I reckon most everyone (perhaps aside from Meiling) is freaking out that Flandre just killed someone, but Patchu is probably the most impacted by Natasha's death. I want to know how she is. That unreadable expression from Koa has me intrigued as well, but until we know what the new relationship between her and Patchu is, it's probably better to ask a friendly source. Getting a more knowledgeable (no pun intended) opinion about Flandre (perhaps about the times she has locked herself away) is going to help Francesca figure out what kind of face to put on the next time we meet her. Finally, I'm just curious as to what sort of service/treatment a former guest receives at the Scarlet Devil Mansion.

>The rest of us…? We’re just trying to deal with it as best as we can
It's kinda weird, the way Tullia is talking about most recent incident. Seems like they (the rest of the seven) are in just as big a shock as Fran is. Does that mean they haven't seen/experienced Flan doing something like this before, or they haven't seen it in a while? Considering the lack of mortal guests they get, it could very well be the former, but that makes me wonder how Patchu, Meiling, Sakuya, and even Remilia have made it this long. Never leaving the basement might have something to do with it, but I think it was implied earlier on that Patchouli is her teacher on a somewhat regular basis. Perhaps I'm underestimating Kay's influence, but I really can't wrap my head around why little miss Komeiji thought that particular display was a good idea.
>> No. 40520
[x] “No, I… I need to get up anyways.”
-(x) "Wheres China?" Don't ask about the Sixteen Nights.
Meiling is the only person on that list who wasn't in the room when Natasha died. I would like to get her perspective on all of this, as she always dispenses great advice. As for the Sixteen Nights, its not really high on the priority list, as we need to figure out where to move to before we die.
>> No. 40521
[x] “Yes… Yes, I think I need to do some thinking myself, too.”
-[x] The place where Kay lived that Flandre mentioned before; how to get there; the time limit that Flandre imposed on Kay; if the rest of the time will be just Kay trying to make Flandre (even more) mad; and how to extract the information from her sooner.
--[x] Is there any way that Patchouli can find that place without Kay help?
>> No. 40522
>>40520
Well... the only reason I choose not to ask that today was because there's bigger things.

But as far as the looming problem, that might be best off to Remilia and Patchouli. There's only so much a lovely brave fairy can do after all.
>> No. 40523
[X] "No, I… I need to get up anyways."
--(X) "Where’s Patchouli?"

Meiling later, we should see how Patchy's holding up first.

>>40522
>as far as the looming problem, that might be best off to Remilia and Patchouli
boooooring
>> No. 40536
[X] “No, I… I need to get up anyways.”
--(X) “Where’s China?”
---{X} Wait
>> No. 40540
[x] “No, I… I need to get up anyways.”
--(x) “Where’s Patchouli?”
(Might want to add things you want to ask/do with them)
--(x) "How are you doing?"
--(x) "How is she... I think someone called her 'Koa kuma,' how is she?"
--(x) "How do you think Flandre is?"
--(x) "...what happened to Ms. Natasha?"
>> No. 40541
[B] “No, I… I need to get up anyways.”
-(b) "Wheres China?" Don't ask about the Sixteen Nights.
>> No. 40549
6 for Patch
3 for China
1 for thinking by yourself

Writing and/or updating today and/or tomorrow, then. I'm pretty sure that makes less sense than I'd like it to.

>>40510
Mmm, okay, you got me there. I was just trying to make a joke out of the fact that you're psuedo-hating on a Touhou, since that usually doesn't happen very often around here. Didn't mean anything by it; we'll just pretend I didn't say anything of consequence, since I didn't.
>> No. 40552
>>40549
Er, didn't mean to fail my Take It Easy check there or anything. My bad.
>> No. 40554
File 127968326418.jpg - (771.98KB , 619x1753 , Cant take it easy like this.jpg ) [iqdb]
40554
>>40552

No worries. Any check's DC is murder when Koishi's involved.
>> No. 40564
“No, Tullie, you’re fine, you’re fine. I… I need to get up anyways.” I rubbed the remnants of sleep from my eyes as I slid out of bed, the floor particularly chilly that morning. I didn’t just need to get up, I had to get going. I just needed to be somewhere, doing something or talking to someone. Because I sure wasn’t going to be doing much sitting around thinking about our problems when someone else probably knew how to think about those better.

My thoughts turned to Patchouli, mainly because I had absolutely no idea how she was coping with all this. After all… she was human, just like Natasha, and even though the two of them had shown no real attachment to each other since that tear-causing incident in the bedroom, I just felt that Mrs. Herod’s death must’ve been weighing particularly hard on hard. But then again, I didn’t know. All I knew is that the last time I’d seen her, she’d been crouching on the ground, gasping for breath, which by itself wasn’t very good either.

“Where’s Patchouli?” I asked, rubbing my bare feet against each other.

“Where do you think she is?” Tullia question me back, sarcastically but somehow with a calm smoothness not many people would have been able to pull off without sounding offense.

I felt my check warm us just a smidge. “Uuhhh… the library, I-I guess? Do you think that devil girl thing is there too?”

She shrugged. “Can’t say. Truthfully I’ve been trying to avoid her; just feel like she’d want to not be bothered.”

“Mmm… maybe. Just wondering, is all.” I walked over to my rather modest wardrobe and just threw on another same-old-same-old uniform quickly; even in the worst of times, I’d hate to make Remilia think her little girls had stopped caring. “How, how are you handling all this, anyways?”

She sighed, standing up herself and pushing the chair back against the wall. “I’m handling it, I suppose. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to deal with something like this… I’ve been around this mansion since the day it was built, you know.”

“No, I, I didn’t know that… You’ve been here that long?” I’d always felt like Tullie had known her way around the mansion better than any of us, but I still found it rather interesting that she was “the first” of all of us. Of course that didn’t mean she was the oldest, but frankly I could have existed a hundred years more than her and still felt like a little teenaged girl to her elderly council.

“Yes; I was the first fairy Remilia even took into her home. It’s what gave her the idea to start looking for more in the first place. Mmmm, those were pleasant days… of course, it was easy to find cousins back then. Nowadays…” She just let the sentence trail off, allowing me to eventually realize for myself that she already knew about the “dying”. I didn’t ask her where she’d found out, and she didn’t tell me; I think I preferred it that way, actually.

“Well… I’ll be over at the library, then, I guess. Just want to see how Miss Patchouli’s holding up.” Together we left my room and went our separate ways, until it was just me walking through the fourth-floor hallways to the library. So quiet, and so empty… was is emptier because I knew now there were no people to fill it? I just hoped that if we ever… no, when we found a new home, we could find other fairies to fill the place back up again.

In contrast—or perhaps exactly the same as?—the library was just as quiet as ever, filled with nothing but the silent whisper of air vents and perhaps a far-off ticking clock. That same empty feeling refused to leave me, but at least it was accompanied by the ever-present question: Did Patchouli even have enough time in her life to read all of these? Yes, I know, always best to be prepared for the day when you need an obscure book, but it’s a valid question, isn’t it?

Well… okay, perhaps it isn’t.

I didn’t feel like looking up and down every row of books that morning; I’d have been there for an hour before even finding the doctor, and by then I might not have even cared about asked her how she felt. And even thought I knew it was taboo to yell in a library…

“Patchouli? Miss Patchouli, are you there? It’s Francesca. I’m sorry for yelling!”

No response. I tried a few more times on the fourth floor before moving down to the third, and then the second. Tullia had said she was in the library, hadn’t she? It was possible she’d cloistered herself back up in her room or laboratory, I reasoned, but she’d still be in earshot wouldn’t she?

“Dr. Patchouli? I just want to talk and stuff, that’s all! I’m not trying to take up your whole day or anything! At least tell me that you don’t want to be bothered if you, uhh, don’t want to be bothered! I mean, I’ll understand!”

“DAMMIT IT ALL, I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME! JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!”

That… definitely wasn’t Patchouli Knowledge. For having such a sweet voice, that devil girl sure knew how to make it carry; I doubted she was even on the same floor as me. Seemed she’d added that f-word to her profanity vocabulary since a day ago too, a fact I wasn’t exactly thrilled about. But it’s not like she was going to stop anytime soon, so I just did my best to ignore it; rather easy since unlike a human like you, I hadn’t grown up with it.

“Hey, new girl? Is that you? Do you know where Ms. Patchouli is?”

“IF YOU’LL SHUT UP, THEN YES! WITCH IS ON THE THIRD FLOOR; SOME DAMN HISTORY SECTION! NOW QUIET ALREADY, I DON’T LIKE YOUR BITCHING ANY MORE THAN SHE DOES!”

”But I already looked there!”

“NOT MY PROBLEM!”

”it… kinda is, if you want me to stop shouting!”

No reply. Seemed like she’d given up finally; I must not have been worth the trouble. I half-expected Patchouli to be wandering out of some aisleway as soon as I’d gone back up the stairs, just to see what all the fuss was about, but no luck. Still, with the extra direction I’d been given it wasn’t long before I stumbled upon the librarian, floating high above me looking at book spines. She must have been extremely focused, I thought, if she hadn’t even bothered to say anything yet.

“S-Sorry about the yelling, Ms. Patchouli,” I told her quietly, standing right below her now.

“…mmm…s’fine…” she mumbled back, maybe four or five seconds after I’d finished talking myself. She pulled one book out of the dozens I’d already seen her peruse, glanced at the cover for a few seconds, then slid it back, shaking her head. Seemed she’d already found a number of books and put them into her side-bag, though what they were for I could only guess.

“Are, are you busy? I mean, I don’t wanna disturb you if you need some peace and quiet.”

“Nngh… doesn’t matter. Just, looking…” She certainly seemed distracted, but I supposed that at least it was better than her cowering in her bed whispering things about blood to herself like I’d been doing.

Even though we weren’t making eye contact in the first place, I decided to at least fly up there with her and get a better look at what she was doing. Not that it helped much; all I could gather was her running her finger hurriedly across spine after spine, stopping at seemingly random spots to pull out a book and flip through it. Sometimes she’d put it back, sometimes she’d put it in her bag, and sometimes she’d just float there for minutes, reading and reading. It took me a while to warm up to the idea of interrupting her, at least a little bit.

“So, you’re… you’re doing okay, I guess? After what happened…?”

There was yet another uncanny delay before she answered me. “No, if you must know… I am not okay. I, doubt… mmm, any of us are ‘o-kay’. But we… cope.” Her constant pauses didn’t seem to me like ones of rudeness, nor repressed anguish. Just… distraction. It was nice and all that she was talking to me, but clearly she wasn’t very focused on it.

I tried to put a positive spin on things. “But you’re up and about working on something, so, so that’s good to hear, isn’t it? What… are you working on, anyways?”

She shook her head, pulling out yet another book before shoving it almost immediately back into the shelf. “Mmm… looking, for… looking.”

“I, uhh, I can see that. Looking for what?”

“Book… Something, something on… myth, mythological creatures.”

“Can I help?”

If she hadn’t then been peering into another book, I seriously doubt she’d have even bothered to take the time to shrug at me. “Meh. Doubt it’d matter… don’t have time to explain…”

“Explain what? What you’re looking for?”

She shoved the book back into place again and finally took a few seconds to look at me. Patchouli… why did you have to keep ignoring sleep like it was optional? If you’re eyes are so sore you can’t even read, what good is it to still be awake? And in such poor light, too…

“I am trying to find out what kind of creature that Kay is, Miss Friday,” she finally explained.

“You’re, trying…? But you don’t even know anything about her!”

“I know she manipulates the subconscious senses of others, I know she has limited mind control properties, I know she can defy gravity, I know that she can take human form, and I know she has a third eye that for some reason is perpetually closed. The pool of options cannot feasibly be very large.”

Searching for something like that… It almost seemed as impossible as Sakuya finding Kay in the first place! There were magical creatures all over the world, millennia and millennia of history and myths and legends! And who knew how many of those were even real, or if Kay was something that no one had found before; it’d certainly be possible!

Patchouli had gone back to her search before I’d even had time to retort, which I did anyways. “Ms. Patchy… I, but, why? What good’ll it do?”

“Find the species… find out where the species comes from… narrow the search… solve Lady Flandre’s question.”

I was stunned, only momentarily, and still remained stunned by the seeming futility of the search. “You’re, you’re trying to help her too? B-but, I mean… look at all these books, you don’t even know where to look! It could be anywhere—“

“—There is nothing else to be done,” she interrupted harshly, slapping one of her palms into the side of the shelf. She continued to spill out her concerns, hardly taking a breath or using true pauses in between sentences. “It appears this is only a game to Kay, which she intends to win, so I cannot trust any words she says or has said in the past. Sakuya will not tell me where she is being held, but I can only assume it is not on the grounds, so I cannot run any tests on her. The maid suggests that she is too dangerous to approach; I agree with her in this regard. Lady Flandre’s assessment of the mansion’s eventual demise was and is pertinent if not perfectly accurate, so I cannot do nothing. By now all seven of Lady’s Flandre’s maids know of the imminent threat to their existence, and it is inevitable that it will reach the ears of the other feys in time, so I cannot postpone. This is the conclusion I came to as of yesterday.”

I closed my mouth, biting my lower lip in embarrassment. It would take me a while to fully sort through the hard, dense mess she’d just told me, but eventually I’d come to the understanding that she was right. Who knew how long she’d spent sorting everything out while I’d just slept the day away. And like she’d said… every day was precious. I wondered if anyone really knew how fast we were disappearing—Patchouli might, if I asked her—but any speed at all was too fast.

“I’m… I’m sorry I doubted you, Patchouli,” I apologized, bowing in midair. “And I, I wanna thank you, for, for trying to help save us silly little girls.”

“Hmm… you’re welcome,” she mumbled back, acting like it wasn’t a very big deal; just something she was supposed to do. She’d already practically forgotten about snappish response and had bounced back to book-checking within seconds.


[ ] Even if she said she didn’t mind, she didn’t need me there; what she needed was focus.
--( ) And all I needed at the time was to know where (insert character here) was.
--( ) And what I needed was some people my own age to hang with for a while; Monica was in the music room, wasn’t she?
[ ] For some reason I felt she could use my company anyways, even if she said it didn’t really matter. After all, you never knew what might come about. (Add in more questions; the ones that weren’t asked will be added back in)
[ ] With a definite lull in the conversation now, I couldn’t help wondering about the devil girl. She was the strangest creature out of all of us… how would something like her be dealing with something like this? (Add in questions for her)
>> No. 40567
>>40564

>and by then I might not have even cared about asked her how she felt.
>> No. 40570
>>40567
It’s what I get for proofreading too quickly. That sentence should be:

I didn’t feel like looking up and down every row of books that morning; I’d have been there for an hour before even finding the doctor, and by then I’d be so tired I might not have even cared enough to have asked her how she felt.
>> No. 40571
[x] For some reason I felt she could use my company anyways, even if she said it didn’t really matter. After all, you never knew what might come about.

Not sure why there should be questions added. Some nice time with her without much saying is fine too.
>> No. 40572
[x] With a definite lull in the conversation now, I couldn’t help wondering about the devil girl. She was the strangest creature out of all of us… how would something like her be dealing with something like this
-[x] How is the mansion treating you so far?
-[x] What do you think about what happened?
-[x] Do you know what is kay?
-[x] What I want to ask is, why are you frustrated?

She needs to make herself useful. Standing around is not the answer. Spekaing of which, please ignore the last question.
>> No. 40573
{With a definite lull in the conversation now, I couldn’t help wondering about the devil girl. She was the strangest creature out of all of us… how would something like her be dealing with something like this
- {"How is the mansion treating you so far?
- {"What I want to ask is, why are you frustrated?
- {"Ummmm...
> Surprisingly the demon-girl was seating next to Patchouli as well, finally dressed in a comfortable looking black dress with divided skirts, and simple white shirt underneath. Had her breasts shrunk?
- {"also also, how did you make them smaller? Did you bind them? Either way, can you show me how?}}

It always comes back to breasts with me.
>> No. 40575
>>40573
That was noticed earlier before the whole.... Marvin incident.
>> No. 40578
File 127977267025.jpg - (435.89KB , 859x865 , f64ee3d40d436dadecb6c70fbf3e7e36.jpg ) [iqdb]
40578
[x] Even if she said she didn’t mind, she didn’t need me there; what she needed was focus.
--(x) And all I needed at the time was to know where Meiling was.

