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"Spider." You say. "Do you enjoy hot water?"
"... If this is an invitation to go someplace, yeah." Yamame says after a careful moment of consideration. "If I did something wrong, then I'll pass, and I'll try not to do it again."
"The first." You say, turning aside.
You don't summon the normal maids again, but call Sakuya directly, as your request is a bit more complicated than 'bring food here' this time. Best to not leave it entirely in fairy hands. She returns after a few minutes with a pair of large baskets. You stuff one into Marisa's hands, and the other into the spider's, and then open a portal to the base of the Hakurei stairs. The cup, you carry yourself.
"Come along." You say, as you step through. You've already begun floating up the steps as they pass through the portal themselves, and you close it behind them. Marisa grumbles a bit as she starts walking, but the spider doesn't seem to mind the exertion. The witch cheats fairly quickly, picking up into the air herself, though she drops back down and continues taking up the steps as normal afterwards. Theatrics, it seems. She really doesn't like at all to be seen flying without the traditional witch's broomstick, though at least she can bow to convenience when she feels like it.
The shrine maiden is drinking tea at the front of the shrine, when you arrive, and looks over your group with only mild curiosity.
"... I hope you don't intend to head out somewhere this late in the day." She says after a moment. "Unless you intend to stay out until I wake up."
"I've merely come to give advance warning that I will be passing through tomorrow. As well as advance payment." You say, displaying the cup.
Reimu takes it, inspecting it closely before poking a finger inside. Unlike Marisa she does it slowly, and does not actually touch the lower interior. Towards the top, it would be cool, so as not to burn the lips of the drinker, but towards the bottom the bound wisp of flame gives off a good bit of heat indeed.
"Hm. That will do, I suppose." She says, after a moment. "Convenient, if you have to set a cup of tea aside, to know it won't grow cold. You could have brought this tomorrow, of course."
"I could have." You admit. "But I recall you have a hot spring, and Marisa has done... adequately, at the tasks I have set." You continue.
Reimu seems suspicious of your words, but you were careful not to speak anything but the truth. You do recall the hot spring. Marisa is perfectly adequate, or better, at mixing potions. That neither of these are related to each other is something that you don't feel you need to point out.
"I have brought food." You say instead, waving at the baskets, and that seems to seal the deal.
"You bring booze too?" The oni says, forming from gathering vapor and trying to pluck the basket out of the spiders hands. "Let's see it, let's see it~"
"There is some form of alcohol in one of those baskets, yes." You say dismissively, as the baskets get taken inside the building proper.
You eat a portion quickly, having eaten a fair bit already today, and thus not having much interest in the food. Oddly, the shrine maiden finishes her part quickly as well, and follows you immediately out, waving back at the assurances of the rest that they would 'catch up'. She settles into the water at the same time you do, and then frowns.
"I know what you're doing." She says calmly, and you grow still. "... It's irritating, because I'm pretty sure Marisa doesn't get it at all."
"Is that so?" You say, supposing you wouldn't really have been able to hide the fact that the display is deliberate, but thankful that she hasn't yet seemed to work out your personal interest in her springs.
"I don't care about this sort of thing." Reimu says, after a moment. "If she got trapped into it through a deal or a lost bet or whatever it was. It's her own fault, and I'm not going to bother asking you to stop rubbing her nose in it, but..."
The shrine maiden pauses, brow creasing as she considers her next words.
"She's a chatty drunk, sometimes." She eventually decides on.
"I don't see how it's relevant." You say.
"Believe me, it is." Reimu replies. "So's the fact that she's a little... eh. Not quite all there, I guess. Not really crazy, but not really normal either."
"There are very few practitioners of magic that can be honestly called 'normal'." You point out.
"Yeah, I suppose from that point of view, she's pretty ordinary." Reimu admits. "You're all weird in different ways, though. But back to what I was saying. The best way to put it is that I found out, not too long ago, that she likes you."
