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“Actually… Patchouli, I’ll do it,” you say. “But I want you to pay attention to the flow of the magic.”
The librarian is silent for a moment, and then nods. “Alright.”
You turn to Flandre. “Flan, would you turn around? I need to take off your broken crystals.” She does so, and you detach the shattered crystals, placing them on the table with their shards. “Okay, then. Are you paying attention, Patchouli?”
“Then here I go.”
The crystals are so simple to create that you don’t need to draw a circle beforehand. Sending your power outwards, you analyze the elemental composition of the trinkets. Mostly earth, with equal parts wind, water, and fire.
Now comes the “hard” part. Forming the necessary patterns with your power, you focus your magic with the intent to “reform”. The materials, filled with your power, acquiesce to your will. They glow, and reshape.
“Wonderful,” says a familiar voice. You blink, and look up. In addition to Flandre and Patchouli, Remilia and Sakuya are there. “That’s the first time I’ve seen you do such interesting magic, Wallachia.”
“That was easy. Also, I’ve done much more impressive feats in your presence— like the memory altering spell I used on the villagers in Romania.”
“Pfft. That? That was boring,” your sister says dismissively. “No lights or runes or anything. Magic should be more flashy and impressive. Like danmaku.”
Out of the corner of your eye, you see Patchouli open her mouth… then sigh and close it. Shooting your sister a dry look, you voice what you’re sure was on the librarian’s mind. “Good magic isn’t supposed to be flashy, Remilia. The mark of a well-executed spell is no mark. Danmaku is a game, not something trying to produce an effect.”
Remilia looks like she’s about to protest, but is interrupted by the door bursting open and slamming shut. A young woman wearing an odd red hat is leaning against the portal.
“Whew, lost her.” She looks up, and scans the room. Once she sees you, she breaks into a rather predatory grin. “And it looks like I’ve hit the jackpot! Today’s my lucky day!” She starts to advance, reaching into her skirt pocket to pull out… nothing.
“Huh?” She looks at her empty hand, and then laughs. “Alright, Izayoi, give it back.”
Sakuya’s now holding what looks like a camera. “I think not. And just how did you get in here?”
The mystery girl laughs again. “I distracted the gatekeeper with a koan. I had opened the front door when she figured out that she had been had. Then she gave chase. She should be giving up any minute now. But that isn’t important! What’s important is—!”
The door behind her blasts off of its hinges as Meiling kicks it into her, knocking her to the ground. “Got you!” she cries as she shoves the door to the side and grabs the girl, pinning her arm behind her back.
“Well done, Meiling,” says Sakuya. “I wish you could have done it without breaking the door, but at least you got her.”
“You can’t silence the press! I have a right to know who this guy is! So spill! Is he a guest? A jilted fiancé? A sex slave? A mysterious merchant from another world? A—“ Meiling pulls her arm a bit. “Ow, ow!” She squawks. “Alright, I’ll shut up!”
“Very good,” says Remilia. “Now—“
“Excuse me,” you interrupt, and all eyes turn to you. “Just what in God’s name is going on here?”
“Ah, this must be rather confusing.” Responds Sakuya.
“Hush. Well, you were bound to meet her eventually. This is—”
“Ah, I’ll do it,” says the woman. “I’m Aya Shameimaru, editor and chief reporter of the Bunbunmaru newspaper. Pleased to meet you, mister…?”
“Scarlet. Wallachia Scarlet. But I prefer Wallace.”
“Scarlet? A relative, then?”
You open your mouth to reply, but Remilia speaks up first. “That’s all you’re going to get until you tell us how you learned of him.”
“Let me up first,” says Aya. “And we have a deal.”
Sakuya nods to Meiling, and she lets go of the tengu, who stands and dusts herself off. “Alright. I’d heard that the dollmaker had gotten a request for her services. So I thought, ‘maybe there’s a story in there’. So I go to her place, but she wasn’t there. But when I looked through her workshop window, I spied some fancy clothes, in the western style. Which wouldn’t be strange, considering she’s done jobs for you, but what struck me was that they were clearly for a man. I put two and two together, and decided to come here to see if there was a scoop. It looks like I was right, so!” She turns to you. “May I have an interview?”
[x] “I guess”