I can't see any good for anyone in talking to Koakuma about what happened, and all that other smalltalk bullshit ("why are you frustrated"? seriously?) can wait. Silently watching Patchy look for books is even more pointless. Fran needs reassurance, now.

also, weird typo:
>I felt my check warm us just a smidge.
cheeks warm up?
>> No. 40579
[x]>>40573
>> No. 40580
[x] Even if she said she didn’t mind, she didn’t need me there; what she needed was focus.
--(x) And all I needed at the time was to know where Meiling was.
>> No. 40581
[x] >>40578
>> No. 40583
[x] Even if she said she didn’t mind, she didn’t need me there; what she needed was focus.
--(x) And all I needed at the time was to know where Meiling was.
>> No. 40584
[X] Even if she said she didn’t mind, she didn’t need me there; what she needed was focus.
--(X) And all I needed at the time was to know where Meiling was.

>Any check's DC is murder when Koishi's involved.
>murder
Oh, you.
>> No. 40586
[X] Even if she said she didn’t mind, she didn’t need me there; what she needed was focus.
--(X) And all I needed at the time was to know where Meiling was.
Sadly, our only role in finding a new home will probably be providing moral support. Or maybe we will have one of those cliche moments where we say something stupid, and another character gets an epiphany from it.
>> No. 40594
6 for China
3 for Koakuma
1 for Patchouli

Updating tonight, then. By the way, rather important note here. AFT is winding down plotwise. Though I'll write as long as it takes for the story to come to a satisfying conclusion, I'm shooting for late August/early September as the end date. Mainly I don't want to have to try and deal with school killing my update speed again, and we're almost to the end anyways. Just thought I should keep you all in the loop in case you thought it was just going to keep going.

>>40573
>It always comes back to breasts with me.
That is inevitable and expected.

>>40578
>also, weird typo:
Dang; I was really off that morning. “Cheeks warm up” is correct.

Also that picture is beautiful and not entirely untrue. Thank you for bringing it here~

>>40584
Totally unintentional, I assure you. Koishi must have made me type it.

>>40568
Hey, you’ve made it this far without really caring about the “plot”, no reason to go gung-ho about it now. After all, is what makes AFT special the little things?

Truthfully I find the “cliché epiphanies” to be, well, cliché, but sometimes they just happen to fit in.
>> No. 40598
>>40594
I in contrast try not to think about Fran's breasts lest I end up distracted.
>> No. 40599
File 127985434380.gif - (132.01KB , 393x424 , a6eb17a71deb879fc934a1b8d752dc0b.gif ) [iqdb]
40599
>>40594

>AFT is winding down plotwise.

I don't know what I'd do without Flan and Fran. ;_;
>> No. 40601
Well, even if she said she didn’t mind, I knew her well enough to know she wouldn’t just speak her mind, not if she was really that busy. She didn’t need me there; what she needed right then was focus. And what I needed right then was a mother, or as close to one as I’d be liable to find. I needed Meiling.

“Just, one last question, and I’ll get outta your hair, Ms. Patchouli. Do you know where China is?”

She shrugged distractedly. “Ermmm… no. Ask the devil… it was talking to her last… don’ know why…”

I didn’t really know why either; why would the devil care about China enough to talk to her? Of course, it could have just been a passing fancy, but I didn’t worry about that for the moment. Wandering back down closer to the middle of the library where I hoped my voice would carry better, I shouted a quick question. ”Hey, new girl?! Where are you, I don’t wanna have to keep shouting like this!”

“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT NOW?! I’VE GOT BETTER THINGS THAN TO LISTEN TO YOUR GRATING VOICE!”

”I just want to know where Miss Meiling is, is all!”

“IN HER CABIN, IF IT’LL MAKE YOU GO AWAY ANY FASTER! ASK YOURSELF NEXT TIME, DAMN IT!”

”Thank you!”

One day I really did want to try and have a decent conversation with that creature. I mean, post-whatever it was Patchouli did with her the day before. As harsh and prickly as she was on the outside, I couldn’t help but think that she still had a heart like everyone else. Maybe. Possibly. Unless devils/demons/spirits from her world were really that different.

It was just a quick flight outside to China’s little house, made slightly longer due to how dark it was; I really had absolutely no idea how late or early it was supposed to be anymore. Not like there was anything to run into between the mansion and her cabin, but you can never really be too careful. Yes, I know you can, but I wasn’t that timid of a person anymore. I hoped I hadn’t caught China at a bad time; the windows seemed conspicuously dark and lonesome. Knocking on the door almost felt rude as I wondered if she might have been sleeping; it was the middle of the night after all (probably), and even thought it seemed like she never slept, I had to assume that eventually there did come a point at which she caught a few winks of sleep.

Fortunately the kindly groundskeeper opened the door before too long, wearing a loosely-tied silky nightgown and holding a lit candle in a holder. She actually seemed a little tired, for once.

“Oh, good… morning, is it?” she greeted questioningly. “Though I guess from my perspective it’s still nighttime.”

I twirled a lock of my hair bashfully. “I, uhh, I didn’t wake you up, did I?”

“No, no; not yet anyways. Just getting ready to, as you can see; thought I might catch a few hours before sun-up. Did you need something?”

“Can I… come in for a while?” I remember consciously not trying to look like a lost little puppy dog, but I’m pretty sure China caught enough of that from my voice as she kindly ushered me inside. The candle as the lone source of light cast playful shadows around the living room, reminding me of days long gone by when light bulbs had yet to exist, and lonely campers gathered around a small bonfire to tell each other stories. A simpler time, when the world made sense, and it wasn’t out to get you just for existing…

I was surprised when she ferried me into her own bedroom rather than the couch, but as I tried to stammer out a response she just patted me on the head and said, “Don’t worry about it; I have a feeling this’ll be more comfortable for you in the end.”

“Oh… ‘kay, if-if you say so,” I stammered back anyways.

It wasn’t a fancy bedroom, as least not in that light it wasn’t. I’d seen it on better days, and though the walls and shelves were adorned with fascinating trinkets and reminders of her long life, most of them were robed in shadow now. She climbed gracefully onto the large bed and patted the scarlet quilt next to her for me to hop up alongside. The pillows she used didn’t really feel like pillows—too firm, too claylike—but even those gave a sort of strong comfort to me as I slid one behind my back and made myself comfortable.

“Don’t worry; I heard what happened yesterday…” she started off, setting the candle on her nightstand. “Horrible thing… it hasn’t happened in ages. I… suppose that’s what you’re here about?”

I nodded meekly. “I… I think I’ll be okay with it… The past can’t hurt you, after all… and, Sakuya said Kay’s someplace far away.”

“I certainly hope so… It’s hard for you to know, but Flandre’s probably taking this the hardest of all. She tries so hard to be normal. It’s a battle she’s had to fight almost her entire life, and just when we all thought she’d beaten it back again… well, something happens.”

A part of that waved a little red flag in my head, and I couldn’t help but ask, “Wait… almost her entire life?”

China seemed to know what I was getting at there, and gently shook her head. “Not my tale to tell. That is a question you’ll only ever get answered properly by Remilia herself.”

“Oh… sorry. I didn’t mean to nose around…”

“No, no, it’s not your fault.” She began running her fingers through my hair gently. “You live with people who’ve had long lives, and long lives means long questions, whether you’re trying to be nosy or not. Don’t ever think we try to hide things from you around here just because you’re a little less experienced.”

For a while I said nothing, just appreciating her concern and caressing strokes down my hair. There was a question, I wanted to ask… but after she’d said that I just thought of how impolite it might be. I knew the older residents loved us, even if they didn’t always had the time to show it. I knew they just wanted to keep us safe. What I didn’t know, and wished I did, what where the line was between safety and blissful ignorance.

“But… what about the disappearings…?” I finally drew up the courage to ask her, looking her in the eyes. “I never… none of us ever knew…”

China closed her eyes, looking horribly ashamed as she turned her head away. “We… we should have told you. At least you Seven. We, never did because… because, well… there was nothing we could do to stop it. There… still isn’t. Death… the knowledge of death is a burden fairies are blessed not to bear. We didn’t want you to have to carry it…”

“But… the truth… the, the truth will set you free… right?”

“Your soul free, yes… small consolation when it doesn’t change reality.”

I looked down at my toes, sighing. “There’s… nothing, you can do? Patchouli, she’s… she’s working on something to help…”

“I know she is, Fran; we’re all trying to think of something. But…” she finally turned back to me, aqua eyes crying without shedding tears. “We can’t change the world. The world… made up its mind. We don’t exist to them anymore. I’m part of this too, you know; I won’t last forever without magic either. Patchouli tried to change them, Remilia tried before her… Sometimes one raindrop that raises the sea simply isn’t enough to start a flood.”

My lower lip quivered, and I felt like I might cry. But rather than have China see me start, I leaned forward and collapsed into her lap, burying my face inside her warm chest. “I… I don’t w-want to die, China… I’m af, afraid…”

“Shh now, don’t think about that,” she consoled, hugging me close as the rising and falling of her chest comforted me like a child’s cradle. “You see why we tried not to tell you; eeeeasy now. It’s nothing to be worried about; I’m sure one of us will come up with something now that we’re all thinking together.”

“But… you, you d-don’t know that… what if, what if you… don’t?”

“Death isn’t evil, Francesca; all things die that were born on this Earth, even the immortals. All we can do is appreciate the time we’ve been given for now, as a gift. Love others, so that when one of you is gone, the other will still remember…”

“But, Monica… We, we can’t remember each other if we’re both…”

China smiled. “That’s why you have lots of friends, isn’t it?”

I nodded slightly, just letting her words ease the building fear. Her advice was never simple enough to make me feel better right away, but… it helped. Certainly not enough to fix everything that was wrong right then, but… it helped.

I heard China give another small sigh. “I doubt that’s all, though, is it?”


(Too lazy to do these in first-person again)
[ ] That’s all; just let Francesca chill with China for a while
[ ] That’s all; go see Person X or visit Location Y
[ ] That’s not all (choose as many as you’d like):
--( ) Talk about Natasha
--( ) Talk about Flandre
--( ) Talk about Kay
--( ) Talk about Remilia
--( ) Talk about Patchouli
--( ) Talk about the devil girl
--( ) Talk about Sakuya (with or without The Sixteen Nights?)
--( ) Talk about Meiling
--( ) Talk about something I didn’t list
>> No. 40602
[x] That’s not all
--(x) Talk about Natasha
--(x) Talk about Flandre
--(x) Talk about Meiling

For someone that doesn't know a whole lot about death, Fran needs closure regarding Natasha. I reckon she also needs someone with some insight to make sure Flan is going to be okay, or possibly if Fran/the seven need to be there for her extra hard (or both). Finally, Meiling is the sort to carry the world on her shoulders without a second thought; it only feels right to give her a chance to speak before we pass out.

Now that I know we've got a little more than a month before the story concludes, I'm desperately curious about the sixteenth night and Remilia's particular motivations. But we still have a little more than a month to get there, so for now, all things have their place.
>> No. 40605
[x] That’s all; just let Francesca chill with China for a while

Fran is feeling better. Mission accomplished.
>> No. 40614
[x] That’s not all (choose as many as you’d like):
--(x) Talk about Natasha
--(x) Talk about Flandre
--(x) Talk about Kay
--(x) Talk about Remilia
--(x) Talk about Patchouli
--(x) Talk about the devil girl
--(x) Talk about Sakuya (with)
--(x) Talk about Meiling
It's a go.
>> No. 40618
[x] That’s not all
--(x) Talk about Natasha
--(x) Talk about Flandre
--(x) Talk about Meiling
--(x) Talk about Sakuya, with The Sixteen Nights
>> No. 40621
I'll let this vote run for another day or so, I think, since I'm not comfortable writing with so few votes, and because I've been working on something else anyways.

Still, just an FYI, I don't want to wait too long between updates if I'm still shooting for that ending point, so if I end up writing before you get a chance to vote, don't feel so bad; you'll get another chance soon enough.
>> No. 40623
[X] That’s not all:
--(X) Talk about Natasha
--(X) Talk about Flandre
--(X) Talk about Meiling
--(X) Talk about Sakuya, with The Sixteen Nights
[X] Just let Francesca chill with China for a little while.
>> No. 40628
[X] That’s not all:
--(X) Talk about Natasha
--(X) Talk about Flandre
--(X) Talk about Meiling
--(X) Talk about Sakuya, with The Sixteen Nights

Seeing Meiling acting all motherly towards Fran makes me wonder if she had children before. Or if she's using the fairies as surrogates for ones she can't have.
>> No. 40639
{That’s not all:
- {Talk about Natasha}
- {Talk about Flandre}
- {Talk about Remilia}
- {Talk about Sakuya, with The Sixteen Nights}}
{Just let Francesca chill with China for a little while.}
>> No. 40649
[X] That’s not all:
--(X) Talk about Natasha
--(X) Talk about Flandre
--(X) Talk about Meiling
--(X) Talk about Sakuya, with The Sixteen Nights
>> No. 40683
All right then, we'll go with Natasha-Flandre-China-Sakuya for the next update, then. I'll try and get it out tonight, but since it's a wall of information, some of which I'll need to think about in detail, I can't really guarantee anything.

Should've just started writing when I had the chance... ah well, coulda woulda shoulda.
>> No. 40686
>>40683
yay, waiting warmly!
>> No. 40713
You know the problem with walls of lol backstory and lol characterdevelopment? They actually take a while to write and feel an awful lot like shark-jumping. Maybe I should stop letting me let you do this to myself.

******************************************************

I rocked my head back and forth a little against her chest. “No… No, there’s just… I just don’t know what to think about all this. Kay messing around and Flandre getting angry at her and all my cousins disappearing and the rest of the mansion dying and Flandre making a mistake and Mrs. Natasha dying and trying to fix everything and and…!” Fortunately I caught myself before I got too overexcited, and took a few deep breaths. “Eh… especially about Mrs. Natasha.”

“Well, what do you think you should think about Mrs. Natasha, Fran?” she asked me plainly.

“I, don’t really… I mean, I know I’m supposed to feel sad, but, aren’t I also not supposed to? I, I don’t know… China? Where do humans go when they die?”

She gave a long, deep sigh I could feel in her chest. “Ooohhh… Who can say, really? Every culture and religion’s got their own ideas, of course, but no one really knows for sure. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Limbo, back to nature, nothingness… they’re all just guesses. I’m not going to be the one that tells you which one’s right and which one’s wrong, because no one’s been there that can come back and tell us, Fran, and that’s the simple truth.”

“Well, but… what do you think?”

“Me? I…” For a time she hesitated, mumbling softly to herself in words I couldn’t make sense of. I supposed it was a hard question, after all. “Well, I, I can’t say for sure, but… I think that wherever she is, it’s a place that’s a lot simpler and easier to understand than here. And knowing what little I do about that woman… I’d say she’s happier there than she is here.”

I pulled away from her, crawling over to the foot of the bed so we could talk more properly. “But, does that mean that she’s, like… still alive, somewhere else? That’s she’s not just… gone?”

China tilted her head, a little unsure herself. “When you put it like that, I guess you’re right. Just being ‘gone’ doesn’t really make much sense to me anyways. But I wouldn’t say she’s still alive, just… she’s in a different place, now.”

“We’ll… never see her again, will we?” I asked solemnly, pretty much knowing the answer.

“No, no, I don’t think that we will… But, that’s just the way things have to be, little one. What happened to her was a horrible accident, and we’re all sad about it. But it happened, and I know that you know feeling afraid or sad about her won’t bring her back. All we can do is, well, remember her and learn from what happened, so that she lives on in our hearts and won’t have died for nothing.”

It was still a big pile of information to process for someone like me, but I felt like I was getting there. I had a feeling that if I were a human this whole thing might have been something I’d have taken a week to bounce back from. And even though I was no optimist like Monica, I still… just didn’t really understand death enough to dwell so much on it. But I was perfectly fine with that for once; perhaps there’s just some things in life it just isn’t worth it to understand.

“What… did we learn from her, though?” I questioned again.

She closed her eyes and smiled that peaceful little smile she got when she just felt endeared at my attempts. She responded in that way she always seemed to for all my tough problems. “Why don’t you ask yourself that question? You and her have had quite the history, after all. What do you remember from it?”

Making me answer my own questions… If I hadn’t known that most of the time it worked, and if I wasn’t such the nice little sprite I was, I’d have probably tried to shake her by the neck and shout at her long, long ago. Then again, considering Flandre’d done just that to Kay… hmmm, maybe that was in bad taste, no? But I knew she already knew what I knew about it, and I knew I already knew a couple of answers she already knew anyways; things like becoming braver by doing brave things, and fighting for what you believe in, and… realizing what’s really important to you at the end of it all. Rather than answer her properly, I just squeaked out a grumbly, “Mmrrrrgh… yeah, yeah, I get it China. Don’t ask questions I already know the answer to.”

“On the contrary; you’ll never know what questions you already know the answer to unless you ask them,” she corrected politely.

“Mmmm, guess you’ve got a point there. Again. How’d you get so smart anyways, China? It’s like you always know the right thing to say or something.”