"I'm not interested in friendship with the witch." You say dismissively.
"I know. You'd have killed her long ago if you thought you could get away with it, and if you thought I wouldn't come after you for it, to keep her away from your hoarded books." Reimu says pointedly.
It's not entirely true. You'd just as soon have her simply stop stealing from you of her own volition, unlikely as that is, or find a fail-safe way to keep her out of the library for good. You can begrudgingly respect her as a decent enough magic user that you could find some use of her in the future, and don't necessarily want to be rid of her before then. It's close enough that you don't bother arguing the point, though.
"... Marisa doesn't get that." Reimu says. "She honestly considers you a friend, despite that I'm fairly sure you haven't intentionally done anything to encourage that point of view. She considers the whole interplay between the two of you, the book stealing thing, a game at most, because she knows full well that she can't actually read a lot of what you have. But you've misunderstood what I said. I'll repeat myself. Marisa likes you."
It takes you several long moments to work out the odd stress the shrine maiden places on the word, but when you do your face twists in mild distaste before you can control it.
"Yes, that's about how I expected you to react." Reimu says simply. "But you're in good company. There's a lot of magic-users in Gensokyo, Alice, Byakuren, others I can't recall... and Marisa has little crushes on all of them, to some degree, or at least on the ones that know more or better or more specialized magic than she does. She drops by from time to time to make herself at home in their houses, and steal things from them, too. Part of it seems to be something like an inferiority complex, though she works hard on her own. But in any case, the biggest fixation she has is on you."
... Her easy acceptance of servitude before, and how she was wary of Remilia, but almost immediately agreed to your offer, is suddenly far less amusing. You are suddenly reviewing the past couple of days in your head, and you aren't sure you like the niggling details you're picking out. Her lack of distress at following your orders, her good behavior... even just earlier, when she had declared that she would be stealing that book, after she was no longer in your service, seems to take on foreboding meaning. Did she simply mean it as a declaration of intent, or was it a subtle hint, that she didn't need to steal anything now, but she would be looking for excuses to be back once you had gotten rid of her? Uncertainty washes over you, but after a few moments you brush the paranoid thoughts away, concluding that there is no way to be certain of any of it.
"... You're saying that she's stealing from me. To get my attention?" You say sharply.
"I'm saying that that seems to be a part of it, yes." Reimu says. "The ones she can use she gets a lot of use out of, but there's other books that just take up space in her house because she opens them once, figures out she can't read anything inside, and sets them aside. And to be perfectly frank, you aren't exactly a people person. Outside of books, there's very little that you care about: going after them is the easiest way to get your full and undivided attention, for at least a little while."
... it's almost as irritating as the thefts themselves are, you realize.
"Well, a lot of it is just my own conclusions of what I've noticed." The shrine maiden says, as noise starts to come from the changing rooms. "It depends on how much you trust my intuition about these things. But Marisa is a friend, so there's something I'll ask. If a time comes when you have to turn her down openly, be gentle about it. And don't lead her on, or hint at anything you aren't willing to go through with. Because if she comes to me... upset about you, after, then I'll be very upset." She says, voice suddenly filled with subtle menace.
You barely have time to compute this before the door to the springs opens, and a naked, laughing Oni splashes heavily into the water, the spider not far behind. Marisa, by contrast, enters the water quickly, but without fanfare, and is wrapped in a towel. She seems a little awkward, more so when you look at her, but more comfortable once she's more or less concealed beneath the rippling surface of the water as well as the towel. You deliberately look away, attempting to put as much pointed disinterest as possible into the action.
"... I didn't ask before, but that was an interesting choice of costume." Reimu says, as casually as if the previous conversation hadn't happened at all, and the spider jumps into an explanation of the nurse-garb. She seems to have become fond of it.
For the moment, you stare at the evening sky overhead, lost in thought. It's still an hour or two before you would normally retire.
[ ] What do you do?