She chuckled, rolling her eyes. “Oh it’s not that hard, really. You just listen to whatever someone’s saying, and repeat their own words back to them in a slightly different way so it sounds like you’re the one that thought of it. Add in a few emphasized statements anyone could say that taken out of context are completely redundant but sound intelligent—something like ‘You’ll never do hard work if you never do hard work’—and you’ve pretty much got wisdom in a bottle right there.”

I nodded for about two seconds before actually listening to what she was saying. “Wait… what?”

Another chuckle. “It was a joke, Francesca, and a rather poor one at that.”

“Oh… It wasn’t that bad. I mean, I fell for it at first, so at least it worked. But no, no, seriously China. How d’ya always know just what to say?”

She twirled a lock of her red-auburn hair around and around in her fingers. “Just experience, I guess. You girls’ve been asking me these questions for over two hundred years; you sort of learn to remember the answers that make the most sense. And before that it was always Remi…” she added, letting out a quick sigh and a frown before picking back up again. “Of course Patches and Sakuya weren’t around yet, and Flandre wasn’t… exactly the most sociable in those days, so a lot of the time it was just me and her. Hehhh, you kids are a picnic compared to talking with her any day of the week.”

“I can imagine,” I replied, just trying to envision what kind of perplexing things Remilia must talk about with one of her peers, and thinking about how China would respond when she didn’t have the luxury of knowing the other converser was just a timid accepting fairy. It made me wonder, though… “What was it like? I mean, back in the old days before all of us came around.”

“Hoo… the old days, mmm? Well… different. We moved around a lot; had to, in case someone found out the mistress was a vampire. Remilia was a lot different back then; more fussy than now, if you can believe that. Being a vampire wasn’t the important thing to her in the old days, you see; it was all about appearance. The finest house, the wealthiest fortune, the most handsome husband, the most regal of titles and the most lavish of parties. It’s not like she was the only one playing that game, either; back in the day all of Western Europe was like that. Take your family’s fortune, make a name for yourself, marry a nobleman from another country to form an alliance; it was all very political, and I’m just glad all I had to do was stay home and look after the house.”

I stuck my tongue out in mock distaste. “Yeuck; sounds confusing. I’m glad you didn’t have to worry about any of that either.”

She nodded along with me. “Aristocrats and politicians fights wars more dangerous that any kind with swords and guns. Remilia certainly knew her way around in that world; for all the moving we did it only took her a few years to get reestablished and find a new count or duke somewhere to remarry. I doubt she ever really loved any of them—just a means to an end for her back in those days—but, well, we did the best we could with what we had. It was a better life that most, so I won’t complain. Personally I think Remilia wanted to provide a good life to Flandre and me as much as she did herself…”

We trailed off into another semi-comfortable silence, myself just lolling about staring at my toenails. It was so weird, trying to see any of us in a fancy city going to parties with lots of people around us, or working out politics with some foreign official, or Remilia with a husband who was probably only a fifth her age. “Different” indeed. But at the time, sitting on China’s bed with her just resting peacefully in front of me, some confusing aristocracy wasn’t exactly the most intriguing part.

“I, I hope you don’t mind me asking—I know it’s probably something I need to ask Miss Remi and all that—but… How’d the two of you meet, anyways?”

Her eyes rose a little at that question. “Oh, that? Hmm, now that’s going a ways back; no harm in telling you, I suppose. I was… well, I guess technically speaking I was a slave.”

“Slave? That doesn’t sound very nice; how come?”

“Well, I said technically I was a slave. Remilia’s father got a hold of my whole family back in China, back before Remilia was even born; looooong story there. Kept us as his personal guards during the daytime, you see; we were all expert martial artists, that’s why he grabbed us in the first place. It’s not as if he treated us like slaves, but he still wouldn’t let us leave, so I guess we were. I was eighteen by the time Remilia was born, and just stayed with her after the family broke up. Been with the sisters ever since.”

A worried frown crept across my lips. “The family broke up? How did… oh, wait… Remilia’s question, right?”

Meiling nodded. “Definitely Remilia’s question. All I’ll say is that after that, I sort of had to be a mother to both of them out of necessity. Of course the age difference hardly matters now, but when you’re thirty-two and they’re only fourteen and nine, it makes a big difference. They just… needed someone who knew how to keep calm; a constant, I suppose you’d call it. Guess it just sort of stuck with me since then. I don’t mind it; it’s nice to have someone to rely on even now and again, don’t you think?”

I smirked and crawled back to the groundskeeper for a hug; more conspicuous than I’d have liked, but at least I was trying. “Hey, stop asking questions you already know the answer to~”

“I’ve got to practice my jokes on someone, Francesca~” she answered back, rubbing her knuckles in my hair playfully.

“Still… Yes, China, it is nice to have someone who’s always there. And, I guess I’m sort of sorry I only run to you when I’ve got problems… it feels like you deserve better than that from me, you know?”

“Hey, if I can manage to keep you calm and cheer you up when you need it, Fran, I really couldn’t care about what rewards I ‘deserve’ or not.”

“Yeah…” For a time I almost felt like drifting off to sleep with her, the flickering light of the candle lulling me to sleep, and it was only an unexpected cough from Meiling that kicked be back into reality. I figured if she was still awake and I was still there, I might as well keep clearing my head while I was at it. “So… Do you think Miss Flandre’s gonna be okay after all this?”

“Ahh, our dear Flandre… Yes, I think she’ll be pulling through, given enough time. She’s a good girl at heart, you know; just bad in the head. But she knows that; it’s one of the things that lets her be around other people.”

“I know, I know, but… all the, locking herself in her room; has she done that before?”

China pouted a little, but reluctantly nodded. “Often enough that we’ve learned not to try and bother her for at least three days after. It’s a precaution she takes; she shuts herself away when she makes a mistake to prevent her from making more. She’s a total wreck to talk to once she finally unlocks the door, but in the long run it’s better than the alternative of two bodies instead of one.”

“You sure we can’t try and talk her out of it? Even just talking to her through the door?”

“Best not to. When she gets like this the only voices she’ll hear are her own, and heaven knows she’s got enough of those already.”

“Yeah, no kidding… Oh! That reminds me. Before all this happened, I mean before Sakuya caught Kay and all that, there were like four little Flandres running around the basement. What’s that all about? Vampires aren’t supposed to be able to do that… are they?”

China flat-out laughed at that one, which was so abrupt I was insulted at first. She quieted down quickly, but the quizzical smile remained. “Ahhhhnn, that~ You can blame our little Thérèse for that one. By now you probably know vampires can split themselves up into a cloud of little bats or mist, yes? It’s something they can all do. Well, Thérèse started trying to do that too one day, one thing led to another, and Flandre started wondering if she could turn into little bats, why couldn’t she turn into little herselves instead? As first we all just joked around about the voices in her head finally getting a chance to argue with each other for real—even she thought it was a joke—but practice makes perfect I suppose, and there we were, having to deal with two Flandres at the same time. And, of course, by the time we’d gotten used to that she’d gotten good enough to split into thirds. Four’s been as high as she could go for about sixty years now, so we’re pretty sure either that’s all the split personalities she’s got, or she just can’t split her brain any smaller than that. It really makes keeping track of her a nightmare, but… you have to admit, in a way it makes her easier to understand too.”

I answered back, but not exactly to that exact comment. “Hmm… weird. Magic’s funny stuff when you really try and push it. I can see why Patchouli tries to understand it. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have to sort it all out, but… I think maybe it could be fun, running experiments and stuff like that.”

“To each their own, Fran, to each their own. I’m just glad Patchouli found us; it’d be a shame for her mind to rot away in some laboratory doing the same thing everyone else would be doing.”

“I wonder if she’s glad, though…?” I questioned, not really expecting an answer and trailing off in such a way as to not get one. It felt like a pointless question to even ask, really; the fact of the matter was that Ms. Knowledge was here, and if she would have been happier someplace else, she probably would have gone there by now. After all, it’s not that she didn’t care about anything, it’s that she didn’t show that she cared.

China stretched her arms out, yawning. “Nnnngggaaahh, ahh, no offense, but if I keep this up the sun’s going to be out before I even close my eyes. Do you think you’ll be okay for now, girl?”

I was about to say yes—perhaps I should have just said yes—but then something caught in my brain. Something I was supposed to ask her; something I didn’t want hanging over my head. Something that couldn’t make that day any worse than the one before it, at least.

“There’s… there’s one more thing, China. I wanted to ask you about, about The Sixteen Nights.”

She froze.

“That’s not a question for me, Fran,” she replied flatly.

“Sakuya told me you’d say that. But she also told me if I asked you about the Sixteen Nights, you’d tell me what it meant.”

“It’s… none of my business, Francesca. It’s her life; she needs to tell it.”

“She wanted to tell me it, China. And, she couldn’t. She didn’t know how… but she trusted me enough to ask you, and she trusts you enough to tell it. Please… I don’t want there to be stuck with secrets, China. If, if Sakuya’s a bad person, I… I want to know.”

China covered her face with a rough palm, groaning and sighing quietly as she deliberated over the quandary. I schooched back away to the other side of the bed again, giving her her space. I’d known it would be like this when I asked her, but I trusted her. She’d always said they didn’t try to keep secrets. They just didn’t tell us things until we asked. And I was asking. She finally sat up straight in her bed, and folded her hands on her lap serenely as I gave her my undivided attention.

“I only ask that you don’t interrupt. The Sixteen Nights… The Sixteen Nights was a series of sixteen confrontations, one every evening, between Sakuya, Remilia, and myself. Now, let me tell you the story…

“The year is 1785. A daughter is born to a widowed woman in a small village in the Yamanashi prefecture of Japan; she dies giving birth, leaving no possessions and no next of kin. The midwife raises this child as well as her resources and time allow, but by age four the girl is living on the streets. She has no morals, and no love, but by then she has learned that she is gifted; she has been graced with the power to manipulate time however she pleases. Like all talents it must be honed, and at first she knows only how to slow time to a moderate pace, but with this skill she quickly discovers that she can steal whatever she needs to survive, and never be caught. As she grows older, she begins to steal whatever she wants as well as whatever she needs, drifting from village to village like a parasite, taking as she pleases without consequence. None can stop her, and those that try soon make her realize that even murder has no consequences for one who can disappear in the blink of an eye.

“The year is now 1804, and this girl is a monster. Nothing that she desires cannot be made hers; wealth and possessions flow from her fingertips as long as there is a house to steal from. She takes whatever men she desires and discards them like used rags; she sucks what knowledge she cannot gain through her own power from the greatest of teachers like a leech. All who know her name fear her. Those that admire her she toys with for a while; those that resist her die. By the mercy of heaven she is content to feed off of the country rather than rule it, for few could stop her if she wanted it. Her only adversary is her mortality, and even it is a poor one, for she soon discovers how to remove herself from time, appearing for the rest of her life as a young lady of nineteen.

“The year is now 1820. Remilia, Flandre, and myself are touring the world, seeing what its many corners have to offer and attempting to pull Flandre out of her melancholy. We stop in Japan and maintain a low profile, but eventually word travels to this monster’s ears that there are European vampires vacationing in her country. She is intrigued, and goes to meet us, seeing us as exotic toys that may be entertaining to her for a while. The first night she plays coy, and by Remilia is coyly rejected. The next night she makes her intentions very clear: we will do whatever she asks us, or we will die. That night she quickly discovers that despite all her murders and battle prowess, she has never actually found a creature that could fight back. Her powers were far weaker back then, mind; if she could have done back then what she could do now, none of us would be here.

“For the next two weeks she returned every night with the same demand, and every night she was fought to a draw. Sometimes it was Remilia alone, sometimes me alone, and sometimes both of us. Night by night we began to piece together the story of her life from the snippets she told us mixed with the local rumors, and Remilia of all people took pity on her. She tried to talk to her and get her to see what kind of a person she had become, but of course she wouldn’t listen. She was invincible, immortal, the queen of time; in her eyes, perfect.

“The fifteenth night, Flandre fought her in our place… and luck does not cover what it took to keep that girl alive afterwards. The only way she could have limped away from that fight is if is was simply nor her fate to not die that night. And then on the sixteenth night, she relented. Remilia finally found a way to show her the error of her ways, and the girl thanked her in tears for it. So disgusted she was with herself, she begged Remilia to take her as a slave, to drive her and punish her and show her just how imperfect and pathetic she really was. She hated herself more than any human or magical creature I have even seen… and to this day I don’t know if she still does or not.”

The silence that followed was painful. Painful, and terrifying. I didn’t want to hear silence; I wanted China to just keep talking, keep talking on and on without stopping, so that I didn’t have a chance to think about what she’d told me. That, wasn’t, Sakuya. It wasn’t. The friendly, scatterbrained young lady I knew and loved, and who loved me, she could not have also been a thief and a tramp and a murderer! She couldn’t have just done whatever she wanted without a care in the world; she stressed out to the breaking point over a simple half-hour scrap of work! I couldn’t, wouldn’t accept it; it wasn’t possible. A person can’t change that much… they can’t change that completely without leaving a single trace of it… To go from that black, to that white, in a single life, it had to be impossible! A human’s life just didn’t have enough… time…

“That… can’t be true…”

“It is,” Meiling replied solemnly. “I swear to you that it is. None of us are proud of it, and all of us try and forget it. But it’s the truth.”

“How…?” I found myself repeating over and over again without finishing the sentence. “How…? How…? How…?”

She sighed painfully. “I can’t tell you how she feels, Fran, and I can’t tell you how it all happened. All I can tell you is what.”

“N-No, no… how, did she change? How did Remilia get her to change from, that… into this?”

“That… is Remilia’s question, Francesca. Not mine, and not even Sakuya’s. Remilia’s life changed Sakuya’s, and no one else’s.”

I felt tears in my eyes; brushing them away took too much effort now. “That’s… that’s why, Remi… works her s-so, hard…?”

China nodded sadly. “At Sakuya’s own request. She wants to feel the suffering of all the people she stole from; she wants to be reminded that no matter how perfect she may ever think she is, she isn’t. Remilia makes her do the impossible, so she knows what it’s like to fail, to not get what she wants. It’s her penance, she calls it.”

“But… but I’ve seen her happy…”

“Remi’s less hard on her now, because Sakuya’s less hard on herself. She was younger back then; more desperate to change. Time heals all wounds, Fran. Just not the memories.”

I didn’t have anything more to say; nothing more I wanted to say. The more I talked about it, the more I pried, the worse I felt. And the more I learned, the more I thought that maybe what I really wanted was to understand without having to know. But I knew all too well it didn’t work like that; for every good thing, there had to be a bad thing right around the corner.


[ ] Didn’t want to think about it, didn’t want to have to worry… Sleep. Sleep makes everything feel better. Even just a little bit…
--( ) I could keep China company, and she could keep me company.
--( ) I wanted to be close to somebody for now… I grabbed the clumpy pillow I’d been leaning on and curled up on the floor.
--( ) But China needed her privacy too. I just needed someplace quiet for myself… the orchard, maybe.
[ ] I had to talk to Sakuya about this… I had to know for sure… (questions for her, maybe?)
[ ] Remilia… Everything that was missing from the puzzle had Remilia in it. I had to finish this… (questions for her, maybe?)
[ ] I hated bad things… Why did I keep searching for bad things? I wanted a good thing for a change… friends. Family. Monica, and the rest of them. They were good.
[ ] Maybe some write-in that’s doesn’t just boil down to “Go see her”? Lolidunno.
>> No. 40726
[X] I hated bad things… Why did I keep searching for bad things? I wanted a good thing for a change… friends. Family. Monica, and the rest of them. They were good.

Time for Fran to pull herself out of her depression, with the help of her friends. Every question she asks leads to darker questions, and if she doesn't pace herself and recover between sessions, I'm afraid she'll end up as a miserable pile of dispair.

>feel an awful lot like shark-jumping
Ugh, I hate seeing the constant misuse of that phrase. "Jumping the shark" is when a drastic change is made to keep the story fresh, but the audience hates the new direction. The backstory and character development you've been writing isn't a huge change, you're just bringing out stuff that was hinted at earlier. And I don't think anyone hates this; I certainly don't.
>> No. 40727
[x] I hated bad things… Why did I keep searching for bad things? I wanted a good thing for a change… friends. Family. Monica, and the rest of them. They were good.

As >>40726 said. We need to pace our Fran. Just keep Rami in back of our mind for now.
Also i have to say that i like how things turned out. How you reminded us that beneath happy surface, these are characters with dark dark past.
>> No. 40728
[X] I hated bad things… Why did I keep searching for bad things? I wanted a good thing for a change… friends. Family. Monica, and the rest of them. They were good.

Yeah, I dunno. Remilia is the obvious next step, but it seems like just marching over there now would be rushing things a little.
>> No. 40729
[X] I hated bad things… Why did I keep searching for bad things? I wanted a good thing for a change… friends. Family. Monica, and the rest of them. They were good.
>> No. 40731
>>40726
I think she was worried about that due to all backstory changing it from simple story to something a bit more serious. Jumping the shark is usually used for when a piece of entertainment goes to shit after a change.
>> No. 40732
4 for doing good things, then. Not sure where the rest of the regular crowd is, but I don't feel like waiting tonight; sorry. I'll get it up in a few hours, then.

>>40726
Hrmm, perhaps I should explain myself better. I said they feel like shark-jumping, probably because I don’t have as much self-confidence as I should. I’ve come up with a lot of strange developments all throughout AFT, and I never know just how you’ll all take them; things like a chatterbox-Flandre, cuss-mouthed-Koakuma, or Goddamn-it-Koishi, for example. I know it’s not jumping the shark, but until I see your reaction I’m afraid that you might call it that.

>>40731 has the right idea, except I’m not afraid of the “simple --> serious” transition so much as I am the “cool story bro --> WTF am I reading” transition.

But thanks anyways for letting me know I’m still on the right track; I really do appreciate it.
>> No. 40734
>>40732

>4 for doing good things, then. Not sure where the rest of the regular crowd is, but I don't feel like waiting tonight; sorry. I'll get it up in a few hours, then.

Blazblue/Starcraft 2

It's my first time checking TH-P today after spending all day playing BB.
>> No. 40735
I don't intend to contribute to writefag burnout, but I really hope you continue writing after AFT is over.
>> No. 40736
Bad things… so many bad things… I hated bad things. Yeah, I knew they were just a part of life, and yeah, they gave you experiences and helped you grow, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t still hate them. Why did I keep searching for bad things, anyways? Why not find a good thing for a change? I felt like after all this frowning and stuttering and digging in the dirty past I needed a good clean thing to clear out my mind. Fairies aren’t supposed to sit around and mope anyways, and Wendy was a rather bad example of a fairy if I said so myself, so she didn’t count.

What I needed right then were some friends. Some family. Family was a good thing. And I was pretty sure I knew just where to find them.

“I… I think I’m gonna go play around with Monica and the other girls for a while, China,” I said as I slipped off of her bed. “Clear out my head for a while.”

“Sounds like a plan, Fran. You think you’ll be all right, then?”

“Yeah, yeah… I just need to let it set. Sorry, sorry I kept you awake an’ all that.”

She brushed a disconcerted hand through the air. “Pssh, it’s not like there’s anything I really need to wake up for anyways. You go have some fun. You’d better be smiling again within the next two hours, you hear me?!”

“Y-Yes ma’am!” I gave her a funny little salute and marched myself out of the room, making sure to softly lose the door behind me. In retrospect it was rather stupid of me to do that since I was now in almost-complete darkness, but the great thing about China’s cabin is that even if you have absolutely no idea how to get from the bedroom door to the front door, there’s really not all that many things you can run into along the way. And I at least had some idea.

By the time I’d finally made it outside and worked my way to the mansion doors, China’s little candle had already been extinguished; I wished her as pleasant of dreams as any of us could manage on a night (morning?) like this. The hallways lights were dim as I flew up to the fourth floor observatory where Tullia’d seen Monica last. It really was an interesting place, that observatory; with all the telescopes poking out of holes in the walls and the wide open-air ceiling. Looking at the stars was really something I preferred to do lying on the grass with someone else to aimlessly talk to, though, and I saw neither grass nor friends in that room, and soon I wasn’t to be seen in that room either.

Fortunately Tullia’s second guess was correct; as I ambled back down the side stairs to the first floor, I could hear disjointed musical tones coming from the so-called music room, yet another one of those places I really didn’t frequent much. Knocking on the door for proprieties’ sake, I stuck my head into the room and addressed myself.

“I’m, not interrupting anything am I?”

Sunny cocked her head at me, a beat-up orange electric guitar slung around her shoulder. “That depends. Can you play bass?”

“Not… really…?”

Thérèse waved at me from behind a drumset, sporting a pair of sunglasses and four arms with a stick in each. “What about drums? I’m sick of always getting stuck on the drums, I wanna play lead for a change!”

I gnawed on my lower lip. “I can… hit some drums, I guess. Is that good enough?”

“Oh stop it, you two,” Tullia interjected softly, sitting off to the side with Monica. “Francesca, you can come on in. We’re just messing around anyways.”

Trying not to worry about whatever conversation I’d just stepped into the middle of, I slid into the room and shut the door again. A simple room really, though a little disorganized compared to most other rooms; chairs, music stands, and instruments of all kinds were just sitting around the room in no particular order, though at least most instruments were safely in their cases or on a sturdy base. I imagined that at some point in the past there must have been a sharp semicircle of chairs just waiting for an orchestra to sit down and rehearse.

“So, uhh… what’s going on in here anyways?” I asked, just standing in the middle of the four cousins for now. “Band rehearsal?”

“It’s called a jam session, Fran; seriously!” Thérèse punctuated the remark with a hectic flurry of beats on her snare drum and cymbals. “Band rehearsals are for people that actually care about what they’re doing, which we don’t. Or, I don’t, anyways.”

“Trease, if you’re not going to be helpful I’m not going to rewrite songs for you anymore!”

“Excuse me, I’m the rhythm section, the heartbeat of the band here, you have to do what I say!”

Sunny raised an eyebrow. “I thought you didn’t want to be the rhythm section.”

“Doesn’t mean I can’t still control things when I am!”

“Okay, umm… I’m, gonna, go stand over by these two nice people over here instead,” I commented, pointing to the quiet ones and inching over in their direction. “You two keep… jam-session-ing, or whatever.”

Amidst the sporadic guitar licks and drum rhythms of Miss Thursday and Miss Sunday, I sat down next to my precious little roommate, who seemed to be going over a music book with Tullia, a miniature guitar resting on her lap.

“So, uhh… hi,” I greeted, smiling weakly and waving.

Monica smiled back. “Hi~ Did you come to help us?”

“I’m, not really sure. I just sorta, came to hang out, I guess. What are we doing over here?”

“Learning how to play guitar! ‘Cept it’s really a… what’zit called again, Tullie?”

“Ooo-koo-lay-lay, Monica.”

“Yeah! One-a those! I can play chords, see?” She picked up the little instrument, normal in size for someone like her, and mashed her fingers onto the strings one by one. Though it took a lot of repositioning and funny faces, eventually she managed to strum out a series of not-altogether-displeasing notes, which was a great deal more than I knew how to do at least. I smiled and gave her a nice rub on the shoulder.

“Not too bad, Monica; how long have you been practicing?”

“Ehh, some time. Not a lot of time, though; Tullie says I’m a fast learner, an’ that’s pretty cool ‘cause I’m never fast at anything. You wanna learn too?”

“Oh, no, no, I’m good. All those strings’ll make me confused. Besides,” I added, looking around the room and seeing that Thérèse had given up her drums and started picking out a cheerful tune on a spare acoustic guitar, “I think we have enough guitar people now. I, uhh, I don’t really know how to play anything, but… what should I be doing?”

“Can you sing?” Tullia suggested, leaning forwards to talk to me properly.

“Oh, well, yeah, I can do that. It just seems… too easy, though.” After all, I thought, anyone could sing. It didn’t take any special learning or practice; you just sing, right?

Tullia shrugged. “You’d be surprised, Fran, you’d be surprised. And it’s even harder trying to sing when you’re busy playing an instrument at the same time. Can you read music?”

“Umm, a little? Kind of, maybe, not really all that well?”

“Sunny?” the elder fairy called out, getting the redhead’s attention. “Fran’s going to help you out with the vocals; show her what you’re doing, okay?”

Sunny flashed the O.K. sign at us both and curled a finger for me to come over to a side desk full of scribbly paper and sheets of music where she’d been writing something or other. Patting me on the back, she started explaining the situation to me.

“All right, all right, so what I’m doing here is taking a song that’s already pretty nice and just changing up the words to it; making it make more sense for us, you see?”

I nodded in earnest. “Oh, I know what you mean. It’s not like I listen to music or anything, but why’d they have to use such funny lyrics?”

She shrugged. “Artistry or something. We’re not artists here; we’re fairies playing in a sandbox, with rubber band cigar boxes and Tupperware bowls. Don’t… worry about that, it’s a joke. Anyways, take a look a this; maybe you’ve heard this song before?”

I looked at the page of lyrics she was pointing to. Hmmm…

[ ] Pick a popular song—with lyrics of course—released before September 1996 (try not to skirt that border too much). Nothing too crazy or hardcore please. Remember that Fran can only sing and Monica can only do simple background chords; don’t worry about the other three.
( ) Optional metavote: Choose the topic of the altered lyrics. For example, Bohemian Rhapsody with lyrics about Flandre (don’t actually choose that; the kids’ll never make it past the second section.)

Secret bonus information for AFT readers only! I’m the person responsible for such gems as >>/gensokyo/4847 and >>/gensokyo/5441, not to mention >>38899. So yeah, expect something like that, minus the blatant fourth-wall breaking.
>> No. 40737
>Secret bonus information for AFT readers only!
I did have my suspicions after the MST3K re-take, but I never would have imagined they were actually correct. Excellent work.

[ ] FREEBIRD

Geez, I dunno. The only thing I really feel strongly about is that it's a somewhat slow-paced song to give Fran a chance to really get into it and sing her little heart out. Unfortunately, songs meeting that criterion that were popular in the mid-90s aren't coming to my mind, but here's a few possibilities under the assumption that our fairy's memory goes back a few decades:

[X] Maureen McGovern - The Morning After (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KClpLzFftU)
- (X) The general circumstances of the mansion.

[X] Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBVqFBwwX7E)
- (X) Likewise.

[X] Jim Croce - Time in a Bottle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpyGO1TFV_E)
- (X) Guess.

Actually, it turns out the ukulele remix of "Over the Rainbow" was first released in 1993, so that's my vote until further notice. I do think, though, this vote will work better if it goes something like the video game choice vote, where each voter gives a few choices and we all worry a little less about what's winning.
>> No. 40738
>>40737
>That particular rendition of Over the Rainbow
GET OUT OF MY HEAD CHARLES

[X] Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBVqFBwwX7E)

I'm not sure we need to modify the lyrics too heavily, if at all.
>> No. 40740
[X] Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire

I don't care who or what it's about, I just want to see what you would do with this.



Also:
>>I’m the person responsible for such gems as >>/gensokyo/4847 and >>/gensokyo/5441

Or as I like to call them, the parts of those threads that are actually good
Of course, I might be a bit biased.
But so what? I think I'm allowed to be critical of my own work.
>> No. 40741
[x] Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow

I love that song. Too bad he died.
>> No. 40742
File 128031760823.png - (201.42KB , 1000x1000 , doubledessert.png ) [iqdb]
40742
So, we can't get Bohemian rhapsody about Flandre? Then how about.... Killer queen about Flandre?
With all that 'Never kept the same address in conversation' and 'Met a man from China' it has potential. I actually started to write one but then I realized that it was your work. So there.
What can I say, I have weird tastes in humor; and I honestly believe that, being like she is, Fran could never stop thinking about how to cheer up Flan. And the best way to show that you're over something is to joke on it.

>She's a Killer Queen
>Gunpowder, Gelatine
>Dynamite with a laser beam
>Guaranteed to blow your mind
>Anytime

Sure, it's a bold move. But it has worked before.
>> No. 40743
>>40737
>I do think, though, this vote will work better if it goes something like the video game choice vote, where each voter gives a few choices and we all worry a little less about what's winning.
A capital idea. Here that, everyone?

Go ahead and pick one or more songs you want, even if you’ve already voted before this message.

More ideas means a better chance of finding a song that really fits here. I’ll probably end up just picking a few of my favorites anyways; the girls aren’t going to get bored after just one song.

Also note that it’s not like it had to be popular in the mid-nineties, it just shouldn’t be so obscure that it wouldn’t be able to find its way into the mansion. Fran doesn’t necessarily have to know the song to sing it, either.

>Maureen McGovern - The Morning After
Oooo, this one’s a real beauty. Good call.

>Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Hmm, interesting… The song is lovely, no doubts there. The ukulele part’s going to be too hard for Monica to play, though, and there’ll be nothing for the other three to play either. The original Somewhere Over The Rainbow would be precious here, though, so thanks for bringing it up.

>Jim Croce - Time in a Bottle
STOP PICKING SONGS THE LYRICS ARE ALREADY PERFECT FOR, GAAAH!
[/rageface]
Ignore that; songs are written about things for a reason, and the less I butcher them the purer they’ll be. Something I’ve learned from rewriting lyrics is that the new lyrics are only half the joke; the other half is realizing what the lyrics used to be in conjunction with what they are now.

>Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire
There is no emoticon for what I’m feeling. As hilarious as it’d be, most of the song is just too atonal for Fran to have much fun with it, especially since in any incarnation it’s just going to be a list. That song’d be perfect for Don’t Read This, though. Despite the fact that Hardware Store pretty much did the exact same thing.

>Queen – Killer Queen (Flandre)
Dohohoho~ This is what I love about other people helping me with story ideas. Provided the statute of limitations has expired, this’d be gold.
>And the best way to show that you're over something is to joke on it.
Why do you think I rewrote Hardware Store about TH-P’s current hot topic?
>> No. 40744
>>40743
Is that so~?
In that case, my vote goes for: >>40742. I was gonna say 'too soon' but it's a good song and you like it so...

My suggestion? Well, don't hit me but... I'll go with Madonna's 'Don't tell me'
Why? Because I want to imagine Francesca dressed like her being the stubborn and caring fairy that she is, I'm sure that she wants to tell everyone in the mansion something on the lines of 'Don't tell me to stop (worrying about you)'
>> No. 40745
Well then, in that case...

[ ] Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
[ ] R.E.M. - It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
[ ] Bush - Glycerine
[ ] Michael Jackson - Beat It
[ ] Metallica - The Unforgiven
[ ] Bob Dylan - Knockin' on Heaven's Door
[ ] Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart
[ ] Skid Row - 18 and Life

And, of course, that eternal classic:
[ ] Sir Mix-a-Lot - Baby Got Back
>> No. 40749
All right, time to start writing. The big winners are Killer Queen and Total Eclipse of the Heart. Thanks to everyone else who contributed, but I had to cut it down to a manageable number; rewriting lyrics takes longer than it looks, plus I’ve still got to write the actual update.

>>40734
Yeah, that would definitely explain it. The saddest thing is that since I don’t play new video games I had absolutely no idea they were coming out this week. I have just as much fun writing, though, and writing’s free.

>>40735
I probably will, but I’m not sure if I’ll have the strength left to do another CYOA; these things are behemoths. I’ll probably dink around with a bunch of shorts after AFT’s done, though, so I’m not just going to run away.

>>40740
Hey, those out-of-the-blue oneshots are brilliant! And I’d have never gotten the idea for song parodies by myself, either! Don’t sell yourself short; it takes a special spark to write things all across the board like that.

>>40742
You’re still awesome. I just want to remind you of that. Also cute picture.

>>40744
Sorry; I believe this song was released in the year 2000, so no can do. Better not let that imagination run away from you…

>>40745
>Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
A rock classic, but it just doesn’t feel right for the girls.

>R.E.M. - It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
This was a contender: the music’s upbeat enough for the girls to enjoy it, and the lyrics have potential. Unfortunately I had to cut it because Killer Queen has the same upbeat feel, and I like its lyrical potential better.

>Bush – Glycerine
Another definite possible. A nice, smooth song with lyrics ripe for the picking. Plus Thérèse wouldn’t get stuck playing drums on it seeing how there aren’t any. But again I had to let it go; it just doesn’t fit quite the way I want it to.

>The King of Pop – Beat It
Same story as Teen Spirit, I’m afraid. A fun classic, but it’s not a song for them. Also fairies aren’t made of dance magic.

>Metallica – The Unforgiven
Fairies playing Metallica? Really? If the ever did it sure wouldn’t be the day after a murder. The beginning sounded nice, though.

>Bob Dylan – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
I could see them playing this in the future, but at this point it just doesn’t seem right for them.

>Skid Row - 18 and Life
Nah. I’m just not feeling it.

>Sir Mix-a-Lot - Baby Got Back


This is so wrong it skips over to right and then goes straight back to wrong. Only Flandre has the sheer audacity to pull something like that off. Nice try, though.
>> No. 40758
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” version I used: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=840B27zYfOk
“Killer Queen” version I used: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMz-wi50ACU

**************************************************

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” it said… didn’t ring a bell in my mind, but I probably knew the titles of less than one in ten songs I’d heard before.

“Ehh, I’m not sure,” I replied, scratching my head. “I mean, maybe I’ve heard it somewhere, but I wouldn’t be able to match the title with it. Can you may hum a few lines or something?”

She smirked at me. “I can do you one better than that; sit down here, and put these on.” I pulled out the chair from the desk and Sunny snapped a gigantic pair of headphones over my ears. Curiously I followed the cord from my head just to see where it ended up, and found it attached to a cassette tape player which she had already started rewinding.

“Been listening to this song over and over for the last hour trying to re-write the lyrics; the headphones help me concentrate. I’ve pretty much got it all down now, so you can go ahead and listen to it a few times. You probably can’t read music all that well, but I’m pretty sure if you get the song stuck in your head you then you can sing it just fine~ Ahh, here we go, it’s all rewound. When the song’s done just hit this button here to rewind it again, and this one to play it. Listen to it as much as you want; I have a feeling Monica’s gonna need all the time she can get practicing those chords of hers.”

I took a look at the lyrics page she’d given me, and started to reach for what looked like the new lyrics page as well before she snatched it away from me and quickly explained, “Oh, uhh, n-no, they’re, they’re not quite done yet… I want to make sure everything’s just right.”

I shrugged and wiggled the headphones around so my hair wasn’t plugging up my ears. “Fair enough, I guess. What, ahh, what’re you writing about, anyways?”

“Ehh? What’dya mean?”

“I mean, like, a song’s supposed to be about something, right? So what’s yours about?”

She bashfully covered the bottom half of her face with the piece of paper. “Uhh, well… it’s… let’s, just, worry about getting the real song in your head first, okay? I’ll just be over in that there corner, working on this…”

“All right, all right, I’m sorry I asked, just curious n’ all that…” Letting other people’s worries sort themselves out, I got to work on my own for the time being. Singing… It’s not like I really knew if I was any good at singing, not like I’d officially practiced with official songs or anything like that. I mean, sure, I’d sing in the bath or hum tunes to myself while working, but those days who didn’t? Didn’t make me a singer by any means. But, as painful as it was to admit, it was really the only musical thing I knew how to do, so just like Thérèse’s four-armed drumming, I was stuck with it.

So then, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”… I read through the lyrics before actually listening to the song itself. Frankly, it felt like kind of a depressing song. Getting lonely and nervous and terrified, falling apart… the chorus-type thing sounded like maybe it was a little more positive, but it didn’t really make any sense to me. And then the ending part too, the title of the song… I didn’t want to think about having an “eclipse of the heart”, that’s when you’re heart’s all dark and there’s no sun! After all, I’d gone to the music room to try and get less depressed, not more.

Setting the lyrics back down I took a listen to the song itself. Very peaceful… very calm. I really liked the piano part too. But the singer, was that was I was supposed to sound like?! There was no way I could make my voice sound that low-pitched and powerful! And then when the music picked up, how was I supposed to fade out of the last line and sing the next one at the same time?! At least I enjoyed the tune of the song enough to memorize where the lyrics were after a good handful of run-throughs, and by then I’d subconsciously started to sing along in my stupid high-pitched tremble. I supposed it could work, but… Oh, who was I kidding, it wasn’t going to sound like anything good anyways, and the sooner I realized that the sooner I could try and at least leech a little bit of fun out of the experience.

“Sunny?” I asked, flipping the headphones down onto my neck. “I… I think I m-might be able to give it a shot. I’m, not gonna be any good, though…”

She shoved the same playful hand at me that her lookalike China had shoved just a short while before, sliding out of her corner and walking more towards the rest of us. “Pssh, trust me, it doesn’t matter. Monica’s going to have her hands full just reading the chord changes, and it doesn’t matter how many arms Tree’s got, it won’t help her find the beat any better.”

Thérèse glared daggers at the fake gate guard. “Hey! I don’t make fun of you not having the gift of trans-meta-morpho-whateversitis, you don’t make fun of me not having your gift of music! It’s not like I can worry about learning three instruments at the same time while I’m trying to exist as, I dunno, twenty kittens or something!”

Sunny rolled her eyes and turned to me, thumbing back at the complaining fairy and mouthing the word “Jealous” at me. I just shook my head and tried to keep my quaint little smile to myself as the five of us started pushing chairs and instruments around into a semi-circle-semi-blob shape. I’d guessed correctly in assuming Tullia was going to take the piano part, the others’ instruments already at hand. Monica looked particularly enthusiastic as she stood on top of a chair, pouring over the song’s score covered in scribbles and highlighter marks.

“Having fun, Mon’?” I asked casually, peeking at her music and not really making much out of it.

“Tons!” she exclaimed back gleefully, twanging a few random notes on her ooo-koo-lay-lay. “Tullie said that maaaaaybe my hands are still too small to play a lotsa big chords, but I can still read the notes, and that’s a lot easier anyways! Tullie played the song for me on the piano which you were busy, too; it sounds really pretty, you know? I bet you sing just as pretty!”

I had to hand it to her, Monica still had that special power to pretty much make anyone blush at any given time. “Oh, stop it, I, like haven’t practiced at all~! Sunny hasn’t even given me the real words yet!”

“I’m gettin’ there, I’m gettin’ there!” she shouted back, plugging her guitar into an amplifier and dropping the handwritten lyrics into my hands. “There’s you go. Now, all the stuff that’s circled, like here and here? That’s the fade outs; I’ll come in and sing those, then you pick up right where you need to. Don’t worry about how you sound, Fran; I just want you to feel the song, okay? And don’ worry about me either; I wrote it, after all~”

“No you didn’t; Bonnie Tyler did!”

“I’m not going to take that kind of crap from you, Tree; you’re not Flandre!”

“I could be!”

Personally, she acted enough like her to do a fair impersonation on most days, but no one quite knew how to capture that mad lady’s spark except her. I started to glace at the new lyrics, and they were… wait, wait just a minute…

“H-Hey, Sunny?” I asked, feeling something poke at my heart as I skimmed them. “These, these lyrics… they’re, is this about…?”

She shoved a hand into my face quickly. “Shh, shh, no, you’re going to spoil it. Tullie, start us off; Fran, be ready on the pick up.”

I wanted to argue—Sunny had done something to the song, something important!—but Tullia had already started playing, and I knew I only had seconds left… My voice faltered as Sunny began her opening echo, her tone pure and full of soul. This was it…



(Turn around) Every now and then we get a little bit lonely ‘cause no one is coming round.
(Turn around) Every now and then we get a little bit tired of falling to the ground in our fears.
(Turn around) Every now and then we get a little bit nervous that the best of all our years have gone by.
(Turn around) Every now and then we get a little bit terrified and drown in all the tears that we cry.

(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then we fall apart…
(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then we fall apart…

(Turn around) Every now and then we get a little bit reckless and we act just like a child.
(Turn around) Every now and then we get a little bit helpless when we worry ‘bout the miles left to come.
(Turn around) Every now and then we get a little bit angry when we think of all our friends who have died.
(Turn around) Every now and then we get a little bit hopeless when we think of all the paths that we’ve tried.

(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then we fall apart…
(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then we fall apart…

So I need to know tonight, and I need to know forever,
Tell me; will you hold me tight, will we always be together?
And I know if we live through the night, we’ll find where we belong.
Together we can make it ‘till the end of all time;
Our hope is like a choir; can you hear the bells chime? (hear the bells chime?)
I don't know what to do, but I’m not scared of the dark!
We're living in a broken world; the future is stark.
I really need you tonight! Just tell me it’ll be all right, just tell me it’ll be all right…

Once upon a time I was king of the world, but now my world is falling apart.
There's one thing I can do... just never give up your heart.
Once upon a time there was light in the world, but now there's only light in the dark.
One thing I can say... just never give up your heart.

(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then we fall apart…
(Turn around, bright eyes) Every now and then we fall apart…

So I need to know tonight, and I need to know forever,
Tell me; will you hold me tight, will we always be together?
And I know if we live through the night, we’ll find where we belong.
Together we can make it ‘till the end of all time;
Our hope is like a choir; can you hear the bells chime? (hear the bells chime?)
I don't know what to do, but I’m not scared of the dark!
We're living in a broken world; the future is stark.
I really need you tonight! Just tell me it’ll be all right, just tell me it’ll be all right…

Once upon a time I was king of the world, but now my world is falling apart.
One thing I can do... just never give up your heart.
Once upon a time there was light in the world, but now there's only light in the dark.
One thing I can say... just never give up your heart.

Just never give up your heart…




That song… Sunny’s song… I’d felt it. Halfway though, when she’d done her guitar solo, when I’d gotten a chance to think… She’d wrote it for us. I didn’t need to ask. I didn’t need to say anything. Because I knew that’s why she’d written it. To think, just a few words in a song, saying what three times as many regular words couldn’t…

I felt a pat on my back; mostly like from Sunny since she was complimenting me. “Well done, kiddo; you can sing. Pretty good, actually.”

“Sunny… You, you… Th-thanks. Thanks for… for writing that song. I… I needed it.”

“I think we all did, Francesca,” Tullie added, getting up from her piano and rubbing Sunny’s shoulder in congratulations. “A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes a song’s worth just as many.”

Thérèse added in her two cents. “Well, unless it’s Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies. That song’s worthless. But no, seriously Sun, you did good.”

“Thanks~ It’s not like I spent that much time on it, though…”

The little pink-haired rocker, meanwhile, was busy staring at me with her cute wide eyes. I smirked hesitantly. “So, uhh… how, did I do?”

She gave me a bashful little smile I could tell was hiding her pride in having me as a roommate. “You… you sang. Pretty things~ How, uhh… How did I do?”

I ruffled her hair, smiling back at her. “You played. Pretty things~”

“Think we could start a band?”

“I… think we’ll need a lot more practice before then, Mon’. Both of us.”

“No time like the present, then!” Sunny piped up, jogging over to a filing cabinet and pulling out a thin music folder. “Had this one on the backburner for a while now; been waiting for the right time to try it out, and considering what happened… well, I think it might cheer Flan up a little. We’ve got a few days to practice it in any case.”

Thérèse wormed out from behind her drumset and took a look at the label on the folder, immediately making an indescribable face. “Killer, Queen? Killer Queen?! Have you no decency? No tact?”

“That’s actually the second line of the rewritten song, Tree. Come on, it’s perfect!”

I’m quite positive you’ve heard of the infamous “Killer Queen” before, so I needn’t bore you again with explaining the details. Needless to say, though, it was a lot harder to go through that the previous song, especially for us new girls on the block. Plus, once I’d gotten a look at Sunny’s new lyrics… Well, let’s say keeping a straight face while singing it was by far the most difficult part of the rehearsal, and the other parts of it were not easy, mind you.

But it was worth it.



She keeps her jewel-covered winglets in a pretty cabinet.
She has no sense of tact at all, just like Marie Antoinette.
A built-in remedy for Remi and Patchouli.
At anytime her conversation you can't define~

Caviar? It’s quite a mess; twice-cursed is her etiquette.
Her mood a roll of the dice.

She's our Killer Queen.
Blow you to smithereens;
Smiley face with a laser beam.
Guaranteed to blow your mind,
Every time.

She’s the cat, and we’re the mice; for snark she’s got an appetite.
Wanna die~?

To avoid confrontation, she stays inside the same address.
As consolation her sister was a baroness.
Met a girl called China; our maid’s a kitchen timer.
Then again incidentally we’re just that way inclined~

Known for running rampant in Paris. For bland she couldn't care less;
Facetious will suffice.

She's our Killer Queen.
Puppy chow with a coffee bean;
Dynamite and some pink ice cream.
Guaranteed to melt your mind,
Every time.

At the drop of a hat she's as harmless and playful as a pussy cat.
But suddenly her mind’s a fraction; temporarily out of whack.
She’ll absolutely drive you wild (wild); she’s out to get you~

She's our Killer Queen.
Blood-flavored gelatine;
Custard Flan in a death machine.
Guaranteed to twist your mind,
Every time.

You’ll have fun, but for a price. She’ll keep you if she thinks you’re nice.
Wanna try~?




I’d had a feeling that eventually all of our singing and guitar-ing at six-ish in the morning was going to attract someone who’d tell us to keep it down. I’d kind of forgotten that Sakuya was the mostly likely person to do such a thing, though, so seeing her in the “audience” was kind of a shock by the time we’d all cooled down from our first no-stops-allowed playthrough. She clapped slowly, though whether it was sarcastic or not eluded me. The moment Thérèse caught sight of her though, she went crazy.

“Sakuya! Sakuya! Sakuya’s here! Time Warp! We are doing Time Warp, right now! Sakuya, grab a guitar; you’re helping!”

She dulled her eyes. “No, no I am not doing Time Warp right now.”

“Yes you are! Sunny, get the chart; I’ll teach the kids how to dance!”

“Seriously, Terese, teaching those two Time Warp?!”

“They’ll be fine! They’re pure, they haven’t seen Rocky Horror, remember?”

The maid groaned. “Uhhnnngh, today is really not a good day, Thérèse. I don’t want to.”

“And that’s precisely why you should! Come on, we just did Killer Queen parodied to Flandre!”

“There’s a limit, Thérèse, and you are approaching it. Rapidly.”

“Don’t tell me what to do; I’ll tell you when I’ve had enough! Now let’s, do, the Time, Warp, again!”


[ ] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.
[ ] I was just staying faaaaar away from this debate. What was “Rocky Horror” anyways? (This means I choose what happens)
[ ] As fun as being in a band was, perhaps Sakuya was right. We’d had our diversion, we’d lighten ourselves up, and now if was probably time to start doing some more important things.
[ ] Considering how everyone’s just going to vote for the first option anyways, might as well write-in embellishments or something to keep it interesting.
>> No. 40763
[x] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.

If ever this option is presented to you, you take it. This holds true in the real world, and should hold just as true in Gensokyo.

Doing the Time Warp I mean.

Again.
>> No. 40764
[x] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.

It’s just a jump to the left
>> No. 40765
[X] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.

And then a step to the right

>Considering how everyone’s just going to vote for the first option anyways
Can't fault you for knowing your audience.
>> No. 40767
[X] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.
- [X] Puppy dog eyes at Sakuya. Enlist Monica if you have to.

I'm imagining Monica pelvic thrusting in oblivious glee while Sakuya facepalms. It's a pretty amusing image.
>> No. 40770
[x] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.

Why not? We should at least finish the job of taking Fran's mind off of things.
>> No. 40775
Oh for any singing talent or a younger relative I could coerce into singing these.

>>I'm imagining Monica pelvic thrusting in oblivious glee while Sakuya facepalms. It's a pretty amusing image.
I was hesitating until I read this. This bandwagon - I will be joining it.

[x] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.
>> No. 40788
[x] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.
Just one more, I guess. Than we need to go start our daily chores.
>> No. 40790
[X] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.
- [X] Puppy dog eyes at Sakuya. Enlist Monica if you have to.
>> No. 40791
>Total Eclipse of the Heart

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-x9ygQEGA
>> No. 40792
[x] Thérèse had a point, actually. The only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity, more or less. It seemed to be working, at least.
God fucking damnit, Killer Flan was awesome. That song was made for her, made for her, made for her.
>> No. 40797
>>40788
I'm not sure if Sakuya would be that insistant on Fran doing work in the face of what happened.
>> No. 40799
>>40791
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysUjYAi0WcQ
>> No. 40811
9 for doing the Time Warp again for the first time ever.

Took a break yesterday because I felt like it was lazy thought I deserved it forgot to stop time. Silly me. I’ll get the next update out later today, as well as the reason I disappeared last weekend.

>>40765
>Can't fault you for knowing your audience
I can fault you for being predictable, though. I won’t, but… you know… ummm… I could.

>>40767
I’m facepalming right now, and I’m the one that makes Sakuya exist. Does that count? The image is amusing, but I can’t bring myself to write it with sincerity. And by that I mean Sakuya’ll find a way to compromise so that we’re all equally unhappy.

>>40775
>Oh for any singing talent or a younger relative I could coerce into singing these.
Believe me, I’m thinking the exact same thing over here. Wish I had a copy of Vocaloid for such an occasion too, even though I know the Vocaloids aren’t known for singing very good in Engrish.

>>40791
Hah. So very true. That’s a win.

>>40792
Funny thing, actually. Killer Queen’s about a high-class call girl, so if we’re looking at the original lyrics and meaning, it’d actually apply more to Remilia in a twisted sort of way.

>>40799
http://www.touhou-project.com/gensokyo/src/127958875673.png

But if you really want to play that way… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnZxQiLGDtk
>> No. 40823
Time Warp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_jzsWofTY4

************************************************

Thérèse had a point, actually. After all, the only way to smash down your despair was by overloading yourself with absurdity! Or, something like that. It seemed to be working, at least. I mean, I felt better.

“Don’t be so hard on her,” I told Sakuya, twisting my chair in her direction. “We were just messing around and trying to make each other feel better.”

“By using Killer Queen to hit dangerously close to home…?” She raised an eyebrow and flashed us a half-frown. “Perhaps I should have Patchouli sit you all down and explain a little thing called the statute of limitations.”

“Pruuuuuuude,” Thérèse whined, sticking out her tongue. “What happened happened, it was sad, we mourned. That was yesterday, this is today. Come on, I know you secretly want to do it!”

The silver-haired maid glared at her from across the room with the rest of us just sort of caught in the middle. “Not… really. It’s not like I’ll instantly adore anything that has the word ‘time’ in it, Thérèse. Besides, I haven’t practiced that song in a year at least.”

“Well, uhh… neither have we!” Monica quipped optimistically.

I chimed back in as well. “Like she said Sakuya. Come on, just one song? You probably need cheering up too!”

She squinted her eyes shut in a reluctant grimace, shaking her head with a hand authoritatively on her hip. “There’s a time and place for everything, Miss Fran…”

“…Please?”

“Don’t start that, don’t you start that now!”

It was just like adding fuel to the fire at that point; I crept up right in front of her apron and folded my little hands under my chin, wishing I could shed a tear at will but making due with what I had. “…Pretty please~? I promise you’ll have fun…”

“Waaahh, no, don’t you use those wide-eyed puppy dog… I mean it, I’m not going to…! You’re too pure to pull that kind of…If you’re seriously going to start crying about this then…! Gaah, all right, all right all right, I’ll play Fran, I’ll play, stop staring at me like that!”

I leaned forward and hugged her waist. “Thank you~”

”One song, all right girls? Don’t try and keep dragging out more cute songs while I’m distracted; one, I mean it! Be happy!”

“Already am,” Thérèse cooed, stepping out from behind the drums and cracking the knuckles on two of her hands while beckoning Monica and I with the others. “Come on, girls, you can dance for us. It’s real easy to learn~”

Sakuya glared at her again as she walked over to a locked cabinet, looking for what I assumed was her guitar or something like that. “No; un-uh. I’m not giving you the satisfaction of corrupting them with the knowledge of that dance.”

An extremely-resentful Thérèse glared back at her, looking like a fed-up teenager. “But…! But…! It’s the Time Warp! It’s just a jump to the left, and then also just a step to the right! And how can we possibly be driven insane without the pelvic thrust?!

“That’s Time Warp. I’m planning on playing Time Stop.”

“Since when?!”

The simple temporal-blink would have been answer enough, considering a song sheet had magically appeared in everyone’s hands, but Sakuya felt suave enough to also snark back, “Since I rewrote the lyrics about two seconds ago. If you’re going to be doing it, then so can I.”

The fussy little lady flopped down on a chair and began to review the lyrics, with the rest of us doing the same. Compared to the last two songs… well, it almost felt like a mix between them. It felt kind of jokey and fun like that “Killer Queen”, but at the same time… well, knowing what I knew about those Sixteen Nights now made some of the lyrics click just a bit more than I might have wanted them to. We all began to just shoot the breeze while Sakuya got her guitar set up and the rest of us mulled over the lyrics…

“Hey wait a minute, what’s that piece of crap Flying V doing out of its cage? Where’s your Les Paul?!”

”My Les Paul is in my room, Sun, and I’m certainly not going to sully its strings with Time Warp of all songs. Also I don’t feel like retuning it right now.”

“Hey Sunny, I can’t tell if these lyrics are lame or if they’re supposed to be witty.”

“If these lyrics are lame, then so are all of mine; this is pretty workable, Sakuya. How long did it take you?”

“Overall? Four hours. How long I actually spent working on the words itself? Maybe one.”

“Hey, Sakkie? Do I gotta sing and stuff too? You used some big words here; I hope it’s not a fast song…”

“Don’t worry about that, Monica; you don’t even have to dance if you don’t want to. And don’t listen to Thérèse saying that you have to.”

“I heard that!”

“Well, but… what if I do want to dance?”

“Well, then you read the second bit there where it says how to. I’ll show you in a bit. Thérèse, you’re doing Magenta; I’m Riff.”

“Well, but… what if I wanted to be Riff?”

“Then the next time we rewrite the lyrics to Time Warp, you write yourself as Riff. Now quit complaining; I’m here, aren’t I? Trade those sticks for Sun’s guitar why don’t you?”

“I’m assuming I’m still on piano, yes?”

“Don’t be like that, Tullie. Only play if you want you, right?”

“Well… I do rather enjoy the piano, if you must know. And music is music, after all.”

“I’ll second that, Tullia. Now get over here you two; you’re fairies, so you’d better at least know how to put some soul into dancing.”

“You’re not going to make us doing anything embarrassing, are you?”

“Heh. Thérèse would have. I think I’m a little nicer than her, though~”

“I’m standing right here you know!”

“Don’t worry about her. All right, so it’s just like the lyrics I wrote say; Time Warp makes it easy for you. Start with your legs together, then step left, bring it back in and do a little twirl. Left hand on your hip like you mean it, then right hand kind of snaps out like this, nice and jazzy so everyone can see it. With me so far?”

“This doesn’t exactly feel like dancing…”

“Well, you two can just make up whatever little swing thing you want to during the verses; this is just for the chorus. Last part now, right arm all the way out, then I want you to wave your hand goodbye and sweep your arm back in front of you reeeeaal slow; by the time you hit the word ‘insane’ you should be waving to the audience.”

“We, don’t… have an audience.”

“Well, you’re waving to the chairs, then. Maybe they have feelings too; who knows?”

“I don’t know. But I never know stuff like that. So… can we hear the music maybe?”

“We can indeed. I said one song, but that doesn’t mean we can’t practice it first, right? And it’s not really any fun if you do it just once but screw it up; we’ve got plenty of time here—“

Ba-Dum Tisssh~

“—Thank you for that, Sun. All right, rhythm section? Just give us a looping sixteen-bar blues for a while, let’s let the girls get a feel for the beat, come up with a little dance. Drums, count us off…”

And thus somewhere between a half-hour to an hour later, encompassing a number of swing dance routines, Thérèse genre-breaking guitar solos, Tullia non-genre-breaking piano solos, dozens of “returning-to-the-original-song-lyrics-by-accident” incidences, a snapped guitar string, and Thérèse showing us supposedly why the pelvic thrust drives you insane, we managed to scrape together something actually enjoyable…



”It's astounding; while time is sleeping… madness tries to, take control.
But never fear me—“
“—because her mind is much stronger~“
“And I've got a heart and soul.
But I remember doing the Time Stop, thinking my problems would end!
And temptation would hit me, and that void would be calling:”

Let's do the Time Stop again!
Let's do the Time Stop again!






“WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME HOW THE TIME STOP GOES?!”

“It's just a step, to the left…”
“And then you spin around light!”
“With one hand on your hip…”
“You snap your arm to the right!
“But it's that wave goodbye that really drives them insane!”

Let's do the Time Stop again!
Let's do the Time Stop again!


“It's like we’re dreaming~ Whole fantasies teeming! But there’s no use screaming, no… not at all~
It’s another dimension~ With limitless comprehension~ Ease your tension, let your worries, stall~”
“It’s a bit of a mind flip…”
“When you're in the Time-Slip~”
“No singing, no wind, not even rain.”
“Enjoying relaxation~”
“Like you're on a vacation!”

Let's do the Time Stop again!
Let's do the Time Stop again!

“Well I was living cross the sea, just-a biding my time,
When one hell of a woman made me change my mind!
She made me jump, she took me by surprise,
She had that silver tongue and those devil's eyes~
She talked to me, and we agreed on a trade:
I got my life back, and she got us a maid!”

Let's do the Time Stop again!
Let's do the Time Stop again!

“It's just a step to the left.”
“And then you spin around light!”
“With one hand on your hip!”
“You snap your arm to the right!
“But it's that wave goodbye that really drives them insane!”

Let's do the Time Stop again!
Let's do the Time Stop again!




And that, as they often say, was that. Handshakes and pats on the back were had, accolades given and received, and sly winks and shoulder nudges hidden past the edge of other girls’ vision. I didn’t much care for the song itself, truthfully—it was too much of Sakuya and Thérèse just talking—but that little guitar-and-piano riff in the background was something I could really dance to. I certainly hoped that morning marked the first of many more little “jam sessions”.

Sakuya definitely seemed to have eased up after the song, a little perpetual smile on her face ever since the music had ended. Still, business was business, and she was the one in charge of things like that after all.

“Well, it’s been a fun little diversion, girls,” she said, putting the so-called Flying V back into the cabinet, “but I need to borrow Sunny. Or, her ears, if you want to be precise. I’ve got a… project, and I need a second opinion. Or third, third’s good too.”

“Ooo, ooo, pick me!” Thérèse squealed, flinging her hand into the air.

Would Sakuya ever look at that sprite with anything other then a nonplussed glare? At least not that morning. “No; down girl, down. You’re not getting out of that basement project; we discussed this.”

She frowned, shuffling her feet and trodding towards the door; I wasn’t sure if she was faking it or not. “Yeessssss maaa’aaamm…”

“Us?” I asked simply, pointing to Monica and myself.

“Oh, you’re fine. Could help Thérèse, could help Sun… I might be busy when Remilia wakes up so someone’ll need to tend to that, but Tullia or Saphhire can do that too.”


[ ] “Well, if it’s all the same to you, I wouldn’t mind helping Thérèse with… whatever it is she’s doing. What is it, anyways?”
[ ] “You said you needed a third opinion too, maybe? I’m a third opinion, aren’t I?”
[ ] “I… Actually, would I… Would I be allowed to see after Remi, or whatever?”
[ ] For the time being, just taking it easy with Monica felt perfectly fine. Personally I wouldn’t have minded spending some time in (insert destination here)
>> No. 40830
[x] “I… Actually, would I… Would I be allowed to see after Remi, or whatever?”
I'm pretty sure Fran has never attended to Remilia alone. We're moving up in the world of maids. Not to mention we would to talk to her about yesterday.
>> No. 40831
[x] “You said you needed a third opinion too, maybe? I’m a third opinion, aren’t I?”

Sakuya~
>> No. 40834
[x] “You said you needed a third opinion too, maybe? I’m a third opinion, aren’t I?”
>> No. 40839
[x] “I… Actually, would I… Would I be allowed to see after Remi, or whatever?”
>> No. 40841
[X] “I… Actually, would I… Would I be allowed to see after Remi, or whatever?”

A true test of one's mettle: dealing with the woman in charge.

>I can fault you for being predictable, though. I won’t, but… you know… ummm… I could.
Not that you like us or anything?

>piece of crap Flying V
Hey! The Flying V is not a piece of crap! It's the iconic guitar of heavy metal.
>> No. 40842
[x] “You said you needed a third opinion too, maybe? I’m a third opinion, aren’t I?”

>>40735
Fucking.
Seconded.
>> No. 40850
I forget; is Remilia nocturnal in this story? It should be past daybreak now, so it's not clear to me whether she'll be waking up relatively soon or whether she's just gone to sleep.

[X] “You said you needed a third opinion too, maybe? I’m a third opinion, aren’t I?”

Well, whichever. I'll be satisfied so long as we talk to her before we go to sleep ourselves.
>> No. 40853
[X] “I… Actually, would I… Would I be allowed to see after Remi, or whatever?”
>> No. 40870
It’s a perfect 4-against-4 tie for Remi and Sakuya right now. I’ll start writing once somebody breaks the tie.

That means next vote for Remi/Sakuya wins it!

>>40841
>Not that you like us or anything?
Y-Yeah… something like that.

>Hey! The Flying V is not a piece of crap! It's the iconic guitar of heavy metal.
And the Les Paul is the guitar that redefined the sound of rock and roll. Your point?

>>40842
>Fucking. Seconded.
[Kay]I don’t really think obscenities will affect whether or not I hang around, do you~?[/Kay]
Let’s just get through AFT first, shall we?

>>40850
She’s not nocturnal in this story, mainly because everyone else in the mansion is awake during the daytime and she’s not the kind of lame vampire that melts in sunlight. At least not yet, anyways.
>> No. 40871
[X] “I… Actually, would I… Would I be allowed to see after Remi, or whatever?”

I think we'll do just fine.
>> No. 40895
“I… Actually, would I… Would I be allowed to see after Remi, or whatever?”

Sakuya lifted an eyebrow in my direction skeptically. “You… really?”

I shuffled my feet and looked at the ground, shrugging. “Well, I mean… I’ve never done it before, so I guess… might as well. Am I allowed to?”

“You’re certainly allowed to, though I’m not sure if it’s the best of ideas. Especially considering yesterday’s events; Remilia’s been pretty on-edge, and not to belittle you, but you haven’t had that much hands-on experience with the mistress yet.”

“…no time like the present to learn, then…”

“Sakuya; come on,” Sunny cut in, placing a hand on the head maid’s shoulder. “She won’t make things any worse. Give the girl a chance, eh?”

She sighed, shaking her head in calm defeat. Reaching into her apron she pulled out her pager and tossed it to me. “All riiiight, if you want to give it a shot. Here’s my pager; Patchouli set it to beep whenever Remilia turns off her alarm clock, so just wait outside the door until then. Obviously without the time-stop you won’t be quite as on the ball, but… well, hopefully she’ll understand. Most of the stuff is done in real time anyways; clothes, bath, hair, that sort of thing. She’s not as stuck-up as she used to be about it.”

I nodded obediently, that added without thinking about it, “I don’t, have to worry about giving her blood or anything… do I?”

That actually got a much more awkward response from her than I would have thought; she flat-out grimaced and blushed for about three seconds before blinking out to compose herself. It begged a question, though I really didn’t know what that question exactly was. “Oh, no, no, don’t even worry about that; she, takes care of it.”

I gave another nod. “Anything else?”

“Don’t suck; good luck,” Thérèse quipped, proffering me a thumbs-up. “Flan and Remi are sisters, after all; at the heart of it if you can handle one, you can handle the other.”

“That is a rather large stretch, Thérèse,” said Tullia from the side, straitening up her piano music and packing things away.

“Anyways, hop to it then Fran; it’s almost seven and that’s usually when she’s got that alarm set. Went to bed early last night too so I wouldn’t wait. Sun, I’m up in the tech room; need you to listen to some recordings with me…”

The room inhabitants slowly dissipated, Sunny and Sakuya leaving for the fourth floor, Thérèse for the basement. After making sure that Tullia would keep an eye on Monica, I hurried up to the fourth floor myself, vainly trying to straighten up my hair and uniform to look presentable to the lady. Fortunately I made it up to the hallway outside her room before the pager buzzed, so I had a little time to collect myself.

…It all came back to here, didn’t it? This was where it all began. I still remembered the exact piece of carpet I’d fallen onto, the very position of the wall I’d crouched against while explaining myself to Remilia… Had it only been four months? I was nowhere near the same woman I’d been back then, no matter how much my whimpering self trying to tell me I was. It hadn’t been some gradual, magical change I hadn’t felt; I’d worked for it, every day. Taking lessons from Patchouli, learning how to fight from Meiling and Sakuya, seeing the grand perspective of the world from Flandre and all of my friends… and here I was, not even half a year later, doing the exact same thing Sakuya had been doing for ages. I’d long-since understood that “no entry to Remilia’s room ever” was just an over-simplification Sakuya told the simpler fairies so they’d understand the status-quo. Rules were nice, but it was better to use your head too.

The pager buzzed on and off, and I rapped at the beautiful door. “Mistress Remilia? This is Miss Francesca; Sakuya’s busy and said I could see after you this morning instead. May I, come in?”

“The door isn’t locked,” a muffled voice responded from behind the door. I carefully turned the brass handle and stepped inside. Remilia’s room… it was first the first time I’d ever been in there, or even seen what it looked like. What would I discover upon stepping inside…?

Considering the lights weren’t on and there weren’t any windows, I didn’t discover very much.

“Am I allowed to turn on the lights, Miss Remilia?” I spoke into the darkness, having absolutely no idea where the bed was.

“Mmm, I don’t use lights, Miss Friday, I use lamps.”

To punctuate her odd comment, I saw a warm flame slowly well up on the left side on the room, giving me the first real look at the mistress’s quarters. At first, the elegant woodwork and red motif reminded me of Flandre’s room, but it quickly became apparent that the younger sister’s furnishings were a pale shadow compared to that of the elder. It was a room fit for a queen; everything in its splendor absolutely pristine and perfect, from the placement of the furniture to the tapestries on the walls, and every piece of art that rested on every shelf. But it wasn’t just that… I could tell, as a fairy. This room—like the mansion as a whole but unlike any individual room in it—was old. Flandre’s room might have once been like this one, but now it was sullied by the future of plastic wrappers, video games, and cheap paperback books. Not even Patchouli’s well-ordered cloister came close; simply stepping into that room made me feel two hundred years younger, because I couldn’t find a single thing in it that looked any newer.

Remilia’s massive canopied bed, large enough to sleep a dozen comfortably, took up most of the left-side wall. The light came from a mirrored oil lamp next to it, and the mistress rested peacefully with her head against the headboard, scarlet nightdress blending in perfectly with the scarlet sheets.

“I… I am here to serve you, mi’lady,” I announced quietly, performing my best curtsey out of propriety.

She dulled her eyelids ever so slightly at my actions. “You’re not Sakuya, and you’re not Meiling. Please, don’t try to act like them. You’re embarrassing yourself.”

“S-Sorry, mistress.”

“And stop calling me that, too. Miss Remilia will be fine. God knows we’ve got enough to worry about right now without adding formalities. For now, you can worry about drawing me a bath. You can draw a bath, yes?”

I bowed quickly. “Oh, yes, Miss Remilia, right away! Where should—“

“I have my own bathtub; you’ll find it at the back of the East wing over there. Off you go, then.” She waved me away in the general direction, then slid another pillow behind her back, lounging peacefully like it was a late, lazy Saturday morning or something.

The bathtub was indeed a bathtub, though I certainly hadn’t expected it to just be out in the open like some kind of coffee table. Granted it was generally hidden away from view considering the very odd shape of Remilia’s room (when Patchouli showed me the blueprints of the house, I recalled calling it tee-shirt shaped), but still, there was no wall or curtain or anything, just this gigantic claw-footed brass basin sitting next to a pair of faucets that stuck out of the floor, rather than out of the wall like I was used to. I could only suspect either that it was either just the style of two hundred years ago, or it was “her room, her rules”, and knowing her it was probably both. It wasn’t like just anyone was going to barge into her room while she was bathing, after all. For that matter it was probably even less likely to happen there than inside a proper bathroom. Funny how that works out when you think about it.

I got to work running the faucets and testing the water temperature at least a dozen times; would a vampire want their bathwater warmer, or colder? I just hoped she wouldn’t mind the normal, pleasantly-warm variation, and set to looking at all the different kinds of amenities stacked in the cupboard next to me. Viscous liquids of all different colors, bath salts, powders, sprays, what looked like oatmeal for all I could tell… this was how the rich and elegant bathed, was it? Only really being able to judge by the smell of them, I sprinkled bits of this and that into the tub, causing a soft-looking peach-pink foam to bubble up which certainly looked nice enough to take a bath in. By the time everything seemed to be in order and I’d found out how to work another of the nearby oil lamps (or were they gas lamps? I could never tell the difference), Remilia was standing behind me with one hand under her chin, contemplating my progress.

“Ahh, you…! I, I didn’t see you there, h-heh. Did I do all right?”

“Well if you didn’t I’ll be sure to find a way to let you know before you do it wrong again, won’t I~? Come now; the loops on this gown are impossible to get off from my angle.”

“Oh, y-yes, they do look pretty tricky to do all alone…” Remilia wouldn’t give me the courtesy of turning her back, so I had to flit behind there myself and work on slipping off the tight loops that kept her dress snug against her torso. Having worked on Flandre in a similar fashion a number of times, there was a noticeable difference I was curious enough to ask about.

“Hey, umm, Miss Remilia…? Were are your wings, anyways? I mean, sometimes you have ‘em, sometimes you don’t… where do they go?”

She chuckled, sending a little ripple down her back that made me botch one of the last little circlets. “Oh, they’re such a bother to keep around all the time, little Francesca; makes sitting in a chair a proper hassle, I’m sure you know. They hide away the same place all my little bats and scarlet mist hide away.”

I screwed up my eyebrows as I flipped off the last loop and Remilia shrugged the garment off her shoulders, exposing her flawless pale skin. “I, don’t follow. Where’s that?”

She gave a half turn in my direction, resting one hand on her left breast and tapping just above it with a coy smirk. While that still left the question only half-answered by my reckoning, she didn’t seem to care for going any further with it and slipped into the sudsy bath. I let the matter rest for the time being and stood at the head of the tub, handing her a sponge or washcloth or whatever it was she asked for. I had a feeling when she asked me to give her a rubber ducky she was just testing me to see if I’d accommodate her that blindly, but considering there actually was one ready-at-hand in the cabinet it begged a question more of me than of her, in my opinion.

Joke or not, that didn’t change the fact that she still ended up playing with it.

By the time I finally got around to washing her hair, remaining silent all the while to respect what privacy of hers I could, it was apparent that silence wasn’t her bathing style.

“Talk about something already, will you?” she asked bluntly, not looking at me lest soap get in her eyes. “Hate uncomfortable silences this early in the morning.”

“I was just being polite, miss.”

“Yeah, well, you don’t always have to do that.”


(The next few updates will give you other chances to talk too, so just one option here please)
[ ] “Well then, do… do you want to talk about anything?”
[ ] “I, don’t really know what to talk about… I guess, me and a couple of the girls just got done practicing some songs. That was pretty fun.”
[ ] “Do you, mind if I ask you about yourself? Just, just little things, you know?” (Embellish if you wish)
[ ] “How, uhh… How have you and that devilly-girl been getting along?”
[ ] “Well, I hope you don’t mind me talking about serious stuff, but… I just found out about the Sixteen Nights.”
[ ] “Can we… talk about what happened yesterday…?”
[ ] “…What’s going to happen to us, Miss Remilia?”
[ ] Writeins a cool guy, eh power creatives and doesn’t afraid to be original.
>> No. 40899
[x] “I, don’t really know what to talk about… I guess, me and a couple of the girls just got done practicing some songs. That was pretty fun.”
join us next time
>> No. 40900
[X] "Five months ago, I didn't have to pick up that knife and stop Natasha from attacking you, but I did." *sigh* "And now she's gone. How are you after all that? Better than I was, I hope."
[X] "And what about the other fairies? Are you going to tell them that we're all fading away?"

Stick with the things Remi knows Fran knows. It's too early in the morning to bring out the Izayoi question.
>> No. 40908
[x] “How, uhh… How have you and that devilly-girl been getting along?”

Let's not bring up serious stuff yet.
>> No. 40910
[x] “How, uhh… How have you and that devilly-girl been getting along?”

This option is going places
>> No. 40911
[B] “How, uhh… How have you and that devilly-girl been getting along?”
>> No. 40919
[x] “How, uhh… How have you and that devilly-girl been getting along?”
>> No. 40949
[x] “I, don’t really know what to talk about… I guess, me and a couple of the girls just got done practicing some songs. We even got Sakuya to join in. That was pretty fun.”
It's too early to bring out the srs business, and besides, having those kind of talks in the bathroom of all places?
>> No. 40951
[x] “I, don’t really know what to talk about… I guess, me and a couple of the girls just got done practicing some songs. We even got Sakuya to join in. That was pretty fun.”
-[x] But enough about me, how are you and that little devil going along?
>> No. 41012
4 for Koakuma comment
3 for jam session comment
1 for write-in

I like vote-combinan' games too, >>40951, but it's just meant to be a short conversation to pass the time while bathing. You'll get another chance this update, which'll be coming sometime this evening.

Also, I hope you're enjoying Derp Wars over at >>40914 while you wait for me to stop procrastinating on real updates! Thanks to all of you who are participating and not telling me it's a horrible idea! Don't expect hourly updates on it all the time, by the way; just be happy with what you can get. Which won't be anything tomorrow, by the way; spending the day with friends at an amusement park. I'll see if I can beat the system and win a cute stuffed animal for you.
>> No. 41028
Well, if she wanted me to talk, I decided upon what I thought to be a relevant topic all things considered. “How, uhh… How have you and that new devilly-girl been getting along?”

“Auugh, her,” she groaned, sliding her head lower and mumbling annoyed bubbles into the water. “Where do I begin about her?

“Well, uhh… I, don’t really know. Maybe why you don’t like her?”

“It’s not that I don’t like her per-se, it’s just… She is, intolerable. Absolutely no tact, no respect, swears purely for the sake of swearing… but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a point. If you don’t care about anything you might as well just tell it like you see it, which this little whelp is doing. Adamantly.

I shrugged, trying by best to concentrate more on the mistress’s hair than on the conversation. “Are you saying this before or after what happened yesterday morning?”

I thought I felt her try to turn her head, then give up halfway. “How’d you find out about that? No matter… After, still. Moreso, even. Patches gave that thing a blank check to do whatever it bloody well pleased; very, very stupid. Brilliant, but stupid.”

“That doesn’t make any sense, Miss Remilia.”

“It will when you get older, trust me. It’s a wonder why the bloody little thing hasn’t burned down the house already, if only because it simply doesn’t care one way or the other. Ahhhgg, it’ll be nothing but trouble now that it’s got free reign.”

“Didn’t, you know that was going to happen before she summoned it, though?”

She sighed, spinning the floating rubber duck around in a circle, answering a slightly different question than the one I asked. “Ohh, I don’t know… I suppose I could go on about how I trusted her judgment and how I expected the wards to keep it in check, but… oh, it doesn’t matter now. It’s here. Might as well get to work taming the damn thing. It can dress itself and knows enough to not just keep going after Patches every five minutes, so that’s a start.”

I kept silent for a minute, just thinking things over while I finished lathering up Remilia’s hair. She had a point there, just like Thérèse had made: what happened, happened. You can only change the future, not the past. Would it have been better to not have summoned the devil girl? Absolutely, knowing what I knew about her life now. But it was all moot. Worrying about the past… Kay, Flandre, Natasha, all my lost cousins… it’s all useless when you realize that it won’t change anything. Learn from the past, live in the present, look to the future.

“We could always, you know… let her go?” I suggested, not really knowing where I was going with it. “Like, just let her walk out and go wherever she wants in the world?”

She uttered a completely fake laugh. “Ahaha, hah, hah, haaa-no. If she wanted to do that she’d have done it by now. No, she’ll be wanting to keep close to Patch, I think. I’ve been around her type before; if she’s the same she’ll make an assassination attempt once or twice a week, then God knows how long of innocuously trying to stage her death to look like an accident, then an eternity of waking up every day hoping she’ll catch some terminal disease or just die of old age.”

I frowned as I dried my hands of soap and water. “But that’s, that’s horrible! That’s not something to joke about; Ms. Patchouli is in the library all alone with her right now! An’, an’ who knows how bad she got hurt the last time!”

Remilia merely smiled and raised an instructional finger. “The other mages that I leaned this from…? Weren’t nearly as talented as our Patchouli. Or as resourceful. I’m sure she wouldn’t put herself in danger if she didn’t think she could protect herself. Now, go fetch me my clothes while I finish up here.”

“Wha…?” I’d almost started to forget that eventually she was going to get out of the bath and needed more than a nightgown to wear. It didn’t seem fair to me to change the subject so fast like that, but I supposed on the bright side it meant she wasn’t that concerned. At least I hoped she wasn’t. “Oh, r-right, I forgot, sorry sorry. What should I get?”

“I’m feeling… blue, today. Sky blue. The closet is inside the back wall. Mind the labels, now; you’ll be looking for Section 14.”

Whatever that was supposed to mean, I quickly hurried off to the back wall and found the door into the closet. Or, other room was more like it; that place was huge! Racks upon racks of hanging garments spanned both sides of the long-yet-thin closet, and just like Patchouli’s room were stacked in levels up to the ceiling and accessible only by flying. This was unreal… Even if you wore a different outfit every day and never repeated… I couldn’t even guess how many years it would take to go through them all! And there I was, able to count the number of different dresses I owned on one hand! But, well, vampires would be vampires, and they did always like to look their best.

Flandre didn’t even have a twentieth of this many clothes, though.

Section 14, Section 14… What was that supposed to mean, anyways? I certainly saw the silvery plaques with the section numbers—mostly teens or twenties for numbers—though what they meant eluded me. Some kind of size, perhaps? But ladies’ sizes were supposed to be much smaller than that… No matter, though. I quickly found fourteen on the ground floor, and started brushing through them, looking for something sky blue. So many different choices… fancy dresses and plain dresses and short skirts and long skirts and gold and silver and studded jewelry… I’d seen that costume before, Flandre’d wore it that one night! This one was black and purple, though; must be to tell them apart or something.

“Why the sudden interest in that imp, anyways?” Remilia asked from well outside the door, not exactly shouting so it was tricky for me to hear amidst the brushing of clothes. I sort of felt bad for shouting back at her, but my voice didn’t carry like hers did.

“Oh, I dunno, I’m just curious I guess. She’s someone new that I don’t understand; I try to fix things like that these days!”

“What’s your opinion of her, then?”

“Me…? I, well… I don’t really know her all that well!”

“Unacceptable excuse. You’re the kind of girl that thinks about these things, if poorly.”

”Auuwwhh… Well, I guess, I kind of… Maybe I feel a little sorry for her, you know? I mean since she’s had to be a slave for hundreds and hundreds of years, never gets to do her own thing. I have a feeling that like, maybe she used to like doing the things she was ordered to do, but since she didn’t have a choice it’s like they lost their fun-ness, or something. And she’s not that mean now that I think about it. It’s not like I really know anything, I’m just… well, you asked me my opinion!”

There was no response for a number of seconds, long enough for me to finally decide between the two sky blue dresses I had narrowed down my search to. By the time I’d taken it off the hanger, Remilia finally responded with an enigmatic, “Yes… Yes, that is definitely an opinion.”

I hovered back over to the bath corner, finding Remilia just finishing up wrapping a towel around her torso. “This is the right color, yes?” I asked, holding up my find.

She twiddled her hand around her chin for a while before nodding. “It will suffice. Though I believe you’ve forgotten something rather obvious, if unobtrusive.”

I held the dress out at arm’s length and inspected it. Hmm, looked fine to me; nice silky fabric, no rips or anything like that… “What’d I miss?”

She tilted her head and smirked. “Underwear?”

I froze, then started blushing. “Gaahk! I… I-I’ll…!” I just draped the dress across a nearby chair and flew away as fast as I could, not even attempting to regain some dignity by finishing the sentence. I hadn’t used to have that sort of problem; curse that embarrassing episode about the birds and the bees! Remilia was probably looking pretty smug at the time, but I was too busy trying to end that fiasco as soon as possible. I’d even seen the bras and panties hanging up in the fourteen section; how’d I not think to pick them up?!

“Socks too~!” Remilia added cheerfully.

“I’m looking, I’m looking!”

“Hmm… You know, since we’re on the subject, did you notice the size of that imp’s chest?”

Really?! Come on, that wasn’t ever fair to poke at me with! “I, uhh… I, I guess? I-I I mean, I saw it…”

“Pretty impressive, no?”

“I-I, eehhh… they’re, they’re really big, i-if that’s what you mean...”

“You ever wish you had some like that~?”

”N-No, not… I mean, well… I, don’t, really like big boobs, Miss Remilia. They… get in, the way…”

I thought I might have heard her snort from far away. “What’s this now? Your chest isn’t even that big, what are you complaining about?”

”I-It’s… too big for me…”

Whatever kind of chuckling or laughing or silly faces she might have been making at me, she’d cut it all out by the time I’d returned with her problematic little intimates. Fortunately she wasn’t the kind of fussy little queen that made other people put on her underwear for her, so I got a little breathing room for a while.

“I was surprised to see she’d bound down her chest by lunchtime, though,” she added as she dressed herself. “Who knows, maybe she’s like you and resents them; on a girl that size they’re certainly extra-ordinary.”

I just sort of kept looking the other way all the while. “I… I would know anything about that, miss… And what’s binding?”

“Mmm? Oooold old trick for us ladies; you just wrap cloth around your chest and have someone pull it tight for you; flattens them right up if you’re not the big to start with. Ahh, I can only imagine what Patchouli’s face must have been like when she helped with that…”

Breast binding… I definitely needed to try that one day to see if it really worked. Except… then I’d have to ask someone to help me tie the cloth…

“I’ll tell you one thing though?” she mentioned as she held the dress out for me to help slip over her head. “She practically tore my head off when I called her a succubus. Strange, really; I thought she’d be flattered. And then of course she proceeded to call them soulless animals with no personalities who’s only purpose and instinct in life was to have sex. She does have a point there when you think about it. I’ve never met one, of course, but is does make one think.”

“Well, it makes you think, at least,” I responded, wiggling the silky garment into place and tying up the few side-ties that kept the dress snug against her waist.

“Mmm, yes… perhaps. The proof would be in the pudding there, as I believe they say.”

“…Who is they, anyways?”

Remilia just sort of stared at me blankly, damp hair hanging lank over her ears, as if that was either the most brilliant question in the world, or the most idiotic. After no less than fifteen seconds of us just looking at each other in absolute silence, I took it upon myself to change the subject.

“Sooooo…”

[ ] “…what do YOU want to talk about, now?”
[ ] “…me and a couple of the girls just got done practicing some songs. We got Sakuya into it too. That was pretty fun.”
[ ] “…I heard you and China’ve been together since the beginning.”
[ ] “…this is going to sound awkward, but… I know about the Sixteen Nights.”
[ ] “…do you mind if I ask you about what happened yesterday?”
[ ] “…do you mind if I break the fourth wall and ask complete strangers what question I should ask you?”
>> No. 41029
[x] “…I heard you and China’ve been together since the beginning.”
>> No. 41033
[x] “…me and a couple of the girls just got done practicing some songs. We got Sakuya into it too. That was pretty fun.”
>> No. 41036
[ ] “…do you mind if I ask you about what happened yesterday?”
Remilia loves to talk about herself, she'll be receptive of this.
>> No. 41044
[X] “…I heard you and China’ve been together since the beginning.”

>“What’d I miss?”
>“Underwear?”
Fey and easily distractable go hand-in-hand.
>> No. 41046
[X] “…I heard you and China’ve been together since the beginning.”

This may setup asking about the Sixteen Nights aswell so..
>> No. 41047
I'm sure Remilia was shocked by Koa.... Bigger than Meiling is saying alot.

[X] “…I heard you and China’ve been together since the beginning.”
>> No. 41070
4 for China
1 for jam session
1 for yesterday

Cool vote, bro. I don’t really have anything else so say except writing now.

>>41047
Meiling isn’t stacked in this story; Francesca commented on that the first time she saw her.

But getting a straight answer from Remi is about as hard as getting a straight answer from Flan, so yeah, who knows.
>> No. 41077
“Soooo… I heard you and China’ve been together since the beginning.”

She tilted her head at me questioningly. “More or less. Dry my hair.”

I grabbed a clean towel and started buzzing over her head, patting down her wet locks and trying not to be too hard on her head; at least with your own hair you know when you’re doing it wrong! Too bad she didn’t have an automatic hairdryer around here… As I busied myself we continued our conversation.

“That can’t have been the only reason you brought that subject up, Francesca.”

“Well, no, but I just thought… well, that you were going to say something.”

“I did. Perhaps you’ll rethink the next question you ask me concerning the subject.”

“Oh… Okay, then, what was it like?”

“Like what?”

I had a feeling she’d begun to do that on purpose. I sighed. “What was it like, living with her when you were young?”

“Well, when I was young, I didn’t care; she was just one of the guards. Youngest of the bunch, but still too old for me to relate to, and I had better things to worry about anyways. I can see we’re going to have to work on your ability to ask questions, little girl.”

“Uugghh… Before you built the mansion but after whatever it is that happened that Meiling won’t tell me about, then, what was living with her like?”

“That’s… slightly more wordy than needed, but I suppose it’ll have to do. If you must know, it was very droll. I do not mind droll, but that does not mean I wish it might have been something quite a bit better.”

I tried to see if I could come up with a good response to that, but my ignorance won the battle. “What does droll mean, again?”

She sighed and shook out her hair, now that I was done drying it. “Quaint, is another word for it, Miss Friday. Quaint. Have you a hairbrush?”

“Oh, ahh, no, I’ll just go get one; and thanks, I’m pretty sure I know what quaint means.” As I hurried off to fetch the mistress a hairbrush I realized that if someone would have asked me what quaint meant, I doubted I’d have been able to tell them. It was just one of those things that made wordless sense to me, I suppose.

“Yes, very quaint indeed,” she continued once she’d seated herself comfortably back in the middle of the bed, and I’d knelt up behind her. “In the early days I was only a child, and she twenty-or-so years my senior. She called herself my servant and maid, but of course I could tell she was attempting to be my mother; it was intolerable. Not that she ever knew my mother well enough to try and be her shallow replacement, but at the time I was rather in need of someone to fill that position and had little room to argue.”

It was all very nice to know, I supposed, but it lacked perspective. I hazarded to ask, “Can I ask, uhh… what—“

“You may ask, but you shall not receive,” Remilia interrupted, flicking her head slightly and wasting the last-half-minute of my work. “I think you’ve received more than enough stories today to tide you over for a good few weeks.”

I sighed; worth a shot, I thought. Though that last comment made me wonder… Did she know I knew about the Sixteen Nights already? But no, she couldn’t; she’d just woken up when I’d walked in the door, right? Still… rather fitting, I thought.

“I was trying to be rude, Miss Remilia,” I quickly replied to try and save face. “Just… curious, trying to fill in all the gaps, you know.”

“Curiosity has killed many-a cat, little one,” she instructed, holding up that intelligent finger of hers. “It’d be a shame to lose—What.

Her sentence was cut off by a sudden intrusion of Sakuya into the room, with a not-entirely inconspicuous Sunny outside the door, though she was closed off by the slamming door within seconds. The maid took fast, long strides to cut down how long it took to get to the bed and slammed both hands down on the cushion with a purpose. Why couldn’t she have just time-jumped there in the first place?

”Nagano,” she declared firmly, though I had absolutely no idea what that was supposed to mean.

Apparently Remilia didn’t either. “That is entirely unhelpful.”

”Japan,” Sakuya amended, undaunted. “Kay is from Japan.

I immediately perked up. “Wait, what? Japan?! How’d’you know?!”

“Accent,” she answered, smirking proudly. “She hid it good—it’s not there if you’re not listening for it—but she’s got one. Snuck a pocket recorder into my sleeve as I was interrogating her yesterday. Spent all last night going over those recordings of her voice to find the right dialect; Sunny just confirmed it. Pitch-perfect, that girl’s ears… Lady Remilia, I am telling you right here, one hundred percent, that that girl Kay lives in or near Nagano, Japan. We’ve got her.”

I was astounded. Kay’s accent… I wouldn’t have even contemplated the idea of looking there. But to find the region of a country, based on the accent when speaking English… I wondered just how many hours were in her “all last night”. But Sakuya was right; I hadn’t been paying attention to what her voice sounded like. I’d just… listened. That great mystery… had it been so simple?

Remilia shrugged. “And you’re telling me this why?”

“We know where she lives, Remilia! Fourteen-thousand square kilometers, maybe less! I take Patchouli down there, she does some magic-finding spell, we can pinpoint it today! It means none of these girls have to die, Remi!”

Remilia closed her eyes and puffed out her cheek haughtily. “Pfff. I’ve no desire to go vacationing in Japan any time soon, Sakuya. Once is quite enough. And you don’t have to shout; I can hear you just fine.”

“You’re… not taking this very seriously, mistress,” Sakuya responded, lowering her voice.

“I am, only not showing it. I wouldn’t be much of a mistress if I hadn’t thought it through.” She opened her left eye and gazed at Sakuya’s face, shaking her head just once. “I’m not moving.”

That… didn’t make much sense to me. Nor to Sakuya, either, who’d returned to an upright position, folding her arms in front of her. “Show it, then, if you please; frankly I’m a little tired of your riddles.”

I found it rather odd that throughout all this Remilia was still relaxing on the bed, motioning for me to continue brushing her hair as if this was no big deal at all. It was a huge deal, wasn’t it?! We’d all been feeling it and noticing it for what felt like ages. The world was shrinking, our lives getting more bland, our hope getting more frail. And then in one day, a gift from above, this psychotic wanderer who held the key to another world where magic still existed… why was Remilia playing coy?

I soon got my answer as she elegantly cleared her throat and asked Sakuya, “Did you ever consider the worst-case scenario, Sakuya? Did you ever wonder why this Kay never said where her home was? Why she’d rather come here and harass us instead of spending nights in her own bed? Did you ever think that, perhaps, she is no better off than us? Doing exactly what you are planning to do, wandering around the world aimlessly, looking for some oasis of hope while her own shrivels up year by year? Did you ever think that perhaps she has no home; it is already dry and dead? I have considered it.”

Sakuya definitely looked a little miffed. “That’s why I’m asking you, Remilia. Let me take Patchouli out to Japan! One morning, one afternoon, and we can come back and know if it’s worth it or not! You can’t tell me it’s not worth it to at least look!

“I did look, Sakuya,” Remilia retorted very, very distinctly, punctuating each and every word. “Why do you think I was touring the world when I found you? I have been to every country on the face of this planet, and I have sampled each region extensively. I found nothing one hundred seventy years ago, and you will find even less now. False hope feels good, perhaps? Until you discover that yes, it was indeed very, very false.”

”Needle, in a haystack, Remi!” Sakuya shot right back, while I flashed a little grin knowing exactly what she was talking about. “Things that are worth finding, hide. And you know that it’s worth it. I know you’ve considered it.”

The vampire chuckled, mirthlessly. “Hah… ‘know’. Don’t you tell me about what I know. I know a great deal more than you will ever know. And what I know is that it is absolutely, utterly, meaningless. What I know is that I ran from the inevitable for two hundred fifty years, and for two hundred fifty more I have stopped running. I run no longer, Sakuya. No, longer.”

Sakuya was struck silent. I racked my brain just to follow the conversation, let alone contribute something. She, didn’t want to leave… not even try… why? Why stay when we knew where to go? Why die when we knew where to live? I had to say something, even if it was just restating the obvious or completely changing the subject to lighten the mood. And for some reason I didn’t think stuffing my breasts into Remilia’s face was going to work this time.


[ ] “[insert Fran-characterized statement here]”
>> No. 41083
>>Did you ever wonder why this Kay never said where her home was? Why she’d rather come here and harass us instead of spending nights in her own bed?

Let's see...
Her ability/hobby entails messing with the minds of others. She apparently lacks all basic emotions. Doesn't feel guilt, remorse, shame, and seemingly lacks any capacity for empathy. She has no regard or respect for the comfort, personal space, or even lives of anyone. She witnessed the gruesome death of a person without so much as batting an eye. More than that, she probably made it happen, and as far as anyone can tell, for no other reason than because she can.

Why wouldn't she tell others where her home is? Especially if it could actually help someone else out?

I realize Remilia might be speaking from many, many years of letdowns, disappointments, and shattered hopes, but even so "because she's a dick" seems like a rather obvious explanation.

>>“Hah… ‘know’. Don’t you tell me about what I know. I know a great deal more than you will ever know. And what I know is that it is absolutely, utterly, meaningless.

Sort of like how, before yesterday, you knew your sister's imaginary friend really was just a product of her imagination, Remi?

Yeah. How's that working out, again?
>> No. 41085
>>41083

Hey now, don't tell me that; tell Francesca to tell Remilia that!
>> No. 41086
>>41070
I interpreted as "not being a stick with boobs", but having a figure. Koa confirmed for breast thief then

>>41083
Good point Remilia might have glanced but never looked throughly; too self-assured about her senses and it was before she picked up Sakuya and Patchouli's talents. But I have nothing at the moment.
>> No. 41088
>>41085
I would have, but I'm afraid I couldn't really think of how to phrase it in an appropriately Fran-ish manner.
>> No. 41091
>>41088
I'm sure Tepes can manage that for us, if need be.
>> No. 41095
>>41091

True that. I was just trying to find new and inventive ways to word the phrase "write-in".
>> No. 41097
All I want for Christmas is a subversive, angry speech.
The story is about to end and the closest we got to that was stutter-country. Sure, it's part of her charm but...
>> No. 41101
File 128110708891.jpg - (163.19KB , 800x1343 , hope dearest of all my friends.jpg ) [iqdb]
41101
Okay, this turned into a shitty clusterfuck. Also, I can't write like Fran speaks. If someone can translate, I'd be grateful.
Of course, if I could, I'd call myself Lord Vladimir Vlad and write a cheap rip off of this story.

[x] "What"
-[x] "Are you... are you serious, mistress? Is this some kind of joke I don't get? Are you seriously considering throwing away the only lead we have about the only place in the world where we can exist?!
--1[x] Why? Because Kay never said where her home was? She knew we needed that information! We are talking about someone... something, that doesn't seem to feel guilt, remorse, shame, love nor pity and her hobby is to mess up with people! Why would she tell where her home is in the first place?
--2[x] Why?! Because you are so goddamned prideful that you can't fathom the posibility that you screwed up in your last search? Or that something may have happened in, I don't know, a century?
--3[x] Why!! Why do always have be complicated?! Why do you insist Mr Anderson in being so stubborn and prideful? Who are you trying to impress? The last person who cared was killed while she was right next to you! And it was my fault. Unless we use Kay to save all my friends, Natasha’s death would have been in vain...!
---[x]If you don't care about me, if you don't care about her, if you don't care us fairies... then do this for Flandre! She called Kay friend because she was the only new person that spoke to her in gods knows how long! In that place there has to be someone like Kay but sane that she can be friends with! How about Sakuya? How long will she last in this land without magic? How about Meiling? Patchouli?
----[x] I know it's far shot... in the end the possibility, if you use common sense, is close to being zero... but it is not zero! It is definitely not zero!



As a friend one said, you can't make an omelette without some egg-breaking and you can't save all you love without some good ol' charisma-breaks.
The whole write-in is an overreaction? Yes, but justified. And the fault thing was something I just realized. Being the overthinking fairy that she is, she has to know by know that, if she didn't insisted on bothering Sakuya to prove that Flandre wasn't lying, the latter wouldn't have blown the hunter's head off.
>> No. 41102
Ugh, that long write-in seems somewhat out of character.

[X] "So... is that it, miss Remilia? You're just going to give up because you couldn't find it 170 years ago? What if things changed since then? Oases may dry up, but don't new ones show up too?"

Take the metaphor almost literally to get people thinking. That's the Francesca way.
>> No. 41104
>>41102
I like this. Lets get Remi riled up!

[X] "So... is that it, miss Remilia? You're just going to give up because you couldn't find it 170 years ago? What if things changed since then? Oases may dry up, but don't new ones show up too?"
[x]Isn't it... isn't it more like running away if you stop trying?
>> No. 41109
[x]>>41101
>> No. 41115
[X] All due respect, but you think Sakuya is right about this.
[X] Just because you couldn't find something doesn't mean it wasn't there, just that you didn't find it.
[X] Just look at Kay. How long had she been in the mansion? For how long had Remilia or everyone else here been looking right at her because they didn't know she was there? Maybe Kay's home is like her, like that. It's there, but without knowing it's there, and knowing how to find it, you'll never be able to find it.
[X] What reason is there to not look, then? Especially now that you actually know where to look? The worst that could happen is you don't find anything, and then you're not any worse off than when you started, right? But if you don't even try? Then what difference does it make if everyone is still here tomorrow, let alone years from now?


I
>> No. 41117
[B] "So... is that it, miss Remilia? You're just going to give up because you couldn't find it 170 years ago? What if things changed since then? Oases may dry up, but don't new ones show up too?"
[B]"Isn't it... isn't it more like running away if you stop trying?"
>> No. 41118
[X] "So... is that it, miss Remilia? You're just going to give up because you couldn't find it 170 years ago? What if things changed since then? Oases may dry up, but don't new ones show up too?"
[x]Isn't it... isn't it more like running away if you stop trying?

If she won't swallow her damn pride, we'll force it down her throat.
>> No. 41119
Autosage just kicked in, yo.
>> No. 41122
[X] "So... is that it, miss Remilia? You're just going to give up because you couldn't find it 170 years ago? What if things changed since then? Oases may dry up, but don't new ones show up too?"
[X] Isn't it... isn't it more like running away if you stop trying?

But with >>41101 on standby if/when Remi argues back. It may not be in Fran's voice, but it hits the rest of the main points quite effectively.
>> No. 41123
5 for >>41102 plus >>41104’s tack-on
2 for >>44101
1 for >>41115

>All I want for Christmas is a subversive, angry speech.
Christmas’ll be coming early this year for you, then. Francesca’s got it in her to show some heat when the occasion calls, and after all, this is her future Remilia’s ho-humming. Plus I want to write angry Fran for a change too~

Writing tonight, update probably not tonight unless I get into the groove and write nonstop until 2 A.M. (GMT-5) as I have been occasionally wont to do. Might as well get that last little bit of lol backstory over with since I’ve got the chance, anyways.

Ahh yes, and just a quick word. If there’s miscellaneous questions you’ve still got about parts of the story that haven’t been answered yet, don’t hesitate to tell me. I’d rather find a way to put them in the story proper than just have a giant laundry list of questions to answer later.

>>44101
I can definitely use bits and pieces of this. Thanks much; and yeah, I can translate that.

>Of course, if I could, I'd call myself Lord Vladimir Vlad and write a cheap rip off of this story.
Don’t know how you could make it any cheaper. I don’t pay my actors anything, the sets are made out of cheap Photoshop pixels, no soundtrack… I don’t even have the cash to give them their own trailers. 20 hours out of the day they’re just meandering around my house, sleeping on whatever open couch they can find, and generally annoying the family.

>>41119
Yeah, I know. I should have started the next thread last update, but I wasn’t paying attention. Derp on my part.